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Posts Tagged ‘Rule Of Thumb’

HOW TO FAIL… THE KEY TO SUCCESS!

A String of Failures Is Far More Valuable Than A String Of Wins.

Very early in my advertising career, a client taught me a very important lesson.

At the first agency I worked for my boss, the man in charge of recommending which magazines should carry this clients first advertisements asked me to make these recommendations. A little scared and not wanting to make any mistakes, I did my best to do some research. My boss went on vacation and was not available. Not wanting to delay my task, I recommended 5 magazines for their first advertising with our company. Shortly after their ads ran I called the client to find out how their advertising performed and was told that 4 did well but the 5th did so poorly they would never ever place another ad there. I was devestated and apologized for making this mistake.

 

Not a mistake at all, our client said. When this magazine failed to produce sufficient profits from our investment we learned that other similar magazines should also not be used. You probably saved us far more dollars than the cost of this one magazine. How To Fail… The Self-Hurt Guide Augusten Burroughs #1 New York Times Author of Running With Scissors newest book THIS IS HOW explores age old questions in his delightful easy to read book. From his cover blurb. “If you’re fat and fail every diet, if you’re thin but can’t get thin enough, if you lose your job, if your child dies, if you are diagnosed with cancer, if you always end up with exactly the wrong kind of person, if you always end up alone, if you can’t get over the past, if your parents are insane and ruining your life, if you really and truly wish you were dead, if you feel like it’s your destiny to be a star, if you believe life has a grudge against you, if you don’t want to have sex with your spouse and don’t know why, if you feel so ashamed, if you’re lost in your life.  If You Have Ever Wondered HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO SURVIVE THIS? THIS IS HOW Proven Aid in Overcoming Shyness, Molestation, Fatness, Spinsterhood, Grief, Disease, Lushery, Decreptitude & More. For Young and Old Alike.”

 

One of his chapters is headed HOW TO FAIL. Mr. Burroughs writes: “You will learn much more from failing than from making straight A’s in life. A string of failures is far more valuable than a string of wins. The reason is that our brains were programmed in the factory to look for and pay special attention to novelty. Which is to say the unique.”

 

“So if you’re a straight A student in school or a metaphorical straight-A student in your adult life, that’s a whole lot of same old, same old. One A+ paper blends right into the next. It’s when you get a D that you learn something valuable. It’s when you fall on your ass that you actally make progress. I am a complete and total fuck-up. Which is exactly why I am equipped to write this book and tell you how to live.”

 

“I make rings out of gemstones and bronze and I never went to school for this. I never took a design class and I have no business, actually handling 1,525 degree metal and chrysoberyl cat’s eye gems. But I do it anyway. And when I began, I made one hideous disaster of a ring after another until I had made maybe three hundred. Each time, I tried  to make one nice ring. Each time, I totally failed. Until ring number 301. Which was suddenly, inexplicably cool.”

 

“Now I make more good rings than lousy ones. There are always new mistakes to make. But I never make my old rerun mistakes. Perfectionism is the satin-lined casket of creativity and originality. If you’re a perfectionist, at least stop telling everybody you’re one and try to get over it yourself, alone in your home with the lights off.”

 

Here’s just a few other chapter headings in THIS IS HOW:

 
How To Find Love
How to Be Fat
How To Be Thin
How To Feel Sorry For Yourself
How To Be Confident
How To Get The Job
How To End Your Life
How To Get Over Your Addiction To The Past
How To Finish Your Drink
How To Hold On To Your Dream Or Maybe Not
How To Identify Love By Knowing What It’s Not

 
This is just a small sampling of what this book contains. Mr. Burroughs book is published by St. Martins Press and is available from Amazon as is my book HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE. Lauded by industry experts as “the definitive guide to success in direct response/mail order” If you have always had the desire to start a business of your own there is no better time than now. Using the power of the Worldwide Web you can sell a product or service to anyone no matter where they live and you can start your own business where you live.  In the beginning you can do it without employees or outside office expense… This newly revised edition will help you learn:
 
How To Get Started
How To Find Great Products
How To Make Your Business Profitable Right From The Start
How To Price Your Product or Service For Biggest Profits
Secrets of Creating Winning Mail Order Ads
14 Sure-Fire Check Off Lists That Guarantee Huge Profits
Complete Up-To-Date Information On How To Use The Internet To Make Easy Sales

 

HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE is available from Amazon at its published price of $39.95 plus s&h…. or you can save $10 and order it direct from the publisher for only $29.95 and shipping is FREE. To order send check or money order along with your name and address to: Superior Press 333 N. Michigan Avenue Suite 1032 Chicago, IL 60601. Sold on a 100% Guarantee of Satisfaction or your money back.

HABITS – Why we Make the Same Mistakes in Life & Business Over and Over

It’s Entirely Due to Habits You’ve Formed Over the Years!

Understanding habits can help you radically transform your life and boost your company’s profits, Charles Duhigg, an award-winning investigative reporter with the New York Times, argues in his new book. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business examines daily life within a matrix of oft-overlooked habits that account for more than 40 percent of the actions people peformed daily, according to one study he cites.

That study looked at everything from Proctor & Gamble’s marketing of Fabreze odor freshener to how a down-and-out chronic smoker retooled her habits and became a fit, successful professional.

Most of the choices we make each day may feel like the products of well-considered decision-making, but they’re not,” Duhigg writes. “They’re habits.”

