Miami Heat Greg Oden returns to the NBA court

By Charles Dundley

miami heat greg oden

During his basketball playing days at the University of Ohio, Greg Oden became one of the most talented and skillful center. Steve Kerr, a former NBA athlete, referred to Oden as “once in a decade player.” Teams across the NBA set their sights on the impressive center. Few, if any, paid attention to the fact that Greg Oden had surgery early in his basketball career at Ohio State.

Basketball remains in Greg Oden’s blood

That early surgery was performed to repair a ligament injury he suffered while playing basketball in high school, according to Wikipedia. In 2007, a year after he entered college, Greg Oden was drafted by the Portland Trailblazers. Many expected Oden to become a great center, similar to how Shaquille O’Neal became a dominant center while playing for the Los Angeles Lakers, then later for the Miami Heat.

Yet, a series of injuries would stifle Greg Oden’s attempts to gain a strong foothold as a center in the NBA. All fans and coaches could do was imagine how talented and powerful Greg Oden would be on the court if he could get and stay clear of injuries. In 2012, after a lengthy injury, Greg Oden became a free agent.

It appeared as if he might not find a home in the NBA. But, after winning its second NBA title, the Miami Heat, the same team that acquired Shaquille O’Neal from the Los Angeles Lakers picked up Greg Oden. Rather than to start Oden at the very beginning of the season, the Miami Heat waited to unleash Greg Oden.

His first game back on the court came on January 15, 2014. The Miami Heat were playing the Washington Wizards. Although the Miami Heat lost to the Washington Wizards by a score of 114-97, sports analysts, commentators and fans were delighted to see Greg Oden back on the court.

Fox Sports reported that, “Oden played his first game in more than four years Wednesday night, and that might have been the only positive for the Heat. He played all of 8 minutes, 24 seconds and made a pair of dunks to help start a rally that had loads of promise — until it fell flat in the fourth quarter of a 114-97 loss to the Wizards on Wednesday night.”

It remains to be seen how Greg Oden will perform throughout the remainder of the NBA season. However, Miami Heat fans hope that he helps to lead them to a third NBA championship in the summer.

February 2014, after the Indiana Pacers picked up free agent, Andrew Bynum for a one year deal reported to be worth $1 million, the importance of Greg Oden showing up strong during the NBA playoffs became that much more important should Bynum play the way he did when he was with the Los Angeles Lakers. Additionally, with the way Oklahoma City Thunder has been playing of late (even without their star point guard, Russell Westbrook), if they hope to three-peat, the Miami Heat are going to need Greg Oden to provide a wealth of aggressive on the court defense.

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New businesses you can start for less than $250

By Charles Dundley

start a business

Your dreams of becoming a business owner may be at your fingertips. All you need is a reliable computer to start these businesses. Of course, you’ll need an appetite for wise risks taking, decision making and communicating with potential customers. Solid marketing, time and money management skills don’t hurt either.

Content Firm – Visit career specific job boards to attract your first clients. After you build a clientele of 10 or more “real” businesses, put ads at job boards, alerting experienced writers to the fact that you’re looking for talent. In addition to hiring writers to develop online content, you can also use your firm to provide content for print magazines, journals, etc. This is truly a business you can start from home for less than $250. You can even generally declare business related deductions when you file annual income taxes.

Website Design Business – Yes. There are several sites entrepreneurs can visit to build their own website. Yet, these sites use templates to build websites. Small entrepreneurs and artists who are looking to build customized websites, are still working with experienced website designers. You could build your clientele by letting customers know that not only will you build websites for them, you’ll also check and update code at their websites as needed, keeping the websites compliant with search engine guidelines. Additionally, by offering mobile design options, you can pull in more customers. Check out these website design businesses if you’re looking for ideas:  Digital Creative, Accenture, Dee’s Solutions and Shopify.

