How to Turn $50 Into $5,000 in 30 Days

A critical first step in making more money is to determine your reason(s) for making the extra money. It could be that you want to make enough money for a down payment on a new car. I heard that Mercedes has a new offer on the stylish S-Class series. Maybe you want to take a well deserved vacation. The average vacation cost is $4,580 according to cnsnews.com. Perhaps you want to save up for a wedding. Weddings, by the way, are going for a whopping $28,400 on average according to money.ccn.com. It might be that your children are bugging you to create or add money to their education fund. Education costs are skyrocketing. College costs have surged 500% in the U.S. since 1985 according to Bloomberg.com. The reason could be debt related. The average credit card debt per adult in the U.S. is $4,878. The money you make could be used to pay off your credit card debt, or pay off medical bills. Medical bills incidentally, are the biggest cause of bankruptcies in the U.S. according to cnbc.com.

It’s critical to write down your reason(s) now. Please get a pen and paper and do so before continuing.

Next Steps -

  • Establish your goal. A goal is a desired result a person, plans and commits to achieve a personal or organizational desired end-point in some sort of assumed development. A goal is something you put in writing with a specific amount our outcome and a specific time frame or deadline. Your goal could be to earn $5,000 within 30 days as an example. Or it could be to earn $50,000 within 3 months. It’s your goal.
  • Define the objective. Objectives are closely related to goals. And the two terms are often used synonymously. But goals and objectives are different. Objectives are specific and measureable milestones that must be achieved in order to reach a goal. In this example, your objective is to find people who are interested in buying products and/or services and sell them those products and/or services at a price they can afford.
  • Create a strategy. With your goal and objective established and in writing, you can now proceed to the strategy. A strategy is a plan of action designed to achieve your objective and goal. The strategy is a high-level written statement of the methods you will use to reach your goal. In this example, your strategy will be to use affiliate marketing opportunities to and a blog to bring buyers and sellers together. When a sale is made, you will earn a commission.
  • Develop your tactics. Tactics are specific actions required to deliver on a strategy. Tactics are what you do, and for every strategy, there are a number of tactics. You will be using several marketing techniques in order to attract buyers to your blog. Social media marketing, article marketing, video marketing and other techniques will be utilized.

What is Affiliate Marketing? Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts according to Wikipedia. It’s a function of e-commerce. By the way, total e-commerce spending in the United States will hit approximately $262 billion this year, up 13.4% from $231 billion last year, according to a new projection from Forrester Research Inc. Affiliate marketing is a low-risk, high-return strategy for online marketers. U.S. affiliate marketing spending will reach $4 billion by 2014 and will increase at a compound annual growth rate of 16% from 2009 through 2014 according to Forrester Research Inc. By becoming an affiliate marketer, you are plugging into this exchange of buyers and sellers and you are giving yourself an opportunity to make a lot of money.

Some of the top affiliate marketers are pocketing over $2 million a year. There’s plenty of money to go around but no promises that you’ll make $2 million a year right out of the gate. However, if you are committed to the process, you can make a full time income working part time hours.

Okay, so the next step is to identify the industries you want to help. You may be inclined to decide based on your personal interests. Maybe you’ve read that a particular industry is about to surge. There are many industries that offer affiliate marketing opportunities.

The renewable energy industry may be of interest to you. There are many products that are available online such as solar-powered flash lights. By the way, when is the last time you saw a solar-powered flash light in Wal-Mart or your local sporting goods store? They are incredibly hard to find. Many people who enjoy the outdoors would save a great deal of money on batteries and lantern fuel if they had solar-powered flash lights and lanterns. This is just one example of items that people will gladly buy from your blog.

Another example is personal financial services. Millions of people are struggling with personal debt and need solutions to help them get back on their feet financially. By offering people credit card debt reduction services or mortgage refinance services that they can’t get locally, you are helping them regain control of their life and you will get paid in the process!

Maybe you love to travel or wish you could travel more. Providing travel packages to exotic places may float your boat so to speak.

Provide health-related products/and or services to millions of people who are searching for ways to lose weight and live a more active lifestyle. There are many options to choose from and many ways to make money as an affiliate marketer in most industries.

