5 Ways to Increase Sales Through Social Media

Social media is a hot topic within the business community today, but there are quite a few businesses that haven’t figured out this new “beast” and how to leverage it for business purposes. Many executives still believe social media is a “kid’s playground” or a “waste of time,” but savvy companies are figuring out ways social media can help them increase sales and improve their businesses. In this article, I will share with you five ways social media can help you increase sales.

Build Your Presence as a Go to Expert

Positioning yourself as an obvious expert is a lot easier today than it was ten years ago when traditional media outlets controlled everything in print and on the air. There are numerous content hubs available on-line for content production and syndication by anyone with a willingness to contribute valuable material.

By regularly producing content relative to what you do professionally, you increase the probability of those seeking information about your products and services discovering you as a viable resource. The more quality content associated with you and your company, the more likely someone is to contact you or your firm.

Sites such as EzineArticles, Buzzle, AssociatedContent, Scribed, HubPages, and EvanCarmichael can prove to be wonderful sites for those that like to write, and they can also serve as tremendous free educational resources.

Creating your own blog is another way to leverage your writing skills to increase your online visibility as search engines love blogs.

Mainstays like YouTube and iTunes can pave the way for those well versed in video and audio to produce quality content that paints their company in a positive light.

Expand Your Reach

Connecting with like minded individuals all across the globe has never been easier thanks to social media websites such as LinkedIn, Spoke, Xing, and Ryze serve as business networking hubs to help network you with business people with similar interests. Your potential reach is only limited by your willingness to make new friends. Pick one of these sites and start building your network today-it’s free to join, and you never know who is out there unless you’re involved.

Increase Your Knowledge

Throughout the course of any day, experts in every industry imaginable are sharing their wisdom for free. By monitoring sites like Twitter, Ning, YouTube, iTunes, business blogs, and several e-zines for information relevant to your business, your knowledge will automatically increase, and you’ll be in the know very quickly.

Be a Connector

The exponential impact of social networking can be quite effective in a business setting because it’s human nature to want to help others. Some statistical outlets suggest that the average person knows about 250 people so each person you add to your network adds another 250 to your mix. In order to take advantage of that, offer to connect and help others before “cashing in” to help yourself. The more you give, the more you’ll get out of social media which is no different than relationships off-line.

Educate the Market

Your prospects know much less about your product and service than you do, but they will want to know more about it when it comes time to make a purchase or procure a contract. By educating them through many of the sites outlined in this article, you help set the buying criteria and position your firm as a potential option when it comes time to buy. The firm that educates the market best will be the long term winner.

Disclaimer of Caution

One caveat that bears mentioning strongly: don’t think you can sign-up for any on-line social media services and immediately attempt to sell your products and service. When engaging in social media activities, follow the golden rule: if you wouldn’t do something off-line, don’t do it on-line. Building relationships on or off-line takes time so commit to getting to know your new found friends before you go asking for any favors. Monitor the landscape for a bit then participate in kind.

When evaluating social media’s viability for your business, don’t lose sight of the fact that the underlying goal is to build relationships. Relationships take time to build so go in with an open mind, follow these tips, and positive results will follow.

Education – We’re Failing Our Children

There are reams of reading and stacks of studies purporting to assess various problems of the United States’ educational system. Each problem turns out to be rooted in our individual failure to place an extremely high value on a solid education. Our failure contrasts sharply with societal values of China, India or Japan where admission to universities is a high calling and competition for scarce slots is fierce.

This failure to assign a high value to education is all too easily laid at the feet of society rather than each of us. Unfortunately, that approach allows individuals to escape responsibility for doing something to reverse the “… rising tide of mediocrity”, so well documented a whole generation ago by the National Commission on Excellence in Education.1 If we truly cared we would be working, really hard, to reverse that tide.

The numerous findings of the Commission as to content, expectations, time and teaching2 are more compelling today than they were then. Little has been done to: extend the school year or extend daily hours in school. Those remain the same. (note 10 infra) A full core of language, math and science for all students is not required and only a third of students study the solid subjects.3 Teacher pay remains low in comparison to other professional opportunities for college graduates.4 Dropouts are 30% or higher.5 The disproportionate influence of the education lobby continues.6

The consequences of a failed system are severe. Our kids won’t have good jobs. Their quality of life will decline, sharply. Our culture will lose international influence. Commerce does not wait. CEOs can hire better educated workers offshore to sustain value. Why should the rest of us wait at home?

