C.A.R.E. To Improve Your Real Estate Business

Do you need more business? Want more money? Want more market share? It’s simple: give more. If you remember anything from this article, let it be those two words – give more. Why? Because it works.

I read recently about research by Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, who studied 30,000 American families. Brooks discovered a family giving $100 more to charity earns about $375 more income than a non-giving family that is similar in every other factor. For every dollar they give, they earn nearly $4 more. Who would have thought it? In giving, we receive.

But Realtors shouldn’t be giving just because they get something in return. You should give because you earn your living from your community.

But Bob, what should I do? There are so many causes out there.

Let me share some examples. A few months ago NAR highlighted several Realtors making heart-felt differences in their communities:

Bernice and Troy Helman, of Coldwell Banker REALTORS® in Terre Haute, Ind., joined two dozen other business leaders who pledged to live on $4.57 a day for one week (thousands of Hoosiers live on that amount of money every day). It generated tons of local media coverage on the prevalence of hunger. She also launched the “Grillin’ and Chillin'” picnic for local real estate pros that raises $10,000 to $15,000 annually for the poor. And as the 2011 fundraising chair for the local United Way, the Helmans led the charity to a record year of donations — more than $1.8 million.

When Tina McDonough of RE/MAX Select in Renton, Wash., lost her friend, Michelle Brown, to breast cancer in 2008, it touched her deeply. “I watched her 12-year-old daughter and her husband fall apart,” McDonough says. “I had to do something, so I started a team to walk in her memory.” Today, it’s the top fundraising team for the Susan G. Komen organization in the country — it has raised $1.4 million. McDonough also includes the Komen logo on all of her real estate signs.

Joel Pratt of J.L. Pratt, REALTORS in Canton, Mass., raises money and awareness for MatchingDonors, a nonprofit that has saved more than 500 lives by matching kidney donors with recipients. Pratt says every life saved keeps the memory of Lynda, his beloved wife of nearly 25 years, alive. She died in 1998 after a three-year battle with breast cancer.

Kristina Rhodes with F.C. Tucker Emge, REALTORS in Newburgh, Ind., has helped make more than 80 children’s dreams come true with her support for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. When Rhodes learned of Emily Jones, an 11-year-old fighting an aggressive form of cancer, and her dream of taking a Caribbean cruise, she acted. Sadly, Emily’s health never reached a level to allow for the trip. So Rhodes brought the cruise to Emily by arranging a pontoon ride on the Ohio River. “Emily taught me about what’s really important in life and helped me keep things in perspective,” Rhodes said.

So what’s the next step for you? Follow the acronym C.A.R.E. to get started today as a real estate agent who, well, cares:

C – Commit yourself to a cause. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times: The day you truly commit, your whole world changes.

A – Act on your commitment. The only way anything gets done is through action.

R – Reward yourself. Humans do things because there’s something in it for them. After you act, do something nice for yourself.

E – Enjoy the rewards. I promise, once you start giving back to a cause you care deeply about, you will enjoy your life (and your increased business) more.

Let me hear from you. Are you involved philanthropically in your community? If not, why not? Do you believe if you were to give back to your community your business would grow?

Know The Various Factors Determining Container Shipping Costs

Container shipping cost involved in international or multi-national shipping is determined by a number of factors, the two most significant among which are freight charges and port fees. Port fees are charged by these companies in order to meet the costs of custom clearance once the goods are dismounted from the ship.

The value of the services provided by freight forwarders and international cargo depends on a number of factors. Let us discuss in this article some of the significant aspects that you need to know regarding the international shipping costs:

  • One of the most important factors determining the service charges of the international shipping companies is the cost of the container. As you proceed from one country to another, the cost of container starts varying depending on the change in currency values. However, reputed shipping services that are involved in innumerable shipping projects, are not actually bothered about the petty changes in the container costs. Their service charges therefore remain unchanged with slight changes in the container costs.
  • It is extremely important for you to obtain thorough information regarding the cost values of the shipping company if you are planning to move from one country to another. This is important because you need to make sure that you know the service charges you need to pay with regard to the current value of the country you are currently residing in. Often people are unaware of these details, and eventually end up paying more than they are supposed to.
  • Another important factor determining container shipping costs is the method of shipping. For example, opting for liner vessel shipping can cost you less owing to their operating methods where they use fixed routes and fixed schedules. On the other hand, it might cost you more if you opt for charter vessel shipping that works on the basis of market conditions. In this case, the container costs vary in accordance with the changing market conditions.

