Ten Things Your Boss Doesn’t Want You To Know

Posted October 8, 2013 at 10:00 am

By Donna Ballman

Your boss is secretly smiling. He knows things you don’t about your workplace rights. And what you don’t know about those rights can destroy your career or even get you fired. Understanding those rights can help you wipe that smile right off his face. Here are 10 things you need to know.

1. You have the right to discuss working conditions with co-workers. The National Labor Relations Act or NLRA guarantees most non-supervisory employees in the private sector the right to talk about working conditions with co-workers. Does your company try to keep you from comparing salaries or benefits with co-workers? They may be breaking the law. If you have a contract or policy saying you can’t discuss wages and benefits with coworkers, you can file a Charge Against Employer with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

2. You have the right to complain or protest about working conditions. Ever wonder why the Wal-Mart strikers last Fall weren’t fired in one swoop? That’s because they were legally protected. The NLRA says you have the right to protest and object to workplace conditions. If you do it on just your own behalf, you aren’t protected. So make sure, if you complain, to discuss how the policy or working conditions affects co-workers.

3. You have the right to keep copies of documents you sign. Remember that pile of papers you signed without reading when you started this job, or that confidentiality agreement your boss shoved in front of you? Somewhere along the way you may have agreed not to work for a competitor; or not to solicit or communicate with clients, vendors and employees of the company for a year or two. It’s also conceivable that you gave up the right to a jury trial or agreed to arbitrate any disputes against your employer, rather than suing.

Whether you’re leaving the company, or plan to hang your hat there for a while, get a copy of everything you sign when you sign it. If it’s too late for that, ask to see a copy of your personnel file so you can get copies. If your company says they don’t have to give it to you, they may be right in some states; know your rights before you have a dispute. But you can still try saying, “How am I supposed to know what I’m not allowed to do if you won’t give me a copy of my agreement?”

If they still won’t give a copy, send the head of personnel an email or letter saying that you have asked for a copy of any agreement you signed; that the company has not provided it; and that you will proceed on the assumption that there are none unless they give you a copy within 72 hours.

4. You should read and get a copy of your employee handbook. This document is chock full of important information. Some companies have employees sign a paper saying they’ve received it, but never give it out. Others keep it locked away. Your handbook has important information about discrimination, harassment, sick leave, personal leave, and Family and Medical Leave.

You should read and be familiar with your rights and responsibilities before you have a crisis. You don’t want to be scrambling for information while you’re on the way to the hospital, after you’ve been groped by a supervisor, or if you’ve been subjected to illegal harassment.

5. Your employee handbook may have illegal provisions. Many handbooks contain policies the NLRB considers illegal. Some policies the NLRB has recently found unlawful include at-will employment (your employment is still likely at-will, but the policy might be illegal), prohibitions against discussing wages, prohibitions against saying negative or disparaging things about the company, confidentiality (to the extent it keeps you from discussing working conditions), and their social media policy.

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7 Things You Need to Do With Your Money Right Now

Posted August 30, 2013 at 10:00 am

By Brittney Castro

If you’re like most entrepreneurs, chances are you’re balancing your time between managing  your team, making sales, improving customer  service, marketing your business and creating new products or services. The last thing you want to  do is add managing your personal  finances into the mix. But if you don’t have your own financial house in  order, you’re only adding to the chaos and stress in your life –whether you’re  aware of it or not.

Here are seven ways to make sure your financial house is in order as you  continue to expand your business:

1. Get educated. Take the time to educate yourself about  various personal finance topics. Schedule weekly money dates with yourself and  spend a few hours managing your personal finances and reading financial books,  blogs or magazines.

The more you know about your own finances, the more  confident you will feel about managing your money for the long haul. If you need  even more support, consider hiring a certified financial planner who can help  you understand your money and create a financial plan to help you reach your  goals.

2. Check your credit regularly. Your credit report is  like a file on you and your credit history. It basically tells lenders how risky  a borrower you are. When it comes time to purchase a new home or new car, you  want your credit report and credit score to be in top financial shape so you  qualify for good interest rates.

Get in the habit of checking your credit report  and credit score at least annually to confirm its accuracy. Do it on your  birthday to make keeping track easy. You can access your credit report for free  once per year at www.annualcreditreport.com, then pay an additional fee to get  your credit score.