In 2005 the prestigious ACT noted: “… the number of post secondary school graduates will not be sufficient to fill the more than 14 million new jobs that will be added to the labor market by 2008. And, leaving high school without being prepared … will cost our nation over $16 billion each year in remediation, lost productivity, and increased demands on criminal justice and welfare systems.”7

In 1984 thirty seven states had minimum competency tests for high school graduation. By 1995 the number was seventeen. The minimums have tended to become maximums, thus lowering standards for all.8 Today rank and file teachers say with some irony that “No Child Left Behind” is coming to mean “All Children Left Behind.”9

The organized time that children spend learning in school has remained static at 180 days per year and about 6 hours per day for a generation. By contrast, educators in China, with one fortieth the per capita GDP of the United States, have 8 hour school days in its poorest, worst educated province.10 Talk about valuing education!

The Commission also noted that a “… 1981 survey of 45 States revealed shortages of mathematics teachers in 43 States, critical shortages of earth sciences teachers in 33
States, and of physics teachers everywhere. This shortage persists. The percent of college graduates going into the teaching profession has continued to decline.11

One specific thing we can do is vote! Votes can emphasize values. Votes get the attention of those who make policy. Even though federal and state education policies tend to dominate, a critical link in our system of education is the independent nature of local school boards. Where voters in local districts can lead, those politics can also help to elect state and federal officials with values that can help.

In short, we need to build a better value system for education. Ask prospective School Board members; ask state and federal candidates what they will do, specifically, to raise the priority of, and fund, high quality education for our children. Elect and retain those with pro-education answers, and actions. Don’t vote for those whose talk — and actions — fail to show that education is a topmost priority.

As parents, we must tell our children we value education highly — and back those words with deeds. Teachers alone cannot be expected to change the value system of our society. The preeminent value we place on education must be clear in all our social interactions, and in our families. Even through poverty, divorce, and single parenthood, education must be sustained as a most important activity of family life. No electronic toys, or ipods, or play time, until all of the homework is done. No cell phone privileges unless grades are up to snuff. And we all can think of additional ways to drive home the point that hardly anything is more important to our children and their posterity than acquiring a quality education. Learning well is simply essential to their future.12


1 A Nation At Risk: National Commission on Excellence in Education; April 1983
2 ibid: Findings; also following Note 10 re teacher shortages
3 Courses Count: ACT 2005 (American College Testing, formerly)
4 USCA: New Teachers and Old Pay Structures; 2002
5 Manhattan Institute: High School Graduation Rates in the U.S.; 2001
6 American Behavioral Scientist: The Political Context of Higher Education; 2000
7 ACT: Courses Count; Preparing Students for Post Secondary Success; 2005
8 Synthesis Report 20; NCEO 1995
9 Desert Sands Unified School District: Author interviews; 2006-2007
10 The Education Sector; Washington D.C. and IUCN Asia Directorate; 2001 (Ghizou; Lowest urban GDP/worst education)
11 Opportunity in Education
12 Author David L. Smith is retired from a dual career in local government and in business. He has owned a company, served as Chairman and CEO of a ten-university consortium doing technology transfers, and as County Administrator for one of California’s largest counties. He is state certified as a guest teacher, grades K-12, for his local school district.

Environmental Sustainability and Distributive Justice


To be a consumer in the United States (US) is simple. In fact, it is the wealth and abundance of goods that attracts many immigrants to the US. Who would not want to be able to live in a spacious home, drive a large vehicle and frequent, mega stores such as Wal-Mart and warehouse stores such as Costco? In fact, there is something addictive and seductive about the way goods and services are sold in the US. It is not that there is a great necessity, but rather marketing is done so well and with such skill that the buyer “has to have” the items that they are faced with. The once in demand item of yesterday becomes an item tossed in a garage for an upcoming garage sale or given to a local charity or dropped off at a local collection drop-off site. It is as if the more, the bigger, the better is desirable such that having material goods renders one more in vogue and fashionable.

To be part of the “it” crowd one has to relentlessly give up the former (perhaps only days or weeks old) and upgrade for the now faster, newer, sleeker, television, cell phone, computer or IPOD. Such is the case in virtually all of suburban communities in the US. Communities where 2-4 people reside in a 3-4 thousand square foot home, with several large SUVs parked in the driveway, and have access to a number of stores, shopping centers etc. Conversely, there is the other side of town, the part of town that most do not want to acknowledge, or ever visit, except for when needing a service or product that can only be sought in the ethnic or migrant community.

In such communities, one can not spot a hummer or drive by a row of over priced homes, or gorgeously manicured lawns. The members of these communities are the service providers for suburbia. They are the ones who mow the lawns, care for the children and clean the homes of their employers. They visit their well-off employers; render a service or provide a product and then go back home to face their own day to day struggles. What is described is not unique to my home town of San Diego, California. In fact the above circumstances can be in India, China, or some other part of the world.