Graphic Arts Company – Creating colorful, multi-page brochures, postcards, t-shirts, retail packaging, catalogs and digital newsletters are a few projects your graphic arts company could take on, each requiring no more than $250 to start working on. You may have to start out by offering 100% digital work until you generate enough revenues to pay for a printer, complex software and a camera. The better your equipment, the more projects you can take on which can, in turn, lead to more paying customers. It goes without saying that you need to have a strong working knowledge of computer software, the arts and how image and written content work together to create lasting impressions. These are a few graphic arts design companies that are making a name for themselves: Black Bear Design, RLM Graphic Arts, Landor and Baltimore Graphics.

Editing Firm – Make sure you have strong line and structural editing skills before you start an editing company for $250 or less. You should have edited corporate brochures, white papers, case studies and maybe a few full length books before you start your own editing business. Expand your business and you can start taking on video editing projects. The more services you offer, the better as long as you don’t take on more work than you can handle adequately. Work with major book publishers and top artists and you could earn $10,000 or more a project. As with the other businesses, it’s a good idea to build up your revenues before you start taking on payroll expenses.

Coaching Business – Life coaching has gotten a lot of attention over the last few years. Plan on earning life coaching certifications if you want to land top paying clients. As a life coach, you can also get paid to speak to large groups, offering listeners motivation, encouragement and targeted advice. Other types of coaching businesses you could start for less than $250 include athletic coaching, interior design coaching and culinary coaching. Put it this way, if you have the skills, knowledge and passion to create winning sports, interior design, life and culinary works, you can get paid to teach others to do the same for themselves.

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Signs it might be time to get a new job

By Charles Dundley

looking for jobYou don’t have to be in your 40s or 50s to experience a life crisis. Staying at the wrong job could push you into a crisis, even make it hard to roll out of bed and head into the office Monday through Friday. If you spend your days dreaming about working somewhere else or if you are easily angered when given new projects, it might be time to move on.

Other signs that it might be time to move on and get another job, a job that suits your personality and career goals include:

  • The last time you worked on an interesting project was more than six months ago. Although you’ve asked your supervisor to assign you different projects, she hasn’t given you anything new to work on. She’s also started cancelling the weekly one-on-one meetings you once held with her.
  • Work you do is so repetitive, you could do it in your sleep. In fact, a robot could do your job.
  • During performance review discussions, your manager stares at you blankly when you ask about your career path. It’s an even worse sign if human resources has no insight about your career plan.
  • It’s been more than four years since you received a salary increase, even a minor salary increase. This could be a sign that it’s time to start looking for work elsewhere. It could also be a sign that your supervisors don’t value your work or that they think you’ll never leave (so why pay you more money?).
  • Newly hired workers whose jobs are comparable to yours are paid more than you starting on day one, and you’ve been at the firm for three or more years.

To turn the tide, you could try speaking with your supervisor again. If that doesn’t work, reach out to human resources. Be prepared with concrete ideas on ways your job could be improved. For example, you might be able to cross-train in another department, work with a mentor or take on a more senior project.

Also, start looking for new work elsewhere. It doesn’t hurt to look. Make sure your resume is strong, definitely current. Let your confidential networks — people who know you well, people you can trust to keep the fact that you’re looking for new work to themselves — know the types of jobs you’re looking for. When given the opportunity, consider going on job interviews, so you can get a feel for what recruiters and hiring managers are looking for.

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Widening wealth gap trickling down to employees’ and executives’

By Charles Dundley

employee salaryOnly 1% of the population owns about half of all the wealth in the world. That means that about 1% of the all the people in the world owns nearly half of more than $240 trillion. If there really was a “trickle down” effect, this might not be so bad. But, studies show that the money isn’t trickling down.

Not only that, large corporations pay a smaller percentage of business taxes than small businesses do. “In 2010, large, profitable corporations paid an effective tax rate of 12.6 percent of their global income, the General Accountability Office found,” as reported by CBS Money Watch. Not all of corporate tax savings are pumped back into the business to develop consumer products. Some of the savings may land in the wallets of chief executive officers.

