Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Why Social Media is a Benefit for Your Business!

Facebook is the largest social media site in the world at this point. However, just about any social network site can be used in the same way as Facebook can. So if you are a member of just about any other network out there, you can take and tailor this information to fit...  I am, for the most part though, going to focus this article on Facebook itself.

For those of you who follow me or keep up with my business, you know I have quite a few Facebook pages. But why do I have all these pages set up? What is the benefit of having multiple pages? And how do I keep everything flowing?

Okay, so first, lets tackle the "WHY." It's really a fairly simple answer! If you have a business, you want people to know about it! With Facebook being as big as it is, it's nearly impossible to do any type of promotion on there without having people who will be interested see it. It's also a wonderful was to keep current customers up to date on specials, sales, new products, events, recipes and so on. If you do trade shows or something Facebook is without a doubt the best way to let people know where you will be and when! Plus, when your friends, family and customers "Like" you on facebook it will show on their activity and gain you more people who are interested in your business... And as we all know - More Eyes = More Sales!

One common question is why not just promote my business on my personal Facebook? Why do I need to set up an actual Page for my business? Well, again, it's simple. IF you are going to use your own personal page for anything other than business you don't want your unrelated posts to confuse or "turn off" your potential customers. If you have a food based business, simply mentioning that you own a dog could be enough for customers to stop following you.

Also, in order to "Friend" someone on facebook takes time, while a Page can be kept 100% about your business and related information and it's easier for someone to follow. Simply by clicking "Like" they will be updated on everything you say and do! If they "Friend" you, you need to both monitor everything you say and others say to you AND make sure you are logging on several times a day or week to approve all the friend requests.

Also, because facebook is a social site, people talk, lots of people! And you don't want to have to worry about some crazy memory or dream that a friend had about you coming up in on of their posts being seen by your potential customers... No one needs to know about that guy at the mall when you were in Highschool when you're trying to sell them lipstick!

So simply put, creating a "Business Page" is going to be healthier for your business image, easier for your customers to find and easier to keep monitored. Plus business pages get options that regular personal pages do not - like store hours and mission statements!

It's also worth stating that if you have more than one venture you should set up more than one page. Why? Well because if you're selling Avon & Ameriplan you will have those who are only interested in ONE of the two. You would HOPE that if you kept them both on one page that those people would ignore the posts made for the other business so that they can see the ones for the one they want. But unfortunately it doesn't happen that way.

I'll use myself as an example. I follow lots of pages! And some of them overlap. So when I see a page that's posting on things I'm not interested in, I simply stop following it. Do I assume that I'm going to miss out on something from time to time? Yep. But if it means my wall isn't clogged up with fish recipes when I want to read about cloth diapers, I'm happy to miss the good so I don't have to see the bad. And I know many people are like that! So having separate pages is definitely a benefit!

But who has the time? I know I don't have hours a day to sit here and create post after post every hour of the day to keep my readers interested... Do you? Well, not if you're properly running your business you don't! But there is good news out there! You don't need to sit for hours or even log on every day to keep the posts coming!

I have started using a program called HootSuite.  There are quite a few options with the program. I use the free one. It allows me to schedule posts for Twitter, Facebook, Facebook pages, Linkedin and more... So rather than sitting and making posts every hour or so for all my pages, I take an hour in the evening and schedule posts throughout the next day... Then, even when I can't be on, I'm on... It's a great way to keep people visiting, chatting, and most importantly buying!

So lets break it down. First, using social media is a great asset to any business, blog, cause or group! Second, social media is the best and cheapest way to keep customers informed of everything you, your business, cause or group are doing, as well as sales & specials. And Third, with programs like Hootsuite using social media couldn't be easier!

What do you say in your updates though? Everything and Anything! Let people know where you're going to be, what events you have, when orders are due, what you're working on, featured products, recipes, product reviews, sales, specials, coupon codes, articles on related subjects and anything else you think fits. Doing things like a "featured products" or simply making a point to say "good morning" and "good night" or "Hey, breaking for lunch, what are you all having" is enough to get people on your page, and from there on your site... Which of course, is the goal!

So now there is only one question left to cover... 
   Why are you still reading and not setting up your pages?

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Creating your own banner for a blog or website...

Okay, branding is a HUGE thing when it comes to business, charities or even people. If I show you a yellow smiley face, what do you think? WalMart? Yeah, me too. So why? Well, because they know how to brand! Now it's your turn. Once you have a blog or website set up your next step is to create a banner that you can exchange with other, similar blogs or websites - or with forums or anyone else that will post it... But how do you do it??  It's much easier than is sounds - I promise!

Step One - Creating Your Banner
If you have a logo for your company, business or site, you don't need to worry about creation, but you do need to make sure it's the right size.

If you don't have a logo already, you can easily make one. Start by taking a photo or finding a picture that will go with the theme of your site or blog. You can easily do an image search on most search engines or you can look on Photobucket.

Once you find one that you like, right click and choose "Save Image As..." on the menu that pops up. Make sure you know where you save it and what you call it. - just makes things easier...

Open the file in your Paint (or comparable) program and use the "Letter" option to put the title of your site or blog on to it. Once that's done, resize your logo to 125 X 125 pixels.

Your Button is now complete!

Step Two - Creating an HTML code for your Button
Upload your Button to Photobucket. If you don't have a Photobucket account, open one.

Once you have uploaded your Button to Photobucket you will see a number of choices for Sharing it. Choose the one labeled HTML code and copy it.

Open a Note Pad, NoteBook or other word processing program and paste it there so you can make changes to it. It should look something like this:

<a href=";current=Banner-1.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

Now you simply need to change a few things and you'll be good to go.
First, remove the current Photobucket web address and replace it with your own.

<a href=";current=Banner-1.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

<a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

Next you just need to change the title from Photobucket to the name of your site or blog.

<a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

<a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Financial Fitness"></a>

And you're done! You now have your HTML code for your button! Remember to save it so you can give it to banner exchange sites or use it as an ad.

Step Three - Creating a Code Box  (so others can snag and share your button)

In that same NotePad/Word processor page where you have your Button Code, skip down a few lines and copy and pastes the following:

<textarea cols=”15″ rows=”4″ wrap=”VIRTUAL”>YOUR BUTTONCODE HERE</textarea>
Now, simply copy and paste the Button Code your created before in to it.

<textarea cols=”15″ rows=”4″ wrap=”VIRTUAL”>YOUR BUTTONCODE HERE</textarea>
<textarea cols=”15″ rows=”4″ wrap=”VIRTUAL”><a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Financial Fitness"></a></textarea>
Save this code, and the Button Code together (this under that) in your word document for future use.
Here is an example of what it will look like when finished and saved together:
(note, this is for this blog if you should choose to - take and use it!)

<a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Financial Fitness"></a>

<textarea cols=”15″ rows=”4″ wrap=”VIRTUAL”><a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Financial Fitness"></a></textarea>
Final Step - Using your codes!
Now that you have your codes you cam use the HTML "Gadget" option on Blogger or your website to add this to your blog or site. When you visit other blogs or sites similar to your own, contact the owner and offer to exchange buttons! Now you're reaching not only your readers, but theirs as well!

**NOTE: If you use, you will not be able to display the codebox. does not recognize the code! To get around this I recommend doing a blog post announcing your new badge and providing the code to your readers that way. Then you could create a widget on your sidebar, linking to that post.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Promoting with Vista Print

   If you're just starting out with your business chances are you don't have tons of money to put in to promotion. Ads, business cards, flyers, coupons... It's all expensive, right? Well, it CAN BE, but it doesn't have to be. Vista Print offers some awesome promotional items to help you build your business, and they offer them for FREE!