If you have to trade your goods internationally, or want to relocate from one country to another, there are some important things that you need to determine before hiring a shipping service in order to choose the most appropriate shipping methods:

  • Determine how fast you want your goods to be shipped to your desired destination.
  • Consider the type, nature and size of the goods you want to ship.
  • Consider the total distance between the current location and the final destination of the goods.

In order to avail the most efficient services, it is important to hire the right container shipping service. Let us discuss some of the important points that you need to consider:

  • Make sure you hire a licensed and authorized container shipping company that can offer a wide variety of container sizes and packages.
  • Know the container shipping costs charged by various companies and make a thorough comparison between them in order to get the best deal.
  • It is a good idea to talk to the customer services of various companies to know how well they are able to respond to customer queries.

Procurement Skills: How To Demonstrate Your Value To Your Organisation

As procurement professionals we have to continually demonstrate our value to our organization by focusing on the key activities that deliver the most added benefits. What gets in the way of doing this is the myriad of other things that we have to do each day. Often there is more to do than we are able to achieve in the time available to us.

At this point we need a good process for prioritizing our tasks, planning our work and working our plan. The best analogy I have ever heard on prioritizing work came from Stephen Covey; it is called the “rocks, pebbles and sand” analogy for time management.

The story as told by Mr Covey is that an expert was addressing a group of business students. He reached beneath the desk to produce a large glass container and proceeded to fill it with rocks. When he could fit no more in he asked the group whether the container was full to which the group replied yes it was.

He then produced some pebbles and through a process of shaking the container managed to fit them all in the gaps between the rocks. Similarly, he managed to fill the gaps between the pebbles with sand. The group then thought the container was full until the expert successfully poured a jug of water into the container.

The lesson of this story is clear. If the container represents the time we have available to us in a period of time and the rocks, pebbles, sand and water represent the tasks we have to carry out then we can only do them all if we do the rocks first and the rest in order of size. In other words, start with your biggest tasks first and only go to the next level of tasks once the big ones are complete. If you do the tasks the other way round, you will never get to the big rocks (tasks).

So what are the big rocks that procurement professionals need to do first before they give their attention to the smaller tasks? I would suggest the following:-

  • Understanding your supply markets – what is their scope, who are the major players, are they growing or declining, is there scope to bring in new entrants and so on.
  • Understanding the demand for products and services in your organization and how this relates to your supply market knowledge. For example, is there a need to develop a particular market by stimulating innovation or attracting new entrants?
  • Organizing price and cost analyses and carrying out bench-marking exercises to understand the opportunities for savings. This might be linked to value analysis and value engineering exercises.
  • Carrying out supply chain risk assessments so that you understand the potential vulnerability for your organization and then put in place effective monitoring and mitigation.
  • Working with key suppliers to bring about product, service and cost innovations, improve delivery processes and carry out joint planning and product/service co-design (all part of a supplier relationship management program).
  • Building effective working relationships with other parts of your organization.
  • Measuring performance (both the procurement organization and suppliers) as the basis of designing and delivering improvement programs.
  • Continually improving your capability through knowledge exchange, training courses and coaching.

Do these big rock activities well and you will show your organization what great value you can add. This then becomes a “no brainer” case for investing in more resource to do the other, smaller tasks if you can’t do them all yourself.

Isn’t It Time to Wake-Up?

People (at all ages), often say things like, “you made me feel this way”, etc. It just simply isn’t true. Only you decide how you’re going to feel. No one has that power over you.

