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Expanding my Business Communication Skills

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While I used to work as an office administrator many years ago, I wasn’t as prepared as I thought I would be when I took my new job as the administrator of a town.  While I certainly had a good foundation with my previous training, I could tell that I needed some work on my business communication and writing skills.

I couldn’t even remember the proper format for a business letter.

Thankfully, I was able to go online and find a school that offered a business writing course.  I was able to save 30% on the cost of the training by using this coupon code: “FV14C3″.  What I loved about the course was that while I did have a time limit as to when it had to be done (it was three months I think), I could work at my own pace.  It also made life a lot easier as I could schedule my education around my commitments since I could work on the course day or night.

I am very thankful that there are companies like this one that offer courses for people like myself to help them develop specific skills they need for their job.  I don’t think that I would have the patience or ambition to take a full course load at a business college at my age.  Studying bite-sized courses like this one works perfectly for me.

To learn more about the courses offered through the Professional Standards Institute, visit their website here: http://www.professionalstandardsinstitute.com/

Written by Janice Rey

October 30th, 2014 at 1:28 pm

Posted in Business

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Out Shopping with my Grandma

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Most of my friends don’t have any grandparents that are still living.  Thankfully, I am lucky and my grandmother is still with us.  I call her “Grandma Goose”, which is the name I gave her back when I was a child, presumably due to the fact that she reminded me of Mother Goose.  We have always been very close, and I treasure our relationship more than just about everything.

Once a week, we go out to run some errands for her.  She is in her eighties (I can’t tell you her real age as I am not supposed to know), so she doesn’t drive anymore.  Usually she does some running around when she takes the city bus, but our once a week outings are for larger trips, such as the one to the supermarket.

During the time that we walk through these stores we spend a lot of time visiting.  She shares stories of her youth and my grandpa, and I share stories about how my life is going.  I know that she is worried about me finding a career that will support our family, but I just want to succeed as an entrepreneur.  It is hard for her to sit on the sidelines, but she is supportive wherever she can be.

Today we stopped at the grocery store and found the one thing that she has been looking for a long time: milk thistle.  She has some issues with her liver, so she takes it daily to help ensure that it is in “tip top shape” (that is a direct quote from grandma).  We also went down to the bank to pay some bills and do her banking.

I know that she won’t be around forever, so I have been making sure to spend time with her each week.  We both enjoy each other’s company and we have a lot of fun.

I will definitely miss her someday when she is gone.

Written by Dan Mann

October 25th, 2014 at 8:17 pm

Posted in Life

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Save Money on TurboTax 2015

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With the time to do taxes quickly approaching, many people have been thinking about getting their copy of TurboTax 2015.  This income tax software allows you to complete your income tax return in the comfort of your own home without having to hire expensive accountants to do it for you.

What makes the software special is that it makes it easy to file the taxes on your own.  They have software packages that will suit your needs whether you just need to report your employment income or run a small business.

While many people pick up their copy of this invaluable piece of software at their local computer shop, there are many ways that you can save money on your copy if you buy it online.  In fact, some websites even offer a TurboTax 2015 discount coupon code for you to save more money than buying a retail copy.  When you do buy it online, you can download the software right away and get your taxes done sooner.

So, when the next tax season comes up, remember that you shouldn’t just be looking to save money on your income taxes.  With a little bit of smart shopping, you can also save money by purchasing your own copy of TurboTax at a discount by using a coupon online.

Written by Dan Mann

October 23rd, 2014 at 3:46 pm

Posted in Business

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Reading the News

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While I don’t spend a lot of time keeping up with the news, I couldn’t help but end up reading about it today.  No matter where I turned, it was in my face and I couldn’t help but tune in.

You see, there has been a lot of talk about the soldier that was killed by the parliament buildings in Canada.  This has been on the mind of a lot of Canadians like myself, as for most of us, we really have not heard about soldiers ever being killed on our own land.  In many respects it is scary, and I really don’t know what is going to happen after this whole ordeal.  My condolences go out to the families affected by this event, and I hope that they know that the entire nation is thinking of them.

I also came across a listing of some of the most recent class action settlements that have happened in our country and I am shocked at how many industries these types of things cover.  I had no idea the number of these types of cases, and it is really quite amazing how many people benefit from the actions of these lawfirms that are set on getting their clients money.

