How to Give a Killer Speech or Presentation

So much advice exists out there, and here I am just piling on more… However, I do have some experience in this field. I am an inspirational speaker and extreme encourager who has given hundreds of speeches and presentations. Over the years I’ve learned some really important key factors and also built some of my own opinions on things that do or don’t work. So, I thought I would share some of my findings… Just remember that like most things found on the web, this is my personal opinion and you should obviously create your own based on your findings.

Probably the number one question I get asked is, “How do you speak to an audience without fear and nervous tension?” The short answer is, I don’t. HA! How do you like them apples?? Honestly, I’m not sure I will ever be completely rid of the butterflies. I mean come on, this is simply a human reaction (stemming from flight, fright, or freeze) that we cannot control. That said, there are several things you can do (or not do) to alleviate your pain. Some of these will sound ridiculously obvious to many, but hopefully I can share enough of my own ideas to help anyone.

Before I list my thoughts on soothing speech jitters, let’s dispel a few ideas I think aren’t as good as some people say they are:

1. Imagine your audience is in their underwear. Really? Um… I dunno about you, but this just doesn’t work for me. I mean come on… Do I really wanna be thinking about that?? I have enough trouble concentrating on my task at hand, without throwing in: the old guy with the walker and wondering if he’s wearing a diaper… Or, getting stuck on that hot lady in red…

2. Never look people in their eyes. Stare at foreheads or something else. This might work for some, but I’m sincerely trying to connect with my audience. My speeches and presentations are from the heart and it just doesn’t feel right trying to locate a mole on someone’s head, or worse getting caught (accidentally) staring at the lady in red’s breasts.

3. Use lots of bullet points so you can remember where you are and what you’re talking about. Ahhhh… No. Bullet points are boring as shit. See my section below about preparation and practice, know your talk like the back of your hand, and skip the twenty lines of code on each slide. I don’t have a cute line about the lady in red for this one, but for some reason I can’t get her out of my head…

Now let’s talk about real world things we can (and probably should) do to eliminate or at least lessen stage fright… First and foremost, if you want to skip the upset stomach, sweaty palms, and nervous stuttering, do this one thing:

  • Make sure your speech doesn’t suck!!!

That may sound silly, but it’s true. If you’re already nervous about your content then you will automatically be nervous while presenting it! The easiest way to do this is to prepare. And then, prepare. Finally, after all that, make sure you prepare. You need to carefully and meticulously research your speaking points and ensure that the material is actually going to be important to your intended audience! Skipping this stage is sure to keep you up late at night and make you horribly nervous at speech time.

  • Along with the three prepares, you must also do three (or more) practices. There is no simple algorithm that tells you precisely how much time to spend practicing, but I can tell you that the better you know your material, the better you will feel when you walk onto that stage. Think about this, would you be more nervous going on stage and trying to simply say, “A, B, C” or reciting a page of Shakespeare’s King Lear from memory? I dunno about you, but I’ll take “A, B, C” any day!!! The reason is simple. My odds are infinitely higher that I will screw up chanting ancient tomes. That said, by practicing and knowing your material you will calm yourself.
  • Use photos or graphics instead of words… If at all possible, don’t put words in your presentation slides. If I have any words, they are short one-liners that give an overall look at this section of my talk. Instead I find inspirational (and cool) photos that relate to the subject. The audience doesn’t want to read through boring line after line… They wanna see a beautiful sunset or picturesque ocean wave. Just make sure that whatever you put there will keep you focused on the part you’re discussing. For instance, when I get to a part where I’m telling a scary story from one of my mountaineering expeditions, I have a photo of a crevasse, or mountain peak, or guy freezing his arse off. This way you won’t distract yourself, or (more importantly) the audience.

Side note: If you aren’t relying on bullet points or run-on sentences in your slide deck, then you will be much better prepared when the laptop, projector, or something else fails. Part of the “be prepared” and practice session is that if a wrench gets thrown into your talk (it happens to the best of us), you will be ready to roll despite the hurdles. In turn, this makes you even more comfortable when speech time comes!

