You can lose weight during Thanksgiving

By Belinda Johnson

Found on Food Network

Found on Food Network

Trying to lose weight? Then, it’s time to step out of the norm, especially now. When it comes to the winter holidays, the last thing that you want to be is “average”. Why? The average adult gain between 7 and 10 pounds from Thanksgiving to Christmas.

You don’t need 10 extra pounds

If you’re in your 40s, you may already know how hard it can be to lose weight, even as little as 7 pounds. Fortunately, there are steps that you can start taking now to keep your weight loss program on track. It doesn’t matter if it’s your own self-developed weight loss program or a plan that a dietician outlined.

At the top of the list is – drink plenty of fresh, clean water in place of alcoholic beverages, sodas and juices. Drop a lemon in the water for added flavor. Fresh mint leaves and berries also jazz up water. Drinking fresh water is a good way to flush your system and lose weight. Drinking fresh water also helps you to feel full which could help you to eat healthier and smaller portioned snacks and meals. Cold water has been reported to rev up the human metabolism.

Walk, ride a bike, get in some stair stepping or go for a swim or jog. Swim, you ask?  If you’re visiting family or friends during Thanksgiving and you’re staying at a hotel, it may be easy to get in several laps at the swimming pool. You could also go for a walk around the neighborhood, visit an area gym or go hiking with relatives or friends. Just make sure that you exercise twice a day, if your health is up for it.

Do your heart a favor

Exercise to raise your heart rate and break a sweat in the morning and in the evening, after you have eaten. Wait about an hour after you’ve eaten a heavy meal to start exercising. Sweating is often a sign that you’re body is being pushed enough to lose weight if you stay the course.

Pay attention to what you are eating and how large the portions are. One thing about Thanksgiving and other winter holidays is how easy it is to get caught up in conversations, see everyone else eating and snacking and drinking and forgetting how much you are taking in.

Talking and reminiscing with family, friends, neighbors and colleagues is also a time when it’s easy to be less aware of the taste and texture of food. To really enjoy food you eat on Thanksgiving, practice awareness and enjoy the scents and texture of the food.

Use a smaller plate. Even if you go back for seconds, when you serve yourself healthy portions on a smaller plate, you still may not eat as much as you would have had you gotten a large plate. 

Listen to your body to lose weight

Listen to your body. If you’ve been on track (committed and focused) to lose weight for several weeks or months, you know when you’re receiving a signal from your body. When your stomach, or your lower back, start to feel uncomfortable, it may be time to push away from the table or get involved in a fun activity or conversation that doesn’t involve food.

Maintain your regular routine of weighing yourself daily, if that’s a part of the regular routine that you follow to lose weight. You could wait until January 1, 2016 to step up on the scale, but, by not waiting until the new year, you could put off surprises.

There are so many things to celebrate and appreciate during Thanksgiving, Christmas and other winter holidays and the new year. It truly is a time of wonder. A spirit of appreciation lingers in the air. It’s contagious. And the new year is right around the corner, infusing folks with hope and possibility.

This year celebrate Thanksgiving so that what you remember most are the lively, engaging conversations that you shared with loved ones and the fun that you had recalling happy experiences. Make the time that you spend with family, friends, neighbors and colleagues top priority. Enjoy adding a spark to those relationships in a way that helps you to lose weight while having loads of fun. Happy Holidays

Posted in Personal Thoughts | Tagged , | 1 Comment

How to build successful freelancing careers

By Rhonda Campbell

Found at Freelancersunion.orgRoll the clock back and only a few professionals were considering steps to take to build successful freelancing careers. Rising corporate mergers and acquisitions, increasing employee health insurance premiums and dwindling job security once imbedded in traditional gigs pushed a skilled workforce toward freelancing.

