Black Education – Bill Cosby, Thank You

Recently, The Kennedy Center honored Bill Cosby, giving him the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. Chris Rock made a joke about being able to feel equal in the presence of country music legend Willie Nelson, but when in the presence of Bill Cosby, Rock said that Cosby let him know that Cosby was the elder and deserving of commiserate respect. My mind must have processed something about having seen this clip because I awakened with a revelation about Bill Cosby, what he appears to represent to black education, black people and why he seems constantly to get into trouble with us.

Let me explain.

First, I have to discuss Dr. Carter G. Woodson, the father of Black History Month. He started Negro History Week, wanting to establish a tradition, ensuring that black people would desire to learn more about themselves. The problem is that one of the many history books he wrote is now being widely read — The Mis-Education of the Negro, written in 1933. This book was a response to what co-founder of the NAACP and Renaissance man Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois called, “the talented tenth.”

According to Du Bois, the talented tenth, the top ten percent of educated black people, would lead the rest of the race to liberation from the tyranny and impunity of American lynching, race riots, segregation and discrimination. Today, however, members of the talented tenth, like Cosby, represent, not liberation, but assimilation. Since black people still seek liberation, especially from police brutality and homicide, imprisonment, and now, the ever-encroaching white backlash for the Obama Administration, Woodson’s The Mis-Education of the Negro has resurfaced.

Woodson’s book posits that Western education was designed specifically to elevate the white race as supreme to all races and to destroy all other cultures, labeling them as inferior with special emphasis on the black race. This emphasis is shown in the negative — editing out of all texts the entire contribution to the world of black people. In Western education, Woodson says, blacks are only mentioned to “prove” black “inferiority”. Any cursory glance at Western textbooks from Woodson’s time period, 1933, would easily demonstrate what Woodson says. Although, today, special efforts to mention black people and other peoples of color are made, their contributions to world development, specifically those of Africans, are not mentioned or they are not placed in their proper contexts.

Dr. Woodson recommended that black people study themselves first and then study others. He suggested ways to heal the wounds of this neglect and mis-education. Also, he prophesied what would happen if black people continued to learn Western education without first developing an understanding of themselves, not just as Americans, but as Africans.

Bill Cosby appears to represent the mis-educated Negro, one who is thoroughly learned in Western education with little regard for what the lack of African history in education means. As mentioned before, Cosby can be classified as a member of the talented tenth. Instead of that group leading black people to liberation, many blacks consider that the talented tenth have merely led themselves to the bank, white neighborhoods and high level positions in white-dominated fields. “Is this all of the progress that we can expect?” some ask.

Although Cosby and his wife have donated millions of dollars to Historically Black Colleges and Universities, they seem to epitomize a growing separation within the black community that Woodson warned against. The Cosbys have been portrayed by the media as a couple who has conformed to Western society (the society that enslaved their ancestors) and adopted its standards as the highest that humanity can offer. I do not believe that the Cosbys see themselves in this manner, but they do appear to promote Western education without stipulation.

What is the harm in this?

I met a young black man at the bus stop in my hometown, Shreveport, La. The city council had just passed a law against wearing sagging pants in public. The young man, of course, was sagging so I asked him what he thought about the law. He dismissed me until I told him that I was against legislating one’s manner of dress.

He agreed with me and explained his disapproval of making a law against someone’s freedom of self-expression. Knowing that this young man was deliberately defying the law, which was adopted during the administration of the first black mayor, I pointed out that among all the other states, Louisiana had the highest percentage of its population in prison, comprised overwhelmingly of black people. During our exchange, the young man mentioned to me that he wanted to be a doctor. Immediately, I thought to myself that unless he conformed to society’s standards, which seemed unlikely, his dream would never come true.

The inconsistencies of this young man caused me great grief. It is very easy for a young man like him to end up in prison. Although he was obviously intelligent enough to become a doctor, he seemed unaware of why he adopted the sagging culture in the first place. He seemed to care more about defying a law that limited his personal freedom. Also, he seemed unconcerned about the consequences of defying that law. Finally, and, most importantly, he seemed ignorant of the total devastation that Louisiana criminal law could bring to a young man such as himself. Remember the Jena Six? An unpaid ticket and a little attitude could snowball, very easily, into life imprisonment.

The issue of conforming or assimilating into white culture was hot when Woodson wrote The Mis-education of the Negro. One could say that Bill and Camille Cosby are pieces that are helping to make clearer the puzzling effects of the talented tenth. Ronald Reagan’s trickle down economic policy did not work for him. Similarly, the trickle down liberation policy of Du Bois has not worked for black people. It merely has caused separation, abandonment, and the barren fruit of hopelessness. This imagery is even more striking while viewing the conformity of President and Mrs. Barack Obama. Their assistance to the black community is more indirect and implied than actual fact.

So, what is the answer to this never-ending debate of black education? Do we rant and rave about the talented tenth? Absolutely not. It does no good, anyway. We celebrate them as a great and noble experiment. They represent a theory that has been tested and found wanting.

Thank you Bill and Camille Cosby. Thank you Barack and Michelle Obama. Thank you to all black people who have contributed greatness in the name of the United States of America.

Now, let us return to the drawing board and not just read, but study, Dr. Carter G. Woodson’s The Mis-education of the Negro. Let us put African history back into its proper place – at the beginning of humanity and the beginning of civilization.

Legitimate Home Based Business – Spotting The Fakes

The internet is filled with so many companies as well as people belonging on both ends of the spectrum. On one hand you will have individuals or businesses enterprises offering legitimate home based business opportunities that will help you in any way they can in order to succeed. On the other hand there are also shady companies or individuals that are only interested in one thing – taking your money – leaving you fend and survive on your own once the deal has been made.

