By: Jennie Mustafa-Julock & Annie Passanisi


   We're absolutely awesome at sharing. Ain't no shame in admitting it. 

From secrets to leftover quesadillas and guilt to glory, we've earned our Brownie's badge for Sharing thousands of times over.

It's all because of the Farmer in the Dell.

He takes a wife, you see, who in turn takes a child who simply must have a bevy of farm animals. Children memorialize this quaint pastoral phenomenon by sitting in a circle, singing a mind-numbingly repetitive tune. They glom onto each other, one by one, until only one child ultimately remains. The child known as The Cheese.

And, according to legend, The Cheese Stands Alone.

We both grew up in utter terror of being The Cheese. As the final "hi-ho-the-dairy-o"s rang out, stomachs always jack-knifed, adolescent minds screaming, "OH GOSH, PLEASE JUST LET ME BE THE COW!"

The Cheese was singled out, special yet ostracized. Though it was a position some relished, the brief romp around the dell left some poor suckers drained for days.

For a lot of entrepreneurs, Self-Promotion feels a lot like that damn cheese in that damn dell.

You are perfectly capable of standing alone. You deserve to be the center of attention or at least your niche's attention and are a hit at parties. But what about the icky parts? When all eyes are on you and you just want to hide? When choosing to do everything yourself begets a to-do list twice your height? When you need a listening ear, kernel of advice or shoulder to cry on? And what about when standing alone is just plain lonely?

That's when you remember you are NOT The Cheese. You, friend, are The Farmer.

You are the great creator, connector and guide. And the farm – it's yours to populate as you see fit.


No one begrudges the nursery rhyme version for rounding up a farm posse. It's practically your responsibility to reach out and grab as many people as you can.


Rope yourself:


  • A workwife/hubbie (like we have found in each other) to raise a work-baby with you. It'll still bear a striking resemblance to you and you'll only have to stay up every other night when it is fussy, frenzied or failing.

  • A companion to mentor. You'll reap the benefit of reminding yourself how much you know and he or she will become an evangelist of everything you do for life.

  • A mastermind group where you can both listen and be heard, where fledging ideas can receive community support and you can be peer-pressured away from costly mistakes.

  • A support staff who understands your brand, your goals, your lifestyle and your ego and is willing to work within your budget. Proactivity, generosity and enthusiasm are musts on both sides of this teeter-totter.

  • As many brilliant brains as you can surround yourself with. They will inspire you daily, promote you relentlessly and, with the right attention and care, deliver you phenomenal networking returns. And it's absolutely easy to do. Don't believe us? There about 100 people in sitting in a community on Facebook, waiting for YOU. Right this minute.


The Cheese never asked anything of anyone. We daresay he was as terrified of self-promotion. Seriously how hard would it be to find a kid to play The Wine, The Cracker or even The Apple Pie?


But millions of finely school-aged Cheeses around the world have never so much as lifted a finger in their own defense, never protested their solitude or seized the moment with a showstopper.


We forbid you to be The Cheese. Don't you dare go this alone. We beseech you, reach! Grab! Ask! Connect! Cross-promote! Thrive! Be The Farmer when you're feeling able. Hell, be The Cow on days when you'd rather stay in bed and watch Judge Judy – just not the languishing, doomed to mold cheese.


Your businesses and their respective wives, children and farm animal equivalents deserve better.

We've created Hungry Entrepreneurs, our Entrepreneurship Sucks eBook series, monthly Pitch Yo Sh*t events and more to serve as your virtual farm. We encourage you to dive in, mine the brilliant minds within, reach out to the folks who particularly grab you and throw your own knowledge into the mix. We'll even throw in two free months just for the heck of it. So whaddya say? Are you ready to find your people?


Hi-ho-thedairy-o (whatever that means),

Jennie + Annie


Jennie and Annie are the Founding Chefs of Hungry Entrepreneurs, a support tribe for brave entrepreneurs and freelancers teetering between launch and bankruptcy. http://hungryentrepreneurs.com
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Jennie Mustafa-Julock (better known as Coach Jennie) The Audacity Coach, helps pretty awesome people elevate into extraordinary individuals with missions + lifestyles to match. A high-voltage speaker and writer, she is also the author of the illustrated, self-guided coaching program Audacity Rules: A Cathartic Shove Towards Self-Actualized Brilliance. http://coachjennie.com

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Annie Passanisi wears many, many (usually sequined) hats. Here is the common thread: as the original Happiness Advocate & Whimsy Coach (motivational speaker and Positive Psychology coach), Executive Chef of Hungry Entrepreneurs (a support tribe for entrepreneurs, freelancers and artists) and Polymathic’s entire Department of Glitter (marketing, events and brand strategies for startups), Annie has coached hundreds of self-starters through the learning curves, highs and lows of small business. http://worklifebrilliance.com

 
 
By: Janet Brent

   I recently came across an article that wrote about America’s “intentional poor”, intentionally living on $5,000 a year on purpose. The shift towards a minimalistic “simple” life is a new trend brought upon by the ever increasing demands of an unsustainable world. More and more people are consciously rejecting the status-quo, choosing to live off the land, off the grid, or find ways in which to live with much less in the realization that our current world and system needs a new way of doing things in order to thrive.

