All posts by Mitch Mitchell

I'm an independent consultant in many fields, so I have a lot to share.

Sunday Question – Can You Name 5 Things To Thank Your Mother For?

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there. All of us had mothers of some type, and most of us, at least I hope, had a pretty good relationship with our mothers. I have to say that my relationship with my mother, respectively, was very good. She was both tough and lenient. I got the “pig sty” comment often, as well as how I must be the worst child in the world here and there, but then once we were outside the house she’d tell people all these good things I did and accepted a lot of comments from other parents as to how good I was (yup, I had everyone snowed), so I knew she was just doing her job. In our day, parents weren’t necessarily supposed to be your friends.

Today my mother is a lot funnier than she ever was when I was a kid, and has persevered in the time that my dad has been gone. She takes care of my grandmother, who just turned 89, and has learned to be pretty self sufficient, all things considered. So, it behooves me to think of 5 things I can thank her for over all these 50 years of mind, which won’t be hard for me to do, and thus here they are:

1. I thank you for giving birth to me.

2. I thank you for protecting me while we lived in Kansas City.

3. I thank you for all the things you’ve bought me and given me throughout all these years, especially since after age 12 I’ve never asked for anything.

4. I thank you for talking to me that one night when I was really disturbed by an event that someone else set up that could have gotten me hurt pretty badly without my knowing it was coming.

5. I thank you for talking to me while we both got through the grief of Dad being gone, even if I didn’t take your advice to go get counseling, stubborn guy that I am.

There, that wasn’t so hard. I hope y’all can come up with your own list of at least 5; there could have been so many more, but after all, this is only a blog. 😉 And, if your mom is there reading this with you, both of you sit for about 5 minutes and enjoy Buddy Hackett as most of you have never seen him, singing and dancing to the song Shipoopi from Music Man:

Mother’s Day

Price – $24.68








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Facebook Says “Privacy? Pffbt!”

All the talk lately has been about Facebook, and with good reason. With just a few strokes and almost no real notification, Facebook has pretty much said none of us deserve privacy anymore.


Moments Of Privacy

Luckily, I was alerted to the first thing that they were going to do, which was releasing all of our information to their marketers. I even got a fix from one of my friends, which I posted as a comment, but now I’ll post here:

On the first one, go to your account. Under Privacy Settings for Applications, if you click there, you’ll see “Instant Personalization.” Unclick the box and you’re all set; supposedly.

At the time I thought that was that, but nope. The next thing I knew, I was on the site doing something else when this window pops up, telling me that I get to select which of my interests I want to link to some big pages that they were putting together. I didn’t think much about it, but selected two items and went about my business. It wasn’t until I read a post on a blog called Cre8pc Usability & Holistic SEO titled Facebook Removes Profile Choices (Kim must be big time; even Matt Cutts commented on this one lol) that I had to go back and see that indeed they had removed everything I had put onto that site 2 years ago that I said I liked except for the two I kept, one of which went to a fairly nonexistent page. That irked me so I went in and removed the other two, which wasn’t easy to figure out but I finally got it done.

At the same time they were doing that, they were creating community profiles for everyone to link to as well. I live in Liverpool NY, and they popped something up there for me, as well as where I went to college, the industries I listed on my business, where I went to school, etc. I only hooked up with one of those and canceled the rest, but to date at least they haven’t deleted any of my business information.

We might also end up having to watch out for some of our photos being used for purposes outside of our posting them just for our friends to see. That’s one of the rumors that’s going around, and based on everything else I’ve seen, I don’t doubt that could come. So, for those of you who have embarrassing images that you thought only your closest friends might ever see, you might want to think about whether you want to keep them on the site or not.

To say I’m disgruntled would be to minimize my feelings. To say I’m at the point that Dan of Rocket.ly is at, which he expressed in his post titled Top Ten Reasons You Should Quit Facebook is would be overstating things a bit. At this point I still get more benefit out of Facebook than how much they’re irritating me, but it’s getting close to a point where it’ll be Sydney or the Bush (anyone who’s a long time Peanuts reader will understand that quote). The idea that we were all lured into something just to build up numbers so they could spring all of this on us bothers me, especially if it was always the plan. Facebook has almost turned into Google, since neither one believes that anyone should have any privacy whatsoever (I wonder if Sergey or or Larry will share their bank account numbers with me for a few days ), only Facebook got us to give it up voluntarily.

Although I’ve had some interesting conversations with my buddy Blog Bloke over his post Privacy and Security in a Social Media World, I have to admit that he’s got it right on many aspects of what’s going on now. Not that I ever thought he was totally wrong; after all, Google has shown that it has the power to segregate whomever they decide they don’t like for whatever reason they don’t like (such as taking away my page rank), which destroys the aura of links and activity being the only determinant as to how well a person’s website is doing on the internet. It’s really just more of a warning to us all that Pandora’s Box is open, and none of that stuff is ever going back in.

