Category Archives: Marketing

The Opportunity Fund

There is so much talk on the internet in the world of personal finance (PF) about having an Emergency Fund. I agree that an Emergency Fund is important; you want to make sure that you have enough cash to take care of a stolen laptop, or your AC going out in the middle of summer. There is a lot of focus on building this up quickly; most PF writers say that this is more important than paying down debt, which I also agree. 

But my opinion, another important thing to create is what I call an Opportunity Fund.  This is a fund of special money that you keep aside for in case a really good opportunity comes up.  Opportunities come up much more than Emergencies, so this is the fund that I focused on first. I felt that this fund was critical to future success so I used many of the tactics that people like Dave Ramsey suggest when you are building your Emergency Fund.  Such tactics include Selling Something, and cutting back on expenses, especially those recurring ones that most people don’t really notice, then finding extra income opportunities.

Most PF writers suggest ways with no investment to work hard and make extra income but with an opportunity fund helping out you can supercharge this and quickly pay down debt, build all of your funds up, and if you are doing really good you may even make a business out of your fund.

So I started building my fund about 5 years ago.  We looked for people who needed to sell items quickly, to pay their bills or because they were moving, I stuck with electronics and computers because I knew the market and knew I could flip the items quickly.  Most people who are selling things are not selling to get the most money, most people sell because they need quick money, or want the item gone.  Almost every week I buy a laptop from a parent who took it away from their disobedient child as punishment for something the child did.  Most of these parents have no urge to get the most for their money, they just want the item gone.

I only use the fund to buy things that I am fairly sure I can flip quickly.  I don’t want to deplete the fund so I make sure I can turn the items over and get my original money back along with a nice profit.  Time is money so the longer I think something will take to sell the lower % of my projected sales price I need to get.  My general goal is to double my money in 30 days.

I often buy things that are on huge sales.  I built up my fund the entire summer and early fall my first year because I knew I could take advantage of Black Friday, so when November hit I made sure I sold as much as I could and made this fund as large as I could, then I spent a few days looking over the ads, and I targeted the things that had the largest amount below normal prices.  Anyone can get things for cheap online, so I made sure that I was buying at a price low enough that even if I sold online I could make a large profit.  On black Friday most people look for things for their house, they buy and hold on to these items until they are worthless, so even if you buy at the lowest price you still lose money financially. So many people focus on the TV’s and such but the real money I have found is in the smaller items, the ones that there are no limits on.  My first black Friday doing this I focused on External Hard Drives, that were selling for 40% of normal price, bought a whole cart of them. I found wireless mice for less than 30% of retail price, got over 100 of them, found 32 GB USB Drives for just $9.95 each, still a good buy today, a few years later.  I also got laser printers for $39 each, 22” Monitors for $89 each and many other good buys that most of the people just did not see. (Quick Tip, I use the site ShopLocal to find the best sales on new items.) I then listed these items on craigslist for more than I paid, also called up people I knew and asked them if they wanted any of these, I offered to come over and set up the items and show them how to use it.  I spent $3000 that y

ear, and less than 30 days later I had the $3000 back into my Opportunity fund, AND I still had about half of the stuff left!  I now do this every year, it is crazy the good deals that these places put out on small items, most of these prices are less than the cost to make the item.


But the real, supercharged creation of money from my Opportunity fund came from used items.  I know a lot about computers, so I offered to buy peoples headache computers off of them.  I have focused on laptops, and I have purchased over 150 laptops each year for the last 5 years in a row from private sellers.  By the time 2011 came about I was doing this so much, and needed more room and space that I opened a computer store.  By that time I had built my fund up to over $10,000 along with $10,000 or so worth of computer parts.  So I used it all to move into a store.  I was able to get a very nice store on a shoestring budget, never stopping buying and selling.  I then quickly moved into buying and selling much larger amounts of items.  I depleted my fund to build the store but worked hard and smart to build it back up.  I was putting all of the profits into building out the store, and getting extra inventory, it took a year to finally have in stock all that I wanted to have, then I started building up the fund quickly, once I had enough I quickly became free of consumer debt, for the first time in my adult life. I bought a car for my wife, bought a work truck for the business, then a new SUV for myself.  I also have build up my opportunity fund again.

