Authenticator Security

Do you know what the authenticator app is? It is a special app kind of like what we use to remote log into corporate servers. There is this six digit code that changes every 60 seconds. Microsoft now uses it for Windows login screens, Google uses it, Dropbox uses it, and if you have a WordPress website,  you should be using it too. So, let’s say someone somehow installed a virus or malware on your computer to try and steal your password … this app is a second level of defense, and actually probably your last level of defense. If they don’t have your app with your face to open the app, they will never find out that secret code. So if the hacker  knew your password, or  guessed it, they wouldn’t know the six digit code.
Personally I think credit cards like American Express should offer it as an option for members to guarantee their identity. They are quick to prevent fraud, but it would alleviate the question if it is an actual charge if they used the authenticator. Sure it is another step, but we are already doing it with sites that we use. The technical term is “Two Factor Authentication”. If you are using it, you should always safeguard your cell phone. I heard of a guy who got his phone stolen and the criminal used it to Zelle money to himself. Yeah, guess where those verification texts go? Yep, right to the thief.

After watching Inventing Anna on Netflix, I think it is a good idea to carry a credit card with a relatively low credit line. If you ever have to give a card that might be charged for more than your authorization (like $60k for a Moroccan hotel) the charge will be denied. “Here you can HOLD onto this card, but don’t charge it. You’re not going to charge it right?” hehehe … you can’t because I already maxed it out. 😉 The hotel — in Inventing Anna, DID charge the card without permission. I don’t know about you but if the hotel room is even close to $200 I am hesitant. I can’t imagine paying thousands upon thousands just to sleep in a bed. Crazy right? I guess when you are super rich you lose sight of the real value of money. And if gas prices make you cringe, I would recommend using a credit card that has reward points/paybacks. I figured my American Express Simply Cash card actually gives me back 7.5% for gas stations. So every little bit helps and adds up.

 

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Slot Machines

I love playing slots. The slot machines in Blackhawk and Central City in Colorado are just okay. The slots in Vegas are totally overboard and wow factor. Some go as high as the ceiling and have giant screens, some have 3 screens. So I found this website that actually lets you play for free. They call it practice. I think that is an awesome idea as you can really understand which games pay better based on the bonuses and multipliers and free spins. The graphics and animations are pretty amazing, considering it is all on your computer monitor. I haven’t tried playing on my iPhone or iPad.

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The software they use for each game is exactly like the software used on the computers/slots in Vegas. I discovered that a machine uses a random number generator (RNG) each time you hit the spin button, so in theory … each spin is independent of the prior spin and every spin has a lucky chance at winning the jackpot. So if you want to check it out and play for free, just go to slots.lv — but if you want to play for real money, then use my referral link and you get free gaming money. It’s hard to just watch your pretend money multiply and you could have won that if you used real money. I used a credit card, which of course had to be verified by fraud, since it is an international company used for online gambling. My Caesars Rewards credit card was as good as any as I get tons of points from that card that I can use for free hotel rooms and free game play when I am in Vegas. The first time you deposit money into your gaming account you get a bonus … I put in $250 and they gave me $500 for a total of $750. So I am still playing on their free money bonus. But I always practice first before I play for real. I am pretty sure you have to be of legal age. So have fun! Only gamble what you are willing to lose.

 