More people are taking on freelancing careers
Just a year ago, Forbes reported that one third of American workers earned their income from freelancing careers. From writers to graphic designers to virtual assistants to computer technicians to marketing specialists, people launch freelancing careers for a variety of reasons, including to:

• Gain more control of their day / set their own work hours
• Achieve real work/life balance
• Spend more time with their school aged children
• Build a sustainable clientele that grows and strengthens with each successfully completed project
• Give themselves salary and pay increases throughout the year and especially as their knowledge and hands-on experience advances
• Work across fields and industries
• Get more out of their college degrees, non-school based learning and independently developed skills
• Take vacation when they want
• Telecommute without drawbacks
• Stay out of rush hour traffic / save money on commuting expenses

The rewards of working successful freelancing careers are enticing. Yet, it can take months, sometimes years, to build a strong client base. The good news is that it can (and is) being done. It’s also encouraging to know that it takes major corporations months and years to build a strong client base. You’re definitely not alone there as a freelancer.

Actions to build rewarding freelance careers
Steps toward building successful freelancing careers call for dedication, passion, commitment, knowing where to find good freelance jobs, lots of marketing and an unapologetic belief in your skills, knowledge and abilities. Begin by identifying one to three (try to keep it to no more than three) services that you enjoy providing others.

Do you enjoy making others laugh? Do you like helping other entrepreneurs market and grow their bottom line? How about consulting human resources leaders on best practices to retain top talent? Are do you love creating animations and artwork that develops brand or tells a story that engages consumers?

What skills do you have that could help you deliver these services? For example, you could use writing skills to make others laugh and help grow a business’ bottom line (i.e. copywriting, ad writing, direct email writing, script writing). You could use software and conceptual sketch art skills to create illustrations that develop and strengthen brands.

Make sure that you love using the skills. If the skills are sharpened, there’s a strong likelihood that you do. Get licenses, certifications and academic credentials that clients seek from freelancers that they hire. Utilize resources like Mediabistro, Journalism Jobs, Craigslist, Upwork, ProBlogger, 99Designs and Guru to source for freelance jobs.

Extra tips for serious freelancers
Another step that you can take is to create job alerts at job boards like Indeed, CareerBuilder and Monster. Employment agencies also let you create job alerts. This saves you the time of logging in and out of job boards every day. Instead, let the jobs come to you.

Apply for jobs when they are fresh. In other words, apply for jobs that have recently been posted. Save your resume at job boards, so employers can find you. And you definitely want to create an online portfolio that showcases your work and skills. You’ll be surprised how many prospective hiring managers will check out your online portfolio before they set up an interview with you.

WordPress and Weebly are some of the tools that you can use to create an online portfolio. I created my online freelance writers portfolio with WordPress; it’s helped connect me with clients as I continue to grow my freelancing careers.

More tips on how to build successful freelance careers are to:

• Network in-person and online
• Join professional groups that your prospective clients frequent or are active members of
• Keep in touch with current and former clients. You could do this by sending clients holiday greetings, birthday wishes, congratulating clients on their milestone achievements, etc.
• Negotiate for competitive pay rates (Don’t be shy about asking for rates that align with your skills. If you’re hesitant to ask for what your skills are worth early on, if you keep at it, this hesitancy may likely vanish — that’s a good thing!!)
• Let contacts know that you are accepting new clients.
• See the value in one-time gigs.
• Develop at least 12 clients, as some clients will give you work for months or years, while others will only give you work for a few days or weeks. With freelance careers, you could also stop receiving work from a long standing client absent notice. It’s a part of the working environment. That’s why having a pool of clients is good.
• Manage a healthy budget.
• Look for new freelancing jobs each day. Make this a habit.
Stay the course. If you’re good and you treat your clients with respect and show them appreciation, don’t be surprised if a former client pops back into your job life and ask you to start working on new projects or assignments for them.

Always do your best work. Your work is your voice and it can open lots of new doors for you. If needed, be willing to take on a traditional gig to pay the bills, even if only on a part-time or temporary basis. if you take this route, do it without shame or embarrassment and continue to sharpen your learning and freelance job skills.

Posted in Starting a Business | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Develop customer following crowds

By Rebecca Davis

customer following

Found at WeWork

Develop a customer following and you could build a network of supporters who will purchase your products or services even if you change industries. The benefits could be huge. It could by why the process of developing a following isn’t easy.