This is an important fact to consider when examining the widening wealth gap, as many high income workers own or are employed by large corporations. Before you start thinking that all workers at large corporations are making a lot more than you do, consider this, “CEO pension plans at some companies are now worth an average 239 times more than the retirement plans of the people they supervise,” as reported by NBC News.

At companies with the widest income gaps, chief executive officers were paid as much as 550 times more than other employees. Considering the fact that some executives were paid $45 million a year while the average American income is $51,017, it’s a wonder the gap isn’t wider. A slow recovering economy isn’t helping much, at least not in regards to the average American wage earner.

“We’ve had [economic] growth, but it hasn’t really reached everyday Americans,” said Elise Gould, an economist at the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute. “It’s a lost decade, maybe more.” CNN Money also reports that, “Since 1967, Americans right in the middle of the income curve have seen their earnings rise 19%, while those in the top 5% have seen a 67% gain.

Rising inequality is seldom a sign of good social stability.” Another troubling statistic involves how many Americans are living in poverty. As of 2013, 15% of Americans were living in poverty. Huge disparity between executive and employee wages certainly doesn’t help.

It remains to be seen how long middle class Americans and members of the working poor will continue to “accept” widening income and wealth gaps, especially when it’s middle class Americans who pay a lion’s share of the country’s taxes. It’s also middle class Americans who retailers hope will buy and spend during major holidays like Christmas. Demanding that these people work longer hours, work harder, while they have less disposable income due to cost of living increases may continue to yield negative results.


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Apoorva is helping women gain the freedom to live a victorious life after domestic violence

ladv apoorva mcintoshMEET Apoorva McIntosh:   Apoorva McIntosh is an inspiration to many. Her deep desire to make the world a better place for as many survivors of abuse as she can in her lifetime, inspired the creation of LADV Foundation (Life After Domestic Violence). She wears a myriad of hats, including Founder & President of LADV Foundation, author, public speaker, model, life coach, fine artist, fashion designer and most importantly, mother of an amazing five-year-old boy.

WMI:   Where did you grow up and what was life like for you as a kid? 

AM:     I was born in India. But, have been living the life of a nomad. I did part of my growing up in India, England and Germany. Recently, I have been growing up in America. I must admit – the best part of my growing up was/is in America. And I absolutely mean it in a positive way. There is something called the cross-fit camp of life. I have been in one! I Learned too much, too quickly. I have turned 180 degrees around from who I was four years ago. And I am loving it!

Life was a mess growing up as a child. I hated being a kid. However, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I wasn’t a minority. So, I decided to stop feeling special, stopped asking God why me and stopped feeling like God’s step-child. Life sucked as a child, and I now call it a “so what!”  A not-so-nice childhood helped me develop a theory; what doesn’t kill you makes you depressed for a while, but once you get over it, it makes you indestructible.

WMI:   Tell us what you were doing before you launched the LADV Foundation. 

AM:   I was busy dealing with a difficult marriage and depression (You can see how the “messy life” pattern continues). Which eventually led to divorce, single parenthood and poverty.

All that chaos happened in the first half (four years) of being in America.

Then I spent the second half (four years) in research and study of human mind, human behavior, characteristics of abuser and victim, why abuse happens to some people and why abuse can run from generation-to-generation. I also studied how to stop abuse, causes of depression, addictions, self destructive habits and how to replace bad habits with good habits (void theory). Other areas I focused on are how to communicate with difficult people and what can we do to have a successful, happy, healthy and fulfilling life despite of what the past may have been like. The list is endless.

I have also added NLP and life coaching to my study areas. This additional study and experience helps me to help the survivors of abuse more effectively.

WMI:   When and why did you start the LADV Foundation? 

AM:   I formed the Foundation in May of 2013.  I saw a tremendous need for it. It was like one of those “Aha!” moments after I got my life together. Surprisingly, over the last four years while I was studying various subjects to help myself, I came across countless numbers of women who were abused or who witnessed abuse.  After getting to know them, I saw that they were still hurting within. Most of them were dealing with one thing or another – depression, anxiety, eating disorders, various addictions, co- dependency, denial, attraction to one abusive relationship after another or children following in their footsteps by walking into dangerous relationships or resorting to drugs. Some still harbored a lot of hatred and resentment toward their abuser, others still wished/wanted to be back in the abusive relationship.

