September 30, 2011

Student Health Insurance – Tips to Help You Choose the Right Policy

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It is summer 2006. Young and not so young people are graduating from school and there are millions of people who are starting to think about student health insurance. Here are some tips for parents and students who are looking for health insurance for a college student, health insurance for a graduating college student or health insurance for an older graduate student. There are a lot of choices. This article is designed to give you an overview of the choices available to students.

Health Insurance For College Students You should explore all of the medical plan options available to you. Your choices may include:

  1. Getting health insurance through the student’s employer.
  2. Getting medical insurance through your local Blue Cross Blue Shield or other private health insurance plan.
  3. Getting “college student health insurance” through a plan offered by their college or university.
  4. Getting health insurance as a dependent on the policy of a parent or spouse.

When looking for the non-group health insurance plans that are available in your area, you may want to contact your state’s insurance department. You can contact them and find out which companies market individual health insurance in your area. Healthcare choices for the out-of-state student If you live on campus, look into the plans offered in each area. If your parents live in Florida, but you go to school in Texas, you should see what health insurance plans are available to you in both states. A student who has a permanent address of Connecticut and attends Yale in New Haven should only purchase a Connecticut-approved plan. If the same student transfers to UCLA, he or she can also explore plans offered in California. Some plans may even charge differently based on your zip code, so even if your two addresses are in the same state, you may still save money by looking at rates for both areas. Health Insurance For A Graduating College Student You should explore all of the medical plan options available to you. Your choices may include:

  1. Getting health insurance through the former student’s employer.
  2. Getting medical insurance through your local Blue Cross Blue Shield or other private health insurance plan.
  3. Purchasing short-term health insurance to cover you until your employer-sponsored plan becomes effective.
  4. Getting health insurance as a dependent on the policy of a parent or spouse.

Medical Insurance Plans to Watch Out For:

  • Discount plans. These are not health insurance plans! These plans can save you money on health care, but only offer discounted services and not true insurance benefits. If you had a major accident or sickness, getting 25% off of a healthcare bill of $50,000 may not give you the benefits you hoped for.
  • Accident only plans. Students get the flu, mono and even cancer. Being covered with an accident only plan can offer substandard coverage when compare to a comprehensive health insurance plan. (By the way, an unplanned pregnancy is not considered an accident either J. )
  • Hospital Only or Basic Plans. These plans tend to offer good coverage in the hospital but little coverage outside of the hospital. These plans can save you from a hospital bill that might otherwise bankrupt you. However, today hospital stays are getting shorter and more and more healthcare is being done in doctors offices. If keeping your premiums low is important, consider a plan that covers you both in the hospital and in the doctors office that has a high deductible.
  • School Sponsored Clinics And Urgent Care Centers. They cover you well for the little things, but not so well for the big things. There may be no coverage for surgery or hospitalization. In contrast to hospital only plans, these plans my not cover you for a hospital stay or for surgeries.

Finding the right student health insurance is important. College students and graduating college students have a lot of choices. Hopefully reading this article will make you aware of the options that you have. This article can be copied and reprinted but only in its entirety. The article was originally published on The article starts with the heading “Student Health Insurance – Tips to Help You Choose the Right Policy” and ends with this sentence.

Alston J. Balkcom has been a Connecticut insurance agent since 1985. His practice primarly involves helping Connecticut residents find health insurance. His focus is on those who do not qualify for health insurance through their employers. Most of his clients reach him after visiting his Connecticut health insurance focused web-site . He has taken several advanced courses over the years to increase his knowledge of health and other types of insurance. His resume includes time with Metropolitan Life, and Mutual of Omaha.

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September 27, 2011

Importance of Childcare Training

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There is more to childcare than just watching a child. Childcare training can help a person know how to care about every aspect of a child from teaching them to making sure they are well physically.

Childcare training will show a person how to determine any warning signs of issues in a child’s development, education or emotional aspects of their life. It is important to realize that this is one job that often takes getting an upgrade on childcare training as ideas change. One thing to do is to also know if it is something you want to do is to know it is a physical job. Children are always on the move. It is also an emotional job because there will be days that the children frustrate you, times when they don’t listen or times when you become attached to a child that moves on to another school. There are other draining elements as well that will be felt differently for each person. Going through these things can make you feel less motivated from time to time.

When you go through childcare training you realize that you will be doing a lot of playing. Yet, you will also be doing a lot of childcare and babysitting too. Children want to play and you are there to keep them entertained. They also need to be kept safe and have their physical needs met, such as being fed or helped to take a nap. There are different ages of children that will be part of childcare. You could be spending time with infants and older children. It might also be one day with one group and another day with another group. It could even change every few hours. Childcare training handles it all and will help prepare you the best for any situation. Most of the day care centers, elementary schools and other places of education require individuals experienced in looking after all aspects of the child’s development. Although it is a tough job, the smile on a child’s face or the impromptu hug is the best gift.

Childcare training means you are learning how to teach children. Most childcare areas often try to provide teaching as well. This is often the foundation to learning. Children are starting to understand how they should act in school and enjoying times in arts as well as other activities. Basic education will also be introduced to them. Basically, it provides a fun environment for children to learn new things whether through practical learning or activities. Overall, childcare training requires a lot of patience, love for children and immense dedication. If you are planning to take on childcare training, it is good to be informed about the places where you can enroll.

Furthermore, you will learn that every childcare center has their rules or routines. You will be taught how to go along with this group through manuals and DVDs, generally. Leaders at childcare areas usually continue to provide childcare training to make sure everything remains professional.

For the latest videos and training information on child development as well as books and curricula please visit

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September 24, 2011

How To Choose College Student Car Insurance

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A car to a college student is like treasure to a pirate. Having a car at college is a luxury that not many students get to have.

Most students ride their bikes or walk to class, but if you are one of the few who gets to drive to campus and take long trips on the weekend, then you have to be prepared for the responsibility of owning a car. And that means you have to be covered with student car insurance.

Besides tuition and books, car insurance for students is one of the biggest expenses a student will pay in college. But if you are careful about choosing your student auto insurance, you will be able to work the payments into your student budget and still manage to save money in your savings account.

The Basics of Student Car Insurance

Finding cheap car insurance for students can be difficult since younger drivers usually have higher premium payments to make. It has nothing to do with you personally, but young drivers just tend to make more insurance claims than older drivers, so insurance companies will charge you more so they can make more money.

There are also other factors that can affect the amount a student will pay for student car insurance, such as:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Driving record
  • Location of vehicle
  • Damage history of vehicle
  • Distance driven daily

You can’t avoid these factors when you are applying for student auto insurance, but there are many ways that you can lower your premium payments. You just need to take the right steps towards choosing your student insurance.

Tips for Choosing Your Student Car Insurance

You can’t avoid being young and in college, but there are steps you can take to lower your student car insurance payments. And even though you want to find an insurance company that offers car insurance specifically for students, not all of them do, so if you can’t get student car insurance, then follow these tips to get a cheaper car insurance plan:

Shop Around for Options

Find out as much information as you can for at least 3 different insurance companies. Compare their premium quotes and see who has the best benefits for your money.

Know Plan Basics

Knowing the basics of a student car insurance plan is very important in choosing the right kind of plan for your needs. Not all car insurance for students is the same, but the parts that make up the plan usually cover the same areas.

Here are the six basic parts of a student car insurance plan:

1) Bodily Injury - Covers you for bodily injury you might have caused to another person.

2) Personal Property Liability - Covers damage or injury you might have caused to another person’s property.

3) Collision - Covers you for any type of accident with another car or with an object like a parking meter or a utility pole.

4) Comprehensive - Covers you in case someone steals your car or something in it, or the weather damages your car. It is best to get both of these types of student car insurance coverage.

5) Personal Injury Protection (PIP) – Covers medical costs and any lost wages from a job for the policy holder and any injured passengers.

6) Uninsured Motorist - Covers you for accidents with motorists who do not have car insurance. Also covers you for hit-and-run accidents.

Maintain Good Grades

Many insurance companies offer discounts to students who maintain a B average or higher. Make sure you bring proof of your grades when you apply for your car insurance.

Apply for all Discounts

Even if you get a student discount, always apply for any discount that the insurance company is offering. Most insurance companies will offer you a great deal if you purchase multiple insurance plans together, like car and renter’s insurance, and they might even offer you a family discount if you sign up for the same insurance as your family members.

Buy the Right Car

Before you even get student car insurance, you need to get a car that is right for you. Car insurance is often based on a car’s safety probability, so high speed sports cars and smaller cars have a greater risk of damage. They are also more likely to be targeted by thieves, so you should buy a more practical car with good gas mileage and reliability rather than a car that costs more than your entire student budget.

Walk or Bike More, Drive Less

Even if you have a car, that doesn’t mean you have to use it everyday. If you live on campus and you’re close to class, either walk or ride a bike and save on gas money. Some insurance companies will give you a low-mileage car insurance deduction if you drive below a certain number of miles each year, so save your long-distance car driving for the weekends.

Increase Your Deductible

If you increase your deductible – the amount you pay towards a claim before your insurance company pays – then you can save from 15% to 40% on your student car insurance premium.

Install Secure/Anti-Theft Devices

If your car’s seat belts and airbags don’t’ work, you should get them fixed as soon as possible. Also, if you don’t have an alarm system, get one installed. The safer you are against accidents and burglaries, then the less your car insurance company will have to pay and the less you’ll have to pay to them.

Be a Safe Driver

The most important step you can take towards lowering your student auto insurance is to be a safe driver. The fewer driving violations and auto accidents that you have the more money you will save with your car insurance. That means you should never drink and drive, you should park your car in a safe area or in a garage and you should always maintain the proper speed limit.

College should be both a fun and safe experience, so if you have a car and use it as part of your daily routine, always have student car insurance for protection.

Trish Smith is a copywriter for Green Student U, Student Finance Domain and Study Abroad Domain, websites that are devoted to providing college students with helpful environmental, financial and study abroad advice.

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September 19, 2011

Add Extra Plugins to Your Site Using Freelance PHP Programming

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How does it feel to work on a website or opening it when the pages are opened smoothly and without any substantial delay? I am a fan of the social networking sites and spend enough time there and I like tweeting and working on Facebook but, one thing makes the difference I have set these two sites as the default in my browser and as and when I open my browser the Facebook gets opened within seconds and the same is not with twitter. It takes some extra time. Usually there is no problem but at times it baffles me. The reason is obvious. It all depends on the interface of your website. Since Facebook is made in PHP it runs smoothly and that is not the case with twitter. The Facebook application developers kept this in mind and we are relatively easy while working in it.

The interface means a lot in the popularity of a website. Everyone likes its pages to be opened quickly. PHP provides this facility and that is why its use in web development has grown tremendously. And that is a reason we have a whole lot of freelance PHP developers in the market. These PHP programmers will work for your website and give you the website ready that functions smoothly. Since freelance programmers often work on their own and their reputation is associated with this work the output is generally very good.

Not only they create a whole new website for you, but if you are already having a website, thanks to WordPress, and then at sometimes you need to install some plugins that WordPress is not providing you then you can take the help of the WordPress plugin developers and they can also make custom WordPress templates and custom WordPress themes for you. That is the benefit of having freelance web developers. Because you can not go to a company just to add a plugin in your WordPress website and even if you do the expenses will be out of bound.