Process to develop a customer following

People who follow you from book to radio to television are people who have generally had some level of one-on-one contact with you. Of course, the process takes time. Easier ways to develop a customer following are to:

  • Send a weekly or monthly newsletter (at the least, distribute the newsletter once a quarter).
  • Interview on the radio or television once a week or more (there are hundreds of online radio stations that you could schedule interviews on).
  • Attend community events (i.e. festivals, seminars). Getting in-front of people so they put a face with a name and/or voice is important. The more people see you, the more they feel like they know you.
  • Support those who support you. You could pull this off by following people at their social media networks, buying a supporter’s latest book (and letting them know how you enjoyed the book), spreading the word about a supporter’s upcoming event, etc.
  • Write a weekly blog and open it for comments. As a tip, regularly review comments as there are automated systems that push spam comments with links to other websites. These automated systems might flood your comments with one spam post after another.
  • Add freebies and giveaways in gift baskets that you showcase at industry related conferences and seminars. People who organize conferences and seminars often look for gift baskets and other giveaways to build interest in their events. Make sure that your company’s name and contact information, including website URL, are on freebies and giveaways. The easier it is for people to find and connect with you, the easier you can develop the right customer following.
  • Mail holiday cards to loyal supporters (snail mail cost more, but packs a wallop).
  • Email a Happy Birthday message to supporters. You can get supporters’ birthday information by adding month/day birthday fields to online forms.

Identify 10 to 20 people who you want to develop rich, ongoing relationships with. They could be successful business owners, prominent motivational speakers, media influencers or marketers. Send these followers private social media messages and personal emails. Give as much as you get. You may be surprised at how deeply these business relationships delve over time. These people could become your biggest supporters, the heart of your customer following.

Before long, you’ll realize that you develop a customer following with people you value. You develop a following with people you enter into rewarding give and take exchanges with. As with any worthy relationship, the process takes time. It’s worth it because the results are unending.

Posted in Growing Business | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Single mom entrepreneurs protecting their business

By Belinda Johnson

business insurance

Found at Soapqueen

Single mom entrepreneurs run all types of business – auto shops, equipment transporter firms, restaurants, beauty salons, television stations (think TV One’s Cathy Hughes), cosmetic companies, interior design companies and more. Raising start up money to get their businesses off the ground is hard enough. Many single mom entrepreneurs shelve their pride (forget feeling embarrassed), pick up the phone and ask their parents, siblings and friends to front them hundreds or thousands of dollars so that they can meet their first payrolls and stock and ship early products.

Early on, getting enough liability and property insurance doesn’t always seem like a priority. Let a driver cause an accident while transporting catered food from the restaurant to a client’s headquarters or let a dozen customers have a severe reaction to your cosmetics or interior design chemicals and, just-like-that, getting business insurance becomes priority Number One.

Basic business insurance types are:

General liability insurance – Protection against property damage, slander, injuries and medical costs are types of events that general liability insurance offers protection for.

Product liability insurance – Protects single mom entrepreneurs should a product that they manufacture, sell or ship injure someone or cause damages to someone else’s property. When considering the amount of product liability insurance that their business needs, single mom entrepreneurs should think of all their products, including food and any product that could become defective, etc.

Auto insurance – This one is a must if single mom entrepreneurs rely on autos to operate their business. Examples of these businesses are transporter firms, car sales shops, messenger services, auto rental shops and taxi services.

Business interruption insurance – Personal illness or injury and a natural or human caused disaster are two types of events that could cause single mom entrepreneurs to shut their business down temporarily. Similar to short term disability income, business interruption insurance can keep income coming into your company until the doors open again.

Professional liability insurance – Single mom entrepreneurs who offer consulting, medical, psychological or other types of professional services should get professional liability insurance. It can cover their business should they get sued due to mistakes (also known as errors or omissions) that they or a worker of their causes.

Home based business insurance – Even if they have homeowners or renter’s insurance, single mom entrepreneurs can benefit from adding home based business insurance to their policy.

The amount of insurance needed depends on several factors, including the overall value of the business, outstanding debts, equity and the type of business. In addition to getting sufficient insurance for their businesses, single mom entrepreneurs need enough income to cover their expenses should they experience a personal injury or illness. Examples of this type of insurance are health insurance, personal auto insurance and personal umbrella insurance.

Several companies that offer auto or home insurance also offer life, business and professional liability insurance. By bundling the insurance under a single company, single mom entrepreneurs could save money on their monthly installments.