  • Be properly fueled up and hydrated. I can’t express this one enough… You must have a balanced level of nutrients and water in your body. If you aren’t hydrated you will feel it on stage. Along these lines, don’t go out partying late the night before a speech… Getting drunk, hung over, and tired before a speech is a big no-no. If you enjoy libations, feel free to do that AFTER your speech! This can be an exhilarating way to celebrate with some of your audience.
  • Fitness goes hand-in-hand with nutrition. I find that doing some physical activity before a speech (make sure you have time for a shower and clean-up… Don’t just run right on stage after a five mile run, ding-dong!) really ramps me up and energizes me. Don’t over do it, but get some exercise in and empower yourself!
  • Take a potty break a short while before your sprint onto stage. Regardless of how often you pee, you will feel like you need to go to the bathroom leading up to your speech. Make sure you get a bathroom trip in before going on stage. Feel comfortable knowing that the sensation is all in your mind, and move past it.
  • Remember the rule of tens… Actually, I’m not sure if there is a rule of tens… hehe… But, I call it that. People tend to get bored after about ten minutes. So, prepare your speech so that you are switching slides at least once every ten minutes. Change your subject or storyline at least once every ten minutes. If one of my stories or subjects goes over the ten minute line, I like to throw in something scary right at the ten-minute mark and emphasize it with extreme arm flailing and loud vocals. Whatever you do, keep the crowd engrossed by giving them a change of pace.
  • If you’re funny, then start with a joke… If you aren’t, then skip it. This is another of the obvious ones, but must be discussed. I’m a goofball, and love laughing at myself. It’s actually a bit of a tension breaker for me (not just the audience) to get up and start with a chuckle. Often I will pick on myself or one of my silly faults. That said, if you aren’t a naturally funny person, you might want to forgo the awkward joke. There is no written rule about using or omitting a joke as an introduction… But I can tell you that your nerves will only get worse if you tell a dry joke and no one laughs. food for thought!
  • Lastly, and perhaps most important… Believe in yourself, believe in your message, and believe in your audience. Remember, these guys and gals signed up to hear what you have to say. You owe it to them, to relay your message with a positive impact and inspirational spin. Now get out there, and nail it!

BTW – did you notice I used bullet points to point out my ideas?? Remember: BPs are okay in an article, not okay in a speech.

Disclaimer: The lady in red is a fictitious character and is simply a product of the author’s lewd imagination. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely in my dreams…

What do you do to spice up your talks and ease your worries?

I hope this post was not only helpful, but also inspirational in some form or fashion.

Cheers,
Vaughn

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V is for Victory

I’m gonna start this article with a disclaimer… I do have a sharp tongue. I often give people the wrong impression. As my friend, Katty, says, “There’s a fine line between being proud of what you’ve done with your life and rubbing your accomplishments in the face of someone else that doesn’t have your motivation.” Obviously some people don’t have the same motivation as me… That does not make them a bad person. Sometimes when I try to “help” folks by talking about my personal accomplishments and what I’ve been able to do (or can do) and combine it with my sharp, blunt tongue, it can (and does) hurt feelings.

If you do not have a thick skin, I will probably offend you with this article. I apologize in advance… But, if you don’t want scary answers then stop asking scary questions!!!

I sincerely love all of you! For different reasons I have found joy in my relationships with everyone I know. Life is a playground… You’re gonna scrape your knee sometimes. We dust ourselves off and get back in the game. That’s a given. But, when you fall on the monkey bars and land on your nuts… That’s what separates the boys from men.

 

Without further ado… Here comes the rant!

It’s hard for my friends to understand this, because for the most part, they are overachievers as well. But… I believe that most people are lazy. And, not in a good way.

When I first started this article I really just wanted to talk about body language. Have you ever noticed that when someone runs across the finish line of any race they raise their arms into the air creating a “V” as they complete the race? This is especially true of someone who wins the race. And, referees do the “V” to signal a touchdown. The weird thing is that pretty much every person from all different backgrounds does this famous “V” when they are victorious. It is a natural reaction to throw your arms in the air when you win! Rocky (and other boxers) did it with every win and every success!

