March, 2012 Archive

Building a Green Home

March 20th, 2012 by Adaire in Lifestyle

I recently saw a documentary about the negative effects certain human habits have on our planet and it made me realize we really need to develop awareness about our impact on the environment. Many of the most devastating damages done to the environment are unconsciously committed by average people like you and me.

If you use a plastic bag, you are already making a negative impact on the environment. By refusing to segregate your wastes and recycle, you are dealing nature another blow. By using products that harm our atmosphere, you are contributing to global warming.

Individually, using a single plastic bag may not seem much. It may seem trivial. But if you multiply this behavior millions of times over, the collective effect would be devastating. We all have to make a positive contribution towards the preservation of the planet. We have to change the current trend, and this change has to begin with us and in our homes.

Thankfully, there are many ways we can contribute to this cause. As I have mentioned earlier, we can start recycling, we can avoid using products with ingredients that harm the environment, we can even contribute by choosing to design and construct our homes in a manner that is environmentally sustainable.

I read a recent article from Healthy Wealthy nWise called “Finding A ‘Green’ House Builder.” In that article, John K Taylor talks about the availability of the “green” house builder. He says, “Believe it or not, environmentally sustainable house building isn’t actually new to the construction industry – it’s just a practice that has been slow on the uptake amongst most contractors. Even so, many builders will actually be quite familiar with ‘green’ building practices, as they have a range of contacts in the industry from whom they receive materials and systems.”

I’m happy that even the construction industry is becoming more environmentally conscious. But if we want to speed-up the process, we should make it a point to support sustainable products and services. As long as there is a market demand for such services, more companies are going to be encouraged to shift to more sustainable methods and more environment-friendly means of production.

As it stands though, green house builders are not as widespread. If you’re looking for “green” construction it might take some extra effort to find them. John provides a few tips on how to find a green house builder in your area:

  • Word of mouth is generally the most preferred method of finding a green builder, as some contractors do not actually think to advertise the fact that they can construct an environmentally sustainable home. This also allows you the opportunity to view some of the builder’s past work.
  • Online searches using the keywords ‘green house builders’ and the suburb or area in which you live is another preferred method for people to find environmentally friendly contractors.

If, however, you can’t find a green house builder in your area, you still have another option: you can build your own home!

In “Budgeting for a Self Build Project,” another article Healthy Wealthy nWise, Paul Coupe describes the process of building your own home as “one of the most rewarding yet testing ventures of your life.”

However, although the prospect of building your own house is very exciting, you can’t just go ahead and do it without careful planning. Paul says, “One of the most common issues which blight many a self build is poor control of the budget which can result in frightening overruns on costs.”

If you’re serious about building your own home, here are a few reminders from Paul that you should carefully consider:

  • Before starting any self-build project you need to get serious about costs.
  • Keeping track of your cash is the key to self-build.
  • Stamp duty is should not be forgotten when self-building.

Paul talks about these pieces of advice in more detail in his article. Be sure to visit it for in-depth explanations on why these elements are extremely important. In any case, as a rule of thumb, it’s much safer to price up your estimates to avoid going over budget. You also have to be realistic about how long the project will take. Leave some room for setbacks and delays. Also, as an extra security measure, set aside up to 15% of the total estimate “just in case.”

The mere fact that you’re looking for “green” options for construction is something that you should be proud of. You hear a lot of people rant about global warming and other environmental issues, but it really takes a lot of determination to incorporate green ideas into your lifestyle.

Building a green home is not just about construction. We should establish a green lifestyle that goes along with a green home. We should set an example for our neighborhood and our children. We should create environmental awareness.

It may seem as if we’re making it harder for ourselves for choosing “green,” but at the end of the day, we’re doing the right thing. We’re choosing “green” because we want our children and our grandchildren to live in healthy and safe environments. We’re choosing “green” because we want to preserve the wonder and beauty of the world. We’re choosing “green” because we want to take care of nature.

As human beings, we are an intrinsic part of nature. Choosing to take care of nature is as rational and as ethical as choosing to take care of ourselves and others.

Take care! :)


Image by: Sujin Jetkasettakorn /

Congratulations, Loretta M Baskys!

March 16th, 2012 by Ric in Sharing Success

Congrats to Loretta M Baskys for getting her new Automated Cash Sites up and running!

Congratulations, Jon McCreery!

March 15th, 2012 by Ric in Sharing Success

Congrats to Jon McCreery for getting his new Automated Cash Sites up and running!

Making It with a Mentor

March 13th, 2012 by Adaire in Sharing Success

Good advice was one of the first things I looked for when I started out as an entrepreneur. If you’re about to begin your venture, you should look for some, too. It may be tempting to think that you already have all the answers, but if you haven’t actually immersed yourself in your particular industry just yet, it would be best to take a heaping slice of that humble pie and get some pointers from a seasoned professional.