One more thing that can be achieved is the cloning. You have seen Facebook and you may have seen similar websites as well then you know what website cloning is. Site clone just gives you the pleasure of working in the same interface that your favorite website is in.

With the use of PHP the website clone seems an easy task and not a tough one. You can create the replica of the original website and apart from the names of websites no visible differences will be seen. PHP which was earlier called personal home page has really lived up to the expectations and can give you almost anything you need in this virtual world.

Hire a Professional Freelance PHP MySql Programmer, WordPress plugin developer, oscommerce developer, freelance php developer,

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September 18, 2011

Sensational Smart Clothing

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In this case, the means of “smart” can be taken as intelligent or clever. Smart clothes are the perfect blend of both, intelligence and fashion. The smart clothing covers all that garments produced with intelligent textiles, or in they are applied.

The intelligent textiles are mostly applied in fashion and insulation. Below is a highlight over the new developments in this field.

Applications in Insulation

Physical activity and the close atmosphere, i.e. humidity and temperature play major role for thermal insulation of the garments. The amount of heat generated by a person depends much on the physical activity, ranging from 100W to 1000W. In the cool atmosphere, the thermal insulation is defined to make the body warm.

In the case of winter sports, the temperature of body raises with more heat. In order to pull down this raised temperature in a bearable limit, the body perspires to extract energy by evaporative cooling. In thermal insulation, a part of the increased heat can be eliminated, thus the body does not perspire so much.

The density and thickness of component fabrics would govern the insulation in clothing against cold and heat. Lower density and more thickness are recommended to enhance insulation. In many cases, thermal insulation is produced by air gaps between the layers of the garment. But, the outer temperature also affects the insulation. Consequently, a garment is equipped with an ability to safeguard against cold and heat, selected temperature by the wearer.

A garment produced from a thicker fabric will weigh more and the wearer will not feel comfort. Thus an intelligent fabric that responds to external temperature can give comfortable protection.

Implication of intelligent textiles in fashion

The intelligent materials are mostly applied in the fashion garment assortments to produce exclusive design with the help of the chromic materials. These materials makes it possible to produce garments, which can change color depending on the quantity of light received. It is likely to have several color-changes, and in different ways, such as a swimming costume, which changes color when it is wet.

Recently, thrilling developments have been witnessed concerning to clothing with electronic systems built-in into the constituent fabrics and fibres, even in a print that is applied to the garment. Below are examples of recent developments:

Solar Jacket: It holds tools for communication and inspired playing like display, camera and microphone.

Corporate Clothing: Includes a microphone built-in the collar, a display and a digital helper incorporated in the sleeve.

Massaging kimono: It massages to the wearer, which can be govern on the level of relaxation.

Musical T-shirts: The wearer can enjoy favorite music stored in a chip, or even tune in many radio stations. It also provides moving images over the back.

Incorporation of technology into clothing depicts the beginning of new trends in the fashion sector. The new generation technology is briefly highlighted in the below content.

The new generation

In the next few years, clothing assortments are likely to incorporate more intelligence. The clothing will include the purpose of intermediate, transporter and interface for an enormously broad range of micro-systems. This latest innovations creates significant demands on creative capability in the clothing industry.

Micro-system technology is continuously making tinier components allowing intelligence to be blended with more exclusive products without producing off-putting results on the utilization.

A model medium between environment and humans is specifically clothing. Everybody wears many clothes one on the other, which makes it possible to incorporate micro-system components easily. The initiative should now be towards put-together computer systems and microchips as invisible into clothing.

This sector is full of inventions and potential for future of exclusive proportions that also offers possibilities in business terms. A founder of the “Smart Clothes” portrays intelligent clothing as perfect blend of mobile multi-media technology with wireless communication and tiny computers incorporated into garment. They differentiate between clothing that is defined for a particular profession, “smart uniforms” and clothing that everybody wear, even in their free time, “smart clothing”. This deference does not concern to the technological aspect.

Intelligent clothing is expected to make people enable to communicate with others and computer systems to access worldwide information, such as through the Internet, and to govern activities wirelessly. This makes custom tasks smoother and will display new working ways, with the importance in both, making current applications easier and providing entirely new application fields.

Thus all the analysis required to enhance these smart clothes consequently provides push-up to needs on:

. Textile materials (type of processing, material composition, blends of non-textile materials).

. Processing (appropriate processing techniques, safe-guard of integrated communication technologies, stability)

. Patterning (ergonomics, comfort in wear, modular design, design of contact-sensitive zones, integration of communication modules)

Anticipation for “intelligent clothing”

It is anticipated that the results will likely to support the possibility of creating and producing smart clothes technologies in the clothing sector and the offering services in integration of intelligence with clothing.

Working close with the clothing industry will develop the base that is needed to offer developments in intelligent clothing with the huge commercial potential with minimum risk. At a later stage of development, it is likely to create more solid product assortments. Veterans expect that technologies in smart clothing will be launched in the market within the coming five to ten years.

This creates an opportunity for the clothing industry to work with inventive partners from different industry and buyers, contributing increase in turnover in the sectors like safety, entertainment or leisure sectors. Leading B2B Portal of Fashion, Textile and Apparel Industry offers Free Fashion Articles, Free Fashion Trends Articles, Free Industry Reports, Free Articles, Free Fashion Designers Articles, Women’s Fashion Tips, Fashion Tips Free Fashion Case Studies and Fashion Market Country Reports – submit your reprinted articles, featured articles free and get advantage of largest community of textile apparel, fashion and retail industries.

To read more articles on Textile, Fashion, Apparel, Technology, Retail and General please visit If you wish to download/republish the above article to your website or newsletters then please include the “Article Source”. Also, you have to make it hyperlinked to our site.

Copyright © 2006

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September 15, 2011

The Best Bowling Shoes For Your Personal and Specific Bowling Needs

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There are bowling shoes designed for people who compete, there are bowling shoes for people who are left-handed that differ from those who are right-handed. There are bowling shoes available for adults, specifically males, specifically females, and even kids too!

· Men’s best bowling shoes:

o There are several kinds of best bowling shoes available for men.

You can find high quality merchandise at great prices. We suggest that you begin your search online and you can see for yourself how many kinds of men’s best bowling shoes are available on the market for you.

From Brunswick, to Circle, Dexter, Elite, Etonic, Linds and more, there are the best bowling shoes out there that we know you will love. Browse around online and you will see the exact pair you have been looking for.

In the coolest shades, form, design, and style there are excellent best bowling shoes for men available right now.

· Women’s best bowling shoes:

o There is a vast selection of the very best women’s bowling shoes available from several manufacturers depending on your preference.

The design, style, shape, pressure points, and colors are only some of the things that differ between the best bowling shoes for both men and women.

Virtually every manufacturer of men’s best bowling shoes will also sell women’s best bowling shoes and even the highest quality kids bowling shoes.

· Best bowling shoes for competitions:

o The best bowling shoes for high performance bowlers are definitely unlike the kinds of bowling shoes you would purchase for a regular player, teenager, or children. There are many factors that can improve and enhance your skills–so high performance bowlers should be sure to have the best bowling shoes for their high performance needs.

· The best bowling shoes for kids:

o If you are looking for the best bowling shoes for your children–there are several special lines of children’s best bowling shoes available by virtually every manufacturer.

o We know your kids will love the newly developed, best bowling shoes in many different colors, styles, and designs.

Because the manufacturers are continuously improving the available bowling merchandise, including the best bowling shoes ever, there are bowling shoes out there perfect for everyone!

Anne Clarke writes numerous articles for websites on gardening, parenting, recreation, education and home decor. Her background includes teaching and gardening. For more of her articles about bowling and bowling merchandise, please visit Best Bowling Shoes

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September 12, 2011

Why You Should Learn The Basics Of Gourmet Cooking

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Gourmet cooking may seem inaccessible, something only wealthy people can enjoy, or even intimidating. There’s no reason to feel this way about it. If you’re interesting in gourmet cooking, that’s the most important part. If you’ve never tried gourmet cooking before, don’t be afraid. With a little trial and error and a sense of adventure, you can get into gourmet cooking. You know the difference between what you like to eat and what you don’t, right? And you can tell what quality tastes like, right? Then you have the necessary tools to be an amateur gourmet.

To begin with, what makes a certain style of cooking “gourmet”? Gourmet cooking utilizes fresh, high quality ingredients. Take something common like garlic, for example. You can buy dry powdered garlic in the spice aisle at any grocery store. The gourmet will avoid this, though. They’ll even walk by the jars of chopped garlic. Only freshly chopped garlic will do for the gourmet cook. Another example is basil. Let’s say you have a recipe calling for basil. Again, you could get a jar of dried basil flakes from the spice aisle, or you can find fresh bagged basil leaves in the produce section. Gourmet recipes will prefer the fresh stuff. Better yet, grow your own! Whenever possible, if you can use ingredients you grew yourself, you’ll find that they make a world of difference in the taste of your gourmet experiments.

Another word for gourmets is “epicurean”. An epicurean is someone who likes only the finest food and drink. Or you can describe a gourmet as a “connoisseur”. Like an epicurean, connoisseurs are people who know what’s good and what isn’t.

To get into gourmet cooking, there are a few ways you can go about learning how. Most obvious are books. Your local bookstore will have plenty of selections on cooking for novices. Don’t be intimidated. There’s tons of help out there for the newbie. Often grocery stores will have books which are meant to introduce you to gourmet cooking. They’ll cover all the basics starting with describing all the different knives you can use to how to clarify butter and make stock.

Another resource for the budding gourmet chef is local restaurants. Nobody’s going to give away their secrets but just by going out to eat in nice restaurants every so often and trying things you’ve never had before, you’ll develop a broader range in taste and expand your knowledge of food. Don’t be afraid to ask your server to describe an item to you which you don’t know about. Ask what goes into the sauce. Ask what’s sprinkled on top. Take mental notes and give it a try at home.

Of course you can always finds tons of information on the internet. The internet is chock full of information of all sorts and gourmet cooking is no exception. Innumerable sites provide recipes and cooking advice. Countless forums have been set up to aid the novice and give the experts a place to trade tips and recipes. Don’t be afraid to go online and ask questions. Make sure you read what you can before posting questions, but rest assured that there are lots of people out there who are willing to provide advice.

Once you’ve decided to give a gourmet recipe a try, you may find that your local supermarkets don’t have all the ingredients you need. Whenever possible, shop locally but if you can’t find what you need there are a number of online food stores which will ship fresh food to your doorstop at a reasonable rate. Yes, gourmet ingredients tend to cost more but their quality and great taste will make it all worth it when your friends and family are being blown away by your latest excursion into gourmet deliciousness!