I will not argue that through better sustainability practices we will be able to rid the world of poverty. I also confess that it is difficult to ask the “haves” to share with the “have nots”. With that, I would like to look into sustainability in the context of an environmental sustainability and look into the ways to create distributive justice. What are possibly some of the obstacles? Within the sphere of social equity I will take a look at distributive justice through the eyes of a bi-cultural American. My American acculturation has taught me that consumerism is good and the old adage is “the more, the better”. My Persian heritage and culture has taught me that in fact “less is more” and material goods should not define my identity. As the author of this paper, both of those perspectives will seep through my writing and exploration of environmental sustainability, within the realm of distributive justice.

For the purpose of this analysis I will be using the following operational terms:

Consumerism: the theory that an increasing consumption of goods is economically desirable; also: a preoccupation with and an inclination toward the buying of consumer goods. (Merriam Webster Dictionary)

Sustainable Development

Caldwell [1] writes: The sustainability of human society in the future depends upon the skill and willingness of humans to order their behavior and institutions toward maintaining ecological integrity in human relationships with earth. Lemons [2]

Additionally, there are a number of operational definitions used in the field to characterize sustainability. On its own, sustainability does not mean much, when paired with development it has a modified meaning given that development means action of some sort. Lemons [2] What’s more, sustainability implies the safeguarding of a steady-state condition, and perhaps of preservation. Yet, others have defined sustainability from an economic perspective as the “maintenance of capital.” Goodland [3]

Environmental Sustainability

According to Leuenberger [4], environmental sustainability offers an opportunity to move beyond market-based decision making mechanisms toward plans that allow long-term and concurrent benefits for multiple stakeholders. Leuenberger [4] Moreover, Leuenberger and Wakin’s “Sustainable Development in Public Administration Planning: An Exploration of Social Justice, Equity and Citizen Inclusion” explores the prospect of sustainable development as a tool for increased social justice, equity and citizen inclusion in public administration decision making. Leuenberger [4] The paper suggests that equity and social justice built on meaningful citizen participation needs to be a part of sustainable development. To be able to focus on long term change, incremental steps may not be the solution, but rather transformational changes may be required. Leuenburger [4]

Conceivably a definition of steady-state society can be integrated into a sustainability. Ophuls [5] defines steady-state as: preservation of a healthy biosphere, the careful husbanding of resources, self-imposed limitations on consumption, long-term goal to guide short-term choices and a general attitude of trusteeship toward future generations. Ophuls [5] Similarities amid the sustainability of economic systems and environmental systems are evident in understanding the significance of the concept of carrying capacity Catton [6], and Rees [7] This refers to the greatest load of human use that can be sustained by an environmental without diminishing its future suitability for supporting an equal load. In this case, human load is a function not only of population numbers but also of per capita use. The limitations of an environmental carrying capacity is particularly problematic in the United States since our increasing population, changing population profile, and per capita consumption rates are making greater demands on our ecological resources and natural capital at the national and global levels.

Elliot [8], Wackernagel [9], and Rees [7] described the connections between sustainability and natural capital in this way: Sustainability implies that nature’s capital should be used no more quickly then it can be replenished. Nonetheless, trade and technology have enabled mankind progressively to exploit nature far beyond sustainable levels at a rapid rate so that present consumption exceeds natural income (the “interest” on our capital). This condition leaves the next generation with depleted capital and less productive potential even as the population and material expectations increase. Wright [10]

Distributive Justice

Defined as: an essentially just society… does not need to shape individuals in order to afford them justice… In saying that an essentially just society is neutral with respect to the aims of its members, we deny that justice is linked to any substantive conception of what is good, either for the individual or for society. Kymlicka [11], Raz [12]

Within this realm, the starting point will be distributive justice. The concept of social conflicts occurring based on environmental entitlements, how do we split the pie? Martinez-Alier [13] And is there enough to go around for everyone? Whether intentional or not, the growth of a worldwide movement for environmental justice, which may become a strong factor, has focused on how future generations perceive social equity and distributive justice. Martinez-Alier [13] Before further exploration I would like to preface that not all environmentalist resist growth. Likewise, many of them benefit from the same opulent lifestyle as described in the introduction for this paper.

