Thursday, November 1, 2012

Start Your Own Mailing List Business

Printed as news & information only
Selling mailing lists can prove to be a profitable sideline to any mail order business. Many dealers rely on "direct mail" to promote their goods or services. They are always interested in good, fresh prospects. The most popular classifications of names are "Opportunity Seekers", "Cash Customers" and "Mail Order Dealers". Mail order dealers are the easiest names to obtain. To get them,, all you have to do is copy the names & addresses of advertisers from current mail order trade publications. For a good selection of mail order magazines and newspapers, and answer ads for "Big Mails".
"Opportunity Seekers" are those that are looking for ways to earn extra income. "Cash Customers" are simply those that have made purchases.
Never copy somebody else's lists. This could involve you in "copyright infringement", a federal offense. Also, you could be duplicating old, stale lists. To be successful, your names & addresses must be fresh and accurate. This will keep your customers coming back again and again. To start, you need a computer or someone to type the names for you. Look in your Yellow Pages under "Secretarial Services". Or, contact mail order dealers who sell names. Many of them will do your typing at reasonable rates. Another suggestion is to contact the typing teacher of your local high school or business college. Students love to earn spending money-and it's good practice for them, too.
The best way to have the names typed is across the page. Use white paper and a fresh black or red typewriter ribbon-never blue. Each 8 1/2" x 11" page will easily hold 50 names. Each page should also be carefully coded in either upper corner as to the page number, classification and date typed. Use any code you wish, but one of the easiest is like this: "3CC10169". This means page 3, cash customers, typed October 16, 1999.
The date is extremely important. People change addresses rapidly in this country. Names more than 6 months old may be outdated. After this period of time, it is best to throw these names away. Or, you can make a "follow-up" mailing to each name on your lists. Send these letters first class with your return address plainly visible. Those that are "nixies" (undeliverable for one reason or another), should be deleted. Instead of typing the complete corrected list over again, you can have replacement names typed on a separate piece of paper. Then carefully cut out and paste a replacement name over each name that is no longer usable.
After the names are neatly typed,, take them to your printer. It will cost you about 3 cents to 4 cents to have each sheet printed, if you order 100 copies at a time. This means that every 100 copies of each page will cost you between $3 and $4, but can be worth $100.00 to $300.00 -depending upon what you decide to charge per 100 names. The best way to establish the "going price" is to check the ads of other mailing list dealers in mail order trade publications. Never charge the most, or the least. The middle of the road is always best.
To promote your new mailing list service, run ads like this: FREE 50 fresh names of Opportunity Seekers! Free for long self-addressed stamped envelope! (Your name & address)". Ads like this will save you postage and envelope costs.
When orders come in from your free list, also include a price list of other names you have for sale. Somewhere on your price list, say something like "GUARANTEED DELIVERABLE! We supply 10 free names for every one that is returned!" This will cinch the sale, keep your customers happy and coming back for more!
And for every customer that answers your ads and/or buys names from you, you have another name to add to your
mailing lists!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

12 Tips For A Successful File Clean

1. Select the day for your "File Clean-Out Day" carefully. Choose a time when office demands are at their lowest.
2. Announce the day well in advance. Make certain that everyone understands they are expected to participate. Designate specific hours for beginning and ending the day.
3. Assign one person as Coordinator. Choose someone who has good rapport with the staff and is good with details.
4. Hire temporary employees to answer the telephones. Instruct staff to notify them if there are specific calls they need to answer. Encourage staff to take only emergency calls.
5. Provide large trash receptacles, trash bags, marking pens and labels. Make arrangements for extra recycling boxes.
6. Notify the building maintenance crew that there will be extra trash on that day. Engage their cooperation to move heavy boxes, trash barrels, etc.
7. Encourage everyone to wear comfortable clothes. Set an example by doing so yourself.
8. Serve a simple quality lunch for everyone. This will encourage communications among staff about what needs to be done.
9. Pass out "What To Do If..." flyers at the beginning of the day. This hand-out should describe the procedure for the day, where to get supplies, and who to contact if there is a problem. Make any existing retention guidelines available to appropriate departments.
10. Encourage the use Post-It® notes on the outside of file cabinets to indicate what further action is required, i.e., "Discuss with...," "Move to...," "Type labels," etc., and follow up to see action is accomplished by agreed upon time.
