An Inspiring Kiva Story

Kiva is an international nonprofit, founded in 2005 and based in San Francisco, with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. They celebrate and support people looking to create a better future for themselves, their families and their communities. 
Kiva Loan for a Shoe Business

By lending as little as $25 on Kiva, anyone can help a borrower start or grow a business, go to school, access clean energy or realize their potential. For some, it’s a matter of survival, for others it’s the fuel for a life-long ambition.

One woman brewing change in Africa, and beyond – Medium  Story by Jessica P. Hansen, photos by Brandon Smith

Vava Coffee, is taking the coffee industry by storm. Upon learning that coffee farmers in Kenya earn less than 35% of the international market value on their high-quality coffee because of their lack of access to better markets and limited knowledge of the quality of their product, Vava set out to shake things up. Get the full ‘scoop’ on how her Kiva loan has allowed her to grow her business and improve the lives of 30,000 farmers in innovative ways

Free Online Excel Training

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I have just been pointed to an excellent free  resource for those of you who use spreadsheets or even those who don’t yet but would like to learn how to use them – a brand new website about Microsoft Excel!..

SpreadsheetO Video

 

Now I’ve been using spreadsheets for many years, I love them, I even use excel as my calculator because my arthritic fingers often hit the wrong button on a calculator but I don’t realize so get an incorrect total, but with a spreadsheet, I can see the figures I enter and I just have a formula at the bottom that works out the total for me..

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In my work with bookkeeping clients, I’ve created a spreadsheet to work out the split for  invoices with a mixture of tax and no tax items that have to be split into several cost centers – this was a real pain to do each time, but now it’s a breeze, all I need to do is enter invoice total, tax amount and % breakups and presto, the figures to enter are sitting there for me!

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spreadsheetOSpreadsheeto is all about depth. That means each topic get thoroughly explained, in an easy-to-understand manner. All of their content is free and up to date. So even though you’re not an “Excel-nerd” (like they are), you can learn to do some pretty amazing things.

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Even if this is not for you, if you know someone who has to use a spreadsheet, maybe for a club or organisation they belong to, pass on this link to this excellent  Excel training resource..

Here's the link to check it out yourself?
http:// spreadsheeto.com/free-excel-training/

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Five Key Factors for Compelling Web Content

Readers-searching1-618wAlthough content has always been considered the be the “king” when it comes to writing compelling web material, with the rapidly increasing numbers of websites “out there”, never has it been so vitally important to make your content better that of your competition, so it pays to take the time to create high quality articles that visitors truly want to read.

Forget about taking shortcuts; no matter what niche or business you are in, the quality of your articles, posts & sales material will always be the key to a successful online venture.

To write content that really conveys the message you want to get across, take note of these 5 key factors:

Make It Easy To Read
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Keep that in mind many people skim-read webpages. Your target readers are probably subscribed to several news feeds or  blogs, so if you want to hold their interest, you need to make your content easy to read.

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Remember readers like white space, so use short paragraphs and bullet points or numbered lists with subheadings. Use web recommended fonts because research has shown them to be the most easily read by the majority of readers. A particular font might appeal to you, but that doesn’t mean it will have universal appeal or be easily read by others, especially those with poorer eyesight.

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Add graphics to your articles where that is appropriate as this makes the structure of your post more visually appealing and helps to keep your article focused on the point you want to get across.

Good Quality Material

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While it is true that you can get articles written very cheaply when you don’t want (or don’t have time) to write them yourself and also true that some so-called “gurus” claim to still make money using poorly written articles, these guru’s may well have a very large list of people who will buy whatever they recommend, regardless of quality.

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Therefore, it isn’t a good idea for you to do what they do because you want to build a good reputation for yourself, build your business so that your readers and customers see you as a quality provider and will be more interested in your next offer. Remember, it is easier to sell something to an existing customer than it is to find a new one.

