Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Long Travel Day

Ok, so I'm about to turn off my computer and pack it up. I leave tomorrow morning.

I'm very much looking forward to 24+ hours of travel time. 8-)

This is just a short post to let the "couple" of people regularly read my little blog know that I'll probably be offline for the next 5-6 days. However, once I get settled in, I expect to have an Internet connection in my room.

So ... I'll definitely be "chatting" with you again soon,
Todd
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Friday, September 25, 2009

The IRS Is Not As Scary As You May Think

First an admission ...

Due to circumstances that were largely NOT beyond my control (even though I'd love to use that excuse), I just recently filed several years of back taxes. I won't go too far into the mucky details; but basically I had one tax year where I either owed a bit, or was due a refund; depending on whether or not someone was legally considered a dependent. The problem was, I was missing a key piece of information that would help make that determination.

And that's where my "stupid" started ...

Instead of just sucking it up, and paying the high 3 figure amount (really not significant in the big scheme of things) for that tax year, I decided to wait for the documentation, that I expected would allow me to get a refund instead.

Then I got even "stupider" ...

While waiting (and waiting, and waiting, and waiting) for said documentation, I subsequently ass-u-me(d) that it wouldn't be a good idea to file current year returns, since I still had an earlier one I didn't file ... so I "missed" a couple more years.

And here's the really, really, dumb thing. For a few of those years that I skipped, I was due some pretty substantial refunds. (although, I didn't realize it at the time).

I'm not sure why I was so dumb, why I let myself get paralyzed into inaction on a such an important matter.

Part of it is probably just basic human nature ... once you screw up, and you know you've screwed up, it's much easier to simply try to avoid the situation, than to deal with the consequences.

... and speaking of consequences, we're talking about the I. R. frickin S. here. I think I was always probably "just a little" scared of what was going to happen when it all caught up with me.

Anyhow, earlier this summer, I bit the bullet, and took care of the problem by filing "several years" of back tax returns all at one time.

As expected, I owed money for the original year ... + penalties and interest (although not nearly as bad as I thought it might be). For every other year, I was due a refund.

Note: Before I started this process, I called one of those tax trouble businesses who does a lot of advertising on radio and tv. (I won't name them, but you can probably figure out who I'm talking about). They offered to guide me though the whole process ... right after I gave them a credit card #, so that they could charge me about $3,000 !!!

The sad part is, I was so scared of the IRS, that I almost paid it.

Not paying the "no vowels, just savings" people , was about the only Smart decision I made when it comes to this whole ordeal. (although, had I actually owed 10s of thousands of dollars, I do suspect that their services may have been very much worthwhile to me)

Here's the really IRONIC thing though ...

Today was the day that everything is finally wrapped up (my returns are all current, my debts are paid, and a refund is coming my way). I actually just got off the phone with the IRS a little while ago, before deciding to write this post. And I have to tell you ...

Throughout the entire process; from finding the right forms, to getting phone numbers and addresses, and even answering quite a few questions that I had; the people I dealt with on the phone at the IRS were nothing but Friendly, Understanding, and quite honestly (from my perspective) Very Helpful.

In hindsight, what the heck was I so scared of ???

So, that brings me to Todd's Tip for today ...

If you find yourself having tax difficulties, (unless you really have done something questionable or wrong); before you either go into debt paying someone to "help" you, and/or let fear paralyze you into inaction (which could end up being even more costly); pick up the silly phone and call the IRS.

... you might just find yourself pleasantly surprised by the outcome. (and I assure you, even if not "pleasant", the result will most likely be much better than if you wait for them to call you first).

Todd

p.s. I'm not terribly sure about the wisdom of sharing this story so publicly. But ultimately, I figured that the potential benefits someone (in a similar situation) may gain from reading about my "stupidness", probably outweigh any possible additional consequences I may be subjecting myself to by sharing (especially since the situation is already resolved).



thumbnail credit:on flickr
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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Why Do You Comment?

A couple of Simple questions ...


  • What is your goal when you leave a comment on someone else's blog or website?


  • Do you have an actual "commenting strategy"? In other words, do you plan time for commenting? Do you "target" specific types of blogs?