3. Create a budget. Although this sounds very basic,  many entrepreneurs have no budget in place to track their monthly personal  income and expenses. You can use online systems like mint.com to track your  income and expenses, or simply an Excel spreadsheet.

Whatever budgeting system  you decide to use, just make sure it works for you and your lifestyle. If you’re  serious about cleaning up your finances and getting ahead financially, you must  allocate time and energy to updating your budget every week.

This will ensure  you’re not spending more than you earn and that you’re able to save for your  financial goals.

4. Automate your finances. Technology makes it super  easy to manage day-to-day finances. Set up your finances so that a majority of  the process is automated. You can use online bill pay or set up automatic  transfers every month for your bills.

That way you don’t have to worry about  whether you’re paying your bills on time or being charged late fees for late  payments. If you’re concerned about having all your bills automated, set up  corresponding calendar alerts to check your statements and payments to ensure  accuracy.

Also, strive to automate your savings every month. The more you can  automate your finances, the less you have to worry about on a day-to-day  basis.

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Here’s where to monetize your creativity

Posted December 6, 2012 at 6:11 pm

via Forbes

We all create media content — recent estimates suggest 375 billion photographs are taken daily, while 72 hours of YouTube videos are uploaded every minute.

Did you know you could make money from those images?

Paya is a new site by Denver-based company T3Media that allows users to upload and sell images and videos from across 250 platforms, including Facebook, YouTube and Vimeo.

It’s the eBay of digital media, and a haven for photographers of all talents, allowing you to keep 80% of every sale. If you catch something particularly newsworthy or timely, there might be big bucks in it from news sources and advertisers.

Gumroad is a similar site that allows users to sell anything they create, be it a song, computer program or book. Users pick the price, and Gumroad retains only a 5% cut of every sale.

Both platforms are new — how much do you think you can make through them?

[ Details / Source: Above is our hand-picked KEY excerpt(s) from this full article: "5 Ways To Get Rich Online" ]

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How 5-Hour Energy became a billion dollar brand

Posted April 24, 2012 at 2:25 am

Clare O’Connor

In eight years 5-Hour has gone from nowhere to $1 billion in retail sales. Truckers swear by it. So do the traders in Oliver Stone’s 2010 sequel to Wall Street. So do hungover ­students. It’s $3 a bottle, and it has made Bhargava [Manoj] a fortune.

His company, Living Essentials, is the biggest player by far in the ­energy-shot market, and not because 5-Hour is so delicious. Chalky cough syrup is more like it. The reason Bhargava has won is that he plays tough.

Sitting in that cemetery are a dozen or so neon copycats with names like 6-Hour Power and 8-Hour Energy. Each has been sued, bullied or kicked off the market by Living Essentials’ lawyers. In front of each are little placards with a skull and crossbones drawn in felt-tip pen. Bhargava points at the gravestone of one of his late competitors and says with a chuckle, “Rest in peace.”

The privately held Living Essentials doesn’t report revenue or profits, but a source with knowledge of its financials says the company grossed north of $600 million last year on that $1 billion at retail. 

[ Details / Source: Above is our hand-picked KEY excerpt(s) from this full article: "The Mystery Monk Making Billions With 5-Hour Energy" ]

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Find an investor for your business via this website

Posted April 23, 2012 at 3:55 am

by Dave Lavinsky

Which led me to a potentially creative technique for raising funding.

1. List your company (even if it’s just a startup or concept) on a site like BizBuySell.com

2. When buyers contact you, explain to them that your preference is not to sell your business or concept to them, but rather to partner with them. That is, have them buy-into your business. Specifically, if they invest $Y, they will get X% ownership in your business.

So, the concept here is simple: find someone who has money and is looking for a business opportunity, and have your company be that opportunity.

Now the question is whether this strategy is ethical or not. Mainly the fact that you are listing a company for sale that isn’t really for sale in order to meet potential investors.

I think each of you have to answer that question for yourselves.

On one hand, if you legitimately would consider someone buying your business in its current state, then this strategy is clearly legitimate.

However, if you have no interest in selling, it becomes questionable. But perhaps, in your company listing, you more explicitly state that you are more interested in selling a portion of your business, and not the whole business to a buyer. Then, it seems more legitimate.