Be Natural

Cute_Vector_Robot_Character_176x189Don’t try to fill your article with keywords; make your sentences flow in a clear, informative and entertaining manner.  Search engines have evolved to the point where you will be penalised for overuse of keywords, rather than rewarded in the rankings.

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The best advice is to stop worrying about keywords. If you are answering the questions your searchers are asking then the keywords will come into the content naturally.

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Of course you can add some in on purpose after the article is finished, but in a way that does not upset the flow. Keywords should be secondary to creating an article that’s interesting and informative.

A comfortable Length

Funny_Robot_Vector_Character_25_2There may be accepted “rules” as to how long your online articles should be, but every article and every subject is different, so use your common sense about it.

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Imagine that you are the person searching for your content; ask yourself if you could find the answer to what you want to know in just 100 – 150 words? If the answer to this is “yes”, then 100 -150 words is long enough! The key is to use as many words as are required to address the subject without getting off track or including unnecessary detail and very often, that will require a lot more than 100 words.

Current

Most online content becomes out of date and needs updating from time to time. Yes, some things don’t change much over time, like how to grow vegetables or recipes, so articles about these subjects are considered “evergreen” because they are still relevant long after being written. Robot_Vector_Character_with_Thumbs_Up_175x215 However, just because they are still relevant doesn’t mean you can re-hash them without penalty from the search engines.

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Remember that Google, Bing and the like are businesses too, trying to please their customers (searchers) so they will reward those who upload content that is fresh, up to date and original. It pays to take advantage of this fact by keeping on top of your industry and keeping your readers informed. 

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It is a mistake to take shortcuts when it comes to high quality content. In the long term, it is well worth the time and effort it takes to write material that will convince your reader to take action and join your list or buy whatever you are offering.

Mighty Deals – Some Real Bargain Buys

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Mighty Deals is a great resource – they have super deals on regularly

– see my latest acquisition (birthday gift, lucky me!)

 

This product is usually $39 and good value at that price too, but from Mighty Deals I was able to get a full year of design templates and logos from SmartyLogo for just $17!

 
It isn’t just for website owners either, the package includes 60 stationery templates suitable for any business or for personal use.
SmartyLogo
Mighty Deals negotiates closely with some of the top creative providers out there to bring readers the best possible prices on the design/programming tools they want / need.
 
Almost all offers that appear on MightyDeals are available exclusively on their site for a very limited time.
 
Generally,  customers can save from 50% to 90% off on things like design tools (royalty-free vectors, PhotoShop actions, etc.), professional templates (WordPress, Drupal, Facebook), Mac toolkits, web development lessons and more.
 
Access to these unbelievable daily deals is free for everyone. You don’t even need to register but I’d recommend that you sign up for the free newsletter, so you can be kept in the loop on the latest Deals before they expire (and you also get access to free stuff!) 

Why not check out Mighty Deals today – I highly recommend them.

 

How To Get Ideas For Blog Posts

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We all experience bloggers block from time to time, but don’t let it stop you from giving your subscribers the content they’ve been waiting for.

Here are 7 ideas that will help you come up with blog posts worth reading.

 1) Test or Review Something And Post Your Results

 If you’re really stuck for ideas, why not give yourself a challenge and post the results? For example, in the personal development niche this could mean making a gratitude list each day and writing about the effects. Or you could try a new fitness program and write about how you’re dealing with it. In most cases, readers in any niche love to read real life case studies!

 2) Google It!

 Why not Google the main topic of your blog and see what appears? You don’t want to copy any other blogs, of course, but one idea will often lead to another. Have a read around blogs in your niche – maybe even blogs outside of your niche – and see what they’re writing about. Either use this as inspiration for your own topics or write a direct response to what’s already out there.

3) Find Helpful or Interesting Videos & Share Them With Your Readers

 Why not get surfing YouTube and see if there’s an interesting video you can share with your subscribers? Embed the video into a post where you give your own personal comments. This is a super-fast way to come up with content that’s still interesting.