In this particular article we will be providing you with just the information that you need in order to avoid such fakes and scams in the aim of starting your own home based business quickly and safely. So without further ado, here are some tips on legitimate home based businesses and how to avoid becoming a victim of false money-making schemes:

Hard work is not required:

Judging by the header, you’d already be able to say that this is nothing more than a bait to lure in unsuspecting individuals. So if you ever encounter a home business opportunity that offers you all the benefits without the hard work involved, consider it a red flag and stay away from it as far as you can, because there is no such thing. Any kind of business that you establish either online or offline will require work and dedication to succeed, no one is just going to hand you over their money without doing anything in exchange.

Membership fees required:

Keep a close watch on companies or businesses that will require you to pay or submit an initial payment prior to becoming a member. Yes there are legitimate companies that do require membership fees, but most often these companies will provide you with a starter kit containing actual products that you can already sell. However, if a company requires that you pay in order to become a member without actually offering anything in return then be wary, especially if you are required to pay a large sum.

Nothing to sell:

A fake business can actually promise exceptionally huge profits even if there are no products to sell. They capitalize on luring people promising huge investment returns simply by investing on the company and waiting for their money to come in.

The company is new:

If you are dealing with a newly established company then you should be careful all the more. Obviously, the better option would be to entrust or invest your capital into a more established company that has already been around for a long time and have already proven its reputation. To be sure, check with the Better Business Bureau if the company that you are looking at has any records of complaints or disputes in the past with its other clients. Nevertheless, with newer companies you won’t have access to such information, which is why you need to be extra careful when dealing with them.

Everything is being rushed:

“Do this now and…” or “Sign up now and you’ll also get…” – familiar with these lines? Lines that seems to rush you into signing up or lose the opportunity forever? Be wary though as scammers are always in a hurry. The reason for this is simple; they want to hook up as many people as they can before their operation gets discovered. If you are being forced to sign up in a hurry – to submit your membership payment and promising that you’ll save more if you sign up at once, you should be very wary. A genuine business offering real opportunities do not rush their potential clients, they make sure is everything is well explained and understood first as their reputation depends on it.

Legitimate Home based Business Opportunities are all over the internet and all you need to do is search for them. With the proper information in hand you will be able to start your very own business from the comforts of your own home in the safest and most secure way possible.

Is Your Home Office an Ideal Place For a Home Based Business?

You run your business from home and run it well. You feel comfortable running your business from home. There is no need to dress for work daily, wasting time in commuting to office or reaching the office at the appointed hour. You can operate the work related to your home based business from the comforts of your home. Your home is your virtual office.Are you really free if you run your business from home?There is a flip side to having a home office for your home business. If you run your home business from home office, your friends, relatives may consider you as a ‘jobless person’ because they think you do not have a ‘real office’. They expect you to help them carry out their works or jobs anytime they please.Is your home office a “real office”?Your relatives and friends do not understand that running home business is a serious job. Commitments, deadlines, professionalism, devotion and expertise matter here too. Your friends loiter around your home business area, smoke, gossip or play loud music. You have a harrowing time explaining to them that office decorum must be maintained at home office as well.When domestic chores interfere with your home office:Your freelance home based business can turn into a nightmare if the usual family chores start intermingling with it. What started as an ideal working place may turn into a “disturbance zone”This is how the domestic chores may interrupt your home business job:
Noise from TV, music system, refrigerator, washing machine.
You may have to baby-sit.
You may have to run errands a bit too often
Your family grows and you are left with little space for home office.
Is it time to move to an outside office?That is the big question, the answer to which depends on many factors. It may be the time to move out and relocate your home based business office elsewhere if:
It is becoming difficult to keep your domestic chores and home office work separate.
Your business is growing and you need more space to keep the equipment, make room for your employees.
You are missing deadlines, thereby estranging your clients.
Your productivity is suffering because of lack of ‘office atmosphere’ at home.
Weigh your options – with every advantage comes the disadvantage:While you may have increased professionalism, more and better space to work at an outside office, you may have to shell out a big amount of money to acquire and furnish it. You will need to spend a long time in commuting to your office.There is another option available. Instead of moving out your office, you can move to a bigger home. This way you will have the advantage of bigger space for your office. You can design your work space the way you want. You will need to have it designed for expected future needs of your home based business.

