A Critical Review of Michael Gerber’s E-Myth Mastery With an Emphasis on the First Part

Introduction

Upfront, I should provide some insight into who I am and make it clear exactly way I chose to critically review Michael Gerber’s “E-Myth Mastery.” Knowing a little bit about me and the reasons way I chose to review Gerber’s book should give any readers of this article an idea of my personal perspective, which could help in sniffing out biases and allow them to come to their own conclusions regarding the book. I consider myself a fairly objective individual though, and believe my analysis to be only partially biased in one respect, but that in itself could be a bias. You decide.

Background

The people who are most likely to come across books by Michael Gerber are business professionals seeking a leg up in the corporate world. Many of them likely already have some experience living in and understanding that world. They have likely already read many of the most well-known business books, such as “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” or “Who Moved My Cheese?” As far as I can tell, Michael Gerber’s “E-Myth” series is not quite as well-known as those books and professionals turn to it when all other resources have been exhausted, or when business professionals get the bug to venture out on their own.

I am not one of said persons. I am not a business professional. I have spent the last 7 years serving in the United States Air Force, an organization that one would think provides opportunities to catch a glimpse of the corporate way of life, but this is not the case for reasons that are beyond the scope of this article. I also have not read many of the most well-known books on business. Michael Gerber’s “E-Myth Mastery,” the latest in his series, could almost be considered the first book I am reading as part of my initial steps to ‘becoming a member” of the business world. I am looking to venture out on my own. A fact which leads me to what you really need to know about me.

I am a graduate student enrolled in the Master’s of Entrepreneurship Program at Western Carolina University. I am in the first class, Entrepreneurial Planning, of the first semester of that program. The assigned textbook of the class is “E-Myth Mastery.” We are to read the entire book by the end of the class, roughly 70 pages a week. After reading the Introduction and the Forward in the first week I was reluctant to read any further. I knew I had to though; it was assigned reading, after all, and I did not really want to fake my way through grad school. I determined that the only way I was going to be able to get through the book was by marrying up the reading requirement with the writing assignment.

The writing assignment involved writing an article on a topic of my own choosing and posting it to an ezine website. Obviously, this is said article. If I had not made the decision to combine the two assignments, the article you are reading right now would more than likely be about something like, “Evaluating Maslow’s Pyramid of Needs in the Information Age so that You can Learn How to Motivate Your People Using Twitter” or something to that effect.

To say I have issues with the first part of Gerber’s “E-Myth Mastery” would be an understatement. I will explain exactly what my opinions and thoughts are momentarily, but it should be noted that a great deal many people have found “E-Myth Mastery” most inspired and inspiring. In writing this article, I did not seek to deprive anyone of any sense of well-being gained from reading “E-Myth Mastery.” And my intent was not to shame anyone for having found kernels of truth in the book. There is plenty of material in the book worth taking to heart, especially once you get into the second part, but I personally found there to be just as much that is not. People who have found more rather than less worth in the book can do what I was unable to do, that is, overlook some very distracting elements, primarily in the first part, which sullied the rest of the book for me.

Critical Review

I’ll start this critical review by recounting what the meaning is behind the phrase “E-myth.” Considering that it paints the cover of every one of Gerber’s books on entrepreneurship, the meaning behind the phrase is probably important to know. Up until the release of “E-myth Mastery,” the meaning behind the phrase was spun out of what Gerber saw as a fatal assumption that most budding entrepreneurs make. The assumption says that the success of any business directly correlates with the entrepreneur’s desire to own a business, the amount of capital he/she puts in, and the extent to which he/she knows the business’s target market.

The result of people falling into the “E-Myth” is a phenomena Gerber describes as an “entrepreneurial seizure.” When a person gets it into their head that they could start a business, when they are primarily focusing on the technical work involved in their trade, and when they think that knowing the craft of their trade is enough to make a business work, that person is experiencing an entrepreneurial seizure. Think of Dan Connor from the TV show “Roseanne.” He knew how to fix motorcycles. He thought that his knowledge of his trade was enough to make his motorcycle shop venture a success. He was experiencing an entrepreneurial seizure.

In Gerber’s books, such as “E-Myth Revisited,” which preceded “E-Myth Mastery,” he speaks at length about the myriad of other aspects of business that must be considered, understood, and synergized in order to make a truly successful business. He takes the reader through various business life cycles, business systems, and business processes. The “E-Myth” concept and his advice on how to counter the myth are all strictly within the bounds of the business world up to this point. However, with the release of “E-Myth Mastery” Gerber expands the meaning behind the phrase so that it no longer fits within the realm of the business world. It ends up pushing into the territories of self-help, psychology, religion, and philosophy.

The E-Myth Myth

With “E-Myth Mastery” Gerber adds to the meaning behind the “E-Myth.” He explains that the other side of the “E-Myth” is the common belief that the only people who can be entrepreneurs are those born with a gift; further, said people need only surround themselves with others who know the appropriate trades to create a successful business. Gerber rebukes this claim by saying, “[…] every single, solitary person on this earth […] can discover within himself the brilliance, the genius, the captivating and captivated soul of an entrepreneur, once he knows where to look.” This is said on the fourth page of the Introduction.

Here is where the hairs on my neck instantly started to bristle. I could not help but think that Gerber was being disingenuous in order to sell more books. I could not help but think that one of the locations where we are all supposed “to look” is to his book. In that quote and throughout the book, he leaves out the reality in order to play on people’s emotions, build them up and never let them down, the way self-help books generally do. The reason I think this is because, to me, it is so blatantly obvious that his stance is false; not everyone can become an entrepreneur, plain and simple, and especially not to the level he promotes – “World Class.”

We cannot all be “World Class” entrepreneurs because:

1) There are just some people who are born less capable. Even if he had said, “Anyone can be an entrepreneur, but only after a long and arduous training regimen,” in order to make it somewhat realistic, he still would be wrong. Not everyone has the capacity to even begin considering becoming an entrepreneur.

2) Economically speaking, only so many of the would-be entrepreneurs would get the dollar vote to keep them going. That’s just basic Capitalism at work.

3) If we were all entrepreneurs, then who would do the work at the lower levels that needed to be done?

4) It would be like those planets where everyone has super strength; therefore, no one really has super strength. Okay, I was being funny with the last one, but you get my point.

When I told a friend I was considering writing an article critically reviewing “E-Myth Mastery,” and explained this point to him, he said that it reminded him of a line from “Ratatouille.” The line he was referring to was, “Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.” That makes a tremendous amount of sense. It is realistic, but at the same time inspiring. The problem is that Gerber is not saying the same thing. What Gerber is saying in effect is, “Everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can’t come from anywhere.” Do you see how that does not make sense?