“When a habit emerges, the brain stops fully participating in decision-making,”

The key to changing habits? Understanding “the habit loop,” Duhigg says. This three-step process consists of a cue, or trigger (for example, you awake), a routine (you shower) and a reward (you feel clean and alert).

“When a habit emerges, the brain stops fully participating in decision-making,” he  writes.

Understanding this loop, Duhigg says, is what helped ad man Claude C. Hopkins transform Pepsodent toothpaste into “one of the best known products on earth” in the first half of the 20th century.  His ads in the 1930s explained “tooth film,” coating on teeth that everyone gets, as a trigger, with brushing as the routine and a more beautiful smile as the reward. Pepsodent spiced up the reward with citric acid, mint oils and other chemicals to enhance the cool, tingling taste, Duhigg says. Bingo. The power of habit.

“To modify a habit you must decide to change it.”

“Everything we know about habits, from neurologists studying amnesiacs and organizational experts remaking companies, is that any of them can be changed, if you understand how they function.” Duhigg writes. “However, to modify a habit you must decide to change it.”

Duhigg says he first became interested in the science of habits eight years ago as a reporter in Iraq. There he discovered an American officer in the small city of  Kufa conducting an “impromptu habit modification program.”  He asked the mayor to keep food vendors out of plazas to deprive potential rioters of dinner.

“People looked for the kebab sellers normally filling the plaza, but there were none to be found,” Duhigg says of one tense afternoon. “By 8 p.m., everyone  was gone.”

The description of the ripple effect new habits can start is telling. Duhigg says aluminum company Alcoa’s profits hit record highs under future U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill’s leadership thanks to his obsessive focus on one set of habits: worker safety.

That created he writes, a virtuous “loop” within the whole vast company: Unions embraced measuring individual productivity because it helped determine when the manufacturing process was posing safety risks; managers endorsed workers’ autonomy to stop production lines when they became overwhelming because it was the best way to stop injuries before they occurred.

The book The Power of Habit is published by Random House. These excerpts come from the review written by Bernard Vaughan and published in the Chicago Tribune earlier this year.

If you are struggling to make ends meet… don’t fall into the HABIT of blaming others like your boss or the economy or the powers that be in your state’s capitol or in Washington, D.C.

Now is the time to go into your own business where you never have to worry about your boss letting you go or your company outsourcing your job overseas.

Thanks to the world wide web the mail order business is booming and it’s never been easier to BECOME YOUR OWN BOSS. You don’t have to pull up stakes and move to find a new job. Start your own profitable business right where you live. Keep your overhead low by working from home or garage and all the profits are yours to keep.

HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE will show you step-by-step everything you need to know to get started in this lucrative field. It’s a complete guide to starting your own home-based business.

Long time mail order expert Fred Broitman has written this guide to success in direct response and mail order. You’ll learn:

  • HOW TO GET STARTED
  • HOW TO FIND GREAT PRODUCTS
  • HOW TO MAKE YOUR BUSINESS PROFITABLE RIGHT FROM THE START
  • HOW  TO PRICE YOUR PRODUCT FOR BIGGEST PROFITS
  • SECRETS OF CREATING WINNING MAIL ORDER ADS
  • 14 SURE-FIRE CHECK OFF LISTS THAT GUARANTEE HUGE PROFITS
  • HOW TO USE THE INTERNET TO SELL ALL OVER THE WORLD right from your own home.

This book is sold on a 100% GUARANTEE OF SATISFACTION OR YOUR MONEY BACK!

HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE is available from AMAZON at its published price of $39.95 plus s&h or you can Save $10 and order it direct from the publisher for only $29.95 with FREE SHIPPING. Just send check or money order along with your name and address to: SUPERIOR PRESS 333 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 1032, Chicago, IL 60601 U.S.A.

For orders outside the continental U.S. contact Superior Press.

25 Great Businesses Start-Ups You Can Launch for $500 or Less!

SHOESTRING START-UPS:
25 Great Businesses You Can Launch
for $500 or Less!

Gas prices continue to go up and that means costs for anything that travels and ships are also increasing. Inflation is on the move in just about every category of our lives. But there is plenty of hope to start a business on a low or even no budget. Entrepreneurs launch everyday on small budgets.

A shoestring startup may be the answer you’ve been looking for.

Unemployment in the U.S. is still more than 8% and many of  those millions of men and women have been out of work for a year and even longer. They may not be aware that you can start a small business on a part-time basis and pocket extra income every weekend, or go for the gold by starting a full-time venture. Even if you don’t have a lot of startup funds you can launch a business right at home. A shoestring startup may be the answer you’ve been looking for.

Entrepreneurs have a knack for knowing what niche needs filling. Don’t under estimate your ability  to come up with a perfect business idea. Take a look at your community. Is there a business that needs to be started? If you already have a job, you can test the small business waters with a shoestring start-up without leaving the comfort and security of a steady paycheck and perhaps even nice medical benefits. Maybe you can turn a hobby you love into a profit-making venture.

If you have been let go from a job during our troubled economy, perhaps you can turn that work experience into a small business. As you conduct your own due diligence research, you might find that there is already a business that caters to your proposed market. Analyze the existing business. Could you complete the task faster? Cheaper? Better? If after careful analysis, the anwer is “yes,” then you should prepare to take on the competition.

Thanks to  the Internet, it is possible to do research on just about any topic quickly and easily from the comfort of your own home or local public library. Do a search online to look for business ideas and inspiration. And if you choose a seasonal business, combine it with other businesses to round out a full-time fortune. Planning is key to your success.