The Santa Fe, with my truck in the background.

When a good friend of mine came to me trying to sell some items he needed sold quickly to help him with a fine he needed to pay, I was there able to help.  When others needed to borrow money, I was there to help.  When a deal comes across for 300 monitors at crazy low prices I am able to jump on it. When a computer store goes out of business I have the funds to buy all their inventory for pennies on the dollar. When a banner making company wanted to sell their plotter I bought it, now I can make vinyl letters for people, expanding my business.  When a school auction went up I bought 50 chairs and 100 tables, sold 60 tables on craigslist and more than paid for it all, now I have the rest to use and help organize the store.

I am able now, with the combination of a nice Opportunity fund, a large moving truck, a warehouse, staff, and a store to move $15,000-20,000 worth of stuff per month, with only about 40% going into what we buy stuff for, and 30% going into overhead, the other 30% goes into build up the business, giving money away, helping people and saving up to buy our building.  And yes the business has an emergency fund equal to 3 months of expenses, and so does our household.  We have just meet these goals in the last few months, this will allow us to start to really do good things and help people out.

So I have said all of this to show you how thinking different, and building up a fund to take advantage of Opportunity is so important.  Do it in the area you know about, if you are an expert on cars, then buy and flip cars, if you know about guns, there is great money in that, if you know about antiques, I know people who made fortunes in that, real estate works also if you have enough money, if you don’t have enough you can always use other people’s money.  In 2010 and 2011 I did some large deals, and my Opportunity fund was not large enough, I was not shy at all about borrowing the money, doing the deal and paying back the money.   Doing this allows you to follow your passion, to earn money by doing something that you love to do, and of course you can do it as little or as much as you like.  I am sure 80% of the people who read this would never turn it into a business, most people just aren’t wired for that. But maybe you can use this fund to get out of debt, or buy that house you wanted, or even to build one massive Emergency fund, which you can always borrow from when a really good opportunity comes along.


Don’t make the geeks mad!

The world is moving to the internet, and more and more people research things before they plan to spend money. The smart company manages their online presence with a good website, SEO, and they ask clients who are happy to leave positive feedback for them on one of the many sites that have been created to rate companies.

Most of these sites really use this as a way to find companies to sell advertising to but that is a whole different blog. I have been helping a few companies get online recently. Last month I helped a company with a fairly negative review history to create a new blog, website and then create profiles on many of these pages. I then created a page that he can send happy clients to so that they can review him. It makes the world better, he will feel more responsible to make people happy, and these happy clients will send more clients to him to make him more successful. Everyone is happy. He now gets a client or so per week from the web.

The odd thing is that many of these businesses have little or no knowledge of these online boards, that vast majority of business owners are oblivious, and sometimes it is really to their determent. I have seen time and time again companies that have a large number of negative reviews, often right on Google maps (The number one way people find you). A business may see 100 clients in a day but many of them won’t even receive 10 reviews in a year, and when 8 of them come from ANGRY and RANTING clients, that business will see very little traffic from people who research online.

Being a geek and knowing the power of this, I know that you NEVER want to make a geek mad at your business. One good geek can really hurt your online presence, a few and you are dead online. Geeks know this, and sometimes they even use to to hurt your business if you are their competition.

This computer repair guy really must have made someone mad, he has pages full of bad reviews about his company. Click HERE to see for yourself.

Also see MY PAGE.  I had one fake, negative review, so I asked my Facebook friends who were clients in the past to post an honest review for my company.  Look at the results.


The Greatest Movie Ever Sold – Wow that was cool.

I really like the way that Morgan Spurlock thinks. He has created a movie about advertising and product placement, and pays for the movie by going out and getting more product placements than any movie in history. He gets free drinks, free cars, free shoes, free flights, free hotel rooms and millions of dollars given to him to make this movie. It is really awesome as he debates if he really is a sell out, and decided that he is, then he embraces it. If you have not seen this movie, and you are at all interested in advertising or business I would suggest it.

