Characteristics of Effective Meetings

Here are ten fundamental concepts that characterize an effective meeting.

1) Definition: A meeting is a business activity where select people gather to perform work that requires a team effort.

2) A meeting, like any business event, succeeds when it is preceded by planning, characterized by focus, governed by structure, and controlled by a budget.

3) Short meetings free people to work on the essential activities that represent the core of their jobs. In contrast, long meetings prevent people from working on critical tasks such as planning, communicating, and learning.

4) Three things guarantee an unproductive meeting: poor planning, lack of appropriate process, and hostile culture. Effective leaders attend to all of these to create an effective meeting.

5) Effective meetings require sharing control and making commitments.

6) The ultimate goals of every meeting are agreements, decisions, or solutions. Meetings held for other reasons seldom produce anything of value.

7) Unprepared participants will spend their time in the meeting preparing for the meeting.

8) It is better to spend a little time preparing for solutions than to spend a lot of time fixing problems.

9) Meetings are an investment of resources and time that should earn a profit.

10) A meeting can be led from any chair in the room. And if it’s your meeting, you want it to be your chair.

Career Change Myths

Career Myth #1: You can’t make a living doing something you really, truly love

This is the grand-daddy of career myths, the belief that you can’t have a “practical” career doing something that you were passionate about. It has to be one or the other.

This myth is rooted in fear. Fear that we have to sacrifice our happiness to make a living. Don’t buy the myth that you can’t earn a living by doing what you love.

When I first started coaching, I heard from plenty of people that it would be very difficult to make a living doing this work. I just decided to find coaches who were successful, and to learn from them (simple, eh?).

If you find yourself buying into this myth, consider this question – As you look back on your life, what will you regret more? Following your passion or following your fears?

Career Myth #2: It’s a tough job market/economy

Even when the newspapers and other news sources say that unemployment numbers remain steady, that job growth is at a standstill, or that we’re experiencing slow economic recovery, not to mention downsizing and outsourcing, don’t believe it.

It’s a myth because it doesn’t reflect the whole story, the fact that that it’s a different job market today. It’s a changing economy. How we transition from job-to-job is different. Hiring practices have shifted. So the job market has changed, but that doesn’t necessarily make it tougher. What makes it tougher is that we’ve been slower to change. We’ve held on to old practices and old behaviors. That’s not to say that old ways still don’t work, but they’re just not as effective.

So I challenge you to just believe that it’s a perfect job market for you to find work. I’ve had my college students try this, just for a week, and, more times than not, several of them find job leads or make important connections during the week.

Career Myth #3: Changing careers is risky

What’s riskier than leaving what you know to pursue the unknown? Changing careers means leaving behind a piece of your identity – your “I’m a lawyer” response to the “what-do-you-do?” question. It might mean admitting to yourself that you made a mistake with an initial career choice. Or it might mean acknowledging that you’re unsure of what’s next. And smart people always know what’s next, right?

Nope. Successful career changers often don’t have a plan. In Working Identity: How Successful Career Changers Turn Fantasy into Reality by Herminia Ibarra, she provided evidence that waiting until you have a plan is actually riskier than just doing and experimenting.

Nothing, absolutely nothing, is riskier than not changing careers if you’re longing to do so. Here’s why: The longing won’t go away. It will always be there, under the surface, waiting for you to do something about it.

Career Myth #4: Always have a back-up plan

Sometimes having a back-up plan is the smart and prudent course of action. Back-up plans are so grown-up and responsible. But what happens when you’re standing with one foot in and one foot out? In my experience, we usually close the door and retreat. We are reluctant to commit to ourselves, and we end up denying ourselves the satisfaction of playing full-out, getting dirty and sweaty. We end up with feelings of regret and the nagging “What if?” question.

Back-up plans diffuse our energy. Diffused energy equals diffused results. Give all that you’ve got to your dream/passion/risk and you’ve got a better chance of being successful.

Career Myth #5: There’s a perfect job out there for everyone

How long have you been searching for yours? You just know, deep inside, that there’s an ideal job that’s perfect for you out there. It matches your personality, skills, and interests to a tee. And it pays well. If only you could figure it out. If only you knew what it was.

Is there a perfect job out there for you? No. And here’s the good news – there are more jobs than you can imagine that would be “perfect” for you. Chances are you’ve even come very, very close to a few of those perfect jobs already. So what happened? And how do you recognize one of these so-called “perfect jobs”?

Ever see the perfect gift for someone, but it was months till his or her birthday? Then when you go to find the item later, you can’t. Another lost opportunity and you, once again, berate yourself for not buying it when you first saw it.

So maybe you’ve run into a perfect job in the past, but because of the timing, you passed by the opportunity. Or maybe you were so focused on something else, that you missed an obvious clue. Instead of dwelling on the past, which you can’t change, vow to keep your eyes open and to look beyond the obvious.

Career Myth #6: Asking “What’s the best thing for me to do?” is the right question

This is one of the most common questions asked when considering a career change or a career move. It seems like a logical analysis – weigh the pros and cons and evaluate the balance.

Do not ask yourself this question!! It rarely leads you to the answers you’re seeking. It will lead you to feeling overwhelmed with options (sound familiar?), or feeling like you have to choose what’s practical over what seems to be impractical.

The question that will lead you to answers is simple (but not easy!!) It is “What do I really want to do?” This is a very different question than “what’s best?”

Career Myth #7: If you don’t like your job, you’re probably in the wrong career

Cause and effect, right? One way to tell if you’re in the right career is whether or not you like your job. If you’re dissatisfied with your job, it’s probably a sign that you need to re-examine your whole career choice. This is frequently what I hear from new clients who have decided to work with a career coach. They know something isn’t right because they don’t like their jobs. Their natural assumption is that their dissatisfaction is a symptom of a larger underlying issue – their career choice.

This is an example of false logic. Not liking your job might be telling you you’re in the wrong job. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in the wrong career. It doesn’t even mean you’re in the wrong job. You could just be working for the wrong person or the wrong company. It takes a skillful approach to discern the source of discontent, and I think it’s very hard to do it on your own (shameless plug for career coaches here!)

Career Myth #8: Everyone needs a mission statement

Do you know what your mission is? Mission statements are supposed to guide us, keep us on track, and help us move forward. But what if you don’t have one? Does that mean you’re destined to never fulfill your potential career-wise?

A client who was a successful professional contacted me because she was at a career crossroads. She felt that if only she could find her mission in life, she would know which career path to take.

She had a clear goal for coaching – find her mission! Instead, the most amazing thing happened. She decided that she didn’t need a mission. She chose to trust that she was already fulfilling her mission statement, even though she didn’t know what it was. After the client shifted her focus from finding her mission to living her life, an amazing opportunity came her way and she pursued it.

Here’s a little tip: If your mission statement is elusive, stop chasing it. Be still and let it find you. And in the meantime, keep living your life and see what happens.

Career Myth #9: Expect a career epiphany

When you see a link to “Find Your Dream Job,” do you immediately click on it to see what’s there? Do you look at every “Top Ten Career” list out there to see if anything catches your interest? Do you know your MBTI type? If you do, you might be falling prey to the career epiphany myth.

I’d love, love, love it if most of my clients had a career epiphany that indicated to them, in crystal-clear terms, their next step. Instead, I see career “unfoldings” or a journey of discovery much more regularly. That is, being willing to not ignore the obvious, the pokes, the prods, and listen carefully to the whisper within. Yep, forget harp music and angels, for most of us, the career epiphany is a quiet whisper.

Career Myth #10: Ignoring your career dissatisfaction will make it go away

Oh, if only this worked in the long run!! Granted, it does work at first. When you find yourself beginning to question your career, you’ll find it’s rather easy to push the thoughts aside and pretend they aren’t there. You know what I’m talking about: the “what ifs” and the list of regrets.

Over time, the random thoughts become nagging thoughts. You spend more and more time daydreaming about options. You build your list of reasons to ignore your growing career dissatisfaction:

  • You’re too old.
  • You don’t want to take a pay cut.
  • You don’t want to go back to school.
  • You missed your opportunity 5, 10, 15 years ago.

With clients in this situation, we work on identifying and challenging these fears. Sometimes the fear of change remains, but there becomes a greater commitment to living than to feeling the fear.

Challenge

So now that you know that one or all of these myths have been holding you back, what are you waiting for?

Birthday Gifts Your Kids Will Love

Everyone loves a special gift on their birthday: especially our kids! I have put together a list of 10 memorable gifts you can gift your children on their birthday without breaking the bank.

Art supplies: almost all kids enjoy crayons, markers, stickers, colored pencils, gel pens, special papers and scissors, sidewalk chalk, water colors, homemade rubber stamps, “how to draw” books calligraphy instructions, or origami instructions and colored paper. An art supply gift not only encourages the youngsters to use their imagination, but it can be an extra treat when you spend time with them using them.

Books are always great gifts for any age: you can get musical or squeaky books for the little ones, short stories for preschoolers, adventure books for 9-11 year olds, and so on: there is a book for every taste. You can also buy books about your child’s interests, books about careers, etc.

A classic movie, which never goes out of style, great for when friends come over, or on that day when they are bored and nothing else could help.

For older boys, a tool kit would be great: gives them the opportunity to work side by side with dad, and possibly learn a life skill.

For older girls, beads could mean hours of fun. Buy a variety of colors and shapes and watch you little princess enjoy hours of happiness.

To the gourmand give a roll of sugar cookie dough from the grocery store, along with a couple of cookie cutters, and a rolling pin. Again, this would be a lot of fun for the little one to make, and share with friends and family.

For the nature lover, a gardening kit with a couple of small pots filled with potting soil, some seeds, and a plastic watering can give countless hours of fun, while caring for the plants, and watching them grow.

A disposable camera will add a boost to the party. If your budget permits, add a small picture album, and you’ve instantly created wonderful memories of that birthday.

A basket of fun: find an inexpensive basket, or another container, maybe a pail for kids and fill it with fun, cheap stuff. For instance, silly putty, a water gun, a deck of cards, sidewalk chalk, etc. For boys, you can add some little cars and for girls, throw in some hair accessories. Finish it off with some candy or a pez dispenser and you have a fun gift. If you find some fun, small things that most kids think are neat, pick up a bunch so that at any time you have a supply of items to mix and match for a birthday.

Children crave attention from important people in their lives, (mom, dad, grandparent, aunt, older sibling). Give that special child the gift of time: a day out with you complete with lunch, a movie, and/or shopping for the gift of
their choice.

Best Valentines Gifts to Give

World over in February young couples celebrate Valentines Day with laughter and promises of undying love. The celebration knows no barriers and whether 4 or 80 years old, people with hope treasure the phrase “Will you be my Valentine.”

Mid- Feb heralded in ancient Rome, the coming of spring and even in pre-Christian times people celebrated a “fertility” festival with great joy. Much later the festival celebrated on Feb 14th was in honor of St. Valentine who is believed to have signed a letter to his beloved on his death bed as “from your Valentine.”

Red hearts, beautifully wrapped chocolates, balloon bouquets, and so on flood the markets and most young men are in a quandary as to what will make a “memorable gift.”

Here are a few ideas to set your creativity rolling:

1. Abandon all ideas of dinner in a crowded restaurant where couples will be jostling for space. Plan a special “time for two” either on a patio over looking a garden or on a boat sailing down a moonlit river or sea. Choose to pack a picnic basket with foods that triggers off memories. For example perhaps the two of you had enjoyed chocolate donuts one day, or a pizza with toppings both love, or a cookie specially baked by you. Take along music or compose a song to sing to her. Serenade her like knights used to on bent knee.

2. If you have gathered many pictures or video clips of your time together then put together an album with specially written captions and a witty heading. You could even say “this gamine grimace enchanted me,” be original and let your imagination and sense of humor take wing.

3. If you are going to be away on Valentines Day meet online for a special chat. Make it a cyber date—the World Wide Web will close up the distances.

4. Avoid the run of the mill activities and plan to go to an amusement park or fair. Have a rollicking time on the roller coaster.

5. If you know of a movie she has been dying to see –get it and plan an evening enjoying the film.

6. If she loves gizmos get her a digital camera or video phone.

7. Don your apron and chef’s hat and cook a special meal.

8. Pamper her by gifting her a session at a spa she loves.

9. Plan a weekend get-away and take her somewhere special.

10. Pot a special plant for her. One that will grow and bloom along with your relationship.

Valentines Day is special so consider something unique. Most people will not have the spirit of adventure in them and try something different. They feel safer going with the crowd and presenting their love with cards, red balloons, hearts cut out of red paper or fabric, Godiva’s chocolates, or a dinner in a favorite restaurant. Dare to be different and you will be remembered.