   When poverty becomes privilege, though, is when you can deliberately opt out of the system in favor of “poverty” but just as inadvertently opt back in. Education, family/friends/networks and social status can always help you back into the norm. The demographics of people who intentionally choose poverty, therefore, are strongly white/Caucasian with little outliers here and there like a short Filipina-American woman who decided to move back to Asia and live in a Manila slum for two years on $3,000-7,000 a year.

That woman is me.

   When I started this journey, I never did it to make a statement. I was simply broke on my last dollar and needed to figure out a cheap solution towards navigating a new and foreign city whilst trying to live on a meager start to self-employment with next to zero experience, let alone business skill. I was trying to reinvent myself; like a pheonix rising from its ashes.

   This part of my history was never something I was proud of. In fact, it was a pain point that I was embarrassed of and tried not to talk much about. I used the self-pity angle here and there on my blog, and always felt worse for wear afterwards. I made myself as my own personal laughing joke. I cried a lot, curled in the fetal position. I felt like scum. I battled my demons. I prayed a lot. I faced my shadows. I noted the irony, having just gotten out of a longterm relationship, house and mortgage with a fairly comfortable life to this meager existence. How did I get here?

   There came a point when I realized all of the whining and crying wasn’t going to help the situation and that the only way out was through. I tried to shift my perspective and look for ways the slums could teach me. What lesson did I need to learn? I got by just knowing that this was temporary. That, like the American’s intentionally choosing poverty, I had the resources to opt out if I really wanted to. I knew that this was “just a phase”. I never saw it as my permanent reality, only something that I was enduring. Eventually, I opted out two years later, but still live with an income under the American poverty line.

    When I was a teen, I was into punk rock. Gutterpunks and squatting and counterculture was always something that interested me, but not something I seriously tried. I was a ‘poseur’ by most standards, but I loved punk rock ethos. This is another reason why the slums became my home. It became an adventure and a little bit ‘punkrock’. I tried to convince myself it would be fun.

    Weakness turned into a strength slowly but surely when I began to own up to my alternative decisions. Maybe it was no accident that things turned out the way that they did. Maybe it was a statement from the get go. I’ve always been unconventional, and into eco-consciousness and sustainability… maybe from my Oregon upbringing. Here was a way to challenge normal ways of living, be minimalistic, reject status-quo and consumerism, make a smaller carbon foot print and learn to live with less. My very being is exactly this. While I wouldn’t live in the slums again, I definitely plan on living in alternative or minimal spaces in the future.

   Lessons I experienced firsthand how poverty is a state of mind, and how some of the happiest people don’t have much material wealth, yet live rich, full and thriving lives. It’s true when they say money can’t buy happiness.

   The Philippines are resilient people, and they’ve made up their own systems and economies within communities to help survive.

   I learned that I was living with poverty consciousness in my own life, whether as part of my collective cultural psyche or past experiences, or both. I had to consciously try to work on an abundance mindset, and I still am.



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My corner of the slum, squinting from the morning sun, 2011
   Even though I lived in the slum for two years, it became comfortable. I came to enjoy it, in its own way. I had standards too and chose a decent space. It wasn’t the worse slum on the block, and it was behind the “shadow of commerce”, a 10 minute walk to the big mall, where I ended up spending most my time. My spending habits didn’t quite transition to a “local” and my American habits of frequent Starbucks, eating out everyday, and the occasional shopping stuck out like a sore thumb. It made me really aware of how I spend and how I budget, or lack there of.

   Intentional poverty is a journey I don’t regret. It’s the choice I made when I quit my day job, in an unfulfilled office, and decided to strike out on my own. First, it was a career sabbatical with less than $7,000 to my name, and then it was the bumpy ride of self-employment and aspiring entrepreneurship.

   I broke free from the cubicle. I moved and lived abroad. It’s been a bumpy ride but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

   I’m still here. On my own path. What’s next?

   I’ll be living in Thailand for at least a month, and then onwards to Europe and new adventures.

   I will be offering a new coaching service for people interested in selling their crap, moving abroad, living intentionally and starting an online business. If you’re interested in a pay what you can basis, please contact me.
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Janet is a graphic/web designer for indies in the holistic and creative arts. She is passionate about working with creative world changers and showing people how to march to their own beats. You can email her at janet@byjanet.net to introduce yourself or work with her. If you enjoyed this, sign up for more updates. TwitterFacebookGoogle Plus

 
 
By: Tonya R. Taylor

If you don't learn how to write a blog post that attracts Google (and your target audience) you may be spinning your wheels creating content that's not getting read. AND THAT'S NOT GOOD!

People use search engines like Google (and a few others) to solve their problem at that moment in time. They use the results on the page from their search to get answers. Your goal is to get them to click! Use this guide to become aware of the do's and don'ts around how to write a blog post that gets results.

