Are You Thinking About Investing Internally In Stocks?

One of the big challenges an investor faces on a daily basis is market risk.

Working hard to satisfy your investment goals while at the same time limiting your risk and exposure to volatility takes a solid strategy, reliable information, and a patience like no other.

Sure, we've all heard stories of the home run hiring investor who laid his money down and made a "killing" in a stock.

These are the kinds of tales that grab the headlines and attract the interest of the "fast buck players."

"Steady as she goes" would be a more realistic view of how to invest. It is difficult to just wait for an investment to climb in value, but without patience and the fortitude to keep a long-term mindset, you're probably going to miss out on a solid move.

Using what could be called a butterfly approach and jumping from one hot stock tip to another can be the riskiest investment play of all.

Being patient is not enough though. If what you are investing in is oozing with risk, patience may not be the key to success. You devote your patience to solid investments and those with limited risk.

If you are an investor or contemplating investing in the various financial markets and instruments available, you must get into the flow of information.

Catching a thirty second or two minute report stating a company making an innovative new product that is going to revolutionize the industry should not be considered a call to action.

If you do not understand what you're being told to invest in … do not invest. Not having an understanding of what your money is invested in is comparable to sitting down at a high-stakes poker game without understanding the marks on the cards.

If you do not have basic investment knowledge to guide your decisions, your chances of making the right choices are limited.

It's simple; have a basic knowledge of how the markets work; have an understanding of what it is that you are interested in investing your money in; and most importantly, understand the upside and downside scenarios, in other words, what are the risks and more specifically the risk of losing your entire investment.

If you feel that the risk of putting all your investment dollars in the stock markets in the US is too great, perhaps diversifying into stocks from other countries is worth examining.

The mindset for many is that if the stock markets at home are suffering, there may be markets abroad that offer opportunity, because bad economic news on one front may be great news in another part of the world.

A quick example of such news would be the trade figures. If the US is witnessing a rise in imports month after month, you have to ask yourself; where are we importing from and what are we importing?

This could have the clue to invest in a company that consistently exports to the United States and the amount of its exports (in dollars) keeps rising.

On a more basic level; If a football team is having a terrible season, there is probably a team that is having a great season.

Think of it as; when two teams compete someone wins and in world economies, someone's bad economic news typically translates to someone else's fortune.

When you read a headline or story about some bad economic figures … ask yourself, "Who is on the other side of this?"

Who did well that directed in the US doing poorly? If the US did great, who suffered? Is this a trend? Is the company or industry showing real value in their stock price now?

Could this be just a fluke and there's a buying opportunity?

It pays to look past the headline and the story and into what made the story. Everybody hears news, but going the extra step and finding out what caused the news will give you better market insight.

If you think that you want to diversify in the international markets, you have to take into consideration what you stand to gain versus what you could possibly lose.

Currency fluctuation can boost a return on an investment. If the currency of a country you invest in increases against the dollar, when it comes time to sell, you'll get more dollars.

However, that can also work against you; the dollar increases against the currency of the country of the company you have invested in … and you'll get back fewer dollars.

Obviously, you want your stock to rise and a sweetener is getting a dividend (if it pays one) in the meanime. Keep in mind, markets rise and fall and companies announce separation suspensions, eliminations, or reductions.

This can happen in any of the world markets, not just at home.

Before you get too excited about international investment, you should understand that the US is not the only country where interest rates rise and fall.

The currency issue I mentioned, but worth mentioning again, currency fluctuations can hurt you.

In the US, you are fortunately because companies that list on the exchanges have to reveal a lot of information about themselves before they can be listed.

The rules are not the same all over the world, so investigate on your own, rather than trusting only what is offered to the public.

This would be of particular interest when it comes to the accounting methods of the companies and how they compute corporate and individual investor taxes.

Committing a portion of your investment dollars can be exciting and rewarding, but if you are not a savvy investor with a deep understanding of world markets, currency exchanges, tax laws, accounting, and company reporting practices, your personal investment risk will be very high .

I always suggest seeking professional advice when making any investment, be it; financial instruments, real estate, precious metals, or any of the other opportunities offered.

Take note, if you want to invest internationally there are alternatives to going directly to a foreign market and opening an account.

You may wish to investigate the various international mutual fund offerings, foreign companies that list directly on the US exchanges, or those that are offered through what are called American Depository Receipts.

The foreign markets always look inviting when our markets at home are showing some volatility, but with so many sectors in the US markets to choose from, it's not always smart to jump the fence into the yard with the grass that looks greener.