Behavioral Obstacles

According to Ophuls [5], we have done not much during the last 20 years, but to symbolically care by celebrating earth day…we have done all of the easiest and least painful things. “Now we must do the hard things; reshape basic attitudes and expectations, alter established lifestyles, and restructure the economy accordingly.” Ophuls [5]

The problem of marrying environmental sustainability with distributive justice is similar to healthcare coverage in the US. In the US, approximately 50 million people are without healthcare coverage. Many of the people in this group are children, single mothers, students, and or those who work part time, even some who have full time jobs or work two jobs but still do not have healthcare through an employer. The reasons for such vary and will not be explored in this manuscript. The point is to use it as an analogy. Unlike the United States, the French and the Canadian have universal healthcare coverage. Despite of marital status, age and employment status, both countries have chosen to provide healthcare for their general population. As a result of having a regular medical home and access to basic and preventive care, the populations of both nations outlive the people of the US. There has been a moral and ethical not to mention an economic decision made to provide care in spite of access to wealth. In fact, in a roundabout way the “haves” assist in the payment of monies to provide healthcare for the “have nots”. I would like to tie this back into social equity. So consider the model in which healthcare is considered a resource for wealth generation. The consumption of healthcare limited to the “haves” for sort term benefit at the expense of others, the “have nots” thwarts sustainability. The “have nots” are also a resource, i.e. human capital, which gets consumed and in the absence of healthcare coverage renders unintended consequences. Social equity can not take place if those with access to wealth and capital are not willing to share the profits with those who are less privileged. But this is almost contradictory to the ideals of Americans, where happiness is defined predominantly by the amount of material goods, most are not willing to share with others, in fact why they should? It is practically counter to the American way of life.

Environmentalists who focus on social equity, by my definition are not those who are willing to give up all material goods and live the life of a dervish. Rather, they assert that, perhaps, we can preserve a certain status and quality of life while not losing site of the less fortunate. This belief system is based on the ideals of sustainable development. Not only looking to the needs of today, but also looking to the needs of tomorrow. According to Caldwell [1] for “development to be sustainable must serve the quality of life, rather then social and ecological values being pre-empted primarily to serve the imperatives of economistic development plans.” Lemons [2] It requires a type of forward thinking that is more or less at odds with the “satisfy the id” ideals of Americans. The majority wanting things now and having the mind set of, “oh well we will just face the evils of tomorrow when and if they should arise!”

Perhaps, it is not the fault of Americans for thinking in this manner. After all, America is a very young nation with little or no ancient cultural ideals or heritage. Unlike the countries from the ancient world, “America” lacks the wisdom to build for the future and not just for today. If building green is in vogue then it shall be done, but not because it is the right thing to do; not because it is the smart way to build. With all of its wealth, the US should set an example for other nations of the world. The US should be the role model for sustainable development that all others can pursue.

Unlike other nations, the US population is overall well fed, dressed and housed. To use Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, Americans far surpass others when it comes to having basic needs met. That’s why we have the luxury of worrying about the natural world and our global environment. To others, the immediacy of putting dinner on the table does not allow for the big picture thinking of tomorrow. Day-to-day struggles interfere with the likelihood of seeing the future and working on creating that future now. The “future” for most inhabitants of this planet is the future of tomorrow or perhaps next week, where the questions asked are not will there be enough fuel for my children and grandchildren, instead the questions asked are: will I remain employed? Will I be able to purchase medicine for my sick child? Will I be able to care for my aging parents? Americans, on the whole have a gift, their gift is that they have peace of mind. They are able to use running water as often or as much as they wish, they are not concerned with having access to a phone, or electricity… They do not need to worry about the struggle of “do I send my child to work or to school today.” It is this gift that makes us, Americans the envy of others. It is this gift (otherwise referred to as the American Dream) that the US is such a magnet for foreigners, they too want to be able to benefit from some of the bliss that we have in not having to constantly fight for our basic needs.

In 1964 Rachel Carson stated:

The modern world worships the gods of speed and quantity, and of the quick and easy profit, and out of this idolatry monstrous evils have arisen. Yet the evils go long and unrecognized. Even those who create them manage by some devious rationalizing to blind themselves to the harm they done society. As for the general public, the vast majority rest secure in a childlike faith that someone is looking after things – a faith unbroken until some public-spirited person, with patient scholarship and steadfast courage presents facts that can no longer be ignored. Leuenberger [14], Lear [15]

With that, then we should take upon ourselves to be the stewards of this planet. We have the “know how” and the funds to do so. The issues of stewardship and sustainability of natural resources cannot be neglected if we want to preserve and enhance the well-being and quality of life of future generations. de-Shalit [16], Moody [17], and Page [18] At times economic and environmental issues appear to be distinct and bipolar concerns, yet sustainability can provide a bridge connecting both systems. Wright [10]