Here is the trailer. httpvh://

One very interesting concept that I liked from the movie is the idea that Fame and Credibility are linked. “In the world we live in you can not be credible unless you are visible.” This is a very interesting concept. This is why people tout how many followers they have, or max out their friends on facebook.

10 simple ways to save money in tough times, #1 Price Match

Almost everyone I know right now is concerned about ways to save money and I have had many people ask me about ways to help them to save money.   So I decided to write a list of 10 ways that I use to save money, these work well and help me live better for less.

Of course saving money is only part of the formula to making ends meet, earning more money and investing your money correctly are also two major parts.   I think that everyone should have a reserve equal to at least a few months of expenses…more on all of this in my other blog entries.

So here are 10 ways that I know that can really help your budget, help you save, and help you get ahead in the world.  On some of these I will tell you exactly who I do business with, most of them are local so if you don’t live in Arizona than you are out of luck.  This may be a bit long so I am going to post it as 10 separate entries.  Please read them all, Even if you only do a few of these things it could really help.

1.    Price match all your purchases.

Many companies out there are very willing to price match.  Most people know about this but very few ever use it.  Basically most stores buy from the same supply chain and have basically the same cost so when one store has a huge sale, even if they sell it at or near cost the other stores are still happy to have the business.  So all you need to do is find the best deal on an item that you want to buy, and then show proof of that deal to the store you actually plan to buy the item at.  This lets you get the best deal, but still buy from the store that gives you better service and quality.

If you have an android based smart phone you can use ShopSavvy, a free program that will scan the barcode of the items you plan to buy and show you the best deal, locally or online.  If the local deal is better than what you are paying now simply show the phone as the cash register and you will get the lower price, it has worked every time I have tried it.  If the online price is much lower then forgo the purchase for now and get it online because most stores don’t pricematch online ads. I know that other apps for other phones also exist.  But the best deals are usually found the old fashioned way, by checking your mail and getting the newspaper ads.

For me the BEST result that I have when I go to Wal-Mart and get groceries.  For many households groceries is one of their main expenses other than housing and taxes.  The grocery business is highly competitive.  Companies also do things where they have loss leaders, this is an item that “leads” their advertisement, and it is usually such a good deal that they are actually selling it at a loss.  They figure that people will buy these few items from them and stay to shop for the rest of their weekly grocery needs.  Here in Phoenix, there are at least 8 grocery stores that mail out weekly flyers.   So I just put these in a stack and take it with me when I go to Wal-Mart.  They all seem to take effect on Wednesdays, so that is when I shop.  So just follow a few simple rules and let the savings begin.  The item does not always need to be exact, just similar.  There is a grocery store called “Ranch Market” here in Phoenix.  Shopping there is terrible, they are messy, noisy, smelly and the food is not so fresh, but they have great advertised prices, often they are 1/5 the price of other places.  So I don’t shop there, I just take their ads to walmart, less than 200 yards from my house and get their higher quality and cleanlness for the ultra low price.  Today I bought over $20 in fruits and veggies and paid only $6.42.    I went on to price match doritos, sour cream and 5 other things for a total savings of over $30, while paying only $24.  That is a savings of over 50%.  Combine this with stocking up and you have a great way to save lots of money on food.

Price matching also allows you to buy things that are out of stock at the original company.  The other day one store did 32oz Gatorade for only 40 cents, a very good price, the problem is that they were out of stock after the second day, and they had a limit of only 5 per person.  Not a problem at Wal-Mart, they had plenty in stock and did not care about the limit.  It does not really go bad, so I bought enough for a 6 month supply.  At thanksgiving they did the same thing with 12-pack coke products, just $1.25.  I still have 30 unopened a month later.

On top of price matching you can use coupons, but personally I found that most coupons are not worth the time they take.  For me price matching is very simple.  I usually don’t prepare much, I don’t even look at the ads until I am at the Wal-mart, and then I only buy things that are on sale.  And I stock up on items that are on a huge sale. By doing these things I have found that I am able to save over 50% off of my grocery bill on average.  That comes down to $200 or more per month.

