Just To Let You Know…

Just to let you know, you may see some new posts written by other authors from time to time in the future. Please know that these posts will continue to reflect the character of this site as well as bringing perspectives other than my own to this blog. I’m sure you’ll find them as informative and enjoyable as the ones I have written and will continue to write.

And again, thanks for reading! 🙂

Welcome All!

Columbia Gorge. Hi Everyone! Welcome to my site and blog! Here I’ll be talking about all kinds of things, many based on my own experiences.

Things such as, how I moved from one state to another and what I did to make it more successful, what I’ve gotten from the different jobs I’ve tried, what I’ve learned about selling items at flea markets, and tips about using some of the features on computers, such as Windows Live Photo Gallery, and other things as well.

If you like what you see here, stay informed of new posts by following this blog! There’s an e-mail address field and “Follow” button on the column to the right.  And let others know, too!

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Creating Kerb Appeal: Main Focal Points

If you are ever trying to improve the overall look of your house, then there are a few things that you will find are always mentioned by estate agents, on blogs and in articles and books. One of those, commonly, is kerb appeal, and this is particularly important if you are ever thinking of selling your home. Kerb appeal is essentially what kind of first impression your home gives, and it is important when you are selling because your visitors are going to base a lot on that first glance. Just like with people, homes only have one chance of giving a good first impression. So how can you make sure that you are adding kerb appeal to your home? Well, here are four main focal points to think about.

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Pic Source

Lighting

 

This first one is something that people routinely forget about, and yet it makes such a profound difference overall. The right lighting can throw such a unique sight on everything that it really makes a difference to how the property looks on a first impression basis. If you don’t currently have any lighting outside at all, you really should invest in some. At the very least, you should make sure that the entrance to the doorway is well lit and the door itself. What’s more, make sure that the lighting level is appropriate. This means not too much, not too little. Experiment until you get it right.

 

Driveway

 

Although not many people remember this, the driveway is hugely important in developing a good sense of kerb appeal. After all, in essence the driveway acts as an entrance-way, and the more welcoming and inviting it appears to be, the better. Ultimately, it makes little difference whether you have concrete driveways or pebble-dash, or whatever, the main thing is that you are keeping it looking as neat and professional as possible. And remember that the lighting can help you massively on this front too.

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Door

 

The front door is one of the easiest ways to improve the appearance of the outside of your home. If you really want to go above and beyond, then you might even consider replacing it entirely with a brand new door. You might be surprised at what a difference this can make – it is well worth trying, at any rate. However, if you don’t feel that you want to go that far, even just giving it a fresh lick of paint is likely to help things along massively. Go for a bright colour, don’t hold back. Oh, and make sure that you have a decent door knocker – these always seem to impress guests, for one reason or another.

 

Lawn

 

If you have a lawn, then there are some advantages to that. Just make sure that you keep it neatly trimmed at all times, and keep it simple – maybe put a few plants on the borders, but nothing much. If you don’t have a lawn, that’s not a problem, but you might want to have a few more plants to counteract it.

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Pic Source

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Job-Hunting Myths Debunked!

Like most people, you’re probably approaching your current job hunt with a firm set of beliefs as to how the process works, and the things that will or won’t be effective. However, a lot of these common beliefs are completely wrong, and won’t do anything other than hold back your job-hunting activity. Here, I’ve debunked some of the most common myths that hold people back in their job hunts.

Your CV Isn’t That Important

 

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From Flickr

 

First impressions count for a lot in every aspect of life, and this is certainly true when it comes to job hunting. Your CV and cover letter are the first impressions that prospective employers will get of the kind of person you are. With this in mind, you can’t afford to let any interviews slip through your fingers by sending out shoddy CVs. Make sure you tailor your personal statement and the way you word your work experience to the job you’re applying for. Take steps to ensure the whole document is completely free of spelling and grammatical errors. Remember to explain why you took on any extra training and applied for previous positions. You don’t have to meet the standards of professional CV writing, but you should be striving to get pretty close!

The Interview Is About Convincing the Interviewer to Hire You

It can be easy to think that the interview process is all about getting on the good side of the interviewer, and convincing them to give you the job. However, if you dig slightly deeper, you’ll find that it’s more about figuring out if you’ll fit neatly into the position, and how much you really want the job. Obviously, we all need to keep roofs over our heads and food on our tables. However, if you neglect to think about what comes after the interview process, you can easily wind up in a position that you’ll struggle with and eventually become miserable in. Think of the interview process as a two-way communication channel, rather than the interviewer putting you under a microscope. This will always result in a better outcome.