Home Based Business Start Up Tips

Some people decide on beginning their own home based business start up to generate more money in today’s tough economic financial times. You can find various methods in carrying this out contingent upon what business you plan on beginning. Establishing your very own business is very feasible nowadays because primarily of the added income you could make, which most of us need nowadays.Furthermore, it’s an endeavour that will prove extremely profitable financially if you’re in a position to build it proper and keep it growing to become more profitable. You will need careful preparation and start up funds for your business launch. Those that are fortunate to have both the time and money will have the advantage of focusing more on their new business. However, not all of us are that lucky and have enough time to thoroughly prepare what kind of business we want to do. Being as specific as possible in choosing a business for these people are important.Why? Many of us have gigs to worry about. Which is why we really do not come into this with much time, much less the vitality to think about what kind of business would likely agree with us. When we finally get home, we more or less yearn to unwind with our families and leave work in the office. However, it remains a certainty that we still need to earn more money for our families. This is a big motivator for many people. Putting up a home based business is a great solution to this issue. Home based businesses are popular today especially because many people are really busy and do not have any time to waste. To be able to correctly put up one though, we will have to consider some home based business start up tips to make sure we don’t make any slips.The kick off point is after all very important as the activities we choose to do might easily delineate what type of business we’ll have in the foreseeable future. Being able to plan out what the kind of business we would like to have is step one. Take some time and think through this step. Even if it’s selling stuff on eBay or providing certain services, please remember that we first need to choose what we want to do. From there, we’ll be capable of figuring out what particular people-audience we want to aim our business towards and what marketing schemes would be the most effective to get more buyers. You’ll be capable of clueing in on the effectiveness of your business by being observant to how the public responds to it and how much customers and revenue you generate as opposed to your expenses. This is the basic outline of the home business startup tips that we should always remember. Taking such keys to core will undoubtedly steer you to making the right decisions when generating your own organization.Putting up your own home business will be made easy by following these straightforward startup tips. When used right, these simple tips should help you out with your planning and with enough progress, you probably won’t need your job at all. This of course relies on your decisions as the owner so make sure to give everything some thought prior to making any decisions that may affect your business. Remember this, take action today.

Home Based Businesses – Starting a Home Based Business

IntroductionThe mention of a home based business elicits different thoughts. Amid all the discussion, the main point here is that one will be in a position to set up a project that can earn them some much needed income from the convenience of their home. A business does not have to subscribe to the traditional business ideas. One has a chance to get creative and tap into uncharted waters.Reasons for startingWhile the thought of earning extra income is the main reason people site when starting such a business, there are other reasons. The need to diversify sources of income and increase one’s financial muscle is also a good reason to initiate a home based business. Some get inspiration from every day experiences including what they feel at their work place. They get convinced that they can a better job hence end up initiating such an enterprise. Other reasons include the need to make use of one’s spare time in addition to investing some idle cash. Sometimes one comes a cross an opportunity that they consider juts too hard to take hence a home based business is born.Examples of business ideasThere are no limits that one should think when starting a home based business. Ideas range from photography services to web site design, development and hosting. Outside the information technology world, one can also think of advertising, sales and marketing as well as various forms of writing for their home based business. They can also engage in real estate, forex trading in addition to operating a bureau for several services.Elements of a good home based businessThese revolve good business practices. The fact that one is working from home does not stop the enterprise from being an ordinary business. Good preparation and long term planning are other essential attributes of a good home based business. One should not forget to carry out research prior to staking off. Time management will also lay a big role in how successful one becomes.Raising capitalThis can be a tricky part of the whole operation if one does not have a substantive chunk of money to invest. However one could model their home based business according to the amount of capital they can raise. This does not stop one from considering other avenues of raining the start up for their business.Business planA business plan is essential in every business activity that one engages in. The home based business is not an exception. The plan will provide a reference point for all activities the business entails. A business plan is easy to make. If one is stuck making it they can either learn how develop business plans via an online forum or get one made for them at a cheap rate.ConclusionA home based business plan can take any form and may be built on any idea. The most important idea is to stay committed to the short term and long term strategy as provided for in the business plan. However, one can modify any aspect of the business with time to suit current socio-economic factors.

Do You Want to Know the Six Easy Steps Into Your First Investment Property?

