A Book You Really Need to Read

April 27th, 2008

OK, I want to be clear on this one, I mean you really need to read this book whether you are a salesman or not. I just finished reviewing it and I think it can help anyone that wants more out of life in the way of wealth and simply in the way of happiness. This book was authored by award winning salesmen and entrepreneurs Neil Franklin and Jack Spirko.

They call the book, the definitive book on how to sell and I think they are spot on. It is just that they don’t just teach you how to sell in regard to product as a professional sales person, they also teach you the philosopy of effectively selling yourselves in all walks of life. Here is one of my favorite quotes from the book,

Deep inside you exists another person. That person has the knowledge, expertise, experience, and wisdom to guide you throughout your life. It’s the real you. We use the term real because most of us live our lives as actors, fulfilling various life roles as we have been conditioned to do so since leaving the innocence of childhood

This book is indeed deep and even a tiny bit spiritual but it is actually very easy to read and understand. I am going to read it again because like most books that are really deep you get more each time you read through it. Here is another quote that might make that a bit more clear,

“As the child matures, the programming by parents and society continues. Now this young adult has to get admitted into a competitive university, get his first job, or possibly ask for a raise if underpaid. The sad part is that at age five, he would have known exactly what to do and would have asked fearlessly.”

Again I highly recommend you have a look at picking up a copy of this book, it is one I can honestly say is worth far more then the cost. Spend just a bit of time learning to adapt some of these principals to your life and indeed the return of investment will be huge. You can even preview and read the first 12 pages of the book at this link.

~ Cost Cutter

Cool Word Press Trick

February 12th, 2008

If you use Word Press for blogging you know that it comes with a stock visual editor that is basiclly a limited WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor and you can switch over to a HTML code view.  One thing that annoyed me was the lack of some very basic editing buttons in the visual editor.  Things like underlining and redo and undo for instance along with a formating options for things like headings and paragraphs as well.

I mean come on!  These are very basic word processing functions.  Then I learned they were there you just needed to know how to access them.

The command to do so is, hold down alt and shift and then hit the “v” key.  This adds the features mentioned above along with some others like a code cleaner and the ability to insert special characters (like Π or €, etc).  Now do not ask me why these functions are hidden.  That makes no sense but now you know how to access them.  Give it a try I think most bloggers will enjoy the added editing power with out having to switch to code view and doing it manually.

Raising Money for your School with Schoolpop

February 12th, 2008

I really love kids and even though I only choose to have one of my own I do what I can to help all kids especially when it comes to education. So when I was asked to look at a site called Schoolpop that offers simple elementary school fundraisers I was more then happy to do so. Now I have purchased things form kids that knock on my door or have parents bringing it to the office that range from candy to candles to popcorn and chocolate. They all have one thing in common, they are about 300% more expensive then buying the same thing from a store. Still we do it just to help out, right?

Schoolpop is totally different here is how it works strait from the Schoolpop website,

Simply register with Schoolpop and start shopping. You don’t need to purchase anything you wouldn’t normally buy. Just shop with hundreds of Schoolpop merchants online, in stores, or through catalogs, and you’ll automatically earn contributions for your favorite school or nonprofit.  All of our merchants are committed to helping your community by contributing a percentage of your purchases to the school or nonprofit of your choice.

The beauty is you just buy things you would buy anyway and a percentage goes to your school of choice. To make this successful PTAs and Student Groups will need to be sure to advise the students and parents of the options but it is clear a decent sized school could do very well if each parent made even two-three purchases a year. All that and we don’t need to send our kids door to door giving people an excuse to overspend and break their diets. These guys definitely make my list of recommended sites.

Learn How to Write a Busiess Plan

February 12th, 2008

Writing a business plan can be a daunting task the first time you do it. So many would be great entrepreneurs have a great idea and need funding for it, some even self fund or boot strap their business and they all have big plans. They will tell you how big their company will be some day or why you should invest your money but most do not have a formal business plan.

Just this last week I was presented with a new idea that I really thought was excellent and the entrepreneur was clearly working hard and committed to getting the product to market. She was excited, smart and full of enthusiasm and of course wanted me to invest in her idea.

Now here is the reality the venture could be huge or a huge flop and that risk is always present so the risk is not why I turned her down. Nope it was the lack of a business plan that did it. She even had great packaging and was lined up to do trade shows and meet some perspective buyers from major retail chains. The risk is still there so I must make a risk assessment as an investor.

How I make a risk assessment

This is pretty simple I know the results if the product totally flops that is a 100% loss right? Yet what a business plan will tell me is what I can expect to see in gross sales and return of investment at various levels of success. How can an entrepreneur expect investment if they can’t even tell me the return I will get and in how long if things go right, mostly right or moderately successful. I need the numbers for all those out comes to weigh the risk reward, without that I can’t even get started.

I also may not understand the market, the supply chain, the competition and the total market cap and opportunity in a new niche.   I need it spelled out and I need to understand the marketing that the company will use to communicate its message to the world. Additionally if I am to put my money or even just partner with assistance/consulting with a company need to know their vision.  More importantly I need to know they understand their own vision. All of these things are addressed with a proper business plan. Even if you don’t want investors you need a business plan to be sure you have your own vision right, your own risk/reward ratio strait and to help you make the right decisions.