The Would-Be Psychologist Disguised as a Business Man

Now let’s say I’m misinterpreting Gerber. Let’s say that Gerber was in fact saying,”Certain people, with enough hard work and dedication, could all become entrepreneurs, if they knew where to look.” Based on that which Gerber writes in the first part of the book concerning all that is involved in the hard work, where he would have those certain people look, and Gerber’s background, I still would take issue with the book. Before I can explained why, I need to explain why it is that Gerber even decided that the “E-Myth” series needed a sequel.

Gerber found, while working with a client gone astray, that his business model had been ill-designed for years. His company, E-Myth Worldwide, had been immediately pushing business concepts, systems, processes, etc. onto its clients, telling them to implement what they had been given into their companies and as a result their companies will surely be fixed, without first working with the client to fix the client. Gerber decided to cross the boundaries of business and dive into the world of self-help and psychology. Now, realize that I do not take issue with the notion so much as the result. It was a good idea, but it was poor execution. I say this for one simple reason, Gerber is not a psychologist; he was not qualified to write such a book. It seems to me like Gerber was having a “psychological seizure.”

As I was reading his interactions with the wayward client, whom he uses to thread the entire book together, I found myself aghast at some of the sessions they had and how it was basically therapy. Gerber was and is playing with fire by having written “E-Myth Mastery.” Because he is not a qualified psychologist, his attempts in the filed can be deemed nothing less than haphazard. The client’s situation in the book turned out well, of course, but Gerber cannot be there to guide the many readers who pick up the book. The one thing that would have saved him from making this mistake would have been co-authoring with someone who was qualified. He doesn’t even mention one authority in the field; instead, he unashamedly thrusts himself into other fields – religion and philosophy.

Hate the Preacher, Not the Religion

This maybe my biggest issue with the book, 1) because the previous two issues can also be found in this one, and 2) because the issue concerns a topic that is a bit more personal to me. I am something of a “hobbyist” in regards to religion and philosophy. I study them just for fun, but with an intense respect, and have for some time. Gerber, in my personal estimation, appears to be treating religion and philosophy with a self-serving whimsicalness that borders on irreverent. I say this not because of the fact that throughout the entire first part of the book he jumps around from one religion to another philosophy several times, jumbles it all together and calls it truth. That is fine. He can create truths from religions and philosophies all he wants. That is what they are there for and there is nothing saying that they have to remain mutually exclusive one from another.

My problem is that he does the jumbling act, but does not admit to doing it. Instead, he takes strides to hide it. In the Forward to the book, he adamantly claims that his personal well-being, how he achieved it, and how the reader can achieve it too, has nothing to do with “good religion.” He is right about that, it is not good religion, but it is bad religion. When you take choice parts from various religions and philosophies, mix them up to create truth, and then profess that believing in that truth has nothing to do with religion, that’s bad religion. The fact that he calls his new religion/philosophy “magic” should certainly be of concern.

What is worse is that he may have been hiding the fact that the core of the book’s material is based on a religion of his own making just so that the stoic suits would not be turned away. It may have come down to marketing and money, which would be really quite sad. The publisher’s marketing department may have told Gerber, “Just stick to a lot of dribble about passion and the soul, but don’t bring up where they come from, at least not too often.” And so, he does avoid such things, leaving the reader with the equivalent of a bowl of alphabet soup with one letter from every language on earth. They don’t really end up with an alphabet, but at least it is edible and edifying.

Towards the end of the first part he finally settles on Zen Buddhism, which actually made the stuff he was saying ring a bit more true for me, as an amateur Buddhist, but I still found that I could not help but be disgusted. And then at one point I realized that because of something that the professors of the class said in their syllabus, I might have been a little too critical of Gerber on this point. The professors told us that we were to refrain from discussions about religion and politics in the class’ online forums. I realized how much it bothered me that we couldn’t talk about religion, only to have to read as Gerber talks about magic for 10 chapters.

All the same, I think it would have been far wiser for Gerber to simple focus on passion in light of entrepreneurial visions and not in light of abstract, random blessings from an unknown power. People do not need religion nor philosophy in order to feel a sense of well-being and then to go on feeling passionate about something. I wish that I had the time to bring up an angle that he could have taken, but it would take a great amount of time; suffice it to say that the angle would be based on something that absolutely every last one of us has in common and is undeniable – human needs – much like Maslow’s Pyramid, but with a focus on the higher levels.

Writing 101

Besides the fact that Gerber comes off as disingenuous, that he was not qualified to write the crux of the material in the book, and that he took a flippant approach to religion/philosophy, he is also a terrible writer. There are three reasons why I say this:

1) His material was not very well-organized. I wrote out a concise outline of the first 236 pages, which comprises some of the second part as well, and found that his concepts were often out-of-place, flowed into each other poorly, or just didn’t flow at all, requiring the reader to fill in the blanks, if they saw them.

2) He apparently thinks fragmented sentences are perfectly acceptable because they were so very prevalent.

Short little spurts like this.

Makes each one its own paragraph.

That tells me he’s a buzzword writer.

Lots of cutesy little epiphanies.

That add up to nothing.

The fact that he wrote in fragmented sentences may actually be an indicator of his lack of qualifications to write on whatever topic has the most fragments. You don’t see it as often when he starts getting heavy into the strictly business related material in the second part, for instance.

3) He could not decide if he was writing a business book or a romance novel. I’m not alone on this one. Paul Simister of businesscoaching.com said precisely the same thing:

“Michael Gerber seems to think that he is Barbara Cartland writing bad romantic fiction. To make my point I opened the book at random and found this on the first page I tried (page 71). ‘Her face was bright, flush with life, her eyes clear and excited, her smile beaming. We hugged each other like old, old friends do, and spoke each other’s names…’ Yuck! There is no place for this nonsense in any business book that intends to be taken seriously as much of E Myth Mastery deserves to be.”

Conclusion

I have laid out in this article my reasons why I took issue with Michael Gerber’s “E-Myth Mastery,” and why those issues extend primarily out of the first part of the book. Every step of the way I tried to be objective and/or point out where I may be under the influence of a bias. Whether what I have said regarding Gerber’s ‘E-Myth Mastery” is accurate does not really matter. People are going to find/create truth where they wish too and there is nothing wrong with that in and of itself. But a moral line is crossed when someone oversteps their bounds to create truth, professes to be authoritative, but is really just trying to sell a poorly written book. As I said, I may be biased. You decide.

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7 Cheap and Easy Ways to Generate Mortgage Leads

Need a few more loans but don’t have the cash to do some serious marketing? Have no fear. In this issue I am going to reveal 7 fantastic ways to generate leads almost for free. These methods are super cheap (most are free) and work like gangbusters.

How do I know? Because I shared them with my coaching clients and they had excellent results.