I recently asked myself, Self… Why can’t you simply raise your arms for victory before you do something and then be better at it? The answer I got back was strange (mostly because I was talking to myself)… I can. That’s right folks… I believe in the power of body language. We all know it is important for communicating our feelings with others, but many of us didn’t know it works for ourselves too. Try it. Put a huge smile on your face, hold your head high, and throw your hands into the air. You will feel like a million bucks. And, your chances to succeed will increase exponentially.

Now let’s segue into the second half… Simply throwing your arms in the air is not enough. You MUST dig deep and stay motivated to accomplish great things!

Dead Horse… Kick… Yada… I was born with hemophilia. I spent my entire childhood being told by doctors, parents, adults, siblings and friends what I COULD NOT do. I was rarely told what I could do. At nineteen I was told by the family doctor that I would be dead within the next couple of years. Did I give up? Nope. Did I die? Nope. Have I been held back by my disorders, viruses, diseases, and injuries? Say it with me… Nope!

After my HIV diagnosis, I spiraled into a stint with drugs and suffering. Shortly after that bad faze in life, I was gripped by reality and turned my life around. I went from making $9 per hour to running an entire systems department. Within five years of this, I had quadrupled my salary. QUADRUPLED, people.

Two years later I started a computer consulting company with two close friends. Within a year we had twelve employees and were pulling in $2,000,000 in annual revenue.

Since then, I have had two children even though I’ve been told countless times that it isn’t even possible.

From a fitness and healthy perspective, I am sick and tired of hearing people bitch and moan at me about my LUCKY metabolism. Funny thing about my luck (to paraphrase Harold Hamm), “The harder I work, the luckier I get!” Most people see my slim, muscular build and assume this is a metabolism thing. Has anyone seen my father? Metabolism is not one of our gifts. I workout HARD and OFTEN.

I play hard – Ask any of my mountain biking buddies. Ask any of my paintball buddies. Ask any of my motorcycle friends. Ask any of my climbing bros. Ask anyone who off-roads with me.

I workout hard – Hello? Come join me at my gym (it’s called The Vomitorium) for the beating of your life… If you dare, punks!

I work hard – I haven’t gotten where I am in the business world by sitting on my thumbs.

I study hard – I have literally read thousands of books about manifold subjects. Ask my dirtbag friends what I did when we started climbing… I am a self taught computer programmer. I am a certified personal trainer who adamantly studies exercise and the human body. I am certified and taught motorcycle classes to beginner and advanced riders.

Did you know that I post an article on this blog every other day? Do you think that is easy? Do you think that’s air you’re breathing? HA!

Am I rough around the edges? Hell yes. Am I a straight shooter, who will tell you how it is? Yep. Most people around me appreciate my bluntness… Those who don’t rarely last.

Do I know the secret to life? Nope. But I know what it ain’t… Lazy.

Enough tooting my own horn for now… There will be plenty of time and other posts for that.

(:

Am I vain? If being proud of my accomplishments in life is vain, then yes I am. Merriam Websters defines vain as: having or showing undue or excessive pride in one’s appearance or achievements. I do show pride in my appearance and achievements… Is it excessive or undue?? I say, nay.

Do I have to be vain and have an enormous ego to accomplish great things? Absolutely not.

I guess my point is that it takes some confidence and motivation to really push yourself past the envelope. In life, people will try to bring you down. People will try to tell you what you can’t do. People will doubt your prowess. Prove them wrong!

Do you have some accomplishments that you battled to get? Do tell…

I challenge you all… Step it up a notch! You can start by motivating yourself, and by starting tough tasks with your arms raised into a “V” for victory!!!

I will leave you with this:

Tony Manero: You know what I wanna do?
Jackie: What?
Tony Manero: Strut.

*struts*

Posted with an edge and some love,
V

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Wednesdays with Jerry

Walking has been proven to be beneficial to our health. Yet, many of us skip it thinking that it’s either worthless, boring, or mostly a waste of time. The truth is that you can really do some good for your body and joints by walking one or more times per week. And, you can even do some walking on your rest days.

