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An Inside Look at Photo Book Design for Profit

An Inside Look at Photo Book Design for ProfitBy Cathi Nelson

Is the photo album destined to become another relic from the past? The answer is no. But just like many traditions it is evolving and that means there is an opportunity to create a business to meet the needs of families who cherish their photos, but don’t have the time or skill to create photo books for their families.

Ever since people started printing photographs, they found ways to display them. Most families have some sort of album collection whether a scrapbook, pocket page albums, or the plastic sleeves with glue that allowed you to stick the photos on the page. Before digital photography, it was much simpler to create an album. You dropped off a roll of film, waited an hour, picked up your prints in an envelope, and added the best ones into an album while the rest ended up in a shoebox under the bed.

Today the process has become more complicated.

We have more ways than ever to save photos. Whether its on the cloud, on a hard drive, in a camera, or smartphone … but this has only created a “photo overload” problem. People have so many photos they don’t have the time to organize them or do anything meaningful with time. If they do attempt to chose a method to create a digital photo book they are often thwarted by the myriad of choices and anxiety of choosing the right page background, color, and layout. In fact, 80% of all digital photo book projects are never completed. (more…)

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The Path to Becoming a Ghostwriter, Interview with CaroleAnne Hardy

The Path to Becoming a GhostwriterTell us a little bit about your ghostwriting journey.

My path to becoming a ghostwriter was anything but typical. In college, I trained as an actress, learning how to interpret and become a character, and as a writer, learning how to tell a character’s story in a way that induces empathy and understanding. After two years of performing on stage and publishing—including an internship at LA Parent magazine—I dove headfirst into software marketing at a Big Five consulting firm. While there, I was responsible for writing in-depth sales proposals and other correspondence, all that required adapting and communicating in the voice of a particular individual—including one of six sales reps or one of a dozen senior partners.

That experience helped me build my skills, and it led me into a career in creative marketing, first at Manugistics (which was acquired by JDA) and then at E-Z Data (which was acquired by Ebix). As my colleagues moved on following each acquisition, many started their own companies and came to me for marketing expertise and ghostwriting services. As well, my many financial advisor clients at E-Z Data had come to respect my writing skills, and they also came to me for help. Five years ago, I started working almost exclusively as a ghostwriter for advisors. (more…)

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Tips for Maximizing Your Tax Deductions

Tips for Maximizing Your Tax DeductionsBy Deborah Sweeney

The deadline for filing your returns is a little under a month away. And, with around 20-25% of all returns filed within two-three weeks of that April 15th deadline, it’s probably safe to assume that a few of you are still working on those returns. A lot of small business owners depend on a solid refund to help get the year off to a good start. But to get that big refund, you have to claim every deduction and credit available.

Don’t overlook anything

Most people will know enough to claim a few, common deductions – mileage, office supplies, and other regular business expenses. But there are some tax deductions that you may be missing out on. If you started your business last year, you can claim start-up costs like market research or office repairs. Anything you had to pay, up to $5,000, before you opened your doors can be claimed. Fees paid to consultants, money spent on business-books, and your marketing can all be deducted as well. Some of these expenses may seem small compared to what you spend on, say, new equipment or software, but they really do add up.

Compare the ways to deduct your home office

The home office deduction is pretty well known. But did you know there are two ways you can calculate it? (more…)

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5 Signs it’s Time to Raise Your Service Rates

5 Signs You're Not Selling Your Services At A High Enough PriceBy Saskia Gregory

I remember the moment I realized I was seriously undercharging for my services. The moment when, after years of quietly slogging away, I realized that if I really sat down and calculated how much I was being paid vs how much time I spent working (including time spent on unpaid yet essential business tasks) that my hourly rate was working out below the minimum wage here in the UK. Ouch.

Yes, I was getting the perks of flexibility and freedom that many minimum wage workers can only dream of, but for the level of hard-work, expertise, time-management, and drive that’s required to keep going as a self-employed writer – things were certainly not adding up.

When I look back now, I realize there were warning signals that I ignored for too long – fortunately for you, I’m here to share them so you can be on the lookout for any signs you need to re-package and reprice what you do:

1. Your clients are not completely invested.

One of my biggest frustrations while undervaluing myself was the lack of clients that were completely committed to their investment in me. It’s easy to feel that the ‘customer is always right’ and continue a working relationship despite difficulties in communication and prompt payment, but remember that also: ‘the customer is not always right for you’. (more…)

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Top 5 Reasons Why Owning Your Own Business Rocks!

Top 5 Reasons Why Owning Your Own Business Rocks!In today’s modern, innovative, and tech-laden world individuals have a variety of choices when choosing their careers and, more importantly, for what company to work. On average, most individuals choose to go and work for an established firm – perhaps it is a large multi-national company where they feel they may have a greater chance at growing a successful career. Others may instead opt to go work for a small business, which the US Small Business Administration defines as any enterprise having 500 or fewer employees. Generally, an individual may opt to work for a small business because of geographical reasons and may not have access to work for a large corporation. After all, according to, as of 2013 there were almost 28 million small businesses in the U.S. and 78% of those had only one employee – today these are called solopreneurs, meaning a company consisting of one individual.

You may have heard that owning your own small business and being your own boss is more difficult and more time consuming because you are a single individual managing multiple roles: CEO, sales representative, bookkeeper, marketer  – the list goes on and on. So why in the world would anyone want to be their own boss? (more…)

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