Career

Franchise

Pros And Cons Of Buying A Franchise Business

 

Having a midlife crisis is sort of like reaching the point in our entrepreneurial career when we are looking for something new. No, not being mutton dressed as lamb, nor driving around in small sporty looking cars. Instead we are looking for new entrepreneurial opportunities, such as buying a franchise business.

However starting any business from scratch requires a huge effort, one which we are not all cut out for. This is where buying a franchise is an opportunity that can deliver huge benefits.

But with benefits, there are also possible negatives to becoming a franchisee.

Let’s investigate further and see the pros and cons of buying a franchise.

Pros of Buying A Franchise

You’re in business for yourself, but not by yourself.

Yes, you own the license to operate your own franchise business unit. Yes, you run the day to day management yourself. Yes, you get to keep most of the profits. But no, you do not have to do everything by yourself.

A franchisor will provide a support network of other franchisees that, just like you, also run their own business. The opportunity to discuss common issues and ideas within the support group is a huge plus.

Most likely any problems that crop up, others have gone through and can provide some assistance with.

Brand awareness already exists.

Why reinvent the wheel when we can buy one that already works? A franchise has already had the research, product development and marketing done for us.

This is great, especially if sales and marketing is not your strong point.

Customers already know about the brand and have certain expectations about the product or service it delivers.

When hiring employees, we are more likely to attract high quality people, drawn by a known franchise name.

Financing – easy to get, save and earn money.

A huge plus is that a franchisor is most likely to have good relations with a bank. They can “introduce” us to that bank, which is more likely to lend us money for setting up our franchise because they already know the ins and outs of it.

We can save money because we don’t need to test or research the market and as part of a franchise, and we have bigger buying power which lets us buy the things we need at a cheaper price.

Our ROI or return on investment is also quicker. Customers already know about the franchise name and have already been exposed to marketing regarding our products or services. They are ready made customers just waiting to come in our doors!

Cons of Buying A Franchise

Branding and procedure is tightly controlled.

If creativity and the need to do it your own way are high on your list of priorities, then owning a franchise may not be for you.

When purchasing the license to operate a franchise you are required to sign an agreement which basically says you will play by their rules. If you are not happy to do this, then the road to take is probably starting up your own business.

Open your wallet.

Initial and on-going fees are part of operating within a franchise. Upon purchasing the license, you are required to pay a lump sum to start using the franchise name. You also may need to foot the bill on the cost of purchasing the equipment to run the franchise.

You can forget any ideas you might have about buying stuff that you like more or works out cheaper, because you need to specifically buy the set items on the franchisors list. Then once it is up and running, open your wallet again. It’s time to pay royalty fees and a slice of your turnover to the franchisor.

Bad press spreads.

As a franchisee, you share the brand name with many other operators. This is usually great, but can turn bad very quickly if another operator gets some bad press.

You will instantly be seen as part of the problem and be linked negatively, even though it is only by name.

It would be hard to distance yourself from what happened as the general public will only see the name and not the individual franchisee as being in the wrong.

Investing in a franchise license may just be up your alley, but maybe the idea should just be flushed down the toilet. It depends on the sort of entrepreneur you are as well as the sort of risks you are willing to take.

If you are more of an easy going team player, then check out one of the many franchising options. If you are the type who believes rules are meant to be broken individual, try the path of establishing your own business.

But remember to use due diligence in regard to any decisions you make about franchising.

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Personal Budget

Personal Budgeting Tips To Get Your Money In Order


Sometimes just hearing the word ‘Personal Budgeting Tips’ is enough to make us shudder. Budgets have been given a dull reputation by overzealous financial fanatics, yet they are nothing to be scared of and neither should they be avoided. Personal budgeting is something all of us should do.

In fact, the great entrepreneurRobert Kiyosaki even said,

“It is important to create a budget and stay faithful to it. Keeping track of what you spend is the best way to avoid buying things you cannot afford.”

A personal budget is an accurate plan of how much money we have coming in and going out each week, fortnight or month, depending on the timeframe we choose to set. It lays out in black and white all income, fixed expenses and discretionary spending money we may have.

A budget is a great way of keeping track of where we are spending money. Once we know where our money is going, we are able to tweak our spending habits to gain more control over our money.

In order to create a workable budget, we first need to know and do these four personal budgeting tips:

1. What is our income?

Generally our income is our wages, but this can also include any interest from savings accounts and any social welfare benefits.

The figure that is important to note is our net income, this is the amount we have left in our hands, so to speak, after any taxes are paid.

It would be helpful to record your budget on a excel spreadsheet or notepad to make it easier to read. When doing so, place your net income dollar figure at the top of the page, as this is the amount we need to start with to create a working budget.

2. What are our fixed expenses?

Fixed expenses include payments like rent or mortgages, insurance and rates, utilities such as power, phone, internet and gas, transportation expenses such as petrol, insurances, registration or train and bus ticket costs and finally any other debts or loans like student loans, car payments or hire purchases.