Thanks for reading please click a link below to see the other 9 ways to save money in tough times…

1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   Summary

Media promotes Christmas Club plans…idiots!

Once again we see how easy it is for corporate America to control the media with ease.  This time it is Sears/Kmart and their new Christmas club.  Today I was watching the local news, something I try to avoid, and they had a 2 minute story on this subject.  Basically here is the deal, you “save” your money by buying a gift card for Sears/Kmart and they are so nice that they will give you a 3% bonus.

It does not really mention that you MUST now spend all of that money only with Sears/Kmart and their sister companies.  They promoted it with multiple interviews and such with no opinion other than “DO IT NOW, or else you are stupid”  But to me I see this as a very dumb gimic, and worse it could harm people by locking them into buying from these companies.  They don’t price match here, and they don’t give refunds from the money “saved” in this account, so if there is a better price somewhere else you are stuck.  If you need your money for an emergency you are stuck.  If you lose the card you are stuck, if you forget about it they keep the extra money and you are stuck.

Now I don’t fault Sears/Kmart for doing this.  For them it makes money, and in these times they need to find every way to make money, heck if I was them I would be loving this program, they get to borrow millions of dollars just when they need it, and they get locked in customers allowing them to predict their holiday sales with ease.  On top of that they get all of this nice media attention.  Totally brilliant on their part.

I DO fault the local media, trying to fill their “News” broadcast with junk like this, with no couterpoint, and promoting it as the sencable thing to do.  They were saying that this card was better than using a back, due to the 3% bonus.   I also did a quick google search and found ton’s of blogs jumping on the band wagon.   Totally crazy.

It would be better to just put cash in a piggy bank and wait for Christmas, or even sock it away in some sort of Auto Savings plan at your local bank.  You need to keep your money free, free to be spent where you can get the best deal, and free to be used when you need it.

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The truth about Millionaires.

Everyone wants to be a millionaire.  I always had it as a goal, a first step.  First I wanted to do it by the time I was 25, then I set it for 30.  Now I have a goal of doing it while I am 35.  But this time I have a firm plan to get there.

First off most people think that if you are one you will be set for life.  In many cases that is correct, but in most cases it took risk to get the million and most people who have it take those same risks and lose it.  There are ways to earn without too much risk, but mostly that is very slow.  Other people simply go crazy, they get the money too easily and spend it all.  Over 80% of lottery winners have a negative net worth just 5 years after they win.  They get this huge lifestyle, and then spend spend spend, and when the money runs out they borrow like crazy.

I personally know a lot of millionaires.  I don’t know of any who made the money trading time for money or having a job.  I know a few who won it, but the VAST majority worked hard, ran a business and invested the profits.  Some are in farming, some are in insurance, other have a business in one form or another but most are in real estate.  And all of the millionaires that I have asked about this invest heavily in real estate.  Time and time I hear that no matter how you make your millions that real estate is the best place to store the money.  Another common factor among those that have made and kept millions is that they live WAY below what you expect.  They drive older cars, they don’t shop at the fancy shops.  Most of them live on less than 60k per year.  That is still 5,000 per month.  While they were making their money they lived on much less.  Those people you see shopping at all the ritzy malls and spending thousands of dollars are usually people who earn a lot, and spend even more and have a negative net worth.

So what does it take to have a net worth over a million dollars.  I define it as all assets, at the price you could sell it for today minus all debt.  It is hard to value a business so I usually set that as valued as 8 times last years earnings as long as you project those earnings to go on.  Using that measure I actually was a millionaire once during the years that my business was really profitable, but I could not project that computers would become a commodity and that my business would start to lose money at huge rates until I was in the hole.

