Archives for October 2013

DIY healthcare

Once upon a time, healthcare was the mysterious domain of trained professionals.  Today, we are taking healthcare into our own hands.  This should not replace professional medical treatment, but rather enhance it.

We are all interested in looking after our health and making sure we are up to date with the latest self-help medical care. But when does it all go too far? As an average Joe like me, you might be comfortable diagnosing yourself with the common cold or a migraine, and seeking relevant treatment, but how far can this be taken?

DIY healthcare

Treating consistent problems

For those of us with recurring conditions, like high blood pressure, self diagnosis becomes part and parcel of living with the ailment. Once you get used to looking for the signs and identifying problems, you find that doctors and nurses are no longer your first point of call. Medical staff are still there for emergencies and when things take a drastic turn for the worse, but for day-to-day monitoring, you’re looking after number one.

Monitoring some of these conditions is fairly easy to do at home, thanks to modern blood pressure monitor units. It is pretty easy and simple to buy your own blood pressure monitor, and there are a lot of different models out there so do have a choice of pricing. It is most important to buy one that you understand and can operate easily; pay close attention to this because the whole point of DIY healthcare is that you are actually capable of doing it.  There’s no point getting stressed  buying a machine you can’t operate. You won’t be doing your blood pressure any favours by getting stressed over its monitoring equipment.

Taking more drastic action

Alongside units that simply monitor your blood pressure, there are also defibrillators on sale for personal use. This may seem shocking, because we are used to seeing them in arenas and conference halls, but if you have a weak heart or fall down the stairs at home, the defibrillator at the sports center might be of little comfort. Providing you’ve had the necessary training and follow the instructions, you should be more than capable of managing it.

If you or someone you love is unfortunate enough to suffer an accident and be in need of immediate attention then this is one tool that could help with resuscitation. Emergency services do their best to get to accident sites as quickly as possible but sometimes there simply isn’t time to wait. In these instances, a defibrillator could literally be the difference between life and death.  You will certainly still need professional medical care, but the DIY care you provide can help you or someone else survive long enough get that professional help.

DIY healthcare needs to enhance professional treatment

While medical devices like these are great assets to have in your home, there are limits to DIY healthcare.  DIY devices do not replace professional diagnosis by a trained medical doctor, and in most cases treatment by professionals. The biggest risk is becoming over confident, and overlooking or misdiagnosing serious symptoms.  DIY monitoring should provide an early warning system for when to visit the doctor, not a replacement for or the confidence to delay medical attention.  And it should be obvious that if you need a defibrillator, the next stop should be the hospital.

You also need to ensure that you’re monitoring conditions correctly and reporting any relevant data to healthcare professionals. If you’re keeping track of your blood pressure under instruction from the GP, then make sure that data is taken at the appropriate time and recorded accurately.

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Some things are just not about you

There are some things that are beyond your control. You might not get the job or win your true love or make the sale…and it might just have nothing at all to do with you. No use gnawing on the bone – get back out there and try again.

My daughters love to perform. They both dance. They both sing. They both ham it up. And they have been through several auditions for TV, movies and educational videos. So far, none of the auditions have made them into superstars. In fact, there has not been a single call-back.

In some cases, I can guess what might have been the reason. There are often numerous factors that are stated in the call for auditions, and often one of my daughters meets most of those, but not all. In some cases, the requirements seem contradictory (like when they asked for a girl of about nine years old for a role that was stated as sixth grade (typically, eleven years old).

In other cases, I have no idea why my daughters were not chosen, and I will never know. The casting directory might have had in mind someone with darker hair. Or lighter. Someone shorter or taller, thinner or plumper, more confident or shyer…who knows? Maybe it’s the audition process itself.

Who gets cast in Barney?

Have you ever noticed the one thing that almost all the children on Barney and Friends have in common? Sure, they are all cute. But what specific cute trait do they all have in common?

Toothy grins
They all have big, toothy grins. If you know the show, you know there is no point auditioning if your smile isn’t 90 percent teeth. But if you didn’t know the show, you would have no idea that you never qualified in the first place.

Tweet this quote: “When you get passed over, it might have nothing to do with you.”

So it is for a new show or a movie – we have no idea what unspoken factor the casting director has in mind. When you don’t make the audition, it does not mean you are a poor actor. It might have absolutely nothing to do with you.