You get to decide whether or not to react or respond to someone/something. Not the other way around. Now, if you notice you constantly feel bad around someone, you will want to look at why that is. Are you needing to work on setting boundaries with others, is there another reason why this is persisting, or does this person have a negative energy about them and it’s time to take control of who you’re surround yourself with? In any event, it is still your decision on how you react. I remember being told this by someone years ago when I was first entering the self-development arena. I got it intellectually, but didn’t really “get it” on a deeper level. This involves a lot of inner work, and it starts with taking responsibility for every single thing happening in your life.

It amazes me when people complain about not getting the results in their life. You are your only problem. If you aren’t getting what you want externally, something is off internally. What is happening on the outside of you is a direct result of your thinking. Always. Regardless if it’s negative or positive. You need to look inside. Who are you being or not being? What type of thinking is causing you to stay stuck? Do you believe you have to struggle or think the potential clients you are talking to just aren’t ready to take action? You are fooling yourself. This is your subconscious trying to keep you stuck. It has a positive intention, which is to keep you where you feel safe. Growing a business involves risk and putting yourself out there. This can be scary and to the subconscious it’s not a safe zone.

In order to figure out where your thinking is off, you will need to look. If you are speaking to your ideal client and they decide not to move forward with your service, the problem is you. Something is going wrong in the sales conversation. It is likely that you’re stopping yourself from asking those tougher questions because you care too much what they think of you. However, if you don’t ask those tougher questions, they will not see that they need your help and that you’re the one to provide the help.

Look at the results you’re getting/not getting and determine if you’re where you want to be. If they’re in line with your vision, then awesome! If not, take a hard look at your thinking. No one is to blame but you.

Those are some common themes that I see preventing business owners from moving forward. Running a business involves a commitment to doing whatever it takes to succeed. Are you willing to take responsibility for your life / actions / results? Once you do this, you will be amazed at what starts to happen.

Jobs You Can Do From Your Dorm Room

College students are going to head back to school soon and that means many of them will have to leave their summer jobs behind. While many students will try to find jobs on campus, others will try to stretch the money they saved during the summer. For those that want to make money, but don’t want to work on campus, working from a dorm room may be perfect. These telecommuting jobs are flexible to allow you to keep studying top priority while earning money.

Freelance Writing

Business owners want freelance writers to provide content for their websites. You can write for blogs on topics that interest you. All you have to do is find business owners in niches you like that need content for their sites.

You can find work on Elance, oDesk, and Craigslist. You may have to start working for a lower wage than others to gain experience and a reputation, but once you have that, you’ll be able to get higher paying work.

Data Entry

Many companies are outsourcing their data entry now because it keeps costs low. The data you must enter can be delivered to you via email, and then you’ll be granted access to their database. You will need to take the information sent to you and input it into the database. These jobs are paid by project or per hour depending on the company.

You can find jobs like this on Elance and oDesk, but you can also search large job sites such as Monster.com and Indeed.com for them.

Transcription

Transcription involves taking a recording and typing it out. Many doctors, lawyers, and other professionals need this service because they don’t have the time to convert their recordings to text. You’ll receive audio files via email or mail, and then you’ll have to type them. You can send the text file back via email, which makes it perfect for a college student working in a dorm room.

You can find these jobs on large job search sites because that’s where professionals usually post their needs for transcriptions. You can also work for transcription companies such as Aberdeen, AccuTran Global and Capital Typing.

Get Started Today

The best time to start looking for a job is now. The sooner you start looking, the more prepared you’ll be when you get to school. You’ll be able to learn the jobs you receive before you start classes too. Start with the sites mentioned here and then you can start exploring other options if you have the time.

Why We Shouldnt Be Afraid of Emotions

For so many decades we’ve been taught that Intellectual Intelligence (IQ) is what gets us places in the corporate world, yet nowadays we are seeing that it is more Emotional Intelligence (EQ) that gets us places. IQ is what gets us our position, EQ is what enables us to keep our position and become a great leader.