Also you can only grow your net worth from your personal profits each month.  If you have $3,000 in monthly expenses you need to deduct that from your income before you see if you have enough.  For me I have about $3,000 that I must spend each month to stay current.  About half of that is servicing debt, and could be gone if the interest rates were not so low.  If I am starting with a net worth of zero and I want to be a millionaire in 2 years I need to pack away about $42k per MONTH.  That is a crazy number, and that is why people with jobs don’t hit it.  Even if you had 8% interest on your side and you wanted to do it in 10 long years you would need to save over $7,000 per MONTH.  This is why less than 1% of the people are millionaires.  Even if you earned $120k per year and spent only $3k per month it would take you 10 years of constant effort.  The biggest problem is that when you earn that much, you usually hang out with other people who earn that much, and they start talking about their new cars, second homes and their vacations, and you feel “less than” for living on such a meager $3k per month and you can not maintain it.  It is like a bucket with a ton of holes in it, the more water you pour in the faster the holes take it out, and it never really gets full.  So the answer is clearly not a job, even a high paying one.  You have the limit of how much you can earn because of who you work for and with.  So a business is really the only answer, but to have a good business you need to be as good or better than all of the other businesses out there, or you need to have an idea that really sets you apart.  If you have a really great idea that can duplicate all over the world you can even become an instant billionaire.  This is what they folks at YouTube, Facebook and Twitter have done.  The first ones cashed out when the company was only 7 months old.  The second two have yet to cash out, though twitter just sold 2% of the company for $200 million, making the company worth over $10 billion.  But it is hard to come up with such an idea, most usually stumble upon it early.

So now we all have an up hill battle to climb.  So if you want to be a millionaire in 2 years from today you need to come up with an idea that makes you $50k per month on a constant basis.  Or if you want to build and sell a business you need make one that earns $125k-$150k next year, and that number is AFTER your take from the company because the company will need your or someone like you after you sell it.  The way you design a million dollar company is much different than the way you design a company that just pays your bills.

When you are looking for a large net worth you need to keep in mind the laws of large numbers.  One of the easiest ways to get there is to sell a product over and over.  Even if you only make $10 each time you do it, that means that you need to sell 100,000 items.  So plan your business accordingly.  If you need to sell 100,000 items that means that about only one out of every 1,000 households needs to buy your product.  Depending on your product that may mean that only 1% of the population even needs to know about your product.  But to even get 1% penetration may be a hard thing to do.  But one good viral video could do it for you, or one good endorsement.  Thousands have made it rich this way.

You can also get there by helping others reach for their dreams.  Imagine if you could help people earn a living and you got a cut of what they did.  For me this was always by hiring sales people.  I basically would set their wages to where they would get 40% of the profits that they generated.  I would pay for their phone, a place for them to work, I would help them close deals and I would design the products that they sold, I would even pay for them to have a base salary in case sales were slow that week.  The more successful they would be the more successful I would be.  If I have 3 or even 4 of these people it would keep me busy.  Imagine if I had 30 or 40, and if they averaged making $2000 for themselves per month, that means that each one would make me $3000 per month.  That alone is a million in a year!  Becoming a millionaire is REALLY a team sport.  I don’t know anyone who has worked to get a million who did not have a team behind them.  Most people I know help out people all of the time because the more people they help the more they make in the long run.

If you want to make it rich selling something, or helping other people get rich you need a system to manage the entire thing.  A system is really the key.  The good part is with a little math you can start to think about the system now, you can design the system now that will take you to the millions you want to have.  A good system with the right principles will take you there.  Run a simulation on your system, if it does average will it get you to where you want to be, is your system too small?  Is your system too hopeful, does it require that something unknown will happen to catapult you into your success, if that is the case it probably will not happen.  You can’t predict such things.

I really hope this helps you put your dreams in perspective.  And I hope you start to think how duplicating a successful system will get you there.  You need to focus on people, you need to focus on results.  Your plan must have the muscle to get you to your goals.

When you get your millions remember the little guys, remember to give back.  Millionaires are some of the nicest, most humble and most generous people I know.  Most millionaires are not they greedy people the movies and media make them out to be.  They usually are very humble because they know that peopled helped them along the way, and that being nice to people and helping others is the key to their success.  They feel lucky that they made it.

As always, please subscribe, and if you liked this blog please comment, I read them all personally.

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MLM Math. The numbers behind the eFusjon comp plan.