If you don’t get the job, it might just have been chemistry. Or it might be that someone who is the perfect fit also interviewed.  Or the interviewer might have been distracted at the time of the interview.

You just have to brush it off.  Somebody else got the job, or they decided not to fill the position.  That is not a judgment of your skills or talent, nor a dismissal of your worth.  It is simply a sign that says you should look elsewhere.

Take this self-esteem test.


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Yawn… time to get out of debt

Think getting out of debt is boring? Find out why some really creative people disagree

When you’re dealing with debt, it’s normal to feel like you’re alone – the only person facing this struggle. However, even though it’s not something most people talk about, a significant percentage of Americans have their own problems with debt. For example, 24% of Americans have more debt than they have savings with an average of over $15,000 in credit card debt per family.  Meanwhile, Canadians are saddled with record debt, hitting $500 billion last month.

While pundits may have a point when they say widespread change needs to occur, the one good thing about credit card debt being a prevalent problem is that plenty of people have already gone through the process of eliminating theirs. And from others’ experiences, there are a lot of things you can learn about getting rid of your own debt. Best of all, some of those lessons show how creativity can be used to make this process interesting and not overly unpleasant:

Don’t Be a Lone Wolf

Lone Wolf in DebtA common reason people get depressed by their battle with debt is because they try to tackle it all on their own. Instead of going solo, you should involve your significant other in the process. Even if the two of you aren’t married, the support you get can make all the difference.

If you’re not in a relationship, does that mean you’re out of luck? Absolutely not! There’s a good chance you have a close friend who also has debt they want to eliminate. By opening up to each other, you can get support whenever you need it. You can also turn this process into a fun challenge by creating a friendly competition between the two of you.

Turn an Interest Into a Part-Time Job

One of the most effective ways to get rid of debt is to make more money. But since most people can’t get a raise just by asking for it, this may seem impossible. However, a great way to generate more cash is to start charging money for something you enjoy doing. Whether it’s writing, building things or editing videos, for less than $30 you can get a website and a stack of business cards, and start promoting your services to everyone you know. Here is a list of 10 hobbies that pay well.

What if you don’t really have an interest that makes sense to turn into a part-time gig? Another option to consider is to think back to all the jobs you’ve had and identify any that you really enjoyed. For example, maybe you were a waiter during college and really liked the work. Even though you’re probably not going to make as much as you do at your full-time job, picking up a few evening shifts each week can be a fairly enjoyable way to get extra cash flowing in.

Or you can see what jobs people are looking for at .

Focus on Alternatives Instead of Deprivation

There are plenty of personal finance gurus who will say that if you want to get out of debt, you basically need to put your life on hold and only spend money on absolute essentials. While cutting frivolous spending is definitely a smart idea, that doesn’t mean you have to make every day a miserable experience. From enjoying free events in your area to borrowing DVDs from the library instead of paying to rent them, there’s no shortage of ways to enjoy life without constantly needing to spend money.

Here are some tips to save money on protein and on food in general, on laundry and on recreation.

The One Thing About Debt Elimination You Don’t Want to Forget

As you can see from this list, the process of getting rid of debt can really be molded into just about anything you want. Although it definitely takes work to succeed, that doesn’t mean you have to be miserable for the duration of this process. Instead, you just need to unleash your creativity and find solutions that work.

In addition to using creativity to your advantage, the most important thing to remember about debt elimination is you always want to have a backup plan. For example, even though you may be making a point of spending as little as possible, there’s always the possibility that a significant unexpected expense may come up.

If that occurs, one approach to having a backup plan is getting an auto title loan from There are several benefits to taking this approach. Not only can you get a loan for up to $10,000 without a credit check, but you’ll be able to continue driving your car while making payments that work within your debt elimination budget.

Want to start chipping away at your debt? Then the best thing you can do is take action. Even if you don’t have a perfect plan, doing something is going to be much more productive than not taking any action at all!

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Work is where the WIFI is (with LogMeIn)

Once upon a time, nobody had much flexibility.  But with mobile technology, suddenly our lives have opened up to numerous possibilities.  I used LogMeIn to work remotely for a week, but this is not quite a “review” in the traditional sense.

Last week I was working remotely.  But I was in fact working at home.  How could this be?