Thank you for your curiosity about what the six steps are to your life as a Property Investing. As an active investor I know it’s not about the property itself, it’s about the dream. Property is just the express bus to financial independence, to wealth and to creating a lifestyle full of freedom, choice and the ability to do what you love.Have you actually taken the time to ask yourself what financial freedom means to you? Is it having enough money to pay for a fabulous lifestyle, is it having enough income producing assets so you never have to worry about money again? Is it having enough money so you can quit your job, so you too have the time to discover your divine purpose, do what you love for a living and contribute your message, your cause.For me it’s empowering women in their finances, which is a catalyst for empowerment in all other areas of their lives. So they too can become financially free, to take of the mask they wear every day and to stand in their feminine energy, become authentic and inspired to share their unique message, their gift, their purpose with the world.There are so many great property programs in the market place today from successful investors teaching people how to invest, yet only 10% of people who invest time and money in these programs will take action and actually buy a property. Why is that? I realised that 80% of investing is psychology or the right mindset and only 20% is the actual investing. This is why the market has created a need for Property Empowerment.After going through the process myself for a third time, it occurred to me that buying an investment property can be a very daunting, costly and time consuming process, when navigating it alone. It’s no wonder that only approx 5% of property investors buy more one or two properties and only a staggering 1% retire financially free on with more than five.It also occurred to me that many women, regardless of how committed they are, might be put off by the uncertainty and the contradictory information available. They give in to the fear of making a mistake and allow themselves to be swayed by the well meaning dream stealers to not only give up the challenge, but all the dreams that go with it.So to make your venture into property investing by following my six step program. It’s about creating the right environment and the right mastermind team of active investors who specialise in residential property investing. Leveraging against their combined experience and knowledge to help you on your journey to property wealth and success.Whilst you engage a team of experts, you must however, always remain ‘in charge’ of your property investing business. Lay a solid foundation for success by empowering your mindset as the most vital first step, then educate yourself in the basics of property, finance, tax and structure. Once you have a sound knowledge of the above, you can leverage against the knowledge and resources of relevant experts to make it happen quickly and efficiently.The 6 Step Property Program Includes:Step 1: Creating an Empowered Investor MindsetStep 2: Education and InformationStep 3: Finance StrategyStep 4: Portfolio StructureStep 5: Property PurchaseStep 6: Property ConveyancingStep 1. Creating an Empowered Investor MindsetThe first and most vital step in becoming a successful property investor is having the right mindset. Successful investing is 80% mindset or psychology and only 20% strategy, which in our case is residential properties. The market proves this to be true over and over again with all the failed property investors who thought it was just about buying a house.The Oxford Dictionary defines “mindset” as a habitual way of thinking. It has also been described as an attitude, disposition or mood; an intention or inclination. I think this is a very fair description. Having the right attitude about property investing or any other aspect of your life to the point where it becomes a “habit” or behaviour is vital for your consistency, determination and eventual success.You must empower your mindset with specific regard to your values, decisions and beliefs around money and investing. Work with an coach to identify and work with your unconscious values in quite some detail to ascertain whether creating wealth is something you value and whether you are motivated toward a desire for abundance or away from your fear of scarcity and lack. If creating wealth is not a an unconscious value, no matter how hard your consciously try, you will not succeed.Work with a qualified Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) coach who specialises in finance or wealth creation and with their many tools, identify and eradicate any deeply held decisions and limiting beliefs that have unknowingly held you back in the past. Then instil new, more empowering beliefs and lock them all into place using targeted goal setting and visualisations.I am so grateful to Christopher Howard’s Breakthrough to Success weekend and his subsequent Fast Track trainings for introducing me to the tools that changed not only my life, but the lives of my family and now my clients. Now, I don’t want you to start blaming me if when you make these changes in your thoughts about money and wealth, how you also start to notice changes in attitudes and improvements in other areas of your life, like your health, career or relationships :D Step 2. Education and InformationOnce you have the success mindset of champions it’s time to head into the classroom to learn about Property, Structure and Finance. Although this is when you will leverage the time, knowledge and expertise of many experts throughout the program, it is essential that YOU remain in charge of our property investing business.You need to treat every investment property, with its income and expenses, as though it were a stand-alone business with you as the Director. You don’t need to be an expert in all aspects of investing, but it is important to be educated and well informed.You must understand the basic concepts of property, finance and structure so you can both understand and communicate with the experts in these specific areas of your investing. Get educated in such topics as property basics including property selection criteria and the Wealth Creation Strategy. Look into the basic principles of company and trust structures and which is best suited to your personal circumstances. Look into the multitude of investment mortgage options, the principals of each and shortlist which will suit your current financial and investing situation best.Researching and becoming informed will not only increase your financial and property vocabulary but will give you a very sound understanding of property investing, saving you time and money when eventually dealing with the relevant experts. Do not however, use the excuse of lack of knowledge and not knowing enough, to get stuck in analysis paralysis, know when to say enough is enough and get started. You never stop learning about investing, so expect that you will learn along the way.Step 3. Finance StrategyNow that you have a successful investor mindset and a good basic understanding of property, structure and finance it’s time to look in detail at your overall finance strategy which can make or break your success as an investor. With the expert guidance and advice of a finance broker who specialises in investing, not mum and dad mortgages, firstly review the mortgage on your existing home (if any) with the aim of refinancing and releasing equity to be used as a deposit and a buffer for your first investment property.Then with your shortlist, look at the best option according to your particular financial situation for financing your new investment property. Once you have chosen the best option, formally gain pre-approval or approval in principal for your future investment property, before moving to the next step.Step 4. Portfolio StructureNow that you have your finance in order it’s time to look at what structure you are going to purchase your investment property in. This is the step that most people skip or don’t even realise they need until after they have 3 or 4 properties and it’s all getting very messy and complicated with the tax office. Here is where you will rely on the property and tax accountant to determine the right structure for you specifically. Whether you should buy in your name, multiple names, in the name of a company or a trust or a combination of both.The structure for your portfolio is as important as the concrete foundation under your investment property. It needs to be just as strong and it needs to be laid first, or like the actual foundation, it becomes very difficult and costly to fix any problems after you have built your home on top. Did you know that if you decided to transfer a property from your own name into a trust you would in effect have to “sell” the property to your own trust which incurs all the normal legal and buying and selling costs including having to repay the stamp duty.. ouch!Step 5. Property PurchaseNow that you have our investor mindset, your sound knowledge, your finance strategy and your structure in place, it’s time to finally go property shopping… Yahoo!! This is contrary to a novice investor who at an open house is lured by glossy brochures, the smell of an open fire, baking bread and percolating coffee, falls in love with a property first and then worries about the rest later. As a professional investor, you buy with logic not with emotion.In all areas of my own professional investing I assign each task to companies who are specialists in that area. Their teams are so committed and so passionate about their specialty that they spend all their resources sharpening their knowledge, skills and expertise, thereby becoming industry leaders in their field.Think of it this way; if you want a haircut you go to a hairdresser, if your pipes are blocked you call a plumber, to service your car you go to a mechanic and these are all relatively minor expenses. Even when selling a home, people engage the services of a local real estate agent they trust. So I don’t understand, when spending hundreds of thousands of dollars, people insist they are more qualified to find, select and negotiate on a quality residential investment property than a specialist buyers agent. Unless you are an expert this can be risky and extremely time consuming as you spend 12 months searching for a property. Not to mention expensive as the market keeps going up and up as you search, requiring a bigger deposit.I advocate using a professional Buyers Agent who wants to see you succeed. One who specialises in the specific area you are investing in, who has all the network and personal relationships required to find you a great investment, with any luck, under market value.They will select a short list of properties with a history of good growth that fit within the selection criteria and then it’s a simple matter of making an informed choice. Depending on the property type, you can then organise to have your building, pest or strata inspections undertaken as necessary. Being a new investor, or if you are new to the particular buyer’s agent, I suggest you organise an independent valuation to confirm you are paying fair market value.Once a property is chosen, the buyer’s agent will use his extensive negotiation skills to negotiate on your behalf for the best possible price and settlement conditions. If the offer is accepted you celebrate!! but if not, then you start over again.Step 6. Property ConveyancingCongratulations, your offer has been accepted, the 10% deposit has been exchanged, the champagne is flowing and you are now officially a property investor. You are on your way to financial freedom. So now it’s time to kick back, relax and watch the capital growth right? Well, not quite… There is still one very important step to go.You now need to legally transfer the property from the vendors name into your name or the name of your trust. You can choose either a solicitor or a conveyancer to do this on your behalf. They will do all the necessary searches and checks required to ensure that the property you purchased is exactly as stated in the vendor’s section 32 or relevant contract in your country. They confirm that there are no structures that are not council approved, any unexpected water or electrical easements, caveats or any other nasty surprises.They will also be responsible for coordinating settlement between you, the vendor, their solicitor and both lenders…Now that is no easy feat! Settlement, usually 30 to 90 days later is when your loan is fully drawn down and the balance of the purchase price and all associated finance and legal fees are paid.To further protect yourself, this is also the time to review your insurances and estate planning and create or update your will to include your trust and portfolio. This will ensure that your specific wishes are respected with regard to your legacy that you have worked so hard to create.So that’s it… a simple, accelerated 6 step process that you can follow, no matter what your level of property experience or what town or country you live in. Start your journey to wealth and empowerment through residential property, so you can become financially free, become authentic and free to create the life of your dreams. So what are you waiting for?