However we are not taught EQ skills at school, nor at Varsity and certainly not in the workplace. At least not until recently when mentoring and coaching started becoming a profession. And even then, it has only really been aimed at the Senior managers and Executives of an organization.

Its a known fact that the higher up the corporate ladder you climb, it is more about EQ and less about IQ as your day to day duties largely revolve around managing people, teams and divisions to ensure deliverables and business objectives are met.

So what is being done to help the newly appointed junior managers to develop their EQ skills and become better managers and leaders?

If they are the future of a business and are being groomed to take the lead at some point, then surely it should be key for them to as eligible for the development of EQ skills?

There is a huge need to help up and coming managers develop their EQ skills to become better managers. Often they struggle with the transition from being on the same level as their peers to at times having to manage those very same peers.

By becoming self aware of our own emotions and what drives our actions and behavior, we can better self manage as well as others who come into our space by being conscious and aware of the relational space between two people. This is termed as Self Mastery.

If we can practice self mastery in our personal and peer relationships, not only do we become a better, more authentic person, but we also have better quality relationships. Self Mastery teaches us important skills such as: effective communication, hearing vs. listening, conflict and diversity management, empathy, compassion and understanding. It also helps create trust and safety in relationships.

And this is where HR departments can play a big role in creating an environment that enables mentoring and coaching as part of everyone’s career path to help create more authentic, emotionally attuned leaders resulting in a healthier working environment and happier employees all round.

Tips To Help You Find Cute Homecoming Dresses For Your Party

The homecoming party is supposed to be really exciting and a time to have fun. Every girl attending the party must feel confident, unique and be ready to have happy moments. Choosing a cute dress can go a long way in helping you have the best homecoming party ever. It could actually make you the center of attraction in the entire party.

There are tips that could help you choose the best homecoming dresses in a very simple way. These include:

1. Always Search For Your Dress Early

Rushing through the internet can be frustrating if you really need the best homecoming dress for your party. It could actually ruin your party! Go through the magazines and various websites, and even watch celebrity red carpet at least three or two months before the party, and evaluate the options available for you. Further, always budget as early as possible; so that you do not end up missing out on your favorite dress just because you did not have money to pay for it.

2. Know Who You Are

Just because a dress is suitable for one person you had seen somewhere, it does not mean that it will be perfect for you. Always go for your own unique designs that bring out the best in you. You may need to consider your body shape and height, and hence choose the suitable dress. For instance, curvy people should go for the A shape dresses, while slim people may want to consider a sheath style dress. Short people who may finding it difficult to find a sizeable cocktail dress can go for a short dress which is long on them. Professional designers can help you to understand the right type of dress with careful consideration of your body shape and height.

3. Do Not Forget The Shoes And Accessories

It does not make sense to put all your effort in shopping for a perfect dress and then forget all other facts like accessories and shoes. Find jewelry, bag, and shoes to match to your cute homecoming dresses 2014 early in advance. This way, you will achieve that perfect look during the party.

4. Clarify On The Delivery Time

Your dress should be delivered to you a few weeks before the homecoming party. This way, you will have a chance to try it on, and make alterations if need be. If you are shopping for the dress online, it is important to confirm with the vendors about the delivery dates even before you make your orders.

It is not difficult to find perfect and cute homecoming dresses. With little research and following the tips above, you will have a chance to find the best dress that will help you make lasting impressions during the party.

How to Disconnect During Your Next Vacation

You’re lying on the beach. You’re basking in the hot sun while the cool breeze sweeps across your skin as you’re surrounded by the breathtakingly beautiful paradise… And your face is nose deep in your phone checking emails. Sound at all familiar? We’ve all been there. The reality is that it is hard to disconnect from your daily life, especially from work. However, a vacation’s purpose is just for that. We all need a little rest and relaxation so we can perform at our best in our daily lives. Here are a few ideas to help you get away from the earlier scenario and toward having a true vacation disconnected from work.

