For people who are ambitious (and who isn't ambitious to some degree?) there's always a temptation to envy those in positions of leadership and power. It's easy to think that leaders have 'got it made'.
But they really don't. The old adage, 'the higher you rise, the further you have to fall', is always applicable. Even recent American history shows countless examples of politicians, business leaders, social, and religious leaders where were once paragons among their peers but who fell from grace and sometimes even disappeared from the scene completely.
Nobody illustrates this phenomenon more than somebody who was known as the 'wisest man who ever lived' and who, in his time, was commonly regarded as one of the wealthiest men of his times.
Who is that person?
It's none other than King Solomon of the Old Testament nation of Israel. King Solomon was, in truth, divinely gifted with wisdom by God Himself. But, as have many other leaders since him have also done, he lost his blessing.
The question is: How did he lose his many blessings, prestige, and wisdom?
The reality is that the temptations that attacked Solomon affect everybody. When leaders begin to think they've 'arrived', it becomes easy to stop feeling hungry for growth and excellence. In the modern vernacular that attitude is also called 'complacence'.
When leaders begin to think they can't be replaced and that their job is secure, that's usually when they begin their downward spiral and there are several common symptoms of that condition. Here what they were for Solomon. Do any of these circumstances apply to you?
Solomon became distracted. He deviated from his call to lead the nation of Israel properly so it could be a light to all nations.
God raised adversaries and loyal opposition to steer Solomon back to his true calling and proper Godly priorities but Solomon chose not to listen.
Solomon began to believe his own publicity. He fell victim to his own fame. He began to think he was 'too cool for school'. He because consumed with himself rather than his mission as a leader empowered by God.
Solomon lost his true 'ace in the hole', i.e. he lost his annoinanointingGod. He forgot that it was God who promised him that he would become famous and successful among men.
Solomon because obsessed with the Kingly 'perks' of his job. In his case, it was women. That certainly sounds familiar in today's news, doesn't it?
Solomon eventually grew weary of his frivolous and empty pursuits. He basically 'feel off the wagon', went through the Old Testament equivalent of 'rehab', and later returned to finish his reign with dignity… with his new wisdom acquired the hard way.
What Solomon's life illustrates is that distraction can be the enemy of a leader's higher calling and 'direction' if those distractions are stronger than the purpose and principles which should be the leader's primary driving force and guiding power. It is very important for leaders to have a clear idea of their mission. That's not to say that they can't have trusted advisors, as Solomon certainly did, but leadership, power, and fame have their perilous qualities too.
The Gallup organization recently released a survey in which Americans were asked to rank what they considered to be the “best long term investment.” Real estate ranked number one, with 35% of those surveyed saying it was a better long term investment than stocks & mutual funds, gold, savings accounts or bonds.
Here is the breakdown:
The survey revealed that real estate was the number one choice among each of the following groups:
People between the ages of 18-29
People between the ages of 30-49
People between the ages of 50-64
People 65 and older
People with annual earnings of less than $30,000
People with annual earnings between $30,000 and $74,999
People with annual earnings of over $75,000
People with a college degree
People without a college degree
Even stock investors ranked real estate number one. According to the report:
“With housing prices showing a steadier path upward in recent months, even stock investors are about as likely…to choose real estate (37%) as stocks (32%) as the best long-term investment.”
This Friday, I will be posting an infographic showing additional findings revealed in the report.
The price of any item is determined by the supply of that item, and the market demand. TheNational Association of Realtors (NAR) recently released their latest Existing Home Sales Report which gives insight into today’s market conditions.
Inventory Levels & Demand
Sales of existing homes rose 5.1% month-over-month in March and are 1.5% higher than this time last year. Sales rose in all four major regions in March.
Total unsold housing inventory is 1.5% lower than March 2015 at a 4.5-month supply and remains well below the six months that is needed for a historically normal market.
Consumer confidence is at the highest level in over a decade. Pair that with interest rates still below 4%, programs available for down payments as low as 3%, and you have an attractive market for buyers.
Homes sold in March were on the market for an average of 47 days and 42% of properties sold in less than a month.
March marked the 49th consecutive month of year-over-year price gains as the median price of existing homes sold rose to $210,700 (up 5.7% from 2015).