With my personal experience and the knowledge I have accumulated and continue to accumulate, I have come to understand why this happens.  Therefore, I decided to do something about it. I brought together a great team of advisors and committee members, who also saw the need for our work, and combined this with my deep desire to help the survivors of abuse. These advisors and committee members helped me bring LADV Foundation to life.

WMI:   Give us an overview of the services you provide through LADV Foundation. 

AM:      One word to describe our programs is “knowledge”. Knowledge is power. Our programs are based on the knowledge of “Why, How and What.”  Why physical and/or emotional abuse happens to some of us. Why we might be prone to future abusive relationships even if we do get out of one for now.  Once abused women understand the why, we teach them the how – namely how they can prevent the abuse from happening to them and/or their children again.

Once abused women understand the how, we teach them the what. This involves teaching them what they can do to heal from the trauma (PTSD) and what they can do to build self confidence and self-esteem. We also work with the women to help them develop professionally, build  communication skills, healthy boundaries and healthy relationships. Other strengths we give the women is the ability to make sound financial decisions, create a pleasant and impressive self image, develop healthy habits and build an overall happy, successful and fulfilling life.

Through our communication program, we also teach men how to communicate effectively with women as well as teach women how to communicate effectively with men to have a healthy relationship and to reduce escalation or situational violence.

WMI:   Prevention is a beautiful thing! Please share a few key signs that alert a woman or man to the fact that they are dating an abuser (or a potential abuser)? 

AM:     Signs of abuse include one person trying to control another. This includes control of finances, on who you should and should not talk to, where you can and cannot go, where you should work or not work, who you can call and/or text or email. Abusers also try to gain control in the bedroom. The alarming part about it is that in most cases, abuse happens gradually.

Another sign of abuse is a gradual destruction of self-confidence/self-esteem by putting another person down constantly. Constant reminders that a partner cannot do anything right on their own is another sign of abuse. Eventually, the abused partner starts believing the abusive messages to be the facts. My book “Why Don’t You Just Leave?” outlines the signs of an abusive relationship, cycle of violence, how it starts and where it ends up. Some women don’t make it out alive once they are in an abusive relationship. Therefore, recognizing the signs at an early stage is extremely crucial.

WMI:   Do you offer programs for kids of abused or abusive parents?  If so, what services are offered during the programs? 

AM:      Currently, we don’t have programs for children of abuse. However, we are working on a program as we recognize the importance of it. We did learn that the survivors of abuse suffer from PTSD. Whether it be men, women or children. Therefore, we are working on programs for men and children as well.

domestic violence book by apoorva mcintoshWMI:   You offer a financial stability program through LADV Foundation. What role does financial stability play in domestic violence? 

AM:      Extremely important! Research shows that the majority of women are unable to leave an abusive relationship or end up going back after they leave, because of lack of financial independence. One of our programs, Single Parent’s Fund provides financial literacy and stability to the domestic violence survivors who are unable to cope with daily expenses due to legal debt, or other unfortunate circumstances.

WMI:   Is this your first time operating and managing your own business? If not, please share with us a bit of history about another business you owned. 

AM:     I have always been an entrepreneur. I started a fashion business when I was 25 years old and ended up exporting to some great fashion houses in Germany, England and in the US. I became very successful within a year. Next thing I knew, I was doing fashion shows along with the giants of the industry. Compared to them, I was a brand new baby.  I was the youngest fashion designer chosen to be on the mentor board of an international fashion institute. My role was to conduct yearly lectures in my field of expertise to guide the upcoming fashion designers. I somehow managed to win two awards for my work. Things just happened, without expectations, without planning. I just had the drive and the dream. The rest came along on its own.