1. Give ample notice – Let co-workers, business partners, clients and customers know of your vacation well in advance. Informing pertinent personnel of the dates you will be away at least two weeks ahead of time will also help them prepare for your absence. This way, important projects and tasks can be assigned and completed before your departure, or it will be known they will be taken care of when you return. Chances are, they won’t want to intrude on your vacation time so letting them know can help keep those emails from constantly coming in while you are away as well.

2. Take care of your to-do list – About two weeks prior to your vacation, plan your days out so that you can take care of all your outstanding tasks before your departure. Leaving for a trip with a long list of unresolved projects can take focus away from your vacation. The anxiety of having all the unfinished tasks you already have to do plus all the new tasks when you return on your mind will overcome the relaxation you’re supposed to be having. It’s better to leave a clean slate and return after your trip with a new to-do list.

3. Nominate a backup – In case of emergency, request a trusted co-worker to be your backup while you are away. Make sure to ask for their assistance at least two weeks prior to your trip so they have enough time to prepare as well. It is a good idea to give your contact information in case of any extreme cases. However, choose a backup that you trust can handle most situations without your help.

4. Set an away message – This is a good way to let anyone trying to contact while you’re away that you are on vacation and will respond after you return. This way, you won’t be getting multiple emails with the same requests and having people ask where you are. It will give you peace of mind and you won’t feel rushed to get back to them until after your trip.

5. Focus on those you’re traveling with – Give importance to yourself, your spouse, your family, your friends, or whomever else you’re traveling with. Yes, work is important. But we also have to dedicate time and energy on the other wonderful aspects of our lives. There’s no better way to do that than to spend a vacation with loved ones.

6. Remind yourself why you’re on vacation – Vacations are the time to take a break from work, which is truly imperative to our continued work productivity and overall well-being. Taking time to recuperate and regenerate will leave you feeling refreshed and at the top of your game when you return. It’s also very important for the mind and body to decompress and give yourself breaks from your daily stress. Constant tension can take a toll on you over time so make sure to sit back and relax when you have the opportunity to.

7. Literally disconnect – Don’t pack your laptop. Put your phone on airplane mode. Shut off email and notifications on your phone/tablet. These ideas may be provoke anxiety, but there are no better ways to actually disconnect from work than to literally disconnect from it all. You have the rest of the year to work. Why not use the vacation time how it’s supposed to be used and stay away from work?

8. Set boundaries – If you know you will need to check emails, texts, messages, etc. while you are on vacation, give yourself limits and stick to them. A good idea would be to allow a few minutes before bedtime to check in on the day and resolve any pressing issues. It’s understandable that not knowing what’s going on with work for a week or more may cause the stress that you’re trying to avoid while on vacation. In this case, make it a little easier on yourself, but don’t let it start to take over your days. Set a certain amount of time at a certain time of day to check, and that’s it.

Think you could implement any of these ideas for your next vacation? Even if you’re not planning a trip for a while, it may be good to consider them now so you have some tactics to utilize when a trip does come up. Again, it is important to remember that it is beneficial to your overall health to take a true vacation away from work and the stress it can produce. Making sure to take care of yourself is key. By utilizing some, if not all, of the above strategies, you can be well on your way to having the vacation you need and deserve.

3 Things You Need To Know About Free Web Hosting Service Providers

It’s common to be excited when you see a company offering free web hosting. Before you go ahead and sign up for the service, you need to know a number of things about most of the free web hosting providers.

Most are startups

Research has shown that many of the providers willing to give you free service are startups and they do it in order to attract potential customers.

Since they are startups, they devise ways of cutting costs. One of the best ways of cutting costs is by avoiding buying some equipment or buying cheap equipment. For example, it’s common to find such companies with cheap and unreliable servers.

Although, you will be signing up for a free product, you have a right of enjoying good service; therefore, before you sign up, you should always research and find out what other people have to say about the provider.

Most lack the level of service agreement

A level of service agreement (LSA) is a document that gives details on how the provider will offer you the service that you deserve. It’s common to find most of the providers without the agreement. Before you sign up always ask for the document.

If the provider doesn’t have the agreement, you should move on and look for other options. If you are given the agreement, you should thoroughly scrutinize it in order to pick out flaws in it. If you find the document full of flaws, you should move on and look for other options.