The next step is to create a blog so you can inform people of the products and/or services that will improve their lives. There are many companies that offer free blog space or you can purchase blog space. It depends on your budget and your technical skills. Spend a day or two learning how to create a blog and how to add blog posts to your blog.

Write a few posts detailing information about your industry and the products and/or services that will soon be available on your blog. Make sure your content is informative and interesting. The last thing your visitors will want to read are blatant advertisements.

Next, apply to become an affiliate marketer for the companies in your industry. Use Google to locate the providers for the types of products and/or services you have selected to sell and complete their affiliate marketer application. You will get an answer within 48 hours in most cases. Be sure to keep track of which affiliate programs you have applied for and what the outcome is for each application.

You can then begin adding affiliate links to your blog for the products and/or services you wish to sell. Try to balance your blog with content and advertisements. A rule of thumb is to load up your blog with 70% content and 30% advertising. Another piece of advice is to offer products and/or services that will give you a good range of commissions. In other words, include high, medium, and low commissionable items on your blog to give yourself a good mix. You may sell several of each during the course of a day and having the right mix will enable you to reach your income goal.

Now it’s time to market your blog. People will learn about your blog through your marketing efforts. Your marketing plan should include social media (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and others). It should also include articles and e-books as well as SEO (Search Engine Optimized) blog posts.

Write down a list of keywords your niche market will most likely use to search online for the information and items you’re publishing on your blog.

Spend at least an hour each day marketing your blog. Be sure to include the list of keywords you just wrote down for your Twitter searches. Follow people who are industry leaders as well as people who appear to be novices in the industry. By the way, the industry leaders typically have many more followers than novices have.

There are many Twitter tools available which you can use to reduce the time required to build, maintain, and communicate with your Twitter following. Search for Twitter lists related to your industry and create a list for your account.

Use online automation tools for the delivery of your blog posts to your target audience to reduce the amount of time and effort required for tweets.

Include a Facebook Fan page in your marketing plan. Create a Facebook Fan page and add relevant content and photos. Post snippets of your posts on the Fan page to pique the Facebook visitors’ curiosity and encourage them to visit your blog.

Articles and videos should also be used to promote your blog. Ideally, you should write one or two articles each week. You can convert the article to an e-book and even a video after the article has been published. Establish goals for your marketing plan and adjust your efforts until your goals have been reached. I have written other articles as well as blog posts with thorough instructions on writing articles, setting social media marketing plan, conversion goals, and creating an overall online marketing plan as well as other tips and tricks.

Replace low-performing affiliate programs with other programs until the conversion rates are at acceptable levels.

Continue to market, measure, and adjust until you have reached your traffic, conversion, and income goals.

In summary, when you identify the reasons for making more money and you have clearly established a written goal, you can then proceed to creating objectives, strategies, and tactics for reaching your goal. Monitoring your progress on a daily basis and making adjustments, will keep you on track. E-commerce is here to stay and there is a growth surge just before the holiday season but anytime is a great time to get started. Your start-up costs should be around $50 or less depending on the blog service you use and other blog-related items you choose.

The two most important things to remember is you need to align yourself with the people and resources which will provide assistance to you at any point in the process and you need to get started now.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much” — Helen Keller

“You may delay, but time will not.” –Benjamin Franklin

Nature Photography – Five Tips For Great Rainforest Photos

Rainforest photography, like all good nature photography, is more about your sensitivity to nature than about expensive equipment. Of course you need a decent camera, and you must know how to use it. But the quality of your photos does not depend on the price tag on your camera. As long as you have a tripod, and a camera that allows you to adjust the aperture and shutter speed, you are set to go.

I make my living from nature photography, including a lot of rainforest photos, and I have never relied on the latest equipment for my work. Great rainforest photography is simply about finding an eye-catching subject, in good light, and having a creative eye for composition.

Note: The following tips are for photos of rainforest scenes, not for close-up photos of leaves, fungus etc.

Rainforest Photography Tip # 1: Choose a subject. As they say in the classics, "It's a jungle out there." In the rainforest, you are confronted with foliage, branches, roots, rocks, vines … in your face and all around you. A really good rainforest photo requires structure, to make some visual sense of all that clutter. Look for something that is immediately eye-catching – a big tree that dominates the trees around it; A root system that leads the eye; A waterfall or stream; In short, something that you can build a composition around.