Best Tips to Write Effective Emails

Nowadays, we communicate more and more through email. We use Email communication to write something to friends, relatives, colleagues or clients. Whoever the recipient of your email, it is becoming very important that you write email effectively. As you know, by writing effective email, you can save your time, other person’s time and you can win more trust & confidence from the other end.

Give Reply of Email As soon as Possible

More and more people contact each other through email. Even if they mention directly or not, they expect prompt responses. One of the study by Jupiter Research indicates that 35% of customers expect a reply within six hours, an additional 55% expect a response within 24 hours. Though many people focus on response time, content is just as important. The same study indicated that lack of a thorough response (45%) will cause on-line customers to view a company negatively when considering future purchases.

Learn the art of writing Email

Poorly crafted emails will generate additional emails back & forth, which potentially eating up more of your time. Worse, they can drive unnecessary calls to your most costly channel – your phone. And at that point, customers are bound to be angry and frustrated.

Here are some tips for writing email responses that are both thorough and appropriate:

1. Format your response so that it’s easy to read on a screen. Do not write email using very long sentences, which are lengthy horizontally. Each line must be short. Ideally, write 5-6 words in each line only and not more than that.

2. Make sure the subject line is concise and meaningful to the recipient…not just a generic
“Response from Marketing Team” But also be careful that it doesn’t look like spam.

3. Have one subject per paragraph. Mention this separately by blank lines, so that its easy to read and understand.

4. Be brief. Use as few words as possible to convey your message. More is not better when
it comes to email. An email is not perceived as an electronic letter.

5. Use simple, declarative sentences. Write for a third or fourth grade audience,
particularly if you’re creating templates that are sent automatically. You do not know the
education level of your sender or the sender’s level of comfort with the English language.

6. Be sensitive to the tone of the original email. If the sender is upset because of an error on
your part, acknowledge the error. Clearly state what you are doing to correct the situation.

7. Make sure you answer all the questions posed in the original inquiry. A partial answer
frustrates the sender and results in additional contacts. It also makes the company sending
the response look inept.

8. Make it clear what actions you will be taking next and when the writer can expect the
next contact from you.

9. Don’t ask for an order number/case number or any old information which you remember out of your mind only when one is included in the original email…sounds pretty basic, but sometimes people miss very obvious info in email.

10. Don’t just tell the sender to go to your web site. In many cases, they have already been to
the web site and couldn’t find the answers they were looking for. If you want them to go
back to the web site, provide a direct link to the exact information the reader needs.
For more information visit on: http://www.infotrex.com

Benefits Of Submitting Articles To E-zines

1. You’ll brand your web site, business and yourself by submitting articles to e-zines. You could include your name, business name, your credentials, web site address and e-mail address in your resource box.

2. You will become known as an expert on the topics you write about. This will give you and your business extra credibility which will help you compete against your competition.

3. Your article might also be placed on the publisher’s home page. If they publish each issue on their home page this will give you some extra exposure.

4. You might get extra exposure if the e-zine publisher archives their e-zine on their site. People might want to read the back issues before they make the decision to subscribe.

5. You will get free advertising. This will allow you to spend your profits on other forms of advertising. You could buy advertisements in other e-zines that don’t publish your articles.

6. You might get extra income from people wanting to hire you to write other articles, books, or even ask to speak at seminars. This is a great way to multiply your income.

7. You could allow e-zine publishers to publish your articles in their free e-books. Since people give them away, your advertising could multiply all over the internet.

8. You will get your article published all over the web when you submit it to an e-zine publisher that has a free content directory on their web site. They’ll allow their visitors to republish your article.

9. You’ll gain people’s trust. If they read your article and like it, they won’t be as hesitant to buy your product or service. You will then be able to increase your profits.

10. You could get your article guaranteed to run in an e-zine. You could agree to run one of their articles in your e-zine if, in exchange, they run yours in their e-zine. It’s a win/win situation.

Benefits Of Smarthphone Bluetooth

10 Benefits Of Smarthphone Bluetooth Below, are 10 benefits and reasons to use Bluetooth technology.

1. Wireless As you probably already know, there are many benefits and advantages to using wireless devices. Along with improving safety as a result of eliminating wires you don’t need, wireless also offers you plenty of other advantages. When traveling with your laptop or other wireless devices, you’ll no longer have to worry about bringing connection cables.

2. Bluetooth is actually inexpensive The technology of Bluetooth is cheap for companies to implement, which results in lower costs for the company. These savings are then passed from the company on to you.

3. Bluetooth is automatic Bluetooth doesn’t have you set up a connection or push any buttons. When two or more devices enter a range of up to 30 feet of each other, they will automatically begin to communicate without you having to do anything.

4. Standardized protocol Bluetooth is standardized wireless, meaning that a high level of compatibility among devices is guaranteed. Bluetooth will connect devices to each other, even if they aren’t the same model.

5. Low interference Bluetooth devices almost always avoid interference from other wireless devices. Bluetooth uses a technique known as frequency hopping, and also low power wireless signals.

6. Low energy consumption As a result of Bluetooth using low power signals, the technology requires very little energy and will use less battery or electrical power as a result. This is an excellent benefit for mobile devices, as Bluetooth won’t drain the battery.

7. Sharing voice and data The standard for Bluetooth will allow compatible devices to share data and voice communications. This is great for mobile phones and headsets, as Bluetooth simplifies driving and talking on your cell phone.

8. Instant PAN (Personal Area Network) You can connect up to seven Bluetooth devices to each other within a range of up to 30 feet, forming a piconet or PAN. For a single room, you can also set up multiple piconets.

9. Upgradeable Upgradeable is the standard for Bluetooth. There are newer versions of Bluetooth in the works, which offer many new advantages and backward compatible with older versions.

10. The technology stays Bluetooth technology is a world wide, universal wireless standard. With it being as popular as it is, you can count on it being around for years to come. As more and more devices start to use Bluetooth technology, more manufacturers will be eager to make their products compatible. A chain reaction will occur, making Bluetooth the standard for cutting edge wireless.

Beneficial Reasons For Submitting Articles To E-zines

1. You’ll brand your web site, business and yourself by submitting articles to e-zines. Introduce yourself in your article. Haven’t you ever read an article and wondered half way through it who is selling the product? It’s a big turn off. You could include your name, business name, your credentials, web site address and e-mail address in your resource box.

2. Participate in chat rooms and forums related to your targeted audience. Include the web addresses in your article so your prospects can view them for themselves. You will become known as an expert on the topics you write about. This will give you and your business extra credibility which will help you get more sales.

3. Your article might also be placed on the publisher’s home page. If they publish each issue on their home page this will give you some extra exposure. It’s like being in the number one position on Google, everyone reads the first page.

4. You might get extra exposure if the e-zine publisher archives their e-zine on their site. People might want to read the back issues before they make the decision to subscribe. Offer your visitors incentives for revisiting your web site. You could give them new content, ebooks, software, ezine, etc. Go through your files, you more than likely have an ebook you can give away.

5. You will get free advertising. This will allow you to spend your profits on other forms of advertising. You could buy advertisements in other e-zines that don’t publish your articles. When you purchase advertisement space it’s more than likely your article is reaching your targeted market, so make it compelling. If they like your article they are more apt to buy.

6. You might get extra income from people wanting to hire you to write other articles, books, or even ask to speak at seminars. Become a ghostwriter. Some people find it easier to pay someone to write their articles for them. This is a great way to multiply your income.

7. You could allow e-zine publishers to publish your articles in their free e-books. The great thing about having your article published in an e-book is that you become an instant authority on the subject. Since people give them away, your advertising could multiply all over the Internet.

8. You will get your article published all over the web when you submit it to an e-zine publisher that has a free content directory on their web site. They’ll allow their visitors to republish your article.

9. You’ll gain people’s trust. If they read your article and like it, they won’t be as hesitant to buy your product or service. Persuade visitors to link to your web site. Give them a freebie in exchange for them linking to your web site. It could be content, software, etc. You will then be able to increase your profits.

10. You could get your article guaranteed to run in an e-zine. You could agree to run one of their articles in your e-zine if, in exchange, they run yours in their e-zine. This could turn out to be a Joint Venture. This will double your exposure and perhaps your income.

Basketball Skills You should Learn

Learning how to play basketball is learning its fundamentals. Here are those:

1. Dribbling – is important to penetrate to the hoop, move the ball across the court, get away from the defense, and find a good passing lane. There are different types of dribbles:

• change-of-pace,
• crossover dribble,
• behind the back,
• pull back dribble,
• low dribble,
• basic dribble,
• between the legs dribble

2. Passing – A good offensive attack requires good passing from players. This helps find an open man, to find a good shooter or to get away from a defender. There are several types of passes you need to learn:

• Overhead Pass
• Chest Pass
• Push Pass
• Baseball Pass
• Off-the-Dribble Pass
• Bounce Pass

3. Shooting – The object of the game is to win by scoring the most points. Therefore, improving the team’s shooting is important to win a game. There are several ways to score in the game:

• Jump Shot
• Dunk
• Alley oop
• Free throw
• Layup
• Three-Point Shot
• Hook Shot

4. Rebounding – is essential to gain or regain possession after the shot. Usually, the team who has the most number of rebounds after the game has more shot attempts and chances to score.

5. Offense – is the only chance that the team has a shot at the basket and scoring. Playing a good offense requires coordination among players and individual skill to execute well plays.

6. Defense – To be able to get a chance to score and gain possession, the team should play good defense and try to stop their opponent from scoring. As said, “A good defense is a good offense.”

7. Moves – There are different kinds of basketball moves that are important in executing both a good offense and a good defense. Moves are helpful in finding an open man, make a good shot or create an amazing play.

8. Violations – Knowing the kinds of basketball violations improves your game.

9. Assist – is given to a teammate to help him score easily. Thus is it important to find an open man on the court

10. Foul – is often an accidental contact made by the defender to his opponent or an aggressive move by the ball-handler towards his defender. However, a foul is also used as a strategy to stop the clock or to keep the shooting player from scoring easily. Learning how to use your fouls well is important in the game.

Basic WoW Gold Farming Tips

1. Its really easy and should be done right from the start of the game. Grab the 2 primary professions, mining and skinning. While you’re out leveling yourself you can easily skin the animals. You’re bound to eventually enter a mine which will have many minerals. Be sure to mine those ores. You can easily sell off the extra items to merchants or players.

2. Make sure you grab quests every chance you get. You can easily gain additional exp, gold, items and faction while you’re leveling. You may even complete some of your quests with out even knowing because they normally require you to kill off mobs or require you to travel/speak to other NPCs. The quests of World of Warcraft are more player friendly than other MMORPGs.

3. Don’t spend any money buying World of Warcraft items, equipments and other accessories early in the game. Low level characters from 1-40 are not gear dependent. Along with that fact, you’ll get a nice load of items from just completing quests.

4. While you’re out leveling, there are certain monsters that has better drops than others. An example would be humanoids. They tend to drop more gold and items than any other creatures in the World of Azeroth.

5. This is the advice I give to friends. When setting up your character, be sure first to read about the characters plus, and minuses; then set up for the strong and weak points. Take in consideration how the character supports himself and how the character can keep going and keep on track to level without losses.

6. Don’t spend money on items at the auction during the first 10 levels of your character. Almost everything you will need will drop to you from the quests. Keep your activities balance in the amount time of questing and making products. Then, as you gain money from making and questing you will see your pocket grow.

7. The usual, your character does by the skills he has, whether it is mining, leather, or tailoring. You make and sell your products. This is how you gain, the more you practice your trade, the more gold you have in your pocket, when you sell the items. The higher the level your character is the higher the prices in the prices of your products.

8. Resale, this happened during the holidays. I know of a character that went out and bought snowballs and after collecting many, was selling them at a higher price to others. Later, bragging about the profit. Take advantage of this.

9. Once you level some you can charge others to guide them through lower quests that you can whiz threw. There are many ways to make money, for example you can protect and kill for lower characters.

10. In the group playing, be sure to express your wants and needs, to keep the character going. Drink and food on hand before; so your character can keep going till the quest is completed.

Barriers To Clear Perception And Smart Choices

“Everything is self-evident,” said Rene Descartes, mathematician and philosopher. Everything is self-evident if you have high emotional intelligence and are good at reality-testing. If you’re clouded with emotions, stuck in the past, inflexible, inauthentic, or inept at verbal and nonverbal communication, alas, everything is not self-evident.