11. Gather together 30 minutes before the designated ending time. Ask all participants to fill out evaluation forms regarding their experience during the day. Ask questions such as:
A. What questions do you have as a result of cleaning out your files?
B. How much more time do you need to finish this job?
C. How can we improve our next File Clean-Out Day?
12. Discuss the evaluation forms submitted by the participants with the File Clean-Out Day Coordinator, and determine what steps to take next, and when. Communicate the results of this meeting to the staff.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A New Tool for an Old Job

Quick! Can you find your homeowner's insurance policy? How about that warranty you bought for your television last year? Would you know where to begin looking to find your child's birth certificate? Even more important, if your home were suddenly destroyed due to some natural disaster, would you be able to present your insurance agent with a list of your entire home inventory?
If you spend precious time looking for important papers around your house, you're not alone! Research shows that the average person spends 150 hours per year--almost one month--looking for information. And in spite of the myth of a paperless society, statistics show there is now more paper than ever before.
While the importance of being able to find information in an office environment is obvious, it's easy to ignore the importance of being able to find information at home. Vital personal documents can clutter countertops and file cabinets. You end up with a disorganized mess that causes headaches and frustration later when you can't find a specific piece of paper you desperately need!
If this scenario sounds all too familiar, don't worry. Thanks to today's technology there is finally a way to clear the clutter and keep an accurate inventory of everything you own--the item type, room it's used in -- even its value, etc.
In the past, there were only four things you could do with paper: toss it, stack it, file it the traditional way, or convert it to electronic form using a scanner. Now a fifth option is available--a software program that allows you to keep your information in paper form in your filing cabinet while using the incredible search power of the computer to find anything you want in five seconds or less. In other words, you can do an Internet- like search of the contents of your own filing cabinet, as well as other storage ages of your house!
Taming the Paper Tiger® software  is based on methodology described in the books by Barbara Hemphill. It utilizes one simple principle: Today's mail is tomorrow's pile. Research shows that 80% of the stuff we keep, we never use! Instead of starting with old piles, getting discouraged, and quitting, you can create a new system starting with today. As you need information from your old "system," you can incorporate it into The Paper Tiger system - or eventually it will be old enough you will feel comfortable throwing it away.
In addition to using the program for eliminating the search for papers, you can use it to organize other resources too - audio and video tapes, computer diskettes, CDs, your wine collection - even boxes in the attic. Just type in "Halloween" - and in seconds you'll know just where to look for that Batman costume!
A simple-to-use, up-to-date filing and storage system will simplify your life and bring you peace of mind. . The next time someone says "Where's the...?" you'll be totally prepared!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Organizing Your Electronic Files

Have you ever sat in front of your computer looking for a document - knowing it was there - the question is: "Where?" The answer gets amazingly complicated if the document is an attachment someone sent to you from someone else's e-mail account!
In addition to organizing the additional paper that results from our new technology, we now also have to organize the technology itself. Did you know that 80-95% of the information we work with daily is generated by email and electronic files?
How Computer Filing Works
Your computer is basically an electronic filing cabinet. This is true regardless of what kind of operating system your computer uses, what kind of graphical interface it uses to show you how things are organized, what tools are available to you, and what kind of words or icons it uses to identify and describe the features of those tools. Whether you use a Windows based program or a Macintosh, the principles of organizing the programs and the information are basically the same.
The problem with computers is that the information isn't organized according to how we work and think. It is organized by format or application source (email, documents, web pages, contacts, etc.). Yet we comprehend by subject, person, company, project, and some other criteria appropriate to the work we do.
What many computer users overlook is that with today's technology we all have the advantages of the 255-character file name, which can be a combination of key words and phrases! This feature, plus the search capability of the computer, gives you access to a powerful organizing tool which can save you hours of time looking for or recreating information which already exists!
"Today's Mail is Tomorrow's File" One of my overriding Paper Tiger principles is "Today's mail is tomorrow's pile." How do you apply this to your computer? If you have a computer full of unidentifiable files, and you waste more time than you can afford looking for what you need, the easiest way to get yourself out of the quagmire is to start over!