Whether you want to pick up extra cash or start a full-time venture, a shoestring startup is for you! Here are 25 idea suggestions that can be started for $500 or less. The businesses are listed in no particular order.

  1. Pet Biz: Pets are a $50-billion industry just in the U.S. alone! Shouldn’t you be grabbing a piece of this pie? Start a pet sitting, walking, furniture, clothing, etc., venture
  2. Sell Wholesale: Find a product that clicks with our culture and buy it wholesale; sell it a profit point that brings in big bucks to you.
  3. Lawn Service: Everyone with a home loves a green lawn but often can’t get results or take the time to care for it.
  4. Window Displays: Every storefront has a window that could be your next moneymaking assignment. If you have a flair for design, consider offering this service.
  5. eBay: Check out your attic or basement or scout out yard sales in your neighborhood. There’s real gold to be found if you’ve got a good eye. Selling your finds on  the online auction site is fun and it’s easy.
  6. Blog for cash: Visit blogger.com and start blogging immediately. Sell ads on your own site or blog for others for money. Use social media to build revenue.
  7. Tailor: If you have sewing skills you can make a mint hemming pants, taking in dresses or taking out an outfit. Work at home or even piggyback on a neighbor or friends facility.
  8. Birthday Biz: Check out your neighborhood card, gift, plant and garden or balloon shop for ideas. Put together a few concepts and sell it as a package via your website.
  9. Delivery Service: Find businesses in your community that don’t offer delivery and ask them if you can start a freelance delivery service. It’s a win-win situation for both of you.
  10. Flea Market Entrepreneur: Become a professional flea market salesperson. You can keep your own job and just run your small business on weekends. Find an old table, and some goods to sell.
  11. Detailing – Boats/Cars/RVs:  People like a clean machine but don’t have the time nor the inclanation to get the job done properly. There are a number of products you can purchase  to make the job an easy one.
  12. Holiday Decorating: There are dozens of holidays throughout the year that offer decorating potential. Scope out restaurants, diners and other small businesses to see if they’d be interested in your work. Create a portfolio.
  13. Junk Removal: Plenty of people have junk around but don’t have a van or truck to haul it. This is where you come in and turn their trash into your treasure.
  14. Personal Assistant: There are plenty of lawyers, accountants, small business owners, local figures and more who need help with their email, shopping, organizing, etc. You can take on as many clients as you can handle.
  15. DJ: A mobile disc jockey business is a very lucrative career. You can work your own hours and party your way to to profits.
  16. Errand Service: There are plenty of businesses and individuals who need help with chores and errands and you can launch a service helping them get the jobs accomplished.
  17. Gutter Cleaning Biz: Every homeowner dreads gutter cleaning. Combine this business with a few other seasonal offerings such as raking leaves, garden and yard cleanups and you are on your way to success.
  18. Concierge Business: You can start your own concierge service right from your home. Local businesses can use your service as well as tourists to the area.
  19. Assembly Service: Have you mastered the little pieces from the IKEA box? Then you can start a business assembling furniture, gas grills, bikes, etc., for your customers. Big potential.
  20. Freelance Writer: If you have some talent as a writer, you can make money putting together anything from press releases to web content for a wide variety of clients.
  21. Digitize Movies: That old video is fading fast and your customers will be delighted that you will transfer the treasured memories to a DVD. Google the various ways you can do it, and place an ad in your local paper.
  22. Just Weeds: Weeds are everywhere and there are a number of small business owners who make a living just pulling weeds and cleaning up.
  23. Power Wash: If you have a power washer you can start a business cleaning homes, decks, etc., for your neighbors and clients.
  24. Garage Sale Organizer: There are garages all over the world that are full of items that could be sold. You sell it for the homeowner and pocket a commission. Fast, easy money.
  25. Herb Garden: People love to cook with fresh herbs but many don’t have the time to start a garden. Buy some pots and start growing. Set up the gardens for your customers.

These are just some suggestions to help you get started thinking how you could take some skills you may already have and turn them into money making businesses. Perhaps some of these ideas will start you thinking about other potential businesses you could start easily from home.

This posting is excerpted from an article that originally ran in SMALL BUSINESSES OPPORTUNITIES November 2012 .

If you decide to consider any of these money-making ideas or if you have the need and desire to start your own business, I would like to offer you a copy of my book HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE at a specially discounted price. This book will show you how to take your new start-up business to the next step. You’ll learn:

  • How to get Started
  • How to find Great Products
  • How to Make Your Business Profitable Right From the Start
  • How to Price your Product or Service for Biggest Profits
  • Secrets of Creating Winning Mail Order Ads
  • 14 Sure-Fire Check Off Lists that Guarantee You Huge Profits
  • and included in this newly revised edition Complete up-to-date information on How To use the Internet to Super Charge your Mail Order Business.

The book is guaranteed to provide you with an easy to follow roadmap to success in a business of your own or your money back!

The book is available from Amazon at its published price of $39.95 plus s&h but you can now save $10 and order it direct from the publisher for only $29.95. Send check or money order along with your name and address to SUPERIOR PRESS 333 N. Michigan Avenue Suite 1032, Chicago, IL 60601. Offer is good only in the U.S. Contact the publisher for details for shipments to other countries.

How To Protect Yourself and Your Privacy On-Line

THERE IS RISING CONCERN OVER SCAMMERS and PRIVACY ON THE INTERNET!

This weeks posting is devoted to helping you to protect yourself while on-line, whether communicating via email, Facebook or Twitter, accessing your bank, or making purchases through on-line merchants. Always remember that it is ultimately up to you to maintain and protect your own privacy!

