How To Calm Your Mind

how to calm your mind - with beer i guessMy mind is busy today with all kinds of things so I thought I would write.  By write, I mean something a little more interesting than some of the dribble I have been publishing lately.  So today, grasshopper, I am going to teach you how to calm your mind.

As always, I like to write about things I have problems with myself.  Quieting my mind so I can focus is one of them.  But I know some things that work for me and perhaps they will work for you too.

Stop and Stare

Often busy work gets overwhelming, especially if it is not productive busy work.  Reading email, checking out social media, surfing the web, or interrupting myself with a random thought that leads to more busy work.  The best thing to do when you need to regain your focus is to stop and do nothing.  I usually stare at my computer until I can regain my composure.

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Website Statistics: Improve Your Traffic In 30 Days

website statistics - analyticsWould you like to improve your website statistics in the next 30 days?  I bet you would, so would I.  So let us explore this together.

I spent the last 30 days looking at my blog, trying to figure out why my traffic is so low and what I can do about it.  Many suggestions I could make are already covered out there so first let me cover the unusual:

My URL was redirected

In the past year we had moved, and there were a lot of activities which led up to the move and a lot of activities after the move.  I completely ignored my web properties and when I finally looked back at my blog, the name (URL) had been redirected.  So my blog was gone from the web and Google had picked up pages from the website it was redirected to.

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How To Make Money From Home

How To Make Money From Home - Desk in empty houseI have been working from home recently, trading my consulting time for money. These days because of technology, you can be employed full time and work from home. You can have a business that you run from home. You can sell products, sell your time, fix things, create new music, write a book, have an online business, and so many more possibilities. In this blog post, I am going to try to stir your imagination on how to make money from home.

Trading Time For Money

Probably one of the easier things you can do from home is sell your time.  You could be employed by a company or running your own business.  You could be hourly, on salary, or on contract.

For some ideas on the kind of work you could do: You could be a customer service representative, you could work for a call center, you could do data entry, you could do information technology work, you could design web sites, you could do financial analysis, or you could help someone market their product.  There are probably 100 more types of jobs that can be done exclusively from home.

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Eternal Life – The Search For The Unknowable

eternal life - the unknowableWhen we talk about God, or Jesus, or eternal life, we are venturing from facts and figures into faith.  Faith is not a bad thing, just saying that Google will not tell you if heaven is real or how long God has been alive.  It will tell you about people’s beliefs on such subjects, but cannot possibly tell you if these beliefs are facts.

A new health area has cropped up in recent years that is searching for ways to keep people alive longer, much longer than ever thought possible, and healthy for that matter.  Is this humanity’s answer to eternal life?  Of course, you cannot prevent accidents but you can theoretically prevent disease and postpone aging.

What Kind Of Eternal Life Are You Searching For?

So this begs the question: Are you looking for ways to extend your human lifetime, or are you looking for a spiritual eternal life?  And what could I possibly have to write about either?  Yes, true, I know what I believe about spiritual eternal life, but I cannot really tell you that what I believe is fact.  What I believe is faith.  So could that possibly even matter to somebody searching for answers?  Unfortunately I do not think you will find anything better.

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Help Others Expecting Nothing In Return – SplashPlan.com Lesson

help others - splashplan.comI thought it was about time to write a little about SplashPlan.com, which is our system to help network marketers.  How does it help?  Well, it is free to sign up.  You get free leads by promoting your SplashPlan.com site.  You get free training.  And you can earn a little affiliate money while you are building your network marketing business.  In this lesson I will explain why it is so important to help others and expect nothing in return.

People That Join Belong To Other Network Marketing Companies

When you sign up and start promoting your SplashPlan.com link, something like SplashPlan.com/yoursite, you will get leads that are people that belong to other network marketing companies.  Your job is not to recruit them to your program, your job is to help them be as successful as possible with their program on SplashPlan.com.  While this may seem counter productive, you want to be seen by others as being helpful and unselfish, so you help others without expecting anything in return.

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Getting Traffic In 2016 Is Not The Same As Getting Traffic In 1997

12345845_1124265154274240_1275585496_nBack in 1997, Yahoo was the king “search engine”.  Actually more of a directory… but today that directory is no more.  It was wonderful to be in the Yahoo directory without much competition, it is what made our business at the time take off to unimaginable heights.