Other possible fixed expenses will change depending on your circumstances, such as needing to pay for childcare or any gym or club memberships you might have.

These fixed expenses do not vary much, if any, each week/fortnight/month. This makes is easy to budget for them, or in the case of petrol, to make an accurate estimation.

Simply subtract each expense from your net income and you are left with your discretionary income.

You can create a column for each of these areas under your total income figure and this makes it easier to see the amounts of money that each area spends.

3. What is our discretionary income?

Our discretionary income is a nice name given to the money we have left after we have paid all our bills.

However, our discretionary income is not just for buying clothes, entertainment or shopping money, but also the more fundamental things such as groceries and pay for doctor appointments, for example.

So, record the dollar amount of your discretionary income underneath the fixed income expenses columns and then we move onto identifying our variable expenses.

4. What are our variable expenses?

Variable expenses include everything else we might use our money for such as groceries, entertainment, regular saving deposits, clothing, medical appointments, haircuts, vet bills, lawn mowing and any little shopping spree splurges we might have.

Everybody’s variable expenses are different, so take the time to record each item in its own column underneath the dollar figure of your discretionary income.

Then, it is time to allocate a fixed amount to each area and make an educated guess of how much you usually spend.

Now comes the fun bit, you get to add up all your estimated variable expenses and see if you have enough discretionary spending money to buy the things you want!

The goal is to have your fixed and variable expenses equal your net income. If you have spent too much, simply reduce the dollar figures you have allocated for your variable expenses. While if you have surplus money, add it to your saving deposits.

A personal budget should be seen as our friend. Yes that does sound weird, but a budget allows us to see where we are spending money and gives us the chance to change our spending behaviors.

Don’t worry if your budget does not work the first time you use it, instead tweak it until it fits. After all, one size does not fit all.

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Copywriting Pen

Cost Of Press Release – 5 Do’s And 5 Don’ts To Save You Money

There’s a good way to write a press release and then there’s a bad way. Because of the cost of press release, we want ours to stand out from the crowd and have an impact, but only for the right reasons.

Anyone can submit a press release that is sent to major search engines like Google, Yahoo! and Bing, as well as 30,000+ journalists and bloggers around the world for just a few hundred dollars.

The publicity that can be generated has the potential to bring in more business than you can imagine, just for the cost of a press release. Companies like the #1 press release agency PRWeb offer 10% off your first news release.

PRWeb also deliver your press release to 250,000+ PRWeb subscribers and keep your news release on PRWeb.com forever, serving over 3 million visitors each month.

If you go to the trouble of learning how to write a press release and the cost of press release is within your budget, there are some things to keep in mind. Let’s start with things not to write in a news release. Commit any of these errors and the cost of a press release will just fly out the window and go to waste.

How To Write A Press Release – The Don’ts

1. Don’t Be Demanding

No-one likes being told what to do, especially journalists and bloggers. Remember, when writing a press release, your target audience are primarily journalists.

Journalists are very busy people who see hundreds of press releases each week, so always be courteous, polite and don’t ask straight out to be given free promotion. Obviously, that’s the goal and journalists know it, but give them something to write about, so show some thought and appreciation.

2. Don’t Render Press Release Text Into An Image

Presentation goes a long way to make a good impression, but press releases are usually found in a specific format. When using images, don’t render a chunk of small font text. Sending a press release as an image (jpeg, gif, etc) makes it unusable because text is likely to become distorted when resized or printed. You can’t include clickable links in the image and the text is unsearchable by the search engines.

3. Don’t Blast A Press Release To Unwilling Recipients

Don’t spam people! If you have an existing mailing list, make sure they are your target audience and not just random people. If you have collected email addresses of journalists, bloggers and news agencies, blasting spam through the wrong channels could just get you into their bad books – forever. If someone asks you to stop sending them emails – don’t send them emails!

People working in the media industry subscribe to services like PRWeb to find news stories so they are already a willing audience.

4. Don’t Be Self-Centered

Don’t write your press release in the first person using words like “me” and “I” unless you are using a direct quote. Journalists would have to change everything to the third person because they need to generalize the story to not have it written from your perspective. Write in the third person.

5. Don’t Be Boring

Why would a journalist want to write about a boring story? Press releases don’t have to be boring. What makes your business interesting? What is interesting about you, the business owner. What makes your product better than your competitors?

Think about why it’s interesting and be sure to make a point of it. Don’t make the press release all about how great you are.

How To Write A Press Release – The Do’s

1. Do Introduce Yourself

Write a very brief, factual statement about who you are and what your business does. If you want someone to promote you, your business or your product, the least you could do is introduce yourself.

2. Do Include Your Website Address

This should be a no-brainer. Get your website in order prior to sending out a press release. Make sure to include either a ‘media’ section for journalists to gather more information about your services or products and also write a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions).