Keeping your software up-to-date isn’t just a question of adding new features to your programs. It is also a critical part of protecting yourself on-line. But that doesn’t mean just having the latest version of your chosen anti-virus program. Your computer’s operating system and the programs that run on your computer must be up-to-date, too. Never ignore prompts to update your operating system or applications with critical security fixes. When updating your Microsoft operating system, only do it using Windows or Microsoft Update Tools. Macs have a similar updating program that prompts users when it’s time to make an update. All other software programs should be updated via that company’s website to ensure safety.

For years scammers have used email to dupe their victims into sending money or divulging sensitive information. While that’s still a problem, scammers are increasingly turning to social networks, such as Facebook, and using your friends against you. The message, which can appear as a direct message or a post on your Facebook wall, is designed to look like it came from your friend’s profile. A request for money or a free treat from your favorite store presented by a friend can be compelling or a tempting offer but before clicking, you should ask yourself a few questions.

  1. Does the request sound reasonable or is the offer too good to be true?
  2. Is this really something my friend would request/send/write?
  3. Does the language have awkward phrasing or a lot of typos?

If any of those questions raise a red flag, don’t click the link. If you really want to verify the message, contact your friend directly about the request or offer.

When visiting a new website, you should always take a moment to scan the site’s URL  (Uniform Resource Locator) that is displayed in a bar at the top of your Internet browser. That URL, is the address of the website and should be scrutinized for typos or other irregularities to make sure they are not just a clever imposter. Most URL’s will begin with the familiar ‘http’ before the site’s address. News, entertainment and other general interest websites all use this format for their URL’s. But if money is to change hands or you’re asked to share sensitive information such as your Social Security Number, look for a URL with an extra letter. Make sure  that when providing sensitive information that the Web address starts with ‘https‘ instead of ‘http‘. That little ‘s‘ stands for secure, meaning the website has additional security and you are less likely to have your information compromised.

If you use Twitter you’re probably familiar with so-called shortened URL’s which are a method for streamlining a link so it  can fit in Twitter’s 140-character limit. While it  is handy for sharing information, it can be dangerous. Even if you know the person who has posted the link, it’s a good idea  to  proceed with caution. Take the time to expand the link before clicking on it.

Never assume that mobile applications (apps) are safe. Smartphone users who want to use mobile banking should only use apps provided by their financial institution. Third-party apps may not have the same privacy protections as apps offered by your bank and many continue to run even after you exit them. This increases the risk  that keystrokes and touch screen selections will be intercepted. Security on mobile devices will get better but for now don’t do it!

Following these guidelines will make all your on line dealings safer and protect you from scammers.

You Can Get What You Want Just By Asking For It

Could it possibly be that simple? Read on and be amazed…

Sometimes in order to get what you want or need in life (both personally and professionally), you need to be wiling to ask for it.

It sounds like a simple concept, but few people ask for what they really want.

It sounds like a simple concept, but few people ask for what they really want. Instead they hope or expect others (spouse, friends, boss, colleagues, etc.) to already know what’s on their mind. Not only can these unrealistic expectations lead to disappointment and frustration, but they can also result in anger and unsatisfying relationships.

Here are a few tips to help you get what you want by learning how to ask:

  • Create a clear-cut goal of what you want. Avoid vague concepts. For example, perhaps you want more help from your spouse—ask them to be in charge of cooking meals  two nights a week. After all, if you aren’t sure of exactly what will make you happy, how will anyone else know?
  • Don’t be afraid of how others will react when you ask. Many people hold back from asking because they anticipate a negative response. If something is important to you and the request is reasonable, just ask. It’s unfair to assume you’ll receive a negative response.
  • Get an outside perspective by asking someone you trust who’s unaffected by the issue for advice on how to approach your request. An outside view can help you articulate why the request is important to you.
  • Think  through your approach and ensure it’s portrayed in an inoffense manner that explains the feelings behind your request. Use “I” statements instead of “you“.
  • Avoid indirect comments and the belief that you shouldn’t have to ask.

Passive tactics will actually decrease your chances of getting what you really want. Instead you could wind up feeling upset and bitter, wondering why the other person can’t read your mind.

While it can be difficult to ask for certain things, life becomes a lot easier once you accept that the people in your life are often willing to help but aren’t mind readers.

Who knew it could be so easy?

The Ink Well’s monthly bulletin featured the ideas above and if you ever have printing or publishing needs, check them out . You won’t be disapppointed. www.inkwellchicago.com

Wise words to wind up this weeks posting.

Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”
Thomas Jefferson

and then from my favorite sage Ben Franklin:

  • A smile’s  an inexpensive way to change your looks.
  • Those who say it can’t be done are usually interrupted by others doing it.
  • One thing you can’t recycle is wasted time.
  • It’s better to be optimistic and a fool than be pessimistic and right.

Regular readers of my blog are aware of my book HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE and how it’s helped many to realize their dream of owning their own business but if you are new to this site, and are interested in starting a business of your own, here’s a brief rundown of what it contains.

You’ll learn:

How To Get Started
How To Find Great Products
How to Make Your Business Profitable Right From The Start
How To Price Your Business Or Service For Biggest Profits
Secrets Of Creating Winning Mail Order Ads
14 Sure Fire Check Off Lists That Guarantee Huge Profits

and in this newly revised edition…Complete Up-To-Date Information On How To Use The Internet To Super Charge Your Mail Order Business

The book is sold on a 100% Guarantee of Satisfaction or Your Money Back!