When you are looking to join a MLM you may find that some are VERY VERY complex while others are very simple.  Well I love math, and I always lean towards the very simple ones.  Complex MLM’s tend to not do as well as others, and also you never really know if it is all correct.  Some MLM’s are so complex that you are never quite sure what you are going to be getting paid.  I love math and I like to take a company comp plan and test it by pushing it to the max.  With most comp plans it is easier to do that by flipping it over, seeing how much the company has committed to pay out for any one sale.  Next I look at the MLM from a break even point.

So on to the math.  The MLM is called eFusjon.  My first thought was that they could not spell, I even had to Google how to spell it just to write this blog.  First off this business model is unique to anything that I have seen, it is very interesting and it is PURE math.  And I love math.  The way it works is very simple, you get paid $5.27 for each active person that is in your downline.  It is a 3 wide system, you have a left, center and right person.  But this is where it gets interesting, you share your left and right spot with other people who are to the left and right of your sponsor, the first one who fills the spot gets it.  If they put someone in under you then you are paid $1.20 per month on those people.  To be able to earn money you need to have three active people who you personally sponsored, and if they go inactive for 60 days their spot is erased.  The payment goes for 15 levels deep.  So when the whole system is full that means that 15 people are making $5.27 on your order, and as long as you are not in the center that other people get paid $1.20 off of your orders.  From my count this can be a VERY huge number, well if the company had millions of people in it and no one dropped out meaning that you had 15 levels full of people above you there would be (1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8+9+10+11+12+13+14+15) 120 people who get the $1.20 override.  People.

So this means that on a $120 order that the company must pay out as much as $199.05 in commissions.  This is probably why they stopped paying $10 (Personal) and $5 (Sides) like when the company first started, because at that rate they would actually loose money on each order even with only 30,000 people in the company.  Of course a full system is over 100,000 people and only then would they start to pay out such huge numbers, but it will still be only half that get generate that much commissions for their upline.  I figure they need about 500,000 or so members for the system to stop working, and thus for them to be forced to change the system, I predict they will choose to change it once there is about 200k or so people in the company.  That may be some time from now, as there is only 30k at this time.  Also if people drop out that will also make holes in the chart which will also save the company money.  Of course they also need to produce the product for the $120 amount, and pay all of their bills.  One other thing that may save them is the fact that someone must recruit 3 before they get paid, and many never will do that.

The product is an energy drink, and it is healthy, and if I would buy it in the stores I would probably be willing to pay up to $1.50 or even $2.00 for a can, but I am really cheap.  Others would pay $3 with ease for a quality product that does what this does.  So lets say that it is worth $2 a can.  Well their price, with shipping and other fees is $166, for 48 cans.  So in my book you are getting $96 in product and paying $70 to participate in the MLM.  Now with a payback of about $5 for each person on your team you need 14 people to break even.  But it is much easier, because your upline can only put three people under each person so they must put people under you, and you get the full $5 for people in your direct upline, and $1.20 for people from the sides.  So if you find an active team you can quickly be in positive range.  If you find a superstar who can bring in 100 people in a short time then you would be making $500 a month.

So after looking at all of this, and crunching the numbers it all comes down to the team you are joining, and how many people you think you can bring in yourself.  So I looked at that.  The team that was showing me this has been in the company for less than 45 days, and they already have over 850 people.  They 2.8% of the entire company, and they are a group of builders that should have no problem putting in a 100’s per month.  Next the my good friend Fred was going to be directly above me, and he put in over 80 people in his last MLM in only 3 months, and that MLM was much harder to put people into.  Next I looked at the people I know, and how it would be easy to put at least a dozen of them in, and then they will put people in also, building a large group.  I know I need 14 people to make it even in my mind.  And with all of this I figured that 14 would be easy to get, I can probably even do it this month.  I need 32 to make this business totally free, and I think I can do that in the second month.  So I made the leap and I joined.  Most MLMs are built on math but most people who join them never look at the math.  I have looked at over 20 MLMs in the last 2 years and I have only joined 3 of them, simply because the math did not work on the others.  On those other ones there was no component of your upline building your team so on those I did not make money.   If you want to join in on my team will also receive the benefit of all of this, CLICK HERE to sign up, we will help you build into profitability ASAP.