Recently my buddy, Jerry, said that he’d like to start walking on Wednesday mornings. At the same time, I had been complaining that I don’t get enough Jerry time. It only took me about three seconds to have the light bulb go off. I nodded my head and asked, “I’d like to walk too… Do you mind if I join you on Wednesday mornings?” Jerry liked the idea and we agreed to meet at 5 a.m. for our weekly Wednesday morning walk.

These days it is tough to find time for many things, and chatting with your neighbor is one of them. Well, when Jerry and I do talk we get all kinds of cool (and hair-brained) ideas. We literally could discuss anything for hours non-stop. However, it is rare that we find the time. Now that we’ve agreed to walk on Wednesdays, we actually get a little bit of time to do just that.

Obviously you can walk by your lonesome, but why not add a friend to the mix and add to the enjoyment! Also, a friend will help keep you on point. Think about how many times you’ve decided to do something fitness related only to quit a few months, weeks, or even days later. When you have a friend there to support you, it makes it much easier to get up early and follow through. You kind of keep each other in check.

Jerry and I talk about anything and everything… Nothing is taboo, and it is fun that way. Mostly we discuss business ideas or something related to entrepreneur adventures, but we also tackle health, fitness, life, families, and so on. Shucks, if we want, we might even talk politics or religion! Regardless, the point is we are communicating, enjoying each other’s company, doing something worthwhile for our health, and adding some zing in the wee hours during the middle of the week. What’s not to love about this?

Now that I have my Wednesday morning walk buddy, my hump day has improved. I feel invigorated and ready to take on the world after a zest filled walk and chatter with my friend.

One final thing… Let’s pretend for a moment that I wanted to walk more than once per week, and Jerry only wants once. Nothing is stopping me from inviting another friend on Saturdays (or some other day). Then I can get twice the walking, twice the conversations, and twice the camaraderie in a single week. Cool!

Do you like to walk? If so, do you dig walking with a friend or two?

I hope this segue was helpful,
Rip

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Shower Her with Love

Forget cards, flowers, and chocolates… Well, don’t forget them, but don’t rely only on them. What she really wants is sincerity and love! Love offered freely and without strings attached. I’m talking about love given regardless of what you get in return. I’ll let you in on a little secret: You must give unconditional love to get it.

Kristine and I have been married for 19 years and been together for 26. Over those years I’ve given her countless cards, flowers, and chocolates. But, the one thing that stands out to her more than anything is a simple thing I said to her about 22 years ago… One day when she was feeling a ittle down, she shared with me something along the lines of not being good enough. Without a second’s delay, I responded, “Look around you… Look at all of my stuff. I surround myself with only the best of the best. My stereo, guitar, TV, and other things are all the very finest you can buy. Do you think you are any different?”

That may not sound like much to you, but it’s precisely what I’m talking about. It was sincere and said honestly with love. I meant it. And, she knew I meant it. Therefore, it has stuck with her all of these years. To this day she still reminds me of how special that conversation made her feel.

I’m not telling you to skip the flowers, but I am suggesting that there are others things you can give, do, and say that will be much more memorable. One of the most important things that I’ve discovered is listening. I mean real listening… Not sitting there while she’s talking. I’m talking about, turn the TV off, set your phone down, step away from the laptop kind of listening. Look her in the eyes and nod at appropriate times. Then, when she’s done talking, compute what she said and reply with an honest assessment and appreciation with what you heard.

This ain’t rocket science, folks. Many would have you believe that relationships are incredibly tough and nearly impossible to build and keep strong. The truth is, they are much simpler than we pretend. Level with your soul mate, treat her with honor and dignity, and listen to her. This is the valuable key to staying in a healthy relationship.

There are people out there that will tell you that a man is weak for doting on his wife. This is ridiculous and any man who deserves a good woman in his life knows that it’s untrue. The truth is that it is our responsibility to love and care for our wives and our families. A real man can be strong and compassionate at the same time.