[ Details / Source: Above is our hand-picked KEY excerpt(s) from this full article: "A Creative Funding Technique For Your Business" ]

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Proof there is NEVER a money problem, just an IDEA problem

Posted April 17, 2012 at 4:49 pm

by Scott Stump

When David Rees started Artisan Pencil Sharpening nearly two years ago, he knew how his sales pitch would initially sound. That’s why he created a section on his website that answered the question, “Is this a joke?’’

“I wanted to make it very clear that this is not a fake business,’’ Rees said.

No, it’s not. For $15, Rees will professionally sharpen your pencil.

“Sometimes people get really mad,’’ Rees told TODAY.com. “Some people will argue this proves how inequality is so insane in America that rich people will pay a guy $15 to sharpen a pencil, and then other people will say, ‘This is why we need to abolish the welfare state because if people just are entrepreneurs, they’ll come up with a business for anything.’’’

In an economy where the country is collectively looking under the couch cushions for change, $15 to sharpen a pencil raises some eyebrows.

“It is unusual, so you just have to assume that not everybody is going to take it in the same spirit in which I take it,” he said.

Rees, 39, began Artisan Pencil Sharpening, based in Beacon, N.Y., in the summer of 2010. For $15, he will use a variety of instruments to sharpen a pencil, usually General Pencil Company’s Semi-Hex #2 pencils, unless the buyer supplies one. He sharpens the pencils for [continue]…

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This revolution in business is happening all around you

Posted April 3, 2012 at 3:40 am

by Vincent King

You’re tired of wearing concrete boots to a job you hate. And just as you’re cursing the boss in your mind, your little one runs into the room waving a Junior Achievement magnet from a class visitor today. JA is a volunteer organization that teaches kids how to be workforce ready, to be entrepreneurs, and to be financially literate.

If you want your child to BE the boss, not work for him. It’s time to get started teaching your kids about money.

You took Econ 101 in high school, but it taught you exactly nothing about personal finance or business. And while it’s important to know the interconnectedness of the government and global economies, it’s more practical to teach them how to run their own businesses first.

The excuse that “my parents never taught me about money” is tired. This is your chance to get the younger gen’s in your life excited about earning their own money, possibly owning their own businesses, and definitely building the life you never built, long before they feel like they’re too behind to catch up.

Dig into the Junior Achievement site and you will find pixelated gold.

It isn’t just for parents. If you’re a grandparent, aunt, uncle, or anyone with a young one in their life, you could make a world of difference in theirs by [continue]…

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WARNING: Don’t quit your job until you ask these six questions

Posted March 29, 2012 at 3:35 am

by Sean Ogle

In the months leading up to the day where I left my job, I was terrified.  I didn’t know what I was going to do, I was fearing the uncertainty of it all, and I didn’t have much of a plan together.

I knew deep down that I wanted to travel and be running my own business, but I realized that simply knowing that wasn’t going to get me very far when it came to making one of the most difficult decisions of my life.

I spent the better part of a year in this job purgatory where I didn’t know what I truly wanted, and what the best course of action would be.

However in the summer of 2009 I started putting together the pieces that would allow me to make one of the best decisions of my life: leaving my job to become a full time entrepreneur.

So how do you go from clueless to confident when it comes to your career trajectory and employement situation?  Well for starters, you have to ask yourself some difficult questions.  You need to have detailed answers to them, so that you can move forward knowing that you made the right decision for you.

Today we’re going to talk about 6 questions that cannot be compromised on [continue]…

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$1 billion in auction sales online

Posted February 15, 2012 at 2:32 am

Founder Scott Finkelstein is expanding NextLot, this week’s Inc. 5000 applicant of the week, for the next generation of Web users.

by Eric Markowitz

As we process applications for the 2012 Inc. 500|5000, we thought it would be worthwhile to shine a spotlight on some of the companies that are vying to appear on our ranking of the fastest-growing private companies in the United States. (For more information and to apply, click here). One that caught our eye was NextLot in Raleigh, North Carolina.

If Scott Finkelstein has his way, the online auction business will never be the same.

Finklestein, the third generation of Finklestein men to work in the auction business, founded NextLot, a privately branded auction software for online auctions, in 2007.

“What we do is help auction companies post timed Ebay-style and live webcast online auctions,” he says. “People can watch and listen in and bid from all over the world.”