When you are struggling with  how to create blog posts that attract clients it might seem easy to pile on whatever you can just to get something done. However that's not an effective approach for time saving tips to create content fastWARNING! Avoid "stuffing" your blog content with:

  • too many words which will keep people from reading your posts

  • titles that are uninteresting to your target audience and too long for search engines

  • too many pictures with different shapes and sizes not organized in a gallery

  • too many paragraphs that makes it hard for the visitor to want to continue reading

  • no real topic of focus that is meaningful and relevant to your audience

  • information all about you with nothing in it for the reader to take away

  • details about your products and services over and over again


The ultimate cheat sheet for how to write a blog post in 5 easy steps:

I would suggest you print these and post near your computer to refer to them every time you start writing.

1. Use a title that grabs their attention
If the title is not a bold attention grabber your target audience will never click through to read the rest of your blog post. Make your blog title more than 40 characters and less than the recommended 70 character limit.  You need titles that work! Try these:

    • How to ______________
    • Top 5  ______________
    • 7 Ways to ___________
2. Use a focus keyword phrase
Think of each one of your blog post as its own landing page. Use this page to focus on one keyword topic (only). For example the focus keyword topic for this post is "How to write a blog post."

3. Write on a 7th grade reading level

Using words that are hard to understand or you need a dictionary will scare your website visitors away, never to return. Generally people are multitasking and pressed for time so what they do is skim articles instead of reading them fully. Writing on the internet is completely different from other types of writing. You need to keep your content simple by  checking your readability score <here>.

4. Include a meta description

This is your chance to tell your potential reader exactly what your blog post is about and why they should click on the link on the search results page to read the entire blog post. The meta description is limited to 156 characters because that's all the search engines will display on the search results page. Not using a well written meta description in your blog post can be the difference in driving organic website traffic or not.

5. Count your words

Your blog post do not have to be long, you are not writing a dissertation. At the same time your blog post should not be too short either. In fact, the recommended minimum amount of words is 300. However what I have noticed is the sweet spot for effective content is between 500 and 550 words. Use an image to help tell your story. Also add bullets or numbers to create white space for easy reading.

Need to learn more about how to write a blog post? Download your customized plan for creating blog post consistently without ever struggling with what to write!

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Meet Tonya

The Savvy Online Business Builder Who Helps You Get More Traffic, Save Time and Make More Money


Tonya is known as the "Savvy Online Business Builder" for solo entrepreneurs and small business owners who need more time to focus on running their six figure business and want fast, proven results ensuring potential customers can find them online. She believes without traffic, what's the point of having a website to begin with!

Want to re-Energize your online marketing with a customized plan? Take her FREE quiz it tells you exactly what do. For instant access visit SavvyBizBuilder.com.

 
 
By: Nick Humphries
   At Startup Video, I’m always taking a look at our new clients websites so I can get an overview of the key points of a company and their product so me and my team can write the perfect script. I’ve been seeing a bad trend that I want to share with you and could potentially be vital to your
success.

It absolutely shocks me that companies are still using paragraphs of mostly unappealing text to explain what they do on their homepages. It seems that marketers still haven't realized that they only have a few seconds to convince their potential customer to stay on their page. Otherwise their business goes elsewhere.
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Caption: Screenshot of BA and Virgin's Landing Pages (September, 2013)
Take a look at this side by side comparison of loyalty program landing pages for these two airline heavyweights. British looks like they haven't updated their page since 2005. Virgin has decided to go for a Windows 8 sort of design. Clean, simplistic and straight to the point with a clear
collocation. I think you can see pretty clearly here who's going to get more new, loyal customers for the coming years.
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Caption: Catchy: Weapons of Mass Distraction (credit: beproactivenow.org)
Let's face it. The truth is, everyone has internet ADD these days. As I'm writing this article with 12 tabs open in Firefox, a Spotify playlist now needs my immediate attention to skip the current song. I don't know how this Miley Cyrus song started playing.  Earlier, I received a DM from a
work colleague via Twitter who told me to go checkout a link on YouTube. After 20 seconds, I realized this video wasn't worth watching. So I did something more worthwhile. I saw a headline in the recommendations sidebar that caught my eye. Then after a quick check of the time, I
realized I had just spent the an hour of mindless stumbling on Youtube watching videos of cute animals (I swear this was related to a client project). Well, there goes my morning. Oh wait, now I see in a tab that I have (1) new Gmail message. Let's see what that's about.

So far, it's taken me about 2.5 hours to make it in this point of this post. The picture I've just painted is reminiscent of our habits at this time. Our brains are being hijacked. Constant distraction is at our fingertips and is being fired at us from all different angles. You have to realize this as a marketer in your start-up. It's all about getting that user experience
absolutely right. The first impression is all that matters and this is why you can't do a BA on your customers. Be like Virgin. Use tools like free Usability Hub to measure what your audience is truly thinking about in those precious few seconds to get them interested.

This is why right now, there is no other tool on the internet which engages as much as video. To have people glued to your video and concentrated on listening to your story and what you have to offer for one minute, or even 30 seconds, is extremely valuable. According to a recent comScore report, 188.5 million Americans watched 46.7 billion online content videos in August, while the number of video ad views totaled 22.8 billion. The use of video in mobile/smartphone campaigns
is increasing purchase intent by 72%. I think the point is clear.

