Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Oooops! My husband just corrected me...

It's not Shadow Rivers Myers...

The name for our new AKC registered purbreed black labrador puppy is:

Shadow River Myers

(Yes, my husband is looking over my shoulder and we're both laughing together over my mistake right now... hehehe ... when you BOTH work full time from home, life is a continuous real-time adventure!)

Introducing Shadow River Myers...

We're getting ready for the satellite installers to show up and I decided to d/l the pics of our new puppy to my 'puter before they arrive.

Here's a cool pic of Joshua trying to make her "smile for the camera" cute:

Joshua with his new puppy Shadow

And here's a solo picture of our new purebreed black labrador female puppy in all her glory. Don't you just want to cuddle this adorable little animal? Introducing --- Shadow Rivers Myers!

Here is Shadow - registered purebreed black labrador puppy

I'll be back later (or tomorrow) with a few comments on the copywriting course materials I received ...until then -- have a super day!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Sometimes breaking the rules is a sensible way of saving lives.

Had it been any other day, the phone call wouldn't have mattered, but today was the BIG day -- the all-important day -- the day the world was about to change...

How about the above for an opening line in a book?

I've got a book in my head right now that is screaming silently inside and I can't wait to get to a point where my residual income says I can stop accepting jobs from my copywriting clients and start writing the series I've always dreamed of writing.

The series will explore one subject in detail, pertaining to the subject line of this post.

After the events of Katrina and Rita, you might think it's all about responding in disaster situations and crisis management. Well -- in a way, part of it might be considered that, however the true subject of the series goes far deeper.

But I'm kind of rushed today.

Tomorrow, my satellite Internet access installers arrive and I got two calls already from clients who want jobs done before my home network goes down tomorrow afternoon so the installers can do their job.

Gotta run...

I'll be back with more on Thursday!

Friday, September 23, 2005

bird flu, hurricane Rita, Cindy whatever and SciFi Friday...

Just so you know... 15 subtypes of Influenza A virus (aka avian flu) are known to be circulating in bird populations. Many forms of avian flu virus cause only mild symptoms in the birds, or no symptoms at all. However, some of the viruses produce a highly contagious and rapidly fatal disease, leading to severe epidemics, such as the H5N1 strain currently spreading at lightning speed around the world.

These virulent viruses are known as "highly pathogenic avian influenza" and are cause for concern. My latest article on the subject of bird flu paints a pretty chilling picture of where this nasty little virus could be heading.

Speaking of nasty pictures, have you been watching the pounding path of hurricane Rita? She's out to do some major damage down in the USA Gulf Coast area. Flooding has already returned to portions of New Orleans as the first bands of wind and rain from hurricane Rita start pummelling the northern coastline. I hope everyone manages to escape her wrath...

Meanwhile, over in the other Gulf -- I'm talking about the war on terror area of current events -- there's some disturbing news afoot. Did you notice how President Bush seemed to be a bit "rattled" when he first started his "meet the press" interview yesterday? Maybe the news from the Gulf region had something to do with it.

Read this from ‘Is Iran preparing for a US war?’

After reading that particular news item -- direct from the Middle East -- I'm starting to smell a "set up" here... where the USA is being set up for a BIG FALL at the hands of certain governments (and murdering scum-of-the-earth terrorists).

In my humble opinion, Cindy Whatever (her last name doesn't matter to me since she's earned a certain degree of my contempt of late) and her group are ready and willing "pawns" [read: self-important idiots who can't see beyond their own agenda] falling ever-so-eagerly into their carefully laid plans.

When you stand back and look at the BIG picture emerging around the globe, it's all starting to sound like a science fiction series that would probably do extremely well in the ratings for a SciFi Friday marathon.

Think about it:
- a rapidly spreading super virus sweeping around the planet
- catastrophic weather washing across nations
- global civilian unrest and uprisings
- explosive International plots (and sublots) including manipulation, corruption, deception, terror and mass murder

Back to reality: "virtually speaking" you can put me on the "You Don't Speak for Me, Cindy" Tour bus, which is well on it's way... getting closer to its destination in Washington where two opposing rallies are set to take place this weekend. On the far left is Cindy and her gang with their march for more publicity ...then off to the moderate and the right we have the "Support The Troops And Their Mission Weekend" which includes a rally opposite that Cindy-chic.

By the way, if you think everyone in the Middle East is against our war on terrorism, you might want to read this editorial from their corner of the world.

Have a great weekend --- stay safe, be well, and please say a few prayers of hope for everyone in harms way.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

It's official... I'm going "back to school" at home

Phase 3 of my copywriting career begins in about 5 to 7 days...