When you develop your emotional intelligence, and the ability to understand and manage your emotions and those of others, you see things clearly. You can avoid the following pitfalls to accurate perception and smart choices:

1. How you WISH things were.

2. How you think things SHOULD be.

3. Believing that how things have always been in the past is the way they are now, and ever will be.

4. Assumptions about situations in-the-moment which seem at the surface level to be similar to experiences and people in the past. Assumptions always need to be checked out.

5. Your persona or inauthentic, unintegrated self, which shifts according to mood, emotion, person and situation leaving you without compass or anchor.

6. Your ability to delude yourself because of lack of self-knowledge.

7. Self-sabotaging because of lack of self-knowledge, self-management and low EQ.

8. Fear, anger, jealousy and other strong emotions which distort thinking.

9. Hearing what you WANT to hear or NEED to hear instead of what’s actually being said. Failing to take into account the other person’s nonverbal behavior.

10. Distortion from relying on other people’s perceptions of reality and/or “catching” their emotions.

IN SUM: We are our emotions. They influence our perception of reality. The more you understand yourself and your own emotions, the better you can understand their effect upon your perceptions of reality and manage them so you can make smart choices.

Emotional Intelligence means understanding which of your three brains is operating (reptilian, limbic or neocortex), and which brain[s] you need to be in. Emotions guide us and give us information, but sometimes we need to get to the neocortex to make the decision. For instance, you may be angry and feel like hitting someone, but your “thinking brain” will tell you this isn’t a wise course of action. By the same token, you may love someone (limbic) while your neocortex keeps giving you reasons not to.

The most important decisions generally need to be made with both the heart and the mind. Here are some examples.

DELUDING YOURSELF

If you strongly desire to like the person you’re dealing with, or if you have a need to like them, you may miss what’s actually going on. This is what’s happened when you hear someone repeat an anecdote, saying, “He did [something mean] BUT HE’S REALLY A NICE PERSON.” It’s clear to you the person mentioned is NOT “a nice person,” because nice people don’t do things like that.

Another good example is one I read on a Russian bride website. It was giving advice to the male suitors re: such important factors as wanting or not wanting to have children. They cautioned that because the need of the Russian woman to come to the US might be so strong, she would delude the man, because she had truly deluded herself. She would say what the man wanted to hear even if she didn’t mean it.

How do you guard yourself against such disillusionment? High EQ, time, reflection, feedback, intuition, and understanding people and their emotions.

HEARING WHAT YOU NEED OR WANT TO HEAR

This can happen when the outcome is very important to you. If it’s with a loved one, you may fear rejection or loss and therefore your emotions interfere with what you’re hearing. Someone who’s been rejected a lot, for instance, may read things into what they’re hearing, finding rejection in places where it doesn’t exist.

Because of their emotional state, they may jump to conclusions that aren’t warranted, or over-react. For instance, if their partner tells them “I don’t like it when you talk that way to my mother (which is a behavior which can be changed),” they may hear, “I don’t love you” (which is a condemnation of you as a person). This sort of distortion is why it’s good to repeat back what you think you’ve heard in heated discussions where the outcome is important. If you say, “Let me make sure I understood what you said. You said you’re angry because I…” this gives the other person the opportunity to clarify what they said or meant, and to correct your misperceptions. This is vital to good communication.

It’s common with couples for each person to correct the other saying, “But that’s not what you meant” or “That’s not what you said.” There’s never a place for this. By checking it out with the person you give them a chance to self-correct, to correct you, and to establish clear communication about important things.

SELF-SABOTAGE

If you aren’t clear about what brain is working you can do yourself in. One reason coaching is helpful is because it can help you clarify what you’re really after, and what fears and obstacles you’re throwing in your own path. If you want something but never seem to be able to attain it, it could be that you fear success, or fear failure, or aren’t clear about what you want. An example would be wanting to marry someone because you love them (limbic) but talking yourself out of it (neocortex) because your best friend doesn’t like him. Your best friend may or may not be perceiving correctly, and is certainly entitled to their opinion, but they aren’t the person who will be marrying this man, you are. Therefore you need to get centered in your own feelings and perceptions.

DISTORTION FROM “CATCHING” EMOTIONS

Emotions are contagious. We vary in our ability to protect ourselves from “catching” them, and in our ability to stay centered in our own emotions.

An example of this happened to me the other day. I told a friend I was planning to drive from San Antonio to Houston to pick up my sister at the Houston airport for us to continue on to a vacation in Alabama. Her flight would arrive at Houston International and we both had cell phones. I planned to pick her up out front. It seemed simple enough to me, but the person I related this to said it was “very difficult” and not to try it.

I checked it out with a third person who travels through the Houston airport all the time to find out what on earth the first friend was getting at. The third person said “Just be sure and bring at least $4 worth of quarters for the tollway, and aside from that, there should be no problem.”

It turned out I had no trouble whatsoever. If I had listened to the first person’s perception of reality, I wouldn’t have done something that was actual quite easy to do. I’m sure you can think of many examples in your own life.

This is another situation coaching is good for. Friends tend to bring their own fears into advice-giving, and think about what they would do and how they would feel instead of being able to see if from your point of view. Whatever your goal, whatever you have in mind, there is someone out there who would be afraid of it. A coach can be objective.

Whether you want to be an entrepreneur, or marry someone from another culture, move to a Caribbean Island, or write a novel, or bungee jump, there is someone to whom this is a frightening thing who will do their best to discourage you because of their own feelings about it.

Developing your Emotional Intelligence has many benefits. Give it a try! Most people get immediate results and realize immediate improvements in their lives.

Auto Insurance Myths You Should Know About

The truth about fallacies of many car owners believing that the insurance premium coverage for their new car is covered, and maybe the truth just might make you change course.
(1) “No-fault insurance means, is it not my fault?” That means that your insurance company pays for your damages regardless of who’s at fault. No they don’t!

(2) “Can the color of my car affect my insurance rate?” No!
What do influence your rate are your vehicle’s year, make, model, body type, engine size, credit history and driving record.

(3)”If I lend my car to a friend and that friend is in an accident, his or her insurance company will pay for the damages…right?” Wrong!

Your car is your responsibility! And guess what, even though you weren’t present at the time of the accident, you still will receive a mark on your insurance record and your insurance premium could possibly go up.

(4) “Is my insurance rate is set by the government?” No!
The government has nothing to do with your car insurance rate. Where you live, your credit score, marital status and your driving record is what actually affects your premium.

(5) “I recently paid my insurance premium. Is my new car I just purchased is covered?”

Not necessarily. Most automobile policies require that the policyholder notify the insurance company or agent within a specified number of days, if indeed coverage is desired for the newly purchased vehicle.

(6) “Is it a fact that male driver under the age of 25 pay more for auto insurance?” Yes! Male driver under 25 years old can potentially pay more for car insurance than female drivers. However, across the board, teenagers and mature adults pay more for auto insurance, due in large part because these age groups are typically involved in more automobile accidents.

(7) “Can my credit score have any affect on my insurance rate?” Your credit score really does matter! Many Insurance companies take your credit score into consideration when deciding to increase or renew your auto insurance coverage.

(8) “Even without comprehensive coverage, am I still covered for theft, windstorms, and hail and deer accidents?” Many drivers believe that if they only purchase collision insurance, which covers accidents involving objects, that they will also be covered for incidents that involve vandalism, hail, animal accidents and fires. That simply is not true. You need to purchase both collision and comprehensive coverage in order to fully protect your vehicle from all of these situations.

(9) “Can my personal auto insurance cover both my personal and business use of my car?”

If you occasionally use your personal car for business purposes such as transporting clients, going to and from meetings or hauling business equipment, then you will more than likely need to extend your personal car insurance to cover your business use as well. Plus, if your employees use their car while working for you, you will want to also obtain a separate non-owned car insurance policy.

(10) “I’ve never had nor been involved in a car accident, do I still need automobile insurance?” Yes!

Some drivers are lucky enough never to have been or to be involved in an accident. However, if by chance you do have an accident; your risk of losing everything is great. Car insurance is the best protection you can have in the event an automobile accident occurs. It’s also a legal issue – you are required, by law, to have some basic form of auto insurance, and failing to do so carries some fairly strict punishments.

Cape Town South Africa

1. Table Mountain

Table Mountain is arguably the most iconic image of Cape Town. Standing at the top should top everyone’s list of ‘things to do before you die’. Take the leisurely route in the slowly revolving cable car, or alternately hike to the top. Either way you won’t regret it when you get to enjoy the sight of Cape Town and surrounds from the Table top!

2. V & A Waterfront

Situated at the Cape Town Harbour basin, the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront is the most popular venue in Cape Town. With a wide variety of shops, numerous restaurants and cafes, wine bars, sites of historical and cultural interest and local craft workshops, you’ll never have a dull moment here, day or night.

3. Wine Farms

From the farms of Constantia in the southern suburbs to the expansive estates of Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franshoek, the Cape boasts some of the most beautiful wine farms in the world. And it’s a well known fact that they produce some of the finest wines in the world too! A visit to Cape Town is incomplete without at least one day spent on the wine route, sampling fine wines, learning about the history and methodology of winemaking from the experts, enjoying a sumptuous lunch along the way and coming back laden with some great purchases for the cellar back home.

4. Robben Island

Site of former president Nelson Mandela’s prison cell where he was confined for many years prior to his historical release, Robben Island has a very special atmosphere. Take a ferry from the Waterfront and learn from the guided tours about the other men who shared the Island with Madiba, and about the incredible man himself.

5. Cape Point

Who wouldn’t want to say they have stood at the tip of the great African continent? Once inside the reserve you can make your way to the main parking area and stroll up the wide paths to the top lookout point. From here the view is breathtaking – sheer cliffs drop to the crashing waves far below while azure waters spread out as far as the eye can see to a hazy horizon. On a clear day, you really can see forever! Enjoy lunch at the excellent restaurant or drive to one of the sheltered beaches for a picnic.

6. Boulder’s Beach Penguin Colony

Home of a colony of so-called ‘Jackass’ Penguins (so named for the donkey-like braying sound they make) Boulder’s Beach is situated just past Simon’s Town. Apart from great penguin viewing, the beach is picturesque and great for families with its sheltered bay.

7. Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

These beautiful gardens at the foot of Table Mountain were established in 1913. The gardens only grow indigenous South African plants, and cover an area of 528 hectares. Picnic on the green lawns next to bubbling streams, or take advantage of a guided tour.

8. Top Stones Gemstone Factory and Scratch Patch

Visit one of the Top Stone Gemstone Factories at Glen Cairn or the Waterfront, for a sparkling and enchanting experience. At the Glen Cairn factory you can view the stones being washed polished and crafted into curios or jewelry. Trawl through the walk-in Scratch Patch ‘caves’ and select your own treasures to take home.

9. Two Oceans Aquarium

Located at the V&A Waterfront, this is South Africa’s largest aquarium. It has great exhibitions and a strong educational component. The shark feeding times are always popular with visitors who love to get a close up view of these awesome creatures without getting wet!

10. District Six Museum

Back in the 1960’s the apartheid government demolished the District Six neighborhoods, displacing the residents. Of all the museums to see in Cape Town, this memorial to the glory days and tragic history of District Six is one of the most interesting and colourful.

Article Writing Keys For Newbies

This article on the 10 (no, 11… yes, 11) tips for newbies is not written from the catbird seat point of view of the article host or database manager. Rather it is by and from the perspective of an author who remembers the early misgivings. It is written especially for the beginning article writer. The Tennessee Mountain Man has written and submitted hundreds of articles for publication to thousands of article hosts and database managers and still finds article writing his nemesis.

1. Necessity vs Desire:

Articles and Blogs are necessary in today’s scheme of search engine indexing. Not what the newbie wants to hear. Just remember what the Bible says, “there has nothing over taken you that is not common to man”. That’s right! All of us hate article and Blog writing at times, and some of us dread the journey to pen and paper (or keyboard as the case may be) all the time. Many a webmaster would call them “a necessary evil” as they are not generally anyone’s best liked house keeping chores.

2. Just Start, It Gets Easier:

First it is sometimes difficult to get a subject or theme and to get the first couple of lines scribbled down. The Tennessee Mountain Man knows authors who literally get sick thinking about the process. Lighten up. Once an author has a starting point and gets passed the initial thoughts, article and Blog writing usually goes fairly smoothly.

The main thing is that you get started. Pick a subject you know something about and just start. You will be pleasantly surprised at just how easily ideasflow. Don’t assume everyone knows what you know. They don’t. Will Rogers once said, “all men are ignorant, just on different subjects”. And, so it is!
3. Good vs Perfection:

Your old English comp professor is not looking over your shoulder. This paper does not have to be perfect. That is not to say it does not have to be on point or to say that it does not have to be correct. It does or at least it should be. But, perfection is not the goal and is, in fact, seldom possible. Too much detail and you run the risk of losing your reader on several levels. Too long and
most readers simply don’t have the time or interest to wade through the material regardless of how important it is.