Most offer a menu of services

Most of the companies offering the free services tend to offer other services in addition to the web hosting service. Since such companies have a number of services to offer, they usually don’t offer top notch service.

Before you sign up for the free service, you should research the service provider and find out what he does other than providing the web hosting service.

If the provider offers other services such as telecommunication services, you should look for other options. This is because the web hosting service is very sensitive and can’t be put on a menu of services.

Bottom line

It’s often said that you get what you pay for; therefore, you should not expect top notch service from a free service. To be on the safe side it’s wise to pay for the hosting and you will be guaranteed of the best service on the land.

Mentoring That Leaves an Indelible Imprint on Your Soul

Learning from books feeds our brains. Experience builds skills and expertise. Effective coaching shapes and drives the way we work and see the world. And then there is that wonderful, elusive sort of mentoring that leaves an indelible imprint on the soul. Here are the stories of two people who have provided me with the sort of coaching that leaves an indelible imprint on the soul, and a powerful impact on my life.

Maggie
Maggie was a tiny fireball, a real force of nature. She started a national movement after she retired from the Presbyterian Church, which she called forced termination from employment due to age. A number of us lived in shared housing with her in Philadelphia, and often worked with her on different projects. A savvy optimist with no rose-colored glasses, she would often say: “When you’re working on something important, you never let roadblocks deter you from your goal. If there’s a rock in the road, move it, go around it, or over it. And, if nothing else works, then tunnel under it.” And she did. In her old age, she was elected to the National Giraffe Heroes Project for sticking neck out, a commendation which was always a badge of honor for her.

Maggie led by example, demonstrating a model of passion, persistence and power. Whenever she would meet people after speaking engagements or workshops, she would ask them about what they were doing, show them why their work was important, and encourage them. People would walk away from those conversations excited and empowered, because Maggie had validated them, and told them their work had impact and value. She was very supportive to people working to make a positive difference in the world – and a well-researched, dramatic critic of those she found to be creating harm. When she died, a major national newspaper wrote that Maggie had no children. The newspaper was corrected by her friend and foundation executive who said “Maggie had thousands of children she nurtured over the years, spread across the country and the world.”

Michael
Michael is a retired publishing executive who has built many large publishing businesses over the years. An extremely successful businessman, he is surprisingly humble and self-deprecating about his many achievements. Even when he has been quite busy, Michael has always found the time to focus on his friends and colleagues with undivided attention. In talking with him, you feel like he has all the time in the world for you. He listens in such a way that, when he responds to you, it is with a very deep level of understanding.

Gentle with his suggestions and advice, Michael would share about strategies he had used that were successful without saying “you should do it this way.” He lets you figure out the connection between the strategies he used to successfully surmount challenges, and your own situation. When he suggests something, it is with grace and tact. Michael often says, “well, I’m sure you’ve already thought of this, and I was thinking… ” He would go on to describe an idea or solution that you hadn’t considered at all.

Michael has also been tireless in his giving to those in need, serving on many boards, and becoming involved in supporting and funding a wide range of community economic development projects. Some of our most well-known social enterprise and economic development nonprofits have grown under his tutelage. Almost always, he leverages both his volunteering and his philanthropy by involving others, and he’s engaged an untold number over the years. By doing so, he has shown many people new and exciting ways to make a difference in the world while building his base of support for those causes most dear to his heart.

Why This is Coaching That Leaves an Indelible Imprint on the Soul
Over the years, these two coaches became dear friends, and part of my “family of choice,” as Maggie so aptly termed it. Michael and I still talk on a regular basis, now more as peers who share about our lives, our work, our spiritual practice and those causes that are our passions. And though she is long gone, Maggie’s legacy can still be seen everywhere, and I often consider what she might say about an issue I find challenging. Modelling skills and strategies helpful to my professional development, they served as powerful coaches and examples. They have demonstrated purposeful and value-driven lives. Lives that make a difference in the world. And they have left an indelible imprint on my soul.