What does that mean? Ignore all your old files! Design your new computer-filing system, using the principles I am going to describe. Then re-file your old files into the new system as you need them or, back them up on some other media, or delete them.
How do you design an effective computer-filing system? First, remember one of the most important (and neglected) principles of organizing computer files: A computer's value is that it allows you to use a file again - but only if you can find it again! Sometimes you may simply want to print another copy. Other times, you may want to update or change the document in some way, or excerpt parts of it to create a new document. In any event, your key to success in finding the information you need is keywords!
Setting Up Your Computer-Filing System
The first step to success in easy file retrieval is to point all files into one directory. Windows created "My Documents" for that purpose - but you may create another directory. In addition to making it significantly easier to retrieve information you need, this technique provides another major benefit. It's much simpler to back up your data for archives or for transfer to other locations.
So here's my system -- or it was - until I discovered another great productivity tool (see sidebar): I use My Documents. Then I create a subdirectory for each of the computer programs I use, such as Word, Excel, Power Point, Paper Tiger, Access, QuickBooks, etc.
If you don't keep many electronic files, you can ignore the option of creating subdirectories and keep all your files in one directory. But if you have lots of files, that would be like tossing all your tools in your garage and then spending hours looking for a screwdriver!
In addition, you can create additional subdirectories for projects, clients, or categories of work. But be careful - this can get you in trouble. For example, if I create a subdirectory for Clients, and a subdirectory for Articles, and then write an article for a client, where do I file it? The fewer directories, the fewer places to look - and you'll soon see how keywords will allow you to find any file in your computer in a few seconds!
Note: If you're working on a networked computer, you may have a choice of multiple drives. Your organization may already have made this decision for you of which drive to use. For example, all files of mutual business interest or used by a single division of the business may be filed on one drive, while employees' private work files may be filed on another.
In any event, don't make your strategy too complicated. It would, for example, probably be more confusing than helpful to send separate projects to separate drives, when there's space for all of them on the same drive, especially if they're all related to the same role or client in your work life.
The Power of Keywords In the early days of computers and DOS, files had to be named with eight letters and a 3-character extension. As a result, we got into the habit of creating shorthand for naming documents. The problem (as with paper files) is that often we don't think of the same name every time we look for the document. Fortunately, we don't have that limitation anymore! The good news is that you now have up to 255 characters to name a file - and the name can be a combination of words and phrases.
For example, when I am writing this article, I save it in My Documents/Word. I name it: Organizing Your Computer Files, article, 2003, website, DJ Watson, editor. Any of those words could be helpful to me when I, or someone else, try to find the file years from now.
In other words, to determine how to name a file, use the same technique as the one for paper files: Ask yourself, "If I want this file again, what word will I think of first?" Enter that word first, and then any other word or phrase that might help you retrieve that file. You can separate the identifying words with commas or semicolons. (Some punctuation marks and symbols are not allowed.)
Finding Your Electronic File - in 5 Seconds or Less!
So let's say I'm out of town and my assistant needs to find this article. She can go to the Start Menu, Search, My Documents and type in any of the words I used to describe the article - voila! It's there - in seconds!
My favorite electronic coup: An editor of a banking publication calls to say they would like an article for their newsletter (today, of course!). I do a search on "Article" and instantly I have a list of every article in my computer. I scan the list quickly and see an article I wrote for a real estate newsletter, which I can easily adapt - in a fraction of the time if would take me to write a new article!
Information is power - if you can find it when you need it! (And you'll really feel smug when others can find it too!)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Technology Is Not a Substitute for Organization

Technology is changing business for everyone -- from small home- based businesses to mega multi-national corporations. Whether you are inspired or threatened by those changes, they are here to stay, or more accurately, to continue changing. You cannot only survive these changes, but turn them into exciting opportunities by applying some basic organizing principles.
Not many years ago, getting organized was an option. Today technology has made it a necessity for three reasons: Today we have more to organize than ever before. Not only did the computer not give us the paperless age, it created more. In addition, we now have to organize the technology itself. Computers, fax machines, cellular phones, and on-line services enable us to do more -- and require us to do more. The speed of the microchip doubles every 18 months -- with no end in sight.
Secondly, as a result of the economy, and fueled by the capabilities of technology, companies are downsizing. All managers used to have an assistant, and it was the job of that assistant to keep them organized. We fired the assistants, and are now faced with organizing ourselves.