That's when my first installment of course material arrives as I go back to school and take my copywriting to the next level. By the time I've completed everything in the way of correspondance training, mentoring, coaching --- and occasional live seminars --- I'll have spent over $39,000 building my skills.

But of course, that doesn't include the costly mistakes I made along the way *hahaha*

Don't get "sticker-shock" by the hefty price tag above. The amount includes:
- resource books I've purchased over a 14 year period
- correspondance courses I've purchased/completed over a 7 year period
- and some live seminars that weren't specifically targeted to copywriting but more geared to both self-development seminars as well as general marketing seminars (optional - not mandatory).

The way I see it is this:

Currently, I'm earning just slightly under $89,000/yr --- mostly in writing royalties from past work --- before upgrading my skills with this new course. After the course, I should realistically be able to quadruple that income.

One thing IS for certain, my rates are doubling as of October 1, 2005, and my special "deals" for any hourly work for existing clients will no longer be available. (Sorry about that, guys... but you knew it would happen sooner or later, right?)

It is, after all, a VERY tough course with written assignments that have to be turned in as well as some strong one-on-one coaching, mentoring and peer/group assessments and reviews --- worth a boost in my rates the way I see it.

To be honest, the residual income/size of our other home based business is experiencing MASSIVE momentum right now ...and it's going up -- up -- and up... so quite frankly, I don't really HAVE to write to put food on the table right now if I didn't really want to. I do it more because of my passion for it. I simply LOVE the challenge of getting higher and higher and higher conversions for our business, as well as others. It's a real THRILL!

I'm feeling a bit hungry right now. Time to go grab a bite to eat.

Oh, and Mom --- if you are reading this --- I told you that some day I'd be making a fortune writing. Do you believe me now? *smile*

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Why I Just Couldn't Say No...

Remember the lead generation firm?

Got a call just a few minutes ago... and I couldn't say no - again --- arrrggghhh!

Seriously, I'm not doing anymore lead firms.

There are plenty of other copywriters out there that would "jump" at the chance to make some fast money writing for them, right?

Or maybe not?

Maybe I should just hire an independent contractor to take over some of the overflow, including the little bits and pieces of work that come from this particular client...

Any suggestions?

Leave a comment and let me know.

Gotta run --- my husband just showed me a 3-page ad for a new company launch for whom I created the new promo website. Their website isn't even finalized yet, and they're already plastering the domain name in a $6,000-$10,000 ad campaign.

People with more money than cents? (pardon the pun)

If they would just finish the design/layout choices my content could be plugged in and they'd be up and running within a matter of 5 days. But no-oooooo... they're concerned about a shade of purple or something. (Do they even realize that different browsers and different monitors will give different color renditions????)

I still have to write up over 36 different follow-up autoresponder messages for their follow-up and training but can't start that until they given the green light on design and I get a final email template from the designers.

Heck, it's only been 5 months trying to wrap that particular project up.

STRESS BREAK: Time to drink so more goji and put the smile back on.

I'll be back!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

our new purebreed labrador puppy is settling in nicely

We call her Shadow River Myers ...the new tiny addition to our family.

She is a 6-week-old purebreed black labrador puppy from an impressive line. Her father "Cowboy" is a chocolate brown AKC registered lab with strong hunting qualities. I think the breeder said he has been used to train other labs for hunting and is some kind of hunting star in some magazines. The mother "Lucy" is a pure black AKC registered lab, a real sweetheart with a docile loving temperament.

The mix has produced a very unique personality in our little Shadow. She is both cuddly and loving while at the same time very spunky and has a tendancy to "stalk" her toys before pouncing on them, which indicates some hunting instincts may have been passed down from her father.

Our son Joshua absolutely adores her ...and she appears to LOVE him, too. They've been creating quite a close bond over the past 4 days. I really like "evesdropping" on them and hearing Josh "teaching" her about the ways of the world. It is soooooo cute.

I'll be back to post pictures of them later this week.

With all the commotion going on at our house, we haven't had much time to build our business --- and yet it's been growing as fast as our family has this past week. We gave a sample bottle of our bestseller to the breeder plus a sample to our new accountant's client support rep, and our website is still doing fantastic.

My new test pages for the "secret site" were delayed owing to how busy we were, but I should be launching in them within the next 72 hours. I'll give you the link when it's ready.


Anyone else out there own a black lab? Got any tips for training?

I'd love to hear about them!

Friday, September 16, 2005

PS: We hired our new accounting firm

I forgot to mention... we hired our new Accounting firm today.