For his part in this, Zuckerberg had this to say at f8: “It really has no privacy implications. I think this means people will be sharing less information when they don’t need to around the Web.” As Dr. Phil would say, “did someone write the word ‘stupid’ on my forehead?”

Decide now if you want to be online or not; it may be the only way you keep even a modicum of privacy in your life, because trust me, there’s a lot of information on almost everyone online already, whether you did anything or not.

Meanwhile, if you want to take a shot at protecting your information, check out the video below; if you’d rather read, follow this link to the Electronic Frontier Foundation site.

By the way, remember that tomorrow is Mother’s Day!
 

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Journal Writing For Personal And Business Reasons – Guest Post

I met Carolee Sperry at a local networking event where, unfortunately, it was just the two of us who showed up. As we talked, though, it seemed like we had a lot of things in common, especially blogging. Something else we have in common is the propensity to keep journals. I like logging what’s going on in both my personal and professional life, and it comes in handy when I need to go back to see what might have happened at a certain period in the past. I think that helps me with this blog in knowing where to find older posts to link to. Please enjoy her article here.

Have you ever kept a diary? Many people do. A diary is a way to keep track of daily events, the weather and perhaps a line or two about current events. A journal can be that and so much more.


Write Everything

A journal can be used to work through problems, make a life changing decision, heal relationships, help recognize patterns in our life and even discover the writer within. It can also be a friend in times of need.

They can vary- there are personal journals that not only serve as a diary but also use to work out personal issues that arise in their life.

Business journals help keep track of everything related to running a business. It’s an effective way to keep everything in one place, thus giving one the ability to look back and see what worked and what didn’t.

Other journal types could include, but are not limited to: medical journals, weight loss, parent/child journals, travel journals, dream journals, child discipline and more.

A journal can be anything from a high priced “journal- journal” from a stationary store or my favorite, the spiral notebook.

There are many journaling techniques that one can use to assisting them in working through problems. Even something as simple as “the unsent letter” can help one work through a challenge they may be having with a loved one, friend or co-worker.

Try it the next time you are upset with someone. Instead of saying something you may later regret, write a letter to the person.

Maximum effect seems to happen when the letter is written quickly- just “dumping the junk.” Don’t worry about grammar just get it out!

When you’re done, throw it out or burn it.

There are several other journaling techniques that can be used separately or in conjunction with the Unsent Letter.

To learn more about Journal Writing, and how it can help your personal or business life join my next class!

Carolee Sperry is a WAH (work at home) mom who homeschools her 12 year old daughter. She is also the coordinator of the Central New York Network Marketing group. You can check out her sites by going to Blogging4You, Advice for Work At Home, and Working In Jammies.

Global Crafts IVEPJ01-JOURNAL Handmade Paper Journal

Global Crafts Handmade Paper Journal

Price – $47.27


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Post #701 – A Period Of Balance


Balance

Man, time certainly has flown. In almost exactly 4 months (actually, I’m writing this 5 days early so I actually beat 4 months), I have written my last 100 posts. From Post #601 to now, there has been some interesting changes, and some things I said I was going to get to that I haven’t gotten to. Oh well, let’s start off with some recaps.

First up, the topics I wrote on in the last 100 posts. I touched upon more topics this period than I ever have before 25 of them, and that means that the top 5 topics are going to show more balance that at any other period:

Blogging – 19

Personal – 13

Business – 10

Entertainment – 10

Social Media – 8

It’s the first time Social Media has made it into the top 5, but I think if I went back and classified some earlier posts that it would make an interesting resurgence, since I’d been writing about it but calling it something else.

Next, instead of going to my most popular posts first, I want to continue this theme of balance. Therefore, something new, just this once. It’s sometimes interesting to see where your traffic is coming from. If you looked at the numbers below on the pie chart that comes with Google Analytics, it looks almost perfectly balanced. Almost, that is; here are the actual numbers:

referring sites – 34.6%

search engines – 27.1%

direct traffic – 21.2%

other – 17.1%

I’ll tell you the truth, I have absolutely no idea what “other” refers to, but I’ll take what I can get.

Next, my post popular posts, and this time, the one in the lead is kind of freaking me out. You’ll see why when you look at the numbers:

Cleavage – Yeah, I’m Going There – 1,262

Getting Google Desktop To Index Thunderbird – 184

Top 100 Singers Of All Time – 143

Watch Out For Secret Shopper Scams – 109

Cuban Cars – 86

Every one of these posts are older posts; none of the new posts in the past 200 made the list. But look how far ahead that post on Cleavage is; wild! That Secret Shopper article is more than 2 years old; if this blog had Page Rank, that bad boy would probably be a 5! And the article on Google Desktop should be fading away as more people should have moved to new computers and should be on he 64-bit product by now. I’m stunned, to tell you the truth; just goes to show you never know what people are going to gravitate towards.