The more knowledgeable you are about investing, the better investor you will become. Multiple resources will provide varied opinions.

What one analyst loves, another analyst may dislike. Do your own research and do a lot of it, before jumping into the stock market because someone told you it's the thing to do.

"There are only two ways that you make money; you work and your money works … make your money sweat." -Lazz Laszlo

Electricity – Ground Fault or Arc Fault

If you were asked, "Who discovered electricity?" What would be your answer? I'm almost positive (a little electric humor) that Benjamin Franklin and his kite flying tale comes to your mind. It was not electricity that Ben discovered in 1752. It was the lightning rod. In 1800, Alessandro Volta manufactured the first battery capable to deliver a constant electric current. It was Volta, not Franklin, to discover electricity.

Many of the ways we use and deliver electricity today are still the same as in the days of Franklin and Volta. Differences in electrical potential between materials cause current to flow between them. Charges can be produced by rubbing fur or cloth over a non metallic surface. Metal wires are used to transmit electrons over long distances; but one property stands out the most. Electricity can kill!

Today, we have developed many ways to protect ourselves from the harmful effects of exposure to electric current. We use circuit breakers, surge protectors, arch fault, ground fault, and equipment grounding to safely control the flow of electrons from one place to another. Two of these safely systems generate a lot of questions. What is the difference between ground fault and arc fault?

Ground fault circuit interrupt (GFCI) protection has been around for a few decades. It is most commonly seen in areas where water is present. For instance, in modern homes, you will find GFCI protection in the kitchen near the sink, in the bathroom near the water sources, in garages, and any receptacles outside of your home. This type of protection guards against injury by monitoring how much current is flowing through it. If the GFCI detects a difference between the amounts of current leaving as opposed to returning, it shuts off. The missing current has to be going somewhere other than its intended destination. It's going to ground. A horrible place if you happened to be in the middle of the current as it's headed to ground.

Arc fault circuit interrupt (AFCI) protection has only been available to consumers for a few years. Like its parent GFCI, AFCI is designed to detect when electricity is not traveling to its intended destination. Unlike GFCI, AFCI is not protecting against the loss of current to ground. It is guarding against a broken conductor. These broken conductors are the primary cause of home fires in America today.

Primarily, AFCI is required in bedrooms. Bedrooms are notorious for having corded appliances, such as computers, alarm clocks, and desk or floor lamps in them. Many times the cords of these appliances are routed under beds, dressers, or carpets. This is not as safe as it looks. Cords are often cut by the items placed on them. Once severed, the broken conductor will arc. This arcing will continue until the metal is burned through or a circuit breaker trips. Often, the time between the initial cutting of the conductor and the tripping of the breaker is not quick enough and a fire breaks out. AFCI was designed to detect the initial arc caused by the severed conductor and immediately turn the power off.

In conclusion, electricity is the flow of electrons between items with differenting potential. If not properly controlled, this difference can have horrible repercussions, when people or property is in the way. Modern industry has taken great measures to protect us while using one of the most fundamental properties of nature – electricity.

Unusual Conference Venues

Many companies understand the importance of conferences for their staff. Conferences are a chance to network, share ideas and to learn, but boy are they boring. Yes, your staff gets loads of new ideas and meet lots of interesting and useful people, but given the choice they would rather not attend again next year. Fortunately, the people who run conferences are starting to wake up to this fact and beginning to try to make conferences less tedious. This has led to some great new conference events being held. If you are a business about to hold an in-house conference you can learn a lot from this new trend.

So the question is 'Where can I hold a conference?'. Basically as long as they've got the license and you've got the cold hard cash, then you can hold a conference just about anywhere you like. As the legend of Kevin Costner understands 'If you build it, they will come' and yes, you can host a conference at a baseball diamond!

Museums and art galleries. Being surrounded by creative exploits really stimulates the mind. Therefore a great venue for a conference has to be a gallery or science museum. Our favorite is the Vancouver Museum of Anthropology – mingling amidst ancient totem poles is quite the experience. Another great museum venue is the Science Museum in London, that even offers a IMAX cinema or a motion theater as two of the 8 conference halls it has available.

Marinas, Aquariums and Planetariums are also great places for conferences, most have lecture theaters for the presentations, with plenty of divers during conference breaks. In some Aquariums such as the one in Barcelona you can enjoy a spectacular conference dinner completely surrounded by fish. Although sitting down to the fish course does make you pause.

Blackpool Tower – yup sounds strange but come on, it's also pretty exciting and sort of kitsch!