I try to keep my personal brand to be that of Emerald Computers, the company that feeds me and pays my bills.  Most of the time that is all that I mention to people.   When I was looking at the math for efusjon I also took Emerald Computers into consideration, and that I may be able to sell computers, services, or websites to many of these people because of the fact that this company is very heavy into online marketing.  This made it a very easy decision, just from the few people there I already made two new clients who I should see this week.

One more final thought, another interesting part of this companies comp plan is the fact that you can sign up again and again under yourself.  So you can go a few levels, then you see a superstar, so you join again, and now you are double dipping, getting paid twice on their team.  It costs you $150 each month for each position so if you can create locations that pay more than that per month it is to your benefit to do so.  Plus you get more product to use.

I hope this helps, and I welcome any and all comments.

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Theft by technology.

For years now my printer of choice has always been a laser printer.  I like the faster speed, more quiet printing and the quality of the output.   The drawback of any printer is that it needs to use ink or toner.  Companies know that you need it, and they also know that they can make a cartrage that works perfect stop working by design.  Designing a way to make something stop working is one of my most hated things in the world.

HP is by far the worst offender at this.  They design their printers to count the pages, and then stop working when they reach a specific number and force you to buy more ink, even if your cartage works perfect they make it stop working by putting a chip on it that tells the printer that is has printed enough pages, even if it is still half full.  This makes is almost impossible to refill or even recycle the cartridges, they simply need a new chip that can only be had from HP.  Lexmark recently sued a company that made chips that worked with their printers.    In Europe these chips are ILLEGAL, because it blocks recycling.

For this reason I have avoided all HP printers for many years.  So I have this trusty brother printer.  It was a really good deal and prints fast and with high quality, but today it stopped working.  It flashed the toner light, and said toner low.  I was just finished with a print job and it worked perfect, nice and perfect then all of a sudden it stopped.  I had to print something really important so I kept turning off and on the printer, I even took out the toner a few times and it would power up and do a test then say flash the toner light.  After I while I decided to search the web and after a ton of research I found that other people were able to fix this.

How brother steals your money

It is so simple.  Look at the photo, in the center there is a hole, the printer shines a light into this hole, it bounces off of a mirror on the other side and then a detector will tell you the toner is bad if it sees light.  But as you can tell the whole is rather high up.  So you could have toner for 100’s more pages left in there.  So I simply took a black sticker, folded it up and blocked the whole, and guess what, my printer prints perfect now!

I know that they are out there to make a buck, they don’t make money on the printer, but they sell the toner cartridges for WAY too much money to compensate.  They design them to fail and this makes them last much less.   This makes the cartridge cost more, due to the added complexity of the mirror and lens.  It makes the printer cost more to make.  It even makes them put more in the landfills.  But it lets them sell many more cartridges.  At least brother is easier to fool than HP.

If you are reading this because you have the same problem I know this will help.  I would ask that you let me know that this helped you by posting a reply, it is easy and free.

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The Cart is up and running, will this be a new era for Emerald Computers?

After over 100 hours of my time and many more time from others, I finally have the cart that I always wanted for Emerald Computers.  It works perfect, it allows people to custom design their own computer system, it is easy to modify, it is easy to update.  Of course this is not the end of development.  I will be updating and adding new products as the market changes, I will also add much more data about each product in the coming weeks.

This cart software is one of the most advanced cart programs that exists today for anywhere under $10,000.  It does all of the advanced tricks that the huge companies do, like cross selling, up selling, layered navigation, full CMS support so you can have many skins and change in an instant.  It has bread crumb navigation also, user accounts with total control of access, tier pricing, built in SEO urls, client feedback system, cloud tag programs, and a hundred other cool features.  I am really glad that I decided to get this software, it totally rocks my world.

Everything us up and live RIGHT NOW, and I am letting the readers of my blog be some of the first people to view it.  Soon I will be linking it in with my main website. If you want to check it out and tell me what you think then CLICK HERE.

On a business note, I am really thinking that this will revitalize my company, and allow me to reach my goals in much less time than I thought before.  Wish me luck.

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My New Project

I have gone silent on my blog for the longest time since I started it.   I have had two main reasons for this.

