PlanningTravelling Alone

Often people are shocked when they hear that I love to travel alone. Some state that they would be afraid to do this while others imply that they just don’t think they would enjoy the trip without having people accompany them.

Well, there are several advantages to going solo:

1. Planning is much easier. You just think about where you would like to visit and start researching your options. You can open an email with flight offers and book whatever grabs your attention at the time without having to consult or compromise.
2. Travelling is more flexible. If you miss a plane or decide to get sidetracked you can coordinate things based on one schedule only – your own. You don’t have to worry about anxiety or commitments of others in your party. In fact, you could even choose to give up your seat on an overbooked flight and receive hundreds of dollars from the airline for doing so.
3. Opportunities abound. It is a lot easier to purchase one ticket to a popular event that two. Several times I have impulsively arrived at a box office and found that the concert was sold out – except for one great ticket – MINE! Would you believe twenty-third row center for Natalie Cole in Seattle?
4. Relationships develop. Frequently I am invited to join interesting people at their table for a meal when they realize that I am on my own. I have made amazing friendships and enjoyed great conversations on trips that wouldn’t have occurred if I had been with other people.
5. Culture can be experienced first-hand. There is always time to visit with hotel or restaurant staff, discover local adventures or learn about the language and customs from a shop keeper because no one is waiting for you or wanting to do something else.
6. Plans can be altered. You can sleep in, order lunch in mid-afternoon or take an impulsive detour without upsetting anyone else’s itinerary.
7. You set the pace. I have learned to walk slowly and rest often – a situation that does not match that of many other people. Last month, in Ronks, Pennsylvania, for example, I chose to take advantage of an outdoor Amish-made rocking chair so I could just rock and people-watch for two hours. I loved it but know that not everyone would have felt the same way!
8. You spend less money. At least I do because I know that I am the one who will have to haul my luggage around from place to place. And I don’t want to pay an extra transportation fee if it weighs in att over fifty pounds.
9. I also eat better when I am alone because I am not in restaurants three times a day trying to finish everything on the plate. In fact, I eat only one restaurant meal a day, ask for a take-out container and then supplement my left-overs with fruit, vegetables or snacks that I have purchased throughout the day.
10. Finally, and with tongue in cheek I enjoy the fact that there isn’t anyone to correct my stories!

You don’t have to be afraid to travel on your own if you are wise. Just use your common sense, ask hotel personnel for advice about safe areas and keep your eyes open. With just a little practice, you will find that travelling on your own can be a wonderful experience!

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Business Start with A Low Cost

To started a low cost business in the traditional world of bricks and mortar is very challenging. You need to make significant investments in recruiting, stock, apparatus and property to trade from. However, an online business is different. All you need is one person, one computer, limited capital and access to the internet.

You will need to spend some money purchasing a website domain name and hosting for your website. You can build your own website (it’s not as complicated as you might think) or you can employ a freelancer to build it for you. But these are minimal costs as compared to the substantial costs of renting a physical building to operate from, buying stock or employing staff.

So what options do you have to start a low cost business online?

1. Sell Other People’s Products

This online business model, known as affiliate marketing, is like being a commission paid sales person. You don’t have to buy any stock, deal with any payment programs or arrange any deliveries. The product owner takes care of that. Your job is to find the customers and get them to visit the product sales page. You can sell tangible products that get shipped to the customer’s front door or you can sell digital products which the customer downloads to their computer.

2. Freelance Your Services Online

If you have a specific level of knowledge or expertise there will be people looking online for them. Freelance websites like UpWork have countless numbers of customers looking for copy writers, creative designers, linguists, website developers, marketing and advertising staff, legal and financial specialists and more.

3. Create A Digital Product

The greatest advantage when you a create digital product is that once you have produced it, you can sell it online again and again. And you don’t need to be an expert in a particular subject to create a digital product like an eBook, video tutorial, white paper, or report. You just need to know more than the average person on your chosen subject.

4. Build A Membership Website

A membership site is like being like a consultant in the traditional offline world. You help and advise clients with your knowledge about your specialist subject. Every month you provide new content for your paying subscribers. You can produce content in advance that drip feeds to your clients when they sign up.

5. Become An Online Teacher

If you have particular know-how about a certain subject, you can pass on your knowledge to students from all over the world. People may not have a teacher near to where they live and don’t want to travel for long distances for their learning. But, the internet makes it easy for you and your students to use online video and audio connections. You can set up one-to-one classes or group classes.

Telling Your Story the Right Way for Your Brand

We all want our marketing dollars to stretch as far as they can. One way to ensure that your dollars are taking your company as far as they should go is to have your brand tell the right story in the right way. It is important to think of marketing as someone in the corner raising their hand to get attention. If you aren’t intrigued by what you see, if you aren’t interested in figuring out what the story is, then your marketing and advertising can quickly be ignored and even more quickly add up to a cost that is not sustainable. Most marketing is an interruption, plain and simple. Whether it’s the ads you see scattered around the internet, streets, windows, and seemingly everywhere these days, the stuff that works is the stuff that grips you, makes you stop, and makes you curious.