If You Don’t Follow Up, They’ll Think You’re Not Interested

 

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From Flickr

 

Yes, this may have been true at one point in the past. However, it’s 2017 now, and these calls don’t help in the majority of cases. In fact, they can sometimes hurt your chances of getting the job. The modern job market is pretty saturated. There are going to be dozens, if not hundreds, of other applicants aside from you applying for the exact same position. If they wanted every single applicant to follow up, the employer would have to spend all day fielding calls, rather than going back over interviews and applications. If you have reason to believe that there’s been some kind of mix-up with your application, then go ahead and make that call. Generally though, once you apply, you need to accept that the ball is in the employer’s court, and it’s up to them to decide whether or not they want to speak to you.

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Is It Time To Retire Your Workhorse?

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Image source

 

You’ve held onto your car through many years and every time you think her life has come to an end, miraculously you have managed to stretch a few more miles out of her.  The thought of saying goodbye to the car you took on your first date, headed out on your favourite road trip and got you home through a storm when others were stranded, has been a little too much for you.  Sadly though, it’s time to admit her driving days are over.

 

If you are lucky you may find someone who is just starting out as a driver and is desperate to get their hands on a cheap project car.  Who know’s with a little bit of TLC somebody could nurse her back to life.  Or you could consider setting her off on a new life at the race track.  Her engine is kaput but she has an incredible chassis so maybe someone could give her an exciting future.  The likely route? Junk cars for cash.  Sorry, as hard as that is going to be, we have to let go at some point right?

 

Good.  Now that is sorted out, let’s have a look at your new options.  A younger, safer more reliable workhorse that is going to look after you, and your children if you have them, slowly becoming full of brilliant memories you will make in the future.

 

Car finance packages are an excellent way of getting into a brand spanking new car.  There are so many options right now including hire purchase solutions which can help bring the monthly costs down a touch.  You could also consider checking with your personal bank and seeing what rates they offer.  Sometimes the interest rate on a bank loan is a little lower.  Although the bonus of dealer finance is you sometimes find they offer some incentives too.  Such a discount on the OTR price of the car.  Dealers make money out of selling you finance so they are able to move a little more on price sometimes.  Also a few manufacturers offer free insurance for a year or free servicing.  So speak to your local car traders and find out what they have to offer.

 

If you don’t have the budget to go new and the finance is something you want to avoid then the second-hand car market is the place for you.  With plenty of internet auction sites specialising in second-hand motors, you can cut out the middleman and head straight for the seller.  You will need mechanical knowledge, so if you are light on that then find a friend or a local mechanic who will come with you.  Make sure you do a history check on the car too.  You don’t want to be buying something that ought to be in the junkyard you just sent your old faithful to.
Buying a new car is a huge commitment and a massive financial investment so take your time and do your research.  However the peace of mind that comes from having a newer car with tons of modern safety features is worth the wait and the money.  Happy driving!

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Drive Loyalty & Ensure Clients Keep Coming Back

Many new businesses put a huge focus on finding new customers – and for good reasons. After all, the more clients you are attracting, the more likely it is your business will grow. However, attracting new customers is expensive. You have to devote a lot of time, energy, and money into trying to appeal to them. A much cheaper way of making sales is to increase loyalty amongst your current customers, who you already are in contact with and don’t have to spend on attracting. You do, however, have to ensure they remain loyal – and I’ve put together a few simple ideas which can help you achieve it. Let’s get started with some of the basics.

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Pic from Pixabay.com

 

Up your service game

 

First things first – ensure your customer service is making a big enough impact on your customers. Every time you make a sale or get an inquiry, your service must be pitch perfect, friendly, attentive, and, ultimately, better than your clients receive anywhere else. But also, you need to ensure you keep in contact with your customers. Making a sale is one thing, but connecting with your customers is the most important part of the process. Instead of focusing on new acquisition, try sending thank you emails or messages – perhaps ask your clients if there are any issues. Maybe you could send them a discount code or offer them a deal the next time they buy anything. Don’t forget, on average, acquisition of customers costs around six times more than retention, so you have some room for maneuvering.