These 7 methods are just a few of the over 30 cheap marketing methods I share in one lesson of my 24 lesson Jump Start Your Mortgage Career E-Class. This new class is for any loan officer who is new and struggling or any verteran that just needs a little help with their marketing. It took me over 2 years to create the content for this 12 week, 24 lesson class, and I can honestly say there is nothing available out there that compares to this class.

If you could use more loans, then do yourself a favor and check it out for yourself. http://www.mortgagebrokertraining.com/jumpstart.html

Here we go…

Cheap Mortgage Lead Generation Tip # 1. Join an Association

People join associations for one of three reasons:

Social – they want to build or maintain friendships and influences that may have taken years to build;

Promotional – they want to offer their own products or services to others in in a cost effective and positive way;

Educational – they want to see what their competition is up to, and find out about the latest developments within their industry

Grow your network and your database by joining groups of already established people. By socializing with people who have something in common with, it makes it easier to generate business. People like to do business with people they like and trust. Most people like others who have the same interests as they do.

Cheap Mortgage Lead Generation Tip #2: Use Book Stores

One of the questions I keep asking all my coaching clients is “How can you tell if someone is getting ready to need a mortgage? What do they do? How do they act?”

This is the million dollar question. If you can answer this question, you can easily be rich in the mortgage business. By being able to identify that they want a mortgage before they start looking for one, you can get a jump on all the other loan companies. This is one area of our business that still annoys me. Most other businesses, have a way to identify when someone will need their service and can market to them accordingly. Like when someone buys a new home, they most likely will be buying furniture, blinds, home accessories, etc. So if we were selling any of these items, all we need is a list of new homeowners to market to. And that list is easily available. But how the heck do we figure out who is “thinking” of getting a mortgage?

The answer one of my coaching clients came up with was that they might go to the bookstore or library to read books on home buying, or mortgages, or real estate in general. And that’s true. Every bookstore has a real estate section. And most of the books are for consumers who are buying and selling real estate.

So my next question is, “Now that we have identified what they do, how do we get our message in front of them?”

And my client came up with this simple method: Go to the bookstores and libraries and insert a business card into each book.

After doing it for a couple months, he came up with some simple observations:

First, he learned that the best place to put the card was somewhere in the front. Try for the first chapter because not everyone reads the whole book.

Second, pick the books with the best covers and graphics inside- they sell the best.

Third, not all books sell and some are sent back to the publishers.

Fourth, having a USP on the card helps boost response.

Fifth, it takes about 10 minutes per bookstore.

Sixth, he averages 3-4 calls a month, and one loan per month.

Seventh, he now has his assistant do it. And she goes once a week.

Eight, the people who call are in search of more information, so offering them unbiased advice and more resources really turns them on.

If you have the time, and are brave enough to be seen doing it, try it and see what results you get. I wanted to test it in my market. So I went to three bookstores and put in about 120 cards. I got 2 calls, and one of them is a very serious prospect. If I do it more often, I have no doubt that it would work for me as well.

Cheap Mortgage Lead Generation Tp #3: Orphan Files

When a loan officer leaves a company the clients he/she brought to the company are called orphans. These clients now belong to the company. Ask your manager to see if you can contact any orphan files in your office to see if they need any mortgage or real estate help. Be nice enough, and they will allow you to add them to your database.

Cheap Mortgage Lead Generation Tip #4: Tradeshows

Another coaching client of mine goes to tradeshows. But not the ones related to our business. He goes to unrelated trade shows: electronic shows, design shows, car shows, and his favorite: women’s trade shows.

Most of the time, he is the only mortgage company there. And he is averaging 2-3 loan applications per show. The trick is to tie in your business with the show. If it is a car show, you can advertise that you can help anyone buy any car in the place.

If you can pre-approve someone at a car show for a cash out refinance, they can go and buy that hot car they have been salivating on for the last 2 hours. Instant gratification.

Cheap Mortgage Lead Generation Tip #5: Join A Local Real Estate Investment Group.

Every major city has one. And they are full of people buying and selling houses. They need money to buy houses, and they need money to help others buy their houses.

Cheap Mortgage Lead Generation Tip #6: Realtor Open Houses

Stop by at realtor open houses on the weekends. Offer to leave some financing materials.

When you get to know a realtor, you can offer to do open houses for her where you sit in the house instead of her. It is not a fun way to spend an afternoon, but you might get some good leads out of it.

If you decide to go this route, make sure the house is in a well trafficked area and easy to get to. And make sure the agent does some advertising and lends you signs and balloons. You do not want to sit in a house, where no one shows up because it is hard to find or no one knew about the open house.

Another tip is to meet the neighbors of the home you are holding open. See if they know anyone wanting to move or buy. Chances are someone will know of a family wanting to move into the neighborhood.

Cheap Mortgage Lead Generation Tip #7: Realtor MLS

Want a source of thousands of people who will be getting a mortgage within the next couple months?

It’s sellers. And the Multiple Listing Service used by Realtors is full of them. Do a search of homes for sale, get the owners’ name from the tax records and you have yourself a good prospect list.

Mail them something about you or an offer for free information. Call them if you can get their phone number and they are not on the Do Not Call list, or just drop by their house if you have the guts.

This is exactly what one of my coaching clients does. He calls Realtors who have listings and asks them if he can market his services to the home sellers. Many Realtors say yes. When they do, he contacts the sellers, and tells them that their realtor said it was OK to call on them.

He tells me the majority of home sellers he talks to are willing to talk to him and he gets several loans a month using this trick.

If you liked the above lead generation tips and would like more, check out my Jump Start Your Mortgage Career E-Class today. As I said these are just a few of the dozens of cheap lead generation techniques I share in one lesson of the course. The other lessons cover every aspect of mortgage marketing that you need to succeed in this business.

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Choose Book Titles Based on Metaphors to Sell More Books and Find More Readers

Book titles that find more readers and sell more books are often based on metaphors. Adding metaphors to your book titles helps the title immediately communicate the essence of your book.

Because of the power of metaphor-based titles, they often form the basis of publishing empires. In these cases, the original title becomes the basis of an entire series of books, as we’ll see below. These can grow to become world-wide brands, catapulting the authors to success with dozens–even hundreds–of different titles based on the same metaphor.

Advantages of Metaphors

  • Immediate recognition. A metaphor communicates at a glance. A well-chosen metaphor needs no explanation. It’s message immediately hits home.
  • Storytelling power. Metaphors tap into the power of stories to engage readers on an emotional, as opposed to a “factual” basis. They engage your readers’ hearts as well as their brains. They strike chords within your readers.
  • Multiple levels. A single metaphor can communicate numerous attributes and emotions. When your title includes an appropriate metaphor, your title taps into numerous nuances and details associated with the metaphor.
  • Comfort and familiarity. Titles with metaphors immediately establish a comfort and familiarity. They’re also easier to remember and–hence–easier to recommend to co-workers and friends.