Gregg Hall is an author living in Navarre Florida. Find more about this as well as gourmet gift baskets [] at []

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September 11, 2011

The Cooking Tips For Gas Grills That Every Griller Needs to Know

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When preparing food for the grill, the greatest challenge for home cooks is that grilling is an intense form of direct heat cooking, and controlling the heat can be tricky. Although most people see it as easy, grilling is actually one of the most challenging of the basic cooking methods. If cooking is like driving a car, grilling is like being strapped to a rocket ship! Now more than ever, creative home cooks are looking for the best cooking tips for gas grills. As the weather starts to get nicer and the great outdoors beckons, attention starts to turn to outdoor cooking – and gas barbeque grills can’t be beat for simplicity and convenience. But grilling only becomes EASY when you know these important cooking tips for gas grills that are guaranteed to improve your results. Grilling, like any basic cooking method, can be mastered. These cooking tips for gas grills will get you started on the road to expert grilling any time of year.

Preparing Recipes for the Grill

Cooking all recipes for the grill starts with understanding how the grilling method acts differently on different types of foods. Because grilling is an intense heat form of cooking, careful product selection is extremely important. The grill will not tenderize meats so you must start with a tender product if you want to end with a tender product. Marinating meats when making recipes for the grill is the best way to apply some tenderizing properties before cooking. The product itself is also an important consideration because you want to make sure it will be able to withstand this form of direct high-heat cooking. Different products will handle this differently and some are just not the best choice for standard grilling. A very delicate fish, such as tilapia, will not perform very well on the grill because the high heat may burn the outside of the fish before the inside cooks at all. Another consideration is when grilling combinations of different foods, as in skewering vegetables. A mushroom will cook faster than a carrot or potato, for example. You will achieve far better results by par-cooking the “harder” items prior to skewering so that all vegetables are the correct done-ness at the same time. Once you have considered the differences in the types of foods you will be grilling and preparing them accordingly, the basic procedure for creating recipes for the grill is:

  1. Heat the grill on HIGH with the lid closed to heat up the coals and grates to as hot a temperature as possible.
  2. Brush the food item with the oil of your choice and place it on the hot grates – presentation side (“pretty side”) down.
  3. For GRILLING, leave the grill cover OPEN.
  4. After a few minutes inspect the item. You are looking for the item to start to brown around the edges and to see pink (almost clear) moisture bubbling up to the top. This will be your signal that the item is 75% cooked on one side and that is the time to flip it.
  5. Do not use a fork to flip the item and do not puncture it in any way – because that will allow precious juices to escape.
  6. Using an instant-read thermometer – because this is the only real way to know when something is done – remove the item 5-10 degrees BEFORE the desired final internal temperature.

A Gas Grill Cooking Twist

Although GRILLING is always done with the lid cover open, gas grill cooking can incorporate additional cooking methods that make it preferable to cook with the grill cover closed. With the grill lid closed, the grill changes from a CONDUCTIVE cooking vehicle to a CONVECTIVE cooking one – more like your oven. Of course you could just use your oven for using these cooking methods, but outdoor cooking does have some advantages over indoor cooking – particularly in warmer weather. So how do you turn your dry heat, direct source cooking vehicle (the grill) into one that can utilize a moist convective cooking process? It’s actually a pretty cool technique for gas grill cooking. This is a trick I use most often with delicate fish, such as tilapia. First, I turn the heat OFF on the side of the grill that my tilapia will cook. Then, I add a pan of water to the bottom of the other side of the grill – right on top of the heat elements. Keep in mind that this “water” can be any kind of liquid you like. I use shrimp stock sometimes with fish, but you can season it with chicken broth, wine – anything that is liquid and imparts nice, complimentary flavors to the product you are cooking. Then, the fish is placed either directly on the grill (if you have a flat grate option) or you can put it in a cast iron pan and put it on the grill grates. The rest of the procedure for this type of gas grill cooking follows the normal grilling process – cook with your eyes and observations, flip after 75% done, use a thermometer to determine final temperature and remove a bit “early” to allow for the carry-over cooking that occurs. And that’s it, now you can consider gas grill COOKING in addition to standard GRILLING for great outdoor cooking results.

Gas Barbeque Grills vs Charcoal Grills

You will hear from many self-proclaimed GRILLMASTERS that the traditional charcoal grill is far superior to the gas barbeque grill, but the gas grill has many advantages that make it a great choice for any outdoor cooking situation. I will admit that the charcoal grill provides opportunity for a deep, smoky flavor that is not fully achievable with the gas barbeque grill, but after that all of the “pros” go into the gas grill’s column. For starters, the gas grill is much easier and safer to start because it uses propane as fuel and starts at the press of a button. Charcoal grills can be easily started with lighter fluid, but this can be dangerous, and can impart an undesirable taste into the food. Plus, the gas grill turns OFF as easily as it turned on! No waiting for coals to cool so that you can empty and clean the grill and no messy coals to dispose of. The other nice thing about gas barbeque grills is that they allow for consistent heat throughout the cooking process. With the charcoal variety, the cook has to really control the heat by actually moving products closer and further and this takes some practice and experience.

These cooking tips for gas grills seem simple but they truly are the difference between great grilling results and disappointing meals. The next time you get ready to grill, remember that careful product selection and a basic understanding of cooking methods is all you need to master the barbeque grill, creating outdoor meals and memories for life.

Chef Todd Mohr is a classically trained chef, entrepreneur, cooking educator and founder of WebCookingClasses. You CAN learn to cook without written recipes by taking his FREE cooking class that will change the way you think about cooking forever!

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Get Fit With Team Sports!

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Every January it’s the same. ‘New Year, New me’ we say, but by Valentine’s day all our best intentions have fallen by the wayside. But this year I’m going to stick to my regime by participating in team sports, as they give you a great work out, allow you to socialise, and appeal to your competitive streak.

Another motivating thing about team sports is that if you don’t go, unlike the gym, it’s not just yourself your letting down but also the team. This really makes me want to go, as although i think nothing of letting myself or my ftness down, my dedication to those around me guilts me into it!

So, now your thinking ‘hmmm, maybe team sports are for me after all’, which team sport should you do? Well here are my top 5:

Basketball: Very popular across the pond, but gaining a real following here in the UK, basketball is a fast paced game, and the time seems to fly by when ever i play. Speed and co-ordination are vital!

Netball: We all remember netball from our school days, but in recent years more and more adults are choosing to revisit it. It’s a great way to get fit with like minded women, and even make some friends along the way.

Football: The classic British team game, football is not just for watching. There are leagues everywhere, for both men and women and if you’re not keen for the full match then indoor or 5 a side is just as good for you. I’m really getting into football at the moment- something i thought I’d never say.

Ice Hockey: Not for the faint-hearted, but seriously good fun! if your balance is ok, and you’ve nerves of steel then I would definitely recommend ice hockey, for its fast pace and sheer enjoyment.

Volleyball: We’ve all played it on the beach in our time (even if its just between pina coladas), but have you ever thought of taking it up regularly. There are quite a few indoor and outdoor leagues around, but if there isn’t one near you then why not grab a few mates and set up a game.

Those are my favourite team games, but there are plenty more out there, and I’d really recommend them, so find a league or team near you and have fun.

Awards and Trophies are online suppliers of a range of trophies and medals, from football trophies to trophy cups for basketball or ice hockey. So whatever your league or event we have a trophy for you.

Article Source:’Neal

Save the Children

Author: admin - Categories: Uncategorized

The poet Oscar Wild, wrote these moving lines: “Children begin by loving their parents. After some time, they judge their parents. Rarely, if ever, do they forgive them”. It is a well known fact that the well-being of today’s children is inseparable from the peace, progress and prosperity of tomorrow’s world. It is, therefore, important that children be nurtured in an environmentally sustainable pattern to promote national and global peace and progress. The importance of their welfare was underlined during the World Summit for Children in September, 1990, held under the auspices of the United Nations International Children Education Fund (UNICEF) where world leaders maintained that “unless the investment in children is made, all of humanity’s most fundamental long-term problems will remain fundamental long term problems”.

Put succinctly, children are a country’s most precious assets and they demand the highest priority on both national and international investments. In spite of this open acknowledgment of the importance of their survival to our collective global future, evidence abounds that children are facing the worst tragedy in the world today. In a recent seminar organised by the United Nations non-government liaison services in Geneva, participants at the seminar from more than 120 countries were in agreement that “millions of children around sub-Saharan Africa live under especially difficult circumstances where special protection measures are required to enable them enjoy fulfillment of their basic rights”. These children in addition to being poor, are exploited, abused, abandoned, neglected, disabled and deprived of liberty.

The greatest manifestations of child abuse, exploitation, deprivation and neglect are very obvious in situations where children are used as a veritable source of cheap labour, soldiers, and prostitutes against their innocent and passive will. Many children seldom report cases of such abuses against them and most child abusers rely on this fact to continue in their wicked acts. Child labour thrives in our societies today mainly because some employers consider it cheaper to employ and over-work children who have very weak resistance to exploitation and oppression than adults. Such employers often betray and take undue advantage of the innocence of children’s dependence and trust. Families also use child labour to make additional income. While some of the hapless children are engaged in domestic duties of hawking goods, others are made to do hard labour meant for adults. Some Non-Governmental Organisations, (NGOs) have continued to express their concern over this unfair practice that is conducted not only in Nigeria, but also in other countries of the world. In an interview granted to a newsmagazine, Mr. A.C. Onukwue, a director of Media Environment Initiative (MEI) in Nigeria said that “children as young as eight years old are being subjected to a bland agreement by their parents to serve as slaves all their childhood and youths in the name of apprenticeship”.

Those working as domestic servants are the most exploited and most difficult to protect. Most of them are girls who live with their employers and are totally dependent on them. The United Nations Organisation (UNO) and the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) have made some legal provisions in their bid to checkmate this growing monster. Article 32 of the United Nations Convention of the rights of the child and article XV of the Organisation of African Unity Charter on the rights and welfare of the child, unanimously condemn child labour in all its ramifications. The two articles recognize “the rights of the child to be protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous, or to interfere with the child’s education or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social developments”. In Asia, South America and some migrant communities in the United States, it has been reported that children even as young as five years of age are forced into what can be termed “slave labour”. They work like little robots in dreadful conditions that damage their immature bodies and minds. Most of them have no education, are homeless and deprived of parental love and care.

Children as Child-Labourers

Most people have argued that the main cause of child labour is poverty. Others are economic and social inequality, war, unemployment, broken homes and juvenile delinquency. The merchants of children peddle stories of pleasurable life awaiting the kids in the cities in order to entice their victims from their poverty-stricken parents. Most poor parents swallow such stories hook, line and sinker and so inadvertently release their children to the slave merchants. Because of the nature of their minds, children believe what they are told by adults without reservation. Some of them on hearing such false stories of bright future awaiting them at imaginary lands, sometimes sneak away from their homes to be taken away without their parents’ knowledge. Most of them also follow child merchants because their parents find it difficult to feed, clothe and train them in school. Though many children in the advanced industrial nations and in some urban centers of the Third World countries enjoy good care and welfare, yet it is obvious that majority of them in some rural and urban areas whose parents are living below subsistence level are more often exposed to this risk. The situation has been considered dangerous enough that it was brought to focus in 1997 at a forum organised by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the United Nations International Children Education Fund (UNICEF) for jourlalists in Lagos to deliberate upon. The theme of the forum was The Impact of Child Labour on Development. Participants at the forum agreed that child labour exists in Nigeria as in other parts of the world. It is interesting to note that most of these unsuspecting children lured from their homes in Nigeria are taken to Gabon in Central Africa and other neighbouring countries where they are subjected to the highest form of child abuse.