So guys, please be focused on getting it right. Talk to your customers about the current state of your website. Ask what you could do to keep them more engaged. Now, time to get back to watching a compilation of cute cats that demand petting.
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Nick is the founder of Startup Video, a media production house that produces concise and fun explanatory videos for small businesses and start-ups. NicoleBienfing.com readers get free script writing and voice over hire (value: $200) until November 31st, 2013. Follow Nick on Facebook.com/StartupVideo & @nickhumph

 
 
By: Zeus Yiamouyiannis, Ph. D.

Are you getting the bigger picture? Just about everything you’ve been told about what will make you a fulfilled person turns out to be false.
“Conventional wisdom” is essentially mindless: Buy,buy, buy, consume, consume, consume, waste, waste,waste, hurry, hurry, hurry.
Who does that benefit? Certainly not future generations. They will have to dig out of the environmental and social mess created by our unconscious living. One can claim it’s those corrupt capitalists who benefit. Aren’t they the ones exploiting labor, bending the rules, and concentrating wealth? This may be true financially, but if you look closer at these alleged capitalists you see people living disastrously unhealthy
physical and moral lives— heart attacks in their 60’s and indictments for insider trading.
The truth is that no one really benefits from our present status quo. It’s a lose-lose proposition. We all benefit from liberating ourselves from the current state of things. Win-win is possible.
There are actions you can take: Become aware of your situation. Understand what and how you can transform. Create the connected communities and practices you need to become a conscious, fulfilled person on a healthy, growing planet. This is what the book, Transforming Economy: From Corrupted Capitalism to Connected Communities, is dedicated toward developing. It goes through the history of our present situation, demystifying and clarifying what we face. It looks at our present challenges and opportunities from a practical and powerful learning standpoint. Transforming Economy also assembles, provides, and summarizes in one place the proactive alternatives you can personally use in this exciting transition between a system that has lost its meaning and a new society of real hope, promise, and collaborative,
democratic action. In Transforming Economy you will find a more in-depth explanation of Steps #1-4, as well as abundant frameworks, examples, and resources for Step #5 to:

• Elect people with integrity, courage, and collaborative ability to government.

• Promote pro-social giving and expose the false war between personal and social interest.

• Invest for long-term benefit.

• Create “service swaps” and develop local currencies.

• Support peer-to-peer lending, crowd funding and other forms of financing that eliminate middlemen and fees.

• Create competitive alternatives to high-priced school lending and low-delivery higher education.

• Forgive debt and align debt repayment with economic realities.

• Rebel against the consumerist “American Dream” and strengthen, simplify, and de-expense your life.

• Pool your money, resources, and time.

• Incorporate youth leadership and representation in high-level decision-making.

• Develop networked, resource-minded, creativity and entrepreneurialism.

I encourage you to pick up Transforming Economy and share its ideas and practices with others. Start a discussion or book group. This is one small, powerful, grass-roots way you can influence the direction of our collective future. As interest grows, why not start a community meet-up through Meetup.com around the ideas and conversation you generate. Step #6 is building the future together.

For now, take the initial step. Please purchase Transforming Economy and start the awareness and change you wish to see.
You can contact me, Zeus Yiamouyiannis (Citizen Zeus), with any questions or comments at zeus@citizenzeus.com.
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Zeus Yiamouyiannis, Ph.D. is an economics blogger, futurist, and author of Transforming Economy: From Corrupted Capitalism to Connected Communities. He has written regularly for top alternative economics blogs, including ZeroHedge.com and OfTwoMinds.com. He has appeared as a guest on “The Keiser Report” and “On the Edge with Max Keiser” on RT TV as well as the “Inside the Eye” radio program. Zeus is a “performance educator” with expertise in philosophy and cultural foundations of education. His own blog, Citizen Zeus (http://citizenzeus.com)

Pick up a copy of the Transforming Economy e-book here. Visit Citizen Zeus to engage other essays on transforming yourself and your society. Contact Zeus at zeus@citizenzeus.com to engage his "learn to transform" consulting services.

 
 
By: Zeus Yiamouyiannis, Ph. D.

   Let’s do the following exercise. It will take only a few minutes:
Grab a piece of scrap paper and a pen. Put a line vertically down the center of the page,making two columns. Title the first column, “The most important things in life”. Ask yourself out loud, “What to I absolutely need, in order to live a fulfilling life?” Under that first column spend a minute or two listing the ten most important answers to that question. If you are stuck, write down five things. Now title the second column: “How I spend my day,” and write what you did yesterday, or if that day was not typical, what you do on a typical day.Now simply compare the two columns.

If you are like most, the first column has things like: family, community, faith, love,learning, financial security, health, happiness. The second column has: getting the kids off to school, answering emails, surfing the internet, completing a work project, watching TV, cleaning, folding clothes, going to the store, mostly mundane individual activities in which we don’t do a lot of thinking or engagement.
There are very few people wh o even spend a fraction
of their day on life’s true essentials.
Building on our conversation from Step #3, seriously challenge yourself to think, “What small things could I eliminate or reduce from the second column “How I spend my day” to open up room for the first column “The most important things in life.”