Include a link to your website within the main text portion of the press release. This allows journalists and general readers to easily click through. Press releases are also great for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) purposes when linking your website to your target keyword. eg. “John offers a comprehensive service of mufflers in Chicago.”

3. Do Include Images or Video

Give readers a face to your name and include an image of yourself or your product or business. If you have the resources, also record a video specifically for the press release which will make a great impression on journalists.

4. Do Give Great Consideration To The Headline

A great headline is all you need to ensure a journalist or blogger will read your press release. But writing a great headline can be tough and it’s recommended to spend at least 50% of the time it takes to write the press release on the headline itself. If it takes an hour to write the press release, spend at least 30 minutes working on a great headline.

Read our article How To Write Great Headlines.

5. Do Follow Up

If a journalist or blogger has written an article based on your press release, follow it up with a thank you email.

By doing so, it’ll establish a positive connection between yourselves and open the opportunity for further publicity down the track.

The Cost Of Press Release

Press release agencies such as PRWeb offer discounts on your first press release, which start at $99 and range upto $1,000 depending on the agency.

Spend your money wisely and take advantage of first-time discounts where possible.

Disclaimer: Links to 3rd party sites included within this article denoted with /go/ in the URL may result in commission being earned if you decide to make a purchase.

10 Best Ways To Save Money In The Office

As the joke goes; If money is the root of all evil, why should we save money? When we’re running our own business, it’s very important to keep a keen eye on cash flow. Saving money should be right up there on our priority list, together with making more of it.

But we have all heard about how to do it, right? Figure out budgets, set up savings accounts, make sure to earn more than you spend, etc. Boring! So how about we spice up our saving money advice and check out the 10 best ways to save money in the office.

1. Saving Money On Advertising

When posting things like invoices or receipts, be sure to include your advertising material in the same envelope. Including things like newsletters or coupons when sending products out to customers encourages repeat business and avoids expensive advertising. Piggyback your advertising and pay once.

2. Save Money on Phone Calls

Use VoIP for phone calls. This is an internet based telephone and it is cheap to use. It does cost more to implement than a traditional phone, but the running costs are considerably less, especially for long distance calls. It is best installed when you are upgrading a phone system to avoid extra expenses.

3. Save Money on Lighting

Install motion sensors to control the lighting bills. They will automatically turn the lights on when entering a room and off after leaving. Why should we pay for something we are not using?

4. Hire contractors or freelancers

Sign up to Elance where you can find contractors and freelancers who will work for us only when we need them. This would reduce the size of office space we need and the amount of consumables such as electricity being used.

5. Save on Electricity

Purchase laptops instead of desk top computers. Laptops use up to 90% less electricity than a standard PC. Don’t worry about security, a laptop can be locked down with a Kensington lock which prevents it being stolen, but can be removed so you can take the laptop away if needed.

6. Word of Mouth Advertising

Ask clients to advertise for you. They could use word of mouth and tell their customers and colleagues about your services and even write a testimonial for your website. In return, you can do the same for them. Both parties would benefit from the free advertising. It’s a win-win!

7. Work From Home

Rotate staff so that they work from home one day a week or once a fortnight, possibly even in exchange for a small reduction in that day’s pay. This would save on power, phone and wages; they will save on transport, possibly even childcare! Now days we have many ways to communicate via the internet and suitable work can be scheduled to be done on those home days.

8. Share Office Supplies

Create a shared group area for office supplies. By having one area or even just a table in the office dedicated to office supplies, we will avoid repeated expenditure and wasted resources. We would only need to buy one stapler, one hole punch and even only one pair of scissors!

9. Buy Second Hand Products

Buy used products, not new. We can save a bundle of cash by purchasing second hand furniture, computers and even carpet for our offices. Pretty much everything we need can be brought from a dealer, shop, garage sale and even over the internet.

Other businesses are closing down or simply replacing items in their offices with the latest model or design. Make use of their splurging and buy up their things for a super cheap price and our bank balances will reap the rewards!

10. Ask For Specific Advice

Find a business mentor, somebody who has been where you are and done that. Sign up to websites such as LinkedIn and other social media and networking sites or ask around others who are also in your area of business.

A good mentor will often donate their time to share their ideas and experiences with you and be able to take an outsiders view to see other ways of how to save you money in the office.

It would also be really helpful to have our work colleagues on board with our money saving ideas too.

Perhaps we could set up a competition within the office that the person who saves the most money wins a reward, such as maybe working from home once a week or having ten minutes added to their lunch break for a month.

So saving money in the office can actually be fun and rewarding in ways other than financial. But it’s still great to see the money piling up too!

Disclaimer: Links to 3rd party sites included within this article denoted with /go/ in the URL may result in commission being earned if you decide to make a purchase.