Pat, the guy in charge of PR for the firm drove out to our house this a.m. and we signed the final papers. And tomorrow (or Saturday) we get to pick up our new puppy, too.

In case you missed it - What Does A Dog And An Accountant Have In Common?

Thursday, September 15, 2005

I've Decided I Don't Like Writing For Lead Generation Firms

I have one small job left to write for one Lead Generation firm, after which I think I'll call it quits doing further business with firms such as these.


Because, my copywriting mission statement is: "Conversions with integrity."

When this particular lead generation company asked me to accept a project to write a complete customized landing page/system for a company I felt was not ethical, I said --- "Sorry, no can do..."

Now, don't get me wrong... there are some companies this firm works for that are highly respectable and who simply don't know how to find prospective clients and/or customers on the Internet. I respect that, and I know it makes sense for such firms to hire firms who specialize in finding those prospects for them.

However, the bottom line is it all boils down to --- ethics, values and morals.

Personally, I feel most Lead Generation firms don't match my personal ethics, values and morals --- the codes by which I live. I've turned down several other clients on the same basis. I want to feel good about the work I do, and the people/companies I choose to work with. I want to know my work is "helping" the world and not indirectly hurting anyone.

So, chop about $10,000 out of my income for the remainder of this year. Not much when you consider how much I earn through clients/companies who do align with my personal "code" of standards.

Too judgemental on my part? Perhaps. But just having made the decision, I feel certain I'm going to sleep better and feel happier about my work at home career when I wake up tomorrow.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Economic Impact Following Katrina

The New Orleans flooding which followed in the wake of hurricane Katrina has developed into the most damaging flood in U.S. history. Sources estimate that at least 150,000 properties have been flooded, surpassing the previous U.S. record from flooding and levee failures on the Lower Mississippi river in 1927, which inundated 137,000 properties.

How hard will the nation be hit economically following the Katrina disaster?

First, you have to factor in the downtime expected (an estimated 3 months ...September thru November).

Next, you have to consider the economic size of the areas affected:

Louisiana's gross state product is about 1.2 percent of U.S. GDP, but the state ranks first in the U.S. in terms of specialization in water transportation and third (behind Alaska and Wyoming) in terms of specialization in oil and gas extraction. While the New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) only accounts for about 0.4 percent of U.S. personal income, the MSA accounts for over one-third of Louisiana's personal income.

Mississippi's gross state product is about 0.7 percent of U.S. GDP. Together, the Gulfport-Biloxi and Pascagoula MSAs account for 15 percent of Mississippi's personal income.

Alabama's gross state product is about 1.2 percent of U.S. GDP. The Mobile, Alabama MSA accounts for about 8 percent of Alabama's personal income.

Meanwhile, in insurance terms, economic loss from Hurricane Katrina and subsequent flooding in New Orleans is expected to exceed $100 billion, according to Risk Management Solutions (RMS).

At least 50% of total economic loss is expected to come from flooding in New Orleans, in addition to hurricane losses from wind and coastal surge, infrastructure damage, and indirect economic impacts. RMS issued preliminary insured loss estimates of up to $25 billion for Hurricane Katrina, prior to evidence of levee failure and flooding in New Orleans that was reported on Tuesday, August 30.

According to RMS, the value of physical property in the flooded areas is approximately $100 billion. While the majority of property damage occurs once flood waters enter a structure, prolonged immersion of wooden residential buildings in warm polluted water will lead to rapid deterioration requiring an increasing proportion of the building stock to be completely replaced. There will also be significant costs associated with land and building decontamination.

Losses from business interruption and displacement of residents are highly dependent on the duration of the flooding and repairs. RMS estimates that the costs of interrupted economic activity exceeds $100 million per day. There is also some risk that businesses may choose to relocate if they are unable to return in a timely manner, impacting the area's long-term economic recovery.

The coastal region of the Gulf of Mexico supplies 29% of domestic oil production and 21% of domestic natural gas production. Katrina forced many production facilities to be "shut in." A shut in facility does not produce.

Price effects from Katrina will likely push inflation higher in the near term from its current moderate pace. Year-over-year inflation in the core consumer price index (CPI) was 2.13% in July. Core personal consumption expenditure price index (PCE) inflation, the Fed's preferred measure of consumer price inflation, was 1.84% in July.