Step #4 is about developing conscious living, the basis of real choice and success:
Become aware of life choices and progressively choose to devote yourself more and more to the most important elements of life.
Why do we spend so much time on the unimportant stuff? Well, for one, it’s easier. Unconscious living is a kind of autopilot that does not require much from us, at least at first. After a while, though, unaware habitual actions can become rather meaningless. They also prepare us poorly to handle new demands or life changes. Eventually we get alternately bored and stressed. It becomes a vicious cycle: responding with more unconscious activity to address the boredom and stress— more drinking, TV watching, internet surfing. If our lack of healthy, aware growth gets extreme, we may spiral into a sexual affair, depression, or anger and violence.
Lack of conscious, active purpose is a killer of joy
and meaning.
Raising kids or having a hobby can provide a constructive alternative to simply wasting your time, but how many of you have actually reflected deeply on why and how you parent, how parenting expresses your deeper values? How many of you ask why you take up certain hobbies?
What do my deeper interests say about me? How can I
share my deeper gifts with others? What is my
relationship with the world?
For many, these questions are never asked or answered. Instead a few weeks of vacation substitute for the “good life.” “Real life” becomes a rat race most fantasize about escaping. This is why you and I are so susceptible to marketed promises of escape: “Get rich and
stop working by attending this real estate seminar on flipping houses!” “Receive untold wealth, working a few hours a week doing direct marketing on the internet!” “Buy this dream home, live well, and make a killing when you resell it!” Sanity is achieved by conscious choice and action, not by taking up someone else’s dubious promises. The philosopher, Aristotle, was right. For practical purposes, we
are what we repeatedly do. (Transforming Economy, pg. 94)
Once you have the courage and conviction to confront the habits, mindsets, entitlements, and principles that no longer serve you or others, you have completed Step #4.
The world is not going to hand you a life. Acknowledge
that you create your life. Reorder your values. Align
your goals and actions.
You are now ready for Step #5.
To Be Continued...come back to read all 5 steps! We would love to hear your thoughts on the fourth step below.
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Zeus Yiamouyiannis, Ph.D. is an economics blogger, futurist, and author of Transforming Economy: From Corrupted Capitalism to Connected Communities. He has written regularly for top alternative economics blogs, including ZeroHedge.com and OfTwoMinds.com. He has appeared as a guest on “The Keiser Report” and “On the Edge with Max Keiser” on RT TV as well as the “Inside the Eye” radio program. Zeus is a “performance educator” with expertise in philosophy and cultural foundations of education. His own blog, Citizen Zeus (http://citizenzeus.com)

Pick up a copy of the Transforming Economy e-book here. Visit Citizen Zeus to engage other essays on transforming yourself and your society. Contact Zeus at zeus@citizenzeus.com to engage his "learn to transform" consulting services.

 
 
By: Zeus Yiamouyiannis, Ph. D.


   There is great positive benefit in simply eliminating
the negative.Physically, if you cut yourself badly, you don’t worry about all the blood you’ve lost and how to get it back. You stop the bleeding so you won’t lose any more blood. This applies both to small cuts and large cuts. Financial worth operates like blood. It should be increased but also preserved. We often forget that building financial worth is not just about acquiring assets and building savings but eliminating drains on our resources.


    Ongoing financial losses and costs that withdraw financial lifeblood from you a little at a time over a long period of time may feel less painful but they end up costing a lot more.Healing the small and large cuts that result in financial bleeding make a tremendous difference. Many people know that early saving and investments can pay off gigantically in net worth down the road. Few really grasp that stopping ongoing financial losses early can do the same.

    Both processes are exponential. Stopping the bleeding of your financial worth also provides long-term mental and emotional benefits by ridding you of leeches on your attention and peace of mind.So you gave the material American Dream a try and it didn’t work out. What now? If
you cannot gain from housing, switch your mentality. Limit your housing cost! It is most people’s greatest living expense. If you can save a thousand dollars a month by renting, building your own house, moving
in with another family, or paying for a smaller house in cash, you are a thousand dollars a month richer. Not only that, you have the satisfaction of a thousand dollars less per month going to some bank.Deeper values and sense. Your choice.

    Because people get emotionally attached to things, including rising expectations, they do not see that supporting a thing, i.e. holding on to properties for continuing financial losses, is diminishing their ability to care for and support actual people, to save for education, or to start a small business, to invest in something better. It is not that much different than people who hold on to a degrading job. In the end, it is “your money and your life”.


   Why not research and compare the relative long-term financial benefits of strategic default on an underwater mortgage to the negative credit consequences? Why not rebel against inflated expectations by de-expensing your lifestyle (Transforming Economy, pg. 245)? Why not reinvest the money and time you save into relationships,family, and community— the real American Dream?

    Here is a perfect practical example. How many of you have paid more for a storage locker than the stuff inside is worth? Honestly? Practically everyone. Is this rational? No. Why do we do it? We have an emotional attachment to “stuff.” We convince ourselves that “having” our stuff means “having” our feelings, experiences, and history attached to the stuff (even if it is basically junk that we never use anymore).Upon closer look, however, “stuff” is just another demand and expense that weighs on your mind. It is not a store of value.