So What Does This Mean?
The chart below shows the impact that inventory levels have on home prices.
NAR’s Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun gave some insight into the correlation:
"Buyer demand remains sturdy in most areas this spring and the mid-priced market is doing quite well. However, sales are softer both at the very low and very high ends of the market because of supply limitations and affordability pressures."
If you are debating putting your home on the market in 2016, now may be the time. The number of buyers ready and willing to make a purchase is at the highest level in years. Let's meet up so we can get the process started.
Three years ago, John Paulson gave a keynote address at the CNBC/Institutional Investor Conference. In his speech, he told those in attendance that he believes housing will continue its strong recovery for the next 4 to 7 years, saying that:
"The housing market has bottomed. It's not too late to get involved. I still think buying a home is the best investment any individual can make. Affordability is still at an all-time high."
When asked how the average person could take advantage of the current real estate market at the time, Paulson said:
“Buy a home and, if you can, buy a second home.”
Two years ago, Paulson reiterated his statement, saying:
"I still think, from an individual perspective, the best deal investment you can make is to buy a primary residence that you're the owner-occupier of."
Who is John Paulson and why should you listen to him?
Paulson is the person who, back in 2005 & 2006, made a fortune betting that the subprime mortgage mess would cause the real estate market to collapse. He understands how the housing market works and knows when to buy and when to sell.
What do others think of Paulson?
According to Forbes, John Paulson is:
“A multibillionaire hedge fund operator and the investment genius.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, Paulson is:
“A hedge fund tycoon who made his name, and a fortune, betting against subprime mortgages when no one else even knew what they were.”
So… Is what he said still true?
The core reasons behind Paulson’s statements still ring true today, but why does he believe homeownership is such a great investment?
Paulson broke down the math of homeownership as an investment:
1. "Today financing costs are extraordinarily low.”
The latest numbers from Freddie Mac show us that you can still get a 30-year mortgage at historically low rates of under 4%.
2. “And if you put down, let's say, 10 percent and the house is up 5 percent,” as many experts predict,“then you would be up 50 percent on your investment."
How many are seeing a 50% return on a cash investment right now?
Paulson goes on to compare the long term financial benefits of owning versus renting:
3. “And you’ve locked in the cost over the next 30 years. And today the cost of owning is somewhat less than the cost of renting. And if you rent, the rent goes up every year. But if you buy a 30-year mortgage, the cost is fixed.”
Whenever a billionaire gives investment advice, people usually clamor to hear it. This billionaire gave simple advice – if you don’t yet live in your own home, go buy one.
A few creditors will really utilize a different organization name, address, and telephone number for their inside collection offices, with a specific end goal to give the impression of an "outside" office, on the notion that account holders will consider it more threating. This procedure is for the most part just utilized when the obligation is 6 months or less delinquent.
Nonetheless, most collection movement is performed by thirdâparty collection offices, which are in no way connected to original owner of the debt, and "work" debts for different finance companies. They may likewise purchase delinquent obligations which have been assigned as chargeâoffs by the debt originator.
How they get paid
Collection companies purchase large amounts of charged off debt. Once the debt is sold the person that owes the debt may now be obligated to the new owner of the debt. These types of accounts in many cases have a low collection rate so the collection company buy these debts for pennies on the dollar. This thirdâparty collection organizations are commission based, where they get a percentage of the of the total amount they are able to collect. Collection agents are frequently paid a low wage in addition to commissions based on their performance
Now that we understand a little about what a collection agency is let’s talk about what your options are for dealing with them IF your ever in collection.
5 Tips for dealing with Collection Agency’s
Avoid Debt Collection Altogether. If you’re having trouble paying the debt talk with the original creditor BEFORE it gets turned over to a 3rd party collection company to see if a payment arraignment can be made.
Learn your Rights! The Federal Trade Commission FTC website has many resources available for you to learn what your rights are and to assure that the collection company that your dealing with is not violating your rights per the FDCPA.
Don’t ignore the situation. If you are receiving letters in the mail or debt collectors, phone calls, court summons you have options. Forcing the collection company to validate the debt and prove that they legally own the debt is the first approach. Sending the collection company, a debt validation letter with in the first 3o days of receiving a collection notice will suspend all activity on the collection account. The collection company is now required to validate the debt with appropriate documents.