Did you see the movie Avatar?  Jake Sully walked among the Na’vi, but his blue body was only an avatar.  His real body was back at the station.

Did you see The Matrix? Neo walked about in what he thought was the real world, but in fact was a simulation of the real world – the Matrix.

As it turns out, my wife had to go out of town on business for a week.  That left me to drive my daughter to school in Ottawa, and back home again after school, since she normally commutes with my wife.  No problem, I can drive her into the city and pull an Avatar.  Technology makes me and my life mobile, flexible.

Me, the Avatar

I spent the week at a library in Ottawa.  That’s where my physical body was.  But whatever I typed onto my laptop was being replicated 40 miles away at my main desktop PC.  I had complete control of my PC from a remote location through  And all I needed was WIFI.

Tweet this quote: “Technology makes me and my life mobile, flexible.”

Early morning, I did not have access to WIFI.  But I did have access to an Internet-connected computer.

Remote Office

Yes, it does look like a duct-tape office, and yes it was excruciatingly slow, for four reasons:

  1. Old computer, perhaps
  2. Not the highest speed connectivity, I suspect.
  3. I was forced to use Internet Explorer
  4. There is actually some lag time when working remotely.

Fortunately, by mid-morning I was able to enter the library….

Cubicle at the library

Then I could use:

  1. My own laptop
  2. WIFI.
  3. Firefox
  4. There was still some lag time when working remotely.

Lag time does get frustrating, especially when scrolling.  It’s not just the impatience – although there is that – it’s also the clicking on something, only to have the page scroll out of under the cursor and you end up clicking on the wrong thing.

Aside from the lag time, there were a couple other inconveniences working remotely.  Because I have a nice sized screen on my desktop, the screen resolution did not render perfectly.  Periods and commas tended to disappear, and the slightly fuzzy text did mean I had to give my eyes more frequent breaks than usual.

One additional inconvenience is that if either computer, my laptop or my desktop, loses Internet connectivity even for a moment, the connection is broken and I need to log in again.  This did happen once or twice each day.  Not a big deal, I suppose.

Big deal! Technology means flexibility

What was a big deal, however, was that my wife was out of town, so my daughter could not commute to her school in the city with her. What was a big deal was that I was able to drive her to the city and still get a reasonably productive work day in.

All in all, I would give my LogMeIn experience B+.  I have no way of measuring it compared to other computer remote control services.  I don’t think the issues I have mentioned are within any service to control. So this is not so much a review of LogMeIn, as it is my rating of playing the role of avatar.

Yes, there are some inconveniences.  But when your business is sole proprietorship and there is nobody back at the “office” holding down the fort, it makes life a whole lot more flexible.

And there are worse places to work out of than the public library.

Ottawa Public Library - St. Laurent

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Marketing Training Based on Testing and What Works

Frugal is fine, but the best way to save money is to earn more…and that takes training. When you work for a company, corporation or the government, they train you. But if you’re a solopreneur, you’re on your own.  Even if you already know what specific skills you need, how do you know whose information and training to trust?

Leading Marketing Training Programs

Were you trained to market?If you are a solopreneur, you are your own marketing department.  So where do you get your training? Three top marketing resources immediately come to mind: HubSpot, MarketMotive and MECLABS (which includes MarketingSherpa and MarketingExperiments). These are all excellent sources because what they teach is based on actual results at real businesses. Here’s how MECLABS describes what they do:

“MECLABS is the world’s largest independent research lab focused exclusively on marketing and sales. Our scientists and analysts have conducted rigorous scientific tests across more than 10,000 pages.”

Results are what matters – and these all share specifically what gets results. MECLABS offers online digital marketing courses. MarketingSherpa publishes “Practical Case Studies, Research and Training for Marketers” while MarketingExperiments focuses on discovering “what really works in optimization” and offers both self-guided learning and formal training (live or online).

MarketMotive provides extensive training on skills with growing demand and few to meet them.  They provide online internet marketing online certification courses.  Analytics, Conversion Optimization and Mobile Marketing are the specialties that are most needed today.

HubSpot is best known for their inbound marketing software platform.  Their advanced lead generation system is used in-house at businesses of all sizes to increase ROI. They publish extensive marketing case studies. Experts in inbound marketing, they publish separate Case Studies by business size: Small Business, Mid-Market and Enterprise. They have “proven success with over 10,000 companies across a variety of industries”.