Types of metaphor titles

There are as many different types of metaphors as there are emotions and different ways to describe multiple aspects of a topic. Here are a few of the different types of metaphors that have become the basis of successful book titles:

  • Comfort. At some points in our lives, we all need to be comforted. We may have lost our jobs, our spouses, our friends, or our pets. We need to connect with others who may have experienced the same loss, or are currently experiencing the same loss. Sometimes our need for comfort can be very narrowly defined, such as “wives with husbands overseas in the military,”
  • Philosophy, attitude, and resources. Metaphor-based titles can also instantly paint a picture of the challenges and resources of our intended readers. At a glance, an appropriate metaphor can target selected types of readers in a way that immediately resonates with them.
  • Complexity. A metaphor-based title can identify a book’s intended market as well as describe both the approach, and the the level of information contained in the book. Without using “obvious” words like “beginner” or “newcomer,” a metaphor can communicate that the book is intended for entry-level readers.
  • Style. Finally, the particular metaphor chosen can not target the intended reader, but can communicate that the author speaks the reader’s language, and really understands where the reader is coming from.

A series based on a comfort metaphor

One of the most successful book series in the world is Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen’s Chicken Soup series. The first title in the series, Chicken Soup for the Soul, was published on June 28, 1993.

The authors already had the materials in hand–101 story submissions, but they lacked a title. They each agreed to meditate on the topic for one hour. During one of his meditation sessions, Jack Canfield remembered his grandmother telling him that “chicken soup can cure anything!” Since the original title was designed to inspire the soul, not the body, the obvious title was Chicken Soup for the Soul.

By December, the book was a strong seller. By September of 1994, Chicken Soup for the Soul was on every bestseller list in the United States and Canada.

Today, there are over 200 titles in the series, and over 112 million copies have been sold. The title has been translated into more than 40 languages.

More important, according to Harris Polls, 88.7 percent of the public not only recognizes the Chicken Soup for the Soul brand, but knows what it is.

It’s impossible to conceive of success on this order if the original Chicken Soup for the Soul title had been replaced with “conventional” title like:

  • How to Cheer Yourself Up
  • 101 Inspirational Stories

  • How Others Have Overcome Obstacles

The power of the Chicken Soup brand is based on the near universal recognition, and accompanying emotional response, to feeling sick and needing to be cared for by someone who loves you.

Attitude, Resources, and Philosophy

Jay Conrad Levinson’s Guerrilla Marketing series is the world’s best-selling marketing book series. There are over 40 million Guerrilla Marketing books in print around the world. The series has created a market for Jay’s speaking and consulting on every continent; as this is being written, Jay Conrad Levinson is speaking in Poland, Latvia, and Croatia.

The Guerrilla Marketing brand’s strength is based on the immediate recognition the title provides. Guerrilla Marketing resonates with business owners who lack the unlimited budgets and resources of major corporations. Guerrilla Marketers succeed by making the most of whatever resources they have.

“Guerrilla” communicates the philosophy, “Marketing” communicates the topic. Together, the two words tell the whole story.

Complexity

One of the most successful series of books in the writing and publishing field is Rick Frishman and Robyn Freedman Spizman’s Author 101 series. There are several titles in the series:

  • Author 101: Bestselling Secrets from Top Agents

  • Author 101: Bestselling Book Proposal

  • Author 101: Bestselling Nonfiction

  • Author 101: Bestselling Book Publicity

The “Author 101” unites the titles under an immediately understood umbrella. Traditionally, college freshmen level classes are associated with “101” level identification numbers, with advanced courses beginning in the 2 series. Thus, anyone who has been to college can immediately recognize that these books are for new authors who want to write a book.

Author style and target market

A book title based on a metaphor can communicate the author’s style as well as target the intended market. For example, Peter Bowerman launched a series of books using The Well-Fed Writer title. This was quickly followed by The Well-Fed Self-Publisher and The Well-Fed Writer: Back for Seconds. Consider what you already know about these titles even before you glance at their back covers or their table of contents:

  • Are these serious, or academic, books? Of course not. The title communicates that the books are colloquial and informal.
  • Are successful writers the target market? No, again; the market is writers who want to become successful.

Conclusion

It’s fascinating just how much you can tell about a book from its title, especially if it’s a metaphor-based title. When a book title is based on a recognized metaphor, the title–itself–can sell the book. By instantly communicating comfort, philosophy, complexity, or style, metaphor-based titles can sell more books and find more readers by creating an immediate resonance with them on a deep emotional level.

Ask yourself: How effectively does my proposed book title use the power of metaphor to find more readers and sell more books by communicating on an emotional level?

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The Politics Of The American Dream

The American Dream is the promise to have it all and enjoy it all. It’s been glorified and sentimentalized as a utopian goal not just by the media and Hollywood stars, but also by businesses and politicians, including the President of the United States. But in reality, the American Dream is becoming more and more like the ‘Impossible Dream.’ Today, many Americans believe that their odds of winning the lottery are better than attaining the American Dream.

Originally the American Dream concept was born out of lack and a genuine need for security shortly after the Great Depression and WW2. Because jobs were scarce, the greatest aspiration for most Americans was securing steady employment and owning their own home. As a result, work ethic and integrity were very strong. The focus was on a wholesome values system, family and community, all of which created pride, real prosperity and real joy. However, over time the same prosperity which resulted from being a nation of producers, also created a nation of consumers, driven not by need but rather by the desire to ‘keep up with the Jones’s.’

Today, the American Dream is more of a marketing concept, whereby Madison Avenue and government alike, have convinced people that they have to have a certain standard of living (such as a second home, a vacation in Europe, expensive jewelry and other ‘toys’) in order to be happy and fulfilled. Even the Christmas holiday has lost its original meaning and has become highly commercialized.

In other words, we’ve been brainwashed to believe that, ‘He with the most toys lives,’ rather than ‘He with the most joys lives.’ By taking on even higher amounts of personal debt, Americans are more stressed out and less optimistic and fulfilled then ever before despite their high standard of living. That’s because ‘toys’ (material goods), without purpose and a wholesome values system, only produce an artificial joy that is as fleeting as it is cruel.

The American Dream as we know it, is no longer something that is born out of need and lack but rather out of greed and desire. Therefore, it does not represent the true spirit of America, which was based on perspiration, innovation, risk and reward with the focus on a wholesome values system, integrity, family, community and a strong work ethic.