WMI:   A lot has been said about start-up funding. Where did you find the funding to get your foundation off the ground? 

AM:        I fortunately had enough savings to lay the bricks of the foundation. Subsequently, God took over and I started meeting some absolutely phenomenal people who gave me a break on their fees, some of them completely donated their time and expertise, some donated money despite of the fact that their contribution was not tax deductible at that time. As a brand new start-up, we were not qualified as 501(c)3 at that point. Now we are a fully functional non-profit with a 501(c)3 status through United Charitable Programs.  I was blown away by the generosity of those who I didn’t even know too well. I am amazed by this incredible team of people God has assembled to move the foundation forward.  My attorney said to me years ago while we were waiting for the trial, “You are not in a trap! You are in a great country and you will see that.” She was right.

WMI:   What has been the toughest thing to learn about owning a business? 

AM:      Finding the right team that sees your vision as clearly as you do and is as passionate about the goals as you are. Every business needs a great team. You can have a great product and great services but without a great team, your company’s growth will not reach to its full potential; it might even fail.

WMI:   What has been the most rewarding part of owning a business? 

AM:     Gratification from the fact that I have the ability to impact lives with what I do. Also, owning a business forces me to think outside the box. Another great part is that I actually love working. In my experience, working 18-20 hours a day wouldn’t tire a person out if the person worked in a field they were passionate about and had a deep knowledge about. Then, life flows even if there are challenges.

WMI:   Social media networks, press releases, interviews, etc. provide a myriad of marketing opportunities. Share three to four specific marketing strategies/action steps you have found to be most effective at getting you exposure for your foundation and its services. 

AM:      In my experience, “word of mouth” is definitely the best advertisement any organization or product can get. Other than that, I’d say Facebook is one of the most powerful ways of reaching out to an ocean of people. LinkedIn and Twitter are also great marketing platforms.

WMI:   To keep your business or foundation going, you have to generate cash inflow. Tell us about two to three effective cash inflow generating strategies you’ve found effective. 

AM:     We apply various means and strategies. First of all by keeping the operating/ admin costs low. We have several amazing volunteers, and we are always looking for more. The less we spend on overhead, the more we have for our programs and our Single Parent’s Fund.

We also have a Membership Program through which you can become a member of LADV Foundation and contribute each month, quarterly or yearly. We also have “Sponsor A Program and Change Lives”, through which an organization or an individual can adopt one or more of our programs.  Additionally, we do fundraisers to create awareness on who we are, what we do and how we do it in order to help the survivors of abuse.

WMI:   Who inspired you to go after your dreams when you were a child? How is this person still positively impacting your life today? 

AM:      Actually, it’s a funny question, in an ironic way. I didn’t have anyone who inspired me to go after my dreams. Instead, I think the reverse psychology was the reason for my dreams and success. What I mean by that is – my mother always told me that I was ugly, useless and good for nothing.  The ugly part got me into modeling and I ended up modeling for a lot of big brands and magazines. I never was and never will be ugly. The good for nothing turned me into a successful fashion designer.  The reverse psychology seems to work really well for me. Being in an abusive marriage turned me into a research and study junkie which helped me find answers to many questions I had. Being nearly killed, helped teach me the meaning of life.

I was also fascinated by three women while growing up -  Madonna, Mother Teresa and Princess Diana. I admired different qualities in each one of them. I actually drew an incredible portrait of Diana when I was about 17-18 years old.  The entire portrait was created with alphabets only, no lines what so ever.  My glamour world, collections and dressing sense were inspired by Madonna. My desire to help others definitely stemmed from Mother Teresa, and I have always aimed for the poise, humility and personality of Princess Diana.  I think, I tuned out to be a mix of the three.

WMI:   What’s next for Apoorva? Where do you see yourself and the LADV Foundation two to three years from now? 

AM:        The next step for me is to re-establish my fashion business. My fashion business model will be useful for providing job opportunities for the survivors of domestic abuse.  My vision for LADV Foundation is to go nationwide within the next 2-3 years, and eventually, teach our programs internationally.