Document your dealing with the collection company. It’s important to archive all mail correspondences with a collection agency as well phone communication. When documenting phone calls include times, dates and names of who you spoke with.
Get it in writing. If you come to an agreement with a collection agency, make sure BEFORE you send them any money that you get your agreement in writing.
They are several strategies for dealing with collection agencies. The best advice is DON’T bury your head in the sand. Seek out the advice of a professional and a least understand what your options are that way you can choose the best course of action for your particular situation.
If you are being overwhelmed with collection calls and letters, click below and fill out the form to receive a free confidential consultation.
Physician, small business owner, budding real estate/land investor, & educator on MarketHive, a social marketing platform for entrepreneurs that has the combined power of Facebook and LinkedIn.
I think of myself as just a regular guy who is passionate about those issues I believe affect us all. Those matters include (but are certainly not limited to): LGBT equality, healthcare reform (which would include health information technology reform), education reform, prison/criminal justice reform, politics, government, business/investing, and more.
MarketHive is a multi-million dollar platform which evolved from Veretekk and offers the following features:
auto-responders, virtual conference rooms, blog casting, blog sharing, campaigns/press releases, capture pages, email plugins, daily live workshops, and lead generation exclusively for entrepreneurs.
In essence, MarketHive is all about empowering entrepreneurs through social engagement and marketing.
I’m struggling with a marketing problem and I’m a marketer. Perhaps you can help me out? What problem might you ask?
I’m terrified of marketing my company and myself.
Because I want to shoot videos about the SEO industry for my company, but I’m scared of what will happen. This is a real fear that has kept me from doing what I want to do for years now. I’m scared of the feedback and comments I’ll receive from others, specifically crude feedback about my appearance, how I talk, my language, and any other number of issues that women are frequently subjected to when we’re visible.
Yes, that’s our only crimeâ—âbeing visible.
How do I overcome this fear? I need to be visible to gain business and I’m pretty sure I have a fun, unique way of doing it. A business consultant told me years ago that I should be the Emily Graslie of SEO and digital marketing. I secretly cherished this idea as a massive fan girl who would’ve been in the field of primatology myself if not for a series of random events. Then I found her video about sexism in the industry and it terrified me:
Emily Graslie being amazing
tl;dw? Here are some good takeaways:
“Is there any part of my job that I don’t look forward to? I would have to say it would be the frustratingly negative and sexist comments that I have to sift through in my various inboxes on a daily basis.”
Rhea’s fear, meet reality.
“We have a fear of the feedback from our subscribers and commenters because we’re afraid that our audience is more focused on our appearance than the quality of the content. Even more than that, we’re not convinced that the content has to be good or factual because we’re not convinced that people are watching for the content in the first place.”
I would love to know how much time women anxiously waste on overthinking and preparing our appearance for a conference or a video as compared to our male counterparts. In fact, I conducted an anecdotal experiment on my appearance with shocking results…
Many years ago I used to speak at conferences wearing jeans, a nerdy t-shirt, and a blazer. I was asked to speak often and got good feedback on presentations though I was consistently rated below my more famous male peers even as the highest rated female speaker (several conference organizers let me in on a little secretâ—âthe women typically score below men even if the quality of our content is on par or better). This got to me. How could I overcome this handicap caused by simply being born a woman? To make matters worse I often had women and men telling me I should dress up more and make an effort with my looks.
I decided to change my appearance and embrace my feminine side to see if this had an impact on my speaking scores. Sure enough, it did. I received so many more compliments this time around! Unfortunately, all of them were on my appearance:
“You look amazing in that dress.”
“See! You can be a strong, confident woman and still be on stage.”
“I didn’t know you had a bootie.”
“Love your hair down.”
“You look so much better without glasses.”
This was far from the outcome I wanted and to make matters worse, I wasn’t being approached anymore and I needed people to talk to me if my agency was going to attract new business. This was a disaster.