4. Blog Length vs Article Length:

Most publishers want a minimum of six hundred (600) words per article – some will let you slide with four hundred (400) words. Blogs can be much smaller. Blogs can and maybe should support appropriate pictures and embedded links.

Just don’t over do it. Too gaudy or too slow to load and you have wasted your time, ticked off a potential reader, and probably upset a host who can ban you from their publications. Articles, on the other hand, typically cannot carry these extra touches according to the requirements of most publishers.

5. Format:

Prepare your article in American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII) format. There are many tools from which to choose to get the job done. A search for ‘free ASCII editor’ or for ‘free plain text editors’ will provide one with a multitude of free options. Word Press is a popular choice. If all else fails simply use notepad to turn out your masterpiece.

6. Spelling and Grammar:

Once you have your article or Blog run it through a good spell checker and a good grammar checker. Microsoft Word works well for these purposes. Just don’t use the MS Word copy for publication of your article. Rather use it’s suggestions to make any necessary corrections to your plain text copy. The MS Word copy will work for Blogs although the Computerman prefers other editors.

Just like the days when you were pushed by Profs, you will find Article and Blog writing skills become easier with time and practice.

7. Publish and Announce:

Once your Blog is ready you may want to use some automatic tools to publish and announce it. First do a search for Blog hosts and select those which best suit your needs. Join one or more and publish your Blog there. Then search for Blog announcers and rss announcers and use them to get your Blog noticed.

Now that you have that out of the way find an article wizard that will post your Articles to free publishers. You can post them one at a time by hand if you are really bored and have absolutely nothing else in life to do. Using an automatic poster you can publish to hundreds of hosts in an hour or so. The only way to go.

8. Patience:

Now, have some patience. Here is where you lose control. Many of the men and women who host articles are timely and your articles will be reviewed within twenty-four (24) to forty-eight (48) hours. But, many others will be days and weeks down the road therefore never date an article – a sure way to get rejected.

9. Rejection – “sorry your article has been declined”:

Be prepared for most hosts to reject your articles. Do not take it personally. It usually has little to do with you or your article.

Some databases routinely reject articles for spelling errors when there are none or where there is more than way to spell a word. And, just as in any other endeavor some hosts are simply too lazy and get so far behind, the easiest and fastest thing to do (and perhaps the only alternative) is to reject everything. You will learn who these are over time.

Then there are those who run your articles through the sausage grinder and if they find certain words, irrespective of how they are used, your article gets no farther. These are the people who can’t publish the Holy Bible because it contains words that offend them or their readers. Don’t worry about these folks who are so heavenly minded they are of no earthly use.

Remember, just as in everything else in life, for every rule there is an exception

10. Keep the faith, and keep cranking out articles:

Since most authors, especially newbies, prepare only one copy of an article against the advice of most seasoned authors it is important that the newbie keep his chin up – keep the faith. That will be easier as more and more of your articles are accepted and published driving visitors to your website while creating those all important back links.

It is not necessary that every host to accept everything submitted to them. After one or two hosts publish your article on any given subject, the search engines tend to penalize you anyway by ignoring additional postings. This is close to spamming and while it could help someone find you, it probably won’t. It is not necessarily, the more the merrier. The additional listings will not increase your page rankings or links reported by the search engines. It is more important to get published by hosts with the highest Google page rank possible.

Now, one BONUS TIP for you: Along with “the rejection slip” will usually come a suggestion on how to “fix” your article and a request that you resubmit it. Don’t waste your time. While trying comply with one database manager’s request you could have written a new article from which you get much more punch. Enough publishers will pick your article up so move on and save yourself some time and heartburn.

Everybody has a thought or idea at least once a day usually at the most inopportune time. How many good ideas have you lost because of waiting? Don’t procrastinate! Go! Capture that thought before it is gone forever.

amazing baby abilities

For new parents the arrival of the newborn brings a lot of excitement in their lives. They might look fragile and vulnerable, which they are, but there are some surprising things babies can do, much to the delightful fun of many people.

Most of the babies can do the following surprising things to us:

1. They can hear everything! Babies hear extremely well: they receive up to 20 000 vibrations per minute, while adults receive only 14 000. The fetus starts to react to sounds since the beginning of the 24th week of pregnancy and a week after delivery they easily distinguish their mother’s voice from the voice of other people.
2. In the case of distinguishing from the mother tongue and a foreign language, the mimic plays an important part for babies. In USA, a test was made: to some babies a videotape recorded in English but with no sound was played. Later on, another tape without sound was played, but recorded in French. The babies showed clearly more interest to the French videotape than to the one recorded in their mother tongue because they considered familiar the English tape. Unfortunately this ability is lost after the age of 6 months.
3. Prattling with the hands. Studies have shown that babies who grow up confronted with a sign language also try to communicate with their hands. They do it (like in the case of learning foreign languages) slow and unsteady at the beginning-they prattle with the hands!
4. I’m watching you mummy! Long before humans can speak they understand what others say. It seems that babies understand through observing the mimic of the nearby persons. So, mummy, be careful when you say something!
5. The older they are the smarter they get? That’s what we think. Researchers have discovered that as we pass through the life we lose some of our abilities, especially the ability of learning. This ability is most effective at the age of 6 months. So, the idea that they are young and they can not or do not know is just an illusion.
6. I’m just like you daddy! During the first days of life the new generation seems to resemble to the father. This is only a joke nature plays: it has decided that so all fathers in the world –long before genetic tests were invented- could recognize their babies and take care of them and their mothers.
7. Little Einstein. ‘Mary has 21 candies and gets another 19. Tommy has 51. Who has more candies?’ Of course, who knows how to add knows the answer. Here’s what tests say: even some children who do not know how to add can indicate the right answer. They have a great intuition!
8. What are you looking at?! It is not difficult at all for grownups to distinguish human faces from one another even if they might look alike. Still, when we have to distinguish between two resembling figures of monkeys we are totally unable. Not the same thing happens to the babies. Tests have proven that they possess this ability, but they lose it in time.
9. Can taste and smell and have shown preferences for their own mother’s…(read the full article at the link below)

Alternate Energy Sources To Live Well With Global Warming

Feeling hot under the collar?

Glaciers and polar ice are melting, ocean levels are rising, hot, dry weather, huge forest fires, water restrictions, crop failures…

You name it, if these don’t feature in your life yet, they soon will. Global warming and climate change are facts of life now, according to the International Panel on Climate Change, and many scientists.

Huge problems beyond our control!

But are you hot under the collar?

If you’re not, you probably live in a city where half of the Earth’s citizens live now and take much for granted. Because in city living we are far removed from natural processes that deliver our food, clothing and energy.

Does your child even know that milk comes from a cow – or a soya bean if you’re that way inclined – and not from a milk carton?

Even in the city you cannot stick your head in the sand (or under the asphalt?) and you are not immune from climate change. Witnesses are the 15,000 mostly elderly people that died in Paris alone in the sizzling hot European summer of 2003. Or the many killed in New Orleans at the ‘hands’ of cyclone Katrina.

And if you are hot under the collar, do you think perhaps that there will be some miraculous scientific break-through so they ever-responsible ‘They’ will fix the Earth? The ultimate stem cell technology maybe that can clone a new home for us!

Seriously, for many of us it is just all too hard.

All we want is to live a life where we may raise our children to have a future.

A future of some predictability: of schooling, a job, a family, community, of achievements and an enjoyable life – on a healthy planet Earth.

Is this a fading dream, once a reasonable expectation?

Maybe, maybe not.

Our world is changing. There are great challenges ahead and it is too late to stop global warming. The Earth has changed and the processes it uses to regulate itself are adjusting themselves. And these changes will not suit human life as it is.

But you are not powerless.

Each person alone can change the world, one by one. Let me explain.

Do I say that these problems are under our control then?

Well, yes and no.

We are talking about a severely disabled world really.

And from the experience of disability we can learn how to survive and thrive!

“Come on, get real”, you say? Do I hear: “Just show me the right alternate energy sources and we’ll get out of this mess.”

Yes, we desperately do need to switch to renewable energy sources that do not make a greenhouse out of our home, the Earth. But all the technology in the world will never be enough to survive and flourish.

Renewable energy sources alone will not teach us to accept limits, unpredictability and what it is to lead a rewarding life.

How we have lived collectively, in our billions, for the last few hundred years, has got us to this point. And by changing what we do we can live through climate change as best as we might.

Even now.

It’s simple and it’s hard work. No way out of that.

Many people with severe disabilities know this. And they report the same or better life satisfaction as anyone else–under highly challenging, vulnerable circumstances.

So, we can learn to live well in a disabled world.

Regardless of what is to come you and I will be well served by the beliefs and strategies that people with disabilities use to – not just to survive – but to live well.

These are true alternate energy sources.

Those that guide us how to use what we have sustainably.

These ‘disabled people’ believe this:

* Accept that all of us are fragile and vulnerable

* The world is full of limits. We need some of these to live well

* Vulnerability and dependence are an inevitable part of a whole life

* No-one is independent, but interdependent

* Connection with others is our lifeline and our wellbeing

And they do this:

* Engage with others to build positive relationship, where you live, work and play

* Pay attention to other’s needs and that of the environment

* Take responsibility for the situation you’re in

* Care for others and the environment competently

* Be assertive and use your humour and creativity

Not all people with disabilities act in this way of course. And I’d be the last to portray people with disabilities as heroes. We’re just people – trying to get on.

You try that!

Talk to that elderly woman in your street. Offer a hand when someone needs it.

Doing such small things will connect you with others and your environment.

And do also use the ‘regular’ renewable alternate energy sources, and recycle too.

You can change your local world by acting in these ways.

And if all fails – regardless?

Well, it’s the only way to go!

Perhaps your world might be just as hot but it’ll be cooler under your collar!

Advantages Savings Plans Have That The Forex Does Not

1. Safety. In general an investment paying 12% interest is not as safe as one paying 6%, but it is doubtful if the 12% investment involves twice the risk.

If the income offsets the additional risk or provides a reserve against which to write off losses when they eventually come, then high yield investments justify themselves, and they do when they are chosen with intelligence, with information at hand on the investment and when they are administered carefully, as we will see.

Along with this general theory that there is a good deal of merit to investing in high yield opportunities, safety should be stressed. This leads us to the second characteristic of the investments we are going to examine.

2. Collateral or guarantees. A home owner may show you his bank account and also prove that he owns his home free and clear, so that you conclude that he is a good risk whose signature on a note is as good as gold but it is far wiser for you to take a mortgage on his home. Or if he has securities it is better to have him assign the securities to you than just to take his promise to pay.

If a dealer sells you a customer’s conditional sales contract on an automobile he sold on which the customer is obligated to pay in time payments over a given number of months or years, it is well, if possible, to have the dealer guarantee the contract in case the customer defaults. Two people are obligated to pay, and certainly two are better than one.

3. Provision for easy repayment. If someone borrows $2000 from you at an attractive rate of interest and promises to repay it at the end of 12 months with 15% interest, the proposition on its face is a bad one. If he needs the $2000 now, what assurance is there that he will have it to repay at the end of 12 months? Such a sum is not small. Does he intend to borrow from Peter to pay Paul at the end of a year? In New York City a seemingly very substantial man did just this for years and got away with it until he died. That was over two years ago and the creditors are left holding the notes.

Periodic, small payments are a sensible requirement, and it must be demonstrated that the debtor can make these payments out of his income when all of his obligations are taken into consideration, and these obligations must be known.

4. Responsibility for payment. Some individual or individuals, or a corporation composed of very distinct individuals must be obligated to pay in the type investment we are talking about. Unimproved land on the edge of the city may be a fine investment. Some day it may double or even triple in value, but what we are trying to emphasize is the type of investment in which there is an obligation on the part of a person or persons to pay a given amount at a given time or in time payments, and you as the investor must look to this person or these persons to pay you on the due date.

5 .Liquidity. The longer a contract runs the less liquid it is and generally the less desirable. You cannot get your money out of it for a long time, and then the business or the business climate may change. The person who lent $10,000 in 1928 for five years in all probability had difficulty in collecting in 1933. A demand note is certainly preferable to a five year note. You may have need for the money sooner than you thought when you made the investment, and if you are tied up for five years you cannot get your funds back. Perhaps better opportunities will present themselves. Stay as liquid as possible.