You can visit Apoorva McIntosh online at

You can purchase her book, Why Don’t You Just Leave, at

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Great holiday gifts for entrepreneurs

By Rhonda Campbell

great giftsWinning organization and time management skills are hallmarks of great entrepreneurs. In today’s busy work environment, successful entrepreneurs are turning to automated tools to save time while completing key projects. Among these tools are dual monitors, wireless headsets, smartphones and tablets.

Great gifts business owners appreciate
Accessories that come with electronic devices also help make entrepreneurs’ lives easier. A business owner doesn’t have to be hard of hearing to appreciate a tablet sound enhancer or a set of quality computer speakers. Regarding speakers, there are also speaker tables on the market. These work well in conference rooms.

If you have a marketer in your life, you might want to consider getting them an iPhone kit, a kit that comes with a case and a wide angle lens. It’s this kit that marketing entrepreneurs use to create videos with. Look for an iPhone kit that is water resistant. This way the marketer can develop videos even when it’s raining outside.

You can encourage busy entrepreneurs to stay healthy by gifting them with a juicer, the type of multi-speed juicer that easily handles chewy vegetables and large pieces of fruit, blending them into delicious and healthy smoothies. A gift certificate to a spa is a great way to encourage entrepreneurs to relax, something the best business owners can use a reminder about.

Since accidents happen despite an entrepreneurs best intentions (or their focused attention), a spill or water proof keyboard is a plus. A waterproof keyboard can make the difference between a business owner screaming or cursing after she spills a cup of tea or juice while reaching for a calculator or a project folder.

Other great holiday gifts for entrepreneurs are expandable day bags. Laptops, project folders and confidential documents can be stored in expandable day bags. Ruled day calendars, Bluetooth speakers, transportable disc drives, iPads and multi-functional printers are other great gifts for entrepreneurs. And, of course, you can never go wrong by giving a business owner a gift certificate to a clothing store.

Most of all, it’s the support you give business owners that matter most. Your encouragement throughout the year is also a gift that simply cannot be topped.

Rhonda Campbell, an East Coast journalist, is the owner of Off The Shelf radio and publisher of the new books Long Walk Up and Love Pour Over Me.

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What to do if your blog traffic drops

By Brenda Long

blog traffic imageSharp increases in your blog traffic boost your self-confidence. Before long, you find yourself checking your blog stats several times an hour. You also start to think that your blog content is sticky, just what members of your niche market are looking for.

These are the good times. Add in increasing ad revenues, and you’re probably feeling so good that you absolutely love writing at least one new blog post every single day. Then, Google changes its algorithms and you notice a sharp decline in your blog traffic.

You’re stumped. You haven’t started writing and publishing different types of content, so you have no idea why your blog traffic is dropping. If you don’t act fast, the situation might get worse.

To get your blog traffic back on track, analyze your blog stats. Find out where your visitors are coming from and which pages at your blog are generating the most traffic. Also, pay attention to keywords people type into search engines to find your blog.

Other steps you can take to bump up your blog traffic include:

  • Write and publish a blog post that answers your audience’s priority questions.
  • Get HubSpot and Google search engine optimization (SEO) certifications. This educational process will teach you tricks you can use to attract more visitors to your blog.
  • Analyze keywords before adding them in your blog posts.
  • Try adding videos and slide shows to your blog. Monitor traffic the videos and slide shows pull in. You might find that your blog’s visitors like video interviews with industry leaders rather than humorous videos.
  • Add feature images to blog posts.
  • Publish written feature interviews with industry leaders at your blog.
  • Focus on your niche market and their perceived needs when writing new posts.
  • Avoid stuffing keywords into blog posts to keep your posts from taking on an unnatural feel and to remain in search engines’ good graces.

By promoting your blog posts at social media networks you have accounts on, you can pull in non-search engine traffic. Another way you can get more blog traffic is to include links to your blog posts in your newsletters and direct email communications.

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