And finally, the posts with the most comments during this time period:

Sunday Question – Do You Take Care Of Your Physical Self? – 48

Cleavage – Yeah, I’m Going There – 44

Why Do You Revisit Some Blogs And Not Others? – 39

Are You A Lurker Or Participant In Life? – 39

My First Look At MS Office 2007 – 38

I didn’t change any of my marketing material over the past 4 months, but I did add the Facebook widget advertising my business page, and I added the badge to the right showing I’ve hooked up with Alliance P50 bloggers. Something I said I was going to do but didn’t do was create a widget that would highlight all the things I’ve specifically talked about as in a review, and I need to remember to add that. As I wrote that post about trust I was thinking that maybe I’ve built up enough trust in some people that the few things I’ve reviewed, as well as my little sales page (there next to me with the parrot), might get more visitors, and thus sales. Or not; we’ll see how it all goes.

And there we are. If things are going well, I’m at a hotel right now giving a presentation on customer service, which that sticky above is talking about. It will be down later this evening, as that event will be over, and I’m doubting there will be any last minute stragglers hoping to pop in on the webinar tomorrow. Anyway, here’s this update, and if I keep this pace up, we should see #800 come September, I guess.

LG 50PS11 50″ Plasma TV

Price – $989.99








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Figuring Out Who You Can Trust

My wife has this obsession with our roof. The problem first came to fruition during the worst rain storm the Syracuse area had in decades in 2002, when the entire area flooded. Our house was no different, and the roof didn’t handle things all that well; neither did the basement for that matter.

The issue with us was that when we bought the house, the realtor had recommended someone to do our roof for us, and we paid these guys $3,500. We had no idea what they did until later, and even now I’m not really sure what any of it means. This is the first real house I’ve ever lived in, so you can bet I’m not technically savvy.

We had to contact the attorney general to find this guy the first time, and he came back, did some kind of patch job, and fixed the ceiling in the master bedroom, doing a lousy job. A couple of years later we had another storm, not as bad as the first one, and it exposed a couple more spots, but by this time the guy and his partner was long gone. My wife took out a loan, we had some minor stuff done, and no more leaks in the house.

But we still have roof issues. She brought in one guy who did some roof work, but not the type of work I was expecting, and we probably paid him close to $8,000. We paid another guy $10,000, thinking he would take care of us because we knew him, and he did good work; only his work only covered one section of the house, which was about a quarter of the entire house. Nope, didn’t see that coming.

Over the past two years, we’ve had a bunch of people come to the house to give us estimates on what it might cost to get our roof taken care of. Last January, a guy came to the house to do some other work, took a look at the roof, and quoted us $18,000. Last summer another guy came with his wife, spent 3 hours with my wife (I didn’t want to be a part of it), and quoted a price of $29,500; we’re not quite that foolish anymore. We’ve had other people come by and never heard from them again; not a phone call, email regular letter, nothing; what the hey?

Last week we had two more guys come by to give us estimates. One guy said we needed so much work that he recommended a contractor to farm the job out to; that didn’t sound good. The second guy… well, maybe. He did his review, then came into the house, and I finally went out to sit in on the conversation. To be truthful, I’d never sat in on any of the other conversations because I always had a bad feeling about the people coming in to do the work, even the guy I knew.

His price; $8,800. He used a lot of terms I didn’t know, but my wife knew. Then he gave me a pamphlet which explained all the terms he was using; that was good. He said his company would guarantee the work for 30 years; that was nice. I asked him about the look of our roof, as it has a couple of places where it looks like it dips, and he said that had nothing to do with leakage and that it was common, and if that was a big deal then it would require a full reconstruction, which would get as high as $25,000, but that it wasn’t needed; I liked that answer also, and my wife said it was the first time anyone had ever said that.

Now, here’s the deal. At the end of the day, I still had to ask myself if I trusted him. With the wide array of prices, does the 30 year guarantee make one more trustworthy than the others? I can’t even say if the company is well known or not; I don’t know any roofing companies to say if they’ve been around a long time (okay, I know one, but I also know that one company is fairly steep, since they did the guy’s roof across the street, and they had to fix it 3 times before they got it right).

It’s the question I ask myself in wondering why I don’t have more sales on some of my other pages, or even here. Heck, my workshop next week doesn’t have as many people coming as I’d have liked, and I wonder if it’s a matter of trust, recognition, or just that people aren’t as interested in the topics as they seemed to indicate when we did our survey. I wonder if most of us don’t ask that question enough when we’re marketing to the masses. In today’s online world, where each of us has lots of people we’re competing with in some fashion, is there a way we can find to show that we’re trustworthy enough so that we might make more online sales?

Something to think about as you get on with your day.

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