6. Spreading of the risk. If you have $10,000 to invest it is best not to put it all in one place into a mortgage for instance. It is far better to put it into five mortgages of $2,000 each. The $10,000 mortgage could be defaulted, but there is not so great a probability that all five mortgages will be defaulted.

7. Part time administration. We are not writing for the purpose of getting a person to quit his job in order to devote all of his time to his investments. We are writing for the person who wants to invest in his spare time and look after his investments in his spare time. The investments described here may in some cases require more watching than others he has made, but by definition they must require a minimum of administration on the investor’s part. Payments must be made regularly, and the skipped or late payment must be the exception.

8. Business functions performed by someone else. You as the investor should not undertake to perform any business function. The only function you should perform, once the investment is made, is to receive the payments, and in the event that payments are not made, you should be able to resort to a simple procedure at law to retrieve your money. If you invest in a filling station you should not have to hire a manager and then proceed to sell gas and oil yourself, under our definition of the type investment discussed here. The filling station should be leased to a major oil company for a fixed rental, and the oil company should perform all of the business functions.

9. Investment not subject to litigation. When a debtor can’t or won’t pay, the first thing he thinks of generally is some defense (and his imagination is unlimited on this point) against paying you: you had agreed to lend him more at the end of a year, and because you did not lend more his business failed. Or the rate of interest you charged was usurious and thus contrary to law; or you really owed him something before you ever lent him the money, and this should be an offset against what he owes you. These defenses are used almost every day.

If he signs a note, he should sign a waiver of judgment note (in states which recognize such notes) and such a note will be described later. Your investment should not be subject to litigation, and you must be sure of this fact before you make it.

10. Tax advantage. The Internal Revenue Code and Regulations state what the obligations of a tax payer are and what they are not. You are obligated to pay every cent you owe, and you are not obligated to pay what you do not owe.

Certain types of investment are more heavily taxed than others. There is nothing the matter with investing in state and municipal government bonds just because you do not pay any federal income tax on the interest. This is the law, and it works to the advantage of the investor in government bonds and incidentally makes it less difficult for the state and municipal governments to finance their operations. Investments with a tax benefit or tax shelter are more desirable in many cases for the investor than those without such a benefit or shelter.

However the Forex can make you rich within months instead of years.

ADD Symptoms In Children

Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), also called Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), is a hot topic when it comes to kids’ health these days. Because ADD symptoms in children can appear to just be normal “kidlike” behavior and because they differ from one child to the next, the disorder is sometimes hard to pin down. ADD is usually diagnosed in early childhood, before seven years of age, and is seen in children of six to eleven years old.

The 3 major symptoms which could trigger you to have your child checked out for ADD are inattention, impulsiveness and hyperactivity. These symptoms are then divided into two categories of behavior: inattentive behavior and hyperactive-impulsive behavior. Children can show symptoms from just one category or from both. Kids with ADD take up a lot of physical activity.

Here are some symptoms used to define the ADD symptoms in children who fall unter the “inattentive behavior” category:

1. They have a hard time paying attention to detail

2. Maintaining attention in studies and activities is difficult or impossible

3. They rarely follow instructions given by parents and children.

4. They make careless mistakes in homework or often avoid schoolwork altogether.

5. They tend to forget daily activities

6. They tend to forget/lose things like books, pencils, etc.

7. They find it difficult to organize daily tasks and activities.

8. They are easily distracted by irrelevant sounds and sights.

9. They repeatedly bounce from one activity to the next, forgetting the previous one altogether in the process. This obviously creates problems for teachers and parents.

10. However, they are able to give undivided attention to the activities of their choice so there is a degree of choice in their behavior.

Following are the ADD symptoms which fall under the hyperactive/impulsive category:

1) They are often restless and fidget a lot. They are constantly in motion, even when sitting down.

2) They talk excessively and, when asked a question, blurt out the answer before the question has been asked.

3)They often intrude in other people’s activities.

ADD symptoms not only differ from child to child but also (sometimes greatly) from girls to boys. Boys are about three times more likely than girls to be diagnosed with ADD, though it’s not yet understood why and there is a bit of controversy surrounding this difference. While girls often daydream and generally just find it difficult to pay attention in classroom, boys suffering from ADD are more likely to be on the hyperactive side.

Also, boys are less likely to listen to teachers and elders. It’s important to note that not all the children who are hyperactive and inattentive in school or at home suffer from ADD. But if these above-mentioned symptoms of ADD are pretty constant for more than six months, it’s probably a good idea to let your doctor know. ADD symptoms in children are constantly being researched and studied in order to develop suitable therapy and treatments.

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Liverpool

Ten Things To Do
Liverpool is a city in celebration. Wining the 2008 Capital City of Culture award has brought fresh investment intended to match the amenities of the old city to the passion of its devoted citizens. With money poured into renovating the city centre, improving shopping facilities and areas for nightlife along with the rapid growth of Liverpool as a city of art and culture Liverpool is the booming city of the North, genuinely a city that has something for everyone. It is certainly worth a visit with lots of places to stay too.

The Cavern Club
The self-proclaimed ‘most famous club in the world’ is the legendary birthplace of the Beatles and without doubt one of the most important cultural landmarks in Liverpool. Inspired by Parisian cellar bars the Cavern Club opened in 1957 but it wasn’t until November 9th 1961 when the unknown Beatles were introduced to Brian Epstein that the club cemented its place in pop history. Since the Beatles completed their 292 show residency artists such as The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Who and recently the Arctic Monkeys have gone on to play at The Cavern defining the club as a hot-spot for emerging talent and an icon in world music.

The Cavern Club is situated along the lively Mathew Street just off the city centre and is open daily from 12pm holding live music nights and DJ events playing anything from Mersey Beat to Brit Pop.
http://www.cavernclub.org/

Albert Dock
This secluded patch of Liverpool’s heritage offers a break from the city centre with plenty to see and do across a picturesque waterfront. Combining bars and restaurants with museums and tours the Albert Dock has something for everyone. The Merseyside Maritime Museum and the National Slavery Museum as are certainly worth a look and Babycream and Panamerican Club are both great places for something to eat or a quick drink.
http://www.albertdock.com/
Turning The Place Over
Described as the most daring piece of public art in the world, Richard Wilson’s revolving slice of condemned office block is a sight to be seen. Set just outside the city centre in Moorfields and only viewable during daylight hours Wilson has cut out a huge 8-metre oval from a building’s façade allowing it to rotate in its place exposing glimpses of the inside to passers by.

China Town
Liverpool has one of the largest and most established Chinese communities in Europe. The Imperial Arch on Berry Street acts as a gateway to an area revitalized with the Capital of Culture award. With bars and restaurants open daily and a busy market selling clothes, herbs, food and drink open on a Sunday Liverpool’s famous China Town is a colourful escape from the city centre.

Tate Liverpool
Founded as part of the 1988 renovation of the Albert Dock the gallery houses important works from both contemporary and classical artists and offers fresh non-permanent exhibitions and a full package of activities for children. The gallery is open Tuesday to Sunday 10pm – 5pm.

Concert Square
The hive of Liverpool nightlife is always busy as bars and restaurants compete for custom with staggering drinks deals and nauseatingly infectious Scouse House music. Modo and Arena are two of the best while Walkabout is always a lively place to watch any football, cricket or rugby matches.

Rawhide Comedy Club
Always good for a meal and a laugh the Rawhide Comedy club at the Royal Court on Roe Street has hosted the likes of Peter Kay, Jimmy Carr and Johnny Vegas and continues to attract the best emerging comedy talent from around the world. Thursday, Friday and Saturday are the main nights but be sure to book early as tickets are usually sold-out on the door.

FACT
The Foundation for Art and Creative Technology is the UK’s leading organisation for the commissioning and presentation of film, video and new media art forms. Situated just off Wood Street in the Ropewalks area of the city centre FACT is a resource for artists and creatives but also an entry point into the world of new media with regular short film competitions and commissioned work from the likes of Turner Prize winner Mark Wallinger and documentary filmmaker Isaac Julian. FACT is also the best cinema is the city showing both independent movies and major Hollywood releases.
http://www.fact.co.uk/?group=1

Anfield Tour and Museum
You can’t go to Liverpool without at least one proud local reminding you that the football club representing the red half of the city is the most successful British club around. The tour takes you behind the scenes at the club, visiting the dressing rooms and sitting in the team dugout while the museum holds a large number of trophies and memories including the European Cup installed permanently after Liverpool’s fifth victory in the 2005 final in Istanbul.

Walker Art Gallery
This gallery really is the ‘National Gallery’ of the north. Situated across from Lime Street station on William Brown Street the neo-classical Walker Gallery has a large collection of work spanning the years from the pre-Raphaelite works of Rembrandt and Degas to contemporary works from Lucien Freud and David Hockney. Entrance is free and the gallery is open between 10-5pm daily.
http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/walker/visit/

Staying in Liverpool
Liverpool offers a diverse range of different types of accommodation. You can find a nice hotel in Liverpool at reasonable rates. Liverpool Accommodation – includes hotels, guesthouses, B&Bs & inns if you need a Liverpool Budget Hotel – offering value for money hotels for those wishing to keep to a budget then these are ideal. Or perhaps you want to stay in an Apartment – primarily self-catering accommodation for the more independent guest .Enjoy your stay in Liverpool!

Reasons Why The Market-Correction Triggered Money Flow Into Dollar Denominated Bonds Is The Wrong Move

Many people think of any type of dollar denominated bonds, whether they are U.S. corporate bonds or U.S. Treasury bonds as a safe place to park your money for reliable sources of income stream. In fact, the U.S. Treasury Department on their own website, even tout U.S. Treasury Securities as a “great way to invest and save for the future.”

Many people believe this nonsense because they are advised of this by a horde of financial consultants that have zero understanding of how the political-corporate-banking triumvirate operates, and how this financial triumvirate has produced a most unattractive likely scenario for dollar-denominated bonds going forward from 2007. Many people think of U.S. Treasury bonds as safe because of the “federal guarantee”. The ten reasons below render that federal guarantee irrelevant.

And don’t think this doesn’t affect you just because you aren’t American. Non-Americans aggregately hold a lot more U.S. dollars in this world than Americans do. If you are one of those misled people, American or non-American, reading the below ten reasons can save you a lot of grief in the future.

(1)The often repeated financial consultant statement that bonds are a “safe place” to park your money, especially if you are older, is a myth.

Who cares if you earn a 5% revenue stream from bonds if the currency they are denominated in loses 15% in value over that same time span? Think of the losses of the U.S. dollar versus other major global currencies in 2006. An 11% decline against the Euro; An 11% decline against the New Zealand dollar; A whopping 14% decline versus the Pound Sterling; and a incredulous 15% against the Thai Baht ( I mention the New Zealand dollar and Thai baht because these currencies are commonly held currencies in Asian currency baskets offered by major banks as a hedge against the falling dollar). If you hold dollar denominated bonds with a 5% income stream and your dollars just lost 15% of purchasing power, are you really happy with a net 10% loss?

(2)Many of those in the retirement phase of their lives are convinced to invest in longer maturity bonds because of poorer yields of short-term bonds. This strategy comes with risk because of the following.

As the Euro gradually replaces the U.S. dollar as the international currency of choice, the longer maturity necessary to ensure a return of face value on bonds presents a significantly greater risk.

(3)As interest rates go up, the face value of bonds go down. Although Wall Street strongly expects the U.S. Federal Reserve to cut interest rates soon to stimulate a faltering U.S. economy, this is how I see it.

At some point and time, the U.S. Federal Reserve will try to block global flight from the U.S. dollar by propping up interest rates, not cutting them. Here you suffer twice. Once from a loss of purchasing power and twice, from a devaluation of the face value. See number (2) why holding a long term bond until maturity may not be an option. And even if the Federal Reserve keeps in line with Wall Street expectations, that’s bad news too. Even if interest rates stay flat or go down, then the dollars that your bonds are denominated in lose value. This is pretty much a lose-lose situation and not one that I want any part of.

(4)As the dollar loses value over time, banks and other financial institutions will increase interest rates on loans and other financial instruments to compensate for the heavy losses they are incurring on a weakening dollar.

As your costs of doing business and living rise, yields from bonds won’t cut it anymore. In addition to the three strikes listed above, this is strike four. Need more reasons? Then continue reading.

(5)As the massive yen carry trade continues to unwind, and the Bank of Japan takes increasing measures to strengthen the Yen as the Japanese economy continues emerging from its recession, the strengthening of the Japanese Yen in addition to the Pound Sterling and Euro will threaten dollar supremacy.