It’s available from Amazon at its published price of $39.95 plus s&h or you can save $10 and order it direct from the publisher for only $29.95 and shipping is FREE. Send check or money order along with your name and address to: SUPERIOR PRESS 333 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 1032, Chicago, IL 60601.

15 Simple Rules For A Healthy Happy Life!

REVEALED!  THE UNLOCKED SECRETS ON HOW TO ACHIEVE HAPPINESS AND PEACE OF MIND.

Suffering, he said, arises from trying to control what is uncontrollable.

Epictetus was his name. Born a slave in Rome in 55 AD and lived there until he was banished. He spent the remainder of his life in Greece where he taught philosophy as a way of life. Suffering, he said, arises from trying to control what is uncontrollable. He strongly believed that human beings have a duty to care for all fellow human beings. The person who follows his precepts will achieve happiness and peace of mind.

It is not known how he attained his freedom but he began teaching his philosophy and founded his own philosophy school in Rome until 93 AD when he and all philosophers living there at the time were banished.

Lame since childhood, he lived his life with few possessions and great simpilcity. For much of his life he lived alone but in old age he adopted a friends child who would otherwise have been left to die and raised him with the aid of a woman. Not much more is known about him other than his 15 RULES FOR A BALANCED LIFE. He died around 135 AD.

His philosophy became known as Stoicism. It is a philosophy grounded in accepting everyday reality. While some believe the term refers to numbness,  his original followers known as Stoics sought to maintain a balance between life’s highs and lows.

The philosophy of Epictetus is well known in the American military through the writings and example of James Stockdale an American fighter pilot who was shot down during the Vietnam War. In his book Courage Under Fire, Stockdale credits Epictetus with helping him endure seven and a half years in a North Vietnamese military prison—including  torture—and four years in solitary confinement.

The philosophy of Epictetus plays a key role in Tom Wolfe’s book A Man In Full. His philosophy is also mentioned in James Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man; also in Franny & Zooey by J.D. Salinger and is referred to in Theodore Dreiser’s Sister Carrie.

Psychologist Albert Ellis, the founder of Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy credited Epictetus with providing a foundation for his system of psychotherapy and last but not least his philosophy is an influence on the acting method introduced by David Mamet.

EPICTETUS ANCIENT SECRETS TO A LONG, HEALTHY BALANCED LIFE!

  1. Know what you can control and what you cannot.
  2. Make full use of what happens to you.
  3. Seeking to please is a perilous  trap.
  4. Approach life as a banquet.
  5. Avoid adopting other peoples’ negative views.
  6. Never supress a generous impulse.
  7. Character matters more than reputation.
  8. Self-mastery depends on self-honesty.
  9. The virtuous are consistent.
  10. Be suspicious of convention.
  11. Widsom is revealed through action, not talk.
  12. No shame, no blame.
  13. Pursue the good ardently.
  14. Treasure your mind, cherish your reason, hold to your purpose.
  15. Disregard what doesn’t concern you.

Simple Things Can Make Your Life Easier, Better and Happier

45 really simple things you can do in an hour (or less).