Collective Consciousness

How can we inject the concept of sustainability into the collective consciousness? Psychologists and philosophers both agree that education and exhortation are objectives to achieve such a goal, a society where humans have a sustainable relationship with the earth. At the current time, such goals and objectives do not seem to be mainstream and are shared by a few who seem to battle the resistance to a change in attitude. Such changes are required for humans “not so much in changes in basic human nature but rather changing the social circumstances in which human behavior find expression” Lemons [2]. Let us be the superpower that everyone loves and adores, let us spend less or none on wars and instead on providing food and medicine to the needy. One would argue that this is already done; we send millions upon millions of dollars to less developed nations. Some Americans claim we have already done our share. Others would argue, why should we spend US dollars elsewhere when we still have problems to address in our own backyard? I agree and I am not proposing that we send more aid to less developed nations. Instead, the proposal is twofold: 1) be wise with how we expend our goods and services 2) be savvy with how we want to build our future. Instead of spending as much as we can as fast as we can, let us be plan for the cold winters.


We have the ability and luxury to focus on sustainable development. Not because it is in fashion, but rather because it will ensure a better life for future generations. But we can not do this without a shift in our thinking. We must be willing to face the other side of town and examine how we collectively feel about social equity. Are we willing to make any sacrifices? Are we willing to stop avoiding tough decisions? Can we remove our pride and look to see what others may have to offer and ask to collaborate with them. Maybe it is time to take a more careful look at how peasant and indigenous groups have often co-evolved with nature. Martinez-Alier [13]

Maryam is an Assistant Professor and Lead Faculty for the BPA and MPA programs at National University, La Jolla California. Please read more about Maryam by visiting: www.activepatients.com


[1] Caldwell, L.K., Between Two Worlds, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1992.

[2] Lemons, J., Westra, L. & Goodland, R., Ecological Sustainability and Integrity Concepts and Approaches. Netherlands Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1998.

[3] Goodland, R., International Association of Impact Assessment (IAIA) Newsletter 5 (2) (pages unnumbered) 1993.

[4] Leuenberger, D., Sustainable Development in Public Administration: A Match with Practice? Public Works Management and Policy, Vol.10, pp. 195-201, 2006.

[5] Ophuls, W. & Boyan, S., Ecology and the Politics of Scarcity Revisited: The Unraveling of the American Dream, New York, W. H. Freeman and Company, 1992.

[6] Catton, W. & R. Dunlap., “Environmental Sociology: A New Paradigm.” American Sociology, Vol 13, pp. 41-49, 1978.

[7] Rees, W., “Revisiting Carrying Capacity: Area-Based Indicators of Sustainability.” Population and Environment: A Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies, 17, pp. 195-215, 1996.

[8] Elliot, L., The Global Politics of the Environment, 2nd edition, New York University Press, 2004.

[9] Wackernagel, M. & W. Rees., Our Ecological Footprint: Reducing Human Impact on the Earth, Philadelphia, PA, New Society, 1996.

[10] Wright, S. & Lund, D., Gray and Green?: Stewardship and Sustainability in an Aging Society. Journal of Aging Studies, Vol. 14, Issue 3, pp. 229-250, 2000.

[11] Kymlicka, W., Liberal Individualism and Liberal Neutrality, Ethics, 99, pp. 883-905, 1989.

[12] Raz, J., Liberalism, autonomy and the Politics of Neutral Concern. Midwest Studies in Philosophy, Vol 7, pp. 89-120, 1980.

[13] Martinez-Alier, J., The Environmentalism of the Poor: A Study of Ecological Conflicts and Valuation, Great Britain by Bookcraft Bath Ltd., 2002.

[14] Leuenberger, D.Z., Introduction-Signs of the Tines: Environmental Sustainability, Citizens, Leadership, and Social Justice. Public Administration Theory Network. Vol. 29, No. 3, pp. 370-374, 2007.

[15] Lear, L., Lost Woods: The Discovered Writing of Rachel Carson. (Boston, Beacon Press) 1998.

[16] de-Shalit, A., Why Prosperity Matters: Environmental Policies and Future Generations, New York: Routledge, 1995.

[17] Moody, H.R., “Obligations to Future Generations.” Public Policy and Aging Report 7 (Fall), 8-9, 1996.

[18] Page, T., “On the Problem of Achieving Efficiency and Equity, Intergenerationally.” Land Economics Vol 73, pp. 580-596, 1997.

Choose the Right Backpacking Gear

Backpacking Equipment

Backpacking gear is pricey and buying the right  gear requires thoughtful  and careful research. There’s a great deal of information about buying backpacking equipment.  Also there is a lot of tips on how to reduce backpack weight  achieve lighter backpacks, practical backcountry information and general information from fellow backpackers that may be useful. Backpacking equipment can be lightweight, ultra-lightweight, recycled and everything in between.