 4) Use What Happens In Your Daily Life As Inspiration

 You might not be writing a personal blog, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring personal experience into the posts you write. If you can relate personal experience to the topics you write about, then do so. Sometimes you have to get creative, but your blog posts will be more interesting as a result!

5) Ask Readers To Ask Questions

 What better way of coming up with content that your readers will enjoy than to invite them to ask questions? Write up a quick post one day asking them what they want to know, then post a follow up a few days later with all the answers. This last method is also an excellent way to connect with your audience.

0006_TRS_3DC6) Give Your Readers a Poll to Participate In.

Not everyone will ask questions, but if you give your readers a short, relevant poll to complete you can get some great feedback

7) Check Your Analytics to see what people are typing in their searches

 Checking your stats can leave you with a whole range of blog post ideas. Take a look at the keywords people are typing in to find your site. Chances are that some of the things they’re searching for aren’t on your blog yet. Why not use these keywords as ideas for future blog posts? You’ll also have the added benefit of knowing there’s a future audience for those posts!

Retirement Income

The economy is not being kind to retirees and those approaching retirement. I am a baby boomer myself and have given much thought to how to get the most out of what is already in place and how to get those extra dollars to stretch the budget. In my web browsing I found some useful info & have brought the links to you.

www.thefinanceanalysis.com

www.retirement-income.net12/11/11

Although you might invest some of your extra retirement money in mutual funds or ETFs that cater to big capitalization shares, you should try to include real estate investments…..

 

www.thefinanceanalysis.com

www.thefinanceanalysis.com1/23/12

May I maintain a good revenue through my retirement? That's the worry of most retirees. Let's get a perspective on what you have to manage.Your.

 

This one is not so recent, but has some good advice:

Financial Planning : How to Calculate Retirement Income

It can be difficult to calculate retirement income because it's hard to estimate what things will be like in 20 to 30 years, which is the case for many people. Discover why a conservative strategy is useful when planning for retirement with help from…

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8CyyBiueoo&version=3&f=videos&app=youtube_gdata]

Beating the Christmas Blues

Christmas Holly

It's Christmas once again, and all around there's lights, food, song and cheer. Yet somehow the hustle and bustle only makes you more depressed and lonely. Do not fear; you are not alone! The holiday blues isn't uncommon, and there are lots of ways you can beat them and have more than a merry Christmas.

1. Know why you are sad.

Is it because of work, family, or the weather? Many people often find themselves feeling low for no apparent reason, but believe it or not, there is always a reason – you only need to find out what it is. Take time to reflect; stay in a quiet corner and allow yourself to think about what's really bothering you. Make a list of everything that's been troubling you for the past few days, the past year, or even your whole life. Understanding the "little details" can actually help to make you see things in perspective, and give you an idea how serious your melancholy is.


2. Accept, forgive, move on.

They say it's never easy to forgive (and forget), but the one reason it's so difficult to do is because we haven't first learned to accept that the thing happened at all. Whatever is making you unhappy is done and cannot be undone, and the only thing you can do now is to move on. However, before you can get to that stage, you must try and forgive yourself – for being weak and getting hurt; for letting another person make a fool of you; for not being able to stop something on time, when you felt you could.

Once you've learned to forgive yourself, it is only then that you can learn to forgive whoever or whatever has caused the pain. By this time, it will be easier to move on.

3. Practice empathy.

Now that you know the reason behind your blues and what to do about it, practice spreading cheer to others whom you think are in the same situation as you. Visit an orphanage; do a good deed for a total stranger; share a listening ear with a hapless neighbor. Or spare some time with the people close to you – send Christmas cards and letters to friends, or save one night where you can watch a Christmas movie with the family.

Christmas should be a happy time for everyone, so even with the blues you can still enjoy the season. All it takes is a little love and patience – especially on yourself.

Best wishes to you all for happy time with families
Trish

5 Home Business Success Tips

A lot of people avoid having a home based business for various reasons.