Last year as every single major world currency pounded the dollar, the Yen was just about flat against the dollar. In the coming year to eighteen months, it will be the Yen’s turn to pound the dollar.

(6)While most people think that there has been no further attack on the U.S. by terrorists since 9/11, there has been a far more devastating ongoing attack – an ongoing economic war.

Though this fact is not discussed at all in the mainstream media, Osama bin Laden’s has repeatedly stated that his number one goal to topple the U.S. as an economic power. The attacks on the Twin Towers were symbolic of that goal. However, if he achieves his goal of debilitating the U.S. economy through the draining of U.S. resources in the current prolonged Iraqi war, this would make him far happier than any overt attack he could accomplish.

(7)In response to (6), the U.S. Federal Reserve has expanded the dollar money supply to provide funding for the war.

With no end in sight to this war, we can expect the dollar money supply to continue to expand, therefore placing more downward pressure on the dollar. No matter that U.S. Secretary of Treasury Hank Paulson publicly declared that the U.S. economy is strong and in good shape in March of 2007. This simply is not true.

(8)The U.S. has no powerful allies to keep the dollar strong.

Don’t underestimate the importance of the above statement. With protectionism sentiment growing stronger among the newly elected Democratic U.S. Congress, the U.S. certainly has no friends in China, the largest holder of dollar denominated debt at over $1 trillion. Certainly when the U.S. Congress moved to block the Chinese state-sponsored bid for U.S. oil giant Unocal because they viewed such an acquisition as a threat to national security, the Chinese government certainly viewed this action as hostile to their business interests. Certainly, this incident will remain fresh in the minds of Chinese government officials when U.S. Secretary of Treasury Hank Paulson or U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernank make continued please to the Chinese government for assistance.

(9)The largest holders of Petrodollar reserves include Russia, Venezuela, Iran and other Middle Eastern countries.

Read that list again. There is not a single nation strongly friendly to the U.S. on that list.

(10)When people finally realize that (1) through (9) are not only true, but inevitable, there may be a flight from the bond market, causing bond prices to tumble.

When you realize the shakiness of your situation as a dollar-denominated bond holder, think about this? Don’t you think foreign governments and wealthy private institutions and individuals, holders of dollar-denominated assets in massively greater quantities, realize the same? When they realize the facts that I’ve laid out above, their aggregate actions will reflect poorly upon dollar denominated bonds as well.

Is the eBay Customer Always Right

I can answer this question for you right now: the answer is ‘yes’. In fact, the answer is ‘YES!’ – the biggest yes you’ve ever heard. Of the course the customer is always right. If you want to be a successful eBay seller, you should go miles out of your way to make sure every single one of your customers is 100% satisfied, however much time or money it might cost you.

A dissatisfied customer will leave negative feedback, and negative feedback is to be avoided at all costs. That one piece of negative feedback will always cost you more than it would have to deal with the complaint, whatever the value of the items you sell. You should consider any positive feedback percentage under 100% to be an absolute disaster, and a personal failure on your part.

But What If…

But nothing! There is no situation where you, as a seller, should get into any dispute with a buyer. Here are a few common situations and how to handle them.

They say the item never arrived: Politely ask the buyer to wait a few more days to see if it turns up, and then email you again if it still hasn’t arrived. If it still hasn’t arrived, you should assume it was lost in the post somehow and offer to send a replacement if you have one, or give them a full refund otherwise. No, I don’t care what that costs you. Are you serious about selling on eBay or not?

The item has been damaged in the post: You must offer to replace it or take it back for a refund without hesitation.

They say the item doesn’t match the description: Resist the urge to email back with “yes it does, you just didn’t read the description properly”. Take the item back for a refund, and edit your description if you need to, to make any confusing points extra clear.

I’m sure you’re spotting a pattern by now. Offering a refund will make almost any problem go away, and it really will cost you less in the long run. Remember, one piece of negative feedback will stay with you forever, while having a 100% positive rating is like owning a bar of solid gold.

You should always handle customers’ complaints before they complain to eBay – in fact, you should email them pre-emptively to ask if they have any. Going through the dispute process is time consuming, reflects badly on you and is downright unnecessary.

Are you still not convinced? Think this would only work with cheap items? Well, you see, the higher the price of the items you sell, the more your reputation is worth to you. Let’s say you were selling $10,000 worth of items each week, for example, and making a $1,000 profit per week overall. You might think that refunding one customer’s $1,000 purchase would be a tragedy, losing you your whole week’s profit. It’s far better to look at it this way: if you don’t give that refund, then not only will you lose the next week’s profit, but you’ll probably lose a few weeks’ profit after that too. Now which option looks better?

I absolutely can’t emphasise enough the importance of really believing that the customer is always right. But trying to make excuses for complaints isn’t the only thing you need to avoid. There are a lot of pitfalls that you need to avoid if you don’t want to kill your business before it’s even started properly – and I’ll show you in the next email what they are.

Ways To Say No To Fear This New Year

It’s a New Year and a new set of resolutions. But how many will you actually see through to the end? And how many will fall by the wayside because of one simple four lettered word . . . FEAR.

Fear gets to the best of us, whether it is fear of failure, fear of success or even fear of fear. All of us have experienced fear at some point in our lives and it can be a real stumbling block that holds us back from being truly successful.

But don’t panic, there is a way to conquer these fears, and what better time to start than this New Year.

Here are my top 10 fast acting tips for you to conquer your fear this year:

1. SEPARATE REALITY FROM PERCEPTION

See the reality of the situation for what it is. Be rational and get clear on the facts. Soul search and explore your perception of the situation at hand.

2. IDENTIFY THE TRIGGER

Isolate the specific aspects of the situation that trigger your fearful thoughts. What’s the worst that could happen? Change the way you look at these triggers and you will immediately change the way you react.

3. KNOW WHERE FEAR LIVES IN YOUR BODY

Be in tune with where your fear lives in your body. Use it as an indicator to tell you when something needs to be addressed. What you are aware of you can act on.

4. BECOME AN OBSERVER

When you observe something, you do it from a detached place. So if you become an observer of your fear, then you’re not in it and reacting instinctively.

5. LISTEN TO YOUR INNER TALK

Monitor your inner conversations. When you hear negative self-talk, stop and change the script to positive talk. Keep repeating it.

6. CREATE A NEW ASSOCIATION

When you feel fear, conjure up a picture of something or someone you love. Keep repeating this and soon your brain will associate your fear trigger with something much more pleasurable.

7. CONSIDER THE WORST

Imagine the worst that can happen and come up with strategies that avoid or lessen the likelihood of it happening. What can you put in place to ensure that the worst-case scenario never happens?

8. LOOK AT THE GLASS HALF FULL
Perception is a very powerful thing. And how you feel about your situation dictates how you respond. So think positively and you’ll give yourself a much better chance of success.

9. LEARN HOW TO CREATE SPACE

Because fear happens in the emotional part of the brain, it’s natural to act instinctively. So when fear rises, break the fear cycle by stopping, creating space and breathing. This will give you time to calm down and allow your rational brain time to catch up.

10: MAKE IT SAFE

When you feel safe, there is no need for fear. One of the best ways to overcome fear is to create the safest environment possible. And that’s why it’s important to practice, practice and practice again.

Finally don’t let fear hold you back from reaching your goals and highest potential this year. If you’d like some extra support and inspiration to stay motivated and on track, why not sign up for my free downloadable One Big Gulp! Kit, which you will find at www.onebiggulp.com. Remember, it’s your life, your choice, so live your greatest life!

Ways To Make Your Event Interesting And Exciting

There are plenty of ways that you can make an event interesting and exciting. You will need to let your creativity flow and not hinder you. The way that you do this is simply by brainstorming. Every time that you come up with an idea you should write it down. At this point you don’t want to judge the idea. Some of the worst ideas can turn into being a blessing. Even if your ideas seem silly and outrageous you should still write it down. At the brainstorming stage you don’t judge your ideas. This process will help you come up with hundreds of ideas and then later narrowed to a few good ideas.

The first tip to coming up with making your even interesting and exciting has to deal with the point of the event. If you can, you should have famous entertainers to help out with the cause. This way you can bring people in with your celebrities, but then you are able to save some money on the interesting aspects of the event. You should always make sure that they are willing to donate their time so that you don’t end up paying, making this tip one of the most interesting concepts of the event. You should also think about what kind of person you would like to help with the event, rather it be a singer, actor, or dancer.

You should also think about the food. When it comes to the food you can do a lot for an event. You can make it exciting and interesting easily by adding some exotic foods. You may also want to blend your ability to offer some foods that are traditional for an event of this kind and some food that is wild and new.
When it comes to planning an event ahead of time, you will find that your ideas will be pouring in, however, it comes a time when you hit a wall. You don’t know what to do or how to present an aspect of the event. This is when you have to do some things to generate the ideas

Another way you may be able to generate some interest is not just by having high celebrities, but some of the local celebrities as well. This way you can get the community to back your guest and to open them to the event with open arms. You will find that most of the local TV personalities are more than willing to offer some help in the name of charity. However, if you aren’t a charity you may want to think about other things that don’t cost a lot of money and you don’t have to fuss over. Once of these things would be some interesting facts.

If you do a lot of research, you are able to entertain your audience with facts. You can celebrate your numbers and you will find it to be a rush. However, you should make sure that the facts are true. The last thing that you need is to read in the newspaper tomorrow about how you lied. You don’t have to stretch the truth to have interesting facts.

If education isn’t the thing then entertainment is. If you would like to have some examples of entertainment you can go with dancers, singers, and actors. This way you can entertain your guests and be able to celebrate how well your wallet is doing. Basically if you are able to find some local school to help you out with the entertainment, you can cut your costs in half.

Do something outrageous as well. Hire someone to set off fireworks or have sky divers. This will make your party unique and special. To have an entertaining party you may also want to think about the drinks. You may want to expand the bar or to decrease. Alcohol is a great way to start a party, but it’s no way to celebrate for one.

You may also want to go online and help with you entertainment. You never know who you might be able to book to make the party out of this site. If you have your people call their people, this will work out great.
Another way to add some excitement is by adding some animals to the batch. The animals will make the party wild and crazy. Everyone will love this outrageous party.

You may also want to add some excitement with the music. Make the music go with the theme of the party and go wild on the dance floor.

Finally, you may want to have several things going on at once. This way you can have everyone entertained to keep things interesting and entertaining.

How Important is Your Buyer’s Reputation

Your reputation as a buyer (or ‘feedback rating’) is the most important thing people see when they deal with you on eBay. It is on the basis of this little number that they will decide whether they can trust you or not.

Each time you buy or sell something on eBay, people can leave feedback for you, and you can leave feedback for them. This feedback can be positive, negative, or neutral, along with a comment. Your feedback rating, then, is worked out using a very simple sum: the number of positive feedback comments people have left for you, minus the number of negative ones. This means that someone with a feedback rating of 28, for example, might have 30 positive ratings and 2 negative ones.

If you are a considerate buyer, then you should find that positive feedback will just appear next to your username, without you needing to do anything. If you want to help it along, though, there are a few things you can do.

Always leave feedback for others: People will feel an obligation to leave feedback for you if you leave it for them (eBay will send you an email after each transaction to offer you the opportunity). Take the time to write a positive comment about sellers who do what they should and the chances are they’ll do the same for you.

Pay promptly: Sellers love nothing more than to be paid promptly – paying as soon as the auction ends saves the seller all sorts of worry, especially if you pay by credit card or another electronic method. You will often find that your positive feedback appears within a few minutes of you paying if you pay as soon as the auction ends.

Don’t be a difficult customer: Understand that your seller might take a day or so to respond to you, and perhaps a few days to send your item – harassing them is nasty and unnecessary, and won’t get you good feedback.

Build relationships: If a seller sells a lot of a certain kind of thing you like, buy from them a few more times. They will be very happy to find a regular customer, and will go out of their way to leave positive feedback like ‘a joy to deal with as ever’. Also, they might offer you a few special deals!

Sellers won’t generally be reluctant to sell to buyers without much of a reputation, simply because it is the buyer who takes most of the risk in a transaction. It is worth remembering, however, that transactions where you are the seller and where you are the buyer are counted towards the same feedback total – so if you ever want to start selling, being a good buyer is especially worthwhile.

On eBay, people pay far more attention to sellers’ ratings than they do to buyers’ – most sellers can’t be bothered to check their buyers’ feedback, while bad feedback on a seller can (and should) be a dealbreaker. When you are buying, then, you need to worry more about the seller’s reputation than you do about your own, and that’s why the next email will be all about sellers’ feedback ratings.