Back in 1997, free for all links were great.  People wanted to discover new sites and they would click on all kinds of links.

In 2016, not so much.  People in the United States are much more social users of the internet.  People in other countries are still in discovery mode, but the US is tired of exploring.  We like what we like, no need to venture off.

With all that is different today, how does a new website get discovered, visited, and become popular?  Let us first take a look at the top 5 websites in the world, as organized by Alexa:

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When A Company Should (And Should Not) Invest In Technology

Investing in technology for your small business may seem like a good idea.  Many small business owners have laptops, smart phones, color laser all-in-one printers, digital cameras, or any number of other hardware devices.  Their business may also have specialized software and hardware to control inventory in their warehouse, or to share data among their employees.  There are all kinds of uses for technology and it may seem natural to use technology for any business process that can be done with technology, but that may not always be the wisest choice.  This article discusses when a company should invest, and when it should not to invest, in technology.

Justifications for a technology purchase

When starting new technology projects or purchasing new technology, business managers often use the following justifications:

Competitive advantage – Competitive advantage is when one company has an advantage over another.  As an example, company XYZ has competitor ABC, which has a CRM system.  Company XYZ buys a CRM to eliminate company XYZ’s competitive advantage over it.   Competitive advantage would also apply if company XYZ buys new technology company ABC does not yet have; company XYZ would then have competitive advantage (in theory).

Support a strategy – A company CEO may have a vision for the company’s future.  He or she creates a mission statement to detail the vision, and strategies to realize the mission statement.  The company then buys technology to support one or more of the strategies.

Create a product – Many companies in recent years have used technology to create a product: from web sites such as Facebook.com to companies like Oracle that develop software solutions.  Other companies like Cisco, IBM, and HP develop hardware products that they sell.

Be able to share information internally and externally – A company may invest in a customer relationship management (CRM) product or exchange data with a business partner via Electronic Data Interchange (EDI).

Manage and control the organization better – Companies will buy financial packages such as Quickbooks or software solutions as elaborate as Microsoft Dynamics Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) package to share and control information within a company.

Market products and share information with customers on the internet – A company may develop a website to share information with their customers about a new product offering or information about contacting the company.  These days the internet has become a self-service marketplace, allowing customers to research, buy, and get service after the sale.

When to invest in technology

The following are situations when companies should seriously consider investing in technology:

When there is a need – The technology is a requirement of doing business.  For instance, a customer begins requiring data transmissions about the status of shipments.  Not implementing the technology means losing the customer’s business.

When there is a significant savings to be had – Implementing the technology means not hiring 5 people, saving the company $250,000 in salaries, taxes, and benefits.

When there are significant revenue gains to be had – A new customer will only do business with your company if you accept their orders electronically, and will sign a contingency contract to that effect.  The value of the business is $2 million per year.

A reasonable return on investment is needed to justify the above arguments.  If it costs $50 million to get $2 million more in business yearly, the 4% return may not be worth the investment.  In addition, many companies underestimate the costs of technology investments, often leading to a smaller return on investment than expected.  It is important to make realistic estimates.

While operating on the “bleeding edge” of technology may seem to be a risky endeavor, the competitive advantage it provides may produce an exceptional return on investment.  Again, it is important to make good estimates for cost and analyze the expected return on investment to see if it makes sense to proceed with the new technology.

When not to invest in technology

Here are some situations when a company should not invest in technology:

To get the cool new thing – Investing in cool new toys may not be the best use of company resources.

To keep up with the Jones – While competitive advantage is important, it is also important to make sure that keeping up makes financial sense.  Perhaps the Jones’ new technology purchase was not such a good idea for them.

To sell new, unconfirmed business – One logistics company implemented warehouse automation they did not need, believing they would be able to make new sales because of it.  The company is no longer in business because the new sales did not materialize.

To get technology for technology’s sake – A company wisely declined to invest $500,000 for a machine that would have eliminated one $20,000 per year job.  The machine would have also required regular maintenance and repair.

To develop a new product without marketing research – New technology can be expensive.  Make sure there is a market for your technology idea before you invest a fortune.

Technology can be a wonderful investment with a magnificent return for your company, but you must make sure your investment will produce a good return.  Jumping in is almost never a good idea.  Make sure to do your research to keep your eyes wide open for the best possible result.

Get Fresh Leads By Promoting Your SplashPlan site

10362286_1420343261571590_1005938937_nWith SplashPlan.com, you can get fresh leads… Exactly what do we mean?

Your SplashPlan site: When you sign up as a member on our SplashPlan.com site, and fill out your profile, you will get a SplashPlan site similar to SplashPlan.com/yoursite.

Promoting your SplashPlan site: We offer you several ways to promote your SplashPlan site for free.  Mainly you add a link to your SplashPlan site on other web sites such as Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and so forth.  Participate on these sites to make your link more powerful.

Leads: A lead, in the case of SplashPlan, means that somebody signs up as a SplashPlan member after they visit your site… You want to provide your lead with quality support for using SplashPlan.  A lead changes to a prospect when they ask for information about your network marketing program.

Prospects ask for information about your network marketing program: Once they become a prospect you can send them information online or by mail, then follow up with them by your chosen method until they ask you to stop or they sign up in your program.

Fresh Leads: Mailing lists tend to be a little stale, but you will get SplashPlan leads at the moment they sign up as a SplashPlan member.  Again, you will want to build trust with leads by providing top quality support for using the SplashPlan site.

Internet Marketing Training: Training included with your SplashPlan membership that shows you ways to promote your SplashPlan site online.

That’s about it… let me know if you have any questions…

Online Security – My Journey Down The Rabbit Hole

You think you are safe and secure online?  You are not.  You are smart, you learn all about how hackers can get at your websites, exploit your data, change your pages, or extort you as I read in this article:

If you are outraged after reading, I just want to let you know that Naoki did get his Twitter handle back after much effort.  So ultimately extortion is illegal and companies will try to help you out after they check every last detail.

Preventing security problems is what we really want.  We want to prevent somebody from getting into our Paypal, Amazon, or Godaddy accounts.  We want to prevent somebody from spending on our credit card after they extract it from an online database.  We want to prevent somebody from phishing our password then using it to post on our facebook account.

All I can say is good luck.  My understanding after much research is that hackers are getting smarter all the time.  But you can take some basic steps to improve your odds:

  • Use a unique password for each site that has your credit card information
  • Use two-step authentication with your cell phone on every site you can
  • If you have a Godaddy account (or any other web hosting), avoid using the same credit card from Godaddy on any other web site
  • The bigger websites are the biggest target for hacks: Amazon, Paypal, eBay, Google, Facebook, Walmart, etc.  Be the most vigilant with them.
  • Banks are usually very good with security but make sure your bank requires more than just a password to get into your account.
  • Never, ever click on a link in an email then sign into any web site.  In some cases, password resets may be the exception, but only if you are expecting them.

As far as our website security, we take the following precautions:

  • We do not take your credit card for any reason on our site.  We do not even do paypal.  Note that our partners do take payments.
  • We use an SSL certificate for splashplan.com.  We do not use one for The SplashPlan Blog.  You do not sign in on it.
  • We store your password and password reset codes in encrypted form in our database.
  • Our form fields are escaped to prevent SQL insertion.

Nothing we can do will entirely prevent a hacker from getting in.  But we have very little sensitive information. Please make sure to use a unique password with our site.  Nobody can see it on our site, not even me, but it is a good idea anyway.

Is there anything you can add?

Google reCaptcha Saves My Butt

Before I get going, please make sure to see the links at the end of this post.  I could include them within the body here but I am going to be lazy.

I spent the last two weeks fighting with the bots to try to get a good indication of how well we are doing on the splashplan.com site.  I thought up a number of possible solutions to the problem but ultimately the bots were smarter than me.  Nothing I came up with eliminated fake sign ups; and anything that would cure the problem would get in the way of the user experience.

I was very concerned about using captcha to solve the problem because it added one more silly field that the user would have to fill out to sign up.  Adding more steps or more fields meant losing good sign ups, and I only wanted to lose the bad ones.

Enter Google’s reCAPTCHA.  It basically has the visitor check a box if they are not a robot.  Simple.  Effective. Doesn’t get in the way too much.  Ok, give it a shot.  But it will be difficult to install right?  Wrong!  Using an article I found, it was simple and straight forward and I did not have to install a code library on my web site.

It really was very easy and solved the problem.  Now I am back to having a hard time getting sign ups.  At least the ones that do sign up will be real people who will get good use out of the site.

Links you can use:

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