And finally, there is a greater sense of urgency than ever before. If I can fax you a question in 20 seconds, why can't you fax me the answer? There is a constant demand for decreasing costs while continuing to improve quality of products and services with fewer people. The price of failure is staggering.
You may be reluctant to get organized, as many people are. But often it is because they have been misled about what it means to be organized. My definition of organization is very simple: Does it work? and Do you like it?" And if what you are organizing -- or not organizing! -- affects others, there is a third question: "Does it work for others?"
Tom Landry, former coach of the Dallas Cowboys once said, "My job is to make the guys do what they don't want to do, so they can be who they've always wanted to be." Often that's my job as an organizing consultant! Successful people make a habit of doing what failures don't like to do -- and that frequently includes getting organized!
If your answer to any of the questions above is "No," try these suggestions to help you get started on the road to organization and make the most of your technology:
1. Continually practice the Art of Wastebasketry?. Research shows we use only 20% of what we keep. For each piece of information you receive, whether in hard copy or on the computer screen, ask these questions: Does this require action? Can I identify a specific use? Would it be difficult to get again? Is it recent enough to be useful? If the answer to all those questions is "No," ask one final question: "What's the worst thing that could happen if I don't have this piece of paper?" If you can live with your answer -- toss or recycle it! Take a look around your office. Do you see unused equipment, books you'll never use again, drawers full of unidentified paper, or outdated inventory? If so, you'll experience a new sense of energy if you get rid of it.
2. Learn to choose technology effectively. Most of us are trying to do more with less, and working harder is not always the answer. The real question is "Does anyone really need to do this?" Just because technology allows you to accomplish a specific task doesn't mean it's the best way for you to use your resources. Just because an upgrade is available doesn't mean you need to use it. Make sure that the results will be worth your investment of financial and human resources.
3. Implement a system for keeping track of names and telephone numbers. Most of my clients agree that their best source of business is networking, but piles of unidentified business cards will not do the trick. Deciding which system to use is far less important that using it consistently. For some people, technology is the perfect answer, while others accomplish their needs with a Rolodex.
My own system combines four methods:
(1) Contact management software program for all past, present, and potential clients.
(2) Rolodex to enter business cards for all services such as computer repair, graphics, etc., most frequent clients (for easy access), and my colleagues.
(3) Address book for family and friends.
(4) Pocket address book to carry in my briefcase with most frequently used numbers -- business and personal.
4. Create a paper filing system that works -- easily and consistently! In spite of the computer-age promises of a paperless office, most of us are faced with more paper than ever before. If you find that your filing system is not working and most of it you never use, clean out your most accessible file drawer and start over! Begin filing new information by asking "If I need this information again, what word will I think of first?" The answer is your new file title. Alphabetize the file titles, and keep a list of them -- a file index. Before you make a new file, check the existing list to avoid creating a file for "Car" when you already have "Auto." Keep a copy near the filing cabinets and at the desk of everyone who uses the files.
5. Create a computer filing system that works -- easily and consistently! Remember that a computer's value is that it allows you to use a file again. If you do not intend to use the document again, there is no value in storing it in a computer.
The key to effectively organizing your computer is your directory, and the first step is to point all files into one directory, regardless of what program created those files. This will make it easier to retrieve what you need, regardless of what program created it, and make it easier to back it up for archives or for transfer to other locations.
In paper systems, people frequently get into trouble because they have too many categories, while in computer systems, they get into trouble because they have too few categories (i.e., directories and subdirectories). It is easier to flip through one paper file that has 20 pieces of paper in it than it is to go through 10 files with two pieces of paper in each. On the other hand, it is easier to scroll up and down a computer screen looking for directories and subdirectories than it is to open documents. In addition, your computer gives you a "Find" feature that will help you locate any file you want by searching for key words without your having to actually open each file.
Two of my favorite directories are:
1. Pending. This is for files on which I am currently working. I can quickly see which documents are in process, or if necessary it will be easy for someone else to retrieve my work.
2. Outbox. Here I file work which I have completed, but need to print, fax, give to someone else, or send to another location.