From an Enron economy and huge government deficits, to our failing educational system and the break down of the family system (where kids are left home alone to grow up with their peers, gangs and TV), practically every facet of our lives is negatively effected by the pursuit of materialism, which is a by-product of the American Dream. In a materialistic-driven society where there is an obsession with fame and fortune and winning at all costs, the prevailing wisdom is to do what’s politically correct, rather than doing what’s in the best interest of the community. And when the intoxicating love of power overcomes the power of love, it’s easy to see why absolute power corrupts absolutely.

The concept of The American Dream (as we know it now) is not only a marketing concept but it is also used by politicians for getting votes and keeping constituents happy. In the cut-throat world of politics where the stakes are high, politicians are driven by their own self-serving agendas. As such, the different political parties have their own agendas when it comes to helping certain members of society achieve the American Dream. The Democratic party on the one hand supports labor unions and union contracts that provide for big wage increases for the common worker so that they can achieve a piece of The American Dream. In so doing, they guarantee work and wages for people who are not necessarily that productive, at the expense of everyone else. On the other hand, the Republican party believes philosophically in the free enterprise system. Their vision is to have an economic system that rewards primarily people who are successful, which means mostly wealthy people, at the expense of everyone else.

In other words, both political parties and the special interest groups who contribute to their election campaigns are trying to achieve the political version of the American Dream for their constituencies at the expense of everyone else. Ironically, both political parties realize that because the pie is limited, making the American Dream a reality for all Americans is virtually impossible. As a matter of fact, most people are kept in perpetual debt their whole lives in order to maintain a standard of living consistent with the new ideal of the American Dream. It’s this unattainable dream that drives both parents into the work place, working longer and harder than ever before, which contributes to the ills of society.

So in order to make the American Dream possible for as many Americans to achieve, consumerism had to be created. The point of consumerism is to get people to spend more by going into debt. The logic is that higher spending produces wealth for some people. The problem is that there is a limitation on how far people can go into debt. Eventually the economy becomes a ‘house of cards’ because it is unable to create ‘jobs of value,'(based on producing, creating and manufacturing). Instead more and more jobs are in the services industry, catering to our insatiable need to consume. Eventually this type of faulty economy will result in financial chaos where institutions, banks and even governments fail, as we’ve seen by what’s happening in California.

In the pursuit of pleasure and avoidance of pain, we’ve been looking for solutions and fulfillment in all the wrong places. The solution to restoring our economy, our failing systems and our institutions, as well as our sanity, is through the spirit. That’s because whether we realize it or not, we are spiritual beings experiencing the human experience and not the other way around. As such we were meant and designed to live a life of meaning and purpose by recognizing the unity of life and living in harmony with universal laws that are characterized by integrity and the honoring of all living things. Total prosperity and peace are dependent on the strength of our spirit.

Only when the ‘business as usual’ type of politics is replaced by business with integrity (whereby the power of love overcomes the love of power) can we hope to see a meaningful and lasting transformation that’s also cost effective. Perhaps if we live by the mantra that, ‘He with the most joys lives,’ rather than ‘He with the most toys lives,’ knowing that paradise is not so much a place but rather a state of mind, can we once again appreciate the simple pleasures in life while recognizing that indeed the best things in life are free. Now that’s the real thing, unlike what Coca Cola claims to have.

And while most of us may not be Lords of the Rings, we are always the Lords of our own earthly destiny. Simply put, we all have the power to create our own destiny through personal responsibility no matter what we’ve been brainwashed to believe. Perhaps when we reconnect with our spiritual roots, and understand the unity of life, we can finally recognize that we are all connected in the web of life, that whatever effects one directly, effects us all indirectly (the global economy perfectly illustrates this fact). Perhaps then confrontation will give way to cooperation and destruction will be replaced with construction. Only then we will discover that peace is not so much unity in similarity but rather unity in diversity – a diversity that needs to be celebrated. Perhaps as we realize that we are all children of God, we will also learn to honor life and finally experience true and lasting peace and harmony, which inevitably leads to total prosperity for all in a win-win spirit. Now that’s something to sing about.

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Techniques To Improve Human Capital

Companies have to learn the ways to improve human capital in order to ensure that their invaluable asset, human capital, is not under-utilized or underestimated. Successful companies are those that understand the importance of managing and organizing the use of its human capital. If the human capital is to function as expected, and to ensure that they are equipped with the skills necessary proper employee training programs have to be enforced. The key is to make each employee feel his service is invaluable to the company, motivating them, make them feel proud to be working for an ethical and reputed company by following strict guidelines and by giving them incentives to give their job their best effort.

Some companies improve their human capital by hiring intelligent students from India and china etc. to prevent this, good education can be given to our kids to ensure a sure fire way to improve human assets. Human capital is judged based on his productivity, knowledge, sociability and the way he uses his skills and all that he has been taught.

Ways to Improve Human Capital:

Education and Training: Some companies provide constant training and sponsor the education of their employees knowing that employees need to keep updating their skills to meet the challenges of new technologies and innovations at work. When the employees are trained, their work efficiency improves, improving productivity thereby benefiting the company as well as improving the human capital.

Monitoring Performance: To conduct periodic tests to determine the ways to improve human capital. You can learn if your human capital heed your advice and take steps suggested by you to improve their work or implement new skills they had recently been trained for.

Hiring Qualified People: When qualified people are hired, the human capital will improve, as they know their job and will perform it without wasting time in learning and understanding what has to be done.

Motivation: When companies offer incentives and other means of recognizing the talents of good employees, by promoting them or offering a salary increase, it will motivate them and make hem perform the best they can.

Never Under-Utilize Human Capital: Never under-estimate or under-utilize your human assets, make them know they are instrumental in your company’s growth and this will help boost morale. If you show that, you care and nourish your human capital; it will surely be reciprocated and can be one of the best ways to improve human capital.

These are just a few ways to improve human capital. There are firms offering services as well as products to help new business run a successful business.

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5 Tips on How to Attract More Customers to Your Bar

1.) Ensure the guest experience – You build guest loyalty by taking care of them while they are in your bar. Make this the foundation for all your decision making and more customers will be there. When people leave happy, they become long-term customers and tell their friends.

2.) Gather your guests contact information – You should be constantly building a database of your customers, and using a good customer relationship management software program to keep track of them. You do this in a number of ways – one good idea I did that worked well was a fish bowl we placed at the hostess stand where we offered a free $100 gift card and all you had to do to enter was drop your business card in. We got hundreds of business contacts this way.

3.) Continually communicate with your contact list – You should be communicating with your list through the use of email, social media, and printed media with content about your business. Much of this content does not require a direct offer, as the main purpose of this communication is to build a strong relationship. Use a combination of direct mail, email, social media, and old school methods like constantly going out and being social.