Lighter Backpacks

Backpacks come in many different sizes, styles and features.  If you are serious about hiking and backpacking, you need per quality backpack that is both comforatble and meets the challenge of your outdoor quest.  Backpacks are wonderful items that every individual requirements to travel on account of rough terrain.

Packs ought to be designed to hold enormous loads for long distances over comparatively well established trails without per ton of low overhanging branches or narrow passages. Also attempt to keep the pack weight down There’s substantial info and, tips to cut back backpack weight to achieve lighter backpacks.


Sleeping bags also change in price, sturdiness, and weight. Sleeping bag ratings are assuming the use of the sleeping pad and the tent. Sleeping pads advise insulate and supply cushion for the couple of out of doorways activities. Sleeping pads are all but per must have for backpacking comfort, but who wants to grip people monstrous old inflatables down the trail. Sleeping bag pads insulate you from the ground and supply comfort. Sleeping pads insulate you from the heat-sapping ground and aide you sleep like the baby.

The Surest Backpacking Tent

The latest lightweight shelter roundup turns up the lightest, most user-friendly tents to be found, ever.  Major manufacturers are introducing sub-four-pound double wall two-individual tents.  And two two-individual double wall tents break on account of the three pound barrier.

Finding The Backpacking Boot

One piece of backpacking gear that is as significant as your backpack is your boots.  Backpacking is about walking, hiking and climbing and everyone knows that when your boots don’t fit you can’t enjoy even a simple hike.  When you are backpacking the last thing you want is sore feet, so learn to pick out the backpacking boot that is best for you.

There is not one single type of boot that is the surest.  Every individual has to find their own best because we do not all have the same requirements.  It is up to you to find that one boot type that is your surest, but by learning what to look for, you can find your surest boot easily.

Keep yourself informed of deals and specials on all kinds of hiking and backpacking equipment from the top outside stores on the net.

Finding the Best Collagen Skin Products – What’s the BIG Secret?

If you are struggling trying to find the best collagen skin products, then this article is just for you. Find out which types of collagen skin products are worth using and which ones you should stay away from at all costs!

Because of the fact that increasing the amount of collagen protein in your skin is one of the most important elements to keeping it tight and firm, many skin care products have been designed and centered around this issue.

Unfortunately, all of them do not work as well as others and skin care companies do not help us out much when it comes to figuring out which methods are most effective. They all claim that their product is the best, of course!

So let’s get down to the bottom of this issue and figure out which collagen skin products are actually worth using….

First of all, I’d like to talk about skin products with collagen protein actually in them. This may have been the first collagen-type product to be introduced to the market. After people were aware of the importance of keeping high levels of this protein in the skin, skin products with collagen in them became the one of the hottest skin care treatments.

But the problem with these type of products is the fact that the protein molecules themselves are far too large to actually penetrate through the epidermis of your skin. At best, these type of products just moisturize your skin while leaving the actual protein to sit on your skin until it’s washed on when you bathe or shower!

So needless to say, avoid getting skin products with collagen in them because you will be wasting your time and heard earned money using them….

Instead, what you want to do is invest in collagen skin products that actually contain ingredients that stimulate and encourage the natural production of this important structural protein. As a result, your body will be able to produce higher amounts of your natural, complex, and unique form of collagen even as you continue to age. Now that’s anti-aging at it’s finest!

BONUS TIP: Look for all-natural ingredients like CynergyTK™ in collagen skin products. Clinical studies have shown that the average person experiences a 42% improvement in skin elasticity after just 18 days of using a topical cream with CynergyTK™ in it! I personally found it so effective that it has become a staple in my skin care routine.

Shop Smarter, Not Harder, For Coverage

When it comes to coverage, most individuals, and even most businesses, are overpaying, under-covered or both. The shame here is that the situation is entirely avoidable. You can shop smarter for coverage without working harder. In fact, with a smart approach, you’ll save time and effort as well as money.

Think Beyond Local

A common mistake that individual and commercial clients make is to think local only. In years past, private and business coverage were very localized industries. The Internet, however, has changed that, and it is likely that the company best suited to serve your needs exists outside your local region.

The Internet is an Invaluable Tool

Shop smarter for coverage by using the Internet. Every strong coverage option, even the local one, has a Web presence, and numerous very useful third-party sites exist. Even if you strongly prefer having a local agent, you can use the information available online to provide you with a stronger negotiating position.

