Monday, January 5, 2009

Get ready for St. Valentine's Day

I wrote a 1450 word article, Cheap Thrills: 65 No Cost, Low Cost Romantic Activity Ideas for St. Valentine's Day (or any day), and turned it into a very inexpensive electronic mini-book. While it does come free when you purchase 2 copies of my booklet, No Surprises: 365 Critical Questions You Need to Ask Each Other Before You Marry, you can order it separately.

Plan ahead. If you get a copy of my mini-book now you will have weeks to plan a wonderful romantic and playful event for your beloved or for yourself.


My web site is finished

It took the weekend to complete, but it's ready to promote. What I didn't express is that I recover money for the little guy (the "Davids"), not corporations (The "Goliaths"). I'm not just a bill collector, working for corporate giants and harassing individuals...that's not my style or intention. I go beyond just collecting money; I can even find out what the problem is behind the non-payment.

I even have 4 small seminars (salons) I'm hoping to conduct locally in January:

1. Brainstorm Party: Achieving Your Heart's Desire (Which May Have Seemed Impossible).

2. Write Tough Letters Brilliantly to Get the Results You Desire

3. "You're Smart... Why Aren't You Earning Enough?" Smart Tips that Take You from Chronic Financial Crisis to Financial Comfort

4. OutSmarting Sweetheart Swindlers: How to Protect Your Heart and Financial Assets from Romantic Con Artists

I'm also happy to take these presentations on the road if anyone, anywhere, wants to arrange a group of friends, family, neighbors and co-workers. If you organize the audience, I'll show up. If you want to read the descriptions, see this page:


Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Money Retrieval

I've recently started going after money of mine from people who didn't deserve to keep it and am having some good success. So much so that I decided to offer my money retrieval wisdom and experience as a service to others. On Monday I started to rebuild as a site for helping people retrieve money. On Tuesday afternoon I posted a few web pages with no fanfare, no promotion, no announcement. I didn't tell anyone I was switching from mentoring consultants to helping people retrieve their money.

The strangest thing happened just a few hours after I posted those few pages - although it's not so strange to me because I believe the right thing happens at the right time - a client came to me. Last night I received a retainer and today I have been doing the preliminary research: lots of phone calls and lots of emails. My client wants me to handle it because she is stunned angry, and numb with shock at the betrayal. The amount I'm going to collect is close to $3,000.

I love doing this work. And hope I can take on many more clients. I will keep a case blog on my web site to post my assignments and will add updates as progress is made. Between assignments I will write articles, write booklets, teach seminars, speak to college classes and conferences and hopefully write a column and appear on radio again.

Not everyone will want to retain me so I also offer email advice, phone advice, office appointments, protest letters, impact statements, and even corporate brainstorming.

What was the catalyst for my service? Probably the complete dismay I felt over hearing about the Ponzi Scheme perpetrated by Bernard Madoff. And to hear that nice couple Kyra Sedgwick and Kevin Bacon lost a fortune in Madoff's scheme. And also that everyone seems to have a story about being ripped off but doing nothing about retrieving what is theirs.

Who inspired me to be persistent? Robert Edmond, an elderly man who sued a convenience store clerk and the Ontario Lottery Corporation when the clerk stole his $250,000 winning lottery ticket. You will find links to his story on the home page of my new web site. Look for My Hero.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

My new website is in the works

I've posted the template for my new website so you can see what I'll be working on until Dec. 27. In addition to combining 4 web sites into one, I'm also dropping several unprofitable services and focusing on 5 related practices.

My 2009 practices will be:
1. Keynote Speaker
2. How-to Author/Publisher
3. Consultant Mentor
4. Income Coach
5. Kindness Activist

Dropped services will be:
1. Agenting, contract negotiating
2. Speaker Directory/Promotion (
3. Personal Concierge services (
4. Web site design/creation
5. Marketing/promoting authors/experts

These changes spell a return to the more prestigious work I used to do and should free up at least 20 hours of non-income generating work a week. The 5 practices also position me more as the wise consultant-author-speaker I am rather than a "member of support staff" for individuals who have not yet attained the level of success that I had attained in the past. These clients are high maintenance-low/non-paying and working for them doesn't support my goals. Promoting my expertise, does.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

12 things I'm doing to raise cash for food, rent, bills

November and December have always been lean months and this year is no exception. My gross income for November was $236. That's about 10% of my basic living expenses including 3 loan payments, so you can imagine how stressed I am. I woke at 5 this morning with a raging stress headache.

I'm not averse to work. I work 7 days a week, 14 hours a day offering my services to people. It's just that people won't hire me or don't pay me for work I do.

Yesterday, for example, I gave a woman a free email consult (value $16.95) to help her with her personal crisis, and not only did I receive no answer to my questions, but she didn't even acknowledge my help or that she didn't have to pay for it. And her income is 7 times what mine is and she doesn't have to do any work to receive it.

Perhaps I'm too soft-hearted because I treat people the way I want to be treated. When I am assertive and ask to be paid the amount I quoted them in advance people get nasty. I guess I will have to stop being nice to people who don't have the same values I hold.

So here's what I'm doing to reduce expenses and raise some cash before Dec. 31.