   If you want a higher quality life, clear your economic and mental clutter. Get rid of what you don’t need. Empty your storage lockers. Getting rid of stuff will not only save you money but also free up resources for people you care about. If selling your stuff is too much hassle, give it away. Just think of it as a double bonus—a load off your mind and karma points. If trends continue, in a few years everyone will start selling their stuff out of necessity. Why not get a good price for yours now. It is personal decision time. Apply civil disobedience
to your value-draining financial habits. Once you start clearing things out, you will have more time, energy, and money to pursue the more important things in life instead of just thinking about them.
You are now ready for Step #4.

To Be Continued...come back to read all 5 steps! We would love to hear your thoughts on the thrid step below.
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Zeus Yiamouyiannis, Ph.D. is an economics blogger, futurist, and author of Transforming Economy: From Corrupted Capitalism to Connected Communities. He has written regularly for top alternative economics blogs, including ZeroHedge.com and OfTwoMinds.com. He has appeared as a guest on “The Keiser Report” and “On the Edge with Max Keiser” on RT TV as well as the “Inside the Eye” radio program. Zeus is a “performance educator” with expertise in philosophy and cultural foundations of education. His own blog, Citizen Zeus (http://citizenzeus.com)

Pick up a copy of the Transforming Economy e-book here. Visit Citizen Zeus to engage other essays on transforming yourself and your society. Contact Zeus at zeus@citizenzeus.com to engage his "learn to transform" consulting services.

 
 
By: Zeus Yiamouyiannis, Ph. D.

Okay, so you've chosen to wake up, ward off the fear and hype, and consult concrete facts and deeper intuition. Now what? Time to ask the question, “If we keep going this way, what is likely to happen?” What are the implications? What do we look for now?

This is the honesty step. Perhaps you or someone close to you has already bought a house at the height of a housing bubble. Now what? 1) Confront your desire to deny financial losses and unwise personal financial decisions. 2) Look at the trends. Say, for example, you are holding on to a typical real estate asset, hoping things turn
around. Neither fundamentals nor trends support a return. Add maintenance, taxes, and fees, and you are staring at more losses.
Why? The real estate bubble has popped in so-called developed countries and is about to pop in developing countries. These cycles were and are being pumped by investors looking for short-term gains before pulling their money out. This is false demand. Overall real demand is declining in middle class America and Europe. Housing supply is glutted from overbuilding, especially in Spain and China. Real incomes have fallen
in the U.S. and Europe among young people in particular. Trust in home owning has been dashed. Long term, these trends push purchase prices down.
Is the market ever going to come back to what it was? Most likely no.
Does this mean that all real estate will decrease in value? No. I would not be at all surprised to see condos near cultural urban centers go up in price as baby boomers retire, even as suburban McMansions plunge in price.

Investment-wise, it is important to anticipate where a shift in visions of the good life will increase or decrease demand and value for certain physical assets.Semi-rural medium-sized college towns with progressive values, farmer’s markets, access to nature, and simple pleasures are positioned well to increase in value as people gravitate toward a simpler, community-oriented life and leave the “rat race” behind. (Transforming Economy, pg. 124)


Transition times are generators of anxiety . We are going through a major social transition now. This often prompts people, in the medium term future, to run toward traditional stores of value hoping for stability. This pushes traditional commodities like gold and silver up in price, maybe even way up if there is a panic and another greed- and
fear-driven bubble. Humans don’t change their habits easily.

When you complete Step #2, you will have a sense of perspective about where we are going, what to expect economically, and why we cannot go back.You are ready for Step #3, to clear the financial clutter and align money priorities with deeper values and sense.

To Be Continued...come back to read all 5 steps! We would love to hear your thoughts on the second step below.
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Zeus Yiamouyiannis, Ph.D. is an economics blogger, futurist, and author of Transforming Economy: From Corrupted Capitalism to Connected Communities. He has written regularly for top alternative economics blogs, including ZeroHedge.com and OfTwoMinds.com. He has appeared as a guest on “The Keiser Report” and “On the Edge with Max Keiser” on RT TV as well as the “Inside the Eye” radio program. Zeus is a “performance educator” with expertise in philosophy and cultural foundations of education. His own blog, Citizen Zeus (http://citizenzeus.com)

Pick up a copy of the Transforming Economy e-book here. Visit Citizen Zeus to engage other essays on transforming yourself and your society. Contact Zeus at zeus@citizenzeus.com to engage his "learn to transform" consulting services.

 
 
By Zeus Yiamouyiannis, Ph.D.

You’ve grown disgusted with lists of urgent tasks, and so have I. They promise to solve everything but waste your time instead.

That is why these five courageous steps are not more tasks but descriptions of a growth process that will help you focus on important issues, eliminate demands,develop decision-making clarity, reduce anxiety and confusion, and fortify your important values.

These steps provide a framework to help you embrace your truth, rather than buy someone else’s, and move forward in a simple, substantive, confident way. As you read, you can breathe, concentrate, and stop being distracted by all the fantasies and band-aids others are offering to make a buck off your desire for solutions.I’m going to provide something better than “the answer” or feel-good checklists. I am going to explain a simple process of getting real with any issue or question you face, so
the answers you come up with will not only be grounded in your authentic concerns but will address your reality.