   BUT, there is a trick to this. You see, Vista Print offers these products for free because they know once you're on the site placing an order you are more likely to spend on "upgrades," extra products and fast shipping - which is where they make their money. However, if you follow my tutorial below, you'll get the biggest bang for your buck...

Step 1:
   Visit and join - which is free...

Step 2:
   LOG OFF!  They don't offer the good stuff to you on your first visit! So just log off and give it a day.

Step 3:
   VistaPrint will email you every few days with "sale" emails. THIS is what you want!  Whenever you get the email from them go through the list of FREE items they are offering you. While each email is going to be different here is a list of basics that you can usually get and that are AWESOME for growing your business!
  • Business Cards
  • Post Cards
  • T-Shirt
  • Small Rubber Stamp
  • Car Magnets
  • Mailing Labels (I use these as sticker Ads)
  • Magnets
  • Sticky Notes
  • Lawn Signs
Step 4:
   Take some time to design your products, make them perfect!

Step 5:
   You DO have to pay for shipping, although the products are free. Do NOT let them upsell you on the shipping!!!  While they say the "slowest" shipping takes a long time to arrive, it rarely takes more than 5-7 days to arrive. So unless you need your products this week, do yourself a favor and use the slowest route this will save you HUGE on shipping costs!

Step 6:
   Enjoy your growing business when you use these products!

Key Points & Other Tips-
  • Vista Print makes their money on upsells by charging more than they are worth, so don't go for the stuff that's not free or hugely discounted!
  • You do have to pay shipping, so always go for the cheapest option.
  • Occasionally you will have the option to earn free expedited shipping when you spend so much, usually this is a good deal. So take it when you can.
  • Take the time to create the best products you can, these products will speak for your business even when you can't!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

65 Ways to Self Generate Leads

Here are 65 ideas for you on how to generate leads. Of course, there is no limit to the ideas a person could come up with. Have fun with this!

1) Use FREE email Signature Tags and attach them to every email you send!

2) Register your website business on Every FREE search engine you can find (first) and then start targeting the pay per click search engines.

3) Register your website with Online Shopping Directories.

4) Register your website with Online Work At Home Directories.

5) Register your website with Online Classified Ads if you are going to do any recruiting!

6) In your spare time you can list your website on FFA Link Pages.

7) In your spare time, go to other peoples personal websites and sign their Guest Book, make sure you include your info so they can find your website too!

8) Contact other webmasters and offer to exchange banners with them! If you do a online E-Zine or Newsletter swap banners with others and place them in your online newsletter and have them do the same!

9) Run a Contest on your site for Newsletter Members ONLY and then list your contest at all the FREE Contest & Sweepstakes Web pages!

10) List your website home business with online yellow page directories.

11) Add your listing into your local telephone paper-version phone book!

12) Scout out your local newspaper for the bridal announcements! You can send a business card and include a flyer for the new bride announcing your services!

13) Scout out your local newspaper for classified ads for Home Based Day Care Centers! Call & ask them if you can make up info packets to be sent home with their customers!

14) Scout out your local newspaper for baby announcements. If your company offers products geared to children or new moms you can try to match up their postal address with their name in the phone book. Drop into the mail a contact ME sheet, brochure or catalog, and business card.

15) Do an Online Bi-monthly or monthly Email Newsletter! After you get your local customer base built up you can consider doing a print version for those with NON-Computer Access! This will keep customers informed of your services!

16) Exchange business cards or flyers with other work at home business owners!

17)Network with other Home Business Owners! Schedule a Home Business EXPO locally in your area! Several of you can get together and come up with ideas on where to hold one!

18) Entice First Time Customers to purchase from you! Offer them an incentive like a personal discount or a special FREEBIE for them making their first purchase with you! Once you rope them in, give them the BEST SVC so that they will come back for more and refer you to others that they know! Word of mouth is sometimes the BEST FREE advertising!

19) Hold an Open House party! Do this 2-3 times per year! Send out invites to everyone and post flyers every where! Offer door prizes, refreshments, demo's etc!

20) Recruit Helper Friends! Have your friends help you spread the word! Give them catalogs, flyers & business cards! Tell them to pass them out, get you orders etc. Offer the "helpers" free items or personal discounts! A lot of times these helpers will end up being full recruits after they see how profitable & easy Your Home Business can be!

21) Sponsor Online & Local Contests! Donate a Prize or Gift Certificate! This will help get your a lot of Business Exposure! If you do online sponsoring, make sure you pick HIGH Traffic Websites!

22) Contact Local Business owners (usually smaller businesses work best). See if you can hang a flyer in their store window or set up a small table display. Offer them a personal discount or a freebie for allowing you this business exposure or swap "bag filler" business cards with them!

23) Contact local Bingo Halls! Offer to donate a Prize for their Bingo games! Make sure you include a business flyer, catalog, business card etc with the prize you are donating!

24) Network with other Consultants and find out what works for them and share your ideas with them too!

25) Print out your own business cards or buy low-cost ones and pass them out every where! (I personally get all of mine from

26) If you want low-cost photo-copying for your business flyers try the public library! A lot of times they are a lot cheaper for photo-coping then the big print shops!

27)Distribute Flyers & Business Cards to: Apartment Complex Rental offices!

28) Get permission to hang up flyers at grocery store memo boards, school teacher lounges, public laundromats, church directory memo boards, senior centers, nurses & doctor lounges etc!

29) Contact your local hospital and ask them if they give out the FREE new baby bags filled with gifts etc to the new moms in their hospital? If so, ask if you can add a flyer, business card, or brochure to the mix!

30) Contact Local Fire companies/fire houses in your area! See if they would be interested in holding a Fundraiser or Party.

31) Do you have local Job Fairs? If so, contact them about you setting up a table with Recruiting Info at your Local Job Fair! You can also contact local temp. agencies and see about you leaving info with them about the Your Business Opportunity!

32) If you are into recruiting, place online classified ads every where! You can also place ads online at your local newspaper, TV stations and radio stations websites! Don't forget to also place a classified ad in your local print version newspapers too!

33) Contact local TV stations & radio stations.

34) Offer to hold parties for friends, co-works & family members! You can get FREE advertising by having normal bridal shower, baby shower, anniversary parties etc! Try to tie them into your Business!

35)Do you have children? If you participate in their bake sale activities try to incorporate your business in that.

36) Going to a summer picnic or family/class reunion? Wear a badge advertising your business.

37) Every time you are checking out somewhere, give the cashier a hot card.

38) Make sure you leave info about Your Business on your answering machine or voice mail message! Not everyone who phones you knows that you sell or represent a particular company! (especially those pesky bill collectors & telemarketers)!

39) Write your Website URL & email address on every piece of mail leaving your home, including the bills! Either get return address labels with it printed on or handwrite it! Do you know how many hands touch once piece of mail? GREAT FREE advertising for you!

40) Do a school fund-raiser.

41) Make up a colorful flyer and hang it in your car window! Passer-bys can see your flyer at a parking lot, red-light etc!

42) I leave my business card behind every where I go! I even include one in the Hotel MAID's Tip envelope that I leave behind with my tip in it! You can also do this at restaurants, restrooms, etc!

43) Contact your local Welcome Wagon Group! Network with them! See if you can add your business card, flyer, catalog to the Welcome Wagon Package in your area!

44) Pass out brochures in your neighborhood!

45) Talk about your business Everywhere you go!

46) Don't be afraid to ask others to check out your website! The worse thing that could happen is the word "NO" but in the future if they need service from you they will remember that conversation with you!

47) Contact local kitchen & cabinet tradesmen in your area or local cabinet makers! See if you can set up a display in their shop about your Business!!!

48)Contact local professional offices. See if you can leave brochures about your business there.

49) Contact Local Sorority Houses!