4.) Get customer feedback and adjust your offering – With the open lines of communication you have opened in step 3, you are now able to ask your guests questions about their experience at your bar. This information will become valuable as you adjust your business to match exactly the experience they are looking for. As well as the inevitable emails, phone calls, and face to face conversations you will have with your guests about their experience, you can also use tools like surveymonkey.com to survey your entire list whatever you want to research and get a great idea of where they stand on a topic.

5.) Use multiple forms of media to grow your list – You should have several different methods of generating new business happening at once, and your phone should be ringing constantly with people interested in doing parties, bookings, and reservations. You should have multiple forms of advertising (offline and online), as well as old school marketing efforts like getting down on the streets and meeting the people you want to tell about your wonderful bar. Diversity leads to stability. Never rely on any one way to generate new business.

As simple as this sounds, this is the formula for wealth in the night club and bar industry.

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Speaking Ideas: The 90 Word Secret To Remembering Your Speech Outline

For adults in today’s fast paced and fast changing technology driven world, the need to get much done in less time is as pressing as ever. One area where this has become glaring is our ability to remember things. Because we have so much to do in the same 24 hours of each day, many people now struggle to remember stuff.

The result is that many people now depend on various tools and devices to enhance their ability to cope with the heightened demands of meeting the daily challenges of modern day living. You know them… BlackBerries, iPads, computers of all kinds and the Internet itself (e.g. web based birthday/anniversary reminder services).

But if truth be told, human beings, MAN, still has in him the capacity to achieve much higher levels of productivity than he currently does. Unfortunately, most of us do not know. Indeed, some think it’s impossible to do more than they currently do, without getting help from others. They do not know what they are truly capable of.

Your Speaking Success Depends On Having A Speech Outline & A Good Memory

Nothing can be more devastating than finding out in the middle of your delivery that you cannot recall one or more key points you wish to make to pass your message across successfully.

Now, there is probably no ability more crucial to your success as a speaker, than your capacity for remembering i.e. your memory. Among other things, your memory helps you to remember the order of the points in your talk or speech i.e. your speech outline.

It therefore goes without saying that in today’s world, with the seemingly increased pressures of modern day living, developing a RELIABLE system for improving and making optimal use of your memory, can greatly influence the outcome of every single speaking outing you have.

“The average man does not use above ten percent of his actual inherited capacity for memory. He wastes the ninety per cent by violating the natural laws of remembering.” – Carl Seashore

The foregoing point by this highly reputable expert is very instructive – for many people in today’s world – especially if they aspire to become successful speakers. After thinking up and getting your thoughts down on paper, you will have blended them with ideas and insights from research reading you have done, to produce a speech outline that enables you do justice to the subject or topic.

But since it would be in bad taste to read out your speech from paper, the next task after completing your outline, will be for you to develop a formula or system for remembering your speech outline.

The Laws of Remembering

It has been established that IMPRESSION, REPETITION and ASSOCIATION are the THREE natural laws of remembering, upon which the “memory system” is founded. So, to understand how to improve one’s memory, it becomes imperative that one understand how to avoid violating each of these laws.

1. IMPRESSION: You need to form the habit of concentrating your attention intensely on what you wish to remember, so as to achieve a clear, and long lasting impression of it in your mind. Note the use of the word “habit” here. Historical accounts tell us that Theodore Roosevelt’s trained himself to be able to concentrate on the task at hand even when in adverse environments e.g. where noise/distractions existed.

Your ability to focus in this manner on what you want to remember will help you imprint it in your memory. One example drawn from Dale Carnegie’s writing: Test your mastery of this law by seeing how well you are able to recall the names of people you are introduced to, a while afterwards.

2. INTELLIGENT REPETITION: We use repetition a lot because most of what we have to learn is via rote – blind memorisation. We recite poems, until we know them by heart. It should be noted here that the repetition referred to is NOT that which turns the learner or user into what Robert Kiyosaki has called “mindless parrots.” It is advised that reasonable intervals are allowed between the repetitions.

In relation to your speech outline, you can use repetition to improve your ability to remember it. Reading it out loud – the way Abraham Lincoln did, and the way students of Islam studying the Koran did – is a good way to achieve this. After you have done it a while, you’ll notice a marked improvement in your ability to recall the relevant points in your outline, making it easier to strong together the various parts of your speech in the right order, so that your outing goes as planned.

3. ASSOCIATION: The famed psychologist, Prof. William James, described this third law as “the indispensable element in remembering”. Our minds work better when given “cues”. Pictures are perfect vehicles for communicating such cues, and that’s why they can be successfully used to improve our ability to recall anything from memory.

Mark Twain, reportedly revealed – in a magazine interview – that he used he used pictures – which he formed by himself – to remember the order of occurrence of items he wished to remember. The pictures you use, for this concept to work, must have some association with the thing you wish to recall. One example: To remember a person’s name e.g. Mr. Tangahar who sell fruits, you could think up the picture of “Tangerine”.

For your speech, remembering the outline can be made easier by what Dale Carnegie called a “nonsense sentence”. There’s one that was widely used when I was in school many years ago, to remember the letters of the alphabet: “The Quick Brown Fox Jumps Over The Lazy Dog”. It’s not totally nonsensical, but it is a bit trivial. For those who used it however, it offered a quick way to quickly recall all the 24 letters of the alphabet – especially under tense situations.

Here’s a humorous twist to this concept: In Nigeria, when our power company was still called National Electric Power Authority (NEPA), people chose to call it “Never Expect Power Always” to reflect our perception of its ability to deliver reliable power supply. When it changed name to “Power Holding Company of Nigeria”(PHCN), people responded by breaking down the NEW acronym to mean “Please Hold Candle in Nigeria”!

To use this technique, a speaker would put words in a nonsense sentence, in the order in which the idea or point each word represents, occurs in the speech itself. To paraphrase Dale Carnegie, any group of ideas can be linked together using words in a nonsense sentence that may tend to be even easier to recall, because it sounds ridiculous. So, please use it.

Summary: The 90 Word Secret To Remembering, Derives From The 3 Natural Laws

Here it is – in form of advice given by a competent authority on the subject:

“We are visual minded. Eye impressions stick. We can often remember a man’s face, even though we cannot recall his name. The nerves that lead from the eye to the brain are twenty-five (25) times as large ad those leading from the ear to the brain. The Chinese have a proverb that says “one time seeing is worth a thousand times hearing”. Write down the name, the telephone number, the speech outline you want to remember. Look at it. Close your eyes. Visualise it in flaming letters of fire.” – Dale Carnegie

And that’s the secret. You will notice that it effectively captures the requirements of the three natural laws of remembering, which is why it provides a fool proof formula that you can readily put to use for yourself – with some study and effort of course.