Appeal to Your Customers
The first step in telling your story is to meet your customers where they are. No one is going to listen to your story if they can’t hear you. You need amplification to get your message out there and keep it out there.

Be Genuine
Developing a brand that really represents the high caliber services and products that your company provides is key to attracting the kind of loyal customers you want. You need to show them exactly what they can expect from you from the first moment they encounter your brand.

Create a Connection
Life is about the connections we make. If you can successfully connect with your customer base, then they are more likely to become your customers, return as customers, and spread the word about your brand to their connections.

You need a way to stay in your customers’ minds so that when they need your products or services, your brand is the first one they think of. Using promotional products can help your brand be remembered long after you make an initial connection with your customer base.

And Repeat
The stories that stick with us are those that we hear all the time. The best way to get the story of your brand remembered is to tell it over and over.

One of the easiest ways to accomplish that is with promotional products that appeal to your customers. Giving potential customers something they will use every day is the smart way to keep your brand repeating in their mind.

Ready to choose the right promotional product to tell your brand’s story?

Grow Your Facebook Fans Easily

Social media is so interesting because many of the popular channels come and go. However, there are also some social media channels that have been strong since their inception and they are even stronger than ever now. Facebook is one of those. It started out in a much more limited way than it is now and it is still extremely important to grow your Facebook fans for the benefit of your business and of your brand.

The challenges of Facebook
If you have a Facebook profile and you recognize your need to grow the number of fans that you have, that is challenging enough. On the other hand, if you have created a new page (for example, a new page for your brand), it can be even more challenging. In the past, it may have seemed easier to acquire new fans pretty easily and quickly. The reason that you might have had that perception is because it was easier.

Nowadays, on the other hand, it is much more difficult. The reason for that is, simply put, the volume of your competition. The fact is that if you want to grow your fans (it is safe to assume that you are looking for top-quality, relevant fans), it will take more effort and time on your part than it would have in the past. Of course, it goes without saying that you want to engage your Facebook fans as well. At this point, you may be asking yourself how you go about accomplishing that.

Identify your target audience first: The reality is that before you can do anything, you need to identify exactly who your target audience is and what they want and need. This needs to happen even before you start to use your Facebook profile to increase your number of fans. Of course, you don’t want or need everyone who is on Facebook to be one of the members of your target audience. It is very important that you understand that you must be able to solve the issues that your target audience members are experiencing. If you can’t do that, they are not truly your target audience members.

Use the most appropriate voice: Once you have figured out exactly who are your target audience members, the next thing that you have to do is to establish a connection with them. If you don’t start to interact with your target audience members, you will not be able to establish a relationship with them. As you are probably well aware, the relationship is at the heart of your ability to succeed. When it comes to your content, you need to write with your target audience members in mind. Your content needs to resonate with your target audience. That is how you establish an emotional/human connection.

Engage with your target audience members: When you are considering how to write your content, you also need to consider your environment. In other words, you need to think about how your content will affect people once it is housed in your particular Facebook page. You will notice that some of your content works more effectively than other content. If you have posted content and you see that very few (or no) people have read it, you understand that you should not be posting that type of content because it isn’t working for you. There are several different things that you can post and you will achieve positive results. Some of them are questions (thought-provoking), interesting photos, statements in which the target audience member needs to fill in the blank, and contests in which they would like to participate.

You need to stay with it for the long-term: Although you may not need to invest a large amount of money in your Facebook efforts, that doesn’t mean that you don’t need to invest anything. Your investment is in the form of time and effort. If you wish, you can also invest money (in the form of paid advertisements); however, it is not necessary and, in many cases, you will find that you have invested money and those advertisements don’t yield anything. How frustrating is that?

Stay focused and breathe: As you are growing your fans, you must always remember to stay grounded. If you have any chance of relating to your target audience, you will only accomplish that by connecting with them as one human to another. Your ultimate goal (as is the case for everyone) is to sell your product and/or service. However, you can’t be pushy about it. You need to develop the relationship with the other person, fortify it over time, build trust and credibility, and then, eventually, the other person will probably want to buy what you are selling.

Stay committed to your schedule: People love a schedule that they can count on. That means that if you commit to posting your content twice a week on certain days and at certain times, you need to stick with that. Human beings are creatures of habit and they rely on being able to read your content when they expect it to appear online. That isn’t so much to ask (from their perspective) and it will not require a great deal of effort on your part either.

Pay attention to the analytics: Analytics and metrics are extremely important for your business because they give you a clear indication of how you are doing and how you can improve upon what you are doing. You will want to pay attention to specific things and if those things are not working or don’t seem relevant, you will need to refocus your attention elsewhere.

Conclusion
Growing your Facebook fans is very important for your professional success. As is always the case with social media, you will need to make sure that you surround yourself with relevant, top-quality connections with whom you can share a mutually beneficial relationship. If you make the appropriate online connections and you connect with those people on a human level, you can successfully grow your fans without allowing it to hurt your budget too much. However, it is important to understand that it is not enough to simply create a Facebook page and then sit back and wait for people to become fans. You will need to work it. You will then start to see the positive results that you have caused to happen.