Children as Articles of Trade

But how widespread are cases of child abuse? Let us at this stage, embark on a historical excursion in order to reveal the extent of abuse and danger our children had been exposed to. On May 30, 1995 when 330 Nigerian deportees arrived in Calabar from Gabon, 109 of them were children below 16 years of age. Again, in March 1996, four students of Ikono Ibom Comprehensive Secondary School, Ikot Aya, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria were cajoled into embarking on a trip to Gabon by a fellow student. But these students, made up of three girls and a boy whose ages were between 10 and 14 years were lucky as they could not reach their destination. As fate would have it, officers of Nigerian Immigration Service intercepted their boat at the Oron Creek. And in January 1997, 150 Gabon-bound children were rescued from a camp at Mkpanak near Ibeno. Among the children aged between 11 and 18 years were 20 Nigerians. The rest of them came from neighbouring Togo, Benin Republic and Ghana. In February 1997, 86 under aged children were freed after a raid on an uncompleted building at Ibeno, Akwa Ibom State. It was reported that the nefarious dealers on children had intended to ship them to Gabon before they were rescued. A breakdown of the rescued children’s nationalities showed that 25 were from Nigeria, 23 from Togo while 38 were from Benin Republic. Of the 86 kids, 46 were girls.

It is also sad that not all of these children had been lucky. The hapless ones do not get to their destinations and do not live to tell their stories. In January 1996, more than 200 persons perished in the high seas of Ibeno Beach. About 73 per cent of the victims were school children, some of whom were in their school uniforms. These difficult circumstances represent serious hazards and risks to the survival and development of our future generation.

Children as Sex Tools

Apart from child labour and trafficking, sexual harassment is another area of high risk that confronts our children. Convincing indication of the enormity of this crime was tendered at the World Congress Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children held in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1996 which was attended by representatives of 130 countries. For instance, it was documented that in several parts of the world, there are millions of young girls, some even as young as 10 years of age who are constrained to work as call girls. After years of physical, mental, and emotional molestation, these girls are scarred for life. In most cases, they surrender to this atrocity simply because they want to eat and stay alive. The option is like choosing between six and half a dozen. As a result of such abuse, some children develop social and psychiatric problems later in life. Furthermore, the activities of pedophiles who occupy influential positions in our society do not help matters. Pedophile refers to a psychological disorder which causes adults to be sexually attracted to children whose sexual experience is nil. In August 1997, a Dublin Chief Judge, Cyril Kelly, committed Reverend Berndan Smith a 72 -year old Roman Catholic priest to 12 years imprisonment for a case involving 74 count charges of indecent and sexual assaults against children. Rev. Smith who admitted to a 36-year career of sex offenses against a total of 26 children in the Republic of Ireland, pleaded guilty to the charges. The Daily Telegraph of June 2, 1998 carried a report on a 44-year old soccer coach who used his position of trust to abuse young boys. He was jailed for nine years after pleading guilty to 23 specimen charges against children. The Chester Crown Court was told that from 1978 to 1992, the coach invited boys from the North West and Midlands to stay with him or go on holiday to North Wales and Spain where the offenses took place. According to The Daily Telegraph: “Benndell would take the boys into his trust by offering them the chance of not only training with his teams but also an occasion at Grewe Alexandra and Manchester City”.

Children As Child Soldiers

Compounding the tragedy further, there has been an increase in the use of child soldiers in guerrilla armies. Children are easily kidnapped, separated from their parents and siblings and conscripted into the army to fight wars. In such situations they are systematically brutalized, at times by being forced to watch gruesome murder. Some have been ordered to kill their own parents, brothers and/or sisters. Where they find it difficult to carry out these bloody assignments as a result of their innocence, such children are encouraged and compelled to take drugs in order to heighten their killer instinct. In Freetown, Sierra Leone, child soldiers whose innocence had been destroyed by the crimes of a protracted civil war resolved that they were not going to hands-off arms. They took the resolution in October, 1998 when Carol Bellamy the then UNICEF’s head in Sierra Leone, asked them in Bo to surrender their weapons. The child soldiers belonged to the hunter militia group known as Kamajor. In addition, children generally suffer a high death rate during civil or international wars. Most of them die of hunger or hunger related diseases such as kwashiorkor. Because they are fragile and defenseless, they are easy victims in war situations. On August 31, 1997 about 21 children fell into a swimming pool in panic and got drowned in Nsele, 60 kilometers east of Kinshasa, capital city of the Democratic Republic of Congo when some armed troops tried to maintain order in the area. In Northern Uganda, rebels of the Lords Resistance Army (LRA), headed by Joseph Kony, who have been fighting against the Ugandan government have continued to carry out atrocities against children in that country.

It is interesting to note that children are gradually becoming aware of the injustice and oppression against them by the adult world. In July 1997, Eric Ndelema, a councilor from Kaziso, West Rand, was stoned to death by an irate mob of about 200 primary school children. The mob also set his house ablaze. Mary Martins, a sergeant and South African Police spokesman, confirmed the incident that occurred in Johannesburg but said that the motive for the attack was not yet known. If the cause of the attack was not known, perhaps the peaceful demonstration that was carried out by children from January 5 to June 4, 1998 is enough proof that children are gradually getting fed up with the whole game. Pakistan played host to the global march against child labour in April, 1998 as part of a campaign to draw world attention to children’s rights. The campaigners, numbering about 45,000 children from various countries, walked through Manila, Vietnam, Thailand, India and Geneva into the boarder town of Wahgah, 25 kilometers from Lahore, capital of Pakistan, amidst cheers from the citizens. Kailash Trithay, the leader of the demonstration said his group was carrying a message from every working child that “the world should be free of child abuse”.

In spite of the above facts, which are by no means exhaustive, it appears that not many countries of the world have taken definitive stand against this global monster of child abuse which is threatening to turn our God-given children into slaves and make this world an unsafe place for those who are undoubtedly our leaders of tomorrow. The situation quickly calls to mind, the admonition of an erudite scholar, Martin Luther King, who once remarked that “the world is full of evil today not because of those who do evil, but because of men who keep silent and watch evil being done”.

I strongly advise everyone interested in this article to purchase my new book titled – MASTURBATION:How to Overcome and Quit the Habit. You can get the ebook version from the following link,

While those interested in having the printed and bound copy of the book should send me an email via: Please quote REQUEST FOR BOOK on the subject line, to distinguish your mail from spam mails.

Victor Izuogu was born on February 8, 1973 in Egbema, Imo State, Nigeria. He attended Egbema Secondary School, Egbema where he obtained his West African School Certificate. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Secretarial Administration from the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Rivers State, Nigeria.

Victor has worked in many reputable organisations as a an Executive Secretary and a Banker. Because of his humble beginning and experience in life, he has a passion for charity and humanitarian services. In order to execute his dream project, Victor formed a charity organisation, GLOBAL INTERCHANGE VENTURES. The proceeds of his literary works go to charity homes, churches and hospitals, e.t.c. You can support his charity and humanitarian services by sending your donations by mail to: GLOBAL INTERCHANGE VENTURES, P.O. BOX 1291, PORT HARCOURT, RIVERS STATE, NIGERIA.

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September 10, 2011

Professional Resume Writers – Where’s the Beef?

Author: admin - Categories: Uncategorized

Are professional resume writing services, and professional resume writers, worth the money?

The phrase “where’s the beef” was first introduced in a Wendy’s television commercial in early 1984. It referred to the amount of beef that was between the two sides of the competition’s hamburger bun, and it has become a universal phrase that questions the value of a product or service. And, professional resume writing services, most of which are now web-based, certainly fall in the category of services the value of which many people would question.

So, let’s spend a few minutes exploring the question of the value of professional resume writers and professional resume writing services. Let’s find out if there is any beef.

First, from my perspective as an Executive Recruiter, I can assure you that most people have no clue how to write an effective resume, much less an impact resume. Over the course of my career which includes several “C”-level accounting and finance roles, I would speculate that less than 10% of the resumes I saw were at least of a “B” quality. And, now that I have been in Executive Recruiting since 2005, the percentage of at least good resumes is even less than 10%. So, from that perspective alone, I conclude that people need help writing resumes. As a result, even a small amount of “beef” produced by a professional resume writer is better than just air between the two sides of the bun.

Second, no resume writer can write a resume that will overcome “fatal” candidate issues. What would constitute fatal candidate issues? Fatal in this context might be a person applying for a safety or security position that has a criminal theft record. Or, it may be a person applying for a driving position that has already had his license suspended for driving infractions. No matter how good the resume, even a minimum background check will highlight these fatal issues. So, do not expect your professional resume writer to overcome these issues.

As an aside, as a recruiter I do not, for the most part, consider age to be a fatal candidate issue. That does not mean that age is not relevant – but it does mean that the resume for that person absolutely has to be an impact resume. Look for an article from me on this in the near future.

Third, even the best professional resume writer cannot overcome what I call systemic candidate weaknesses. What would those be? Job-hopping is a systemic candidate weakness. Continued poor performance is a systemic candidate weakness. Work ethic and attitude issues are systemic candidate weaknesses. Keep in mind, especially for a professional resume service that is internet based, systemic candidate weaknesses often are not disclosed by the candidate. And it is not the responsibility of the resume service or the professional resume writer to work to uncover those issues. But, if you, as a candidate, know that your work history contains one or more systemic candidate weaknesses, do not expect a professionally-written resume to overcome those on your behalf.

Fourth, for what I describe as the “viable” candidate (i.e., no fatal issues or systemic candidate weaknesses) , I believe that a professional resume writer who is working within a set of consistently applied processes put in place by a professional resume writing service can absolutely “find the beef” for that candidate. Why? As I note above, most candidates simply cannot put together a good resume, much less an impact resume. Candidates are good – maybe great – at doing their jobs. But their jobs are not writing resumes. Most resume writers are good – maybe great – at doing their jobs. But their jobs are not being accountants, or analysts, or engineers, or craftsmen. Their job is to professionally write resumes. So, the clear expectation is that professional resume writers can “find the beef” for almost all viable candidates.

Fifth, there are exceptions to every rule. I have a candidate who has a highly specialized skill in the area of

federal taxation. In her high school and college years she wrote and scripted plays. She is a highly skilled

writer in addition to being a highly skilled tax professional and those are complementary skills to each other. And, she has written a powerful resume for herself. I gave her three tips for her resume to bulk up the “beef” and the result is an outstanding impact resume. When the time is right for her to move out of her current employment situation, she will be a great candidate to work with.

Likewise, there are exceptions on the side of resume writers. Most importantly in my opinion is that the best

professional resume writers should possess complementary skills. I believe strongly that the best professional resume writers are people who either have been involved in, or are currently involved in, executive recruiting activities. These are professionals who talk with hiring mangers every day. They know what hiring managers want to see in a resume. They are also skilled at learning how resumes presented to a hiring manger in one industry should perhaps be different than resumes presented to a hiring manger in another. And, every successful executive recruiter spends hours weekly to work with his or her candidates to clean up and “find the beef’ in those candidates’ resumes. So, in order to become successful recruiters, they must be successful resume writers as well. In my opinion, the combined skill of executive recruiting and resume writing is too powerful to ignore when it comes to selecting a professional resume writer.