Some do not wish to have the responsibility associated with one and others are just simply clueless on how or where to start. This article focuses on some help in getting you started with a home based business and getting you on your way to success.

1) Advertising is always the most important aspect of any business. Even if your business is not home based, you still spend a significant amount of money on advertising. Since a home based business does not have a store front or a public office where they can advertise themselves, you must invest money in getting the word out to the world about your company. Consider internet marketing as a way for your business to expand in the world as well as advertising in local newspapers, billboards, and newsletters.

2) It takes time to develop clientele and make a significant amount of money through any business and this is not any different when it comes to a home based business. It is important to keep in mind not to get discouraged because your first few months are tough. Every business out there started somehow and many of them did not grow to be an overnight success. Keep at your business regardless how bleak it may seem at first, and you will eventually build your own trusted clientele and following.

3) Consider what types of equipment you need to purchase to run your business even if it is just a new printer or computer. It is important to shop around for the cheapest prices possible and opt to purchase what you can second hand. Make sure what you need is something that you have budgeted for.

4) It is important to understand the different tax laws and regulations associated with your business. Some businesses need permits as well as tax forms filed before even starting. You need to have a basic idea of how taxes work before starting your business so you ensure you will not lose any money when it comes to filing your taxes for the next year. Many items you purchase to start your business are considered tax deductible and it is in your best interest to research as much as possible to save money.

5) Come up with your own business plan. The most important thing that you can do for your home based business is to come up with a one year plan and what you hope to accomplish in that time frame. Make sure that you keep notes and ideas separate from your actual home information. Reserve a space for yourself within your house where you can work by yourself undisturbed. If you treat your business with dedication and as an actual business, you will more likely succeed.

Although starting up a home based business is a lot of responsibility and can be time consuming, you will find that the time will be worth it. Knowing what to do will provide you more success. It is important to take your time and plan things out and then take the plan and put it into action.

Tips On Beginning Your Own Home Business

There are a lot of things to consider when you work from home. If you need help getting through the do's and don'ts of a business you run out of your home, then this article will give you the help you need to understanding how to make it successful.

Commit yourself not to decisions but to action. Starting and growing a home business does not follow a linear path. It zigs and zags and requires constant flexibility. There is no way to make all the right decisions up front; you just have to jump in and start doing. Commit to action everyday, and have faith that you will be able to make the right decisions each time choices come up. 

There is no one product or service that everyone is going to need, want or be happy with. Do not try to morph your business to make everyone in the area happy. Concentrate your energy on the consumers that are interested in the things that you have to offer to them.

Provide transcripts of any video or audio you post about your home business products or services so that search engines can index it and customers who can't see or hear can read it. Making your content accessible to the widest possible audience will open you up to getting leads from any demographic.

A great tip for your home business is to try to include a gift or surprise with every order that you send out. This will speak volumes for you and your company and give customers a reason to come back to you. The personal touch is critical with your success.

Another great tip for your home business is to pay your takes throughout the year instead of waiting until tax time. This will keep you from being hit with an unexpected amount of money during tax season which might potentially hamper your business. Check with the Tax Office for specifics on how to properly submit your taxes quarterly.

Take advantage of new technology that allows you to charge credit cards from home. Most people want to pay with a credit card, so invest in a product that will easily let you do this. Many companies have figured out how to make this very affordable for home businesses.

To help promote your home business, consider joining forums that are related to home business generally and your own niche in particular. This is a great idea because you will be able to get free advice and many tips or tricks that you might not have been exposed to otherwise. Do your research on which forums benefit you the most.

People can't be bothered clicking through a hundred pages on a website to find out what your home business is about, so feed it all to them on the front page. Include what you do, who you are, quick testimonials, a photo of yourself or your product, and how to contact you, and your leads will skyrocket.

As was stated at the beginning of this article, having a home business requires a lot of work and follow up in many different areas. The tips and suggestions here should help anyone who has or is hoping to start a home based business make it more successful.