50) Contact College Campuses & Private Schools and see if you can set up a Table Display during their open house days!

51) When out and about....make sure you use an AmeriPlan® LOGO something!

52) Update your personal Business Website as much as possible! People who regularly visit our website don't want to see the same thing over & over!

53) Does your church hold spring & holiday bazaars? Don't forget to set up a table display with your business info! Volunteer your time for Church Bake Sales, Holiday Bazaars etc. In exchange, set up a table or booth with your info.

54) Fundraising! A lot of opportunities here for you to expand and grow your business! Make a list of all the LOCAL groups in your area! Print out flyers about Your Fundraising Opportunity and include contact & business info about yourself! Every month commit yourself to mail out or to contact at least 5-10 of those group contacts per month!

55) Do you know of a family in your area that had a fire tragedy recently? A flood or other home tragedy? Donate something to them and include your business information.

56) Invest in BLANK postcards or invest in Business Themed Postcards! These are cheaper to mail out than using catalogs! Include your business & Contact info on them and mail them out to everyone advertising your business! This works well with random mailings from phone books as they are much more inexpensive to do and recipients usually tack them to the front of their refrigerator until they need to contact you!

57) Business SALE aids and Advertising! If you can afford invest in getting some printed, personalized sales aids! Pass them out to everyone! Everyone loves something for FREE!

58) Encourage your current members to send referrals to you. If any of them enroll, you will reimburse them that month's membership fee!

59) Make up inexpensive Gift Baskets and put your business info in them and set them in local mom & pop businesses.

60) Offer something free for every 5 referrals!

61) Contact all the businesses in your area and provide them with printed info about your business.

62) If time is a problem for you, get yourself organized! When watching TV or a movie, stamp the backs of your catalogs! You can do this during the commercials instead of just sitting there & biting your nails LOL Enlist the help of your kids! Children love to feel that they have a "job" and offering them a few bucks or another incentive for helping you with your business!

63) Contact NEW Graduates from College in your area!

64) Get Business Themed Banking Checks! Your bank checks pass thru tons of hands that could become potential customers or party hosts! If possible get your email address or website URL preprinted onto them! I also suggest using preprinted postal address labels too!

65) Get yourself a self inking or rubber stamp made up with your Website URL and contact info on it! Stamp everything with it! Not only does this save you time but you will be more "apt" to stamp up everything and anything if it ONLY takes a second to do it!!!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

How To Choose a Domain Name (part 2)

Here are some other things to pay attention to when selecting domain names...

1. Domain Extensions
Many webmasters wrestle not only with choosing the best domain name, but also with the decision of what domain extensions to select for their website. The following is a general guide to what the most popular domain extensions represent...

.com - commercial (by far, the most popular domain extension)
.net - network host (often used by hosting companies)
.edu - educational institution
.org - organization
.info - informational sites

If your primary focus is in a local market, you may find value in a local domain as well.

There are also country-specific domain extensions, such as "" for England and "" for Australia. A country-specific domain might be valuable to you if you have, for example, a Russian version of your software. In that case, you might want to register the ".ru" version of your chosen domain as well. Some studies show that country-specific domains perform better in that country's search engine results. In other words, will give preference to domains that contain .au results.

2. Be Different
Distinguish yourself from competitors with a unique and easy-to-remember domain name. Choose a domain that is different. Select a domain that will not cause marketplace confusion.

3. Keyword-Rich
Including keywords in a domain name is often helpful in ranking well for those specific keywords or phrases. If you find one available, definitely consider purchasing a keyword-rich domain. Keyword domains are particularly useful for content-based web sites.

4. Domain Name Spacing
There is a lot of talk about whether a hyphenated domain (i.e. is better than one that runs the words together (i.e. While hyphenated domains allow search engines to distinguish the keywords, they also make it more difficult for customers to remember. Do not struggle with the decision of which domain to register, as both have their benefits -- just register both if possible. Domains are relatively inexpensive and worth the money.

5. Number Of Characters
Obviously, shorter domain names are better. Eight to ten characters in a domain name is considered ideal, but not always realistic. Choose a domain that is easy to remember and not excessively long.

More Info on Choosing a Domain - ... part-1.htm

About the Author:
Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll software for creating, editing, publishing RSS feeds and podcasts. In addition Sharon manages marketing for RecordForAll audio recording and editing software.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

How To Choose a Domain Name (part 1)

So, you have an idea or a product.... now you need a domain name for a website. How do you choose a great domain name? Here are a few ideas...

Create a list of words or phrases that relate to the product, service, information, or brand that will be promoted on the website.

Experiment with variations of the words in the above list. Change the order of words in phrases to create unique combinations for possible domain names.

Check Availability
Check the availability of the potential domains, using Network Solutions or a similar domain registrar. If the desired name is already taken, most domain registrars will provide a list of alternative similar domains that are available.

Check Trademarks
Search to see if a trademark exists for a specific word combination. The USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) has one of the largest searchable databases of trademarked words or phrases.

Check Search Engines
Enter the potential domains in the various online search engines and examine the results. Do the desired domains already have existing websites? Will the selected domain result in any marketplace confusion?

Test It Out
Pose the potential domain to friends and acquaintances. Ask how the name makes them feel, and ask for their initial reaction to the names. Ask people from other countries, too! Remember: words do not always translate well into other languages, or not as you might expect. If you sell in a global marketplace, you do not want to unintentionally alienate or insult your audience with an offensive or confusing domain name.

Purchase It (And Variations)
Once you have settled on a domain name, purchase it... before someone else does! Domain names are relatively inexpensive, so we recommend that you also purchase variations of the domain name, in order to lock them up as well. You can then redirect the any traffic from the variations to you primary domain.

How to Choose a Domain: Part 2

Tools For Selecting Domains
Domainr -
Dot-o-mator -
Bustaname -
Domize -
DomainsBot -
dnScoop -
StuckDomains -
Nameboy -
dyyo -
DomainTools -
Ajax Whois -
DomainTyper -
Instant Domain Search -
Make Words -
PCNames -
Domain Pigeon -
ChoiceBits -
Wordoid -
Squurl -
Unwanted Domain Names -

About the Author:
Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll software for creating, editing, publishing RSS feeds and podcasts. In addition Sharon manages marketing for RecordForAll audio recording and editing software.

Monday, May 9, 2011

How To Twitter

Twitter, the latest social networking craze, is a micro-blogging platform where participants post "tweets" which are short comments limited to 140 characters or less.

Getting setup on Twitter is not terribly difficult. There is a slight learning curve in regard to Twitter's culture and tweeting practices, so it is a good idea to monitor the posts for a few days before you jump in and begin tweeting, just to get a feel for the community. Many Twitter participants monitor the posts (tweets) of other people they find interesting, which is called "following". Twitter is interactive, and allows others on Twitter to reply to tweets and engage in a conversation with the original poster or others who add comments to the original posts/tweets.

Here are the setup steps for both Business and Personal usage...

For Business Use:

1. Choose A Name
Select a name for your Twitter account. If the Twitter account is going to be for company use, you should use your brand name as your account name.

2. Create A Profile
Write a business profile that includes a description of your company, products, and services.

3. Add An Icon/Avatar
Upload a customized avatar that will reinforce your company brand, such as a version of your company logo. Twitter icons that are eye-catching will draw more attention to your posts.

4. Customize A Landing Page
Customize a landing page for your profile, and reinforce your brand and company message there. Use the profile space to provide additional information.

5. Follow
Follow friends or others with similar interests, products, or company focus. You can also follow industry leaders.

For Personal Use:

1. Choose A Name
Select a name for your Twitter account. This can be a nickname or your real name.

2. Create A Profile
Write a profile that reflects your personal interests. This will help people with common interests to locate you.