Each year, nearly $300 billion items—from farm equipment to artwork—are sold in auctions. Last year, NextLot sold $1 billion of that sum, netting nearly $2.5 million among 100 clients in various industries. The company sells [continue]…

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True Blood and entrepreneurial vampires

Posted February 15, 2012 at 1:53 am

by Troy White

I admit it…

…I recently got hooked on True Blood.

I have watched the first season, and it is fantastic!

Between the darkness, the characters, the blood and the fantastic story lines they use… I am a fan.

Much like Sons of Anarchy that I wrote about before.

For far too many years, the shows that were playing on late-night television were awful. No creativity. Copy-and-paste
plot lines. Crap characters.

Every once in a while one would pop up that was ok… but most stunk up the bloody screen.

Something shifted and the writers and creatives are cranking out some genuinely good shows.

Considering I am not much of a tv guy, it pains me to admit I am taken in by some of these new series.

Like True Blood.

The story of Vampires and Humans co-existing on earth.

The story of how the vampires feed, and convert humans to vampires.

The stories of some very unusual personal powers that some of the humans have… bordering on as scary of a power as fangs are.

And Anna Paquin is just hot in this show!

She makes True Blood shine.

I also LOVE the names they have created for the show.

Fangbangers” is one I love!  This is the name of the humans who love to get bit and banged by the vampires.  It’s a whole subculture of humans that take great pleasure in this.

Creating unique names like this is a skill and art in itself.

One you should be practicing!

It makes book titles more interesting.

Subject lines.

Headlines.

Product names.

Even dog names.  My daughters and I have a game we play at the dog park.  We go around and create new names for each dog we see, based on how they look and their personality.

We have a blast doing this… and it is teaching my girls how fun it can be to create names like this and to use their creativity in all kinds of innovative ways.

Try it.

True Blood also makes me think of a few other things that relate to you and I.

…and our ability to shine in our own businesses.

The first thing us humans need to be weary of… Time Vampires. They are everywhere!  

Those innocent looking phone calls or emails that drain you of a precious hour out of your day.  It may not seem like much to the person calling, but each hour sitting on the phone is a significant chunk of real, money-making, work not getting done.

Be very, very careful of the time vampires.

Avoid them like the plague if possible, and cut off their blood supply (your time) at the pass.  ”I have another call in 10
minutes” usually repels them like garlic.

Also be very careful of the entrepreneurial spirit vampires.

They are the ones who try and suck the passion out of your entrepreneurial drive.

They try and make you believe that going back to a job is the most honourable thing a mere mortal can do.

They do everything in their evil power to suck you dry and make you feel completely drained…

…energy-less and ready to sink deep into the deep dark hallows of depression.

Been there, done that… got the bumper sticker.

Avoid it.

Do whatever it takes.

My mission this year is change.

BIG CHANGE.

Positive change.

Forward change.

…And I have made many changes already.

But they weren’t easy to do.

Nor will they ever be.

BIG CHANGE takes guts.  It takes ‘testicular fortitude’ as one friend says.

Few can do well on change…

…but the new era of entrepreneurs THRIVE on change.

Care to join me in a whole new world?

One where YOU are in control… and one where YOU know what types of garlic, sunlight, or wooden stakes it takes to slaughter the vampires in your life.

You in?

Good.

Start with the biggest areas of your life that need change right now.

List them out.

Pick one.

GET IT DONE.

No more excuses.

Just do it.

Fight the fear and do it.

Deal with the tears that may come…

…and move forward faster.

I am there at your side right along the way.

Promise.

Let me know how it goes and what I can do to help.

Troy

PS: One of the greatest things I personally did to help myself make the necessary changes at a faster pace was to start writing more.

There is a therapeutic quality to writing that can propel your business forward at breakneck speed.

But again, it takes guts to do and motivation to start.

If you want to start now… get the Story Selling Home Study Course and I will also give you my 31k club training series.  For the next 31 days I will fire you up and get you writing more often, with greater profits as your goal.

The 31k club has transformed many lives of those who went through the Story Selling Coaching.  Now you get it free with the Story Selling Home Study course!

PPS: One other way you can crank up your ability to innovate and implement is to get more ideas with action plans.

If you aren’t on my daily email list yet, you should be!

Mon-Fri I send you shorter articles that get you thinking differently about growing your business.

You will love them.

One click and you are signed up…

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