  1. Start smart:  Dive into the day with a super healthy, super delicious breakfast. How about the Apple and  Cheddar Tartine a la REAL SIMPLE Magazine: Split a baguette lengthwise, then crosswise (extra points for whole grain); broil until lightly toasted, 1 to 2 minutes. Dividing evenly, top with 2 tablespoons apple butter, 1/2 thinlly sliced apple, and 2 ounces sliced Cheddar. Broil until the cheese has melted, 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. Tackle just one drawer: Pick the one drawer that gets stuck nearly every time you yank it open because it’s too darn packed. Line up three shoe boxes, and start sorting. One is for saving, one is for giving away, and one goes straight to the garbage.  In less than an hour, you’re on your way to a leaner, meaner abode.
  3. Do it now: If a task can be completed in less than a minute, do it on the spot. So instead of putting a glass in the sink, put it in the dishwasher or wash the darn thing.
  4. Hide your keys: Buy a magnetic key holder. Put a spare car key and a spare house key in it, and place it under your car. You will lock yourself out of your car, and doing this will make you feel like the smartest person on the planet.
  5. Waterproof your shoes.
  6. Organize your documents: Learn how to organize your documents and photos on your home computer so you can find files when you need them.
  7. Clean your microwave: Get rid of the funky smell. Martha Stewart likes to put a tablespoon of lemon juice into a micro-safe cup of water, then let it come to a boil (roughly one minute). That loosens the goop on the interior surface so you can sponge the mess away.
  8. Make vinaigrette from scratch: Mix one tablespoon, red wine or white wine vinegar with four tablespoons olive or vegetable oil. Add freshly ground pepper, a nice pinch of salt, maybe a snip or two of fresh herbs or a teaspoon of Dijon mustard.
  9. Buy instant blooms: Buy a soon to bloom plant (maybe a tiny hyacinth) to bring the feeling of spring into your life.
  10. Clean out your T-shirt drawer.
  11. Purge your email: Be ruthless
  12. Reconnect: Send a quick email to one person on your reconnect list.
  13. Get kids organized too: Put some sticky labels on shelves so your kids can put stuff away where you want it.
  14. Create a new contact: When someone sends you an email create the contact right away (or later that day) so you don’t lose their information ever again.
  15. Learn to make a house drink: Find a quick recipe using what you have in your cabinet, practice twice to make sure they are good. Done.
  16. Count to 10: Suddenly overwhelmed by clutter and/or general messiness? Return just ten things to  their rightful places–and yes, the trash can counts as a rightful place, but it also helps to have a bag always at the ready for thrift store donations.
  17. Go for the burn: The Beat-Burn exercise apps deliver amazing workouts in 15-minute increments. A treadmill/outdoor training app and an elliptical app are $4 each on iTunes. lolofit.com
  18. Open a junk e-drawer: Open up a new email account for all the retail, frequent shopper and otherwise less-than-urgent emails. Visit it once a week and dispatch everything you don’t need to the recycle bin.
  19. Add a shelf to your closet: Just one of those white-wire shelves in your closet will reduce the mess.
  20. Do breakfast on the go: Cook your oatmeal in a paper cup. It’s easy to transport to car or bus, and cleanup is a snap–just dump the empty cup in the trash.
  21. Iron tomorrow’s shirt and trousers tonight.
  22. Cook extra rice: Use the leftovers as a base for fried rice.
  23. Organize your bookmarks.
  24. Create a simple filing system for take-out menus.
  25. Get rid of your home phone: If you go with just a cellphone, you have only one set of messages.
  26. Clean out your medicine cabinet: This is a huge boost because chances are you look into your medicine cabinet at key points of the day–early in the morning and before you go to bed at night. It’s amazing what a lift it is to reach for eye cream in a space that’s clean and organized.
  27. Organize your jewelry: Put all of your jewelry on a hanging rack. Seeing all of your necklaces and dangling earrings means no time wasted trying to find accessories in the morning.
  28. Pull wire hangers out of closets and take them to dry cleaner.
  29. Reconcile your Tupperware drawer: Dump the lids and/or containers that don’t have a mate.
  30. Alphabetize your spices: It will make it easier to find them when cooking.
  31. Turn your cans label first.
  32. Sew a button.
  33. Take shoes to a shoe repair.
  34. Write a thank-you note.
  35. Make lunch the night before.
  36. Clean around light switches and door knobs.
  37. Call your mom.
  38. Give your dog a bath.
  39. Do some push-ups.
  40. Polish your nails.
  41. Organize your book shelf: You may find a favorite title you haven’t checked out in a while or a book you just plain forgot to read.
  42. Say goodbye to old bras: Clean out that bra drawer and take the ones you don’t wear anymore to a local shelter.
  43. Create a new playlist.
  44. Celebrate your memories: Put that photo sharing folder to good use. End each day by looking at a photo you haven’t seen for a while. Guaranteed to bring a smile.
  45. Instant recycling: Put a pretty basket near the entrance to your home, and deposit the junk mail and unwanted catalogs as you pass by.

Little Known IRS Office That Actually Works For the 99%

This posting is considerably longer than any other I have ever done. Take my word for it. Ignore the “TL;DR” crowd, this one you will really enjoy! It’s the inside story about a government office that actually works to save all of us from paying more taxes than we should.

DEFENDER OF LAST RESORT…Nina Olson is director of the Taxpayer Advocate Service, whose job is to oversee “advocates” in every state. These employees of the IRS who represent taxpayers in egregious disputes with the service. The advocates are grease in the gears of an agency that gets jammed all too often.

Olson wins relief for 70 percent of the 300,000 people and businesses that open a case

There has been only one national taxpayer advocate, Olson, has held the position since Congress created it a decade ago. She presides over 2,000 caseworkers and data analysts–a sliver of the IRS, which employs over 100,000 people. Individuals, corporations, small businesses, even millionaires and sovereign nations have sought the help of the  Taxpayer Advocate Service, as have accountants and trained tax preparers who find the tax code and the IRS impossible to navigate. In a typical year, Olson wins relief for 70 percent of the 300,000 people and businesses that open a case, according to her office. Many of these petitioners have usually exhausted most other opportunities for recourse and are often experiencing severe economic hardship.

Though she has characterized IRS procedures as Kafkaesque, Olson empathizes with the agency. Congress is constantly demanding that it collect more revenue, both to bridge what’s known as the tax gap–the more than $385 billion discrepancy between the revenue  the IRS actually collects and the amount the government believes it is owed each year–and to pay down the federal deficit. While Congress demands more money from the IRS, however, it has not been generous in funding the agency.

Congress is also making the tax code more complicated every day. Right now it tops out at 3.8 million words, four times as long as War and Peace. The IRS doesn’t have the manpower to manage the scads of credits and changes to the code it is required to enforce. And computer glitches are entangling more people in audits than ever before–millions in just this year.

“For the majority of taxpayers, the IRS has become faceless, nameless, with no accountability and no liability.”

Part of Olson’s job is to target the agency’s failures and shame it into fixing them. At the same time, she’s looking at taxpayers and trying to figure out why some of them don’t pay. She recently gave a speech to the Federal Bar Association’s annual lunch with the  theme: How the 99% experiences the tax system. She started with the bad news:

  • One in three won’t get their calls to the IRS answered.
  • The wait time for half of all people who have written to the IRS is more than six weeks.

When I heard that“, she exclaimed, whacking her head, “I nearly hit my head against a wall.” “For the majority of taxpayers, the IRS has become faceless, nameless, with no accountability and no liability.” One of the attorney’s in the audience said “she’s completely right”. He called his dealings with the IRS “a hall of mirrors, where there are no real people and only disembodied voices with badge numbers.” He  was recently snarled with a two-year fight to reverse a $24,000 penalty for a client, a Midwest manufacturer. He said “No business could stay in business behaving the way the IRS does toward people.” The case was resolved only after he brought it to the local affiliate of Olson’s agency.