On the other side of the coin, increases in the economy may come from:
- new jobs created and goods purchased for the clean-up, decontamination, reconstruction and new buildings/infrastructure in the restoration period,
- potentially expanded business in alternate ports both for the receiving and shipping of goods,
- a potential increase in alternative energy materials/goods (such as corn-burners for home heating, solar energy panels, etc.) in the face of inflated energy costs,
- a potential economic GDP increase in other regions (since some businesses may choose to relocate outside the affected area),
- a potentially more efficient infrastructure may result in long-term economic benefits in the form of reduced costs as older less efficient infrastructure gets replaced during the rebuilding phase...

There's more. But even with my former 13 years experience and 5 years formal education in Accounting, I definitely don't want to be the person responsible for adding up the final figures. Which brings up another boost to the economy in the form of administrative jobs that will be required to handle the funds that will be required for the clean-up and repairs/rebuilding.

Now I'll go back to my work-at-home life knowing how lucky I am to be able to earn a full-time income from anywhere in the world, thanks to my computer and the Internet.

USA Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)
Risk Management Solutions (RMS)
JOINT ECONOMIC COMMITTEE - Update on Economic Impacts of Katrina Report, Sept. 2, 2005 (.pdf document)
JOINT ECONOMIC COMMITTEE - Recent Economic Developments Report, Sept. 13, 2005 (.pdf document)

Friday, September 09, 2005

Running a new TEST ...this is FUN!

I worked my tiny butt off over the past 9 days to set up for a new HUGE test I'll be running on one of our websites.

In order to do the BIG test, a small preliminary test had to be run. The preliminary test began with just a few small changes over at one of our domains for one of our top selling products: Best Liquid Vitamins - Goji Juice.

In order to visualize what would happen, I set up a very small ad on Google AdWords, selecting only 14 keywords for the test and a very brief ad as follows:

Health Drinks: Goji Juice
Maximum nutrition for tough times.
Nutritious Delicious Sugar-Free

Next, I started counting traffic... while at the same time monitoring overall traffic to the website.

An interesting thing happened.

My click-through was fairly decent for the ad, however... my overall traffic from all search engines dropped DRAMATICALLY - by a full 2/3 other words, I lost over 66% of my traffic within 24 hours of the ad going out.


So now, before the launch of the BIG test, I have to do a traceback to find out just what exactly IS happening each time I place an ad through Google?

Have you had any similar experiences?

What I mean is, have you noticed a drop in free search engine traffic within 24 hours of running an AdWord campaign? If so... I'd really LOVE to hear about it. Let me know, okay?

Thanks a bunch.

I'll be back this weekend with details of what I'm planning for the BIG test (at another domain we own).

Until then... feel free to post a quick note here and let me know your experiences on the subject of AdWords. I'd really appreciate it!

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Hurricane Katrina Disaster - What About The Mail?

Did you know about the US Postal Service "Weather Related Service Updates" website?

Effective September 3/2005, the Postal Service is not accepting any Standard Mail (Letters and Flats) or Periodicals Mail — from any source — addressed for delivery within the following three-digit ZIP Code ranges: 369, 393, 394, 395, 396, 700, 701 and 704.

Also, Express Mail Service has been suspended in areas damaged by Hurricane Katrina in the following areas:

ZIP Code City/State
365-366 Mobile, AL. -->
369, 393 Meridian, MS.
394 Hattiesburg, MS.
395 Gulfport, MS.
396 McComb, MS.
700-701 New Orleans, LA.
703 Houma, LA.
704 Mandeville, LA.

The above ZIP Code ranges may change at anytime, so if you have mail going into the Gulf Coast Region, click here for a complete list of partial deliveries, suspended deliveries and the latest updates regarding mail delivery following the Katrina disaster.

I hope this helps!

Friday, September 02, 2005

The Shock Of Hurricane Katrina

Hurricane Katrina Disaster - New OrleansI was shocked to see the "morning after" pictures as they flashed across the news. When hurricane Katrina blasted the Gulf Coast region, not anyone could have predicted the enormous scale widespread destruction it would cause.

Who would think an entire city of more than 500,000 residents (New Orleans) could be wiped out so quickly? And the devestation in Mississippi and Alabama heart bleeds for the survivors and victims.

The first thing my husband and I did was to set aside a fund for proceeds from one of our most popular websites, from which we will be donating 50% of all our retail profits from sales of Goji Juice through Best Liquid Vitamins this month (and possible several more months ahead) to help in Katrina relief efforts.

In addition, we set up a page with a list of reputable charities in urgent need of donations for first-response and ongoing reliefe efforts.

Plus - today I'm adding to each and every one of my blogs the Technorati tag in honor of today's "International Blogging for Disaster Relief Day"

Are you doing something to help? I would like to hear about it... post a comment with a link to your website or blog and tell us about your support efforts and/or charitable contributions.