Rainforest Photography Tip # 2: Use the best natural light. The mistake almost everyone makes at first is to take their rainforest photos on a bright sunny day when they are in the mood for a walk. Wrong! In full sunlight, the rainforest becomes a patchwork of light and shade that is impossible to expose properly. What you need is a cloudy day, when the light is much more even. Misty weather adds even more atmosphere to the rainforest, and can add a mysterious character to your rainforest photo.

Do not use a flash. The flash illuminated the scene with flat, white light, eliminating the gentle play of natural light and shade that gives the rainforest its character. Always use the natural light.

Rainforest Photography Tip # 3: Carry a tripod. Taking your rainforest photo under a heavy tree canopy, on a cloudy day (see rainforest photography tip # 2), means the level of light will be very low. You may be shooting at shutter speeds as slow as one or two seconds. You will always need your tripod, and it is best to avoid windy days so that the scene is as still as possible.

Rainforest Photography Tip # 4: Use a wide-angle lens (or a zoom lens, zoomed back to its widest angle). The wide angle lens has several advantages for rainforest photography. Firstly, it exaggerates the sense of perspective in a photo, creating a sense of three dimensional depth. Viewers of your photo will feel like they are looking not just at a rainforest, but into it. Secondly, the wide-angle lens has a naturally wide depth of field. With so much detail all around you, it is important that you can keep both the foreground and the background in focus.

Rainforest Photography Tip # 5: Stay on the path. There are some practical reasons for staying on the path when bushwalking. You minimize the possibility of getting lost, injured, or fined by some over-officious park ranger. The people who run the national parks are not stupid. They know what you want to see, and design their trails accordingly. Sticking to the path will not rob you of any great photo opportunities.

In terms of rainforest photography, you are able to create some distance between you and the foliage around you. It is much easier to photograph a tree when you do not have the branch of another tree in your face. By staying on the path, you can get a clear view of your subject, without interference. You can even use the path as part of the composition in your rainforest photo. It is an excellent way of inviting the viewer to join you on your walk in the rainforest.

So there you have my five rainforest photography tips. Notice they concentrate on light and creativity, not on fancy techniques or equipment. You can make great improvements in all your nature photography this way, regardless of what type of camera you have.

What Has Changed in Health & Fitness Over the Last 30 Years?

There have been many changes in fitness over the past 30 years. It’s human nature to reminisce about times past. That’s great but lets not forget that things change as well. This is certainly true in the area of health and fitness. “If you do what you have always done, you will get the results you have always gotten” is true, but what if the situation changes? Then what used to work is no longer a viable and effect way to get the results that we want. In this article I will outline seven items that have changed over the past 30 or so years that affect the way we view health, fitness, exercise and what is considered “best”. Let’s look at some of these changes in Fitness.

1. Activity level

This change in fitness is pretty obvious. We just don’t move around as much as we used to 30 years ago.

Currently, the average sedentary person living in an urban setting takes 900-3000 steps a day. Uh… that’s a puny number! In the journal of sports medicine existing literature was pulled together to set a general guideline of what a good number of steps per day would be

The author Dr. Catrine Tudor-Locke translated different physical activity into steps-per-day equivalents. A rate of fewer than 5,000 is classified as sedentary, 5,000 to 7,499 is low active, 7,500 to 9,999 is somewhat active 10,000 or more is active and 12,500 or more is very active. So what does 900 make us? Close to dead! But its not hard to imagine. Get up from, take elevator to car park, drive car, take elevator to office, sit down, order fast food, reverse the process to go home and go back to bed. Just to note, 1km is about 1300 steps.

Its gotten to the point where we have to purposely inconvenience ourselves to get our activity level up. Here are some suggestions (that actually show us how pathetic our average activity levels have become).

Park at the far end of the car park and walk to your building Instead of dropping the kids off in front of the school, park a couple of streets before it and walk them the rest of the way… 10,000 is actually considered a LOW estimate for children.

Go round the shopping centre or supermarket in a random. With today’s super malls, this is a big thing!