My non-sexual jeans and t-shirt combo with my hair pulled back and glasses on made me easy to talk to, especially where men were concerned. Once I was in stilettos, a dress, and makeup with my hair down and contacts in, I was avoided except by a handful of men who already knew me and even then it felt awkward. It was as if my sexuality was suddenly on the table and no one knew how to handle it including the married conference organizer twice my age who told me the worst thing about the two of us was that we were both married. The advance was shot down and I was never asked back to the conference. Perhaps those events aren’t related, but I know I’m a good speaker and the fact that I’ve spent years questioning whether or not that incident cut me out of a good show is an issue in and of itself.
While this experiment was anecdotal, it’s my experience and that experience shaped my paralysis where marketing is concerned. That has certainly had very negative consequences for the growth of my business, because I stopped putting myself “out there.” Having two kids was also a convenient excuse, because it further eroded my confidence where my appearance was concerned and I never feel like I’m having a “good enough” day to be in front of a camera.
“There’s pressure to be the whole package. Not only do you have to be intelligent and articulate, but you also have to be attractive.”
After having a baby, the one thing I definitely wasn’t feeling was attractive. I realized I looked pretty similar to my normal self, but the exhaustion of raising an infant put bags under my eyes, which people commented on. Often and in professional settings. The last thing I wanted to do was open those comments up to the world in a permanent setting.
So, here I am world. I want to share my love for all things SEO, content strategy, digital marketing, and reputation management with you. I’m a massive nerd who can talk about Google for days, but I’d like to do it without being mansplained at best and sexually harassed at worst.
Is the world ready for another woman sharing her passion for a technical field? Does it even matter? To me it does and I hope I can take this step without negative and crude comments, but I know they’ll come in some form at some point.
Any words of advice are appreciated here. I need to find my courage and to channel my inner Emily Graslie. Thankfully, the outpouring of support from so many incredible women and men after my last post was enough to make me feel safe enough to post this here.
This is part of my series on Building a Sales and Marketing Machine. In this post I provide advice for building your own Inbound Marketing machine- a requirement for most businesses today.
The web has forever changed people’s buying habits. Instead of needing to rely on sales people to send them information, buyers now have Google and other search engines to research products, find competitors, and see how other people rate those products in blogs and reviews. Furthermore they are greatly influenced by individuals that have emerged as experts in particular subject areas who use social media to get their messages across.
This sea change in buying behavior requires vendors to re-think how they go to market, and optimize to make sure that they will get found by buyers using search engines, blogs, reviews, and social media. The term Inbound Marketing was invented by the crew at Markethive (When they were Veretekk), when they developed the techniques and technologies that are needed to get found by buyers, and to make sure that the reviews and blogs around your industry segment cover what you are doing. (Markethive provides great software tools, plus education to help you automate Inbound Marketing. The founder, Thomas Prendergast has written many great books on these topics (dating back as far as 20 years ago) “Automated Marketing”, Customer Centricity”, Building a Better Website”, “The Power of the Social Network in Search Engines”, Conference Room Advantage”.
Markethive produced this great humorous video that highlights the hopelessness of the old techniques of the Outbound Marketing moron:
As further evidence of this change in buying behavior, I was recently talking to the CIO of a large pharmaceutical company, and he told me how he hates spam emails from vendors, and how he had developed a canned email response to them. I asked him to forward me a copy of that email, and have excerpted a couple of paragraphs from it that quite clearly describe the carnage:
“Please understand that I get dozens of these types of messages a week. I simply do not have time to read them, dig into them, follow-up on them, or reply to them. The most effective solution to this problem is for me to ignore the messages, which is what I usually do. …
… Finally, a small comment. As a customer, I find this type of approach to sales to be largely annoying to me and unproductive for you. We learn far more about what we want to purchase by searching the web, looking for customer references in blogs and forums, word of mouth, and by finding white papers on your site that concretely describe solutions to problems we are having.”
Remarkable Content is King
A key part of getting found is making sure you show up on the first page of a Google search. The lazy marketer’s approach to doing this is to purchase Google Adwords, and pay by the click (referred to as SEM, Search Engine Marketing). However 85% of people ignore the paid ads, so to be really effective, you will need to perfect your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) skills.
SEO requires you to develop great content that your buyers will find sufficiently interesting, different or insightful, that they will want to remark on it. (The authors of Inbound Marketing refer to that as remarkable content.) When your readers remark on your content on-line, using tools like Twitter, Facebook etc., they spread the word virally to other readers and broaden your reach. These comments lead to links back to your site, which lead to ever increasing page ranking in the search engines.