3. Add An Icon/Avatar
Upload a Twitter icon/avatar. Eye-catching Twitter icons will draw more attention to your posts. You can use a photo of yourself, or another image that reflects your personality.

4. Customize A Landing Page
Customize a landing page that reflects your personal interests or passions.

5. Follow Friends
Follow friends or others with similar interests, media personalities, or just about anyone you are interested in.

Keep in mind that Twitter is not about shouting your message -- it is about engaging in a two-way (or more) dialogue. Begin tweeting by interacting with those that you are following.

About the Author:
Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll software for creating, editing, publishing RSS feeds and podcasts. In addition Sharon manages marketing for RecordForAll audio recording and editing software.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Chalene Johnson's How to Deal with Negative People

This Video is a MUST WATCH! No matter if you follow my blog to help you in business or just day to day finances... This video will really be a benefit to you!

Thanks Chalene!! You're an angle!!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Attract Wealth with Visualization

Visualization can be used for a wide range of purposes, but one of the most beneficial is making yourself feel prosperous and attract more money into your life. Some refer to this as the “law of Attraction.” You may wonder how seeing simple images in your mind can help attract anything – but when you think about it, a consistent focus on lack causes you to expect the worst and think and act in ways that emphasize lack – which simply creates more lack in your life!

On the other hand, when you change your perception of lack into a stronger focus on abundance, you find yourself thinking and acting in ways that can be more prosperous. Not only will you better appreciate the abundance you have in your life now, you’ll also be in a better mind-set to recognize great opportunities and act on them when they appear.

For best results, use visualization on a daily basis because changing your mental outlook requires consistent reinforcement. You can perform your visualization exercises first thing in the morning, right before bed in the evening, or any time during the day when you have a few minutes to spare.

What types of things should you visualize? For one, see yourself having plenty of money. Imagine that you’re able to pay your bills with ease and have plenty left over for fun, helping others and saving for a brighter future. Make these visualizations as detailed as possible, even down to the clothing you’re wearing, the home you live in, the vehicle you drive, and the way you carry yourself in your daily activities.

The details are important because they’ll trigger your emotions and make you feel like you’re really experiencing these visions – which your subconscious mind will then accept! How would you feel if you had all the money you needed? What type of mind-set would you have if money was no longer a concern for you? Infuse these thoughts and feelings into your visualization exercises, making them as strong and real as you can.

Then, the next important step is to be sure you’re not undoing all the great energy you put out during your visualization exercises by thinking and acting in ways that contradict what you’re trying to attract into your life.

Avoid spending time worrying about not having enough money, stressing about bills or feeling anxious about your income. The moment you start doing these things, you immediately shift your focus back to a lack mind-set, which keeps the cycle of lack going strong.

Whatever you do, be sure you don’t limit the ways that money can come to you! For example, don’t focus all of your efforts on winning the lottery because you’ll be blocking all other possibilities. Remember that money can come to you in limitless ways – most of which you’d never expect! Simply focus on being open to any and all possibilities and allow your positive focus to attract bigger and better things than you can even imagine right now. Use the law of attraction for your benefit.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Service Based Company vs. Product Based Company...

When I started looking to work from home I had NO CLUE there were so many choices. I knew I wanted a home based business, but didn't really know beyond that what I wanted. I kept looking at companies that just didn't fit my life or my needs, and I failed at them all... It was only once I found a company that fit me that I discovered WHY I was failing at all these others. I never understood the difference between a product based company and a service based company - nor did I understand how that would affect how I market, build and earn with my business...  It's because of this experience that I feel this difference is something that needs to be addressed.

A product based company will offer a physical product. This will offer you opportunities such as home parties, vendor/craft shows, store fronts and sample marketing. However, with a product based company there are also some draw backs. Depending on the company itself you may be required to deliver or ship each product order. Others may have a limited purchase opportunity for customers, so this is something that needs to be considered. IF you have a company with a limited product selection or where products are not going to be reordered you may be limiting your future income. It's generally best to find a product line which offers reorder potential. Vitamins, Cosmetics, Edibles and Clothing all carry a great reorder potential because people will use them up and need more. If your company offers a product with a low or limited need to reorder it does not mean that there isn't a good income opportunity, it simply means that you will always be searching for new customers and will not have the luxury of leaning on older customers.

A service based company will not generally offer a physical product, but will offer some type of membership. These companies are not a suited to home parties or shows as their product based counterparts but it can be done. They will also give you the freedom to promote your service without the need of deliveries, shipping or product stock. Service based companies also tend to offer a "residual" style pay, meaning that unlike a product base you don't have a need to contact previous customers or collect reorders because the service will generally be billed automatically unless they cancel. This is a good option because it frees you to find new customers rather than spending time contacting new ones and helps to provide a faster building income. But, it tends to lack some of the "business relationships" that come with the repeat customers of a product line...

Which is better is completely up to you! But now that you know all the differences, you can make a better informed choice about what is right for you!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Getting Started On The Work At Home Road...

The first step to working from home is finding an opportunity that fits you and your needs. If you are like I was when I started my search, you have no clue where to even start looking...  Google will bring up MILLIONS of Work at Home options and a great majority of them are outright scams! You know it, I know it, and neither of us want you to fall for one! But, how do you know which ones are legit and which ones really are a scam? And how do you know once you have a legit company that it's really the right one for you? Well, I am going to try to help you there.

The first thing you need to do is decide if you want a home based JOB or a home based Business... To do that answer a few questions:

Do you want set hours or days?
Do you need structure or boss to give you assignments?
Are you willing to accept limit your income in order to guarantee a paycheck?
Do you have child care or other arrangements which will allow you to have a quiet work environment?

If you answered yes to these questions, you'll want to start looking for a job... With a Home or Online Job you will be "Employed" by a company. You will work specific hours they schedule you and will have a Manager or Boss just like outside the home and will get paid an hourly, commission or base pay. In most cases Home Jobs are Customer Service where they require you to have a very quite background (where you would still need a babysitter or daycare if you have children). There are other positions from home you can find from Virtual Assistant to Freelancing. There are a couple companies that allow you to answer texts from home also. Many of these companies will ask for a background check, headset, landline, etc. and most times you will have to purchase these things to be able to start. Some companies will reimburse you for these, some will not. With most legitimate jobs from home, you must go through an interview process, background check, and you will have many to compete others as you would with any job out of the home because there are not unlimited spaces with these companies.

However if you answered NO to the above questions I would think you are better suited for a home based business... A Home Based Business is a great way to build a residual income that will pay you for a lifetime and completely change your life. It will also bring in a decent amount of income in the process of building the lifetime residual income you want. (If you work it consistently and put in the time necessary) You will want to find something you have a passion for or will be proud to represent. A Home Based Business is YOURS and you are in charge of your income and how much you earn. Most Home Based Businesses or Opportunities will have a start up cost and a monthly overhead to stay in business. These are required just as starting a Business outside the home requires investing and monthly overhead for keeping in business. What is great about Home Based Businesses is most are very low cost verses starting a business outside the home. You still have the same income potential in less time and in most cases Home Based Businesses are only $50 to a few hundred to start (Some are less, some are more). You will make your own hours, work around your schedule and have the freedom to answer only to yourself. With in just a couple to a few years you can be set for life and can create financial freedom. You do have to understand that it will take time to build, that it will not happen overnight and that you will reach many obstacles in building your business. It is those who choose to keep going and give it their all are those who are successful with a Home Based Business. Starting and growing will not be easy the first couple of years but will be worth it! It can and will change your life if you allow it to, put your heart into and become driven to make it happen!