  • What are some of the actual benefits you're realized as a result of commenting on other people's blogs?




I'm planning to do a "commenting tips" type post here in the next week or so. These are just a few of the questions that I was curious about. So I figured, rather than doing all my research out on the interwebs, I might as well ask here first.

So what's your take?

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I Really Did Meet My Wife On Match.com

I've been remarried for almost 3 years now.

We sometimes tell people we met in Walmart (not exactly sure how that's "better"), but in reality, we are an online dating success story. I met Ana on match.com.

Todd and Ana

I can't remember who initiated the conversation, but I do remember that her profile name was something like "latinmommy", and was all about her and her kids (now my step-kids; Johnathan and Jasmine). Ana say that her sister actually made the profile for her ... she obviously did a good job. Which ever one of us it was who "winked" at the other first, eventually it was mutual, and we started chatting ... first by email, then more "real time" on yahoo, and on the phone.

Finally on the morning of the 4th of July, I happened to catch Ana on yahoo chat. We talked for a few minutes, then she said she had to get offline, so she could go shopping for school supplies at Walmart. Since two of my kids (Justin and Jordan) had come to live with me that summer, I also needed school supplies, so offered to meet her there ...

We got all the school stuff, and I picked up a tv for the kids room. During the hour or so we were there, we had a nice conversation, and Ana (unintentionally on my part) got to see my scatter brained side. When I paid for the TV with my debit card, in the electronics department, I asked for $40 cash back ... and then promptly walked away without the money! Fortunately, I discovered it in the parking lot, and had time to run back in. The poor cashier had to count her drawer and check it against the printout, but eventually I got my money; and Ana got a good laugh at my expense (the first of many times to come).

A few minutes later, I got a phone call from Justin. His mom had called wanting to talk to Jordan. The one little problem ... Jordan had gone outside to play, and Justin wasn't sure exactly where she was ... I needed to get home ASAP.

Before I left, I did a very smart thing ...

During our conversation, Ana had told me that her kids would be spending the evening with her dad, so she didn't know what she was doing that night. Well, since I lived just a 10 minute walk from the beach, and had a great view of 3 different fireworks displays, I decided to invite her to come watch the show with us. (I was just being nice)

I won't bore you with the rest of the details. The long story short version ... at the end of the evening, I walked her to her car; we kissed; saw fireworks of our own; got married about 6 months later. My 3 kids, her 2, and when Jaiden was born in August 2008 ... that's the way we all became the Brady Bunch ... (come on everyone sing along)

Seriously though, so that this isn't just a story about me, there is a Todd's Tip here ...

Should you find yourself single, online dating really isn't a bad thing. Sure there are some weirdos and freaks out there. But, for the most part there are also a whole bunch of nice normal people, who are looking to connect with other nice normal people. Don't be scared, take a chance !

Til next time ...
Todd
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Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Dream Board In Your Pocket

I'm a fan of using a dream board as part of an overall goal setting strategy. In fact, I've previously written about how to make your own online dream board.

But what if you don't always have access to your computer?

Or what if you're like many of us, and you already spend Too Much Time sitting in front of this silly box?

Is there anything wrong with going totally low tech?

16:00

Here's an idea ...

Next time you're down at Wally World, stop by the stationary section, and pick up one of those little pocket sized notebooks. Not the little tiny flip-up ones. One of the one that opens from the side like a regular notebook, but is small enough to fit in a cargo pocket or purse ... I think it's 4x6.

Use it just like you would your online dream board:

Put the date at the top of each page. Then divide your daily entries into 3 sections:

  1. Today I am Thankful for …
  2. Things I like about myself today …
  3. My Goals and Intentions …


Make a new "post" every morning. Then, since you're carrying your "dream board" with you, you'll have the opportunity to review it as many times as you want throughout the day.

And if you wanted to get "fancy", you could even use the inside front and back covers to paste pictures (from books or magazines) of your goals.

This is just an idea ...

The important thing is, no matter how you go about goal setting, you MUST write them down !!!

I hope you find this helpful.

Todd
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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Hilton Hawaiian Village Friday Night Fireworks




When my kids were younger, one of our favorite Friday night activities was to go down to Waikiki beach to watch the Hilton Hawaiian Village fireworks show. We wouldn't actually go to the Hilton though. The military hotel, the Hale Koa, is right next door. And with an ID card, it's totally free to swim in the pool all day long.

