Monday, September 28, 2009

Goal Setting, Stop Pushing Snooze | Thrive Learning Institute

This is for everyone who sleeps through life by continually pushing the snooze button. I'm sorry to be the one to have to be direct about this, but you're never going to be successful if all you do is dream about where you want to be in life. WAKE UP! Dreams are good and they really do come true but only if action is applied to the equation.

Thanks to Sir Issac Newton we know that the greater the force on an object, the greater the acceleration of that object. Meaning, if there is no force acting upon the object, the object isn't going to go anywhere. Likewise, if there is no force or action attributed to your dream, whatever it be, that dream is going to go absolutely nowhere.

Let's go through some simple actions you can take to add more force to your dreams so the acceleration is greater. Set specific and reachable goals for yourself, schedule a specific time that you will work on each goal and stay consistent, and always remember to follow through or you will go absolutely nowhere.

Set Specific and Reachable Goals

What are your goals? Are they realistic? Reevaluate your goals and sort them into two groups: short term, and long term. If your goal is not reachable, throw it out, like that box of junk you've had sitting in your closet for the past two years, you're better off without it.

Short term goals are goals that can be completed in a short period of time, an hour, a day, or a few weeks. Long term goals are completed over a longer period of time, a few months, a year, or even longer than a year. It is suggested that a goal setter also take the time to set several enabling goals to help them reach their long term goals. Enabling goals are groups of short term goals designed to help one reach a long term goal. For example, when I set my goal to graduate with my degree, I set several smaller, achievable goals like getting into the university I wanted to go to. It was these enabling goals that made my goal of graduating with a degree a reality.

For your sake please make sure that all the goals you set are reachable. This means that they are realistic. For example, I could set a goal to go to Mars but, in all reality, I know that's not very likely to happen given current circumstances. Seriously, if they're not realistic you may be better off not setting any at all. If goals are not reasonable, more often then not the goals will result in a disillusioned reality and therefore lead to unnecessary disappointment when they must be abandoned.

Schedule a Specific Time

For many of you your goal is to own your own brick and mortar establishment or get your web based business up and running. I would suggest, after setting specific goals in various categories (e.g., branding, construction, marketing) setting a specific time you can sit down and work on those specific goals. For example, if I set a specific goal to cook real food instead of microwavable meals I would set a time of day that I want to eat and block off that period as dinner preparation time. It may seem silly at first but, if you stick with it, it will work.

Follow Through

The third step, follow through, seems like it should be self explanatory but sadly, for many people, it is not. I set a goal years ago to work for a charitable organization that was able to make my friends life a little easier in his last weeks on this earth, I want to give back. I set enabling goals to get me to the long-term goal of being associated with this organization. I got good grades in high school and participated in various extracurricular activities so I could get into a good university, spoke to people who work for or work with this organization, gained experience in an internship with a related organization, and completed my degree in a related field. In short, I completed my enabling goals, but I kept pushing snooze on my long term goal. You may say to yourself, “why am I learning about goal setting from someone who got to the point of completion and then simply quit?” The answer, “I know what it's like to fall short of something that has been nearly a life-long goal of mine and I want you to learn from my mistakes”.

My goal is still reachable but it's getting more difficult to reach as time goes by. Take my advice please, do not lose track of your dreams and make sure you are exerting enough force to carry them through to completion.

For more information, please read similar posts by Thrive Learning Institute.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Trust Guard: Build a Relationship of Trust With Your Clients

Trust Guard, a website specializing in verification and certification seals, is giving business owners an opportunity to build a relationship of trust with clients. Trust Guard has issued a challenge “increase your conversion rate or double your money back”. According to the Trust Guard Website “As soon as your customers see the Trust Guard Seal, they know that your website has been verified by a reliable third-party, and they can click on the Seal to instantly verify your credentials without leaving your site, giving them confidence to complete their purchase”.

The great thing about Trust Guard is that they offer a variety of high quality packages at a lower cost than their competitors. Plus, with the Trust Guard Challenge, Trust Guard has a double your money back guarantee if your conversion rate does not go up. That seems like a pretty great deal to me. In fact, a co-worker of mine was just in here talking about his friend who has recently doubled his conversion rate while using Trust Guard. Everyone in the office thinks that's pretty amazing, which is what inspired me to write this article.