So, now that you know what you are looking for how do you narrow down the options? Well, if you are searching for a home based JOB your options are already going to be limited to what positions you can find. However it's a good idea to start in areas you are comfortable in or where you already have experience. If you have previous customer service experience that would be a good place to start your search! If however you are looking for a home business there are countless opportunities and the number grows daily! Here again is where we need to get in to discovering what is right for YOU and your family. And again, to do this, we need some simple questions...

What kind of income potential are you looking for?
How long are you willing to work to reach that goal?
How much of an investment are you willing to make to reach that goal?
Do you want a company with a product or a service?
Are you willing to stock a product or products in your home?
Are you willing to make deliveries or not?
Are you interested in doing in home, vendor or other style shows?
Would you like a company with an established record or one where you can get in on the ground floor?
What type of product or service do you wish to be affiliated with?
What are you passionate about?

Depending on your answers to the above questions you should be able to pick out a company that's right for you. Obviously if you hate cosmetics Mary Kay or Avon would be bad choices, in contrast if you have a passion for natural or green living you may be better suited for a company which promotes these beliefs...  And of course if you have a disability that stops you from doing in home or vendor shows you would want to make a choice that will enable you to work without those options. Limited transportation would be something that may make you want to look for something which won't require delivery...

There are an unlimited number of options for working from home and I hope that I have helped you to better find your way through some of the clutter. In the end what it all comes down to is if the company isn't a good fit for YOU and your life it isn't going to be something you enjoy doing and it in turn won't be something you find success in. You'll never hear someone say "I hate my job, but I'm successful" because the two don't go hand in hand. By better narrowing your search your are allowing success to find you!

Here's to your success!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

9 Reasons Why You Should NOT Start a Home Based Business - And How to Overcome Them!

If you're thinking of starting a home-based business, you're probably aware of some of the obstacles you face. But, can you overcome them? Here's a look at 9 reasons NOT to start a home-based business - at least if you're not capable of overcoming them with a little work and determination.

1. You Don't Have a Nest Egg to Start a Business
Regardless of what type of home business you want to start, you need to expect that it will take some time until you start seeing any sort of income that will support you. You can also expect that you'll have some startup expenses and that you'll need to pay estimated taxes. All of these things take money.
Ideally, you should have at least 4 to 6 months of your expenses to draw from. This will give you some time to get your home based business established and, hopefully, establish an income stream from your business.

Workarounds for this Obstacle
If you have access to inexpensive credit or investors who are willing to take a chance on your home based business, or if you have a spouse or significant other who can earn enough to pay your bills while you are getting your business established. You could also consider either starting your home-based business on a part-time basis or taking a part-time job until your business is capable of providing a steady revenue stream.

2. You Can't Get or Afford Health Insurance on Your Own
It's pretty risky to go without health insurance. One substantial illness or injury and you could be bankrupt. If you are going to operate a home business full time, it will be up to you to figure out how you will get health insurance at a rate you can afford. If you have any kind of illness or past medical history, getting health insurance on the open market is nearly impossible, especially as you age.
Ideally, you have a spouse who can get you health benefits on his or her group policy at work. This would provide you with a reasonable premium and in most plans, eliminate the need to pass medical underwriting that might otherwise result in an insurer refusing to cover you.

Workarounds for this Obstacle
You might be able to join a professional organization or union as a self-employed individual that provides group health coverage to its members, although these are becoming increasingly rare and even these policies are getting tougher to afford. Some states do not permit medical underwriting - health insurers are regulated to "take all comers" regardless of any medical conditions you might currently have or have had in the past that have since been addressed.

Higher deductibles can provide affordability to some who are otherwise insurable. A savings program, a tax-deductible medical savings program, or combination of the two, can help you pay your deductibles while you operate your home based business.

3. You Hate Taking Risks
You don't want to place yourself in a situation where you can't sleep at night. Remember, having your own business provides a great sense of freedom and independence, but it comes with the risk of no steady income and making your bills every month can be a very challenging and stressful experience.

Workarounds for this Obstacle
It's very hard to change the emotional part of your dislike for taking risks. The best thing you can do is to provide some sort of safety net. Having that available should make you feel more confident and will go a long way toward reducing your stress levels. Additionally, while many argue that entrepreneurs must be "risk takers by nature", there is such a thing as a foolish risk and a calculated risk. Doing your homework to understand what the real risks are and what their impact could be, will not only help you better prepare for them, but can also help you to better identify which risks you absolutely must avoid in your home based business.

4. You & Your Spouse or Live-In Don't Get Along
If you are married or are living with a significant other or even a roommate or parent, everyone needs to be on the same page. If you are already constantly arguing or fail to see eye-to-eye on most issues, running a home business is going to be extremely challenging or nearly impossible. After all, you don't want to make your day-to-day living situation worse than it already is. With a home-based business, your day-to-day will probably involve being home most days, nearly all day long. That means you'll have little opportunity to escape a tense situation whenever your partner or roommate is also home.

Workarounds for this Obstacle
You need to have frank and honest discussions with your spouse, partner or roommate. Look for ways you can meet half way. Be supportive and try to understand your partner's needs and concerns and ask that he or she do the same. Try to resolve your problems BEFORE you actually go ahead and start your home-based business. Consider counseling if it seems warranted for your specific situation.

5. You Lack the Self Discipline Required for a Home Based Business
Being your own boss in a home-based business will take a tremendous amount of self discipline on your part. There won't be anyone telling you what you should do or when you should be doing it. You'll have the distractions typically found around the home - TV, web surfing, the kids, etc. - competing for your attention every day. If you're accustomed to following instructions and having someone else lay out the details for you, chances are very good that you will not be successful in a home-based business. Success doesn't come easily - it requires persistent hard work - perhaps even harder work than you've ever had to tackle.

Workarounds for this Obstacle
Prevent distractions by setting ground rules in the house. Set a schedule for your daily routine and make sure your family members respect and understand it. Even if your clients aren't setting deadlines for you, set your own and aim to meet them every time. Keep track of the hours you are working on a regular basis. That way, if you slack off you'll see it right away - before it's too late. Set specific production calls - I'll make so many calls today, or write so many articles, etc. and then reward yourself for meeting those goals.

6. You Don't Know What Kind of Home Based Business You Want
I often receive email from readers indicating they are anxious to start a home based business and they want me to tell them what home based business they should start. The point is, no one can tell you what home-based business you should start - you have to decide that on your own. If you know you want to start a small, home based business but don't know what to do - wait until you've figured that out. Otherwise, you'll go from business to business and never realize success.

Workarounds for this Obstacle
You need to do your homework, and that includes understanding what makes you tick, what turns you on and what you are good at. You need to have a good idea of what your passion in life is all about because if you can follow your passion, your chances for success in your home based business are much greater because it will drive you to do whatever is necessary to succeed.

Also, don't expect to be successful right off the bat if you have no experience or skill level related to the home-based business you want to start. You would be far better off getting experience from someone else first before going it alone. That way, you'll have a broader understanding of the challenges and potential pitfalls that await your home-based business before you encounter them and you'll increase your chances of being able to overcome them. You'll also be better able to market yourself since you can point to your first-hand experience and be better able to explain to a prospect why they should pick you over your competitors.

7. You Lack the Self Confidence Needed to Run a Home Based Business
Running your own home-based business means you have to believe you can succeed. If you don't you're basically wasting your time and money. You need to be able to handle rejection - not every prospect will turn into a paying customer, and you need to have confidence in your abilities or you won't be able to convince others to have confidence in you.

Workarounds for this Obstacle
Start small - preferably even before you start your own small home-based business. Look for something you can accomplish and then do it to the best of your abilities. Be proud of your accomplishment and start building on your success. It also helps to have others who believe in you - especially when things aren't going so well. Occasionally we all need a pep talk to get back in the game or get back up on the horse.