Usually what we'd do, is when the kids got home from school, we'd load the car up with towels, swim suits, and maybe a cooler full of drinks. Then we'd get on H-1 and head for Honolulu. It usually took us between 1/2 hour and 45 minutes to get there; depending on how much that wonderful Hawaii traffic decided to cooperate on that particular day. Since, as I mentioned, the Hilton Hawaiian Village is right next to the Hale Koa, parking was never a problem either. We just parked in the military lot, where I think the price was less than a buck an hour ... cheap fun in paradise ;-)

Some times we'd hit the beach for a little bit. That part of Waikiki is really good for kids, as the water is very calm due to a break wall a couple hundred feet out. But most of the time, the kids just wanted to play in the sand any way. As for mom and dad, we were quite happy to just take in the scenery. Then it was time for swimming in the pool.

Hilton Hawaiian Village Church (Hale Koa)



The fireworks usually started at either 7pm in the winter, or 8pm in the summer. Which means we almost always had as at least a couple of hours to swim before the entertainment started. Which wasn't a bad thing at all ... the Hale Koa has a really nice pool. And the best part is, since the fireworks were shot off right over the beach, we often didn't even have to leave the watch to watch the show. I'll tell you, there aren't too many things more pleasant than floating along in a pool, watching an awesome fireworks show on a cool Hawaiian night.

We usually followed the fireworks up with a burger, and if the kids were good, maybe a shave ice.

Memories are good, but I sure do miss living in paradise.

Til next time ..
Todd
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Thursday, September 17, 2009

How To Prepare For A Military Deployment

[caption id="attachment_590" align="alignleft" width="250" caption="Dust storm in Iraq"]Dust storm in Iraq[/caption] So what are some of the steps that a military guy (or girl) should take when they find out they'll be going on an "overseas adventure"?

And I'm not talking about your military training, or the endless checklists and appointments that your unit will surely have for you. I'm thinking more along the lines of how to make sure that your personal stuff ... and your family's, is squared away, so that you don't have to worry about it while you're over there. (depending on your job, you'll probably have enough other stuff to worry about)

Ok, let's start with the important stuff ...

A Visit to the Legal Office



Ok, first area, and I already lied when I said I wouldn't write about things that are on your unit checklist ... I'm sure this is. That said, I do have a few insights to add when it comes to things you need to do at your base/post legal office.


  1. Update your Will - If you don't already have a will, you need one. And if you do have one, it almost certainly needs to be updated ... depending on how long it's been since your last deployment. For instance, it's been two years since I deployed last time, and I've had another daughter since then. Obviously, the lawyer will be able to give you advice on what to put ... but if in doubt, you want to be as specific as possible. If the worst happens to you, the last thing in the world your love ones will need to deal with is having to go to court to sort out your affairs, because your will was ambiguous in some important area.


  2. Review/Update/Get your Living Will - If you're on life support, what measures do you want the doctors to take to try to keep you alive? Do you have someone specific that you want to make decisions about your care, if you're unable to? ... does this person know you want them to do this? Spelling your wishes out in a legal document will, again, make things much easier on your loved ones should they be put in the terrible situation of having to make these type of decisions.


  3. Powers of Attorney - With all the things you can take care of on the Internet these days, it's a little easier to take care of your own affairs, even while deployed. That being said, it's still a good idea to empower at least one person back home, with the ability (and legal right) to handle those situations that you can't. What you want, is a Special Power of Attorney for each specific task that may need to be accomplished. Some people may only need 1 or 2, but it's also quite possible to have to get as many as a dozen (if you have a very complicated life). If you're married, and/or you have someone that you trust implicitly, you can also consider a General Power of Attorney . Two reasons why this might not be the best idea though ...

    • A general power of attorney gives someone absolute control of your affairs ... they are authorized to act as if they were you. Just something to think about.

    • On the flip side, because general power of attorneys have at times been abused, some institutions such as banks may (at their discretion) refuse to accept a general power of attorney ... this is a situation where you'll probably need a special power of attorney.