5 Desk Toys To Kill Time And Obliterate Productivity

Tick tock tick tock. Ever get the feeling that time moves slower in the office than anywhere else? Well, stop counting down the seconds until lunch time and step on into the world of desk toys. No, not converting your paperclips into little sculptures, that is so last week.

Instead join the ranks of your happy and entertained work colleagues and check out these five amazing desktop office toys that will surely decrease your productivity!

Desk Toy Tengu

Ever wanted a companion to help you sing your favourite songs?

Let me introduce Tengu, your new best friend, or at least the face and legs of your new best friend.

Tengu, invented by some clever Japanese people, plugs into your USB port and responds to any sounds. He likes it when you talk, sing and even sneeze!

If you stop entertaining him with noise, he will fall asleep, but you can wake him up and change his facial expressions by blowing on him. Tengu has red LED facial features, including a mouth which moves in time with the sounds he is hearing. He is only 3 inches tall and connected to a 3 foot USB cable, so he is easily portable too.

What else could you ask for in a desk top friend? Perhaps one that cleans up after you!

Robo Vaccuum

Crumbs, crumbs everywhere and not a single one worth eating. Unless of course your name is Robo Vacuum!

He is the ‘after lunch crumb muncher’ who lives on your desk. Turn him on and push him around and he will eat all the little crumbs that you don’t want.

Robo Vacuum is a battery operated mini desk top vacuum which will pick up small bits of fluff and stuff off your desk. It does not have wheels; instead it has a rubber pad to ensure it moves smoothly over your desk.

It’s arms are moveable so you can position them anyway you like and it comes in red and black. Great for us muffin and cookie munchers. Our cleaners will thank us too!

Desktop Toys Racing Grannies

Picture this, two grannies wearing their cardies and slippers, pushing their Zimmer frames and each determined to beat the other one in a race.

Well, now that is possible thanks to these wonderful desk top Racing Grannies.

Put them on the start line, wind them up, shout “Ready, steady, go!” and watch them put their pedal to the metal.

If that wasn’t funny enough, you can even give them a handicap to slow them down, especially if one Granny is having a super speedy day. The Zimmer frames hold a little shopping basket in which you can place essential supplies such as paperclips and staples.

This could also be useful if you were wondering how you were going to get your bluetack from one side of your desk to the other!

Rockstar Finger Drums

WARNING: This video contains terrible jokes.

Our work colleagues can now sit comfortably at their desks and be entertained by a live rock concert. Sounds too good to be true? It’s not, courtesy of our very own set of Finger Drums!

Featuring three little drums, a bass drum and a cymbal, this musical desk top toy is ready and waiting to be played from the top of your desk. We can tap out well known tunes or invent songs to our hearts content and when we stumble onto a good tune; with the press of a button we can record it for playback later on to the delight of your co-workers.

Have a PA system at work? Play a little ditty before speaking your message to your work colleagues. It will sure get their attention and then there is more chance that they will remember what you say!

Overall this is a great desk top toy for drummers and non-musicians alike. But keep the ruckus to a minimum.

Desktop Tennis

desk toys
Source

Fancy a game of tennis anyone? Challenging a colleague to a game of desk top swing tennis is as easy as putting your pencil into a racket handle and hitting the ball.

Those long slow hours will disappear so quickly as the little swing tennis ball bounces backward and forwards between the rackets. The swing ball pole sticks firmly to the top of your desk and the two little tennis rackets that are included have a hole at the end of the handle where you can put a pencil, giving yourself a longer handle.

Don’t worry though; scoring the games is optional, depending on how good you are of course!

No longer do we need to dread the boredom of downtime in the office. Instead, by investing in a few small desk toys we can provide great entertainment, build team spirit amongst work colleagues and provide interesting conversation starters.

Who knew work could be so fun!

Mens Ties

Unsuitable Neckties For Men Suffocate Opportunities

 

More often than not, suits and neckties for men are essential attire in business and first impressions count a lot towards how you’re perceived by others.

It’s not about making a fashion statement. Our subconscious makes a split second judgement of someone’s personality and character by the way they dress. This applies to being a boss, in a job interview, client meeting, on a date – wherever.

If you are looking just as dapper as your colleague or competition, what is it that gives you that edge before you’ve even uttered a single word? Yup, it could be your choice in neck tie that can actually make a difference in your fate.

Don’t let a necktie become a noose around your neck and suffocate opportunities laid out in front of you.

There are several methods of tying a tie, resulting in different types of knot. Let’s just take a quick look at the most common.

Necktie Knots

Four in Hand Knot – Simple Knot or Schoolboy Knot

The Four in Hand Knot is a narrow, asymmetrical tie knot that is best suited for a standard button-down dress shirt. It is the most common neck tie knot.

Half Windsor Knot

The Half Windsor Knot is a triangular and symmetrical tie knot that goes with any dress shirt.