The Ins and Outs of Using a Property Management Company


Given the decline in real estate prices in the Greater Miami and Miami Beach area over the past few years, I now have many clients asking me for more specific information about property management companies and services. The easiest way to describe the function of a property management company is that they act on behalf of the owner in all matters concerning the upkeep and management of either a single family home, condominium, or perhaps a multifamily apartment building. Some of the most common duties that a property management company performs:

Repairs and maintenance problems
Collecting Rent
Performing credit checks and backgrounds checks on prospective tenants
Additional functions that are also performed by property management companies are managing the construction and development projects, overseeing building repairs and maintenance, and occasionally coordinating in litigation that may arise with tenants, insurance companies, or contractors.


A property management company usually charges a percentage of the rent collected from tenants each month. Percentages for the Miami Beach and South Beach market usually range from a minimum of 20% of gross monthly rent up to 30%. This usually depends on the amount of work involved in maintaining the property. Single family homes generally require more upkeep and attention to details such as pools, lawn, landscaping, etc.


The major benefit to an owner for using a property management company is the amount of time and hassle that is avoided. By using a property management company, the landlord can perhaps own multiple income producing properties and not have to devote much time or energy to maintaining the smooth operation of this income stream.


The tenants benefit because they generally will have access to the services and experience of a property management company. These services can include a special phone number to call should an emergency repair arise such as a plumbing leak. Especially for luxury properties, tenants tend to be more demanding and expect professionalism and attention to detail on behalf of the landlord / property owner.


Local laws can be quite complex in dealing with tenants. For example, the City of Miami Beach has a Transient Tax Law in place, that requires owner to pay a significant rental income tax on rentals shorter than six months. The property management company keeps up to date with the local tax codes as well as building and neighborhood association requirements, making sure that the property is in compliance with those codes and standards.

HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT COMPANY Questions that need to be asked when interviewing a property management company:

How long have they been in business, how many staff are employed by the company and what specific areas do they concentrate on?

Are there any additional fees required to maintain the property? How do they get paid?

Do they employ in-house handymen and/or contractors or do they rely on outside contractors to perform any necessary repair work? Do you have the right, as the homeowner, to cancel the agreement if you’re unhappy with services rendered? Is there a penalty or fee?


It’s important to choose a manager that you can have easy and fast communication with. In this day and age, I strongly believe that a property manager should have a Blackberry or other “smart” wireless handheld device capable of sending and receiving emails and cellular phone calls.


Do they handle tenant evictions? What are the fees involved?


What kind of advertising do they do? Do they use newspaper ads, online advertising? Will they put rental signs on the property?

Rent Deposits and Checks:

How are tenant deposits handled? Are they put in a trust account or mixed with other rental income. Will they mail you a check every month or direct deposit to your bank account?

Landscaping and Yard Work:

Do they handle these kinds of services? How much is the cost?

Section 8 Tenants:

Do they work with Section 8 tenants? Are they familiar with the Section 8 rules and procedures? This is VERY important, as Section 8 properties require A LOT of upfront paperwork each month.

Conclusion: Due to the price declines in the Greater Miami Real Estate, there are many properties that are now attracting the interest of investors from a rental income standpoint. However, the trick to making the income stream work on behalf of the owner, is to have the right property management company in place.

The Important Difference Between Marketing, Selling and Advertising

I’ve heard the same sentence from many small business owners: “I’ve tried that, it doesn’t work for my business”. The practice of advertising is a mystery to most small business owners. For them it’s hard enough trying to perfect the process of doing business with their clients; the acquisition of new clients is a whole other challenge. Most business owners aren’t fully aware of the difference between advertising and marketing.

Let’s take some of the mystery out of the practices.

One of the most misunderstood aspects of the process is the distinctions between: marketing, advertising and selling:

Marketing: is the overall collection of tools used to build your business. Marketing has one overall objective – to drive clients through the process of noticing your business, purchasing from your business, enjoying the products or services of your business successfully enough to tell their friends and family and come back for more if applicable.