The Trust Guard packages include: the Trust Guard Daily PCI Security Scanned Seal, the Trust Guard Quarterly PCI Security Verified Seal, The Trust Guard Security Verified Seal, the Trust Guard Business Verified Seal, and the Trust Guard Privacy Verified Seal. These seals will perform the following functions, among many others.

  • Protect you and your customers from hackers and attacks
  • Scan for 30,000 and counting known vulnerabilities
  • Verify your SSL certificate for customers
  • Review your websites secure checkout process
  • Verify your business information

For more information and functions of the Trust Guard Seals please visit the Trust Guard website.

Monday, September 21, 2009

More Than Just a Postage Stamp, Thrive Learning Institute

Why is it that everyone seems to think that there is a limit to how much one may accomplish. Who's to say how far one may go.

Ready for a funny analogy? I assume people can go farther than postage stamps. When I mail a letter, it can only go so far as the postage will allow. A large package with a two cent postage stamp on it would not make it very far and it would most likely return to its origin. For some, this is the way life is. We are labeled to only go so far and then we have to stop because we lack the necessary credentials to continue. Well, I don't recall seeing any postage stamps on me telling me when I have reached my limit; I assume I can keep going until I personally decide to quit. We can blame our disadvantaged circumstances or our pessimistic nature on anything we want but the truth of the matter is that we are the only ones who can say when we have reached our personal limit.

I can't even number the times someone has said to me “I can't do it”, “it's not possible”, “I can't win”. Well, sometimes I look at them and think, “you're absolutely right”. Perhaps that makes me seem a bit crass but in reality it's the truth. If you pollute your thoughts and mind by telling yourself that you are limited, that you can't do it, then you have failed before you ever tried. I can't seem to get people to understand that concept.

A few months ago I was speaking to a friend about a sports team he is on. Actually, he wasn't just on the team; he was the coach. He was telling me all about how they didn't even really have a chance and that the other team was better than they. Well, I looked at him, and told him that with his attitude he was going to discourage his team and eliminate any chance they had of winning.

Seriously, I strongly believe that this can be applied to education and business as well. If you constantly tell a student or employee that they cannot succeed, whether it be through your words or your actions, the chances are far greater that they will simply give up and quit trying. I don't think that we understand the implications that our words have on others.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Thrive Learning Institute, Just Like Riding a Bike

I remember when I was a little kid, my Parents taught me how to ride a bike. It wasn't easy for them, I am sure, because I was so afraid of everything. I'm not really sure how they finally got me up on that thing and peddling down the road, I suppose it must be due to the abnormal amount of patience my Father and Mother have always had for me. I remember the day I finally learned. My Dad had taken me out to the street and ran behind me with his hand on the back of the seat. I was peddling and before I knew it, he had let go and I was riding on my own. All of a sudden I was afraid, and I started to wobble back and forth a bit. My parents gave me some encouragement and before I knew it, I was riding straight, on my own. The only problem was that I was not sure how to turn that thing around. That's another story.

Learning to run a business is much like learning to ride a bike. You have to learn how to be steady, how to stay up on your own, and how to turn to avoid obstacles before you can really get going on your own. It takes practice to get a business going, just like it takes practice to ride a bike with ease. It's not easy but once you learn and you get it down, you could ride as far as your legs will take you.

First off, if you are going to learn how to start a business, you better have a desire to do so. If your heart is not in it, you will probably fail miserably. Start off by answering these questions: what are my hobbies, what am I interested in, what are my resources, how much am I willing to sacrifice to get started? Then, take what you have learned from answering these questions and use them to help you find a product to sell and set up a business plan.

As part of your business plan you need to have a financial plan. How are you going to get the money to start your business? What strategies will you use to keep your business going? How much are you willing to go into debt in order to have a successful business? Answer these questions and meet with a qualified financial consultant before proceeding too far.

Please realize that starting your own business is no easy task, some things will fail and you'll fall down a lot in the process. Think of it this way, while you are learning to ride a bike what happens if you just quit if you fall down? You never succeed do you? If you're serious about starting a business, you won't give up because of a little spill. If one plan doesn't work very well, stand back up again, pick up your pride, and ride away with another business plan. Try again and again if you must and once you learn which strategy will work best for you, you'll be surprised to find out that you then have the ability to simply get on the bike and ride away whenever you want to.