 

Stop trying to sell

 

Not every person that walks through your door or sends you an email will buy from you there and then. But depending on how you react to them, they could still end up becoming a customer. If you can show that you genuinely care for their needs and help them out with what they might be looking for, it can leave an indelible mark. And when that customer decides they are ready to buy, it is likely they will come to you. The truth is that when a client feels like you have their support and assistance in mind, they are more liable to talk about it with other people, which increases your potential market even further.

 

Create an application they cannot resist

 

Apps are a great way of giving something back to your customers and keeping your company at the forefront of their minds. In fact, they are so useful that many businesses utilize mobile or web application development and offer it free to their customers. It all depends on what your business offers, of course, but there are many different ways it can help. For example, let’s say you are a digital marketing agency – maybe you could produce a simple desktop app that customers use to check performance, or research industry keywords. Going in an entirely different direction, let’s say you are a baking equipment and ingredient store. Maybe your app could offer a broad range of recipes that you can create from all the stuff you sell in-store. Not only will these give customers something useful, but it will also drive traffic to your store, both online and off.

 

Reach out for feedback

 

If you can reach out to your customers for feedback, you win on two different levels, First of all, it gives you a chance to improve your business and helps you see everything your company does with a fresh pair of eyes. But it also tells your customers something incredibly important: you are prepared to listen., When a client suggestion ends up as part of the way you do business, they will feel like they have a stake in your company, and will be more inclined to use you again.

 

Personalize every experience

 

Finally, forget what you read about data – it’s the personal experience that counts for the vast majority of customers. Sure, you can use data to inform your behavior and find out what customers really want. But in the end, it’s the one-on-one experiences that will mark you out as a great company to do business with. Get to know your clients as individuals, and connect with them on a human level. The next time they consider looking into your industry, there is far more likelihood they will call you up if you go down this route.

 

How do you keep your customers coming back, or are you struggling to retain clients once you find them? Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below.

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Is Your Home Ready For The Heat?

We’re now officially out of the coldest time of the year, and it’s time to start thinking about the warmer weather. Whether you’re a fan of the heat or not, you’ve got to make sure that you’re ready for the sun to come out. This means that it’s time for sunscreen and cool clothes. But it’s not just a matter of getting yourself ready; you also need to make sure that your home is ready. Your home reacts to temperature changes almost as much as you do. With that in mind, here are a few things that you can do to make sure that your home is ready for the heat.

 

  1. Check your air conditioning

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Image Taken From Flickr

 

There really is nothing worse than the temperature getting too uncomfortable heights, only to find out that your air conditioning isn’t working properly. Companies like Academy Air can help to provide you with reliable systems as well as a great deal of assistance in the event that something goes wrong. Sometimes your air conditioning is the only thing preventing you and your family from completely overheating, so it’s important that it works at all times.

 

  1. Check your windows

 

Depending on where you live, you might have had to install som storm windows during the winter months. If that’s the case, then it’s important that you take them down once the weather starts to warm up. You might even want to replace them with screens. That way you’ll still be able to keep things out, but you’ll be able to get a lot more air flowing through the house.

 

  1. Clear up your yard

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Image Taken From Pixabay

 

The garden is the place in your home that tends to get neglected the most over the winter. It’s pretty understandable that this happens of course. After all, it’s hardly perfect conditions for mowing the lawn when you’re ankle-deep in snow and mud! But as the weather warms up you should take the opportunity to get your garden ready for people to use. You’re probably going to be spending a lot more time in your yard as the weather warms up and you want it to be the kind of place that you can actually enjoy being in.

 

  1. Clean your gutters

 

The winter is the time of year when your gutters tend to fill up with a lot of gross gunk. But the real issue is when the weather warms up, and that stuff starts to dry up. This is the point when really serious blockages can happen. In the event that it does rain during the warmer seasons, you drains are much more likely to flood and overflow when this happens. So, it’s incredibly important that, as soon as the weather starts to clear up, you get up on the ladder and start cleaning out your gutters. Use a trowel to scoop out the majority of the stuff that’s blocking the gutter, then use a hose to wash away the rest as well as forcing out any clogs that might have appeared.

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Buying A Write-Off Car: Can You Grab A Bargain?

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Picture Credit

 

Plenty of cars and other vehicles that are written off by insurance companies are not necessarily as dead as a dodo. In fact, many can be fixed up and sent back onto the road in no time at all, and for any car buyer looking for a good deal, a write-off can prove tempting. However, you do need to be careful, as there are plenty of ways you could end up being taken for a – very dangerous – ride. Let’s take a closer look at some of the basics of buying a write-off, and what you need to do to avoid trouble.

