How to Win the Game of Life

Tue, Jul 22, 2014

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If you flip a coin 20 times and it comes up ‘heads’ each time, the odds of getting another ‘heads’ on the 21st flip is still 50-50. In a pure game of chance, past results have no effect on future outcomes. There is simply no way to change that.

But when a game includes strategy and you’re competing against others – as in poker – that’s an entirely different story. Chance or luck still plays a role, but better players who consistently make the right bets on the right cards do win over the long haul.

It’s the same in business … and in life. Success and happiness are both about making the right moves, making the right decisions, over and over again. That’s all there is to it, like it or not.

Look, we ...

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Share Your Saga of Financial Frustration With All of America

Fri, Jul 18, 2014

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Pull up a chair to hear about the time I tried to correct my credit report. Or would you rather learn about my late-night conversations with confused debt collectors? Oh wait, there’s a hilarious one about a bank losing a big mortgage check.

Not interested? Fine. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is. The federal agency wants to publish Americans’ narratives of financial frustration online, allowing people to describe every Kafkaesque turn in disputes with the multi-billion-dollar firms that handle their money.

The bureau logs more than 20,000 complaints a month in its Consumer Complaint Database -- bank blunders, mortgage malfeasance, misdirected money transfers, and more. Each complaint and company response is categorized in a dry spreadsheet, with no elaboration. The CFPB bets an upgraded, expanded database would bring financial service providers ...

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Top 7 Retirement Milestones You Need to Know

Wed, Jul 16, 2014

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Retirement planning is a process that actually continues throughout your retirement years, with tweaks and changes to ensure that you stay on track. Many folks will immediately think of their portfolio and rate of return, but your age is also an important factor that can help you maximize certain benefits, while helping you avoid mistakes, which are often accompanied by hefty penalties. Make sure to mark your calendar for these important milestones.

In order to help illustrate these points, we'll use the example a fictional 49-year-old named Claire, who was born in 1965. Claire is still putting in hours at the office, but her children are in college and she's starting to think more seriously about her retirement. Let's examine how these retirement milestones work for Claire and many others years away from retirement:

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3 Tips for Growing a Team (and a Business) When Everyone Works Remotely

Mon, Jul 14, 2014

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Six years ago, we decided that each founder of our startup would work from their house or apartment. The idea was to avoid committing ourselves to the expense of an office rental.

Everything started as an economic decision, but today, when we can afford to rent an excellent workplace, we still choose to work from home. The work and life quality is simply better. Even while making our enterprise scalable, we continue to implement our philosophy of successfully working remotely.

Back in 2008, we were the only startup with no office. Today, many startups adopt this new working style.

To improve as an enterprise, we studied how to implement this methodology with 26 startups that also work without an office. Here are the three main ...

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I Saved Thousands by Refinancing My Car at a Credit Union

Thu, Jul 10, 2014

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Many of us have fallen prey to the pressures of a conglomerate car retailer, including myself. In 2011, I walked into a Toyota (TM) dealership with the sensible goal of simply checking out the merchandise. My lease was drawing to a close, and I wanted to see what my options were. Instead, I got caught up in the allure of shiny metal and, to my surprise, ended up leaving the lot with a new car.

Two years later -- after the excitement of new car keys clinking in my purse faded, along with that new car smell -- I realized that perhaps I hadn't made the best financial decision. I admitted my error and dealt with the mixture of guilt and frustration. Then I got motivated.

The first thing I did was consult a financial expert who specialized in car loans. ...

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Top Secret: Laughter In The Workplace Can Create A Great Place To Work

Tue, Jul 8, 2014

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Seinfeld fans may remember the episode where George Costanza (Jason Alexander) is working for the Yankees and is trying to look busy during the off-season when he finds himself with little responsibility. He explains to Jerry and Elaine, “I always look annoyed. When you look annoyed all the time, people think you are busy.” I have to say, George was on to something with that ploy. Many of us work in an environment where the assumption is that our external expressions of stress reflect our internal level of commitment to our job. In other words, the more stressed out and unhappy we are, the harder we must be working.

Veto! I think that to perform at our best, we need a little workplacezsa-zsa-zsu with laughter. I’m not alone in this opinion: honest-to-goodness real research has been done on fun. That research has shown ...

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5 Ways To Make A Big Impact With Small Marketing Budgets

Thu, Jul 3, 2014

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Really, who has the marketing budget Coca-Cola and Nike can boast? Smaller companies sit in awe of the glitzy commercials and celebrity endorsements and think, “I could never do that.” Honestly, without those monster marketing budgets, you can’t. That doesn’t mean you can’t make a big impact with the money you have, though.

To make the biggest impact, you don’t have to make a splash. You just have to be savvy and patient in equal measure. Not many campaigns will bring customers in droves overnight, but you can build a steady stream of leads through your inbound marketing efforts. Want to know how? Here are 5 ways to make a huge impact with less money.

Know Your Buyers

If you don’t know who is buying your products or services, you’ve already lost the war. A deep understanding of your buyers and their pain ...

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Starting a Business? 5 Key Things to Know About Accepting Payments

Tue, Jul 1, 2014

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There are so many to-dos on the list of an aspiring business owner. You’ve got to choose your business structure. Determine your marketing plan. Find capital to get started.

But have you given any thought to how you will accept payments from customers once you launch? This might not seem like an area you need to deal with before you start your business, but having a clear-cut plan will lay the foundation for smoother sailing once you start making money. After all, you’ll have plenty of other things to worry about!

Here are five things you should understand about accepting payments from customers:

1. The More Forms of Payment You Accept, the More You’ll Make

It’s baffling that more than half of small businesses do not accept credit cards as payment. After all, most of us don’t carry cash anymore, and customers prefer ...

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7 Tips for Starting a Content Marketing Strategy

Fri, Jun 27, 2014

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They say that hindsight is always 20/20. That when we look back at where we came from we can see things we wish we would have known or done better. This couldn't be more accurate when I look back over the years at my content marketing efforts.

But you're in luck! I've outlined seven of the most important ideas I wish I would have known when I was first starting out in content marketing years ago. I hope they help you get ahead of the game.

1. Tailor to your personas

persona is a fictional representation of your ideal client. You can create different personas by bucketing ideal clients based on common characteristics, needs or problems. Developing your personas is not only a fundamental piece of your marketing strategy, but also of every function within your organization.

They are key because you can ...

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9 Ways to Use SlideShare for Your Business

Wed, Jun 25, 2014

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SlideShare is a popular presentation tool for the business world that allows you to create presentations, upload them to the cloud, and share them with colleagues. With a globral ranking of 124 on Alexa, SlideShare is the most visited document and presentation-sharing website in the world, getting over 60 million users a month. As the network still isn’t over-saturated from marketers, SlideShare is a fantastic social network to promote your presentations both in and out of network and get the visibility you need. Here are nine great ways you can use SlideShare for your business.

Use SlideShare in Meetings Keeping your employees’ attention is easy when you are sharing a creative, informative SlideShare presentation during a meeting. SlideShare relies on the power of images and colorful headings to get your message across, and even when that requires more slides per presentation, each slide takes 10 seconds or less to read, allowing for ...
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