Some of the tools of marketing include:

1. Advertising

2. Public Relations

3. Direct Mail

4. Personal Sales

5. Internet

6. Print Promotions

7. Education

Advertising: Advertising doesn’t sell to your audience, it is a tool similar to the male ostrich tail; its job is to get you noticed for the specific things you do well. Advertising promotes the distinguishing features, benefits and advantages of your offer to a wide market. The goal of advertising is to bring in valuable leads for the selling process to take place.

I’ve sold Yellow Page advertising to business owners who initially felt that Yellow Page ads brought a lot of callers who were just shopping around. They didn’t want to waste time with “looky loo’s”.

If someone takes the time to make a phone call or send you an email regarding your product or service, why treat them with disdain? These folks are looking for the right answers to their problems. Even more important, they each know about 250 other people personally. Each opportunity to make a connection or a sale should be treated as equally important.

Selling: Once advertising has attracted the potential buyer, the selling process takes over. This is done either by personal sales or the use of point of purchase materials (ie., a store display, video demonstration etc.). Selling should come into play after a prospect has been determined to be right for the product or service.

The mystery and confusion begins when a business owner must decide what tools to use in the process of client acquisition. To whom should you advertise? Where should you advertise and why? How do you advertise? What kind of return should I expect to make on my advertising program? When do I use the other tools of marketing to bolster my advertising program? What should my ratio be between advertising and selling?

To whom should you advertise? Let’s be very clear about this one. You should never put a single dollar into advertising until you know who you will eventually sell your product or service to. You should not even be in business if you have no clue who you want to do business with.

Marketing is used to identify your ideal market. Sure, you may not get 100% of your ideal market, but if you know who will most likely benefit from what you have to sell or service, you can get more of them.

For example, if you’re a chiropractor in a big city, your ideal market might be the couple in their late 40′s to early 60′s that’re health conscious and active. They are looking to stay fit and are open to CAM’s (Complimentary and alternative medicines.). They may have an unfavorable view of the current healthcare system and wish to take a proactive approach to health maintenance. So let’s say after determining your ideal market, you identify 15,000 of them in your market region. So now you have 15,000 likely prospects to reach on a regular basis.

Where should you advertise and why? If you wanted to find a 34 year old Buddhist from Cambodia where would you look for one? The question may seem a bit silly but you know that you wouldn’t start by going to all the mosques in the area.

Sometimes you do have to eliminate all the unlikely places to search until you get to the most likely ones.

You must, of course choose the targets of your ad programs based on how many of your intended prospects will likely see your message. If the local health club in your area has a demographic membership of over 3,000 45 to 65 year olds, you might want to advertise in their monthly newsletter. If they don’t have a newsletter, you may want to sponsor one for them.

Remember the “The best place to go fishing is where the fish are biting”. Take the time to know about your target audience and their buying habits.

How do you advertise? Imagine that your very expensive Mercedes breaks down and the mechanic says that it’s your fuel pump. He needs to change it so he’s going to take a blow torch and cut through your hood, crack open your engine block and then replace the fuel pump. Once he’s done, he’ll weld all the parts back together and get your vehicle back to you.

Would you give this guy the OK to go to work on your vehicle? Of course you wouldn’t. Once you determine what you need to do, you have to be careful about how you execute the solution.

Coming back to our chiropractor, if he finds that the best way to reach the 15,000 couples ages 45 to 65 in his area is through the Yellow Pages; then he needs to decide if it’s cost effective, timely and competitive.

The goal now is to figure out the best way to reach all or most of those 15,000 ideal prospects.

Will he get comparable results from the repeated exposure in the health club newsletter where he’ll have a captive audience and no competition?

There’s no reason not to use both the Yellow Pages and the health club newsletter if they pull their weight economically. The goal of advertising is to gain valuable leads for the selling process to take place.

What kind of return should I expect to make on my advertising program? My answer to my clients to this question is usually a shocker; the answer is a big fat zero (0). How can a business owner spend so much money on advertising and expect no money in return?

This is the basis of the confusion between marketing, advertising and selling. Advertising’s value in the marketing mix is in lead generation. When properly used as such, the measurement of its effectiveness is in how many leads are generated.

This is why it’s so important to distinguish between the various tools of marketing. If our chiropractor had 20 leads coming in each day from his ad campaign and the front desk had a lousy conversion ratio, I bet that he’d blame his ad for not pulling in more clients.

Gauge your response rate when quantifying advertising results. Measure the number of leads coming in and adjust the ad copy to test for better results.

When do I use the other tools of marketing to bolster my advertising program? Advertising should never be used alone. Please remember that the average adult has to deal with over 2700 messages a day from all types of media.

Marketing should be seen as a combined effort to reach the minds and hearts of your target market. You should be using at least five of the seven tools of marketing every week. Depending on the age of your business and your business plan, you should be budgeting 10 to 15% of your estimated annual revenues for marketing. If you just opened your doors in the last five years, crank that up to 20%. There’s a reason that Pepsi and Coke spend over 400 million a year each to satisfy their shareholders bottom-line.

What should my ratio be between advertising and selling? Think of the relationship between advertising and sales as a complimentary one. If your advertising is generating a large number of leads, tailor your sales strategy to convert at least 30% of your leads while capturing all your leads for systematic follow-ups.

Keep in mind that at any given time, 3% of your market is ready to commit to your product or service. The goal is first to convert the 3% of your leads. Then to work on selling to the ones who are on the fence. Whether through personal sales, direct marketing, or point of purchase sales, your ratio will be determined by several factors, the offer, the product or service and the immediate need of the prospects and of course, price.