Final Words: The ideas provided here are based on a review of Dale Carnegie’s notes on “The Improvement of Memory” in his book titled “How To Wind Friends & Influence People By Public Speaking”. Get yourself a copy of the book and study these concepts in more detail, then put them to use, to improve your memory and become a more effective speaker today!

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Why Retail Businesses Fail Part 3: Do You Make This Mistake In Retail?

Lack of Understanding of Target Market

I visited Harrods for research for my books on store design and visual merchandise display. Harrods, for anyone reading this White Paper who might not know this, is the Mecca of retailing. Royalties, A-list celebrities and the ‘who-is-who’ from around the world fly into London just to shop at Harrods.

You can now imagine my anticipation when I visited Harrods. In my mind everything in Harrods was made of gold. I was disappointed, when I noticed a toy bus I had purchased for my son from ASDA, was also being sold in Harrods. It was exactly the same toy bus, in exactly the same packaging that it is sold in ASDA.

A question popped into my mind, why is it that exactly the same bus, probably manufactured in exactly the same factory in China, is sold in Harrods for twice the price that it is sold for in ASDA?

The answer is decisively simple – ASDA sells a ‘toy bus’, however, Harrods sells a ‘classy toy bus’. There is a difference. This is marketing 101: people buy emotionally but justify their decision logically.

Customers who shop at Harrods do not shop there to buy Harrods’ products; they shop at Harrods to buy ‘elegance and class’. Harrods sells them class even if it is ‘Made in China’.

How does Harrods pull this off? They achieve it with the combination of elegant store design and attractive visual merchandising displays. When you move from one department to the next in Harrods it is like moving from one store to another. Their ability to use their store design to create the illusion of differentiation is one of the keys to Harrods’ success. Harrods understand their customers; they know what their customers desire so they design their store and display their products to satisfy the desire of their customers.

Marcus Buckingham, in his book “The First Thing You Need to Know”, said when he interviewed Sir Terry Leahy, who transformed Tesco into a global brand, he asked him what was the key to Tesco’s successful transformation. Sir Terry Leahy replied that it was asking and answering the simple question: Whom do we serve?

When Tesco figured out whom they were going to serve, they changed their store layout and products to serve their target market. As a result of this change; Tesco increased the number of checkout counters which reduced the amount of time customers spent queuing at the checkouts ultimately resulting in a dramatic increase in Tesco’s footfall.

Wal-Mart serves the person who lives: pay check to pay check.

Body Shop serves the ethical consumer.

Waitrose and Holland & Barrett serve the consumer who wants to live longer.

Ann Summers took merchandise that were hidden in secret ‘adult’ shops; made them trendy and brought them to the High Street. They made a taboo subject acceptable to the mainstream.

If I was to take my significant other clothes shopping at John Lewis she would probably phone my mother to inform her that I was having a nervous breakdown. She would not want to be caught dead in John Lewis’ outfit. She describes John Lewis’ clothing department as a Bridget Jones museum where they store a collection of Bridget Jones costumes.

However, John Lewis continues to increase profit year after year because John Lewis understands their target market. Someone like my significant other might not want to be caught dead in John Lewis’ outfit, but there are people in the UK, who love Bridget Jones’ memorabilia, these people are John Lewis’ target market, so John Lewis cater for them.

The most successful retailers understand their target market and show their understanding of their target market through their store design and visual merchandising displays.

The retailers that go bust fail to understand this basic marketing concept.

Most book retailers are struggling because they are still using the 1960’s business model in the Amazon era. Borders failed because it did not develop its internet business properly and it invested heavily in compact discs when music was going digital. WH Smith only makes money from its airport and train station sales. The rest of its stores are struggling. Waterstone’s is also on a downward trend. Sales are down and customer footfall is in steep decline.

Why are bookshops under threat? Amazon! They will all shout. Of course Amazon is the cause because Amazon understands their market better than them. Since it seems Amazon is not going away anytime soon, are all book stores going to close down?

Will WH Smith and Waterstone’s close down? Or will they rise to the challenge and modernise their stores? Instead of complaining about Amazon, they need to redefine their target market and redesign their stores to attract their target customers.

On Christmas Eve, I had not done my grocery shopping and was dreading the prospect of entering a supermarket, knowing how packed they were going to be. But as I drove passed my local Lidl store, I noticed it was empty. I rushed in and completed my shopping. As I drove back home a question came to mind; why is it, that even on this day when most supermarkets are typically jam packed to capacity, was Lidl empty?

The answer, in my opinion, is that Lidl does not have a target market. One of their biggest sins was making the decision to force customers to pay for carrier bags. Marks & Spencer can afford to do that because they appeal to a different class of customer.

In Tesco and ASDA, customers who are environmentally conscious have the option of paying for shopping bags. However, those who do not want to pay for carrier bags also have the option of getting free ones.

This is because Tesco and ASDA understand their customers. Lidl’s senior management, on the other hand, believed that having implemented a similar strategy in Europe, can introduce the same in the UK. If the Brits do not like it, tough! Well, the Brits are showing their displeasure with their feet.

I have tried to demonstrate with the above examples, that success or failure in retail is the result of the strategies every retailer adopts. Those retailers who understand their target market and cater to them will continue to move from success to greater success, while those who roll the dice and hope that customers show up are the ones who will struggle or go into administration.

I hate to be the one breaking this type of news to the retail industry I guess someone will have to do it: the internet is not going away. This means that retailers are not only competing with one another, they are also competing with factory owners in China whose name they have never heard. Shoppers are now ordering directly from warehouses and distributors, for example an individual can log on to eBay and order a pallet load of goods.

Here is the good news: the majority of people still prefer to shop from physical retail outlets. The question is how does an individual retailer ensure that shoppers are attracted to their store? It can be done by adopting the concept of the “Blue Ocean” strategy.

Adopting the “Blue Ocean” strategy is the only salvation for book, DVD, music and furniture retailers. What is “Blue Ocean” strategy? “Blue Ocean” strategy “is the simultaneous pursuit of differentiation and low cost” which results in the creation of a new market space making the competition irrelevant.

The concept of “Blue Ocean” is practiced by the most successful business organisations whilst struggling businesses pursue what is described as the “Red Ocean” strategy. “Red Ocean” strategy is fighting to compete in the existing market place.

The “Red Ocean” strategy is adopted by many of the book, DVD, music and furniture retailers. They are trying to compete against the internet and it is just not possible. A brick and mortar store can never go head to head with the internet and win. It can never be cheaper that the internet.

However what they need to do in order to drive customer traffic to their stores is become innovative and creative. For example a book store could arrange periodic book signings; of course authors want to sell their books so it is a win-win situation for all parties concerned.

In order for the book signings to be a successful marketing platform for the book stores it would be advisable for retailers to work in collaboration with the publishers from the onset in order for the book signings to be better promoted.