I don't know that anyone has ever had it easy when it comes to learning how to ride a bike or run a business. There are always hazards you need to watch out for no matter how far along you are in the process. It's not about eliminating the things that get in your way, it's about steering around them, or simply avoiding them all together. Remember, there are several pitfalls that could overcome even the most practiced businessman. To avoid some of these pitfalls, remember to keep an open mind and to be willing to change your strategy when needed. You can do it; I know you can, and when you get going, maybe you can even learn to ride with no hands.

For more information about starting your own business, please visit Thrive Learning Institute at

Monday, September 14, 2009

Integrity...Pass it On, Thrive Learning Institute

What is Business Integrity?

When I was a little child I was taught that integrity is doing the right thing, even when nobody else is looking. It's something that is not open for debate, either you have it or you don't, there's no gray area. Henry Kravis once said “If you don't have integrity, you have nothing. You can't buy it. You can have all the money in the world, but if you are not a moral and ethical person, you really have nothing”. So, in a sense, integrity is everything because, without it, you have nothing.

Is Integrity a Lost Cause?

So, do you think integrity is a lost cause? Sadly enough, there are people out there who believe it is. They think that the world is going downhill so fast that there is no stopping the decrease of ethics and integrity in business or otherwise. The thing that they don't realize is that it only takes one person to make a difference when it comes to business integrity and ethics.

When I was in College, the professor of my capstone class gave us each a quarter in a plastic case with a quote illustrating the integrity we had been taught all our lives and while we were attending the University. The quarter is to help us always remember a story he told us about a man who, when at an airport, saw an associate of his drop a quarter in a paper box and then proceed to remove one paper for each of his associates, including himself, without paying for them. The man who witnessed this returned to the paper box and proceeded to drop in a quarter for the paper his friend had intended to give him. The second man, witnessing this, returned to the paper box, thinking nobody was watching, and inserted a quarter for each paper he had taken out of the box for each of his associates.

Both men learned something that day. One learned the importance of integrity and the other learned that integrity is in deed not a lost cause.

How Do We Uphold Integrity In the Workplace?

Charles Caleb Colton once said, “Nothing more completely baffles one who is full of tricks and duplicity than straight forward and simple integrity in another”. Put simply, if you want to maintain integrity in business, you better have integrity yourself. Employees of Thrive Learning Institute value integrity and ethics in the work place. They know that upholding the integrity of the business world begins with one person and it grows from there. That one person is you.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Thrive Learning Institute - Time Management

H. Jackson Brown once said, "Don't say you don't have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein." How many of us would love to manage our time in such a way that would enable us to do everything we need to do and still have time left over for things we want to do. There are two categories of limitations in time management, the physical and the psychological.

Physical Limitations of Time

Obviously there are physical limitations to how much one person can do in any given day. One cannot create more time in a day just because they want to. However, a person can shift the hours of the day around to create more or less time for a given project. For example, the bartering of sleep for more time with friends as part of the expressed need for social interaction.

Try scheduling, it's a very proactive way to manage the physical limits created by time. You cannot stretch time or rearrange it in any fashion you want but you can stretch your abilities and rearrange your priorities.

Psychological Limitations of Time

Procrastination is a fearsome beast; we'll call it the devourer of opportunity. It slowly eats its way through any chance a person may have of success and decimates opportunities like the Bubonic Plague decimated the population of Europe.

Believe it or not, personality plays one of the largest parts of time management? Often times it is your personality that is the root of your time management problems. For example, can you make a decision when needed and then stick with that decision? Or, do you have problems making decisions and find yourself dwelling on the impossible, ultimately being the cause of your own time management downfall?

The Solutions

Don't worry; there are solutions to both the physical and psychological quandaries of time. Let's start with a few simple steps that may result in new windows of opportunity for time to be spent more affectively.

Step #1 Evaluate Your Time

If you find yourself with a shortage of time, could it be because you do not perceive its value? Take some time to write down everything you do in any given day. Will you be amazed by how much time you spend texting friends, watching television, or surfing the internet or will it come as no surprise that you give away several hours of priceless time to these often fruitless activities? Now look at your opportunity cost of spending so much time on these activities, what are you giving up?

Step #2 Expand Your Vocabulary, Use the Word “No”

Learn to use the word “no”. You have to be able to differentiate between necessary and unnecessary tasks. For example, you started up an internet based business, and there's work that needs to be done on your web page but your buddies just invited you to go play basketball at the court down the street. So, what's it going to be? Do you feel you have to say yes to every activity that comes along? If your business is more crucial right now you may have to learn the word no in order to get the full value out of the time you will never have again.