Believe that you DESERVE success and that you are very capable of achieving it. This is very difficult to overcome if you've spent most of your life with self-esteem issues, but it doesn't mean it's impossible. Sometimes a trusted partner who can help you with your small business can also get you through the rough times.

8. You Don't Have the Time to Run a Home Based Business
Starting and running a home-based business is going to take up a LOT of your time - probably much more than you ever thought it would. Even before you start, you'll need a considerable amount of time to plan and research. After your small business is up and running, you'll need plenty of time because it's likely that you'll be working more hours than you worked as an employee because you'll be wearing all the hats.

If your time is already over-extended - with social activities, family obligations, etc., you need to be sure you can devote the time your business will need to survive and prosper.

Workarounds for this Obstacle
It's easy to say that we're too busy - for exercise or for operating a home-based business. If you really want your own business you're going to have to find and make the time. See if you can get other family members to help you with some of your obligations. Try to set aside specific times for your home based business - including the time you'll need for preparation.

Keep track of the time you spend on your business and non-business activities because it will help you find areas where time is being wasted or could be better spent on more fruitful activities. You may also discover that you really do have the time - you're just not 100% sure you want to start a small business and you've been using time as an excuse or "safety valve" to protect you from your fears. If that's the case, this is probably not the right time for you to start your business.

9. You Have No Tolerance for the Record Keeping Needed in a Home Based Business
Maybe you're the type who just wants to go out there and DO IT. However, operating a home-based business takes some discipline in bookkeeping and record keeping in addition to all of the fun stuff you'll be doing. At the very least, you'll need to keep good records for tax purposes, like earnings and expense and you'll also need to keep good records on your clients so you can stay on top of who's paying on time and who isn't.

Having a good record keeping system and documentation on your business also helps make it easier to sell your home-based business should you want to do so later on. Just because your business is home based doesn't mean you can neglect your record keeping.

Workarounds for this Obstacle
If you just can't stand keeping records, you could look for software to help you manage your bookkeeping and record keeping tasks. You could also consider having a partner or friend with good small business bookkeeping skills handle the bulk of these tasks for you.

Even if you don't prepare your own tax returns, your records need to be well organized and complete to make things easier on your tax preparer and to make sure you get the deductions you have coming to you.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

How To Start A Residential Cleaning Company

If you want your own business and you don't have much money to get started, a residential house cleaning service may be just what you need - especially if you have a neat streak running through your veins.

Once established in this kind of business, you can easily make the transition to office cleaning, or even start a janitorial business serving larger commercial operations.

But for now, let's examine the business of cleaning residential homes. Is there a market for this business.

Indeed, life is more hurried and full of distractions than ever before. Many people feel they just don't have enough time in a day for housekeeping.

Oddly enough, many of us rank a clean home as very important, yet it's one of the last things on our "to do" list. Numerous surveys verify that people give cleaning a low priority in the use of their free time.

On top of that, cleaning seems to be one of those tasks that gets half done. You know...

"I'll do the dishes and vacuum, oh but that dusting and those cobwebs in the corner will just have to wait till the weekend."

Ah, but then the weekend comes, and who wants to ruin a perfectly good weekend cleaning house?

So the household dilemma is:

We want a clean home, but we don't have time to clean and we don't like to clean.

That's where you come in. Cleaning takes on a whole new meaning when you're getting paid for it.


American Demographics magazine reports that of all homes with two adults, over half of them are 2-wage-earner households. For couples with an education above the high school level the numbers run as high as 76%.

In recent years, a rising divorce rate has produced an unprecedented number of working single parent homes, and roughly 15% of the American workforce holds two or more jobs.

 These facts along with our general dislike for keeping house has made the cleaning industry one of the fastest growing segments of the U.S. economy. Residential and commercial office cleaning is a multi-million dollar business with no signs of slowing down.


A residential home cleaning business is one of those rare businesses you can start with very little start-up costs. With just a bucket of cleaning supplies and some rags you have an instant business.

As for equipment, you don't need much more than vacuum, a broom, and a long handled duster. You'll find that many people prefer you use their vacuum (If you've ever seen the carpet at my Uncle Jim's house, then you know why). If your house cleaning service includes carpet or blind cleaning, this equipment can be rented to save on costs.


Depending on the going rates in your area, you can expect to average anywhere from $10 to $25 per hour. You can clean small retail and office operations and charge an additional $5 to $15 per hour.
For bigger profits you may want to specialize. For instance, you could clean rental homes and apartments after tenants move out. Working as a husband-wife team will also make your operation more profitable.

  • Classified ads work exceptionally well. Advertise in your local newspaper or weekly shopper. Run test ads in various newspapers in your area and advertise frequently in the one that gives you the best results. Look at the ads currently running and make your ad stand out from the crowd. Offer an additional benefit such as a 20% discount on the first cleaning to entice potential customers.
  • Distribute half-page or full-page flyers to homes and businesses. In one afternoon you can canvas a neighborhood with several hundred flyers. This method will capture the customer that is not actively seeking cleaning services, but is nevertheless frustrated with cleaning chores. You can produce an attractive flyer right from home with your computer and color printer.
  • Print some business cards. This can also be done on your computer. Leave a card with everyone you meet and everywhere you go. Hand it to grocery store clerk, give it to the mail carrier, leave one at the restaurant...
  • Get listed in the yellow pages.
  • Advertise on the radio. You may be surprised how affordable this can be. Granted, the best rates are likely later time slots, but guess who's listening? That's right... the workaholic that doesn't have time to keep house.


  • Visit your local janitorial supply store. You'll find lots of free advice from experts who are more than happy to win you over as a new customer.
  • Establish relationships with other cleaning services. Offer to help them out on your slow days. You may need their help on a busy day if you get sick or have an emergency.
  • While not absolutely necessary for residential cleaning, you'll need to have a bond for commercial office cleaning. Insurance is also a good protective measure. Some customers will insist on this. Call a few insurance companies for the best rate.
  • A cell phone or pager can keep you from missing calls.
  • Put together a professional looking quote sheet to give potential customers (along with your business card) when bidding on a cleaning job.
In conclusion, starting your own cleaning business is a great way to earn a solid income and still have control over your schedule. You decide for yourself how much you want to work and how much you want to make. The demand for your services is very high, and you can grow your business as large as you want and still be home based.

And most importantly, you'll have the satisfaction that comes from creating a lifestyle of your choosing.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Become An Affiliate!

Affiliate programs are found all over the web. Generally they are free as you are not working for or with the company. You are simply the "middle man" for their advertising. Its a very simple concept and easy to do. You will usually need a website of your own or at least a blog, but you could also earn through email or social network profiles as well.

Affiliate Marketing works because you are paid on each sale the company gets through your link. They will provide you with a link, ad or banner to place on your website. At that point you will earn a commission from every sale made through that link. You are responsible for bringing new people on to the site in order to purchase through that site or link. Generally you'll want to stick to products that work well with the subject of your site or blog.

There are a few ways to go about finding Affiliate Programs.
1.) The first is simply by checking out the sites you already shop at... If you have a favorite online site you may want to check out their page for an Affiliate Program option. Usually these are at the bottom of the page.

2.) Second there are Affiliate Exchange Sites that will enable to you find a large number of Affiliates to join from one place. Both and are Affiliate Exchange Sites. You will be able to join these sites and find a large list of potential Affiliate Programs to join...

3.) Online Mall programs tend to have a free option to join and you are then rewarded for referring new people...  However, make sure to read the find print as many of these sites require a minimum purchase each month in order to get paid...

Once you have found a program that you like, you'll want to maximize exposure. Do this by emailing the link to friends and family, posting it on ALL your profiles on ALL your Social Network sites, Posting it in your email and forum signature, and of course on your website or blog - or both!