Tell me what you do to shower your spouse with love. Tell me what you’ve tried… What works, and what doesn’t?

I hope this article was beneficial.

Heartfelt feelings sent your way,
Vaughn

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Communication Timeline

Since the dawn of mankind, we’ve been communicating in some form or another. One thing that fascinates me is the fact that when communication first started it took thousands of years before the next level was invented. During the information age (the time-frame after the industrial revolution), we have started inventing new forms of communication much faster. It is now to the point where we essentially come up with several high-level new forms each year!

Here’s a list of many of the forms of communications along with their approximate introduction dates. Notice that I said “many” and “approximate”… I simply created a list of many of the more important communication thingies and some of the dates were tough to track down. Therefore, I did my best job in compiling this list. Don’t use it as the end-all be-all, but it should be good enough for government work. Most of these invented ways to hold discussions have patents, but several came from a time before patents!

(;

Communication Technologies Through the Eons

  • Talking (circa 100,000 BC)
  • Writing (circa 3,200 BC)
  • Courier (circa 2,400 BC)
  • Smoke signals (circa 150 BC)
  • Mail (circa 9 AD)
  • Chinese Print the first book (1100)
  • Gutenberg Printing Press (circa 1450)
  • Morse Code (circa 1836)
  • Telegraph (circa 1837)
  • Fax (circa 1865)
  • Telephone (circa 1876)
  • Radio (circa 1893)
  • Commercial Flight (circa 1913)
  • Airmail (circa 1918)
  • Television (circa 1927)
  • Cable TV (circa 1950-ish)
  • Modem (circa 1950-ish)
  • Computer Printer (1953)
  • Modern Fax Machine (circa 1964)
  • Instant Messaging (circa mid-1960s)
  • Satellite TV (circa 1967)
  • CompuServe (1969)
  • Email (1971)
  • Mobile Phone (1973)
  • BBS (1978)
  • Cellular Phone (1978)
  • AOL (1985)
  • Satellite Phone (1988)
  • World Wide Web / Internet (1993)
  • IP-based Cam Chat / Video Chat (circa 1990s)
  • Geocities (1994)
  • On Demand TV (circa 1994)
  • Voice over IP (1995)
  • Blogging (1997)
  • Google Search (1998)
  • Social Media – Friends Reunited (1999)
  • Wikipedia (2001)
  • Google Gmail (April 2004)
  • The Facebook (2004)
  • Twitter (2006)
  • Apple iPhone (2007)
  • Google+ (2011)
  • Google Hangouts (May 2013)
  • Google Glass (Available in early 2014)
  •  

    What’s next? I’m not sure if it will be next, but I seriously believe the “brain modem” is coming. This will read our thoughts and convert them to digital information that can be transferred to others. The scary part of this technology (to me) is the capability of government and others to hack into our very thoughts! Think about that for a minute!!

    Regardless of what you believe is coming, know that it is not only coming, but these technological advances are coming faster-and-faster each year. As I alluded to above, it took us nearly 2,000 years to go from mail to the telegraph. Yet, we managed to go from the telephone to the radio in fewer than 20 years! These days (with the advent of the computer), we manage to make technological leaps at least every year.

    What do you think will be the next major technological invention in the communication timeline?

    Last note: Did you notice that Google has been banging out the last several on my list? Interesting??!!

    Thanks for reading,
    Vaughn

    Please comment by clicking “Leave a Comment.” And, if you dig, share this article! Also, please type your email address into the “Subscribe” box up top to get updates each time I post a new blog article.

    You can rest assured that we will never SPAM your email account, and it’s only used to send the latest articles.

    Start Your Own Business

    Creating a business is rarely as easy as you might think. Sometimes it’s as easy as doing work and charging for it. This is called a sole proprietorship. However, most of us would like at least a partial veil of protection, and that requires incorporating in some form or fashion.

    I’ve done this a few times, so I thought I would lay out how to do it for those of you who are curious. I’m going to use a real example for this article, only I will change the business name to protect the guilty. Let’s call our fictitious company, EIEIO.