Posted in Business Management | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Motivational quotes to keep you going

By Ericka Simpson

positive affirmationsMotivational quotes are rooted in the lives of people who have experienced great challenge, steadfast resolve and later, stunning triumph. Motivation is a basis of key decisions. Motivation is at the root of thinking patterns which, directly, encourages behavior.

Motivational quotes that encourage your success

Challenges in this world can weaken our resolve and leave us feeling dis-spirited. If our resolve weakens too much, we could be tempted to quit. If this ever happens to you, reach out for a healthy dose of motivation. Below are encouraging motivational quotes that could strengthen your resolve and your commitment to succeed, especially during times that feel most challenging.

Believe you can, and you’re halfway there.”- Theodore Roosevelt

Nothing is impossible. The word itself says ‘I’m possible.'” – Audrey Hepburn

You cannot expect victory and plan for defeat.”  – Joel Osteen

Thankfully, persistence is a great substitute for talent.”  – Steve Martin

You can get a thousand no’s from people, and only one “yes” from God.” – Tyler Perry

Encourage yourself, believe in yourself, and love yourself. Never doubt who you are.”  – Stephanie Lahart

Stay focused. Stay positive. Keep your chin up and your feet on the ground.”

“The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.” Anna Quindlen

“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” Gloria Steinem

“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.” Joseph Campbell

“If you hear a voice within you say “you cannot paint,” then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” ~ Vincent Van Gogh

“It’s not whether you get knocked down. It’s whether you get up again.” ~ Vince Lombardi

“When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn. “ ~ Harriet Beecher Stowe

More encouraging motivational quotes

Wherever we look upon this earth, the opportunities take shape within the problems.” – ~ Nelson A. Rockefeller

Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do.” – Benjamin Spock

For every failure, there’s an alternative course of action. You just have to find it. When you come to a roadblock, take a detour.” – Mary Kay Ash

“Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there’s love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.” —Ella Fitzgerald 

“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” —Nelson Mandela 

People are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of.” — Paulo Coelho

We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come.” – Joseph Campbell

Meditate on your favorite motivational quotes. Listen to and follow your Higher Self. Stay motivated. Stay encouraged.

Posted in Staying Motivated and Inspired | Tagged | Leave a comment

Great places to gain free followers

By Ericka Simpson


Found at Bloglovin




Followers are people who trust you. Think of them as friends who you recently met, people you’ll have to work to build deeper relationships with.

Just as you bump into people who go on to become your friends at different events, there are great places where you can meet business followers. But, before we share those places, we want to point out a few valuable tips.

Treat followers right
Just as you wouldn’t call a new friend a dozen times a day or stop by her apartment several times a day, don’t send a dozen emails a day, or a week, to followers. Don’t call leads several times a day. These actions frustrate recipients.

Schedule time to communicate with followers. Engage in two-way communication. For example, you could post questions at your Facebook page. Or you could post three humorous videos on Google Plus and ask people which one they think is the funniest.

Respond to followers who answer your questions or who vote on videos, contests and photos that you publish on social media networks. Thank followers for commenting and contributing. Take the time to visit websites and blogs of people who support you. After all, communicating with friends is truly a two way street.

Places to get free followers
• Conferences and seminars – Bring a clipboard with you to speaking events. Encourage people to sign up for your newsletters, email distribution lists and social media networks. All you have to do is get their name and email address and, of course, their approval.
• Festivals – Cultural and specialty event festivals attract tens of thousands of visitors. Get out and meet people. Let them know about your blog and/or website. Ask them to follow you. If they have a mobile device, they could follow you even as you’re talking with them.
• Trade shows – While you’re passing out business cards, distribute a flyer that highlights your social media networks. Plainly ask readers to follow you.
• Local shops – Drop leaflets on your social media sites and your business off at coffee shops.
• Alumni meetings
• School (i.e. high school, college or university)
• Meet ups
• Public transportation
• Charity events – This may prove especially beneficial if your business sponsors or supports a charity.
• Newsletters – Some editors list entrepreneurs’ social media accounts or websites for free if the entrepreneur offers free services, etc.
• Your website – It goes without saying that you should add a link to your social media networks on each page of your website.
• Printed material – Don’t consider your brochures, flyers, leaflets, etc. to be complete until you add one or more of your social media accounts (i.e. @dtwriters) to the material.
• Recorded messages – This includes answering service messages, such as recorded mobile phone voice mail greeetings
• Work – If you’re featured on a company intranet, ask if you can include links to your social media pages. In your bio, encourage colleagues to follow you.