Step #3 Leave Time Open For Application

So, you're ready for the real world now, that's right, application. How on Earth is one supposed to know how to apply time management if everyone has their own method and must work out the logistics on their own? Realize that just like everything else, this step takes time. Take some time to figure out what's going to be most effective for you in time management and apply it.

Good luck to you. Time management really isn't as tricky as it seems, just follow the steps, value, vocabulary, and application. There are many clients and employees of Thrive Learning Institute who are working on time management. I know that there are hundreds of activities a day competing for your time, but I also know you can do it. Keep applying and before you know it you will have time management mastered.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Just Do It

When it comes to entrepreneurship most people LOVE thinking about it. They love dreaming about how much money they'll make, How many products it will take to achieve their dreams and how reasonable it all seems but when it comes down to it most people are scared silly at taking action. I believe this is the case for several reasons.

We entrepreneurs build up in our minds so much the idea of success that we don't want to hurt our pride with the possibility of failure. Instead of dreaming of what will be you and I need to simply get used to feeling and fear of risking all the time. In fact I dare say we need to get addicted to risk-taking because it is the key to progress in any facet of our lives and to not take any risks is to short change ourselves.

I recently had an experience that helped me grow a bit more in this regard. While I am by no means a hugely successful entrepreneur yet I have had my fair share of experience in this regard in lifetime. I put together a simple but seemingly effective business plan that worked perfectly in theory. I would dream about it all day crunching numbers and figuring how much i could make in month If i did X amount of work. I had figured that if I devoted about 4 hours a day to this plan I would be able to make about $7500 my first month. Not bad for only 4 hours.

In fact I had been talking with one of my co-workers about this plan of mine for the past few weeks and one day after I got back from lunch he started laughing and sent me a URL to an advertisement for my business that he had put up on craigslist. My first instinct was to get angry, and then the calls and emails started coming in. I wasn't prepared for the amount of leads I was going to get but I certainly wouldn't have been at any other time.

The point is I would've never known the kind of response I'd get without first testing the market. During this whole process of cleanup I learned a LOT about how I can tweak my offer and streamline the whole business and all because my co-worker just decided to force me into action. In spite of the little mess he created for me :) Im way ahead of the game now because of everything I learned from the whole ordeal. Not only that but I got a few high quality clients from it too!

So when you dream up a great idea for making money don't just sit there go test it out and see what kind of response you get. You'll be surprised at how much you learn and you'll get used to adrenaline of rush of risk.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Quick Cash - Thrive Learning Institute

There are a ton of ways to make money in this world and in this article I'm going to outline a method that I've found to be very effective at bringing in a good amount of cash to help pay the bills. Now this method probably won't make you millions but, if you work it right, you should be able to bring in a few thousand every month and could probably make enough to to quite your job.

The model is a combination of offline and online marketing. Lets start with your source of income. There are many companies on the internet that promote their products through affiliate programs. Companies like Amazon and Barnes Noble have enormous affiliate programs and there are thousands of small business that promote their products through affiliate networks like Clickbank or Commission Junction. But in this article we're going to deal solely with web hosting affiliate programs.

Web hosting companies pay handsome commissions for referring a new customer to them. Hostgator pays at least $50 per referral and FatCow pays out $100 for every person you send their way! All you'd have to do is refer 30 people per month to Fatcow to make $3000/month! So the question is how do you find these 30 people per month and how do you get them to sign up for hosting?

This is where the offline part comes in. You're job is to sell free (but legitimate) websites. Do you think you can sell a free website? I think you can too. Think of all the small time professionals that could benefit from having a nice website up that they can refer people to: Photographers, Real Estate Agents, Summer Sales Reps, Insurance Reps, brand new businesses, MLM networks and the list could go on and on. All you need to do is show these people how having a website will improve their business and your in!

Once they've signed up with hosting through your affiliate link have them send you their login information and then go in and install Wordpress. Wordpress is great because they have a lot of great FREE themes for you to use to make a site look really nice. Once you got it set up you hand it over to them and your done! TADA! At most it should take you an hour and can often take no more than 30 minutes. not a bad hourly rate if you ask me.