    I thought of this article, because I’ve created several businesses, and it has always been a bit of a tedious experience. I have read about twenty books on forming a company/corporation so far and I am still a little out of my league! Anyway, let’s pretend I am starting a company to do computer consulting and I want to name it EIEIO. I want to form a company (as opposed to sole proprietorship), because this will make us take it more seriously. And, it will make others take us more seriously.

    If anyone has questions, insight, or whatever, please feel free to respond with a comment and I will try to tackle it.

    I decided to make my company a limited liability company (LLC). Why LLC? I selected LLC as the entity type, because it is a “pass-through taxation” (unlike C-Corp, but similar to S-Corp entities). This means that the owner gets taxed, not the company. Also, it is a tad bit easier to run, because you do not have a board of directors or stockholders. Instead of shareholders as owners, you have “members.” Finally, I wanted either Corporation status or LLC, because Sole Proprietor and Partnerships do not offer liability protection. In other words, if someone sues my company, they can’t come after my house, boat, savings accounts, etc without “piercing the corporate veil.”

    I decided to name our new company: EIEIO, LLC. I chose this name simply because I already own the web domain ( I don’t really own eieio.com, but I sure wish I did!) and it is easygoing for a technology business name. It works.

    In this example, I’m going to have sole ownership (100% ownership) for ease of use.

    Pretend that I decided on sole ownership for now, because my plan is to apply for an 8(a) status in two years (or sooner, with a waiver) and it will require that I (the “discriminated-against” individual) have a majority ownership in the company. Look for future posts about 8(a) and other special small business types.

    Forming the LLC was fairly straight forward. I found the following websites; which all offer LLC creation. My plan is to create the LLC myself, but I wanted to share some good sites and pricing to make it easier for you:

    Legal Zoom $550
    LLC.com $720 (comes with three NOLO books)
    BizFilings $523
    My Corporation $423
    The Company Corporation $720 (suspiciously like llc.com)

    This company will be formed in Maryland. Maryland’s fees end-up being about $200. However, most of the above mentioned “packages” include Article of Organization (which are required documents to start an LLC), a company stamp, documents and agreements on CD, state filing, EIN filing, etc. For the money, I think that these services are worth every penny.

    Other BLOGs (and info) About Forming a Company:
    zacjohnson.com/how-to-form-an-llc-for-your-business
    entrepreneurs.about.com/od/businessstructure/ht/llcsetup.htm

    Kits can be found here:
    www.corpconnect.com/category.aspx?categoryID=5
    www.corporateseal.com/search_results.cfm/Search/KeyWordSearch/search_term/kit
    www.corpkit.com/store/catalog/LLC-Kits-p-1-c-487.html

    Sample pricing for doing this three different ways looks sort of like this:

  • File by myself: $100 (state fee) + ~$60 (company kit) = < $200
  • File using an online service = > $500
  • File using an attorney = > $1,500
  • In light of frugality and the simple curiosity I decided to do this myself and register on my own. This added a little bit of technical jargon to my process, but it wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle.

    Using the state of Maryland expedite fax form ( www.dat.state.md.us/sdatweb/charterfax.pdf ), I registered EIEIO, LLC.

    Because the fax service is automatically considered an “expedited filing,” it is registered in about seven business days. You can verify that your business was registered at this link: sdatcert3.resiusa.org/UCC-Charter/CharterSearch_f.aspx

    The fees were $100 filing fee + $50 expedite fee (this means it will take seven days as opposed to the “normal” six to eight weeks to form an LLC in MD), for a grand total of $150. Maryland’s fees can be found here: www.dat.state.md.us/sdatweb/fees.html

    Once I receive the information back from MD, I filed with the IRS for an EIN and also got a DBA (doing business as – or, fictitious name) for EIEIO (along with EIEIO, LLC).

    After receiving my EIN, I applied for a merchant business bank account; which will allow me to accept credit cards.

    Finally, I purchased a cheapo (that’s a technical term) LLC company kit. Each kit comes with a stamp, stock certificates, record book, and “official” articles of organization.