1. No celebrating Christmas this year: no tree, outdoor lights, Christmas cards, gifts, baked cookies, Christmas dinner, open house, drinks with friends.
2. Shutting down 3 web sites which will save $30 a month in hosting fees, $360 a year, which equals 1 car payment (only 9 more payments to go).
3. Offering my home staging services to local realtors to help them sell clients' homes at greater profit. (Will write the brochure today.)
4. Sending invoices to former neighbors who decided they didn't have to pay me for professional services I provided because we were "friends". (Friends don't knowingly let you go homeless without food.)
5. Advertising my family heirloom china, 3 web sites, and never-used camping equipment for sale.
6. Asking university home economics department if they want the last copies of my 365 Questions booklet.
7. Promoting most of my electronic books and booklets at nearly half-price.
8. Writing and sending a news release to generate book sales and bookings to speak to companies on Kindness in Business.
9. Writing letters to obtain refunds from companies who I've overpaid.
10. Offering to write or re-write press releases for anyone, or edit book manuscripts. (I'm quite good.)
11. Looking for a lawyer to represent me in a multi-million dollar lawsuit against my former condo board and management.
12. Offering to do almost anything for $20 an hour: cleaning, cooking, sewing, shopping, delivering, pet sitting, etc.

I applied for part-time work at my local food store as a Helping Hand (loading groceries into cars, corralling shopping carts in the parking lot, cleaning up aisle accidents). The interview was fun, but I haven't heard whether there is a position for me.

Wish me luck! I really need it.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I finally know what I want to be when I grow up

I've been doing a lot of soul searching. Every day for many years I have been approached by people who want my help but say they can't pay me. I spend hours with them to the detriment of my own time and energy. It happened again today. One person recognized that I can do wonderful things to help her if I could just wait a year or two for payment once I got justice for her and she got paid. Another person offered me $200 for a month-long publicity campaign after I reduced my $10,000 fee to $5,000 for him. He offered me a bonus if I got him a booking on Oprah. For one, I stopped doing publicity campaigns a year ago, second, it's not worth the tiny payment if I can't pay my bills, and third, he doesn't offer anything Oprah wants to see on her show. And a third person wanted some assistance, but wouldn't reveal his web site address, what he wanted specifically from me. ("Give me a list of your services and fees.") Is it really too much trouble for him to go to my web site and click on the two buttons for Current Rates and Services? And I said I needed to know what his goals and objectives were so I could figure out how best I could serve him. His response was to say he'd already found someone who could help him achieve his goals. Well, how can I help you if you won't tell me what they are?

Then a miracle. This wonderful speaker contacted me asking if I would represent her and help her negotiate her speaking fees and contracts. And she asked if we could talk on the phone. Here's what she did that I wish all speakers and experts would do: She didn't just call, she asked first. She introduced herself. She gave me her phone numbers, addresses, blog and web site addresses. Without being asked. In her very first approach. She explained what she wanted so there was no confusion. She understood what I do as a speaker advocate, not expecting me to procure engagements for her. She is quite capable of getting her own speaking engagements because she knows how to market herself and have bookings find her. She gets it. And she must have read through my web site.

I love her. Even if I don't get to work with her, and I hope I do, she is exactly the kind of client I want to have more of. She's a breath of fresh air. I want to advocate for speakers like her. To represent 4 speakers just like her, and negotiate at least two agreements a month for each speaker, would put me in the black in just 6 months.

And if I'm also speaking, I could conceivably be in the black in just 3 months. My two topics?

1. The Kindness Experiment: What I learned that we all need to learn about kindness.

2. Building or Rebuilding an Advice Empire after Adversity.

So..... On December 31 I will be closing down 3 web sites and offering them for sale to the highest bidder: A personal concierge business. Since I'll be receiving commissions this will be redundant. The people who want my help say they don't have money to pay me for it.

So, if you want to buy the web sites or any of the services or materials on them, please contact me before Dec. 31, when they come down from the Internet. I can change any of the content to suit the new owner with a quick turnaround.

Contact me: My email address is on the contact page of each of my web sites.

PS Yes, I am keeping That's the one I will use to promote my consultant mentoring, my speaking and my speaker representation.


Friday, December 5, 2008

My phone calls are free

I'm not getting paid to say this - wish I were! - but I am very happy with my Magicjack phone service. It's a little plug that goes into my computer's USB port and you plug an ordinary phone into the MagicJack. It cost me $40 plus tax or shipping - you can get it now for $30 - and I pay no fees for the 12 months. Next year I pay only $20 for services. I have my cordless phone attached to it so I can carry the phone through the house and not miss any interview requests or client calls.

I can call anywhere in Canada or US; voicemail, directory assistance, 9-1-1, caller ID and call waiting are all provided for free. There is a desktop notifier on which the caller's phone number appears and when the call is over the duration of the call in minutes and seconds appears. You can even store your contacts' names and numbers on it.

Yes, it's the same one advertised on TV. I'm telling everyone about it so they can save enough money on their phone bill so they can retain my services. (Big grin).

They even provide a phone number. The only drawback for me is that they could only give me a number in the 412 area code (Pittsburgh) and I'm in 814. Local people - like on Freecycle - don't want to call me because it's long distance. But if you have a long distance calling plan or you use a cell phone to call me, there will likely be no charges. But I can just tell people: "Email me your number and I'll call you." If they had MagicJack they wouldn't have any charges for calls.

Tell me if you have it. Tell me if you get it.