Last, most resume writers have a “model” which they utilize. Personally, I believe that the use of KSAs and MSAs, when combined effectively in a resume, can create a compelling Candidate Value Proposition that will make it easy for a hiring manger to “find the beef” and ask for the interview. I think that what is most important, however, is that you feel comfortable with whatever model the resume writing service has developed. And, if the website is not clear on that – if you have to ask the question “where’s the beef” when you look at their website – then there is less chance that the service will create a resume for you that keeps hiring managers from asking “where’s the beef”.

So let’s now ask the question again. Are professional resume writing services and professional resume writers worth the money? If you, as a candidate, have fatal issues or systemic weaknesses, it is probably not worth the money. But if you are a viable candidate, and you do not possess exceptional writing skills, and especially if you cannot be passionate about your own career achievements and cannot commit that passion to writing, then a professional resume writing service may be your greatest ally in your job search, and may be quickest path to having an impact resume.

To learn more about impact resumes, click here: Impact Resume

JOHN J. PETER CPA (inactive)
Owner, J. Peter and Associates and

PROFILE: An experienced Executive Recruiter and seasoned CFO, COO, CAO, Controller and Chief Audit Executive for various multinational, national and regional companies, who has transitioned into the highly competitive staffing industry for senior level accounting and finance professionals.

• Recruiting/Staffing
• Chief Financial Officer
• Chief Operating Officer
• Chief Accounting Officer
• Financial Management
• Internal Audit/Risk Assessment

Accounting Resume

Article Source:

September 8, 2011

First Rule When Starting an Online Business – Create a Business Plan

Author: admin - Categories: Uncategorized

o Which direction is your business heading?

o Can you tell others where your business is heading?

o Do you have a sense of commitment, as you tell others your business objectives?

o Do you have a sense of achievement, as you see your business progressing in the way you had envisaged?

You know you have never created a business plan, and now you are wondering where you should start. You have a blank piece of paper or a new page open on your computer and writing the opening sentences will always be the hardest. What do you do next?

You know you can make the plan as complicated as you want, but there are really four elements that all business plans need to cover.

When you write the plan using these four elements you will be able to extend them naturally.

o Why do you have a business?

o What direction do you see your business going?

o How are you going to achieve your goals?

o How much will it cost to reach your goals?

How do you write your plan now? Well, the secret is to keep it short and sweet. If you can’t sum up in a sentence or two what the purpose of your business, then you’ll need to go away and consider what your business is about. You’ll need to keep working at it until you reach the stage where you know exactly what your business is about.

Imagine this situation, when you are trying to explain what you do to friends and family. It is worth sitting someone down and trying to explain to them your business.

The problem is they become bored or worse think you are a scammer, because you are still trying to explain it and it is making no sense to them. It’s time to stop and think again about what you are doing. The solution will be to keep fine tuning what you are saying, until you reach the stage where they understand what you are doing online. That doesn’t mean they won’t think you are mad, but at least they understand the principles involved in what you are trying to do.

Do you know, what a lot of people say their goals are with trying to have a presence online? It is to make money. Now the bad news is that all businesses want to make money, but that is not a good reason to have a business. If your goal is only to make money, then you should take a job. Many jobs will pay you more than you are earning online, especially if you are just starting out.

You see, there has to be another motivation for you to run your own business.

o You might want to be your own boss.

o You want to work at home to be around the family.

o You might want to be able to do some charity work.

Whatever, your goals you need to know what that is, to be motivated when you go through the difficult time. These times will come when you run your own business.

What direction do you see your business going?

Yikes, this is the six million dollar question, because at the moment, you are barely making any money online. If only you knew where your business was heading then you could answer the question.

The simple solution is to start to put more information into your business plan.

You need to know that the secret is to write your business plan the SMART way.

o Specific

o Measurable

o Actionable

o Realistic

o Timed

All good businesses have a solid foundation. You’ll need to have a good foundation for your business plan. Without it, your whole business will tumble and fall.

So your plan is to stop working in a job. Not good enough, you need a specific plan which would say you want to quit that job in 1 year’s time. You need to have something to aim for, in other words a GOAL.

Your plan is to earn money online. Yet, the specific plan says, you want to earn $100 per day and you will reach that goal within 3 months.


You’re going to make money but you have no idea when you will reach your goal, because you don’t know what your goal is. The answer will be to have a time scale to reach your goals.

But, you say, you might not reach your goal within that time, what do you do then? Simple solution to this, you move your time scale or your goal. The one thing you don’t do is QUIT.

You set a goal to earn $100 a day in 3 months. 3 months is now over, and you only earned $90 a day. Is that bad? No, it is $90 a day more than if you had never tried. Now aim for that extra $10 a day.


You are going to take action now to see your goals fulfilled. Regardless, of the goals, you need to have a plan and then you need to follow that plan through with action.

The bad news is that a lot of people fail online. They tried this product, and that system. Today they try one idea, and tomorrow they move onto the next idea. Everything they do is a failure.

You see there is a moral to this story, and that is unless you have a plan, and you take action then you will fail.

Now read that again.

Unless you have a plan, and you take action then you will fail.

Each person will have different goals, and you should keep updating your goals and carry on taking action.


I have some news for you, and that is you are not going to be a millionaire overnight, unless you have a relative who leaves you a fortune.

But, you say, my bills need paying at the end of the week, and I heard that you can earn money overnight, in your sleep online.

The secret here is to be realistic in your goals.

Being realistic is not for a lot of people. Are you someone who has never earned any money online? How long have you been trying to earn and being failing? Do you know the big secret that we are keeping from you? It is this; you will not make a fortune overnight. If you don’t set realistic goals, then you will quit and be a failure. Being realistic is important and you need to start right now. Yes, this is the time to be real, and see what you need to do to earn that money.


You know, this is going to be excellent training for you, because you need to set your goals with a time for seeing those goals achieved.

But, there is more to it than that. Time management is essential for any business. If you are providing a service you need to know how long a job is going to take. You see, if I ask you to write me some articles, and you think I can do that in a couple of hours, you will charge me for a couple of hours work. Now, listen carefully, because the problem is this, you had to take twice as long to research and then write them, than you first thought. That means you worked twice as long for the same amount of money.

The answer is to learn to manage your time, and be able to estimate how long a job is going to take.

If you are going to be serious about your business, then knowing how long every job is going to take will be important.

There is an added bonus here, and that is once you know how long it takes to do a job, you will know how long you have to surf the web, and visit your favorite websites.

Need some help with questions, try these.

o How much turnover and net profit do you want to achieve and by what date?

o You want to be the top of your niche by what date? How would you like to see that achieved? This needs to be included in both the long term and short term plan.

o You need to increase your products and services to what? When is that going to happen? Creating your own products then be realistic, it might not be possible (unless you outsource) to write 100 ebooks each month.

o Increase in traffic to your website is something we all want. How much extra traffic do you want to see and what date would you like to achieve that by? Do you need to change you marketing to get this extra traffic?

Now, you want to have a business which is selling to other Internet Marketers, and this is the problem you are new and nobody knows you. Guess what, the way around this is to do some research. It is a simple solution, but if you can do this, you will learn lots of secrets that you thought were hidden.

o What motivates them to buy?

o What are the trends in Internet Marketing?

o Who are your competitors?

o Why would these people buy from you?

o What are you offering that is different from the rest?

You see, you need to ask many questions as you research and then you should analyze all the research material you have. You see, there is no point in spending valuable hours researching if you are not in a position to use that information.






You see, you as you analysis your research you need to consider three questions.

Who is my market?

Why will they buy from me?

How will I provide the products for them?

One problem you face when you start a new business is being in direct competition with other established businesses. You will be trying to sell your product alongside well known Guru’s. Your name isn’t going to be well known and people will want to know they can trust you.

All around you people will be asking questions even if they are only in their mind.

o Is it a new or unique product?

o Is the price cheaper than other people’s products?

o What is the guarantee with the product?

o Is it a better quality product?

Summary of Your Business Plan

By now your business plan should be focused on two periods of time. You have the present time and the future which should be between one or two years only.

You have included some good information into the plan.

o What type of business you have, and include both the products and services you have available.

o Include information about your business, how many employees, turnover, profit margins and location of any offices you have.

o What is the growth and expansion of your business?

o What niche do you market?

o Have you identified your competitors?

o Do you know how long it will be before your plan will become a reality?

Three Stages to Preparing Your Plan

Do you realize there are only three simple stages to be used when you prepare your business plan?

o Research

o Draft the Plan

o Action


You see, you will need to do thorough research. This isn’t only true when you start your business but you should do research at different stages during your time in business.

Why is this important? It is only important if you want to stay at the top.

“But it is time consuming,” you say. Well, it can be, and you might need to take a couple of days away from the business to do this. If you are running your business single-handed then schedule the time into your day to day routine. It might take time, but think about the benefits to you and your business.

Now, yes right now, take a good look at where your business is today; be honest with yourself because if you are not making any money then you will need to know why that is happening.

You see, there is no benefit for you to inflate your earnings to what you want them to be, because only you are seeing them at the moment. If you want to reach your goals then you need to know where you have been; where you are; and where you are going.

Now if your business is selling digital products, then evaluate which ones sell well and which ones are not making you any or very little profit. If you look at each product carefully, you might find that a certain niche isn’t selling well. Dig as deep as you need to go to find out where your business is at.

You see now you are making progress, you now know where you want your business to be, in the next quarter, or year. You know you need to give yourself a time scale.

Ah! But what if you discover the business is doing badly, you might want to have the challenge of turning it around quickly. The solution will be not to set the deadline too far in advance. If you do, then you might fail to take any action until the last minute.

Look at every area of your business, and see if it is producing the best results possible. Is there a new niche you want to add to your business?

And finally, you’ll need to find a way to get from where you are today to where you want to be in that allotted time period. It might mean dropping some products; updating others or even find new products to market. You’ll need to know exactly and clearly what you need to do and how you will achieve those goals.

You see, this is what a business plan is all about; it will give you the map for your business to follow.

Just imagine you’re taking a car journey and you’re going to somewhere new. Nobody in the car knows the way either. You see most motorists would look on a map or use their computer to get the route needed to be taken. But, you are not like most people, because you don’t want to be told what to do. You know you can find your own way there without any help from anyone else.

Well, you might but it is likely you will get lost many times, and you might never reach your destination. However, if you do reach your destination you will find you have spent many more hours on the road than you needed to get to the destination.

Listen carefully here, only if you are stubborn will you say you don’t need a business plan. You know you can make that decision because it is your business that will be affected, and you will get lost time and time again. You’ll be the one who is trying to get to a goal and not reaching it. You’ll be the one who won’t make any money and be able to run your own business. You’ll even get added to the statistics of businesses that fail.

We all like to know secrets, well here is another one for you, if you don’t want to be a failure with your business, then you will start to plan today what you business is going to be like in twelve months time. Not only that but you will have your route map and you will follow it until you see the goals achieved.

You see all the time you need to consider where you are going because without a destination, you will keep going around and around in circles.