Bow Tie Knot

This video shows how to tie a Bow Tie Knot, which is a formal and elegant look. Commonly, a bowtie is worn along with a tuxedo at “black tie events” such as a wedding. The bow size should not be wider than the neck and should not extend past the tips of the shirt collar.

If tying a tie is hassle or your fingers aren’t nimble enough, thankfully we have other options!

Black Tie

neckties for men
Black tie refers to the dress code that requires men to wear a black tuxedo, white dress shirt, black bow tie, and black dress shoes while women are to wear an evening gown.

A black tie event is very formal and all the guests look very classy. At these events though, all the guys look the same like a waddle of penguins.

If the occasion fits, for example in the workplace, we can rock a different tie color and show off our personality.

power tie

The Power Tie

Power tie color choices are mostly blues, reds and yellows. More than a just brightly colored necktie, the power tie is a declaration of dominance. The power tie should stand out, so the choice of shirt color should offer a contrast against the tie.

While I don’t particularly believe in the whole psychology of power neckties for men, others might. So it’s probably a good idea to avoid wearing a power tie to your first day of work in case your boss is a believer.

Christie Carmelle Lopez over at the Huffington Post wrote a great piece about power ties and the psychology of color here

Clip On Neckties For Men

If you have nightmares about your necktie getting caught in the paper shredder, never fear. Just get a clip on tie. A clip on tie attaches quickly and easily onto the collar and is comfortable and safe because there is nothing surrounding your neck.

I also have normal ties hanging in my closet that are already pre-tied from previous occasions. This is just a matter of convenience and time saving.

Although, you’d be hard pressed to find designer or brand name clip-on neckties. They can often be viewed as tacky but they do have their place.

While plain colors are usually a safe choice, there’s also patterns and paisley ties.

paisley ties

Tie Material

You can get skinny ties made from leather and other neckties for men that look like shoe laces, but in the workplace and for special events, your best bet is to go with the most commonly used fabrics.

– Silk Ties and Silk Knit Ties,
– Wool Ties and Wool Knit Ties,
– Cotton Ties,
– Linen Ties,
– Leather Ties.

tie rack

Tie Accessories

If you are a necktie aficionado, add a bit of bling to your tie with some accessories.

– Tie bars and Tie clips,
– Tie tacks,
– Tie chains.

For those of you that own many ties for different occasions, stay organized, neat and tidy with your own tie rack

Disclaimer: Links to 3rd party sites included within this article denoted with /go/ in the URL may result in commission being earned if you decide to make a purchase.

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02 Web Thumbnail

9 CRAZY Ideas That Raked In Crowdfunding CASH

 

It’s hard enough coming up with good ideas, let alone getting them off the ground. But when smart entrepreneurs take to the internet to ask random people for money to fund their project, sometimes the response is just phenomenal.

1. Pebble Watch

Raking in over $10 million on Kickstarter is the Pebble watch. It’s initial crowdfunding target of $100,000 was reached within just 2 hours as the internet went wild for it’s black and white e-paper display, eventually being backed by 69 thousand people.

It’s also programmable and includes storage, bluetooth, a vibrating motor, and all the gadgetry you’d expect from the likes of Apple. Except this thing made it to market many years before watches fell from Apple’s tree.

The pebble watch doesnt just displaying the time, but can also interact with smartphone notifications, activity tracking, gaming, map display and even the price of bitcoin

2. Potato Salad

If there ever was a record for most funded picnic lunch, this campaign has to take the cake. Well, the potato salad.

Zach Brown just wanted to raise $10 bucks for a nice lunch but instead awoke the appetite of almost 7000 people on kickstarter who gave him $55,000! For potato salad!

So, what do you do when you have $55,000 to spend on lunch? Throw a party of course! With a concert and potatoes and races and rides and potatoes. Well, that’s exactly what Zach did and called it potatostock. Kinda like Woodstock, no, chickenstock!

3. Ethereum Smart Contracts

Coming in as the second highest crowdfunding campaign ever, is something so geeky, not many people have even heard of it.

It’s called Ethereum and it’s a decentralized platform and protocol for publishing smart contracts, which are a set of rules that tell computers how and when to pay for something.

Ethereum must be on to something because they raised over $18 million from bitcoin users around the world.

Not only is it the 2nd highest crowdfunding campaign ever, it’s also the most successful one to be funded entirely in bitcoin.

4. Exploding Kittens

Would you buy a Card game featuring exploding kittens?

Cat-lovers might be horrified to learn that over 219,000 people pledged $8.8 million for a deck of cards. With pictures of exploding kittens.

Well, they’re just cartoons and it’s not just kittens. There’s also goats, men with overgrown back hair, unicorns, laser beams and weaponized enchiladas.

The game is essentially Russian Roulette; you draw cards until you get an exploding kitten, at which point you get kicked out of the game.

The project hit its primary goal of $10,000 in just 8 minutes and exceeded $2,000,000 in 24 hours.