Comparison-Shop Online

When it comes to shopping for coverage, the most useful aspect of the Internet is price comparisons. Comparison-shopping services allow you to enter your information just once, and then provide you with a list of quotes for service packages that match your needs. One of the great advantages here is that you get an instant assessment of what the going rate is for the coverage that you require.

Interview Potential Providers

Once you have a short list, start with background checks and brief interviews. Whittle that list down even further. With the remaining companies, perform a more extensive interview. Listen to the plan that they will set forth for your family or business, and get a sense of the kind of personal attention that you’re likely to receive going forward.

Keep Notes

Throughout this entire process, keep notes, a journal even. Having this information on hand will make it easier to compare the experiences you have with the different companies. It’s also helpful to ask each company all of the same questions. So if you think of something, jot it down so that you have it available to you later.

This is a Negotiation

Remember, this is a negotiation. Providers can seem a little inflexible on quotes, but you can negotiate prices and features. This is particularly important when the company that you prefer provides you with a quote that’s higher than the best on the table. Often, you can use that best quote to get a better deal with the company that you prefer.


Shop smarter for coverage by being patient and thorough. Use all of the tools that are at your disposal. Don’t be married to the idea of having a local agent. These days, remote agents are just as good, and thanks to technologies like Skype, there isn’t the drop-off in service that you might expect.

Small Business Ideas in Spirits, Wines, and Beer

Research shows while the consumption of large quantities of alcohol has gone down, many individuals are looking for better spirits and wines to consume. The market for super premium spirits, wines, and beers have grown.

This is a great market for small businesses to tap into. Locally you can provide a place to purchase these items. This will be particularly successful in areas where there are none or few businesses which sell these items. Individuals who are looking for these types of goods want selection and an atmosphere that is conducive to spending the type of money they are willing to spend, to enjoy a premium alcoholic beverage.

You can further enhance your business by providing education to individuals one where the item comes from, history behind it, etc. You can also host a wine tasting and gatherings which individuals enjoy attending to learn more about local and international wines and other spirits.

If you want to corner even more of this market you can begin producing your own type of these items. Locally brewed beer has been enormously popular throughout many areas of the United States, as has locally produced wines from local wineries. Though the startup cost on such an endeavor may be large, if you produce a quality item, you may be able to garner some of the 10% increase that is forecasted to grow in this market.

Starting a small business doing your research and finding areas of the market such as this which is growing and predicted to grow is imperative. Even if you aren’t interested in this area, remember to read the trends and figure out what people are interested in and where interest is likely to grow.

Toshiba Announces TG01 Multimedia Smart Phone As iPhone Challenger

A slick-looking Windows Mobile-based touch screen phone finally has formally announced by Toshiba as the latest challenger to the iPhone with super high screen resolution powered by high-performance Qualcomm mobile chipset.

From the place where Mobile World Congress begins its run on Monday, Toshiba basically confirms leaked reports about the TG01 over the last couple of weeks.

The TG01 will boast a 800 by 480 pixel resolution with a 4.1 inch screen, slated to appear in Europe this summer. As for the comparison, the iPhones has a 480 by 320 resolution (if it’s held in landscape mode) with 3.5 inches screen measures. The truth is that the display specs for the TG01 are more similar to Sony Ericsson’s debut Window Mobile Handset, the Xperia X1.

To ensure vivid colors and quality playback of fast-moving video images, Toshiba says the screen for TG01 uses fine-tuning technology that is developed for its Regza line of LCD-TV.

The TG01 that integrates a 1GHz CPU with support for quad-band 3G networks (with HSDPA/HSUPA data support) Wi-Fi, GPS and multimedia, will be the first handset based on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon technology in order to enable the super-skinny and lightweight handset’s profile that is a mere 0.39 inches thick, compared to the iPhone’s 0.48 inch depth.

The Toshiba TG01 will have its own customer user interface, while based on Microsoft’s ubiquitous Window Mobile 6.1 platform for handhelds, including couples of imaginative innovations. By tilting the phone, you will be able to switch between applications and you just need to shake the phone to answer the phone call.
The battery life for this TG01 phone is 1000mAh which is up to 5 hours talk time and 11 days standby time, according to Toshiba rates.

The other features for this TG01 including a 3.2-megapixel camera and Java support, and it has 250 MB RAM and 512MB ROM with micro SDHC that will support up to 32GB for additional storage.
TG01 will play AAC, AAC+, AMR-NB, AMR-WB, WMA, H.263, H.264, MPEG4, WMV videos, WAV audio file and MP3 and boasts excellent multimedia support.

2 colors, black and while will be available at TG01 launch. As for the networks, there’s still no comment yet exactly for what it will cost or which European networks will offer it.