 

The value in written-off cars

 

Cars are written-off because they are damaged beyond a point where insurance companies feel it will cost to fix. So if your car is worth $5,000 at the point of an accident, but repairs will cost more than that, no insurer is likely to give you a payout – and will write-off our vehicle. For a car buyer, the value lies in a written-off car that doesn’t cost as much to repair as the insurance providers think. However, some cars are written off merely because they are dangerous, and it’s important to understand the difference.

 

Check the Written Off Vehicle Register

 

To accurately establish the condition of any vehicle you are thinking of buying, you should always check with the Written Off Vehicle Register (WOVR). This initiative was created to prevent dodgy repair companies fixing up write-offs and putting them back into the market as used cars, rather than ex-write-offs. It’s a process known as ‘rebirthing’ and often results in the car getting a new identity. The truth is that whether you are buying new or a write-off, you should always check this service out regardless.

 

Find repair services

 

Obviously, the best value in buying a previously written off vehicle relies on you doing the repairs. They are a great option for a DIY project, of course, but you should be able to find plenty of professionals to help if you don’t have the skills. Check your local business directory for mechanics with experience of working with write-offs and smash repairs. Bear in mind that buying a write-off is not for the faint of heart, and it’s important to be able to estimate the actual cost of any damage. Some repair jobs could exceed your expectations, so always get it inspected by a qualified individual first.

 

Return to the road

 

You will need to have a string of safety checks on your new purchase when it is fixed, to prove its roadworthiness. If you don’t go through this process, the car will be illegal – and you will end up in a lot of trouble if caught. You should also bear in mind that when you sell it on, it will be necessary to declare it as a write-off. And this could cause you problems, as most people will turn their backs on a car as soon as they realise its history of being a write-off. However, if you want to save money and grab a bargain vehicle that could last you for many years, the write-off market is worth a look – just be careful what you buy!

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The Essentials Of Buying Vehicles For Your Business

There are a million and one reasons why you might need to consider buying cars, trucks, or vans for your business. Whether it’s a little company car or an entire fleet of delivery vehicles, there are plenty of advantages of investing in wheels for your enterprise.

 

Cars are flexible and can act as an enticing offer to prospective employees. Vans are handy for deliveries and are also the workhorse of many a business. And if you need to deliver on a  massive scale – possibly across international borders – then trucks will be an essential purchase.

 

The big question is, how do you go about investing in a fleet of vehicles? Let’s take a look at everything you need to know – and what to expect.

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Is it worth buying?

 

First of all, you will need to establish whether buying vehicles will be more cost-effective than leasing them. In many cases, leasing your fleet of vehicles will be a better move, as it helps you control costs and spread them evenly over a year. Bear in mind that depreciation comes into play when you buy new vehicles, too, which you won’t have to worry about in a leasing plan. However, in some cases – if you are using plots of cars, for example – it is sometimes better to buy than lease. When you buy multiple vehicles, you will often get a fleet discount, and there may be other accounting reasons for making a purchase.  

 

What are the costs?

 

The expenses of owning a fleet of vehicles will vary depending on what – and how many – you buy. You will need to run regular maintenance programs to ensure your assets are in good shape and there are plenty of one-off costs to consider, such as using a 24/7 truck breakdown service or bringing in mechanics. There’s the cost of storage to consider, too – lorries and vans take up a lot of room, and you will need to pay for that space. Finally, insurance is a must if you have a business fleet.

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What systems do I need?

 

You will also need to invest in a robust fleet management and logistics program to ensure you are keeping track of everything. Fuel costs, health, and safety, routes, license checks – they are all needed when you own a fleet and are employing drivers. Logistics is a vital part of any business that uses vehicles, and the goal for every company in this situation is to cut costs without impacting service quality.

 

Who should drive them?

 

While company cars can be offered to any employee with a license, it’s a little different for vans and trucks. It is imperative that you hire drivers that are sensible on the roads, and have clean licenses. You should also offer plenty of training, to ensure they always comply with health and safety issues. It might be worth buying a fleet with telematics technology on board, too, so that you can ensure that all drivers are using their vehicles at the appropriate speeds.

 

OK, so there you have it – a brief guide to some of the basics of buying a fleet for your business. I hope it has helped!

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