This deck of cards is in the top 10 most crowdfunded campaigns ever.

5. Star Citizen

The single largest crowdfunding campaign even made it into the Guinness Book of World Records.

With a whopping $72 million raised, the prestigious title goes to Star Citizen, a Space combat video game for PCs from the designer of Wing Commander. Star Citizen aims to create a living, breathing science fiction universe with unparalleled immersion.

Chris Roberts has big plans for the game saying:

“I don’t want to build a game. I want to build a universe.”Chris Roberts

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For contributing to the game’s funding, backers receive virtual rewards which include a spaceship and credits to buy equipment, fuel and pay rental fees.

6. Oculus Rift

Possibly the most famous crowdfunding campaigns is that of the Oculus Rift.

The first truly immersive virtual reality headset for video games raised $2.4 million on kickstarter to develop Next-Generation Virtual Reality Technology.

The Oculus Rift tracks head position and uses a new type of display to eliminate motion blur and judder with HD resolution for each eye.

With this headset on, the wearer can immerse themselves in 3D games and movies.

The technology is so likeable, Facebook thought it would be worth their while to acquire the company that makes Oculus Rift for a $2 billion valuation!

7. REMee Lucid Dreaming Mask

In another crowdfunding campaign project that attaches to your face, The Remee is an REM enhancing Lucid Dreaming Mask to wear while sleeping.

Ever wanted to control your dreams and do whatever you want in them? Like, you know, fly to mars, or eat a whole bucket of chocolate ice-cream, or seek revenge on those who have wronged you.

This project raised over half a million dollars to produce the mask which flashes lights into your eyes during a specific stage of your sleep cycle when dreaming occurs, known as REM sleep.

When you see the lights in your dreams, you’re meant to consciously recognize that you’re sleeping, so then you can go about your business of flying around and bumping uglies with your ex.

8. 3Doodler

Ever dreamed of drawing in 3D? Well, you dont need the lucid dreaming mask to achieve that goal. Introducing the 3D oodler! or is it 3 doodler.

Either way, it’s a 3D printing pen that allows you to draw in 3 Dimensions by extruding a heated plastic filament that cools almost instantly into a solid, stable structure.

This awesome pen raised $2.3 million from over 26,000 backers and can make some really impressive stuff.

Now I can bring my crappy 2 dimensional drawings to life.

9. Coolest Cooler

You know what’s cool? $13 million. That’s the amount raised for this cooler. It’s the coolest cooler. That’s not my opinion, that’s just the name of it, but hey, it is cool.

So what makes it so cool, i hear you ask?

OK, it has a built-in ice crushing blender, a waterproof bluetooth speaker and a USB charger so you can stay cool while charging your phone.

It also has a light on the lid, a cutting board, integrated storage for plates and utensils and it’s all waterproof.

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17 Of The Most Idiotic Interview Questions Ever Asked

Being on the receiving end of an interview can be a nerve-racking experience. While some interviewers like to put candidates at ease, others like to throw curve-balls to assess how quickly the candidate can think on their feet.

But some interview questions are asked solely for the entertainment of the interviewer and to assert power over the poor sucker vying for a job.

And while I’ve heard many great interview questions that really assess the person who has applied for the position, conversely, I’ve heard some of the dumbest, most irrelevant, near-illegal questions ever uttered in an interview.

For the interviewer, it’s crucial to understand the question behind the question and to frame it in the right context. Great questions are formed around knowing what information to look for.

The interviewer wants to know how the candidate’s mind works, problem solving ability, how they work within a team, how they get motivated, and how they’d fit within the organization.

That’s how an interview should be. Sometimes, it degenerates into a barrage of trick questions and childish one-upmanship with co-interviewers.

Here, for your enjoyment and horror, are some of the most idiotic questions ever asked at interview – by the interviewer.

1. Can you do this job?

Congratulations Sherlock, you’ve solved the case. This question is so empty I can see dust floating around in the interviewer’s skull.

2. What superhero would you be and why?

When I was 6 years old, I contemplated this question with deep thought and analysis. That’s the only age group it should be applied to.

3. If you were a kitchen appliance what would you be?

Let me go have a look around my kitchen and get back to you… OK, I found this. It’s a pizza cutter. That’s an appliance, right?

4. If you had to present to a group of animals, which animals would you pick?

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Oh, this one is easy. I’d present to a pack of meerkats so that everyone is standing to attention. And they’re just so damn cute lookin’.

5. What is the funniest joke you’ve heard recently?

This could end in disaster. A dirty joke can help the candidate seem like ‘one of the guys’ or a lame joke could make them look like a dumb-ass. Surely, this is a dangerous question to answer.

6. Would you ever date your boss and why?

And speaking of dangerous, what is the interviewer even thinking? Seriously.

7. Here’s a blank sheet of paper and a pencil. Draw an elephant.

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While not really a question, what bizarro world have we stepped into? Assuming this is some kind of a test, I can only guess it’s to assess the candidate’s willingness to go beyond his job description. But in the end – he’s just drawing a freakin’ elephant.