Now that I am caught up on the latest news, it is time for a walk – I have spent too much time at my computer today.

Written by Dan Mann

October 23rd, 2014 at 2:41 pm

Posted in Thoughts

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I Don’t Care for Ice

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While I was quite fond of ice as a child, I am certainly not fond of it now.  What once was considered to be a source of recreation become an expensive hell.  Let me tell you, I don’t say the “h” word that often, but when it comes to ice, you can here me say it all the time.

Let me back up – I suppose you would like to know why I don’t like ice, right?

If you rewind back to last winter, things were going well.  We had just moved into a new house (new to us anyway) and we had big smiles on our faces.  Up until that point, we had been renting a place, so to have a home to call our own, well, that was something special.

That winter was particularly weird in terms of weather.  There were warm days followed by cool days, and then a few days later, it was warm again.  It worked much like a yoyo, and quite frankly, I didn’t pay much attention.  I was too busy with work to see what was happening on our house.

The weather was causing ice to form on the roof of our house.  I don’t know if you have ever seen any pictures of it, but a lot of people had an ice dam ann arbor.  What I didn’t know was that the amount of ice that was forming on our roof was going to be a big problem.

The problem didn’t creep up until the latter half of winter when our rain gutter ripped off the back of the house.

I didn’t notice that either.

What I did notice was the roof of the garage caving in.  I came home from a walk with my wife to find it snowing in my garage.

I wasn’t happy.

Not happy at all.

In fact, the amount of damage that was done was ridiculous.  I not only had to fix my garage, but the car that was parked in there was written off too.

So now you see why I don’t care for ice.

Written by Dan Mann

October 18th, 2014 at 8:11 pm

Posted in Life

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Maximize Your Pocket Real Estate

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When I look at how technology has changed the world, the one noticeable impact to my life has been what it has done to the pockets in my pants – it has filled them up.  Twenty years ago, you would find your wallet and some change in your pants pocket, but now other devices have invaded this once sacred space.

Yes, I am talking about my smartphone.

A couple of phone generations ago, the size of the phone wasn’t really a problem and it could co-exist with your wallet in your pocket.  In those days you didn’t have to squish your phone in there, and you didn’t have to worry about carrying to many cards in your wallet – everything just fit.

But that has changed.

When I look down at my iPhone 6 and then look over at my wallet, I just have no idea how I am supposed to get both of them into my pants pocket.  While phone sizes have increased, there really has been no increases in pocket sizes.  I am also not the guy who likes to walk around with a huge bulge on the side of his leg.

So I have been looking for a solution to this problem for a long time.

One night, in the wee hours of the morning when I could barely keep my eyes awake, I found the solution to my problems.  I discovered that they make and iPhone 6 wallet case that not only protects your phone, but has room to store all of the card that you usually keep in your wallet.

iPhone 6 wallet case

I suppose it did help that the girl in the picture that was holding the wallet case was cute too – it was what made me look in the first place.

I also liked the price too.  In fact, the site I bought it from was nice enough to have a coupon code, “ILIKEPIZZA”, which saved me a whole bunch of money.

So, if you are having some issues trying to get everything to fit in your pants pocket (and you don’t have the luxury of carrying a purse), I would suggest getting yourself a wallet case.  It definitely worked for me.

Written by Dan Mann

October 17th, 2014 at 10:45 pm

Posted in Life

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Having a James Bond Weekend

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For the past two months I have been working hard like a dog.  I have always believed that you should work if you could, so that is exactly what I did.  It was a crazy time, but the money was certainly good, so there is little to complain about.  After all of this work, I do deserve a treat so I am taking a break for myself.

I am going to have a James Bond marathon.

I just bought the entire series on Blu-Ray, and I am really curious how it is going to look on the big screen.  I am going to have some of my buddies over to watch James Bond beat up bad guys, use spy software and save the world.  We are going to start from the very first movie, Dr. No, and go right up until Skyfall.

It is going to be a long weekend.

To top things off, we have all decided to show up in appropriate spy attire and drink martinis just like Bond – shaken not stirred.

Yes, it should be a good weekend, but I know that it will be over too soon.  Too bad we all can’t lead the life of adventure like James Bond.