    Bottom line, as backwards as it may sound, Specials are what you want, with a General as a potential backup. In either case, make sure that the power of attorney is in effect throughout the duration of your deployment ... you want it to end about a month after you get back (in case you get delayed). Note: please don't take any of the above paragraphs as "legal advice" ... as I am not a lawyer ... see the legal office for that.



Pay Attention to your Finances



Depending on your home situation, and where you're going, deploying can potentially add a few dollars to your bank account while you're gone. But if you're not careful, there are also some "opportunities" to get yourself in trouble.


  1. Set up Automatic Payments - This is especially important for single people, but even if you're married, if you're the one who pays the bills, it might be a good idea to ensure that they are paid automatically ... in case you can't get to a computer, and so that your spouse doesn't have to worry about it. Just contact your bank, utility or credit card company, explain your situation, and get the procedures for signing up.


  2. Service Members Civil Relief Act - There are a lot of provisions to this act, and if you have any legal issues, you definitely want to contact your base/post legal office to see how this act may affect your situation. There are at least two areas of of this bill that allow almost all of us to benefit though ...
    • Reduce Interest Rates - Once you have your orders, you can simply write a letter to your creditors, and request that under the provisions of the Service member's civil relief act, your interest rate be lowered to no more than 6% for the duration of your deployment. In my experience, most companies are fairly cooperative ... and some, such as USAA will even extend that lower rate for up to a year after you return from deployment.

    • Suspend your Cell Phone - Unless you have a quad-band phone, and you're prepared to pay some relatively outrageous per minute rates, you're probably not going to use your cell phone while you're deployed ... and there's no reason you should have to pay for something you're not going to use. You have the right to suspend your account while you're gone. And in some cases, it may even be possible to get out of your contract altogether.



  3. Tax Free Pay - During the time that you're deployed to a combat zone, your basic pay will Not be taxed. Depending on how much you make, and how many dependents you have, this could save you several hundred dollars a month. In addition, and even better, if you're in a career field that's eligible for a reenlistment bonus, if you can manage to do the deed while you're deployed, the entire bonus amount is also tax free.


  4. Savings Deposit Program - In addition to any special rates or programs that your own bank may offer while you're deployed (ask them), the military also has a program that will allow you to deposit up to $10,000 and earn 10% on that money while you're deployed. This is a particularly good idea if you'll be getting one of those bonuses mentioned in the paragraph above. But even if you're not getting a bonus, you may qualify for a couple of hundred dollars a month in special allowances (ie, imminent danger pay, family separation allowance, etc.,) Unless your family at home needs the extra money while you're gone, it just make sense to earn some interest on this money, and come home to a nice little nest egg.



Take Care of your Family



Heading off to a combat zone is obviously not an easy thing for any service member. But a pretty convincing argument can be made that it might actually be even harder for those you leave behind. Probably the most important step in your pre-deployment preparations is making sure that your family is prepared, and taken care of.


  1. Contact with your Unit - Make sure that your spouse, girl/boy friend, parents, etc., have good contact information for someone in your unit, in case they need help while you're gone. In addition, you should seek out the civilian support structure within your unit ... usually the commanders spouse will head up some sort of club/group ... make sure they also know that you'll be gone, and have good contact information for your loved ones. Encourage your loved ones to participate.


  2. Plan to Communicate - Most overseas locations now have at least some form of Internet access. This makes communication easier than it may have been in the past, but you still need a plan. Will you talk on Skype, Yahoo Chat, Google Talk, etc,. ? If so, you need to make sure both you and your loved ones have accounts, and your computers are properly configured. If you plan to talk by phone, have you budgeted for phone cards? Have you made a chart of the time differences, so you don't accidentally call your spouse in the middle of the night? Have you told your loved ones that there may be occasions when you can't call (even for days at a time), but this probably shouldn't make them worry. These are just a few things to consider.

  3. On-post Services - Different locations have their own unique programs, but pretty much all military installations have special services for the dependents of deployed members. For instance, here at Fort Hood, a couple of things we're definitely going to take advantage of are having the housing office mow our grass for free, and the fees are waived for MWR/Youth Center programs that the kids sign up for while I'm gone. That's just a few examples though, check with your base's Family Support Center (or equivalent) for all the details of what's offered at your location.