8. Can I see your wallet?

Isn’t this how magic tricks begin?

9. What would you do if someone spat on you?

Don’t make any sudden moves. This could be a threat.

10. Are you willing to put your job before your family?

So not fair! And apparently against federal law to ask!

11. Have you ever had a sexually transmitted disease?

“Sorry, I thought I was being interviewed for an office job, not a ______ job.”

12. Did you ever have trouble starting your car?

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“Yes, I did. It was a decade ago and the battery was flat. I called for assistance. Did you ever have trouble asking relevant questions?”

13. Do you have an Internet?

Yes, sir. I have one in my pocket.

14. How do you define sexual harassment?

See question #6 and #11.

15. Should doctors be upset about Dr. Pepper?

If the doctor’s name is Dr. Pepper and he’s being teased about being a soda drink, then perhaps …

16. What’s your greatest weakness?

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I’d have to say meerkats. Yes, definitely meerkats.

17. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

If you are a candidate and ever get asked this question, please promise me you will answer “sitting in your chair”. That long awkward pause while the interviewer wonders what you mean will be hilarious. Getting kicked out onto the street – not so much.

BONUS GOOD QUESTIONS

  • Tell me – in no more than 2 words – what you think we do?
  • When was the last time you lost your temper and what for?
  • Have you ever had to sacrifice quality to achieve targets?

Readers, what are some of the dumbest questions you have been asked – or did the asking – in an interview?

Mcdonalds Branding

Why Good Blog Names Unleash The Power Of Branding

Finding good blog names that encapsulate your interests is the very first decision you should make as a blogger.

Branding and the use of symbols in marketing is so powerful in modern society, that I’d be able to flash a yellow M in front of your eyes for a microsecond and you’d instantly know it represented McDonalds. Your subconscious will throw images of burgers and fries into the forefront of your mind, your mouth might start salivating and perhaps your stomach may grumble.

Why would your body react to such a stimulus in this way? That is the power of branding and association.

Good Blog Names Are Brand Names

Although we may not aspire to be multinational giants, we can learn a thing or two from the big name brands when it comes to our own blogs.

The first piece of advice I can give aspiring bloggers is this,

“Start your new blog like you are starting a new business. First, you need something to sell – your topic. Then, you need a brand name. Figure this out before you start.”

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In 2011, Matt Cutts from Google’s web spam team (the guys who tweak the search engine results) said,

“We actually came up with a classifier to say, okay, IRS or Wikipedia or New York Times is over on this side, and the low quality sites are over on this side.”Matt Cutts

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If you’re not catching on, Eric Schmidt, then CEO of Google, makes it clearer,

“Brands are the solution, not the problem… brands are how you sort out the cesspool.”Eric Schmidt

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To be abundantly clear, Google have said if you want to rank highly in the search results, you must have a unique brand.

Branding Branding Branding!

Let’s Talk Domain Names

If you have read advice from the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) crowd telling you to choose a domain name (your website address, eg inscribd.com) that matches your topic keywords, this advice is OLD. OLD advice is BAD advice.

Now, I don’t think a domain name www.keyword1-keyword2-keyword3.com is a good blog name or brand and Google most likely doesn’t either.

Once you know the name of your blog, you’d need to register a domain name through a registrar like Go Daddy

Reasons Not To Use Keywords In Your Domain

Let’s say you have jumped in and registered a domain dogscatsandalligators.com

You may hit a few problems in your blogging journey and your choice of domain name has shoved you into a corner. What if you don’t want to write about alligators anymore?

Here are 5 quick reasons why it’s better to find good blog names and register a domain with a unique brand over one with keywords.

  1. You can easily change topics and categories if they’re not gaining traction,
  2. You don’t have to register a new domain name if you decide to change course,
  3. Readers and *advertisers* feel your website is more legitimate over ones without a brand name,
  4. Loyal readers can search for your brand name easily in Google, as opposed to remembering the keywords of your domain,
  5. Longterm SEO branding.

If your purpose of blogging is to earn some money through advertising, then a brand name is essential.

“You need to earn an advertiser’s respect before you can earn their dollars.”

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How To Choose The Right Brand For Your Blog

In the Internet-age, choosing a brand name goes hand-in-hand with choosing a domain name. If you have a general idea of the topics you will be writing about, you can start by searching available domains using Go Daddy’s console.

It will be very unlikely that you will find a domain name available that is a single dictionary word. You’ll need to be creative.

Your final choice of domain name should be unique, easy to say out loud and be SHORT. Long domains are more cumbersome so, the shorter the better!

For more tips on domain choice, which effectively inspires your brand name, read our article 7 Tricks To Grabbing The Best Domain Names

Before you register the domain, type the name (without the .com) into Google and see what comes up. If you get no results, you’ve hit upon a purely unique name. Even if there are some results, make sure the name isn’t associated with anything negative.