    Also, I registered this business from my home address and I plan on writing work area off.

    For accounting, I opted for Quick Books Pro Online (starting at $9.95 per month); which I use as an easy way to share my business financials with partners and my business CPA/accountant.

    Here is some good information about Merchant Bank accounts:
    www.home-business-savvy.com/home-based-business-merchant-accounts.html
    www.gspay.com/the-difference-between-merchant-accounts,-payment-gateways-and-third-party-processors.php

    After all of that hoopla, I may simply choose to continue to use Paypal via a “Website Standard” business account:
    www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_wp-standard-overview-outside

    Here are some links to resources that I am using to make sure that I follow all procedures in starting my business:

    Small Business Development Center
    Maryland Department of Labor, Licencing and Regulation
    Legal Zoom’s info on creating MD-based LLC’s

    Next, I went to the IRS page and registered my newly formed business. There was no charge associated with this, and the whole process took about four minutes.

    I ordered a standard LLC kit; which cost $76.00 + S&H = $83.45

    I received the LLC kit/package a few weeks after ordering it and then finalized the “Operating Agreement” for my LLC.

    Next, I signed-up for (and received) my business credit card from Capital One.

    Next steps:
    1. open a business bank account;
    2. buy the business domain (if I didn’t already do so);
    3. setup simple web page with content for my company;
    4. plan and implement some marketing ideas to get some consulting work.

    When you start your business banking account, don’t forget to bring your original Articles of Organization (that you originally filled with state), the response from your state, and your IRS EIN documentation.

    As planned, I created a Paypal account for EIEIO, so now I can accept credit cards.

    For government work (if you plan to work with the federal government) you will need:

    A CAGE Code (you get this when you register in SAM).
    DUNS Number.
    and you need to register in SAM (System for Award Management); which used to be CCR.

    Here is what I have located so far:

    By registering for SAM, you will automatically be assigned your CAGE code.

    I got my DUNS number by going calling D&B’s dedicated Government Customer Response Center at: (866) 705-5711, or by browsing to:
    to: fedgov.dnb.com/webform

    GSA information can be found here:
    www.gsa.gov

    And, these guys have some good GSA info as well:
    www.gsaadvantage.gov

    I located this site for Federal Opportunities for businesses: www.fbo.gov

    And, here is an SBA link to some additional goodies: www.sba.gov/services/contractingopportunities/index.html

    I registered for my DUNS using the SIC code: 7379 (you can search for SIC codes here)

    I looked up my NAICS code and came up with: 518210 (Data Processing, Hosting, and Related Services)

    More info can be found here: www.census.gov/eos/www/naics

    I ordered my company logo from thelogocompany.net

    I went with these guys because I liked their portfolio and price. Some of the companies I found cost as much as $1,999.00. I was able to get my logo designed for the web and stationary plus 500 business cards for $289. They will send you five ideas and then you pick one and they work on it until you’re happy with the final artwork.

    They will also provide a greyscale version for trademark with the Patent and Trademark Office.

    Finally, I finished setting up the initial website: http://www.ThisAintReal.com

    I’m (you’re) ready for business…

    I realize this was a long article, but I really wanted to cover all of the steps for anyone truly interested.

    Have you created a business? Or, do you have experience in this area? Please comment below with your thoughts, ideas, and questions!

    Thanks for reading,
    Vaughn

    Please comment by clicking “Leave a Comment.” And, if you dig, share this article! Also, please type your email address into the “Subscribe” box up top to get updates each time I post a new blog article.

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    Monetize Your Website with Advertisements

    As you can see on my right sidebar (bottom of page on your mobile device), I use Google AdSense and highly recommend it to monetize your website. That said though, there are some fairly strict rules that you must adhere to, or you risk being banned from the program. For instance, I cannot ask you to click on my ads, and would never dream of requesting that, even though it would help support my blog. This post is going to discuss some of these rules in a little bit of detail.

    First things first – If you fail to follow Google’s AdSense program policies, you might be banned for life. I’m not kidding! Fortunately, the gist of the program policies are straight forward and easy to adhere to. Basically you cannot encourage clicks or click your own page ads… Also, your content must meet the guidelines (no porn, gambling, and so on).