Don’t get too anal about the ratios. The most important thing to remember is that marketing is an inexact science. You will have to keep testing and trying for better results as the market changes.

Determine the value of a new client and the life time value of your clients. Once you do that, be sure that your marketing efforts are bringing in enough new business to cover the cost of getting new clients and that your sales efforts cover the cost of keeping you in business.

Tweak the numbers and track consistently. If your estimated marketing budget is $37,500 for the year, and your estimated revenue is $250,000 then you have a standard starting point.

At the end of the year your numbers should add up. If you haven’t made the $250,000 don’t simply blame your advertising, look at your leads list and determine if you’ve converted the required number into sales.

The Finer Points of Internet Auctions


Penny auctions have exploded in popularity with the massive growth of the internet. However, few people know the true origins of penny auctions.Beginnings actually stretch back to the Great Depression. Those were hard times for everyone, but even harder for farmers. Farmers struggled to bring in steady income because of droughts and crops not selling as well as they had previously. As a result, the banks would foreclose on the farmers who couldn’t keep up with their mortgage payments.

The banks weren’t satisfied with just repossessing the house, they wanted to raise as much capital as possible, so they resorted to selling off the possessions of the owners of the repossessed houses. There was not much the farmers could do about it so they began bidding ridiculously low prices, pennies, on the items while threatening others who dared to bid higher than a few pennies.

The auctions of today hardly resemble their tremulous beginnings. Being part of a penny auction today is exhilarating, fun, and addictive. It combines the selling format of auctioning with a little bit of chance factored in.Auctions are a game of strategy but also a game of luck.

The premise behind penny auctions is giving people the chance to win an item at a drastically reduced price.Auctions make that possible by spreading out the cost of the product among multiple bidders. In order for a person to take part in an auction, they must pay a set price for each bid. For example, if a person wanted to bid on a fifty dollar Amazon gift card then he would spend a dollar for each time a bid placed. If he ended up winning the gift card, then he would only have spent a few dollars for a fifty dollar gift card. Usually penny auctions sell bids in packages.


The main foundation of penny auctions is the pay-per-bid format. It is the key that allows bidders to win items at the fraction of their retail value and allows the auction owners to keep their site profitable. Most y auction sites run on the same premise: people pay a set amount for each bid, whenever a person places a bid within the closing seconds of the auction time will be added, the last person left with a unique bid after the clocks runs out will win the item. There are a large variety of items that can be won, but they tend to be popular electronics or gift cards to popular stores.

There are two types of auctions: lowest unique bid auction and highest unique bid auction. Lowest unique auction sounds confusing but it is actually quite simple. A unique bid is when only one person has a bid at a certain price. Bids usually start at one penny, a bidder can then place a bid at two pennies. Until another bidder places a higher bid, the most recent bidder will be the lowest unique bid because that was the only bid at two cents and nobody bid higher. However, penny auctions generally don’t stop at one penny. It is not uncommon to find auctions that end up at a couple hundred dollars based on the popularity of the item being auctioned. However, the same principles apply for those auctions. Highest unique bid auctions follow the more traditional auction format such as eBay. The person with the highest bid at the end of the auction wins the item.

Auction site owners turn a profit by selling bids. Say twenty people are bidding on a ten dollar gift card at one dollar per bid, at the end of the auction if there were twenty bids placed in total then the site owner would have made twenty dollars with a ten dollar profit.Auctions do seem like a win-win situation:The site owner makes money while the bidder gets an item for dirt cheap. However, not everyone wins in penny auctions. The people who paid one dollar each bid but left with nothing to show for their investments will not be so happy.


Penny auction has a lot of chance mixed into it, but one can incorporate strategy that will help raise the chances of winning. Playing smart can make all the difference between gambling and auctioning.

The first crucial tip to winning penny auctions is to know how to manage your bids. Your goal should be to win as much as possible without spending a ton of money buying bids. Managing your bids means that you should already know how much you are willing to risk in order to win an item. The amount of capital you are willing to risk will determine how many bids you can use. Once you know how many bids you have to spend on an item, then you will be better able to manage how and when you place a bid. That will keep you from blowing away all of your bids in the first few seconds of the auction.

The next tip is to practice time management. When fighting in the trenches of penny auctions, you have two enemies: other bidders and time. Knowing when to bid is a must if you want to have success. Placing a bid when there is a lot of time left on the clock is never a good idea. You have to remember that the key to winning a penny auction is being the last one standing when the clock runs out and that each bid increases the amount of time left. It would be a good practice to wait until the last few minutes of the auction before you begin to bid.

The final tip for successful auctioning is to keep your emotions under control.Auctions have a lot of similarities to gambling, and just like gambling, your spending can get out of control. If you keep your emotions level, it will keep you from making rash decisions and blowing loads of cash. Keep your mind clear so that you can gage the behavior of the other bidders and outsmart them.


Penny auctions are a great addition to the web whether you want to win an item that otherwise you wouldn’t be able to afford or if you simply enjoy the thrill that comes with bidding in auctions. Unfortunately, scam sites have tarnished the reputation of the legitimate penny auction sites. However, there are ways that you can protect yourself from scamers and enjoy your auctioning without having to worry about losing your money due to dishonesty.

Checking the reputation of the auction site before you start spending your hard earned money is always a good idea. Chances are other people have tried the site before you and some of them have left reviews. The reviews are your way to gage whether a auction site is trustworthy or not. If a site is getting overwhelmingly negative reviews, then that is a clear indication that you should steer your business elsewhere.