You’ll need to consider how you are going to sell your product before you spend hours creating it, and then you need to decide how to deliver that product.

Draft the Plan

Let me tell you there is no format for writing your plan. You should find your bank or financial institute have ones available for people starting out in business. But, you’ll need to find what works for you and your business.

You see, as you start to write the plan you’ll realize what needs to be added which is exclusive to your business and strategy. Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Always, give yourself room to expand the plan as you find out more information from your research.

Listen, you might start to do a basic financial statement and realize that you have to change your opinions about certain areas of the business, based on what you are now seeing. That is a good way to progress your plan.

Keep in mind these points.

o Where your business is today?

o Who works for your business?

o What are the turnover and the profit?

o How does you business compare to your competitors?

o What is your profile like?

o Where will your business be by a given date?

o What is the vision of the company?

o How many people do you need to fulfill the vision?

o What turnover and profit do you need to achieve?

o How can you improve your business to overtake your competitors?

o What do you want your profile to be like?

o How you are going to get there?

o If you need staff, do you have any idea whom will you hire?

o How can you increase both your turnover and profit?

o How can you change your marketing and image?

o How can you increase your profile?

You see, keeping the plan simple is all that is needed. You can use these bullet points and add in any other information as necessary.

Now, you might think the more complicated the plan the better it is, but that isn’t true. The more complicated the plan the less likely you’ll implement it.


You see, there is no point in spending time analyzing and researching your business if it ends there. Too many will do the groundwork and then quit. You know what will happen then, these businesses will fail. The best business plans are from those people who take action.

Here is the real secret of any successful business, whether that is online or offline, you need to take action.

You know, there is nothing worse than talking with a person who has a problem, who doesn’t want to take any action. How many times have you seen a person ask a question on a forum, only to come a week later asking the same question? At some stage, another person will ask did you read and act on the advice given.

Now if you are dealing with a person on a one to one basis, and they ask for your advice and come back time and time again with the same problem, what do you do? You ask if they put into practice what you suggested. They then say, “No!”

You are frustrated because you are unable to help them. But until they are prepared to do anything to get out of the situation, they will remain in exactly the same state that they are in. Until the person puts into practice what they have learnt they will never, ever leave that situation behind.

Now you know that this is true with some people who want a business. They want the financial benefits without having to do any work, and because they don’t want to work, they won’t take any action.

As your business expands, you’ll need to have a good idea who is going to do each task, or know what type of person you are looking to employ. You might need to find a good writer for articles and ebooks. You could have a target of a certain number of articles which need to be written each week. You’ll need to set the tasks, the deadlines, and the person to do the job.

Now this is important, as you build your business, you will come across people of excellence and you’ll want to hire, employ or outsource to them.

You should keep a record of their details, name; email; phone and any other details you might have. When you need to have a job done you already know which people you’ll want to work with.

And finally, you should keep you plan handy and use it on a regular basis. Let it influence everything in your business especially as you expand.

Can you see you business rapidly expanding, do you really want to have to spend time writing a business plan or trying to work out how the business should run?

Now, if you have the plan written, then it is simply putting it into action. If you need to expand, then add to your existing plan.

Always, remember to review your plan on a regular basis. Don’t wait until a crisis comes to try and work out what you should do. Be prepared before the crisis happens. You business plan will keep you on track to remain in the group of people whose business survive.

If you would like more info on How to start an Online Business [], go to the Make Money Online [] homepage.

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September 7, 2011

Nebraska Car Insurance Guide – Steps to Finding Cheap Nebraska Car Insurance Rates

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It is very important to make sure that you have proper Nebraska car insurance coverage if you are a Nebraska resident. The state of Nebraska chose the honey bee as their state insect probably because it is so industrious. You may want to mimic the behavior of this busy bee and shop around for car insurance if you live and own a car in the state of Nebraska.

Nebraska follows a Tort system of law in regards to car accidents. This means that someone must be found to be at fault for causing the accident, and that person and their car insurance company is responsible for all damages.

Nebraska state law only requires that you carry liability car insurance. The state requirements are Bodily Injury Liability in the amount of $25,000 per injured person up to $50,000 per accident.

You must also have Property Damage Liability car insurance coverage in the amount of $25,000. Keep in mind that if you are found to be the cause of an accident, you will be held personally and financially responsible for any and all damages and medical expenses that is not covered by insurance. Medical expenses and car repair costs add up fast, so you may want to purchase more than the minimum amount of car insurance required.

For more information on the required amount of insurance, or if you have any questions about Nebraska’s car insurance requirements, you can call the Nebraska Department of Insurance located in Lincoln or speak with a licensed Nebraska auto insurance agent.

While not required by Nebraska law, you may want to purchase comprehensive car insurance coverage. If you are in an accident, comprehensive car insurance will pay for repairs up to the Blue Book value of the car, and if the costs will be in excess of this amount the car will be deemed to be totaled and you will receive the cash value of the car. Comprehensive coverage may be required by your bank or other financial institution if you have a car loan or lease your vehicle. In some cases gap insurance might be a good idea as well. Gap car insurance will help make up the difference between what is paid by comprehensive car insurance and what is owed on your loan if your car is found to be totaled in an accident.

Also not required by the state of Nebraska, you may want to purchase collision car insurance coverage. Collision coverage will pay for the repairs to your car, minus your deductible, in the event you are involved in an accident.

Personal Injury Protection, commonly called PIP insurance added to your car insurance coverage will help pay for reasonable and necessary medical expenses for you and your passengers. While Nebraska state law does not require Personal Injury Protection, you may want to seriously consider this type of coverage. Personal Injury Protection car insurance will help with medical expenses, lost wages, and replacement services for any injuries to you and your passengers if you’re involved in a car accident.

You might also want to consider underinsured/uninsured car insurance coverage. This type of coverage protects you if you or your passengers are injured in an accident caused by a driver who has no insurance, or is underinsured. Underinsured/uninsured car insurance coverage will pay for such things as medical expenses, lost wages, other general damages, and injuries sustained in hit-and-run accidents.

The Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles uses the phrase proof of financial responsibility in some of its forms and documents. This means the state wants to see documentation proving that you have a valid car insurance policy that will cover any personal or property damages you may cause in a car accident.

If you have amassed too many points on your driving record, or have been convicted of driving while intoxicated, were involved in a serious accident, or previously failed to maintain proper car insurance, you may need to file a valid SR-22 Nebraska Certificate of Insurance to be issued a new driver’s license. There are some key things that you should know if you are looking to purchase Nebraska SR-22 auto insurance.

An SR-22 Certificate of Insurance, simply states that you have proper and valid car insurance. You’re insurance company must mail or personally deliver this document to the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles. The SR-22 form will contain the name of your insurance company, your car insurance policy number, the effective date of your car insurance coverage, and the signature of your car insurance company’s licensed representative. If you are required to have a SR-22, the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles will track your car insurance information through a special computer system to make sure you have adequate proof of financial responsibility.

To obtain more information about an SR-22 Certificate of Insurance, you can call the Nebraska Financial Responsibility Division at (402) 471-3985.

When purchasing car insurance in Nebraska, it may save you hundreds of dollars a year in car insurance premiums to do some research. Take the time to shop around and compare rates and the different types of coverage available.

In addition to shopping for the best rate, shop for the best insurance company as well. Ask questions such as: How do you determine my Nebraska car insurance rate? What can I do to get a better rate? Do I qualify for any discounts? What kind of payment plans to you offer? What is your procedure for filing a claim? You may want to pay close attention to the car insurance company’s answers to these questions, it could help you determine which Nebraska car insurance company is going to give you the best customer service, as well as a good rate.

Be sure and compare rates from multiple Nebraska auto insurance companies side by side in order to find the best rate. Get started comparing auto insurance quotes today!

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September 3, 2011

Save Thousands Of Dollars By Choosing The Right College

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With the high cost of a college education, no one wants to pay more than they must. Yet thousands of families pay too much for college every year because they don’t understand the basics of financial aid and don’t know the right questions to ask. So let’s learn the basics and then what questions to ask.

Basics Part I

There are three types of financial aid for college: grants or scholarships, loans and work-study.

Grants and scholarships are free money that you do not need to pay back.

Most grants and scholarships come from the federal and state government or from the individual college.

Loans need to be paid back after college.

There are many loan programs available from the federal and state government. Most of these loans have fairly low interest rates. There are also private loans available although these generally have a higher interest rate.

Work-study is a job offered on the campus of the college.

Basics Part II

Need based aid vs Merit based aid

Need based aid is given by all colleges to students who have need. Anyone who can’t pay the full cost of the college has need.

A form called the Free Application for Federal Student Assistance (FAFSA) determines the amount of need for federal grants and scholarships. Many highly selective colleges also require a form known as the Profile form The FAFSA form is filled out after January 1 of the year the student will first attend college.

The FAFSA and Profile forms ask questions about the income of the parents and student using information that you gave on your tax returns. These forms also ask questions about the amount of money you have in savings or investments. The Profile form is more detailed than the FAFSA form. Once these forms are completed the government uses the FAFSA form to determine how much your family can pay for college. This is your expected family contribution or your EFC. Your EFC is the same regardless of the cost of the college. Similarly the individual colleges who use the Profile use that form to determine what your family can pay for college.

Your need is the cost of the college you are looking at minus your EFC. For example, if you are looking at a college that costs $20,000 a year and your EFC is $5,000, your need at that college is $15,000. If you are looking at a college that costs $40,000 a year your EFC is still $5,000. Your need at this college is $35,000.

Merit-based aid includes scholarships typically for students who have good grades or have some other special talent such as athletic or musical talent. Most highly selective colleges offer little or no merit-based aid.

Finally, in looking at colleges you should ignore the cost of the college. Yes, you read that right. Ignore the stated cost of the college when you are first deciding which colleges to investigate further. You will see why later in this article.

So now you know the basics. Now comes the fun part: How to save money by asking the right questions.

Questions to ask the colleges

Question 1- What percent of my need do you meet?

Remember that EFC, or expected family contribution that the FAFSA determined? Some colleges will meet 100% of your need. Need again is defined as the cost of the college minus your EFC. So what does it mean if a college says they will meet 100% of your need? It means that once the FAFSA or Profile form has determined how much you can pay for college, the college will pay 100% of the rest of the bill.

Colleges will typically meet the need you have using a combination of grants, loans and work study. Most colleges will award work study and loans first and if there is a need after that, the remaining need will be supplied by grants. The colleges will typically have a standard loan and work study amount that they award and you should ask about what these numbers are when investigating the college.

Let’s see an example of a financial aid award from a college that provides 100% of need with a student who has an EFC of $5,000.

Total cost of college $40,000

Expected family contribution $ 5,000

Need $35,000

Financial aid award

Work study $ 2,000

Loans $ 4,000

Grants $29,000

At a college that meets 100% of your need you pay $5,000.

But what happens if the college doesn’t meet 100% of need? Many less selective colleges don’t pay the total amount of need that their students have. Let’s use the example of our imaginary college from above only this time assume that the school only provides 90% of need.

Total cost of college $40,000

Families expected contribution $ 5,000

Need $35,000

This college only provides 90% of the $35,000 need or $31,500. Thus, your out of pocket expenses are the $5,000 EFC plus an additional $3,500 for a total cost of $8,500.