Branding is a big deal and choosing your domain name should not be taken lightly. If you think of your blog like a business, you would want to give deep thought to your business name.

Give it a while to sink in before making the big effort of starting your blog. Make sure you are happy with the name and you will be able to write about a range of topics under your brand (even though you really should just focus on a narrow set of topics).

Tell us in the comments, how many times have you decided to start from scratch?

Disclaimer: Links to 3rd party sites included within this article denoted with /go/ in the URL may result in commission being earned if you decide to make a purchase.

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Basic Advertising Terminology Explained

If you’ve encountered terms like CPC, PPC, CPM, RPM and a whole host of other online advertising terminology for the first time, it can seem rather confusing.

You’ll find these terms related to paying for advertising, such as through Google Adwords, or when you’re looking at earnings in Google AdSense for ads displayed on your website.

AdWords.

“AdWords is Google’s network that allows advertisers to bid for visitors. Advertisers pay Google every time a visitor clicks on their ad.”

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AdSense.

AdSense is Google’s advertising network for publishers (website owners) to allow ads on their site and get paid when visitors click on those ads.”

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For many bloggers and small businesses alike, online advertising has become a major source of income or lead generator. But many people still don’t fully understand all the advertising terminology and this lack of knowledge can cost you dearly.

Before monetizing your blog and sticking ads everywhere, it’s very important to ensure you are indexed in Google and receiving a sufficient number of visitors. Install Google Analytics on your website to keep track of visitors and give it at least 2 weeks to see any trends forming.

Pageviews.

“Pageviews is the accumulated number of times any page on your website has been viewed.”

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I recommend waiting until you are receiving 100 pageviews per day consistently before even *considering* including ads on your site. In reality, if your website is receiving only 100 visitors per day, you likely will not earn much revenue at all. To see even a few dollars, you’ll need at least 1,000 visitors per day.

Traffic.

“Traffic is a term to describe people visiting your website.”

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When Google analyzes your pages for the search index, a page filled with ads will get a lower ranking than one without. Keep that in mind. First focus on increasing your website traffic, then you can think about including advertisements.

CTR.

“Click-Through-Rate (CTR) is calculated as a percentage of visits per ad click.”

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The amount of advertising revenue you can generate from your blog largely depends on traffic x Click-Through-Rate. Websites tend to have a click-through-rate of anywhere between 0.05% to 6%, but most commonly at the lower end. To increase revenue, you’d need to increase either website traffic or your click-through-rate or both.

CPC and PPC.

“Cost-Per-Click (CPC) and Price-Per-Click (PPC) is the fee an advertiser will pay each time a visitor clicks on their ad.”

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The terms Cost-Per-Click and Price-Per-Click are synonymous and is the easiest to understand. Whenever a visitor clicks an ad on your website, you get paid a certain amount.

The amount you get paid varies and it’s important to understand the 2 sides to this CPC coin.

From an advertiser’s perspective, their cost per click may be $1. For example, they pay Google $1. As a publisher, you don’t get the full $1 back from Google because they need to keep some of the advertising revenue. You will get 68% of the cut, and Google keeps the rest.

CPC advertising is the most popular form because it guarantees an advertiser that they will only pay when someone clicks through their ads, regardless of how many times their ad is displayed.

CPM and RPM.

“Cost-Per-Mille (CPM) and Revenue-Per-Mille (RPM) is the revenue generated for showing 1000 ads to your website visitors.”

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In Latin, mille means thousand. The second most prominent form of advertising is CPM, which basically allows an advertiser to pay a certain amount for one thousand ad displays.

Under this scheme, it doesn’t matter how many times their ad is clicked, the advertiser will only pay a fixed fee. Likewise, a publisher will only receive a fixed fee for every 1000 ad impressions.

Impressions.

“Impressions is a measure of pageviews multiplied by the number of ad units displayed on a page.”

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CPA.

“Cost-Per-Action (CPA) allows advertisers to pay a referring publisher when a visitor has performed a specific task, such as filling out a form.”

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Sometimes known as Cost Per Acquisition or Cost Per Action, publisher’s only get paid a fixed fee when they refer to visitor to the advertiser’s website, and only when the visitor subsequently take a specified action, such as submitting their email address, taking a survey or purchasing a product.

Usually, CPA pays higher rates than CPC or CPM ads, but the visitor’s effort is much greater and therefore less likely to finish the task.

Affiliate Advertising.

“Affiliate Advertising allows product owners to pay a commission to referring publisher when a visitor purchases their product.”

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Affiliate advertising is similar to CPA advertising, except that the “action” here is a paid sale of a product. Whenever your blog visitor buys that product through your referral link, you earn a commission from that sale.

Also read Affiliate Marketing Basics. Earn Hefty Commissions The Easy Way

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