Remember that in any organizing process, you may feel worse before you feel better. To change is difficult -- even when you want to. It takes time to learn new behavior patterns. Organization is like any other skill. If you want to play tennis, you can read books, look at videos, get the best coach, and go to the best court, but after a week you still won't be a great tennis player. It takes practice. So does organizing.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Make Big Money In Real Estate

Real Estate is one of the oldest forms of investing known to man.
Real Estate investing is easy and fortunes are made in a simple manner. For example, and investor decides that a desert area will eventually become an industrial development. He purchases a number of acres at a very low price. If his guess turns out to be correct, ten years later he sells the land hundred times more than what he paid for it.This can happen in any part of the country and is not an exceptional case.
As the population keeps growing in the U.S., land prices continue to raise and it means that Real Estate will continue to offer one of the best investment opportunities in the country.
Compared to most forms of investment, Real Estate offers greater profit potential. Of course, not every piece of land will turn out to be a winner, and despite the great potential rewards in some cases risks are involved, so the necessity of careful study before invest.
One of the problem of Real Estate is his lack of liquidity. Liquid assists are those easily converted into cash like stocks or bons. Most Real Estate investments take years before you can make some money, so it is not wise to tie up all your assets in this type of investment. Your financial situation will determine how much you can wisely invest in properties.
There is a difference between a land speculator and an investor. A speculator buys land with the intention to make a quick sale and fast profits and will not hold land for a long period of time. An investor, on the other hand, looks for a long time gain, and usually buys only what he can afford to keep for an indefinite period of time.
If you are new at this field, it is wise to refrain from any a speculation until you become more informed, and you will have to devote considerable time to study and research. It is wise also to consult specialists before you act.
Without realizing it, you already made a very successful investment in Real Estate if you bought your own home.
Before you look for areas to invest, consider the condition of your own house. If you have any plan for selling it, good landscaping has been known to considerably increase the value of a home.
Large profits can be attained by purchasing run-down homes and restoring them for eventual selling, but some factors have to be considered:
* You must know something about architecture and remodeling and get and idea of how much it will cost to get the house back into shape. Consider what you will be able to do yourself and what it will cost you if you have to have it done.
* The location of the house is the most important factor to consider. Study the neighborhood, shopping, and transportation facilities.
It can also be profitable to lease land for commercial use. Land which borders highway is extremely valuable for purpose such as warehouse, gas station, etc.
Land development companies frequently run advertisements offering country retreats. Be wary of these offers as they themselves make a large profit at the time they sell you the land, so it is much more profitable for you to buy your own.
When you buy property, buy at a price that involves a minimum financial risk. Invest only a modest amount of your own capital, when you sell, determine if a cash or installment sale is the best, based on your over-all income tax status. Learn by looking back on the mistakes made in the past and by reviewing the opportunities you have missed.
Prepare a list of all properties available in your area and think up the best future use of the properties. Learn to purchase land before there is a demand. To buy land well in advance is the only economical way at today's prices. Then hold the property until you can resale for large profits. Don't sell all your desirable properties and keep just lemons.
If you are willing to leave the cities, you should not have any trouble finding inexpensive land for sale. If you discover a tract of land appealing to you but not listed for sale, contact the Country Register's Office and he will tell you who is the owner. Get in touch with him and he could be willing to sell.
As a rule purchasing tracts of land within thirty miles from a growing city is often a sound investment. Deal only with qualified realtors. Be careful of individuals who offer quick profits.
Before taking any action, study what has been written about the subject. Know why you should and should not buy. Stay conventional and don't buy white elephants. Look for hidden defects and make the property attractive before offering it for resale. Study local conditions and be sure it is practical. Constantly look for bargains and quality properties with exceptional features that will make the sale easier. Follow up on For Sale signs, make inquiries.
When discouraging elements occur, minimize your losses by whatever means available. Don't throw away money on repairs for poorly located property or in an area of surplus rental units.
Before you attempt to sell, find out how the prospect can use the property profitably. Ask yourself if you would purchase it if you were in the prospect's shoes. Ask yourself if the future use will fit any of the many types of specific businesses. Can a hospital, a bank, an apartment complex, condominium or professional building be located on the property.
Learn to analyze the pros and cons of a real estate problem. Break it down into its various elements. Know if the answers you come up with are satisfactory and practical. Try different approaches to the problem.