Remember, the more people who see the link, the more people that are going to click it, the more people that click the more you earn! So don't miss out on potential commissions by hiding your link at the bottom of your pages. Post high and proud and make sure that everyone knows you are an affiliate. Many times people are willing to visit a friends site to go through their link instead of just going to the site... But they cant do this if they don't know it's there...

Happy Affiliate-ship!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Need a second computer? Why not get a recycled one?

Often times home businesses or jobs require a certain amount of time online. But when we are trying to balance family life and work, it can be a bit tricky. A laptop or second computer just for mom can help to save the day when other family members need online and mom's working...

The low cost, "Green" alternative to going out and buying a brand new Dell is buying recycled or refurbished computers at a much lower price.  There are many nonprofits that donate computers or sell them at a reduced cost to individuals and families in need. "Need" is defined and determined differently by every organization, so you'll have to follow the guidelines and instructions listed.

At you can search by zip code for organizations in your area that provide free or low-cost computers. In the navigation bar, use the Directory link 'Refurbisher List by Community MAR Location.

You can also go to and type in “computer recycling and reuse” to search for other resources. Be sure to include your state in the search box, so you're steered toward appropriate groups in your area.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Become an Online Juror

Channel Your Inner Judge Judy. Instead of spending time watching the courtroom programs on TV, try making some pocket money while determining verdicts as an online juror. Lawyers deciding whether or not to accept a case or looking for preliminary feedback on cases they're currently handling use various websites as a cost-effective tool for research and focus groups before heading into a real courtroom.
Sites including
pay nominal fees to home-based e-jurors, which may range from $10 to $60, depending on the length of the e-trial. Research all of the sites and read the requirements before signing on to serve.

You must use caution when visiting these sites. Even though they contain a lot of legitimate information, they also lead to links to stuff that's not legit. Be cautious about the sites and the ads you see and NEVER respond to check-cashing, wire transfer or Western Union related offers.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Seven Things You Must Give Others If You Want To Achieve Success

A major part of the process of achieving success and living the kind of life that you dream of is to give. Many people think that to get what you want you have to take it. There is a universal truth though that the true path to get what you want is to give. When you give, you get. What you sow, you shall reap. If this is true, then what is it we must give? I'll show you the way…
  1. Give Others Your Honesty. The world we live in has a simple rule that most follow: Lie when you have to. Unfortunately, this may make some people wealthy but it make us humans poor. To achieve success is to become wealthy not only in money, but in character. To be successful, truly successful, is to be able to attain your goals and keep your character at the same time!…
         How about you? Are you honest in all things? The problem with little lies is they become big ones. Lies spin out of control. You get caught in one lie and you lie to get out of it etc. In all things and at all times, give others your honesty.
  2. Give Others Your Respect. Most of the time we give people respect based on what they have done or what they have accomplished. We gauge whether or not they are "worthy" of it based on what we know of what they have achieved or who they know or are related to.
         But I believe we should have a higher standard: We respect people not for what they have done or for who they are related to or for what they can do for us. Instead, we respect people for simply being.…
  3. Give Others Your Vulnerability. We are taught to "be strong." And yes, we should be strong. But we have also embraced something that I think keeps us from having the kind of life that we long for. It is an idea that keeps us from experiencing the kind of relationships that would bring deep meaning to us. It is the idea of vulnerability.…
         "But Chris, make yourself vulnerable and people will step all over you!" It is true that this will happen. But I have also seen that most people will be drawn to you. They will help you. They will open up to you. You see, we are all broken people inside. We all have secrets. Yet everyone plays the poser. When one let's down their veil, others soon follow—and we all win.
  4. Give Others Your Care. Too many people are running around this old earth not caring about others. The days of "Look Out for Number One" and "Winning Through Intimidation" are over! Let's bring about a new day when we can care about others and succeed!
         Take the time to show people you care. Listen to them. Empathize with them. Love them. Now, I don't mean that you have to go around hugging everyone—that probably wouldn't fly in corporate America anyway—but we can take some time to step back from business and be human! And I have found that when we do so, our business succeeds as well!
  5. Give Others Your Passion. There is nothing this world needs more than passionate people. And people need passionate people. Living in this day and age can be tiring. The hustle and bustle of it all can wear you down and tire you out. Give your passion to others and fire them up.
         Don't just be humdrum—be excited. Give people all the energy you can muster up. And you will find that energy reciprocal. They will get energized and passionate. This in turn will fire you up more when you are already charged and get you going altogether when you don't feel like moving at all!
  6. Give Others Your Experience. We all have areas that we excel in and they are usually areas that we have experience in. One of the things we can do to make our lives more meaningful and be of utmost help to others is to show them the way through the experiences we have.
         Sometimes it will be what they should do: Shortcuts to take, people to meet etc. Sometimes it will be what they should not do: Shortcuts not to take and people to stay away from! Whatever it is, we can be of service to others by giving them our experience and ultimately it will make us all better!
  7. Give Others Your Help. All in all, what we want to do is to help others. Zig Ziglar says that if we will "help others get what they want, we will in turn get what we want." If we want to be successful, we should consider ourselves servants of other people. What can we do to help them and make them better? This is the true path to greatness and success, not only in business but in life!

Chris Widener is a popular speaker and writer
as well as the President of Made for Success
Your Success Store

Monday, February 28, 2011

25 Ways to Save Money on Healthcare

This article first published in Parents Mag, has some great information about healthcare savings! While this "Healthcare Bill" may or may not be coming through soon, may or may not be a good thing and may or may not break the bank all at the same time...  Get discounts on prescriptions, negotiate with your doctor, bargain-shop for a health plan. In this economy, you need to take more control over your family's medical bills.

Find the Best Plan  
1. Shop for the Best Plan
When selecting a health plan, don't just choose the one with the lowest monthly premium or the one you used before. Benefits can change significantly every year -- as can your family's health needs. The best way to bargain-shop: Jot down your family's average number of doctor visits per year, routine prescriptions, dental cleanings, and other services. Compare what you'd pay over an entire year for these items on each plan. Don't forget to include monthly premiums and deductibles.

2. Consider an HD Plan It might feel like a big switch if you're used to paying $20 office co-pays. But a high-deductible (HD) health plan can save you hundreds of dollars per month in lower premiums. These plans (which have an annual deductible of at least $1,100 for individuals; $2,200 for families) are great if your family is healthy and doesn't usually visit the doctor too often. Another benefit: Most HD plans qualify you to open a health savings account (HSA), where you can sock away (on a pretax basis) money to pay your insurance premiums and out-of-pocket health expenses. Better yet, unused HSA money continues to grow tax-deferred, year after year. An HD plan might not be right for you, though, if family members have chronic (and costly) health conditions, you're not disciplined about saving money in your HSA, or if having such a high deductible makes you uneasy.

3. Join a Discount Club If you don't have dental insurance, look into plans like AmeriPlan (, Careington International (, or's dental-discount cards. Participants in these plans agree to give members up to a 60 percent discount. You'll pay a monthly membership fee (ranging from about $12 to $30), and you'll probably need to pay cash at the time of service. Check each plan's coverage in your area -- some regions have fewer participating providers than others.

4. Join the Farm Bureau Believe it or not, you don't need to be a farmer to join your state's farm bureau. Simply by paying an annual membership fee (usually less than $50) you're eligible for all sorts of benefits -- including discounted group health insurance in some states. If you or your spouse are self-employed, this might work for you. For more information, type "farm bureau" and your state's name into your Internet search engine.