  4. Off-post Services - Many businesses in your local community will have special discounts and promotions specifically for military families. These are often advertised in the local newspaper, but even if they're not, make sure your loved ones take the attitude that "it never hurts to ask". In addition, a great resource for your family member is the website www.MilitaryOneSource.com. They offer a variety of services, but one in particular that my family has experience with is the Free Counseling . While I was in Iraq last time, my parents, my kids, and my new wife/step kids (Ana and I had just gotten married) were all in the same house. As you might expect, there were some occasional issues. My mom call military one source, and was able to arrange Free weekly sessions with a family counselor ... which proved to be very helpful, and definitely lowered my stress level as well (there's no more helpless feeling, than knowing there's a problem at home, but not being able to do anything to help make it better because you're thousands of miles away, trying to do your job).


  5. Talk about the "bad" stuff - This is an area that most of us don't even want to think about. However, it is important that you have a conversation with your family about what to do if you're captured (or even worse, killed) while you're overseas. If you need help figuring out how to initiate this discussion, you might even want to refer to one of those resources in the paragraphs above (ie; a counselor, chaplain, etc.,).



Enjoy Time with your Loved Ones



Last but certainly not least, make sure before you go that you take advantage of any opportunity you may get to spend some quality time with your loved ones. Most military organizations have a pretty liberal leave policy, ones you've completed all of your required checklists. Definitely take some time off if you can !!!

Note: You may have noticed that I haven't done a whole lot of linking out in this post. That's because I'm never sure how much you can trust what you read on the Internet (even on my site). I strongly suggest that if you want additional details on anything mentioned in this article that you contact the appropriate office (ie: legal, finance, support etc,.) at your local installation to get the answers "straight from the horse's mouth". That being said, I hope that reading this may inspire you do some research, or ask some questions, that you hadn't previously been aware of or considered.

Til next time ...
Todd

p.s. I leave in a little less than 2 weeks myself. I used writing this article as something of a personal checklist. Hopefully I haven't left anything important out, but just in case, I do plan to continue blogging while I'm in Iraq, so keep on the lookout for follow-up posts.

p.p.s. if you have any relevant experiences or tips, please free to share in the comments section below ...
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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

How To Save Money By Getting A New Car

... well, a van actually.

[caption id="attachment_598" align="alignnone" width="450" caption="Our new Kia van "]Our new Kia van [/caption]

With a growing family, it was time to get something with a bit more room. For the past couple of years, we've had two cars. Ana drove a Kia Sorento SUV, and I had a Saturn Ion. This arrangement worked for getting us where we needed to go ... but, both cars had monthly payments.

One upside of my heading for Iraq soon, is that at least for the next 6 months, we have the opportunity to be a one-car family. (and that's where the money savings come)

We'd been considering getting a van for a while. But now seemed like a perfect time to do it. In addition to my deployment giving us the chance to just have one car; the credit market is better, so we got a good interest rate, and with the car companies trying to build their business back up, there are a whole bunch of rebates and credits out there ... even with Cash for Clunkers having ended last month.



To make this work, we had to trade in both cars. This wasn't exactly an easy task, as the Saturn was blue booking for about what we owed on it, but the Sorento was a few K upside down. Knowing this, I went shopping with the mindset that I was looking for a deal.

... and more importantly, Ana and I had decided that getting a van right now would be treated as something we'd Like to do; not necessarily something that we Need to do.

We browsed around online, and actually found that we liked the Kia (we were very happy with Ana's Sorento, so we have a history of good feeling about Kia). I filled out their little form, and got a call from salesman Mark the next day ...

When we went to the dealership that after noon, I was very clear with Mark on a couple of points, right off the bat:


  1. We already knew we liked the van ... that part probably wouldn't take a whole lot of selling

  2. We didn't intend to spend any cash right now.

  3. Because we weren't putting any money down, we needed a good deal on our trade-ins ... ie, enough to pay them off; with the help of the rebates we would be getting on the new van.

  4. Last but not least, I told Mark that if things couldn't be worked out, it was cool, we'd be back to see him in the spring when I get home from deployment. I wasn't playing him or anything, I honestly wouldn't have been disappointed if we would of had to wait 7 more months to get a van.