You are necessary looking for the "top" or "bottom" of the market, or the current economic situation. You are looking for a variety of properties which have a higher value dependent on the use that can be established for them.
There are always opportunities in Real Estate during good times and bad, but it is up to you to pick and choose only those very best deals, especially during times when it appears that Real Estate values and demand have reached their peak or in times when it is practically impossible for most anyone to get bank loans due to the tight money market or impossible interest rates.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

6 Powerful Practices for Coping with Information Overload

Today's high-tech world is deluged with more information than ever imaginable. In spite of all the promises of the paperless office, statistics show that exactly the opposite is happening. It is projected that by 2005 there will be 50% more paper than there was in 1995! Those who have tried the paperless solution find it has its own challenges. How many lunches have you missed because you were searching through files - never finding what you needed?
Asking four basic questions will help you make decisions about how to manage the information in your office - whether it's for paper or electronic files.
1. What information do you really need to keep?
2. In what form do you need to keep it?
3. For how long? 4. How can you find it when we need it? (That's the really big one!)
To improve your chances of retrieving information, consider these six possibilities:
1. Create a File Index (a roadmap for available information!) for your company. One of most valuable lessons I learned from my father was "Half of any job is having the right tool." The network version of The Paper Tiger software  allows colleagues to share information in a way never before possible and to avoid wasting time recreating information that already exists because no one knew it existed. While many people are looking at scanning as a way of coping with information overload, make sure that you are really solving a problem, and not just creating another. Using a computer software program can make handling paper so easy that the investment of time and equipment to go "paperless" may not be necessary, or when you do convert to electronic storage you will avoid just creating a faster mess!
2. Develop Retention Guidelines. Clutter is Postponed Decisions®. Paper will continue to pile up because someone needs to make a decision about retention. Clients often ask me how long they should keep documents. Determine the answer by looking at your own past experience. Often, that means asking the people with whom you work who really use the papers! If you're not sure, consult the guidelines in Kiplinger's Taming the Paper Tiger at Work. That's one of the major reasons I wrote the book! (If you need retention information for files at home, consult Kiplinger's Taming the Paper Tiger at Home.)
3. Hold a File Clean-Out Day. Make the day fun! Wear comfortable clothes, order in lunch, and give prizes - such as the "Most Progress" or "The Funniest Discovery". Provide staff with storage boxes for files that can be kept in less accessible spaces. Create a "white elephant room" for employees to put items they aren't using, but other people might want. Consider hiring an organizing consultant ( to give a short presentation on The Art of Wastebasketry® at the beginning of the day and to facilitate the process during the day. (See Tip #5.)
4. Use, and train others around you, to automatically use The FAT System(TM). There are only three decisions you can make about any piece of paper: File, Act, or Toss. Make decisions on paper as it comes in. Put papers that require action into "Action Files." Papers you may never need, but are afraid to throw away go into Reference Files. As Reference Files become old, they become Archive Files, or can be tossed.
5. Continually practice "The Art of Wastebasketry®. Research shows that 80% of what we keep, we never use. Don't make today's mail turn into tomorrow's pile! Ask yourself: 1. Does this require action? 2. Can I identify a specific use? 3. Is it difficult to get again? 4. Is it recent enough to be useful? 5. Are there legal considerations?
If the answer to all these questions is "No," ask one final question: "What is the worst possible thing that would happen if I didn't have this piece of paper?" If you can live with your answer, toss - or recycle it! Since security if a big issue today, I've discovered that a shredder is one of the best tools to encourage people to throw things!
6. Take Advantage of Report Features of The Paper Tiger If you're afraid to toss something, don't worry about it - just keep it! Your File Index will help you find it in case you do need it, or help you clean it out when your files get full. Recently, my assistant informed me there was no more space for new projects. Instead of just adding more file cabinets, I took the File Clean-Out Report automatically created by The Paper Tiger software on my next trip, and made notes on what could be cleaned, tossed, or archived. When I returned to my office, I gave the report to a high school student, working in our office for the summer. She did the cleaning out and transferring of files for us!
Your office is a reflection of you and your organization. An organized, uncluttered workspace will make you more productive and less stressed. You can stop losing time searching for files. In fact, you may even find time for lunch!