Take the stairs instead of the lift or escalator (well if you work on the 50th floor, maybe climb halfway to start)

Give the dog an extra 5 minutes on his walk (we need it even more than him)

Stop emailing colleagues in the same office, instead go over and talk to them (shockingly effective considering how much email we send each day!… great for team building as well)

Go for a walk during your lunch break, walk to get your lunch or to find somewhere to eat your lunch

Get up and do something, run up and down the stairs for example during TV ads (no excuses here!)

Walk to the corner shop instead of driving or popping in on your way home

Walk to friends houses instead of driving

Take public transport and walk from the train station

Dr. David Bassett studied an Amish community to see what things were like in the past. These guys have no cars, no electricity and do hard manual labor to put food on the table. Its like time travel to the past. They eat 3 large meals a day with lots of meat, vegetables and natural starches like potatoes.

The 98 Amish adults Bassett surveyed wore pedometers for a week. The men averaged 18,000 steps a day. The women took an average of 14,000 steps.

The men spent about 10 hours a week doing heavy work like plowing, shoeing horses, tossing hay bales, and digging. The women spent about 3.5 hours a week at heavy chores. Men spent 55 hours a week in moderate activity; women reported 45 hours a week of moderate chores like gardening and doing laundry. Wow that’s a lot of manual labor. Get a pedometer (its only like 20 bucks) and see how you fare.

2. Fat Percentages and Obesity

Activity level leads us right on to this point about obesity. The scary obesity rate is one of the most obvious changes in fitness.

The obesity rate among the participants in the study of the Amish population was 4 percent, as determined by body mass index, or BMI. The current obesity rate among the urban populations is 30% or more. OK the obesity percentages are a scary thing because obesity is already in the “VERY high risk of a lot of bad ways to die” category. There is still the overweight category (obviously fat but not hitting the medically obese range) to consider. These people are at a high risk already!

The total percentages of overweight + obese are really wild… hitting close to 70% in some cities. Compare this to the average in the 1980s. 10-15% obesity in most cities. It rose to the mid 20% in 1995 and its now at an all time high.

3. Diet

OK linked to point no.2 is of course diet. This is another obvious change in fitness. Its very simple actually. We now eat more refined foods (white bread, sugar, rice, flour, noodles). In the body these give pretty much the same response – FAT storage. The only time we should eat these items is immediately after hard training. As we can tell from point no.1, not much of any training is going on. But lots of eating is!

We also eat less fresh fruits, vegetables and meats. We eat more snacks like chips and cookies (which are also refined despite what advertisers claim).

These changes in fitness are made more troubling because even natural foods today are not as good for us as they used to be. Current farming methods make vitamin and mineral content in fruits and vegetables drop about 10-40% depending on the mineral. Corn fed meats don’t give us as good an omega 6 to omega 3 ratio as we used to get from grass fed and free range animals. (that means not so many healthy fatty acids for us)

And of course, we are also simply consuming more calories. The Amish people in the study in point no.1 ate about 3600 calories/day for men and 2100 calories/day for women. Many sedentary people consume this much and more! How? Well a fully “featured” gourmet coffee from coffee bean or Starbucks can add up to 500 calories in an instant of caffeine folly.

That’s 2 hours of walking for an average sized lady.

Just remember, calorie quality counts as well. 2000 calories of vegetables, meat and healthy fats is infinitely better than 2000 calories from french fries. Its close to impossible to get fat on the first, and nearly impossible not to get fat with the second.

I like this car analogy. If you had a 2million dollar dream car, would you put low grade or high grade petrol into it? High grade of course! Then why do some people put low grade filth into their bodies which are so much more important than the car we drive?

4. Games children play

The average child who grows up in an urban environment is a motor-skill weakling. As a hobby, I coach youth basketball. In our talent scouting, I have kids do a very simple drill of dribbling in and out and around cones. There are so many kids who can’t do it and some who I think might fall down if asked to RUN around the cones without the ball! This is in contrast to the past where kids ran around, chased each other, played physical games and sports of all kinds, where the playground was the center of fun for young kids. This lack of activity not only causes a change in fitness for the child in his/her youth, but has a profound long term effect as well.

Of course this change in fitness is a result of a combination of possible factors.

Parents who only consider academic success to be worth striving for, who only give a child recognition and praise when they do well in academic subjects.

An education system who also values book knowledge above other things and takes away physical education classes to put more academic lessons in.

Poorly taught PE lessons that don’t help a child develop motor skills in the key early years Busy double-income families where fathers are not free to play with their children (or don’t care enough to… money isn’t everything dads)

The maddening computer game addiction situation where virtual life is more important than real life. I believe this is the reason for all the empty basketball courts in my neighbourhood. It used to be that teams lined up to play there. Now only people my age (late 20s to 30s) play. No young kids are there any more.

But actually, so what? The issue is that if kids stink at sport and physical activity, the well known psychological factor of “competence” comes is. Simply put, in general, we do what we are good at. If our next generation is poor at sport and physical activity, they are even less likely to do any of it! Which combined with items 1 to 3, make for a deadly health crisis for many countries. Obesity costs the UK 7.4 billion in national health care per year! If we don’t help our kids, that’s only going to grow to be a bigger and bigger burden for everybody.

5. Social Support

This is a more subtle change in fitness. People are communal animals. We stick with things because there is a supportive community behind us. Even drug and alcoholism rehab centers recognise this. We all need social support. But social links are getting weaker. And no, Friendster and MySpace links don’t make up for it.

In a more connected but less close world (I know so many people who are only comfortable behind a computer screen and not in front of a real person) there is less social support than in the past (extended families, communal living, strong friendships within a neighbourhood etc) and its hard to stick with something which requires dedication and sacrifice like an exercise program. I’m not a sociologist but I do believe there is a reason that exercise classes do better in terms of membership than individualized training. Most of them certainly are not as effective as great individual coaching. But the social factor does come in when sustaining a lifestyle change is involved.

6. Free Time

This subtle change in fitness is pretty clear. We just have less time that we “own”. Bosses, social, family and other commitments make free time a very precious commodity and it adds difficulty to the fact that time is our only non renewable resource. When we choose to exercise or spend time cooking to keep a healthy lifestyle, we are competing with movies, games, TV and other things for free time. We know that exercise is good for us, but it not only has to be good for us, it has to be BETTER in our minds than the latest episode of desperate housewives, or the latest computer game. That’s the issue. We need to prioritize long term health over temporary fun.

7. Training methods

OK here is where we are doing well. 30 years ago the aerobics craze took the western world by storm. Its not a very good training method both in terms of results, and in terms of results per unit of time. Add that to the fact that we have such minimal time to train, we can’t afford to train in a sub-optimal way. We know a lot more now. Fortunately for us, there are good methods that smart coaches use to improve training efficiency and get RESULTS even with less training time. Some of these include smartly designed resistance training programs, interval training and good assessment techniques to determine individual needs. If you have a coach like that in your corner, you can turn back the clock and avoid becoming one of the ever growing statistic of people who’s health is headed in the wrong direction. Stay fit and strong and good luck!

Insurance Auto Auctions – Get Great Deals on Salvaged Cars and Trucks

Insurance auto auctions are a great way to get a great deal on salvaged cars and trucks. In fact, the company Insurance Auto Auctions is one of the most commonly used specialists in this area with auto auction locations throughout the United States. The company has been around since the early 1990s providing a variety of auto auction services for car owners, car buyers, and car sellers. If you are looking for a good way to get a car at a cheaper rate, insurance salvage deals are a great option!

Salvage vehicle auctions involve several elements – including a facilitation between buyer and seller as arranged by the Insurance Auto Auctions company. Although IAA is one of the more well known companies in this part of the automotive industry, many other companies exist with the same auto salvage specialty.

Automotive salvage occurs when an insurer considers a vehicle to be a “total loss” in insurance terminology. Essentially, this means that the vehicle is of no use to the insurance provider and the insurance carrier. When this happens, the salvaged vehicle can be sold or parted out. Many major insurance companies work with Insurance Auto Auctions, Inc. and similar companies. You will not be surprised to learn that Farmer’s Insurance, and even GEICO are just some of the names on the IAA list of regular clients.

Percentage salvage auction sales are more common these days as such companies work hard to get a piece of the action! When a salvaged car is sold at rock-bottom prices, the insurance agency provider is very interested in obtaining rights to at least a small percentage of the insurance auto auction. Since this practice has become more common in recent years, more and more insurance agents and their representatives are seeking percentage shares with companies like Insurance Auto Auctions.