Tips to Succeed in Your Legitimate Home Business

Virtually everyone would jump at the chance to start a legitimate home business so they could work at home and attain financial freedom. But not everyone has what it takes to transform a home business opportunity into financial success. Here are ten tips that will help you achieve your personal and financial goals through running your own legitimate home business.

1. Secure your start-up funds. Any successful business owner will tell you that you need to invest money in your business in order to make money. A home business is no exception. Expect to spend a maximum of $5,000 for a legitimate home business opportunity. If the opportunity is sound, you should be able to get back your initial investment within a matter of days or weeks, but you do need that initial investment.

2. Get high-speed Internet. If you don’t already have DSL or a broadband Internet connection, you should have it installed. The best home business opportunities are Internet based, so you need reliable and speedy Internet access.

3. Find the right opportunity. Like every other person, you have a unique set of strengths and weaknesses. Find a legitimate home business that draws on your strengths. If you aren’t a salesperson, for example, stick with a home business that doesn’t require you to make cold calls.

4. Get support. Launching your own business can be a daunting prospect, so be sure that you have the support you need. Look to family members and friends for encouragement, and look to the company with which you affiliate to provide you with a sense of community.

5. Take advantage of available resources. Unless you are a seasoned entrepreneur, you probably aren’t aware of the nuances of running a business. The home business opportunity you choose should have a number of resources available to you, so take advantage of them. These resources might include a back office set-up, daily or weekly conference calls, and online tutorials.

6. Key in on marketing. The success of any business, whether a brick-and-mortar store or an Internet-based business, is marketing. The bottom line is, if people don’t know about your business, you’ll never turn a profit. Take full advantage of the marketing tools and advice that you’re provided.

7. Set up a wok schedule. The wonderful thing about being able to work at home is the flexibility that comes with it. However, setting your own work hours doesn’t mean that you don’t have to work. It’s helpful – particularly when you’re starting out, to schedule your work hours as though you were going in to a “regular job.” In doing this, you’ll ensure that you put in the time necessary to make your business succeed.

8. Minimize any distractions. If you’ve never worked from home before, it’s easy to divert your attention from the task at hand. While you’re working, close the doors of your home office, turn down the ringer on your home phone, and vow not to check your personal email. Forget the laundry and the errands, and concentrate on your business.

9. Keep good records. It may not seem important know, but come tax time, you’ll need financial records of all of the expenses and income associated with your home business opportunity. Some people use a spreadsheet, while others use special accounting software. Either way, keep track of everything, and keep your receipts.

10. Have fun! Having the knowledge that you’re working toward your financial freedom while being able to work at home in a legitimate home business is incredibly rewarding. Always keep your goals in mind, and have fun creating a stable future for you and your family.

Tips On How To Be An Excellent Event Planner

There are many tips that you can use to become an event planner and become one of the best, however, you need to know that to become an excellent event planner you need to pay attention to the fine details and offer the best to your clients. This can take a lot of time from your day-to-day activities. To become an event planner you need to put forth a lot of energy and time.

1. The first tip and the most important one is that you need to get in contact with some of the best supplies. You need to have a business contract and connection with many suppliers so that you can offer the best to your clients. Remember when you have the best suppliers; your reputation will be excellent.
2. Also, always give your clients options. Have a least a dozen venders that you work with on a regular basis so that your clients can choose from a few options. When you give your clients options they will feel more evolved in the planning process.
3. You need to think about what kind of events that you will plan. They can be small dinners to huge weddings so you need to come up with creative ways to bring life to a party. There are going to be a lot of signatures styles, but if you continuously research then you can keep up on trends and event activities.
4. When you are doing a wedding that is multicultural, you need to learn about both of the cultures that they want present in the wedding. This will give you a better understanding of the traditions that they want to honor.
5. You also need to think about your location of business. Is your office somewhere respectable or in the ghetto? You need to make sure that your clients are going to feel comfortable in your office. This way you can have more cliental.
6. As an event planner you need to learn how to communicate effectively. You need to know what is acceptable and what is not by reviewing all your details with the clients. The party isn’t about you, but the clients. You need to keep that in mind. Even if you think sometime is wrongfully place, listen to your clients needs and wants.
7. Another way for you to enhance your reputation is to keep ties with the clients who were very pleased with your performance. Use them as references, but always ask before giving out any information. This way you can give future clients and idea of your quality.
8. You may also want to ask your clients if you can take general pictures of the event so that future clients will be able to see what exactly you are capable of doing. This is will make a lot of people hire you on the spot.
9. Talk to the client and set a budget before contacting any of your suppliers. This way you can communicate effectively with your suppliers and clients. You can offer the best possible solutions and ideas within a budget. If you can pull off an extraordinary event within a budget, then you will be recommended to everyone. There are only two things that matter and that is the design and cost of an event.
10. Finally, you need to have a personality that allows you to interact with others and really hear what others want. You need to have the strength to handle everything with a collective attitude, as well as, make the planning process fun for your clients. Your personality and the way you handle things makes a huge difference in being a successful event coordinator or an okay planner.

Tips for Increasing Your eBay Response

So you’ve got the buyer in front of your auction, and they’ve read the description. They’re must be interested, or they wouldn’t be looking… but just how can you push them over that line and make them leave a bid? Read on for some tips.

Improve your picture: In all that description writing, you might have missed the vital importance of your item’s picture. A picture with bad lighting or an intrusive background looks amateurish and won’t make anyone want to buy from you.

Add an About Me page: You’ll be surprised how much you can reassure bidders just by creating an About Me page and putting a little bit about yourself on your business on there. You can also have a few special offers there for people who bother to look at the page, and let people subscribe to your mailing list so that you can email them updates.

Use SquareTrade: Signing up at SquareTrade and displaying their logo on your auctions shows that you are committed to have them resolve any disputes that arise. You always see this on PowerSellers auctions – it makes you look more professional.

Write terms and conditions: Have the ‘small print’ clearly visible on all your auctions, giving details of things like shipping times and prices, your refund policy, and any other business practices you might have. This helps build confidence with buyers.

Show off your feedback: Copy and paste a selection of the feedback comments you’re most proud of to each item’s description page, instead of making bidders go and look for it. If you have 100% positive feedback, be sure to write that on every auction too.

Add NR to your titles: If you have extra space in a title, put ‘NR’ (no reserve) on the end. Bidders prefer auctions that don’t have a reserve price, and doing this lets them see that yours don’t.

Benefits not features: Make sure your description focuses on the benefits that your item can give to the customer, not just its features. This is a classic sales technique. If you have trouble with this, remember: ‘cheap’ is a feature, ‘save money’ is a benefit.

List more items: If you want more people to respond to your items, then list more items! You might find you have better like listing items at the same time, instead of one-by-one. There’s no need to use a Dutch auction – you can just keep two or three auctions going at once for an item you have more than one of in stock.

Accept unusual payment methods: To reach those last few buyers, accept payment methods that many sellers don’t, like cheques.

Buy some upgrades: The best upgrade is the most expensive one, which makes your item appear first in search results. In crowded categories, you might find that this is worth the money.

Once you’ve got some buyers, you want to keep them coming back to you. The next email will show you how to turn one-time buyers into long-term customers.

Ways to Kill Your eBay Business

It’s surprisingly easy to kill your eBay business, if you’re not careful – sure, you can start over from scratch without it costing you anything, but do you really want to? Still, if you want your business to end up dead in the water, here are some simple ways to do it.

Lie about an item: Say it works fine when it sometimes doesn’t work. Say it’s in perfect condition when it has a scratch. Your customers will hate you!

Post whenever you feel like it: Make sure to leave your customers hanging around, wondering when their item is going to turn up. This makes sure they buy from someone else next time.

Let items end anytime: Few people will be around to care about your auction if it ends in the middle of the night. Why go to the trouble of working out whether auctions will end at a good time?

Don’t bother with email: Customers are just timewasters anyway. eBay businesses are supposed to run themselves! Never give informed responses to questions about your item.

Sell rubbish: Really, it’s just eBay. You can just sell any old tat from the market for a 200% profit. Let quality be someone else’s concern – I mean, really, what do they expect for that price?

Refuse to give discounts: You know what your items cost, you know what your profit margin is going to be, and you’re not going to negotiate. Remember that giving customers special deals might make them feel good and come back to you again.

Make your listings ugly: As many colours, flashing lights and animations as possible will really give those customers a headache. Write as much in CAPITALS!!!! as you can. Preferably big, red capitals. Be sure to use the fonts Impact and Comic Sans. For an extra special touch, see if you can figure out a way to add some music.

Don’t take photos: It’s such trouble, after all. If buyers are picky enough to actually want to see items before they bid on them, then screw ’em, that’s what I say.

Write short descriptions: Be as brief as possible, and use lots of mysterious abbreviations. This obviously makes you look very cool. You can even just write the title again in the description box. Think of the effort you’ll save!

Use reserve auctions: Now, this is a fairly controversial final choice, but it really is one of the best ways to scare away your customers. They’ll see ‘reserve not yet met’, and click that ‘back’ button before you know it. Luckily, they can always bid in a normal auction for the item somewhere else.

Now that you know the ten ways to kill your eBay business, how about we explore what to do if you want to do the opposite, and make a success of it? The next email will give you ten steps to successful selling on eBay.

Steps to Successful Selling on eBay

So you want to be a successful seller with your own eBay business, do you? Here’s a simple, ten-step path to eBay enlightenment.

Step 1: Identify your market. Take a while to sit and watch for what sells and what doesn’t out of the items you’re interested in. Any market research data you can collect will be very useful to you later on. You’ll probably see the ‘sweet spots’ quite quickly – those one or two items that always seem to sell for a good price.

Step 2: Watch the competition. Before you invest any money, see what the other sellers in your category are up to, and what their strategies are. Pay special attention to any flaws their auctions might have, because this is where you can move in and beat them at their own game.

Step 3: Find a product: Get hold of a supplier for whatever it is you want to sell, and see what the best rates you can get are – don’t be afraid to ring round quite a few to get the best deal. If the eBay prices you’ve seen are higher than the supplier’s, then you’re set.

Step 4: Start small: Don’t throw thousands at your idea straight away – get started slowly, see what works and what doesn’t, and learn as you go. Remember that it’s very cheap to try out even the craziest ideas on eBay, and who knows, they might just work!

Step 5: Test and repeat. Keep trying different strategies until you find something that works, and then don’t be ashamed to keep doing it, again and again. The chances are that you’ve just found a good niche.

Step 6: Work out a business plan: A business plan doesn’t need to be anything formal, just a few pages that outline the market opportunity you’ve spotted, your strategy, strengths and weaknesses of the plan and a brief budget. This is more for you than it is for anyone else.

Step 7: Invest and expand: This is the time to throw money at the problem. Buy inventory, and start spending more time on your business. Set a goal number of sales each week, increasing it each time.

Step 8: Make it official: Once you’ve made a few thousand dollars worth of sales, you should really register yourself as a business. Don’t worry, it’s not expensive or hard to do – a lawyer is the best person to help you through the process.

Step 9: Automate: You’ll probably find that you’re writing the same things again and again in emails or item descriptions. This is the time to give up on the manual method and turn to automated software that can create listings for you, and respond to completed auctions and payments with whatever message you provide.

Step 10: Never give up: Even when it looks like it’s all going wrong, don’t stop trying until you succeed. If you keep working at it then you’ll almost always find that you make a real breakthrough just when things are starting to look desperate.

Once you get into the swing of things, you might start thinking that you should quit your job and take up eBay selling part time. But it’s not always as easy as that – there are all sorts of factors that you need to consider. The next email will weigh up the case for and against taking up eBay full-time.

