Please note. I teach college for a living. Let the reader beware, that is my profession and background.

So, what is the best use of your money in regards to education?

College isn’t for everyone! Don’t buy the hype that everyone deserves to go to college or that everyone needs a master’s degree or doctorate.

College is expensive.  I teach at a fairly inexpensive school and it will still cost a student about $100,000.00 to complete 4 years. Other schools in my area will cost their students over $200,000.00 for their 4 year degree. It might be worth it, but if you don’t have a goal, that it a lot of money to throw at a hunch.

What if you did something drastically different?

What if you worked just as hard to save money and get loans, but you opened your own business? Even if it fails, you will have learned so much from the venture and you will have learned to focus your energy and attention on one thing much better than that kid who doesn’t really care but is sitting through classes.

How about if you took that $200,000 and bought  rental properties? You are still in debt, but you will be earning rents to help you pay it back. And there are tax deductions that you don’t get from your student loans. As you pay them off, you are building equity too.

If you are a musician, what if you took that money and recorded your music, went on tour and did everything you could think of to make you/your band a success? If you spent the same four years working 100 hours a week toward making a go of it, is it possible you will learn more than if you went to college for music performance or a related field?

Please understand that for some people, college is a great choice! It is true that college graduates on average make more money over their lifetime than people without a college education. A liberal arts degree opens your mind to new ideas (assuming you are in a school with professors who will challenge you.) I just don’t want young people to think it is the only viable way to learn and make a living from their education.

Degrees aren’t what they used to be. Maybe you need a hybrid approach. Take a course in a local college that will directly affect what you are attempting to do. You may not need the whole B.A./B.S., but taking that Accounting course or that Spanish course might be a great asset to you. You may feel that paying for a course in writing for business will be money well spent! Go for it! I have taken many courses after I graduated just because I was interested in the subject. In my opinion, being a life long learner is much more important than getting a degree to hang on the wall of your office.

Whatever you decide to do, go at it with 100% passion. Don’t go to college just to attend. Don’t start a business just to not have a boss. Don’t start a band just to hang out with your friends in a garage. Do what you will work hard to make happen. If you learn to do that, you will be successful!

 

 

There is a saying that I remember my mother saying to me when I was young: “Be not the first by which the new is tried, nor the last to set it aside.” I get the point, but in retrospect, I am not sure I agree 100% with that idea. Someone needs to step out and be first. If no one tries the new thing, we would never have gotten on that contraption that had round things under it to roll it instead of dragging everything around. Who would have lived in the first built house instead of a cave? Some things are just dumb…we don’t have to pick up every new thing that comes along, but there can be some great advantages to being first on the scene with something new.

New technology can revolutionize an industry. Think back to the blacksmith making nails. The first guy to figure out that he could take some time and build a machine that would make the nails for him, instead of his having to pound out each one was probably laughed at by the other blacksmiths…but when his machine could crank out 10 nails in the time it took them to make one, they likely quit laughing.

We are so used to instant communication, that we have almost forgotten what life was like before e-mail, texting and messaging. Some of you remember putting a letter in the mail and then waiting days or weeks for a response. When Ray Tomlinson used the SNDMSG program to send a message from one computer to another, even though it was to himself, he made history sending the first electronic mail. Now, his work is a part of everyday life, but just imagine if no one had been interested in being the first to communicate with him. That day in 1971, the first was tried, and it has changed the world!

What will be the next great invention?I am not sure, but I hope that I will have the wisdom to grasp it quickly rather than wait until the masses are clamoring for it.

 

I am not really a techie guy. I do have a smart phone, not usually sure exactly which one. I checked, Samsung Galaxy S4. I know there are newer phones, but there are three apps that I use and want to share with you.

  • Google translate: The app has come a long way! It is capable of translating text using the camera function. It will translate spoken speech as well. It comes in quite handle if you deal at all with print or people that aren’t communicating in English. (The earlier link is for the android app, if you have an iphone, there is an app for it too.)
  • OneClick e-audio: This app lets you borrow e-audio books from your local library. You can listen to books on your computer, phone, mp3 player… And like traditional books from the library, it is free!
  • Bufferapp: When I am online in the morning, I don’t want to suddenly share every blog post or news article with my followers  in the 1/2 hour or so I am reading them at 6:00 in the morning. With bufferapp, I can set it to send out the tweets or facebook statuses at times I choose throughout the day. This way, people don’t just get hit by 10 or 20 tweets/statuses all at once and then nothing the rest of the day.

There are more, but I have found these three free apps to be quite useful!

 

You look at your sales and feel that they are OK, but could be better. You notice that there are plenty of hits on your site, there are plenty of people walking in the front doors of your firm/store/restaurant, but then, after looking around a bit, they leave empty-handed. What is it?

I wish I could give you one pat answer, I can’t, but there are many possibilities.

After you have made sure that the basics of value for the money, solid customer service, and convenient sales system are in place there are a few more steps to take.

One thing you might do is ask:

Don’t ask a customer who is your friend. Ask one you don’t really know for a moment of her time.

Why do you shop here? Is there something that you wish we had that we don’t carry? Is there something our product line doesn’t offer that you are looking for.

Don’t defend yourself. Take the answers to heart. If you start to see a pattern, you might need to change something.

The second thing you can do is watch carefully:

Is there something that is blocking the customer’s view of the options?

Is the selection area too busy? Too many distractions?

Are the isles too narrow? Do people feel as if others will bump into them while they are trying to make their decision?

Even online, this can happen. Have someone who doesn’t usually use your website browse around it and give feedback. Watch them without comment. Are they drawn where you want them to be drawn or do they have trouble finding what they are looking for?

Hopefully these ideas can help you begin thinking in a new direction and sales will increase!

 

Many people get caught by “downsizing” of their company. Maybe your manufacturing volume has dropped off a bit and you no longer have to work 8o hours a week to keep up. Maybe that class didn’t make and now you have a hole in your schedule. Maybe you lost one of your clients, and no one else is walking in the door this week.

What do you do with that downtime? Is there something you can do with that time that will pay you a dividend tomorrow. Like investing money, investing time can be a valuable asset for the future!

Things you might do with your downtime:

  • Write a book in your field
  • Learn a new language (Computer programming or spoken could enhance your skill set.)
  • Read a new book in your field
  • Work on building your connections with others in your field.
  • Work on building connections with possible future clients…in a tribe building way rather than a sales way.

These are just a few ideas, but I hope the next time you are sitting around wishing there were something to do, you will use that downtime to create a better future for yourself!

 
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