Finding the Right Mentor

How you succeed in your business depends quite a bit on which people you often talk to. Moreover, you gain even more success if you actually talk to someone who is intellectually invested in your pursuits as well. Thus, people who are lucky enough to get an actual mentor, to whom you can actively seek sound advice, and who also dishes out the right suggestions even when you don’t ask them to, will definitely have a huge advantage over others.

But how do you find the right mentor? How do you find your Yoda or Obi Wan amidst the sea of people who think they know what’s good for you?

Suffice it to say that this part can get pretty tricky. It can be incredibly tempting to just fall for someone who, on the outside, appears very impressive and charismatic, but on the inside is actually just some hack with nothing better to do with their time. How do you look away from all that razzle-dazzle in order to see the real person?

I have to admit that I got a bit loopy in this department back in the day. :) There were so many different kinds of people telling me that their advice was the only one worth listening to! Fortunately, I was able to hold myself back from doing anything too rash. I stepped out of the circle for a bit, took a deep breath, and looked at everything as objectively as possible. It was during this moment of calm that I figured out who I needed to listen to. :)

Family and Friendship vs. Actual Success

This might sound strange to you right now, but one of the first groups of people I crossed off of my “Potential Mentors” list were some of my friends and family – at least the ones who were trying their darndest to get a say in the ventures I was about to enter. But why step back from your nearest and dearest? Because they are exactly that: your nearest and dearest.

Laurie Hayes could not have said it any better in her article “Advice for Home Business Success,” which I came across in Small Business CEO Magazine. She said, “Although the intentions of family and friends are often good, they have a personal interest in you – an investment in the outcome. Your results will have an impact them so it’s difficult for them to offer input from an objective standpoint.”

As much as I would love them to be involved in my endeavors, it would just be the far wiser thing to seek help from someone who, while intellectually invested, is not emotionally invested in all of it. You want someone who can give you advice based on their own, concrete experience of actual success – no more, no less. In contrast, you don’t want someone who tells you to do certain things because they “care for you,” or “know you too well,” or “just want to make sure you’re okay.” That latter kind of advice, well-meaning as it may be, has absolutely no basis in the world of success.

Turn your family and friends down gently, should they get to this point. If they truly care about you and your success, they’ll ultimately understand. :)

Starting Off Your Apprenticeship

Now that you know what kind of advice to avoid, how then do you really start your apprenticeship? Fortunately, the Internet has made this once-intimidating task fairly easy, provided you do your searches wisely. Don’t choose just anyone with a good track record in their business ventures. Choose someone whose business ventures actually tie up with yours. If you want to succeed in article marketing, find someone who made big bucks specifically in article marketing and not, for instance, in e-book publishing.

Once you’ve pinned down the right person, what should the next step be? According to Cynthia Minnaar in her Small Business CEO Magazine piece “Online Home Business Advice to Help You Achieve Success,” you should “[S]tart spending some time with them. You can do this easily by joining their online newsletter, reading their blog, listening to archived Webinars or you could consider joining an online mentoring group.”

If the person you admire is already dispensing advice to other up-and-comers, join in on the conversation. If this person is not a particular mentor to anyone just yet, approach them with the right amount of respect and bravado. You shouldn’t seem too overeager to build a relationship with them – you don’t want to come off as a creep! :) But, at the same time, you should show your sincere appreciation of their accomplishments, and your desire to learn from them.

If things go well and you and your potential mentor warm up to each other, you’ll be amazed by how well your endeavors could turn out!

The Advantages of Apprenticeship

It’s never a bad thing to admit that we need a little help sometimes, most especially when we’re just starting out in a new business venture. And if you get a good mentor, chances are, that person won’t coddle you or smother you. They will guide you, but they will make sure that you do everything according to your own skills and capacities. They will teach you universal truths about business, and some crucial advice regarding your niche, but they will never try to outright control what you do.

Just as our parents and teachers at school helped us to grow in our childhoods, so will our business mentors help us to climb the rungs of entrepreneurial success. :)


Images by: Renjith Krishnan/

Congratulations, Dallas Allan!

March 8th, 2012 by Ric in Sharing Success

Congrats to Dallas Allan for getting his new Automated Cash Sites up and running!

Congratulations, Dianne Ivett!

March 8th, 2012 by Ric in Sharing Success

Congrats to Dianne Ivett for getting her new Automated Cash Sites up and running!

Congratulations, Cheryl Story!

March 8th, 2012 by Ric in Sharing Success

Congrats to Cheryl Story for getting her new Automated Cash Sites up and running!

Congratulations, Chee Keong Ng!

March 8th, 2012 by Ric in Sharing Success

Congrats to Chee Keong Ng for getting her new Automated Cash Sites up and running!

The End of the Ego Trip

March 7th, 2012 by Adaire in Sharing Success

You want to know what every businessperson’s worst enemy is? No, it’s not their main competitor. It’s not an angry customer, either. If there’s one thing that can single-handedly destroy any businessperson’s hard-earned accomplishments, it’s ego.