Ideas On Creating Exciting Event Themes

If you are trying to plan an event that is different and entertaining, you may find that it is not always easy. You will sometimes run into a brick wall when it comes time for you to choose a special theme for your occasion. You will want your event to go as well as possible. You want to have the perfect theme that will grab everyone’s attention and have him or her excited about coming to your party.
The one thing that you will have to do when you are trying to figure out a them for your event is think about what type it is. You should think about what the event is being held for and something that is associated with it. Once you find out what your event is for, you will then be able to quickly think about different things that you can do to make it great. You want to have a theme that will stand out and get them interested in your party.
There are many different ideas that you can use for creating exciting event themes. You can do something fun for the kids. You will want to make a kids event jammed packed with fun and entertaining items. You want them to keep their attention on the event and busy while they are there. You can use some fun colors and keep the event decorated in an upbeat manner so that the kids have a great time.
Another idea for kids is to have special characters there. You can hire certain cartoon characters and other fascinating entertainers to keep the crowd motivated and happy to be there. You can also incorporate a child’s favorite type of project or hobby. You can use sports and many other fun filled activities to keep them from being bored or getting out of control.
Third, you can have a costume party. This is a great way to get people to have fun and get a little bit wild for a great time out. Your event will be fun and leaving your guests wanting more. For the fourth ideas you can have some really great games to play. Anyone that goes to an event wants to do something fun and exciting. They do not want to be sitting in a corner all night talking to one person. Have some great games that will keep the guests happy and motivated to have even more fun later on.
The fifth reason can be dancing. Usually everyone will love to hear music and you can hire a DJ to play everyone’s favorite music and they can dance to great tunes that will keep them grooving all night long. This will surely add some fun to your event. You can have everyone dance and even come up with a contest to keep him or her moving along with the beat.
For the sixth reason, you can use decorations to make the event great. You can find many different things that will bring life and entertainment to your event. For the seventh reason, you can make your own special designs and theme your party any way that you want. You can use different colors and objects to add some fun and flair to your event.
For the eighth reason, you can use food to create a great theme for your event. You can use any type of food that you want and make your party special. You can have different foods from different ethnic backgrounds to help you with your party planning. You can use any or all-different types of unique foods to make the occasion a little different.
Surprise events are a great way to have a theme. This is the ninth creative way to make your event more exciting to everyone. You can make the party a surprise for someone and use this as your theme. This will be a lot of fun to keep it a secret and to have someone pleasantly surprised about your event.
The tenth idea for your event is to have it as a charity event. This is something that you can bet will bring a lot of different people to your event. You can raise some money for a very special cause in your life and one that you care a great bit for. You will be able to have everyone that attends your event pitch in and donate some thing towards the fund.

Cold or Hot Composting

The heat that is generated from the breaking down of organic matter into compost is
known as hot composting. There is also cold composting, it doesn’t take as much of a
commitment from you to upkeep or manage but it does take quite a bit longer to yield
results.

Hot (or active) composting uses microbes to breakdown the matter. Some experts will
recommend you inoculate the compost with live organisms purchased from a gardening
supply store in order to get the process started. While others will recommend adding in
healthy top soil as it also contains live organisms that will convert your organic matter
into compost material. Either way, once the process is started your compost pile will
generate heat. You should tend or check on your pile every second day to ensure good
air circulation is maintained and that the right level of moisture is kept.

If you do not have the desire or time to maintain a regular compost bin, starting a cold
compost (or slow compost) may suit you better. In a cold compost, you are only using
your yard waste and grass clippings instead of a combination of outdoor material with
your kitchen scraps. All that is required of you is to pile your leaves and grass clippings
into a pile and wait. The process is slow and long – it will not yield usable compost for
up to one year. Be careful not to put in any weeds or other undesirable plants, as there is
no heat they will survive the composting process and can grow again when you use the
finished material.

If you generate quite a bit of yard waste and it is too much to include in your regular
compost bin consider using both methods. You can have the best of both composting
methods.

Assets and Liabilities

Making a profit in a business is derived from several different areas. It can get a little complicated because just as in our personal lives, business is run on credit as well. Many businesses sell their products to their customers on credit. Accountants use an asset account called accounts receivable to record the total amount owed to the business by its customers who haven’t paid the balance in full yet. Much of the time, a business hasn’t collected its receivables in full by the end of the fiscal year, especially for such credit sales that could be transacted near the end of the accounting period.

The accountant records the sales revenue and the cost of goods sold for these sales in the year in which the sales were made and the products delivered to the customer. This is called accrual based accounting, which records revenue when sales are made and records expenses when they’re incurred as well. When sales are made on credit, the accounts receivable asset account is increased. When cash is received from the customer, then the cash account is increased and the accounts receivable account is decreased.

The cost of goods sold is one of the major expenses of businesses that sell goods, products or services. Even a service involves expenses. It means exactly what it says in that it’s the cost that a business pays for the products it sells to customers. A business makes its profit by selling its products at prices high enough to cover the cost of producing them, the costs of running the business, the interest on any money they’ve borrowed and income taxes, with money left over for profit.

When the business acquires products, the cost of them goes into what’s called an inventory asset account. The cost is deducted from the cash account, or added to the accounts payable liability account, depending on whether the business has paid with cash or credit.

Scotch is Getting Younger

The notion that all scotch must be at least 12 years to be enjoyed is a common understanding among scotch drinkers everywhere. However, one company is out to prove them wrong. This scotch is just two years shy of the twelve year mark, but is growing in popularity.

Enter Glenkinchie; this ten year old malt is 86 proof and a very pale gold in color. It has a reminiscent fragrance of peat and a grassy meadow that ends rather sweet. Its body is light to medium, it is considered to be well-rounded lowland malt. In the end it stays dry, and carries a hint if ginger.

Originally formed in 1837 by a farmer, this malt clearly has some history. The original owner of the distillery sold it to another farmer who used the distillery as a cattle shed and sawmill. This property was again sold in 1880 and returned back to its natural intention to make fine malt just in time for the whiskey boom in the 1890’s.

This single malt will be enjoyed by the new and revered by the old single malt enthusiasts.

What You Need to Start an eZine Publication

Starting your own eZine can be a lot easier than you think. This is because in the most basic necessity, all you really need to get started publishing your own paperless newsletter are wealth of content, auto responder with broadcast feature, and a website (which is optional).

Content. You can compile weeks of content ahead in advance and slowly dispense them to your subscribers. For example, you can compile 100 short tips in one day and dispense 10 tips once a week. In other words, you can compile 10 weeks worth of content in just one day!

Auto responder. Your auto responder is your asset. You need an auto responder to send your mails and eZine issues to your subscribers and store your data base of people subscribed to your newsletter. Some recommended auto responders include GetResponse.com and aWeber.com.

Website. You may be surprised that this is actually an optional component. In short, there are eZine publishers publishing their newsletters without a website! But of course, having your own website can offer you tremendous advantages, such as the ability to bring in more subscribers and having your newsletter indexed in the top Search Engines.

These are the things you need to get started on publishing your own eZine at its bare minimum. Do not underestimate the little you need, though, because several eZine publishers today succeed well with only an auto responder and contents, with or without a website. And you can, too!

What to Talk About on a Date

I’m sure you want your date to have fun and you want to have fun, too! You want to ensure that the conversation is interesting and stimulating to both of you.

Body language always speaks first in any conversation. When you are confident your body relaxes, becomes more open, you lean in, you smile, and you become more animated. When you are tense or not at ease with yourself, you will be sitting back, crossing your legs, maybe your arms, your mouth will barely break a smile, and your eyes will be searching elsewhere in the room. Knowing this will allow you to convey confidence with your body language.

Your verbal dating conversation skills will largely be judged on how able you are to create a conversation that your partner enjoys. Ultimately, that leads to you getting more dates. If you’re thinking this is obvious, yes it is! The question is HOW to create an interesting conversation.

Your dating conversation will be made up of you both asking and answering questions. If you ask the right questions, your partner is going to have fun. If you ask the wrong questions, they are going to ditch you. If you are evasive or less than honest when answering her questions, she is going to ditch you quicker.

Questions are powerful. Funny thing is that when a person is asked a direct question they somehow feel obligated to answer it. Here are some conversation starter question ideas for your first date:

“What do you love to do in your spare time?”
“What do you particularly enjoy about that?”
“If you could go on a fantasy holiday, anywhere in the world, where would it be and what would you do?”

By asking these questions you will cause your date to recall pleasant past experiences and share them with you.

Tips on Improving Your Membership Site

Improving and improving again your membership website is what will keep it dynamic and making a steady and reliable income. It is a law of nature (and the Internet) that everything either grows or dies. Constant improvement of your membership website will insure it grows and lives.

The content of your membership website needs to always be kept up-to-date with relevant and useful information. Keep your eyes open and all of your feelers out for information that your subscribers will find interesting and helpful. If you have always relied on only print information up to this point, try adding some audio or video. People today prefer to hear or see information rather than just to read information. Setting up audio or video feeds to your website isn’t very difficult and can make a huge difference in the traffic and membership.

Each e-zine or newsletter should be filled with vital and timely information so that your subscribers eagerly await the next issue. Spend as much time and energy as you need to insure that your e-zine or newsletter isn’t just deleted when it hits the in-box.

Use your autoresponder to your greatest advantage. You already use it to send out emails and ezines and newsletters. Now use it to send out vital NEWS FLASHES. Make the autoresponder get the attention of your subscribers.

If you don’t already have a blog, forum or message board on your membership website, then set one up as soon as possible. Members like to have input and you will benefit greatly from constructive member input. You can ask them what they would like to see on the website and then act on suggestions that are viable.

Invite a guest who is a guru in the field of your website theme to participate in an online chat discussion. Set a specific starting and stopping time and be sure to outline the discussion topics.

Setting Up your Affiliate Marketing System

There is much speculation about how much money you can earn online without your own product. Marketing your own digital product on the Internet can be very lucrative but there is no reason why you can’t profit a great deal by using creative methods that offer real value to Internet surfers and have your own product as well.

An affiliate program is really not as difficult to set up as you may think. Thanks to the high demand for affiliate systems recently, there are now lots of ways to set up your own program.

Here’s what you need to set one up:

1. A web site with your own domain name.

2. At least one product or service that you own completely.

3. A system to handle commission tracking and payment.
That sounds pretty easy, doesn’t it? Well, actually it is! And it’s getting easier all the time.

The first two items listed above are self-explanatory. Of course, you need your own website and your own product or service. You can’t very well set up an associate program if you don’t own the site or the product(s) you will be promoting. If you have not taken these two steps, you’ll need to do them first. Once you’ve managed to get by these two steps, you can move right to step three, setting up your program.

You will need to search the Internet for a system that will handle commission tracking and payment. You can try to do this yourself but you will most likely miss some and missed ones are missed income. There are free ones, as well as, paid ones.

The positive aspects of an associate management system are many:

1. You can sign on associates more rapidly and grow a larger force of resellers.

2. You’ll enjoy the automation and online management of affiliates.

3. These systems provide full sales statistics for both you and your associates.

Online Dating Can Be Tough

Here’s a little secret that those of the female persuasion keep from us guys: Women, even very beautiful women, like to be approached by a confident and interesting man. Are you surprised? It’s true…and confident and interesting are much more important than looks to ladies of all ages, too. That’s true for internet dating, as well as, dating in your brick and mortar world but we’re talking about internet dating here…so back to the subject at hand.

Once you have joined an online dating service, you will find that there a lot more men than women and that the men are much more likely to browse profiles and make initial contacts than women. Yes, it’s a woman’s world…still. It’s “traditional” for men to make the first move. It always has been and it always will be. Some things never change. That’s why your profile and picture are so important.

Remember…confident and interesting….and that does not translate to cocky and self-centered. It’s important that your profile lets people know that you have friends you care about and that you are passionately interested in a variety of things…not JUST sports. Another thing about that all-important profile….please don’t start it with, “I’m the guy your mama warned you about”.

You will have just shot yourself in the foot with that line. Another one to never use is, “I could be the man of your dreams”. The lady HOPES you are but she will be the judge of that…so don’t insult her intelligence. Remember….exude confidence and interesting and you will find that lady you have been looking for…or she will find you.

Won’t it be nice to have the ladies contacting you instead of you having to do everything? If you write a great profile that stands out in the crowd, that will happen.

Mistakes To Avoid When Using Web Templates

Website templates are very affordable and they save you a lot of effort and time when you want to create a new layout for your website. However, a lot of people make mistakes in the process of choosing and using a web template and end up with something that was unlike the image they had in mind. Here are some guidelines to help you avoid those mistakes.

The first obvious mistake you should be aware of is using a template that is very popular. If many people use the same template, your website will not appear unique at all and your credibility as a solid, different website will be tarnished. In other words, you will appear generic just like your next-door neighbours.

To whole point of using a web template is to save time and effort. You just change the title and appropriate details and you’re done. The biggest mistake one makes is to customize the template beyond recognisation. While that may be good in the sense that you’re creating a unique graphic, you’re defying the very purpose of using a web template — saving time and effort.

However, on the opposite side, if a template you purchase is suitable but some changes must be made to suit your site’s theme, then you will have to take some time to make the changes. For example, you can find a very nice template that suits your hobby site except the original designer has put an image of stamps in the header. You can find images of garden plants and spades to replace the stamps for your gardening hobby site. However, do only make the necessary changes and don’t redesign the whole template.

In some circumstances, some people simply make the wrong choice of templates. This is a very subjective issue but you have to be careful in selecting templates to suit your audience. Do not choose templates just because they are pretty, choose them because they serve your purpose.