“I saw the consequences of an irrational and overly burdensome approach to tax administeration,”

Olson, 58, is an improbable insider, an animated woman who prefers hot pink blazers and jangly earrings to power suits. She lives in a D.C. townhouse and walks two miles to work every day. When she was younger, she wanted to be a painter. She studied fine arts at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania and moved to Chapel Hill, N.C., after graduation to start her painting career. She took a part-time job working for a lawyer, whose clients were local wineries, coffee shops, and artists. Olson had a knack for numbers and organizaton, so friends and local businesspeople started asking her to prepare their tax returns. To her surprise, she was good at it. She bought a copy of the tax code and taught herself its ins and outs. In 1987 she enrolled in North Carolina Central University School of Law, taking night classes while working for the lawyer and raising her son by herself. Four years later she became a tax attorney. In 1991 the local bar association asked if she’d be willing to take on some pro bono work. Olson wanted to use her tax expertise to help those who were unable to buy groceries or pay rent because the IRS was levying their paychecks. The following year she started an independent low-income tax clinic, the first of its kind in the country. Soon  the clinic was serving about a thousand taxpayers. One woman was an immigrant from Egypt, who earned $10,000 a year as a hairdresser and was being charged about $35,000 by the IRS. The woman’s husband, who beat her, had defrauded the IRS without her knowledge. When the agency uncovered the scheme, he fled  the country. The woman could barely read English and had never filed a tax return, but the IRS viewed her as uncooperative. It took Olson four years to free the woman of her obligations. “I saw the consequences of an irrational and overly burdensome approach to tax administeration,” she says.

In the 1990’s the Senate held scathing hearings lambasting the agency for abusing taxpayers, which eventually led to the passage of the Internal Revenue Service Restructuring and Reform Act in 1998. The new law increased oversight of the IRS and included federal funding to expand low-income tax clinics. It also created the naional taxpayer advocate, a position that reported to then Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, not the IRS commissioner. Two years later she was appointed to become the first, and to date, the only director of The Taxpayer Advocate Service, whose position has no term limits. She told herself that she would stay until she got bored or until frustration with the IRS drove her to quit. “I’m not bored yet”, she says. “And I still have a bit more work to do”.

Olson’s story ran in the April 9–April 15 issue of Bloomberg Businessweek and this posting is an except from it.  As citizens of the United States we are all entitled to make use of this little known service that has resolved many tax problems of the 99%…and we are grateful for such an exemplary government employee as Nina Olson.

If you’ve taken the time to read through this posting and learned something you didn’t know before, as I did, I thank you very much and I would appreciate hearing from any new readers as well as regular followers.

The Secret Formulas for Success

ARE THERE MATHEMATICAL LAWS THAT GUARANTEE SUCCESS?
Scentists have uncovered special laws that reveal How To Become Successful!

  • Success Code #1…The Power Handshake. Putting your free hand on the arm of the person you’re shaking hands with signifies power and influence.  The handshake is a key determinant of success–it conveys, among other things, the level of regard in which you hold the person you’re shaking hands with. Make your grip firm, but not too firm. Your palm should be cool and dry, and hands should be pumped up and down three times–but for no longer than a total of 3 seconds. It’s also very important to look the person inthe eye and smile.
  • Success Code #2…Promote your “Happiness Hormones”. Happiness can spread like an epidemic. If you’re happy you will attract successful happy individuals to your side. Your motivation level will rise and over a period of years by making friends with happy motivated people, who usually are successful, you’ll become one of them.
  • Success Code #3…Learn to drink moderately with your friends and coworkers. The key word here is “moderately”. A study has shown that people who drink one to three beers with their friends or coworkers earn 17% more on average than those who don’t imbibe socially. Heavy drinkers are also known to earn around 6% less in salary on average.
  • Success Code #4…It’s called the “Pareto Principle”. It’s a simple formula that almost always produces business success. The founders of Google knew from the get-go that their company would be successful because they relied on this principle. It’s also known as the 80-20 rule. It states that 80% of a company’s success is generated by just 20% of the work and effort expended by its employees. Therefore, one of the primary components necessary for them to be successful was to have each employee at the company spend 20% of his or her time in the development of new ideas,–such as Google +.
  • Success Code #5… 1.618 If you have the desire to build an exemplary house, shoot the perfect photo, or paint a picture that all the galleries will want then make sure you know this number: 1.618. It expresses the perfect proportion between two lengths. Leonardo da Vinci’s teacher discovered this Golden Ratio (aka the Divine Proportion) in old manuscripts that he came upon more than 500 years ago. He then passed the knowledge on to his pupil, who used the formula  to create  the most precious painting of all time: the Mona Lisa.
  • Succes Code #6…Watch your body language.  Your body language can help you become successful. Start with your posture. The right posture will make you more confident. Arms relaxed, lean back slightly, chest protuding a bit. Mastering these posture hints will actually program yourself to adopt an attitude of self-assurance. A slightly tilted head is usually an indication of interest or contemplation–but if the tilt is accompanied by arms folded protectively in front of the body, it’s a sign of a defensive mechanism. This programs the brain to be uncertain and ready to flee. Keep your body straight and arms relaxed to the side. Now that you’ve figured out the situation, you’re relaxed and confident. Your eyes communicate this attitude by looking firmly straight ahead or to the side. If you’re in a position to talk to someone, make eye contact. The brain then sends out the message that “everythings under control” Do not look down or away from the person you’re speaking to. Looking down indicates an attempt to distance yourself from a situation, causing your brain to get distracted and become programmed to feel disinterest and a lack of self-confidence. Your brain then shifts its focus to concentrate on internal conflicts. If you tend  to play with your fingers you’re sending negative signals. People do this generally because they’re attempting to calm themselves down when in a awkward situaion. Be aware of everything your body is doing at all times and you will be well on your way to becoming successful.