This example makes it easy to see why a school that meets 100% of need is often a better financial aid deal than a school who doesn’t meet all of the families need.

Many of the most expensive private colleges meet 100% of the students need while cheaper public colleges usually meet less than 100% of the need. This means that for many students it can be cheaper to go to an expensive private college than to attend a cheaper state school. Until you know what percent of need the college meets, don’t eliminate a college from consideration just because it is expensive.

Question 2- Do you have merit based aid?

Many colleges that don’t meet 100% of a students need do offer scholarships for some students. If your student is near the top of the application pool for a less selective college they may get some money if they qualify for merit based aid. Thus, in some cases, if the student is willing to look at a less selective college, they may get a better financial aid package. Here are some questions you should ask if the college provides merit aid.

How many merit awards are available?

What is the value of the merit awards available?

What are the qualifications to receive one of these merit awards?

This works even for families that don’t qualify for need based aid at all. If your student can qualify for a merit based award you won’t need to pay the full stated cost of the college.

Question 3- How is financial aid determined after the first year?

Some colleges have a policy of providing good financial aid for the first year and then substantially reducing the grant aid in the following years while increasing the loans. You should ask the college in which you are interested how they determine financial aid after the first year and what the average loan is after the first year. While it is typical that the amount of loans will increase each year if the increase is substantial you will want to take that into consideration.

Question 4- What is the average loan amount at graduation of those students who have loans? This question will give you the best indication of the amount of loans that this college requires compared to other colleges in which you may be interested. Although most students will have some loans when they graduate, you don’t want this amount to be any more than necessary.

Question 5- What is your policy regarding outside scholarships?

Most colleges will subtract money earned in outside scholarships from your financial aid package. Some colleges will reduce the loan burden by the amount of the scholarship, but other colleges will reduce your grant money. If the college reduces the amount of loans you have to take out that is a benefit to you. There is no benefit to you if the college reduces the grant aid.

Question 6- What is your packaging policy?

Most colleges give a financial aid package that includes grant money, loans and work study. But each college combines this money differently. Specifically you want to know:

What percentage of an aid package from your college is grant vs. self-help (loans, work study)?

The greater amount of grants versus loans and work study the better for the student.

Do you have a preferential packaging policy?

Preferential packaging occurs when a college gives a better financial aid package to a student with a stronger academic profile than to another student with the same financial need but with less academic credentials.

Question 7- What is your four year graduation rate?

What difference does a college’s four year graduation rate make? This is an important question that many people never consider. Another way to phrase this is, How many years of college am I going to have to pay for? If the college has a high four year graduation rate, you will most likely only have to pay for four years of college. However, if the college graduates most students in six years then you can plan on paying for six years of college, not four.


Now that you know something about financial aid, including the questions to ask each college you are considering, you can make an informed decision in paying for a college education and hopefully also save some money.

Todd Johnson, a lawyer and college consultant, is the principal college admission consultant for College Admissions Partners. Todd provides personalized service to help students and families through the complete college admissions and financial aid process. He can be reached through the website College Admissions Partners

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September 2, 2011

Why Insight and Flexibility is More Important than Perseverance in Marketing

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Marketing successfully requires not only insight into how a product or service can be successfully marketed but also flexibility into the marketing of a product or service.

This is one of the marketing principles that doesn’t seem to be taught successfully. Too many times, the “marketing gurus” will promote a type of marketing that has worked for them to the exclusion of all other types of marketing.

Now the type of marketing they promote may very well have worked well for them, but it is folly to believe that one marketing method and one marketing method only will work for every product or service everywhere. This just is not the reality as marketing methods can be as unique as the products and services that are marketed.

Innovation, creativity and flexibility are needed in any type of marketing efforts. Trying several types of marketing is usually the best method of eliminating marketing methods that fail, and determining which marketing methods are successful.

Online business or any type of business for that matter demands perseverance and determination. Perseverance and determination are also promoted heavily by the marketing gurus. However, perseverance and determination does NOT mean sticking with a marketing method that is incorrect for the product or service or NOT producing any results. It does not mean continuing self-defeating marketing methods over and over at a loss each and every month.

To prove a point about the misconceptions sometimes promoted by the marketing gurus and the misconceptions others may have about perseverance in general, I’ve used two actual case studies below:

A. Case Study #1 is a young male who started an online business many years ago promoting marketing resources and marketing strategies. He had many fine offerings that were of great value, as he spent much time and energy researching and developing resources. He read many manuals from marketing gurus, who stressed a lot on list building and e- mail marketing.

This young man, following the marketing guru’s advice, spent much time and energy for years, e-mailing others relentlessly, swapping ads for further exposure, writing articles in other newsletters and e-zines, and trying every “trick” of e-mail marketing to no avail. He also persisted in this strategy as he had taken to heart the principle of “never quitting” quite literally, which the gurus had promoted so heartily to him.

He lost quite a great deal of time and money until he noticed that his Web site had been ranking quite well in the Search Engines (after all, he had great content). Most of the few sales he had been making were coming directly from his Web site, despite the fact that he did not believe in (and dreaded) Search Engine marketing! He rethought the whole process and his approach, and began focussing on marketing his resources strictly from his Web site, applying his perseverance and determination to that, with incredible success ever since!

B. Case Study #2 is a middle aged female who approached the marketing somewhat differently, as she had read a manual from a different marketing guru. She was promoting a customized service, rather than a product, and the guru, whose advice she followed, firmly believed in Search Engine marketing, and Search Engine marketing alone. She spent literally tons of money, and tons of time, getting her Web site to the top of the Search Engines.

Like Case Study #1, she felt that if she only gave it enough time, and persevered, sales would be made. As time went on, she discovered that most of her sales were being made through her e-mail marketing. Her articles, ad swapping, and other e-mail marketing efforts (she published routinely her own newsletters and e-zines), were leading to more clients than those which were attained off her Web site. In her case, e-mail marketing was the “key” to success, but she also was following the mandates of the wrong marketing guru.

The above two studies highlight the folly of blindly following the mandates of any marketing guru. While many do have good solid advice to give, the business owner must possess enough flexibility to test many methods. Creativity and an open mind help immensely when determining marketing methods.

Perseverance and dedication are important, of course. But they must be applied correctly, along with flexibility and innovation, for success to occur in a business. All avenues should be pursued with perseverance and dedication and then choices of marketing methods made based upon the results. After all, results are what make a marketing method successful! Without results, any marketing method is a dismal failure.

Vishal P. Rao is the owner of Work at Home Forum, an online community of people who work from home.

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September 1, 2011

Weight Loss and Team Sports

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Many people have the misconception that the major concern of people engaged in team sports is gaining weight. The image of the three hundred pound player leads many people to see it from this perspective. The truth is that most athletes are more concerned with weight loss than with weight gain. The reason for this is fairly simple. It is very easy to gain weight. It is a little harder to get those pounds off you once you have gained them.

Athletes have ideal playing weights, and they spend a great deal of time in weight rooms. Of course, much of this time is devoted to building strength and muscle tone, but often times it is spent shedding pounds. The fact that muscles actually weigh more than fatty tissue makes this an ongoing problem. As fat is replaced by muscle, the total weight will actually spike upwards at first. Although being heavier due to excess muscle seems to be the goal for an athlete, most often just the opposite is going to be true.

Team Sports that involve a great deal of running like basketball, soccer, rugby, and even track are good examples of this fact. Although weight and muscles might be good for the center on the basketball team when he is trying to push people aside to get a lay up inside the paint, he is going to have to carry that excess weight up and down the length of the court, too. Unless the player in soccer or hockey is wearing the goalkeeper gloves and staying in front of the goal, he is going to have to run or skate from end to end as well. This is where the concept of ideal weight comes into play.

Ideal weight can be best defined by the exact weight at which an athlete can gain the most advantage from his weight without it becoming a handicap to the ideal performance and level of fatigue involved in participation in a team sport. In order to maintain this ideal weight and at the same time to insure maximum athletic ability, it is not wise to use dieting for weight loss. The subsequent loss of energy that dieting could produce is not going to help the athlete perform to expected standards. A well balanced and energy rich diet is going to be much better. Weight loss must be accomplished by exercise and diet should refer only to the selection of the healthiest foods rather than to not eating food at all.

Natalie Aranda writes on weight loss and fitness. Team Sports that involve a great deal of running like basketball, soccer, rugby, and even track are good examples of this fact. Football balls are gift ideas for men and boys. Although weight and muscles might be good for the center on the basketball team when he is trying to push people aside to get a lay up inside the paint, he is going to have to carry that excess weight up and down the length of the court, too. Unless the player in soccer or hockey is wearing the goalkeeper gloves and staying in front of the goal, he is going to have to run or skate from end to end as well. This is where the concept of ideal weight comes into play.

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Small Business Health Insurance – The Best Policy Is A Great Agent

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I have been a health insurance broker for over a decade and every day I read more and more “horror” stories that are posted on the Internet regarding health insurance companies not paying claims, refusing to cover specific illnesses and physicians not getting reimbursed for medical services. Unfortunately, insurance companies are driven by profits, not people (albeit they need people to make profits). If the insurance company can find a legal reason not to pay a claim, chances are they will find it, and you the consumer will suffer. However, what most people fail to realize is that there are very few “loopholes” in an insurance policy that give the insurance company an unfair advantage over the consumer. In fact, insurance companies go to great lengths to detail the limitations of their coverage by giving the policy holders 10-days (a 10-day free look period) to review their policy. Unfortunately, most people put their insurance cards in their wallet and place their policy in a drawer or filing cabinet during their 10-day free look and it usually isn’t until they receive a “denial” letter from the insurance company that they take their policy out to really read through it.

The majority of people, who buy their own health insurance, rely heavily on the insurance agent selling the policy to explain the plan’s coverage and benefits. This being the case, many individuals who purchase their own health insurance plan can tell you very little about their plan, other than, what they pay in premiums and how much they have to pay to satisfy their deductible.

For many consumers, purchasing a health insurance policy on their own can be an enormous undertaking. Purchasing a health insurance policy is not like buying a car, in that, the buyer knows that the engine and transmission are standard, and that power windows are optional. A health insurance plan is much more ambiguous, and it is often very difficult for the consumer to determine what type of coverage is standard and what other benefits are optional. In my opinion, this is the primary reason that most policy holders don’t realize that they do not have coverage for a specific medical treatment until they receive a large bill from the hospital stating that “benefits were denied.”

Sure, we all complain about insurance companies, but we do know that they serve a “necessary evil.” And, even though purchasing health insurance may be a frustrating, daunting and time consuming task, there are certain things that you can do as a consumer to ensure that you are purchasing the type of health insurance coverage you really need at a fair price.