I will briefly explain and then apply these steps to current economic issues, but you can apply them to any area in your life. There is no time to waste. Let’s get started. What are the five steps and how do you
apply them?

“Nail the issue/ pierce the fantasy”
“Get real about consequences/ anticipate the trends”
“Stop feeding the beast/ act on your deeper values and sense”
“Confront your habits/ transform your character”
“Liberate yourself/ get proactive”

STEP #1: “NAIL THE ISSUE/ PIERCE THE FANTASY”

This means asking, “What’s going on, really?” and
consciously pursuing the truth.

This is rarely easy, because first you must overcome your desire not to know. Additionally,information you receive, even from “experts,” often reflects their fantasies and interests and not the core underlying issues.
Sorting wish from fact, and reliable information from hype, is a key skill in this step. (Transforming Economy: From Corrupted Capitalism to Connected Communities is built on this premise.)

Don’t get sucked in. Selective statistics, bobble-head “experts”, and relentlessly rosy government officials will almost always protect the status quo and hide fundamental problems. Expect it!
How many times did you hear, “The housing market has reached a bottom? Now is a good time to buy!” or “Economic indicators say the recession has ended” even while unemployment remains near record highs.Trust evidence over words. It’s not “just you” struggling financially. Why do statisticians, experts, and officials lie or tell only part of the story? Because their “success” comes from making things appear pleasant to your perception, not from being truthful about your reality.

Examine motive. Look at underlying factors. Don’t allow your need to be comforted get in the way of being fully responsible and informed. Are you going to bow to optimistic cheerleaders and your own insecurity or
heed your deeper know-how?
In this step, dedication to fundamentals must win out over fear and greed. For instance,when people said during the housing bubble, “If you don’t buy now, you won’t be able to afford it,” or, “Housing only goes up; you’re missing out!,” they were appealing to fear and greed. Look instead at the key financial factors:


When matched against the reality of people paying ten times their
salary for houses that actually added more money owed to their
mortgage principal (i.e. negative amortization), required no money
down, and set up “balloon payments,” large step-ups in payments
after a few years, there is no possible way borrowers could not default
in a predictable span of time.”
(Transforming Economy, pg. 43)

In other words, the only thing you are missing in a bubble-driven economic frenzy is financial heartache. Lesson from Step #1: Take fundamentals over fear and greed.

To Be Continued...come back to read all 5 steps! We would love to hear your thoughts on the first step below.
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Zeus Yiamouyiannis, Ph.D. is an economics blogger, futurist, and author of Transforming Economy: From Corrupted Capitalism to Connected Communities. He has written regularly for top alternative economics blogs, including ZeroHedge.com and OfTwoMinds.com. He has appeared as a guest on “The Keiser Report” and “On the Edge with Max Keiser” on RT TV as well as the “Inside the Eye” radio program. Zeus is a “performance educator” with expertise in philosophy and cultural foundations of education. His own blog, Citizen Zeus (http://citizenzeus.com)

Pick up a copy of the Transforming Economy e-book here. Visit Citizen Zeus to engage other essays on transforming yourself and your society. Contact Zeus at zeus@citizenzeus.com to engage his "learn to transform" consulting services.


 
 
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Image from ew.com
By: Susan Newman

    When someone opens Google and searches for you or your company name, what comes up? If they search for your type of business or industry, or by a keyword or phrase, does YOUR company come up?

Brand visibility is not just being the answer to your name, but being the answer for what you do, and maintaining that first-page spot consistently.

How is this accomplished and how do we attract our exact targeted audience so that we’re gaining new clients as well as extending our global and local reach?

It begins with understanding your company’s mission and goals.

Once you have discovered these key components, and once you have zeroed in on who your exact target audience is, you’ll be ready to write your content-rich, SEO-friendly website pages, blog posts and most especially add in the long-tail keywords that will draw the targeted audience to you.

The point is not to go out there looking for clients, selling all the time, pointing at yourself or answering every ad you see, but building your online presence in such a way that you are expanding your reach, and having people want to connect with you, share what you’re doing as advocates, and buy from you!


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Superhero Online Presence So let’s go through an exercise together on Keywords, SEO, Google Searches and Results and how to draw much more traffic to you.

The first step is to go to Google. Let’s say you’re Batman: The Caped Crusader and you want to know if people can find you not just by your name but by the good deeds you do.

In the pictures below, you’ll see I typed into Google “Batman” to see what came up for his name and then “Comic Book Super Hero” and “Caped Crusader” to see what comes up for the descriptive words and nickname.


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For the name, I was so glad to see that Wikipedia was first because that would most likely have the most information and history on the comic book icon as well as the celebrities who have worn the mask. Second in the search was the creator, DC Comics, bravo! After that were the pages from IMDB for the celebrities and movies.

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When I searched “comic book super hero” I got a variety of websites and pages that listed the top 10 or top 100 superheroes. I’m sure Batman was on the list, but the competition to be the best and singled out is tough! However, when I searched his nickname, “Caped Crusader” he dominated that first page. Yeah!