Todays blog post is excerpted from one of my favorite magazines i.d (Ideas and Discoveries) You can subscribe online: Idea & Discoveries Magazine

Now that I’ve got you properly motivated to become successful, let’s pause for our sponsor.

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You’ll learn:

  1. How to Get Started
  2. How to Find Great Products
  3. How  to Make Your Business Profitable From the Start
  4. How to Price Your Product or Service for Biggest  Profits
  5. Secrets of Creating Winning Mail Order Ads

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HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE is available from Amazon at its published price of $39.95 plus s&h or you can save $10 and order it direct from the publisher for $29.95 plus $3.50 s&h (Total $33.45). Send check or money order along with your name and address to: SUPERIOR PRESS 333 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 1032, Chicago, IL 60601.

Martinis and Ice Cream Sundaes – The Key to a Happy Healthy Old Age

Could it really be as simple and tasty as Martinis and Ice Cream Sundaes?

Read on Oh You Doubters!  Irving Fields, 96 years old is not only in excellent health but looks 30 years younger than his actual age. What does he attribute this to, yes a nightly martini and an ice cream sundae before he turns in for the evening…Oh and one other thing, Never ever retire.

Mr. Fields has been playing piano in New York City since the 1920s, most recently at an upscale Italian Steak House. ” That’s his fountain of youth right there: the martini” a person squealed the other night. She was pointing to a brimming two-olive vodka martini resting on the grand piano being played by Mr. Fields.

As for the martini, a nightly staple, Mr Fields said it was as good an explanation as any for his longevity. “Don’t forget the ice cream sundae I have every night before bed”, he said while dusting off  a medley of tunes from “Fiddler on the Roof” (He has never let his playing get in the way of his talking.)

“The real secret is that I love what I do, and the piano is my best friend”, said Mr Fields, who was dressed in a velvet blazer and stylish tie as he table-hopped, chatted with customers and took requests. His wife Ruth, 82, was also working the room.

(This story on Mr. Fields was reported by Corey Kilgannon in the New York Times a week ago) As for the other hints to his endurance, Mr. Fields has produced a flyer, a stack of which sit on the piano, with his “Secrets to Longevity,” a list of aphorisisms like “Eat four hours before bedtime (You’ll digest better)” and “Never make a decision intoxicated”.  A regular patron commented on his piano skills “I’m big on authenticity, and you can hear the influence of the ’30s and ’40s and ’50’s in his playing. He’s lived through all musical eras and styles. Plus he’s always had the ability to play and charm his listeners at the same time, and it’s that charm that keeps you coming back”.

Mr. Fields says the six-nights a week job is perfect for him because it’s a two-minute walk from the apartment on Central Park South where he has lived for 50 years. “I get so many young people coming in saying they love Sinatra”, he said, “and they’re requesting the classics”.

Mr. Fields was born Yitshak Schwartz in 1915 and grew up in Brooklyn as the youngest of  six children. he was studying piano by 1923, and by 1933, he was playing on cruise ships. By the 1940s, he said, he was playing in the biggest hotel lounges, piano rooms and supper clubs in New York City. In the 1950s, he was a fixture at the Mermaid Room and he also played the Copacabana, the Latin Quarter, El Morocco and the St. Moritz. He was the regular pianist in the Oak Room at the Plaza from 1982 to 1990. Mr Fields remembered Ava Gardner dancing barefoot  to his Latin songs and Edward G. Robinson requesting Viennese waltzes.

He has made more than 80 albums, with an eclectic style that seemed to combine the Catskills, Manhattan, Miami and Havana. The owner of the Italian Steak House where Mr Fields performs says. “As long as his fingers perform, he will be playing here. He’s one of a kind. At 10:30 at night, when most people his age would be in bed, he’s going from table to table taking requests. I think it keeps him going.”

If you’re ever in New York and would like to hear Mr. Fields perform, you can find him at the upscale Italian Steak House, NINO’S on Central Park South.

I can’t teach you how to play piano like Mr. Fields, but if you’re looking for a way to own and operate your own business, and never have to worry about layoffs, companies downsizing or what you’re going to do after you retire, then you owe it to yourself to look into Mail Order as a way to “keep on working”

HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE, written by long time mail order expert, Fred Broitman has been accclaimed by by experts in the field to be “the definitive guide to success in direct response/mail order.” 

You’ll learn:

  • HOW TO GET STARTED
  • HOW TO FIND GREAT PRODUCTS
  • HOW TO MAKE YOUR BUSINESS PROFITABLE FROM THE START
  • HOW TO PRICE YOUR PRODUCT FOR BIGGEST PROFITS
  • SECRETS OF CREATING WINNING MAIL ORDER ADS
  • COMPLETE UP-TO-DATE INFORMATION ON HOW TO USE THE INTERNET TO SUPER CHARGE YOUR MAIL ORDER BUSINESS

Mr. Broitman’s book is sold with a guarantee of satisfaction or your money back.

HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE is available from Amazon at its published price of $39.95 plus s&h or you can save $10 and order it direct from the publisher for only $29.95 plus $3.50 s&h (Total $33.50). Send check or money order along  with your name and address to SUPERIOR PRESS 333 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 1032, Chicago, IL 60601

Worthwhile Books