Another tool you can use to protect yourself is checking the Alexia ranks of the auction sites. Alexia rank will give a solid view of how much traffic the auction is getting. If you see a huge difference in the amount of traffic Alexia is projecting and the amount of active bidders on the site, then warning signals should be ringing in your head. Some auction sites have been known to set up robots that automatically bid on projects in order to keep the auction going and inflate the price. That is known as shill bidding. You can sniff out those sites by comparing the traffic the site should be getting to the amount of users using this site.


New legislation may come out later down the road that will officially make penny auctions gambling, but until then, it is a fun, exciting auction that allows one to win the item they’ve always wanted but couldn’t afford.Auctions are also quite lucrative for the site owners because of the pay-per-bid strategy they’ve incorporated. Penny auctions had humble beginnings with farmers who just wanted to get back at the banks who kicked them out of their house. More recently, auctions have enjoyed an explosion in popularity with the rise of the internet.

There are two main formats fora auctions, lowest and highest unique auction, however they both run on the same premise where the last unique bid wins the item. Winning a penny auction will require a certain amount of mental tactic and a bit of luck. However, you can increase your odds of winning by practicing certain techniques such as managing your bids wisely, learning how to work with the time, and keeping a level head and your emotions under control. When you combine those three strategies to your bidding plan, you will find that you win a lot more often.

It is important that you do your due diligence to protect yourself when participating in auctions. Not every auction is run by honest and trustworthy people. There are people out there who just want to take your money. You can protect yourself by ensuring that you only bid on sites that already have a very positive reputation from real users.

How to Find Great Live Auctions for Resale Items

Hi, my name is Walt. I’m an auctioneer with 25 years of experience in the auction business and licensed in the state of MA. I own Quick Auction Service, a company that specializes in building and running custom auctions, I’m also the webmaster of my own site and have been on eBay for 8 years. Besides eBay, the types of auctions I run most frequently are antiques and on-site estate auctions, although I’ve run everything from business overstock auctions to charity & special event auctions.

I enjoy sharing my knowledge and stories of the auction business. My goal for article is to help folks get the absolute most out of their auction experience.

Whether your fresh out of the package or a seasoned dealer I think I can offer something in this article to help you with your auciton adventures.

There may be as many reasons to attend auctions as there are types of auctions to attend. Maybe you want to attend an auction to buy items for re-sale on eBay, or some other market. Maybe you want to furnish your home with wonderful antiques, or you want to furnish your home as inexpensively without sacrificing quality.Some folks are just looking for a fun night out. With a little perseverance all these things are possible.

There are antiques and estate auctions, auto auctions, overstock auctions, absolute and no reserve auctions, real estate auctions, specialty auctions where only one genre of items are sold, tailgate auctions, live auctions, online auctions, sealed bid auctions, silent auctions, charity and fund raising auctions and many more.

Can you really buy for pennies on the dollar at an auction? You bet! Many times I’ve seen folks buy and re-sell at the same auction on the same night for a good profit, although be advised, this should only be done after the auction is over.

There are a lot of ways to find an auction, but here are some tips on how to find and attend the best ones.

Visit the genre of shops in the area that apply to the type of auction you want to attend. IE: If your looking for a good antique auction to attend, stop in the local antiques shops and ask for what there are for good auctions in the area. Sounds obvious right? But listen to what they don’t say as well as what they do say. Oftentimes when a dealer speaks poorly about an auction he or she attends, it may be likely that they are trying to keep a good thing secret. Think for a moment, why would a dealer keep attending a lousy auction?

Newspaper ads: I personally like to find ads in the classified ad section rather than flashy display ads. Flashy ads are usually indicative of an auction that will be high priced, may have reserves, (a set price on an item), and usually an enormous crowd. While any auction can be profitable to attend, it is usually best to steer clear of the glitzy ones, at least for the beginner.

Here’s the minimum you want to find out before you go. If there is a phone number in the ad, call and ask for the terms of the sale. What forms of payment do they accept? Is it an absolute auction? An absolute auction is one that has no minimum or reserve bids on items. These are the best auctions to attend! Is there a buyers premium? A buyers premium is like a tax that everyone who makes purchases at that auction must pay above the winning bid price. Most auctions these days do charge a buyers premium, 10% is not unreasonable but I feel much more than that is greedy, and the auctioneer that charges over 10% is counting on most bidders not doing the extra math as the bids quicken in pace.

A fair auction will have ample time to inspect the merchandise, usually at least 2 or 3 hours. Find out when inspection starts and make sure to attend! Never attend an auction if you can’t make the inspection, not unless your prepared to gamble. Most auctioneers sell at a rate of about 100 items per hour, which is why they sell “as is”. They simply don’t have the time to give a detailed description of all the items. Since almost all items at auction are sold AS IS, there are sure to be some damaged, refinished, fake and incomplete items at any given auction. Beware of any auctions that offer very little or no inspection time.

Good auctions will usually have 150 to 400 lots. A lot may be one item or a group of items. The exception to this are specialty auctions, auto auctions, real estate auctions etc.

When you attend your first sale, take note of the 1/2 dozen or so dealers that buy the most often. See if you can find out about other area auctions they attend.

When you do find an excellent auction, attend it as often as possible. By frequenting good sales, you help increase the bottom line of that business. It’s difficult for many auctioneers to keep the quality of merchandise consistent, so good attendance certainly helps. And when an auctioneer gets to know you as a buyer, he/she will go out of the way to accommodate you, to keep you coming back.