Dealing with small business owners and the self-employed market, I have come to the realization that it is extremely difficult for people to distinguish between the type of health insurance coverage that they “want” and the benefits they really “need.” Recently, I have read various comments on different Blogs advocating health plans that offer 100% coverage (no deductible and no-coinsurance) and, although I agree that those types of plans have a great “curb appeal,” I can tell you from personal experience that these plans are not for everyone. Do 100% health plans offer the policy holder greater peace of mind? Probably. But is a 100% health insurance plan something that most consumers really need? Probably not! In my professional opinion, when you purchase a health insurance plan, you must achieve a balance between four important variables; wants, needs, risk and price. Just like you would do if you were purchasing options for a new car, you have to weigh all these variables before you spend your money. If you are healthy, take no medications and rarely go to the doctor, do you really need a 100% plan with a $5 co-payment for prescription drugs if it costs you $300 dollars more a month?

Is it worth $200 more a month to have a $250 deductible and a $20 brand name/$10 generic Rx co-pay versus an 80/20 plan with a $2,500 deductible that also offers a $20 brand name/$10generic co-pay after you pay a once a year $100 Rx deductible? Wouldn’t the 80/20 plan still offer you adequate coverage? Don’t you think it would be better to put that extra $200 ($2,400 per year) in your bank account, just in case you may have to pay your $2,500 deductible or buy a $12 Amoxicillin prescription? Isn’t it wiser to keep your hard-earned money rather than pay higher premiums to an insurance company?

Yes, there are many ways you can keep more of the money that you would normally give to an insurance company in the form of higher monthly premiums. For example, the federal government encourages consumers to purchase H.S.A. (Health Savings Account) qualified H.D.H.P.’s (High Deductible Health Plans) so they have more control over how their health care dollars are spent. Consumers who purchase an HSA Qualified H.D.H.P. can put extra money aside each year in an interest bearing account so they can use that money to pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses. Even procedures that are not normally covered by insurance companies, like Lasik eye surgery, orthodontics, and alternative medicines become 100% tax deductible. If there are no claims that year the money that was deposited into the tax deferred H.S.A can be rolled over to the next year earning an even higher rate of interest. If there are no significant claims for several years (as is often the case) the insured ends up building a sizeable account that enjoys similar tax benefits as a traditional I.R.A. Most H.S.A. administrators now offer thousands of no load mutual funds to transfer your H.S.A. funds into so you can potentially earn an even higher rate of interest.

In my experience, I believe that individuals who purchase their health plan based on wants rather than needs feel the most defrauded or “ripped-off” by their insurance company and/or insurance agent. In fact, I hear almost identical comments from almost every business owner that I speak to. Comments, such as, “I have to run my business, I don’t have time to be sick! “I think I have gone to the doctor 2 times in the last 5 years” and “My insurance company keeps raising my rates and I don’t even use my insurance!” As a business owner myself, I can understand their frustration. So, is there a simple formula that everyone can follow to make health insurance buying easier? Yes! Become an INFORMED consumer.

Every time I contact a prospective client or call one of my client referrals, I ask a handful of specific questions that directly relate to the policy that particular individual currently has in their filing cabinet or dresser drawer. You know the policy that they bought to protect them from having to file bankruptcy due to medical debt. That policy they purchased to cover that $500,000 life-saving organ transplant or those 40 chemotherapy treatments that they may have to undergo if they are diagnosed with cancer.

So what do you think happens almost 100% of the time when I ask these individuals “BASIC” questions about their health insurance policy? They do not know the answers! The following is a list of 10 questions that I frequently ask a prospective health insurance client. Let’s see how many YOU can answer without looking at your policy.

1. What Insurance Company are you insured with and what is the name of your health insurance plan? (e.g. Blue Cross Blue Shield-”Basic Blue”)

2. What is your calendar year deductible and would you have to pay a separate deductible for each family member if everyone in your family became ill at the same time? (e.g. The majority of health plans have a per person yearly deductible, for example, $250, $500, $1,000, or $2,500. However, some plans will only require you to pay a 2 person maximum deductible each year, even if everyone in your family needed extensive medical care.)

3. What is your coinsurance percentage and what dollar amount (stop loss) it is based on? (e.g. A good plan with 80/20 coverage means you pay 20% of some dollar amount. This dollar amount is also known as a stop loss and can vary based on the type of policy you purchase. Stop losses can be as little as $5,000 or $10,000 or as much as $20,000 or there are some policies on the market that have NO stop loss dollar amount.)

4. What is your maximum out of pocket expense per year? (e.g. All deductibles plus all coinsurance percentages plus all applicable access fees or other fees)

5. What is the Lifetime maximum benefit the insurance company will pay if you become seriously ill and does your plan have any “per illness” maximums or caps? (e.g. Some plans may have a $5 million lifetime maximum, but may have a maximum benefit cap of $100,000 per illness. This means that you would have to develop many separate and unrelated life-threatening illnesses costing $100,000 or less to qualify for $5 million of lifetime coverage.)

6. Is your plan a schedule plan, in that it only pays a certain amount for a specific list of procedures? (e.g., Mega Life & Health & Midwest National Life, endorsed by the National Association of the Self-Employed, N.A.S.E. is known for endorsing schedule plans) 7. Does your plan have doctor co-pays and are you limited to a certain number of doctor co-pay visits per year? (e.g. Many plans have a limit of how many times you go to the doctor per year for a co-pay and, quite often the limit is 2-4 visits.)

8. Does your plan offer prescription drug coverage and if it does, do you pay a co-pay for your prescriptions or do you have to meet a separate drug deductible before you receive any benefits and/or do you just have a discount prescription card only? (e.g. Some plans offer you prescription benefits right away, other plans require that you pay a separate drug deductible before you can receive prescription medication for a co-pay. Today, many plans offer no co-pay options and only provide you with a discount prescription card that gives you a 10-20% discount on all prescription medications).

9. Does your plan have any reduction in benefits for organ transplants and if so, what is the maximum your plan will pay if you need an organ transplant? (e.g. Some plans only pay a $100,000 maximum benefit for organ transplants for a procedure that actually costs $350-$500K and this $100,000 maximum may also include reimbursement for expensive anti-rejection medications that must be taken after a transplant. If this is the case, you will often have to pay for all anti-rejection medications out of pocket).

10. Do you have to pay a separate deductible or “access fee” for each hospital admission or for each emergency room visit? (e.g. Some plans, like the Assurant Health’s “CoreMed” plan have a separate $750 hospital admission fee that you pay for the first 3 days you are in the hospital. This fee is in addition to your plan deductible. Also, many plans have benefit “caps” or “access fees” for out-patient services, such as, physical therapy, speech therapy, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, etc. Benefit “caps” could be as little as $500 for each out-patient treatment, leaving you a bill for the remaining balance. Access fees are additional fees that you pay per treatment. For example, for each outpatient chemotherapy treatment, you may be required to pay a $250 “access fee” per treatment. So for 40 chemotherapy treatments, you would have to pay 40 x $250 = $10,000. Again, these fees would be charged in addition to your plan deductible).

Now that you’ve read through the list of questions that I ask a prospective health insurance client, ask yourself how many questions you were able to answer. If you couldn’t answer all ten questions don’t be discouraged. That doesn’t mean that you are not a smart consumer. It may just mean that you dealt with a “bad” insurance agent. So how could you tell if you dealt with a “bad” insurance agent? Because a “great” insurance agent would have taken the time to help you really understand your insurance benefits. A “great” agent spends time asking YOU questions so s/he can understand your insurance needs. A “great” agent recommends health plans based on all four variables; wants, needs, risk and price. A “great” agent gives you enough information to weigh all of your options so you can make an informed purchasing decision. And lastly, a “great” agent looks out for YOUR best interest and NOT the best interest of the insurance company.

So how do you know if you have a “great” agent? Easy, if you were able to answer all 10 questions without looking at your health insurance policy, you have a “great” agent. If you were able to answer the majority of questions, you may have a “good” agent. However, if you were only able to answer a few questions, chances are you have a “bad” agent. Insurance agents are no different than any other professional. There are some insurance agents that really care about the clients they work with, and there are other agents that avoid answering questions and duck client phone calls when a message is left about unpaid claims or skyrocketing health insurance rates.

Remember, your health insurance purchase is just as important as purchasing a house or a car, if not more important. So don’t be afraid to ask your insurance agent a lot of questions to make sure that you understand what your health plan does and does not cover. If you don’t feel comfortable with the type of coverage that your agent suggests or if you think the price is too high, ask your agent if s/he can select a comparable plan so you can make a side by side comparison before you purchase. And, most importantly, read all of the “fine print” in your health plan brochure and when you receive your policy, take the time to read through your policy during your 10-day free look period.

If you can’t understand something, or aren’t quite sure what the asterisk (*) next to the benefit description really means in terms of your coverage, call your agent or contact the insurance company to ask for further clarification.

Furthermore, take the time to perform your own due diligence. For example, if you research MEGA Life and Health or the Midwest National Life insurance company, endorsed by the National Association for the Self Employed (NASE), you will find that there have been 14 class action lawsuits brought against these companies since 1995. So ask yourself, “Is this a company that I would trust to pay my health insurance claims?

Additionally, find out if your agent is a “captive” agent or an insurance “broker.” “Captive” agents can only offer ONE insurance company’s products.” Independent” agents or insurance “brokers” can offer you a variety of different insurance plans from many different insurance companies. A “captive” agent may recommend a health plan that doesn’t exactly meet your needs because that is the only plan s/he can sell. An “independent” agent or insurance “broker” can usually offer you a variety of different insurance products from many quality carriers and can often customize a plan to meet your specific insurance needs and budget.

Over the years, I have developed strong, trusting relationships with my clients because of my insurance expertise and the level of personal service that I provide. This is one of the primary reasons that I do not recommend buying health insurance on the Internet. In my opinion, there are too many variables that Internet insurance buyers do not often take into consideration. I am a firm believer that a health insurance purchase requires the level of expertise and personal attention that only an insurance professional can provide. And, since it does not cost a penny more to purchase your health insurance through an agent or broker, my advice would be to use Ebay and Amazon for your less important purchases and to use a knowledgeable, ethical and reputable independent agent or broker for one of the most important purchases you will ever make….your health insurance policy.

Lastly, if you have any concerns about an insurance company, contact your state’s Department of Insurance BEFORE you buy your policy. Your state’s Department of Insurance can tell you if the insurance company is registered in your state and can also tell you if there have been any complaints against that company that have been filed by policy holders. If you suspect that your agent is trying to sell you a fraudulent insurance policy, (e.g. you have to become a member of a union to qualify for coverage) or isn’t being honest with you, your state’s Department of Insurance can also check to see if your agent is licensed and whether or not there has ever been any disciplinary action previously taken against that agent.

In closing, I hope I have given you enough information so you can become an INFORMED insurance consumer. However, I remain convinced that the following words of wisdom still go along way: “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!” and “If you only buy on price, you get what you pay for!”

©2007 Small Business Insurance Services, Inc.

C. Steven Tucker, is the President of Small Business Insurance Services, Inc. and has been a Licensed Mult-State Insurance Broker serving the small business and self-employed market for over a decade. Mr. Tucker believes an informed insurance consumer makes the best health insurance purchasing decisions. Mr. Tucker has written several articles that focus on small business health insurance, which can be read on a number of web sites.

Mr. Tucker’s blog can be read at

If you have general questions regarding health insurance, or you are in the market to purchase a health insurance plan, you can contact Mr. Tucker through his web site at,

via Email at or by plone, toll-free at 1-866-SBIS123 (724-7123)

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