5. Always Have a Safety Net If you or your spouse are switching jobs and have to wait for your new health insurance to kick in, ask whether you can extend your policy from your old employer. (The COBRA law requires some, but not all, companies to let you.) If it's not possible to keep your old plan, buy a short-term family insurance plan so you're never without coverage. These policies are relatively inexpensive and can usually be activated within a day or two. Compare plans online at

Know Your Coverage 
6. Take Advantage of Extras
Your health plan may offer valuable services you don't hear much about, so poke around its Web site to learn what's available, says reader Kimberly Hoody, of Phoenix. Some carriers, for example, have nurses on call 24/7. They can tell you how to safely remove a splinter or whether or not your child's cold symptoms warrant an immediate doctor visit (and another co-pay, ka-ching!). Some plans also offer discounts on acupuncture, gym memberships, massage treatments, and weight-loss programs.

7. Get Regular Checkups Don't skimp on well-child checkups just to save money, says Jessica Banthin, a healthcare expert at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. These exams are usually inexpensive or are fully covered by insurance, and they help your doctor detect health problems early. Routine vaccines will also lower your child's risk of illness -- and your risk of facing high medical bills.

8. Look for Special Services Many health plans have programs for patients with ongoing conditions like asthma or allergies, including discounts on preventive care, helpful newsletters, and more. Reader Jaimee Starr's son Austin, 8, has asthma and gets chronic bronchitis in the winter months. After talking with her health-plan representatives, the Springfield, Ohio, mom learned she could buy a home nebulizer from them for just $55 instead of renting one from her pharmacy for $180. Health-plan reps also steered her to a drugstore that offered lower prices on her son's asthma medication.

9. Flex Your Spending If your employer offers a flexible spending account (FSA), you'd be nuts not to use it. FSAs are tax-sheltered accounts that you can use to pay for out-of-pocket medical costs such as office and prescription co-pays. Reader Lisa Chavez-Melo, a human-resources professional in Albuquerque, New Mexico, suggests "guesstimating" what you'll spend on medical expenses each year and putting about 20 percent less into your account so you don't have to worry about scrambling to find last-minute ways to spend it before it disappears. (FSAs are a "use it or lose it" plan and the money must be used within the year.) Some good ways to spend that last bit of FSA money: replacement glasses or contacts, dental cleanings, and even certain over-the-counter items like bandages, infant pain reliever, and contact-lens solutions.

10. Read Bills Carefully Up to 50 percent of your doctor or hospital bills may contain mistakes that end up costing you money, says Jane Cooper, president of Patient Care, a consumer-advocacy group in Milwaukee. Something as simple as an incorrect billing code could prompt your insurance to pay less than expected or even reject your claim. Other common errors: mistakes in an account number, claims with incomplete information -- even claims sent to the wrong insurance-company address by a doctor. Read your benefits booklet carefully to make sure your plan is paying all it should. If you catch an error, send a certified letter to your insurer. Follow up in a few weeks to make sure the mistake is corrected.

11. Don't Accept "No" If your insurance company won't pay for a service you think you deserve, don't just give up. Appeal the decision. If you're denied again, contact your state insurance commission. That agency can mediate a dispute between you and your insurance company. If you win, you could save yourself hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars.

12. Remember to Network When making an appointment, always double-check that the doctor is still in your insurance plan's network. (Many come and go.) And ask to see in-network providers when you go to the hospital or an urgent-care center. Just because a facility participates in your plan doesn't mean every professional (the nurse-practitioner or radiologist, for instance) does. Also, if you need to see a doctor when you're out of town, call your insurance provider's toll-free phone number to find out the best way to get services that will be covered.

13. Split the Cost If you need extensive dental services, ask your dentist about starting the work in December and finishing it in January. Depending on your dental-plan benefits, you may get better coverage by splitting the cost between the two plan years.

 Discuss Options with Your Doctor 
14. Bring a List
Get a copy of your insurance company's list of covered prescription medications (a "formulary") and share it with your doctor. Many insurers separate drugs into several pricing "tiers," so some medicines cost you more than others. If your doctor knows what's on your insurer's list, he can select the best medication for you at the lowest price. Also, if your plan requires you to get a referral to a specialist, take your insurance plan's preferred-provider list to your primary-care appointment. Your doctor can easily pick out the best specialist who participates in your plan.

15. Be Upfront About Finances
Are you short on cash? Do you have a high insurance deductible? Don't be embarrassed to tell your doctor or dentist. He may be able to suggest less-costly treatment options or even agree to lower fees. In fact, a Wall Street Journal/Harris Interactive poll found that three out of five people who negotiated with their doctors received discounts.

16. Slice Your Pills
Believe it or not, many high-dose prescription pills, from allergy meds to antidepressants, require exactly the same co-pay as their lower-dose counterparts. Ask your doctor whether you can safely split a higher-dosage pill in half, and cut your costs too. (You can't do this with controlled-release medications.)

17. Ask to Sample It
Your doctor's cupboards are full of free drug samples, courtesy of the pharmaceutical industry. If your child is getting shots, ask for a trial-size pain reliever in case he needs it later. If you're trying a new antibiotic or rash cream, your physician may even have enough samples to cover your course of treatment. Also, check out the drug company's Web site, which sometimes offers coupons or free samples.

Take Preventative Measures  
18. Watch Your Head
Make sure you and your kids wear helmets when you ride a bike, a scooter, or a skateboard, since most serious injuries are the result of falls.

19. Get in a Lather
Americans plunk down big bucks every year on cold remedies and flu treatments when the best preventive medicine is plain old soap and water. Teach everyone in the family to scrub their hands for about 20 seconds before eating, after playing outside, or after being in contact with someone who's already sick.

20. Prevent Tooth Traumas
Starting around their first birthday, kids should get twice-yearly checkups from the dentist, says Keith Morley, DMD, president of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Preventive care nips problems in the bud before they become more costly. You should also talk to your dentist about getting sealants for your child's molars. (Sealants are a liquid plastic material applied to your child's back teeth to prevent them from decaying.) Many insurance companies cover the cost, but even if they don't, get them anyway: They'll probably save you money in the long run.

21. Steer Clear of the ER
Never use the emergency room as a substitute for your regular doctor. You'll pay much more, and you'll probably wait longer to be seen, says Parents advisor Alice Domar, PhD. If your child feels lousy on a Friday morning, make an appointment with the doctor for that day so you don't end up in the ER over the weekend.

22. Save on Supplements
Don't spend your hard-earned money on vitamins, mineral supplements, and herbs since there's not enough data to support their effectiveness, says Dr. Domar. Most vitamins and supplements will pass right through you, which means money down the toilet -- literally! The notable exceptions: calcium and vitamin D supplements, which have been proven effective.

Shop Around 
23. Pay Less for Prescriptions
Go generic, for starters. In almost every case, generics are just as good as name brands and are much cheaper, says Catherine Tom-Revzon, a pharmacist at The Children's Hospital at Montefiore, in New York City. Second, compare costs since prices vary significantly from store to store. Your best bet may be a warehouse club like Costco or Sam's Club. (You don't even need to be a member.) Another option: If your plan has a mail-order pharmacy, you might be able to get 90 days' worth of prescriptions mailed to you for two co-pays.

24. Keep an Eye on Discounts
Remember that you don't have to buy glasses or contact lenses from your optometrist or ophthalmologist. Federal law requires them to give you a copy of your prescription so you can buy lenses anywhere you like. Even if you don't have vision coverage, insurance providers may offer discounts on glasses or contact lenses. If not, look elsewhere: Some Automobile Association of America policies include eyewear discounts. Warehouse clubs and online retailers also offer deals.

25. Go to Dental School
If you need expensive dental care, consider a clinic at a local dental school. Well-supervised students staff these clinics and charge between 20 and 50 percent less than what you'd pay at a professional dental office -- big bucks if you need a costly crown or implant. Search for dental-school programs in your area at
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