The initial deal that they offered us, wasn't the greatest. The trade-in offers were pretty much right at blue book. This left us financing more than the the sticker price of the van ... even after account for $2500 in rebates. Which meant the monthly payment was going to be a bit higher than I would have liked. Despite this, they did offer to let me continue to drive my Saturn for the next two weeks until I leave, if we would commit to a deal right then ... subject to approved financing.

I'm not sure exactly why, but I decided to say yes, and we drove off in the van that afternoon. This turned out to be a good decision ...

When I went back on Monday to finalize the deal, the finance manager told me she has some good news, some great news, and some bad news for me. Obviously I took the bad news first. There was a bit of problems with the financing. This would turn out to be the bad and the great news ...

The bad news was, they wanted me to put down $200 (I can live with that).

The good news was, my monthly payments were going to be lower than what I'd been quoted.

The great news was, apparently the bank didn't want to finance the extra amount above the price of the van. So, rather than risk losing the deal altogether (remember I told them I could wait til April), the dealership somehow found a way to give me a couple thousand more on my trade-ins.

Win-win for everybody.

So basically, we came out of this with a brand new Van, (with a 10 year 100,000 mile warranty) ... which will be quite useful with all the kids. While lowering our monthly expenses (between car payments and insurance) by almost $300 a month.

The only downside is, I will still have to get some form of transportation when I get back in the spring. But since it's only a 6 mile trip to work, I don't necessarily have to be too picky ... I'm thinking one of those $99 a month specials might end up being right up my alley.

Anyhow ... bottom line ... there are some great deals to be had out there right now. If you've been thinking about getting a new or different car, this is a very good time to head to the dealership and explore your options.

Til next time ...
Todd



















Ana will drive the van, and then when I get back, I'm going hopefully have saved a bit of cash while deployed ... enabling me to pick up a little runner, that will get me back and forth to work every day.
7

Can You Get Rich Blogging About Making Money?

So you know you need more income. There's always too much month at the end of your paycheck. You need to find a viable way to increase your cash flow. Well, you've got a computer ... you could start a blog ... but what should you write about? It rarely fails, when someone gets on the Internet and decides they'd like earn extra income, one of the first ideas that pops into their head is to start a new blog about making money.

I mean heck, if I'm interested in it, then other people must be too right? I'll just go copy some PLR articles, slap about 25 or 30 bright flashing 125x125 ads in my side bars, then sit back and wait for the huge checks to start rolling in. Sounds like a good plan huh?

Unfortunately, for the vast majority of people ...

Earning a Significant Income writing about Making Money Online is about as likely as Winning the Lottery



The biggest problem ... probably 99% of the people who are (attempting to) write about making money online, are NOT cashing big checks themselves ... never have ... and sadly, most likely Never will. In fact, I'd almost be willing to bet that the majority of "make money" bloggers aren't even using most of the "sounds too good to be true" programs that they so proudly display in the "check out our sponsors", above the fold, section of their website. (note: for most, it's probably a good thing they didn't actually buy into these schemes ... but it sucks that they think it's ok to hope that other suckers will)

Speaking of Ads ...

How many times have you visited a website or blog, and almost immediately noticed that there are multiple types of advertising ... adsense, banners, chitika, fake blog rolls, and of course the obligatory posts about the latest and greatest "hot" affiliate deals? Or what about those sites you sometimes land on, where there literally appears to be more advertising than actual content? Here's a dirty little (not so) Secret for you ...

The More ads you see, the LESS likely it is the blog is Making Money



Now obviously, there are exceptions. But for the most part, this is a pretty tried and true "rule" ... especially in the MMO niche. And webmasters who break this rule, pretty much betray a lack of basic salesmanship knowledge. Don't get me wrong, it sounds perfectly logical to someone who doesn't know any better, that the more choices you give someone, the more likely they are to make a "good" decision ... in this case clicking on an ad, and/or making a purchase. However, those who have experience in sales, and/or have studied human nature will know all too well that the Exact Opposite is more often true. Faced with an over abundance of choices, most people will simply choose Not to act at all.