Written by Dan Mann

October 17th, 2014 at 9:55 pm

Posted in Life

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Stocking Some New Business Software

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Working in a computer store has been a wonderful experience for me.  I love keeping up with the technology, and considering I get paid for it, I really feel it is a win-win for me.  There is always something new to learn, and it is like Christmas here every week when we get some new products in from our suppliers.

This week was a little different for us as we received a big shipment of business software.  These tools include accounting software, employee vacation tracking software, and other productivity tools.  Unlike software designed for consumers, these business programs are a lot more complex and actually require you to learn how to use them so that you can sell them.

In order to ensure that we can sell the products effectively, we each pick a few of them and learn them inside out.  We get four or five days to learn whatever we can, and then we do a presentation for the rest of the staff so that we can share what we learned.  It has been a very effective way for us to learn without having to try all of the software programs, and it has skyrocketed our sales as our customers appreciate how knowledgeable we really are.

Written by Janice Rey

October 17th, 2014 at 8:57 pm

Posted in Business

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Changing Your Theme Can Increase Your Traffic

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For the last month, my website has suffered a real slump in traffic.  The change was abrupt and my traffic plummeted nearly ninety percent in the span of two weeks.  My main website went from earning a decent living to barely making enough money to afford a cup of coffee each day.  I don’t know if you have ever been in this type of situation, but in these cases you enter into a panicked state and start to analyze everything.

You ask yourself this one question:

Where did I go wrong?

There are so many variables when it comes to a website ranking well in the search engines.  You content, theme, marketing strategy, and a whole slew of other things can make or break your rankings.  But when your traffic disappears overnight, you need to fix the problem or you will lose the business.

That is exactly the situation that I found myself in.  I went from having decent traffic to just about nothing.  I either had to figure out how to fix things or go back to work.

And I didn’t want to get a job ever again.

So I picked apart the site bit by bit.

Since I kept some pretty crazy records of everything that I did with my site at that time, I went through to see what changes I made.  I was looking for what change I made that ruined everything.

And it wasn’t easy.

It took me four days to figure out that when I changed my theme, my traffic was impacted.  You see, I went from using one of the most recommended seo wordpress themes to using a theme that was very frilly and pretty on the outside, but one that the search engines decided to ignore.

I knew I was right when I changed the theme back – within a couple of days, my traffic was back where it was supposed to be.

Thank goodness.

Written by Dan Mann

October 16th, 2014 at 10:43 pm

Posted in Blogging

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Three Ways to Shop Smarter Online

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When it comes to shopping online, there are many pitfalls that you can fall into.  One of the biggest challenges is finding reliable suppliers of the products and services that you plan to buy.  Since we cannot ask our friends about their experiences with all of the retailers out there, it can be difficult to make an informed buying decision.  Thankfully, there are a few things that you can do to ensure that you shop and spend your money wisely online. 

Take a look at these three tips:

  1. One of the best tips that I can give you is look at reviews regarding any site that you might be thinking of spending money on.  Reviews are typically made by people that have bought the product or service and share their experiences online.  These can be a good indication as to whether or not your purchase will go smoothly.  An example of a review website would be this Photo Bin review site, which provides warnings to consumers about problems with their services.  Sites like these which are independent often provide objective reviews that give you a better idea as to what you can expect because they don’t moderate reviews like many shopping websites do.  If you want to be sure that a review website does indeed have real reviews, try comparing them to other review websites.  If the reviews are consistent, then you know that it should be a reliable review source.
  2. Another good idea is to keep a separate credit card for online purchases.  It is good to have a low limit on this card in case you run into problems.  The idea here is to minimize your losses should your credit card be compromised.  It doesn’t happen very often, but it doesn’t hurt to be careful.
  3. The last tip I will share with you today is this: if you are considering buying something online, sleep on it.There certainly is some great temptation to hit the buy button when you see a good deal, but if you take the time to sleep on it and look at it again tomorrow, you will know if you should really buy it or not.  Sure, sometimes you do find a good deal on something you were going to buy anyway, but you want to make sure that you stay away from impulse shopping.

While these are certainly not all the steps that you can take to be a better shopper online, they are a good place to start.  When you make sure to read reviews, use a separate credit card and think about the things that you are buying, you will be able to shop stress free online.

Written by Dan Mann

October 16th, 2014 at 2:03 pm

Posted in Thoughts

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