So, do you think TG01 will be an iPhone killer? Or just it be another hotly hyped attempt that will pale next to the thus-far-untouchable god of all smartphones? Of course, I still don’t know yet and there are still too many unknown factors to make any real predictions.

But only one thing for sure that TG01 will definitely catching the market’s eye and I guess the Apple folks are watching very closely to their competitor for this Toshiba TG01.

Get the Taste of World-Class Education Through the Renowned UK Universities

The United Kingdom is the most preferred destination for foreign students as their number has reached a staggering 1 million recently. The UK government is making every possible effort to maintain the inflow of students from other countries since it has to face stiff competition from the USA, Australia, Canada and other European countries. Various educational institutes in the United Kingdom are known to possess excellent academic standards. That’s the reason why overseas students are simply flocking to the country. The UK universities are always accredited by credible professional establishments to make sure that their teaching level continues to set benchmarks for other institutes to emulate.

Universities in the UK realize the worth of your money to offer more cost-efficient courses compared to other nations. Generally, a student can wind up his/her degree course in 3 years here instead of 4. Similarly, the majority of master degree programs can be finished in one year rather than two. Another advantage of the educational institutions in the UK is they provide financial help and scholarships to students, thereby making their study highly affordable. So, it is advisable for pupils to get in touch with the British Council office in their home country regarding the scholarship issues in the UK. British Council IELTS Scholarship, Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP), and De Souza Trust Goa Scholarship and the Goa Education Trust (GET) Scholarship are some well-recognized scholarship programs for students.

Some of the top UK universities that receive the most attention from students include University of Cambridge, Imperial College London, University of Oxford, the University of Edinburgh and the University College London.

One more motivating factor of taking education in the United Kingdom is its advanced healthcare system. Overseas students residing in regions like England, Northern Island, and Wales for a full-time course are qualified for medical treatment without charge.

Students who want to migrate to the UK for higher studies can get into the country on the basis of a student visa. They can continue with this visa till the completion of their courses. But, there is always the option of switching to a different immigration service such as a work permit visa to extend your stay in the country. There are certain criteria that you have to fulfill to become eligible for a student visa UK. You need to prove that you have been selected for a course at a public financing institute such as a university, a private institute or an autonomous fee-paying school. You will also have to prove your intention of joining a recognized regular degree course, a weekday course having a minimum of 15 hours of daytime study per week or a regular course undertaken at an autonomous fee-paying school.

If you have interest in studying a short-term course of approximately 6 months, you could perhaps manage with a tourist visa. The major disparity between getting into the UK on a student visa and a tourist visa is that a student can work for 20 hours per week all through the term time and 40 hours per week at the time of vacations with a student visa but you won’t be able to do that with a tourist visa. You can make an application for a student visa as a future student as well. Student visas are usually issued for an original time period of one year, but the authorities can also take into account the duration of the course you think to be enrolled into.

Culinary Arts Salaries

In the early days of man as a cave dweller, fire was discovered and ever since, cooked food has been popular. Over a period of time, culinary skills developed into a body of knowledge such that today, it is both a science and an intricate art. Culinary arts, as it is otherwise known, involves cooking different types of food, either for consumption by the person making it or for service to other people. The food industry is one of the fastest growing ones in the U.S. and employs the most number of people, next to government service. It is an ever-changing industry that is challenging and demanding. Career opportunities in this field are available in restaurants, hotels, on board ships and at resorts. This competitive industry offers various choices to pursue if one is passionate about food.

Chef, caterer, pastry chef and restaurant cook are some of the most familiar options, amongst the many jobs available for someone who specializes in the culinary arts. There are also management positions such as executive chef, food and beverage manager, sales director and housekeeper.

The salaries of chefs and cooks vary greatly according to the region and type of establishment. Wages are usually the highest in elegant restaurants and hotels, in major metropolitan areas, where many chefs are employed to head the food production of each type of cuisine. Culinary arts professionals who decide to work outside of big cities could earn between $8-$14 an hour. On the other hand, a line cook in San Francisco can earn $10 to $22 per hour. A chef in a fine dining restaurant or hotel can earn in excess of $100,000 per year.

According to the U.S. department of Labor and Statistics, 2002, Chefs and Head Cooks had an hourly salary ranging from of $7.66 to $25.86, restaurant cooks from $6.58 to $13.21, institution and cafeteria workers from $6.10 to $13.34 and fast-food cooks from $5.68 to $9.13.

Culinary art is a field highly in demand because it is considered as highly fulfilling in terms of job satisfaction and professionals in the field are well rewarded. Typically, as in any other industry, the salary levels increased with educational qualifications, experience and career advancement.