Create a schedule for when you’ll reach out to followers. Care enough about communicating with followers as you do about gaining followers. Think of followers as distant friends. Treat them that way and observe what results.

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Book marketing tips for authors

Bybook marketing tips Rhonda Campbell

Book marketing tips for authors need a holistic approach. Fact is that social media and email have shortened the time that it takes for readers and authors to connect. Yet, more than a few authors have fallen into the trap of limiting their book marketing efforts to these two tools.

Effective book marketing tips

Joel Friedlander shares at CreateSpace that smart book marketing tips cover both online and offline strategies. Koozai says that key to marketing success if integrating offline and online marketing.

Advantages of implementing online book marketing tips include:

  • Reduced printing, postage and distribution costs
  • Shorter time to deliver book marketing ROI reports
  • Ability to reach larger numbers of readers
  • Opportunity to learn about and work with talented graphic designers
  • Static book marketing presence (i.e. author website, blog)

Rewards of integrating offline book marketing tips into promotional efforts include:

  • Establishing deeply personal relationships with book readers
  • Greater reader trust
  • Stronger reader contact systems
  • Media pro relationships
  • Exposure to more writing opportunities
  • New skills and sharpened talents

Get out and meet book readers in person and readers can create a lasting impression on the very people who could become your greatest supporters. Media pros may also become friends, running your press releases and feature interviews.

Actionable book marketing tips

So, what are effective book marketing tips? Imagination and courage take the limits off of book marketing tips that lead to increased book sales. Book marketing tips that you could start using today include:

  • Contact community colleges and teaching creative writing courses (clear with college administrators that you can sale your books at the end of the courses).
  • Telephone or email book club presidents and schedule an appearance at several upcoming book club meetings.
  • Reach out to magazine and newspaper editors. Write a daily, weekly or monthly column for the periodicals.
  • Design postcards and send via direct mail to book lovers. Some design and print firms allow you to purchase vetted mailing lists from them.
  • Attend book and cultural festivals.
  • Attend events that are related to your book’s subject matter.
  • Bring contact lists with you (ruled paper and a clipboard work well!) when you attend events. Encourage attendees to add their name, street address and email to the contact lists.
  • Highlight all of your books in a professionally designed brochure. Mail the brochure to contacts you meet at book festivals, community college classes and public speaking events.
  • Create flyers and pass at least 10 flyers out a day. As part of our book marketing tips, places where you could distribute or pass out your flyers include beauty salons, barber shops, cafes, hotels, airports, bookstores, newsstands and gift shops.
  • Reach out to radio station managers and/or DJs and schedule online and offline radio interviews.
  • Write and distribute a press release once a week or once a month.
  • Develop an online email lists and send contacts a weekly or monthly newsletter.
  • Build social media pages. Book marketing tips indicate that you could gain more traction from your social media pages if you design and add visually appealing front pages to your accounts.
  • Participate in online book club chats.
  • Link book author blogs to and other online book retail websites.
  • Take out an ad in local newspaper (some community newspapers allow you to run ads for as little as $25 per issue).
  • Incorporate SEO strategies in online book marketing tips campaigns.
  • Build a book marketing tips campaign. List out which actions you will take and how frequently. For example, you could build a spreadsheet and indicate that you will send one press release, attend one public speaking event, posts images, quotes and updates to social media accounts and participate in one book club meeting once a month.
  • Measure the results of your book marketing tips action steps. This way, you will know what to tweak and what to continue doing absent any change.

Effective book marketing tips take authors offline. They also take advantage of online marketing tools. Among these tools are social media, email, newsletters, blogging, press releases and online radio interviews. Offline book marketing tips connect authors and readers in a way that online approaches can’t. Authors who incorporate both approaches into their book marketing campaigns could develop richer relationships with readers, potentially increasing their book sales.

Posted in Book Industry Entrepreneurs | Tagged , | 1 Comment