So we know that over time through the consistency of so many wanting more Batman, and the years of comics, TV episodes, and movies, there are millions of pages about Batman, based both on him as an icon and on what he did to help others.

Building Your Own Superhero Presence
So through this next exercise I’ll show you how to build a superhero online presence for yourself.

First, I want you to create four columns. In the first column will be the words that describe YOU. What makes you unique? Really dig deep into what sets you apart, don’t just put the same generic words that describe everybody else.

In the second column, put descriptive words that describe your ideal clients. Perhaps not the clients you have now, but who you are trying to reach. What are their demographics? If they were a superhero, which one would they be?

In the third column, list the words or phrases that describe what you do that is unlike anyone else. What over time have you mastered and do? Have you rescued a cat from a tree, pulled someone from a burning building, arrested those bank robbers?

In the last column, I’d like you to put what five clients said about you. Read through your past testimonials or ask a few new clients if they could describe what sets you apart and why they are working with you.

Next, I want you to circle words from each column that match or stand out. When you see certain words in common, you will know you are onto something that will define YOU and what you offer, which will magically be what your ideal clients seek too!

You may be able to create a new tagline or moniker from this exercise.

In my own exercise, some of the words that were in common were: branding, design, professionalism, technology, education, creativity, visibility. As you can see these words not only describe what I’m capable of but what my clients are seeking as well. So I decided the three best words to put together for me to use as a moniker were “brand visibility designer.”

In considering this and the best way to describe yourself, remember that it’s not about what you do that’s just like someone else, but what sets you apart. If we use the Batman example again, yes he is a superhero just like Superman and Spiderman, but each of them has something very unique.

If we apply this to the test above what you really want to identify is what is it that will draw people to you like a magnet? What will make the clients who are searching on Google type in the words that pull up YOU as the answer? What you say about yourself has to be what you want others to discover, remember and share as well.

Next, you want to visit Google Adwords (download the attached Google Adwords Exercise and SEO in Action pdf) and begin typing in those words and word combos and see what the results are.

Not all the words will be right, but you will be able to see what was searched more and as you select and build your keywords you will begin to have the tools you need to surpass the competition. You can download these combinations and save them to edit later, adding in more words that are specific to you, like your name, more about what you do and your location.

Steps to building your strong brand and presence
Be sure your online and offline selves are sending the same signs to others so their experience is the same no matter the place or format.

What does the public perceive about you, your products and services, and is it consistent everywhere? Is the experience of using your products and/or services in line with scanning pages of your website, flipping through your brochure or catalog, or visiting your store? If they met you, or your employees, at a function would they find your mindset to be in line with your company? Is your visual footprint the same across the web, on social media, in advertising and marketing, and in commercials on TV, past or present?

When we talk about brand visibility we must realize it means “all encompassing.” So, if you are a small business owner and entrepreneur, you must act, speak, dress, and fully represent your brand. You are your brand’s ambassador. When someone meets you in person when they previously only knew you by your avatar, are you the way they imagined?

Magnetizing Your Target Audience
Because of the web, many small businesses get confused between being visible globally and locally. Yes, having a website and social media presence helps others find you, but can the local community find you?

The key to being found is broadcasting your brand louder and farther than your competitors and on a consistent basis. Find creative and genuine paths for you to gain trust and others will naturally begin to flock to you.

Consistently blogging on a particular topic and making sure that the title is engaging, the opening sentences are drawing others in, and the post itself is tagged properly, that’s one way.

For others it may be consistently posting on social media, on the radio or creating videos about their topic of choice. The key, though, is to bring others into the discussion in clever ways, not just talking about yourself or what you’re offering.

For example: I love to share other brands, what makes them tick, who they worked with on their visual footprint and how they became a success. So I created a way to showcase them in my brand interview series. I’m celebrating these brands, and that along with my SEO skills is driving traffic to the site, the brand interviews and their businesses, helping them attract new audiences. I’ve also just started an online radio show and to have some fun and enjoy interviewing others I have named it “Suzy Brandtastic’s Interview Series.” It’s all about separating oneself from others in unique ways that make a brand memorable.

You too will find there are a variety of ways to broaden your overall visibility, so be creative and whatever paths you take stay on point consistently.

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Susan Newman is the CEO of Susan Newman Design Inc and a brand visibility designer. In 1994, Susan established her own company, Susan Newman Design, Inc. Branding YOU Better!, her motto and blog is about how logic, structure, continuity and style make a client look good. Susan is her company’s CVO, Chief Visibility Officer and knows how to create that for others as well! If you build it RIGHT, they will come! She has been featuring other brands in her “brand interview” series to show how strong brand design can build a successful and memorable company. Susan has a free webinar series at Broadcast Louder and a new Radio show on Talkshoe called Suzy Brandtastic’s Interview Series. Her clients range from entrepreneurs and small businesses to large corporations and span the United States and abroad. Her work encompasses “brand visibility design”, brand identity, social media strategy and design, advertising & promotion, web design and development, and theatrical/environmental poster design.

To enroll in Susan’s course on Udemy, go to Build Your Galactic Brand by Suzy Brandtastic