How do you do it? Easy turn to one of my heroes in business, Donald Trump for some free assistance. Trump University offers a free How to Write a Business Plan course you can sign up for and lean a ton from. I also recommend the excellent free business templates available from Score. They have templates for business plans, financial work sheets and other needs.

Cool new real estate investment forum and website

February 12th, 2008

As I have said many times on this blog one of the best ways to build wealth is with the proper use of real estate as part of your investing portfolio. The problem for most people is simply where do you start? I mean there are countless techniques like buying foreclosures, land lording, flipping properties, buying foreclosures and foreclosures or buying and managing multi tenant properties.

I have always also believed that in the day and age of the internet it is collective intelligence that helps people skip making countless mistakes in favor of learning from the mistakes and experience of others. Today by sharing information people are able to do more and learn more faster then ever before So, when I was asked to have a look at a new real estate website, Investors Lounge Online, and their brand new real estate investment forum I was happy to do so and let my readers know about it.

I found the site to be beautifully designed with excellent resources including a great articles section, advice on financing, great FAQs, advice on auctions and a ton more.  The site even offers some great real estate tools.   I think however, it is the forum with the most long term potential.  Right now it is brand new and it could really use some folks to join and get it started off with a bang.  The forum is feature rich and again the design is just excellent.  They even have translation functions into 10 languages, talk about bringing collective intelligence across the globe.  With outstanding information and resources and a forum that is sure to become an outstanding resource of its own Investors Lounge makes my list of recommended sites.

One Heck of a Cool WordPress Plugin

February 11th, 2008

One of my people who knows me as the true author of this blog absoultely hates the “Mandigo Theme” I have on this blog as of right now.

[If you don’t see a blue swirl like mark in the header that means I changed it since this post.]

I honestly have been using it for one main reason and that is a feature it has that I have yet to find another theme that had it built in. That feature is the ability to not display some of the pages in the navigation of the blog.

What I mean is like this, say I want a nice page that says “Thank You for Subscribing to my Blog” after an email opt in. Right now if I use the “Pages Feature” in Word Press and publish it then it shows up in my page navigation. Now I really don’t want a link that says “Thank You for Subscribing to my Blog” across the top of my blog do I? It wouldn’t make sense to a visitor if they clicked on it.

Also perhaps in a given post I want to promote a product and have a sales page for it. May be I just want to create that page in Word Press rather then with software and then upload it. May be it is a “landing page” to be used with PPC or for any one of many reasons I just want a page that is not displayed in the navigation of my site for every visitor. With Word Press I just can’t do it.

So when I found Mandigo despite not really liking the look of it (compared to some other themes) I compromised and used it because it has a tab called “Theme Options” where you can hide or show pages.

Now I have found a much better solution! It is called Page Links Manager, and it is a simple to install plug in that ads a tab to the “Manage” Tab in word press. This plugin takes blogging with word press to a new level creating what ammounts to a real website content management system. With it all you do is deselect the pages you don’t want to display and they don’t show up in the navigation. I put a simple sample page on this blog to show you what I mean, you can see that page here, Page Link Manager Example.

Here is a screen shot of the control panel as you can see it is very easy to use. There are also some folders in the download zip that are for MACOS, just ignore those and upload only the simple .php file and activate and after that it could not be any easier. Great plug in and very big Kudos to the author.

Page Link Manager Screen Shot

 

Cool gifts check out this charging station.

February 11th, 2008

OK Valentines day is a few days away and this is one in my opinion where men have it easy. Flowers, candy, jewelry and you are set as a guy. If you’re smart have them sent to your lady’s work place and you will have a very good Valentines day.

What about buying for men though? Most of us are not that worried about getting something for Valentines day but hey if we are going to be getting something give us something cool. So with Valentines bearing down and that thought on my mind when I was asked to take a look at a cool gift site called Vat 19 I was more then willing to do it.

One item that really caught my eye is this electronics charging valet station. The electronics Charging Station neatly hides cords while charging up to three devices at a time. The 5-plug surge protector is concealed and the small shelf and drawer store other items such as your keys and wallet.  Overall a cool and functional gift that I know most men and probably many women would really like.  Though guys if you get one for your lady, don’t skip the flowers, trust me.

Using comments to build your email list

February 11th, 2008

I picked this up from a blog I read about making money online called, MindValley Labs.  The technique is pretty strait forward and should be really effective.  All you do is create a “thank you” message so that anyone that comments on your blog is then immediately asked to join your email list.  That is a nice passive add on form of email marketing isn’t it?
Now to me this is sort of the type of thing we should have all been doing a long time now.  I mean when you get a comment that person is engaged with you there is no better time to ask them to take action then while they are in action.

When I figure out how to do this in Word Press I will post instructions but it may be next week.  If you can figure this out and you blog about it I will post about your blog rather then just telling my readers how to do it.  If you come up with a way to modify Word Press just comment about it below and link to your post on it.  I will then do a full post linking to your post and telling my readers where they can learn how.

Otherwise it will be next week before I have time to get to it.