In the mountains. Being amid inspirational landscape opens the mind to fresh and new ideas. Check out the Fairmont Springs hotel in Banff, you are literally a step away from heaven.

Want to impress, rent a castle! You can do it for weddings and you can absolutely do it for your conference!

Observatories – enjoy a daytime conference and finish with watching the stars – there's a metaphor in there somewhere!

Middle of the Rainforest? Lots of nature retreats host conferences and events. Bali anyone?

The zoo – yes it has happened, one crazy and obviously very talented events planner held an event at a tiger exhibition.

Like we said, you get the right equipment, shelter, catering and speakers and people will come. If you have an event dream – make it happen. Your conference will be memorable and people will definitely want to come back next year. Where you hold a conference says a lot about you and your industry. Conferences are designed to stimulate people's creativity and make them come away full of ideas. An inspirational venue is everything, so think outside the box.

How to Start a House Cleaning Business on a Tight Budget

“If you use Emotion and Love to drive your sales and your business, you will create Loyalty Beyond Reason. And I promise you, you will build relationships and enjoy a business that exceeds beyond your wildest expectations”

First of all, before you decide to start your cleaning business, make sure this kind of work is right for you. You will need to be in good physical condition. Cleaning is very hard strenuous work. You will need to have good customer relation skills. You will need to have basic office skills and some accounting skills.

If you are planning on leaving your full time position to start a cleaning business, make sure you have at least six months of savings. Or keep your full time job and start out part time.

Research all the aspects of the cleaning service business. From customer service to advertising, taxes, employees, insurance and bonding, what to charge and how to clean a home professionally. Cleaning your own home and cleaning professionally is totally different. Learning how to clean professionally takes a lot of time. When a client pays for your services they expect to come home and find their home spotless.

Getting those first clients takes time, persistence and patience. You will not get a hundred clients overnight.

Obtaining Those First Clients The hardest part of starting your own cleaning service is obtaining those first clients. Most clients want to know how long you have been in business and want references. The best thing to do is let clients know that, yes, you are new to the business but that you have thoroughly researched all aspects of the cleaning business and assure them that you know what you are doing and that you are quit capable of cleaning their home to their specifications. Be confident. I can’t stress this enough. Clients love to see confidence. It relieves their worries and lets them know that their home is in good hands.

References: To get a few good references when starting out, ask some friends or family members if you can clean their home for free or at a discounted rate. The sound of working for free may not be appealing but it will be worth it to get some good testimonials.

When cleaning those first homes, go for quality, not how fast you can clean the home. Cleaning efficiently takes a long time, but you will get to the point where you can do a thorough cleaning in a short time. After cleaning make sure you go back and double check all rooms to make sure you didn’t miss anything. Impress those first clients and word of mouth will spread soon.

Advertising Your company image is everything. Before you start advertising, decide what image you want to portray on your advertising material. Your image is very important. Be consistent with all your advertising. If you have a logo be sure to use it on all your advertising materials. I think it is best to have a website developed before you start advertising. When advertising, stick with the same logo and colors.

Advertise in Local Paper: Start by running a text ad in your local newspaper. Try to come up with an eye catching ad. Do not sell your services on low rates, sell your services on your quality of work and what you can do for the client that other companies don’t. There is a lot of competition in the cleaning service. You have to stand out from the rest.

Magnetic Signs or Lettering for your Vehicle: Having your business name and contact information on your vehicle is a great way to advertise. We use the vinyl lettering. The lettering looks much more professional than the magnetic signs.

Flyers: You can print nice flyers on your home computer, but I would suggest investing in some professional flyers. Hang flyers at Hair Dressers, Laundromats, Restaurants, Bakeries, Grocery Stores, etc. Put flyers on car windows at local groceries stores and businesses. You can even go door to door in neighborhoods you would like to work in. You cannot put them in mailboxes. but you can put them in the front door.

Door Hangers: Door hangers are a great way to get new clients. Pick the neighborhood you would like to work in and hang the door hangers on the doors. When people get flyers or ads in their mailbox they usually throw them away with the junk mail. But if there is a door hanger on the door they will take the time to look at it.

Business Cards: Start passing out your business cards to friends and family members. You can also ask your local businesses if you can leave some cards on their counters.

Referral Program: A great way to obtain new clients is through a referral program. Offer existing clients a discount when they refer a friend. You can give your existing clients a discount when the friend uses your services three times.

Website: These days people live very busy lives so they use the convenience of the internet to shop for the services they need. A lot of working women will shop for services while at work. Everyone that has a business should have a website. It shows clients that you are serious about your business and allows them research your business in their own time.