To be successful at this, you will need to keep the content fresh.
Traditional web sites don’t work in this regard, as they don’t change frequently enough.
What is needed is a blog that you update regularly.
Your blog cannot simply be a sales pitch for your product, but needs to be about topics that your buyers care to read about. The tone could be educational; or humorous; or controversial. But above all it needs to be highly engaging and relevant to them – i.e. remarkable.
When you post a new blog entry, you will see your site traffic surge for a few days, then die back to a level slightly higher than before. The more you post, the faster your traffic will build. But in the end, it is the really great articles that you post that will have the most impact.
And meritocratic blog system like Markethive (actually only Markethive) produce all of the above in a simple atmosphere of massive content curation that is immediately reward or rejected, building amazing content is King results, or something like that.
Once you have interesting content, you can use social media like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Digg, StumbleUpon, etc. to get the word out (Uh ummmm again, Marketing simplifies this to a level of excruciating results, but then like EST (You remember EST Erhard Seminar Training), you need to experience. No word, even from me, can truly do it justice.). Your goal is to get other bloggers to link to you, and to have people tweet about your content.
An interesting thing about a marketing department that focuses on Inbound Marketing: it will place a high value on people that know how to write and develop content that draws in an audience. A silver lining to the damage that the internet has inflicted on the publishing industry is that there are plenty of very talented journalists seeking employment, and they possess the perfect skills for this job!
SEO versus SEM
Like most of things that are good for us in life, SEO requires work and patience before it will payback. So it can be tempting to take shortcuts, and just use SEM (paid search ads). However if it is done right, the results will continue to build, and you will start to build your own audience, and own your own traffic.
We have also seen that the cost of paid search increases as the need to scale the lead volume grows.
The Power of Free
Another extremely powerful way to create inbound traffic and qualified leads is to use a free product or service. A great example of this is the The entire Inbound Marketing Platform (Valued in excess of up to $10,000 per month) service from Markethive. (If you haven’t tried this, I recommend giving it a try now. It will only take a few minutes to join.) Markethive has a couple of interesting attributes that are worth studying:
It is free of charge.
It takes very little work by the customer to get some very valuable results
It provides its results in the form of a score out of 100. Human beings are very competitive, and when they don’t get a good score, they want to find out how to improve their score. That leads them to wanting to find out more about Markethive which can help them improve their score.
It allows them to compare themselves to their competitors. All businesses care about how they are doing relative to their competition. If they are doing worse, this is a powerful motivator to drive them to change.
Think hard about your audience and whether there is an opportunity to build a similar free web service that would draw them in, and provide great value.
If you are interested in learning more about how Free products and services can help your marketing, please refer to this section: The Power of Free.
Building your reach
Once you have great content and possibly a free product/service, you will want to find ways to drive the maximum traffic to that content. In the last couple of years we have seen some powerful new tools emerge to help with this process in the social media space. Get yourself accounts on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, and join in the conversation. (For Twitter, I also recommend downloading the Tweetdeck application.) Start by listening. Watch what people are talking about in your topic areas, and take note of their interests. Once you have an idea of how the conversation works join in. Be careful not to take a sales stance to promote your products, as that will rapidly lose you your audience. However you can draw your audience in with short url’s (Another one of Markethive’s great free services) that link to your blog posts and other non-sales oriented content.
This short paragraph is not going to be enough to fully educate you on the ins and outs of using social media to build your audience, so if the topic interests you, I recommend going here to learn more:
Internet Marketing Webinars (see the calendar in Markethive after you join for free of course).
In every product area, there are usually already influencers that write the most about that area, and have the largest audience that follows them. To conduct a successful social media campaign, you will want to identify those influencers, and reach out to them to get them to write about your product/service.
To get them to pay attention to you, you will first need to understand what they care about. Read their blog posts and tweets, and try to get inside their minds. Try to determine what appeals to them, and what has clearly turned them off. Then prepare your pitch, and use social media to engage with them.
You will then want to monitor the results by tracking their blog posts, links to the articles, tweets, etc.
For more information…
Inbound marketing is a rich topic area that would take more than a single article like this to describe. For more information, consider yourself a friend of Markethive: