Inspiring Lessons You Can Learn From a Wad of Silly Putty

We have all rolled a squishy lump of Silly Putty in our hands as a child and remember the strange feeling of this one-of-a-kind substance. It is bouncy, yet flows like a liquid, and will even break from a sharp blow. It is one of those toys that you spent hours playing with as a child, but did you know that the same brightly coloured wad of Silly Putty can also teach you many lessons for success as an adult?

Here are a few inspiring lessons you can learn from this squishy substance:

Sometimes Accidents Can Be Genius

During World War II the United States War Department needed rubber to produce boots and tires, but imports from rubber-producing countries in the Far East were cut off. The War Department was experimenting with several different methods to create a cheap and flexible synthetic substitute. Instead, they accidently created silly putty. The bouncy substance seemed to have no practical use, until a local entrepreneur named Paul Hodgson bought the recipe for it.

Rather than seeing a mistake or an accident, Hodgson saw potential. He marketed the product as a children’s toy instead and began selling it through a toy-store catalogue. His innovative look at the problem paid off, and Silly Putty became a favourite toy all over the world.

Look at your mistakes in a new way, how can they become solutions?

It Helps to Be Flexible                                   

Silly Putty’s malleability allows a child’s imagination to create it into anything at all. However, Silly Putty is not just used as a toy, as it has been discovered to be useful for many other different purposes over the years. Silly Putty has been used as everything from a lint-picker-upper, drumhead resonance dampener, stress reduction ball, physiotherapy tool for hand injuries, and a masking medium for model building hobbyists. The gooey stuff has even been used by Apollo astronauts to secure tools in zero gravity!

Be versatile. If you can adapt for many different challenges and situations you will be more successful.

Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously

The hint is in the name “Silly Putty”. When this unusual synthetic rubber substitute was branded as goofy and wacky, more people took a liking to it. People are drawn to things that tickle their funny bone, and showing your sense of humour is a great way to win people over both in business and in life.

Don’t be afraid to be a bit silly. People will love you for it!

These are just a few secrets that Silly Putty can teach you about success. I’ll bet you never realized how many life lessons were hiding inside that colourful plastic egg?

How Your Business Can Benefit from a Blog

In the 21st Century information age of Google, Facebook, Twitter and iPhones being connected and having a web presence is a must.  If you have a business whether it be in its infancy or well established opportunities for growth exist online. Every business especially those that provide services to the public, Realtors, Mortgage Brokers, Lawyers just to name a few should have a web presence. You need a website to attract customers in the new millennium.  But having a website alone might not be enough? To increase traffic one needs to be engaged in Internet marketing more so than just being listed on Google and placing ads.  Social networking sites are a great way to form a fresh young client base.  Facebook and Twitter are sites consumers are using to connect to their favorite brands.  One of the best ways to provide constant updates on your business, your products or services on social networking sites is to maintain a blog.

A blog? Isn’t that for political and news junkies and teenage girls who follow celebrity crushes and entertainment news?  Is it really for a business?  Absolutely! Businesses are catching on to the world of blogging.  Blogs are for everything and are for everyone!  Many blogs look professional and offer updates on areas of your business’s expertise.  A stock broker or agency may write about the pulse of the market.  Real Estate agents will often give tips and feedback to buyers and sellers, show market trends in the price of houses.  As a business you are offering something free, a sample of your services online to everyone to establish both a rapport and a sense that you are the expert.  The idea is for the consumer to remember this and in return offer you their business.  The goal is to establish a sense of credibility so the next time the consumer whom browses your site needs a service they come to you in trust.

A blog is the best Internet marketing tool because updates and posts can automatically be posted to Twitter and Facebook.  Both Blogger and WordPress are free services that have great hosting abilities and plenty of templates.  In addition with just a click of a button the latest post is added to your Facebook page with a description and picture.  It will even update your Twitter status using the title of the post and link to article.  This is an automatic way to increase traffic.  Twitter is the ultimate free traffic maximizer!  It is a system in which people follow you have your Tweets updated on their homepage.  You could have thousands of people seeing your new post every day.  If you do Twitter right it is easy to get a couple thousand of followers within a few weeks.

Additionally, blogs are great for search engine optimization (SEO) because they often have more posts and constant daily hits due to the updating search engines tend to pick them up faster.  A blog is a must for extreme traffic and sales!

Enhance Social Media Presence with Facebook

Most people have a personal Facebook page set up which allows them to communicate and interact with their friends and family.  However, many businesses are not taking advantage of this marketing tool and setting up a Facebook fan page for their business.  Having a Facebook fan page allows a business to advertise current promotions or upcoming sales and events.  Additionally, fans and followers of the business and products can keep abreast of company activities and add comments to the fan page.

This type of interaction creates a relationship between the customer and business.  Additionally, research reveals that customers are more likely to buy from a business or sales professional that they feel comfortable with and they can trust.

Facebook provides many opportunities to generate interest in a business. By attracting fans, a business can have access to up to 5,000 people. A business can update fans on new products or news and include links to the information they want to spread the word about.  Additionally, a business can send marketing messages, offers and other lead magnets to their target market to persuade them to “like” their fan page. A business will then have access to their target market.

Facebook has some additional benefits that many of the other social media networking sites do not.  Facebook allows users to post pictures, video, links and longer posts.  Additionally, fans will able to access a business’s post for up to five years.

With so many powerful ways to build traffic using Facebook, marketers cannot ignore this medium of generating sales. However, attracting clients and prospects via Facebook can be quite time consuming. Fortunately, there are numerous services and tools that can automate many of the tasks that would take an undue amount of time to complete if they were all being done manually.  Furthermore, Facebook is also a very inexpensive way to promote products or services. A business with a lot of fans will result in simple and easy promotions.

If a business wants to compete in today’s technology driven marketplace then they have to modify their means of communication and way of doing business to accommodate social media interaction.  Social media is used as a tool to stay connected with consumers via the internet; knowing that the internet is a powerful tool for communication. Social media is seen as a means to maintain a sound relationship with existing customers while simultaneously reaching potential customers.

How To Screen For A Good Home Contractor

Home remodeling projects are expected to top $130 blllion this quarter, their highest total since Q1 2008. A likely catalyst is that the average cost of a home improvement project is falling fast.

With the economy loosening up and contractor costs on a downswing, some in Seattle homeowners are choosing to put money back into their respective homes, and making home improvements. If you’re among them, you’ll want to make sure you’ve properly screened your contractor. 

In this 4-minute piece from NBC’s The Today Show, you’ll learn tips for picking a good home contractor. The advice is mostly common sense, and worth heeding. For example:

  • Only select registered/licensed, and insured contractors for work in your home
  • Don’t automatically select the lowest bid; you may want to discard it instead
  • Communication skills matter. You must be able to express your wants, and have that message understood.

And lastly, if this is your first time working with a particular contractor, be sure to ask for references and follow-through on them, too. Sometimes, past customers can tell you more about a contractor than you can learn yourself.

How Real Estate Agents can Achieve Success with Twitter

Research reveals that people under the age of 40 solely utilize the Web to research information, look up local business information and connect with others.  As a result, real estate agents, mortgage brokers and business owners are advertising through online media sources versus traditional print advertising.  Social media marketing is a term that describes use of social networks, online communities, blogs, or any other online collaborative media for marketing, sales, public relations and customer service.  So what that means is that it is the media we use to be social and connect with customers, prospects and friends.  A popular form of social media is microblogging.  Microblogging is posting messages that are 140 characters or less.  This forces us to be more succinct and get to the point.  Microblogging is like text messaging and a little bit more.  The most popular microblogging site is Twitter. 

Twitter recently reported that it has approximately 200 million users.  Of these users, an average 140 million tweets are sent per day and an average of 460,000 new accounts are created on a daily basis.  With numbers like this, it is obvious that information about a product or service can each millions of users with the click of a mouse.

Using Twitter is a great way for businesses to directly communicate with their prospects and clients.  Additionally, clients can pose questions or easily find out information from the business. Twitter can be used as a low cost marketing tool for communicating business related information, to attain new clients and generate more revenue.

Real estate agents, mortgage brokers and business professionals can harness the power of Twitter by finding prospects and communicating with clients.  However, utilizing Twitter to its full capabilities is more than just creating an account and acquiring followers.  Real estate agents need to consistently post relevant, useful and timely messages to their Twitter account.  Topics can include newly acquired listings, recently sold listings, property price changes, community and neighborhood news, tips on the best neighborhoods to live in and links to information on their website.

The use of social media to connect with prospects and clients is giving businesses a competitive edge.  Those who shy away from such technology will leave the door open for their competition to step in and take over.  Social media is here and it does not seem to be slowing down anytime soon.  Now is the time to jump on board this new technology train and see how far it will take you.

Wash Your Windows The Eco-Friendly Way

Clean windows the eco-friendly way

Your home’s windows look best when they’re clean on both the inside and the outside. It’s a quarterly housekeeping chore, at minimum, and should coincide with seasonal changes.

But washing windows can be a drag on the environment. Most homeowners use multiple rolls of paper towels to finish the job, and many commercial window cleaners are chemical-loaded.

Fortunately, there’s a way to wash your windows, be environmentally conscious, and still get great results. Here’s how to do it.

First, wait for a cloudy day. Cloudy days are best for cleaning windows because sunny days create more streaking; the sun can dry the windows before you’ve had a chance to polish them.

Next, make your cleaning solution. 

If this is your first time cleaning your home’s windows, in a spray bottle, mix 8 parts water with 1 part each of white vinegar and environmentally-friendly dish detergent. The dish detergent is a necessary additive because it removes waxy buildups from prior washings with commercial cleaners.

Then, for washings beyond the initial cleaning, in the spray bottle, mix 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar for each cup of water instead.

Next, using reusable microfiber cloths, wash one side of the window with horizontal strokes, and the other with vertical strokes. This way, if there’s a streak, you’ll know on which side of the window it is.

Lastly, rinse your cloths often in cold water and be sure to wash top-down.

When you’re finished, your windows will be clean, and you’ll have made a near-zero environmental impact. And remember — you don’t have to wash your windows all at one. You can spread it out over time if that’s easier.

How Real Estate Agents and Mortgage Brokers are Getting Results with Social Media

With the rise in social media technology, real estate agents, mortgage brokers, financial planners and insurance agents are discovering how social media can help them generate new business. These professionals have found success in lead generation and sales through the use of social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. With the drop the home sales, agents are heading online and finding new ways to communicate with their customers. Additionally, social media provides a way for businesses to connect with their customers and prospects in ways that are faster and wider spread than traditional forms of marketing

Social media is growing at an enormous rate and there does not seem to be an end in sight. This growth is resulting in a shift in client communications which must be covered in order to stay relevant in the current marketplace. However, staying connected with clients and keeping abreast of the ever growing social media market is time consuming. Many real estate agents and business owners do not use social media and Internet marketing to its full potential because it is too time consuming. Thus, they are missing out on a large percentage of their prospects.

Social media has a number of factors that make it different than traditional media such as newspapers, television, books, and radio.  Social media allows the user the ability to interact and communicate by leaving comments and participating in discussions. Additionally, if real estate agents can influence a group of followers, they can actually create a market position based on social acceptance.  Social media provides a complementary extension to traditional marketing efforts.  The one important difference between social media and traditional marketing is that with social media you can listen to it, measure it and track it over time.  All in all, social media can attract new customers, strengthen existing customer relationships, reinforce brands and enhance loyalty.  Social media has changed the way goods and services are taken to market.

In this rapidly changing world, it seems like technology is taking over the marketplace, and real estate agents and mortgage brokers who don’t communicate with their clients effectively will get snatched up by someone else who will. Social media and Internet marketing allows communication between clients and their customers in order to maintain their positive and professional image while building trust and credibility. To be successful in today’s economy, it is absolutely essential that you have a strong online presence that paints you as the true professional you are.

How To Make More Space In Your Garage

How do you use your garage? If you’re like most homeowners, you park your car(s) in it, then use the remaining available space for the random storage of “things that don’t go in the house”. 

Your garage can do so much more — all it needs is a little bit of organization.

In this 4-minute video from Lowe’s YouTube series, you’ll see how cabinetry, shelving, hooks and a master plan can add purpose to the non-car areas of your garage, and help you “make space”. You’ll even de-clutter parts of your home.

The video is rife with pointers for doing your garage right, including:

  • How to create “storage zones” of exactly the right size
  • How to organize sporting goods for easy access and optimal space-saving
  • Where to place trash receptacles, garden equipment, and seasonal decorations

According to the video, building out a garage should be a weekend project. You may finish faster, or slower, however, depending on the complexity and size of your garage and your storage needs.

Finishing a garage creates “space” — a helpful addition to any home. In addition, it enhances a home’s appeal to prospective buyers. Use the video above as a starting point and inspiration, and consider shopping storage specialty stores to finish out your project.

Which Is Better : Fresh Produce Or Frozen Produce?

Frozen Fruit and Fresh Fruit : Which Is Better?There’s a long-standing myth that freezer-section produce is “worse for you” than fresh produce from a farm. The truth, however, is often the opposite.

Because of upgrades in packaging and delivery methods, frozen produce is often more fresh than “fresh produce”, and contains higher nutrient levels, too.

The key is to know how to shop for it.

The main advantage that frozen produce carries over fresh produce is that frozen produce is picked in its most ripe — and most nutrient-rich —  state. Then, when the produce is flash-frozen, its nutrients become locked-in and sealed.

Fresh produce, by contrast, tends to be picked before it’s ripe, and is left to ripen in transit.

Because food nutrients degrade with exposure to heat and/or light, the longer it takes produce to get from the farm to the supermarket, the fewer nutrients the produce will have. 

Did you know? Fresh fruit and vegetables might sit for up 2 weeks before they’re sold by your local supermarket. And not to mention how long it may take you to consume them.

Another advantage of frozen produce is that it’s often less expensive than fresh fruit. For example, looking at the cost of strawberries bought in bulk:

This isn’t to say that frozen produce is “better” than fresh produce. It just depends on your circumstance. If you plan to consume the produce within a short period from purchase, and can account for its ripeness and freshness, fresh produce may be preferred. Or, if you eat organic produce, free from pesticides and chemicals — certain produce may be better eaten fresh.

But know the facts. Frozen produce can be healthier and cheaper — a good combination for your household.

How Healthy Is Your Bedroom?

Most people spend about one-third of their life in the bedroom. So, how healthy is yours?

In this 5-minute piece from NBC’s The Today Show, you’ll learn about dust mites, mold and the other hidden health risks in your bedroom. Some may be compriming your sleep, and others your well-being.

The interview is comprehensive and covers a lot of ground, including:

  • The importance of an excellent vacuum with HEPA filters
  • The advantage of latex pillows over other pillow-types
  • Why blackout curtains can help reduce blood pressure

The piece also talks on several goods reasons to leave your bedroom electronics-free.

For as much time as we all spend in our respective bedrooms, we should want it to be a healthy, clean place. Following the video’s advice is a step in the right direction.