Cleaning Products: By using all natrual products, you can offer your clients a healthy cleaning experience and protect ourselves against harsh chemicals. Clients love the natural cleaning products with essential oils. They come home to a healthy clean home filled with the wonderful scents of aromatherapy essential oils.

Tip: Always carry hand sanitizer and wash your hands often while cleaning homes. Wear gloves when cleaning bathrooms. You will be exposed to a lot of different germs in clients homes.

Remember most customers prefer that you bring your own cleaning supplies. That way they do not have to worry about going to the store for cleaning supplies before you clean. Some customers have special cleaners for certain appliances or floors in their houses. These customers usually will have these cleaners on hand for you to use. We almost always use the customers vacuum cleaner. That way you do not have to carry a heavy vacuum from house to house.

What to Charge I mentioned earlier that you should sell your services on your quality of work and not your low rates. If your rates are too low, clients will think that your work is sub-standard and that you are not experienced. Also you want to attract the clients that can afford your services. I made the mistake of pricing my work too low when I first started out. Cleaning is hard work, charge what you are worth. As the old saying goes “You get what you pay for.”

Some companies charge by the hour, some charge by the room, some charge a flat rate per home and some charge by the square foot. I think it is better to charge by the home, not by the hour. If a client knows they have to pay one set fee, they don’t care if you take 2 hours or 5 hours. Also your clients will know what they are paying up front and won’t have to worry about added expenses.

No two houses are the same. And there is no set charge for all homes. You have to clean for awhile yourself to get some experience and to work out a system to clean efficiently. Only you know what you want and need to make. Decide what you need to make hourly to cover all expenses and still make a good profit.

A word of advise: Make sure when you start your company that you charge what you would charge if you had employees. Some people make the mistake of under charging when they start out just to get customers and then later on when they grow and need to hire help they aren’t making enough money on their houses to pay help. Don’t under price your work. Cleaning homes is very hard physical work and you didn’t get into this business to work for nothing.

New Construction Cleaning If you decide to do this type of work you will need more equipment. You will need ladders, window cleaning kits with long extensions, a shop vac, etc. These types of jobs are usually 2 to 3 person jobs. New construction cleaning requires a lot more cleaning. You may have to remove stickers and labels from windows and bathroom showers, sinks and toilets. Some require that you clean the vents to remove dust from construction work. There will be ceiling fans to clean, scrubbing floors, and cleaning woodwork to remove dust. New construction cleaning rates depend on the area you live in.

Insurance and Bonding. You need to be an honest person and somewhat personable. People will need to trust you to be in their homes. Most clients are concerned about having someone new in their house, with good reason. You should be bonded and fully insured. Liability insurance rates depend on your insurance carrier and where you are located. Each person you hire will increase your liability insurance. It’s well worth the cost. You can pay quarterly or yearly. You can purchase your bond through your local insurance company. You will need to renew the bond every year. *Note: if you hire employees and cover them under your insurance, they must be an employee on payroll and not a sub-contractor. If you employ them as a sub-contractor your insurance will not cover them. If they are a sub-contractor they are required to carry their own insurance. You

Hiring Help If you start out cleaning the homes by yourself, you will eventually get to the point where you need to expand your business. Start out with one part time employee. Train her and let her take your place one day a week. Then have her take your place 2 days a week and so on. This will give you the free time that you need to market your business and obtain more clients. After you get more clients you will be able to hire more part time help. Eventually you will be able to stop doing the cleaning yourself and just run the business end, which is the only way you will be able to grow your business. When training new employees, always, either train them yourself or have a lead person train them. Make sure there is a lead person on each and every cleaning job. Employees have a tendency to slack off when they are on their own.

Growing Your Business You will eventually get to the point where you have enough employees and lead people and you will be able to stop working in your business and start running your business. You will find that after awhile it will get to be too much trying to clean everyday and at the same time giving estimates, answering calls, scheduling, doing book work, obtaining new clients, etc.

Remember one of the most important qualifications for a cleaning service is TRUST. A client has to know they can trust you alone in their home. After you acquire a few cleaning positions ask the clients if you can use them for a reference. Most of the time they are more than willing to let you use them for a reference. This is how you build your business and acquire new clients is through referrals. Be dependable. Most clients will want to be set up on an every week or every other week schedule on the same day of the week. Try to always keep this same schedule unless the client asks you to switch to another day. If you have to cancel a cleaning date, make sure you try to reschedule at the earliest possible date to make up the cleaning.