I’ll admit that I’ve had those moments when I felt that I could do no wrong. There were times when I’ve acted pretty stubbornly in front of my business associates, insistent that my opinions were far more valid than theirs. Looking back on it now, I’m pretty embarrassed for being so bullheaded, especially since some of these ideas didn’t turn out to be as effective as I thought.

The sooner I stopped letting my ego take over, the better! :)

The Ego Has Landed

Image by: AscensionDigital

If you were able to start your business purely from scratch, if you were able to get your Doctorate degree before turning 30, or if you were able to make your first million way sooner than you thought, there’s a good chance that you’d think pretty highly of yourself.

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t take pride in your achievements. You should definitely feel good about yourself. You should use this to boost your confidence and encourage you to take on even greater challenges. What you shouldn’t do, however, is to let this pride swallow you whole. Don’t let it make you feel absolutely invincible, or allow you to think that other people are less knowledgeable by default.

Think back to your very first office job when you were fresh out of school. There’s a good chance that one of your higher ups was some busybody who always insisted on getting his way, and that his stubbornness annoyed the beeswax out of you! :) Sounds familiar? Those kinds of people are a dime a dozen in the business world, yet they’re the ones whose careers can only go so far. You don’t want to be part of this crowd!

A Slice of Humble Pie

In order to tame your ego, or to keep your head from inflating in the first place, you have to accept two facts. First, that you are not, and never will be, the center of the universe; and second, that other people, regardless of whether their resumes don’t look as good as yours, possess valuable opinions and actually know things that you don’t. In other words, you’ve got to eat that slice of humble pie…and like it. :)

I recently read this hilarious story in Healthy Wealthy nWise that really brings this message home. Ivan Misner—who, apart from being a networking phenom, is such a brilliant and engaging writer—has this article entitled “Why Make All the Mistakes When We Can Learn from Others,” and I have to say that it is spot-on! In it, Misner narrates all the hi-jinks he had to go through after getting stung by a Portuguese Man o’War jellyfish. Don’t worry, I won’t spoil the story for you—it got me laughing so hard, and I’m sure you’ll love it, too.

I insist, however, on quoting his reflection after the jellyfish incident:

“I made one of the biggest mistakes that people in business make – I didn’t listen to the people who have experience. I assumed that I just had to know better… and the truth is, I didn’t know better.

There is nothing like experience. It beats education every day of the week. The only thing better is a combination of education and experience… or a willingness to learn from other people’s experience.”

Think about it: have you experienced everything there is to experience in this world? Of course not! Nobody has, and nobody ever will, and that is a truth that everyone has to readily embrace. People have to accept that they will get things wrong sometimes, and that the only way to get the right answers is to depend on other people.

Some people call this “humility,” and others call this “common sense.” :)

Breaking Bad (Habits!)

Image by: Ambro

People who have become so used to being egotistical, however, may claim that this bad habit has become far too ingrained into who they are and how they live, so much so that they can’t break out of it. They may claim that their “me first” attitude is something that already comes to them instantly, automatically.

These people are kidding themselves. There’s no such thing as not being able to break out of a bad habit, and whoever tells you otherwise is likely just reluctant to change. In truth, not only can you break out of a bad habit, but you can avoid this habit for the rest of your life.

If it were up to me, I would require every bullheaded businessman out there to read Angel Alvaro’s compelling “Can You Ever Break a Bad Habit for Good?”, which I first came across in Healthy Wealthy nWise. Alvaro says that there are four key things a person should do in order to wriggle out of the bind they put themselves in: welcome criticism; judge themselves as they judge others; have willpower; and be patient.

The first suggestion—to welcome criticism—is especially important, considering what I’ve been rambling about since the start of this entry. :) I honestly believe that once you’re able to handle anything remotely negative about yourself, you will have the ability to be an outstanding businessman—someone who is unafraid to try new things, and can readily pick himself up and dust himself off whenever times get tough.

L’eggo my Ego!

Remember: the next time somebody questions your decisions, don’t immediately think of it as a mean jab at your credibility. Neither should you bolster your authority simply because you have many awards on your mantelpiece and several platinum credit cards in your wallet.

If you want to be a good businessman, you have to be an open-hearted and open-minded person. Yes, you can be a strict boss, but that doesn’t give you license to be an out-and-out dictator who can only listen to the sound of his own voice. Be open to communication and collaboration. Place value in the fact that your employees have their own unique experiences that can contribute positively to the company. Not only will your workers love you for it, but you’ll soon find yourself gaining ground in your industry faster than you’d ever expect!


Images by: AscensionDigital / and Ambro /

Congratulations, Deborah Boniface!

March 2nd, 2012 by Ric in Sharing Success

Congrats to Deborah Boniface for getting her new Automated Cash Sites up and running!