Reason number 1 is because my wife has been ill recently.  We spent 8 days in the hospital and I have had to put my business on the side to do much more with the kids.  She is feeling better now, and that leads me to my second reason.

For about 3 years now I have had an idea to help people sell computers online.  There are a ton of people who strongly believe that the future of business is online, and for most types of business I agree with them.   People compare and shop for things online, but they will always need some things to be in person.  For computers it is definitely online.   Now here is the problem, people want to make money online, but they simply don’t have the tools or knowledge that they need.  There are many companies that I have found that take advantage of this.  They take a very basic, and hardly working cart, and they put it online, and they give some basic consulting information.  They sell this to people who don’t know much about the Internet or about computers and they sell this for many thousands of dollars.

There are also many people who want to drop ship products, and for about 4 years now my company has been listed in books and many drop ship websites as a source of high quality computer systems.  We have been contacted by over 2000 people who have asked us about this.  They call me, they email me but 98% of them have never purchased anything.  Part of that is my fault because when I get little return from something I pay little attention to it.   Recently I updated my website and as a part of the application to do something with me I asked them where they currently are and what their goals are.  I would say that 90% of them have not yet created a cart, nor do they have much of a plan.  I totally understand this, because to install a good cart out there takes a ton of knowledge and work.  I am a complete computer expert and I still had to call tech support, and it still took me many many hours to figure out.  If someone does not understand HTML, PHP, JAVA, FTP, Linux Permissions, and 20 other things I don’t see how they would ever get it up on their own.  So they rely on these companies that “sell” carts.  The problem is that most of them leave you with an empty cart, and then they give you a list of companies like me and you need to create relationships with them.  There are a few that fill your cart up with items, but all the ones I found sell either really useless stuff that no one buys, or really over priced items that simply can’t be sold.  All of this is a huge discouraging mountain for the once gleeful and hopeful would be entrepreneur.

There is one local company that we know of that sells websites that are totally cookie cutter, they offer nothing in the way of custimization other than one “About Us” page that lets the merchant put a few small sentences about themself and their contact info.  It sells products that have not changed for over 30 years, like candles, lotions.  The problem is that they charge over $12,000 just to have one of these sites, and they charge thousands more to accept credit cards, and thousands more for consulting.  They then charge monthly hosting fees in the 100’s of dollars and if you ever stop paying you lose everything.  We have a sister company that offers help and consulting to clients of this company, and we have talked to 100’s of people, and we have NEVER talked to one who actually made a profit, yet this company sells 20-50 of their sites per day, mostly focusing on low income or elderly clients who know nothing about computers.  At least 20% of the ones we talked to did not even have a computer, many others could not even put food on their table but were asked to borrow $12k or more from friends and family to start thier business.  (If you can’t tell this type of business practice makes me really mad.)

cart homeSo what is my project.  Well first off I am building a site that sells the best and most popular computer products.  My site will use the latest design techniques and latest eCommerce tools.  I am putting everything on our site with small markup for me and a 20% profit margin for the people who but these sites.  I plan to sell this site for UNDER $1000, and this site will be a REAL oppertunity, something where people can make REAL money.  If they pay us $1,000 to build the site they only need to sell $5,000 in computer hardware to start to make money, and in computers that can take just a few days.  And the prices that I have on my site are VERY good, so they can advertise the site and make money right away.  People will be able to  add any other items they want to sell, they will also have the ability to totally customize the site.  And for a small fee we will even host it and update it daily.

So I have been spending almost all of my limited time building this site.  So far I have a 100% functional site, it has RSS Feeds, over 500 inventory items, and the complete ability to clone the site.  I still need to finish a few things so it is NOT open to the public yet, but I think that in the next week it will be.  I am excited to call these people and tell them that I finally have the ability to help them reach their dreams.  I have a great cart, that is affordable, functional and has products in it that allow them to make money from day one.  This has really been my goal for about three years now.  Part of my mission in life to help other people out.

If you would like to be on the list of people who I will call when this goes online, then go HERE.    If I can keep out the distractions I will have it up soon.

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