If you're reading the above paragraph, and it sounds like your blog/website, it's might just be a good explanation for why the click thru rate on your adsense always seems to hover around .07%, and the clicks you do get tend to pay a whopping 3 or 4 cents each. Heck with the 10-15 visitors you get (on a good) day, you might just make enough money each month to buy a soda or a cup of coffee (McDonalds not Starbucks).

Oh, that reminds me, let's talk about traffic for a minute ...

Competition for traffic in the MMO niche is TOUGH



Did you realize that just in Google, there are over 180 MILLION websites trying to rank for the keyword "Make Money Online" ? Don't let that number daunt you too much ... It's not terribly hard to get a post/site indexed for those keywords. But if you're not in the first 10 results for that search string, the chances of getting any significant traffic for that term are about ... not bloody likely.

And, one other thing to consider; I guarantee you, those sites that are on first page of Google, did not get there by accident. They've been doing this for a Long Time, and they know probably more than you or I ever will about How to make money online. Why in the world would someone who's either brand new, or has never been successful want to try to compete with that?

Being the sharp mind that you obviously are (since you've read this far into the article), you've probably already begun to ask yourself ... Wait a Minute !!! ... if writing about making money online is such a bad idea, why is Todd writing a post about Can You Get Rich Blogging ????

I'm glad you asked ...

If I'm Not going to Get Rich writing about Making Money, WHY would I start a blog/write articles about Earning Extra Income?



I think my friend Allyn actually explains the answer pretty well in his video blog post about How Natural Links, and Online Friends help us get by. The bottom line is, while having a blog about blogging, making money, affiliate programs, etc, is unlikely to ever turn into a true Cash Cow, it can definitely be a great way to NETWORK with other likely minded people.

... and (pay attention because this is Important) those RELATIONSHIPS that you take the time to form, are exactly what (over the long run) are likely to make a difference in how successful you are in your efforts to earn more than just a "few extra bucks" with your computer.

In the mean time (while you're still building your empire), having the right friends can even be used for "fun" ... such as calling out alleged scammers , and actually getting enough traffic/high enough SERP ranking that they notice you.

Plus, and more importantly, having online friends can be a great way to LEARN from other's blogging mistakes ... while at the same time helping get links/drive traffic to your sites that actually do allow you to make money from home ... putting money in your bank account today.

BUT .... here's the part of this equation that some people tend to forget (and it can be "fatal" to your success) ...

When it come to building Online Relationships, you have to be Willing to GIVE, if you Expect to Receive



Read that again ... and again if you need to ... be willing to give first.

One of Zig Ziggler's more famous quote is probably quite apt here:

"You can have everything in life that you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want."

Who have you helped today?

Til next time ...
Todd

p.s. this article was originally written for a different blog. unfortunately, that site gets very little traffic. it seemed a shame to write a 1000 word article, with links to some of my friends, and then post it someplace where very few people are likely to read it. so I moved it here. hope you like it.
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Monday, September 7, 2009

Is It Wrong To Use My Daughter As A Prop?

Ok, so I've been on a bit of a blog redesign kick this weekend (for those who know me, I bet you're shocked, shocked, shocked). Btw, I am seriously impressed with Elegant Themes. Not only do they look good on the outside, but back-end options panel is probably the best I've seen ... easy to change colors and layout right from the control panel; without editing any code. But I digress, sorry back to the story ...

So as I was re-doing the make money from home page on the CandleMonkey blog, I realized that I didn't have any good, no cheesy, pictures of money.

So I grabbed a $20 bill and my camera, and went to the living room where Jaiden was on the couch watching Sesame Street. Here's the result:
[caption id="attachment_575" align="alignnone" width="400" caption="You\'re never to young to appreciate Andrew Jackson"]You're never to young to appreciate Andrew Jackson[/caption]

Jaiden thought it was great fun ... until she tried to eat my money and I had to take it away from her. Ana also thought it was cute.

My only "worry" ... if I keep doing this sort of thing, is she going to eventually grow up into a teenager who resents her dad's "exploitive" ways? ;-)

Keep havin FuN!
Todd

p.s. I'm not really worried ... but I needed a good excuse to write a post where I could show everyone this picture. (proud dad thing, don't you know)
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