Promotion of the book signings could take various formats such as making effective use of social media sites, local press and captivating signage in and outside the store.

Another idea could be to arrange book clubs for various genres of books this would entice a variety of customers in to the store, these book clubs would also need promoting in a similar way as described for the book signings promotion.

The trick is to be innovative.

Richer Sounds is a classic case of a retailer that has adopted the “Blue Ocean” strategy. They understand that people still prefer to interact with other people. So whilst other electronic retailers focus on price, they focus on excellent customer service and staff product knowledge. Their “Blue Ocean” is excellent customer service and superior product knowledge.

For book, DVD or music retailers to compete in Amazon country, they need a “Blue Ocean” strategy that goes beyond price discount. They need soul. They need understanding of the perception of their target market.

• What do they want?

• What are their hopes and fears?

• What is their perception?

I can order a book or DVD from Amazon and receive it the following day. I can download music instantaneously from iTunes. There are millions of me in the world. What kind of “Blue Ocean” strategy can WH Smith or HMV devise to get me away from my laptop? It takes me half an hour to drive to the town centre, pay for parking, spend another half an hour in WH Smith or HMV and another half an hour to drive back home.

The 64 million dollar question is: What can WH Smith or HMV do to make it worth my while?

Let me give them a clue, I could order my groceries online, however, I choose to go to the supermarket. What is the difference? That is for book, DVD, electronic and furniture retailers to find out. They probably need to visit Starbucks it might just hold the keys to unlocking their creativity.

The only point of differentiation that most retailers know is price reduction. Price reduction is not a business strategy, it is a death wish.

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Accounting Records the IRS Require for Network Marketing/MLM and Other Stay At Home Business Owners

Two questions frequently asked by Network Marketers are “What kind of business records do I have to keep for the IRS?”, and “What’s kind of record-keeping system should I use in my business?”

Operating a business without paying attention to record-keeping is a recipe for disaster. You may be thinking “who cares-I hate bookkeeping and tax details, and if my business takes in enough money, it won’t matter anyway… I’ll just pay someone else to clean up my record-keeping later!”

Not so fast, my friend! A good record-keeping system is crucial for preparing your tax returns. And if you don’t prepare your tax returns with care, you’ll not only pay too much in taxes, but also increase the risk of a dreaded IRS audit. If an auditor finds insufficient records or significant mistakes in your books, it can disallow deductions, plus impose hefty fines and penalties, possibly forcing you out of business and wiping out your life savings as well.

The good news is that the IRS doesn’t prescribe one particular system of keeping records that must be used. No two businesses are alike, so there’s not one uniform fashion when it comes to record-keeping. Any system is okay, just as long as it paints a true picture of your income and expenses.

You can keep your records either manually, or with a computer.

The manual system works fine for smaller home businesses and cost only $10 to $20 a year for a ledger book and some manila file folders. I recommend a Weekly Bookkeeping booklet, where you can record your income and expenses on a regular basis, and then update the year to date totals, by expense category, at the end of each week. This way you always have an up to date statement of Income and Expenses, or “Profit and Loss” report, at your fingertips. In addition to the weekly record book, keep a check register, an adding machine, a mileage log,and an accordion file close by for filing receipts. Organize your receipts by category; Advertising, Travel and Entertainment, Cell phone, and so on.

A computerized record-keeping system works on the same principles as the manual system, however, the computer automates the process. You can use spreadsheets to record your residual income and bonus checks, and use separate columns to categorize your expenses.

An even quicker way to categorize your expenses is to use a software program such as Quicken or QuickBooks. These programs work like a checkbook register, with each income and expense transaction typed in as you go. A Profit and Loss report can be printed in a snap-assuming you do have some basic accounting knowledge. But beware. A software program is no substitute for a basic understanding of debits and credits. Often the year-end reports that I see produced from accounting software programs is best summarized by the statement “Garbage in-Garbage Out”.

If you’re comfortable at the computer and have basic bookkeeping expertise, good for you! But you don’t need computer software to keep accurate records. At minimum, categorize your receipts (auto, office supplies, advertising, etc) in manila folders or an accordion file, and total them up by category at tax time. Staple the adding machine tape to each folder or stack of receipts. Either system is okay as long as it paints a true and accurate picture of your income and expenses.

Network Marketing business owners should get a copy of IRS Publication 583, “Starting a Business and Keeping Records”, for more details on IRS record-keeping requirements.

Jim Flauaus, President / CEO of Anchor Accounting & Tax, is a Network Marketing / MLM tax specialist. He connects with Home Business owners and Network Marketers across the country and around the world via phone, email, and fax to help them plan and prepare their income tax returns.

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7 Hot Topics For Amazon Affiliate Markets

When you’re looking for an affiliate, somewhere to post your Amazon Links and AdSense, the advice you’ll get from any given sector might be different, but… We’ve found 7 specific hot topics that rock our world financially. And you can build your business from anywhere. You just need a computer, a website, and a way to send email, do social media, and write. Yeah… Writing is a key component of most any affiliate market, but you can do this.

1 – Camping and Survival Gear

No matter who is sitting in the oval office, campers, hunters, and survivalists are always looking for great ways to survive the coming apocalypse. Yeah, it will arrive eventually, whether it’s by way of natural disaster or some man-made BOOM. The truth is, we all need to know how to survive without technology.

Even if it’s nothing more than a book to read when the computer’s down.

2 – Golf Gear and Sports Equipment

You’d think since every man in the white house is addicted to his par count, golf gear would have outsold its lifespan. Nope. It’s still one of the hottest topics on the internet. And that site about golf shoes? Yeah, it is my highest hitter. Specialize in a given topic and you’ll have this one at the bank!

3 – House Flipping and Remodel Tips or Equipment

You might go to Lowes, or Home Depot for supplies, but that equipment purchase online from Amazon.com with directions from a great website? You bet your Uncle John’s hammer they’ll take your advice over the fix it biscuit they find at the local hardware store, especially if you include pictures and details about why you’d recommend the Black & Decker over Stanley.

4 – Mommy Tips and Child Care

Toys. Kids clothing. Furniture. Accessories. Child Care ideas. Helpful tips for raising children, and anything ‘mommy’ related will kick off a big stir online, and there are so many relevant forums to market your site from. IDEAS are everywhere. You don’t have to write about everything that happens in your house, there are plenty of inspiring stories to share.

5 – How to ANYTHING

If you know how to… write about it. Find affiliate products and links. Share them on your site. And talk about it to your friends.

6 – Dogs and Pets

It’s worth it to pay for dog grooming articles, to post on my Pet Affiliate Site, because people spend thousands of dollars each year on their pets.

7 – Books & Videos

Of course… Whatever suits your fancy, find a topic and build a site where you can share your link.

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