    AdSense is what you join to get advertisements to post on your site. If you’re looking to advertise on websites, you need to look into Google AdWords.

    Before going down this path, I highly recommend that you investigate the policy and read other information you can easily find. Make yourself comfortable with the rules before proceeding. Remember: it is your responsibility to check this stuff out. Just like everything else in your life, the onus falls on your shoulders.

    Let’s define a few no-no’s that are recognized by several of the big advertisement companies:

    Click Fraud
    Click fraud is when a website owner clicks on his own ads to boost the number of advertisement ad clicks that he gets. Clicking your own website ad is against the policy of nearly all advertisement companies, and should never be done. Not even once to test that it’s working okay.

    Cloaking
    This is a technique that some website developers use to make a search engine think your site is something completely different than what it actually is. If you participate in this sort of bad behavior than you can lose your AdSense account and you may even have your website removed from Google (and other) search engine indexes.

    Keyword Stuffing
    When you inundate a website with repeated keywords, this is known as “keyword stuffing.” Usually done by hiding keywords inside content by matching the font color and background color. In this way, visitors rarely see the extra words, but search engines pick them up.

    Title Stacking
    Essentially this trick is done by using the HTML “title” tag redundantly. By making multiple title entries using same or different keywords, you can optimize your site for searches. However, this is pretty easily found out and you chance having your website removed from the search indexes.

    Unrelated Keywords
    Any time you pile up keywords that aren’t related to the content of a page, you are guilty of this practice and chance having your site banned from search engines.

    Duplicate Content
    Website administrators sometimes put up the same article on different pages to enhance and boost the page views that they receive.

    All of these “dirty tricks” are considered bad and can easily get your site removed from advertisement companies and search engine indexes. DO NOT DO ANY OF THEM!

    In all honesty folks, it ain’t complicated. If you want a descent amount of visitors and repeat customers than your best bet is to do things the old fashioned way… Earn them! This isn’t rocket science. There truly is a simple formula to get tons of visitors and returning readers:

    1. Create good content.
    2. Create regular content.
    3. Be honest.
    4. Offer your knowledge and help when you can.
    5. Don’t be a bozo! (okay, I just made that one up)

    Is that so tough? Not really.

    Now that we’ve covered how to get you kicked out… Let’s talk about getting you in! Before we stand-up your AdSense account, let’s quickly go over what you need in order to get validated.

    You need a website that has existed for a while and is loaded with great and frequent content. Your website will need to have been created more than a month ago (longer is better, as long as you’ve been pumping it with content). A blog works really good for this, because you update the content on a daily (or at least weekly) basis – Don’t you? Once you have about 22 blog articles posted, you are ready. Google doesn’t publish there standards, so these are only guesses based on previous experiences.

    In order to request an AdSense account, you simply login to your gmail account (you will need one of those) and follow these quick steps:
    support.google.com/affiliatenetwork/publisher/answer/156883?hl=en.

    BTW – You only need to be accepted at one of your websites, so pick the very best one with lots of content and updates and submit that one for approval. Once you’re approved, you can use this account for ALL of your websites (as long as they follow the guidelines).

    After you’ve setup your account, go to AdSense and create your ad. After creation, AdSense will give you the short bit of code that you can insert into your webpage(s). Viola!

    Now all you need is for people to click your ads! Like I said, you want people to click your ads, but you can’t ask them to. Remember this rule. As much as I’d love to tell all of you to go over and click my ad, I cannot. As an honest and upstanding blogger it makes sense that you wouldn’t want to cheat the system. Instead, provide good articles and information and wait for the readers to start clicking on their own accord.

    I hope my post was helpful.

    See you next time,
    V

    Please comment by clicking “Leave a Comment.” And, if you dig, share this article! Also, please type your email address into the “Subscribe” box up top to get updates each time I post a new blog article.

    You can rest assured that we will never SPAM your email account, and it’s only used to send the latest articles.