They teach marketing skills as well as how to close more leads through the HubSpot Academy. Look for their Inbound Learning Webinars and Inbound Conference. HubSpot certified professionals are in high demand and can be found on their site.

Basic Marketing Training

All of the above are the highest quality, most in-depth training you can  find. Some people might find them too advanced, though. Before you jump in the deep end you need some basic marketing skills. One unique way to get them is also a way to make money. If you join Empower Network you are paying for internet marketing training.

It is important to note that you do not have to buy every level. You can get the viral blogging system for $25 and the Inner Circle Audio training for $100. Note that these are recurring per month – but you could access them all the first month and then cancel once you get the basics if you don’t feel they are of continued benefit.

The first question I asked Brad Campbell when he told me his income was over $35,000 a month – and most of it was from Empower Network – was whether he learned what he was doing from their training.  He told me that he was making more money from ALL of his marketing ventures because of what he had learned in that training. (But do note that he got ALL their training including the advanced levels.)

What is unusual about this training is that you can become an affiliate and sell it, but is is structured like an MLM (multi-level marketing).  I am no fan of MLMs generally because 99% of the people that get involved in them lose money. But at $35,000 a month, Brad isn’t even in the top 50 earners, so clearly this one does pay IF you are willing to really do the work.

That is the key question about any kind of marketing training. Are you willing to learn and then actually apply what you learned? If making a lot of money – or at least making your business successful – would make you happy, I encourage you to check out these resources. Remember that you can also use the skills learned to offer your services or qualify for a position at a company. All of them have a ton of information online so even if you never spend a penny with them you will learn from the best.

A career as a solopreneur?  Not completely “solo”.

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Three Tips for Moving Past Bachelor Status

Ready for a committed relationship?  The time to prepare is before you find the woman you want for a wife.  Here are some quick tips to start you preparing to make that leap from bachelorhood.

Of course there are some perks for remaining a bachelor all your life, but there are also several perks that come with commitment or marriage. One of the top reasons why many men choose not to get married or never progress toward marriage, even though they may want to, is because they are afraid of commitment.

Although it may be nice to be able to do what you want to do whenever you want without any kind of strings attached, going through life as a single male without any kind of serious commitment to someone else can be a very lonely road, and once you find the woman you’re looking for, it may be difficult to drop some of your old habits. If you are hoping to move past singlehood or if you and now your future by following the simple tips listed below:

Sweep Her Off Her FeetTip #1: Treat Women with Respect

If you have found a woman with which you can experience a truly committed relationship, you need to start by treating her with respect. Not only should you treat potential partners with respect by complementing them, opening doors for them, genuinely caring about them, and doing other things to show them that you value them as an individual, consider buying that special someone a promise ring to show you truly cherish the relationship. Take a look via to get more ideas.

Tip #2: Clean Up Your Act to get more ideas.

Some men believe that they can continue doing what they have been doing for the last 10 years as a bachelor and that they will suddenly find a woman who will come running into their arms. Although this may be the case in some situations, it is important to examine yourself and see what you can do to become a better future husband and father.

  • Are you furthering your education or progressing toward a successful career?
  • Do you keep your living space clean and organized?
  • Do you strive to stay healthy by exercising, eating nutritious foods, not smoking, and avoiding excessive alcohol consumption?

By cleaning up your act, you are more likely to find someone who wants to be your lifelong partner.

Tip #3: Be Willing to Expose Your Vulnerable Side

Another large barrier that many bachelors struggle to overcome is the inability to expose their vulnerable side to others. Many men prefer to be perceived by others as macho and without weakness. One of the surest ways to make an emotional connection with others is by allowing them to see that you are capable of truly loving them, even if it means getting hurt sometimes.

Once you feel comfortable with someone that you see marriage potential with, be sure to break down any walls that you have built around yourself so that they can see your soft side.  You will find that lasting relationships are built when you and your partner are able to give freely of yourselves without holding anything back.

After you have entered a committed relationship with your partner, you can work to move your relationship to the next level by showing your dedication with a marriage proposal. A bridal ring symbolizes your commitment to your partner. Whether the ring comes with dozens of diamonds or it is a simple band, it will show your partner that you are committed to leaving your past life of singlehood and forming a new life together.

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