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Facebook Poison

Facebook, just like video games, should be limited to a certain amount of time per day. China has implemented this new policy. Wait, China doesn’t even allow Facebook. WHAT? Yep, you heard me right. Personally I am only on Facebook in the middle of the night, when no one is online, and only for a very short amount of time. I actually have been spending less time on Facebook, less posting, and less reading. I can get my news from The New York Times, YouTube news, CNN, and many other news commentary. I can type in a news website directly and NOT have to find out about something via a Facebook newsfeed.
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So evidently, Facebook went dark for five hours the other day and everyone freaked the fuck out. Oh no, I can’t cyberstalk anymore. I have to actually get back to work. Well, SOME people claimed they NEED Facebook just to work. No. They don’t.  So here is something to chew on for a minute, … what if, Facebook disappears one day, just like Friendster and MySpace? Do you have the phone numbers or email addresses of your family and friends? Well, some of them you probably do, but others you don’t, and the more you think about it, you probably are better off without them. Now that Facebook is back online, you might want to think about registering some of those other websites with an actual email address and password, rather than your Facebook login avatar. Those little plugins sure are convenient, … as long as Facebook is online. Billion dollar company and they lose millions in advertisement revenue. Have you noticed the plethora of sponsored ads you are seeing now? After about fifteen minutes of sponsored ads I just had to close the app. Criteria? Male 18-65 living in the US. So basically they are spamming everyone. So, when you see those ads, make sure you hide the ad and hide the advertiser forever.
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I have personally discovered Facebook spying on me. Yep it is true. I started watching Game of Thrones and I have not once looked up anything online on my computer or phone and guess what just showed up in my newsfeed. Yep, you got it. Game of Thrones shit. WTF. So, tell me, how on earth could Facebook know I am watching Game of Thrones, which I purchased … not watching through a smart tv or HBO Max? The app is using the microphone to spy on my activities while I am not using the app. WTF. So, guess what, the phone is no longer in the same room with me and if it rings my apple watch will notify me. But that doesn’t solve the REAL issue. My privacy. Did I give Facebook permission to use the microphone to listen and analyze what I am doing? No. Another solution would be to just delete the app from my phone all together and only access Facebook from a computer with a VPN active. You hear that Facebook? Well, thousands and thousands of my readers heard me and right now they are thinking the exact same thing. I don’t need you Facebook. But you need us. Their outage the other day is going to cost them more than just ad revenue. People are going to wake up and get tired of being bombarded by stupid fucking ads and just stop using the app all together. And let’s be honest, you really don’t need to tell the entire fucking world every event play by play in your life. You really are not that interesting. There is a thing called group text you can use that will update the people who actually want to hear from you. You might notice I am not posting as much on Facebook, for a variety of reasons. I’m really not that interesting either … entertaining maybe. Sometimes life can be perfectly okay without having to share it with anyone on a smartphone or computer. Are you taking those photos of your vacation for you or for your followers? Because most of your followers secretly hate you when you brag about how great your semi-ordinary life is. I see all the bad photoshop apps that are producing shitty results and I just laugh. When your nose disappears and you have no pores it is the first sign of a bad photoshop job. Just be you. You can’t fool anyone in real life. Those extra pounds and that turkey neck can only hide under a turtleneck. 666. That is the magic number of calories you can eat at each meal, if you only ate 3 times a day. You can drink that in your morning coffee and creamer without even blinking.

 

Venom 2 released this past weekend and is currently the number 1 movie in the world. If you liked the first one, you will like the sequel. Addams Family sequel also came out and it was cute, but the plot was kind of lame. They go on a family vacation. Sorry if that ruined it for you, but you’re not a ten year old child and you probably aren’t going to take your kids. But when it comes out on video or Redbox, you should see it.

If you absolutely can’t stay away from Facebook, then start counting the sponsored ads in your newsfeed. When you see, 100 … will you consider closing it for a day? Excuse me while I disappear into the Game of Thrones.

 

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More New Content!

You would think that with every artist and writer locked up at home, alone, that there would have been some really cool masterpieces created. Right? New award winning grammy songs, new plays, and of course, new books from your favorite authors. Don’t look at me, I update the blog WEEKLY. Some writers haven’t written a tweet, let alone an actual blog. Although, I think that more celebrities and authors SHOULD write more. I think reading the thoughts, hopes and dreams of some well known stars would be fun. If you can talk, you can write. While some authors may not be the best at writing, at least they were trying. Some people write differently than how they talk. As I have instructed many aspiring writers, … are you “telling” me what happened, or am I experiencing it using all my senses? Do I “feel” what you feel? Can you smell the fresh baked bread in gramma’s kitchen as the amber sunlight slowly creeps in her flower box window? So I am taking a short break from the job search blogs, today. Yes I know they are entertaining and informative, but they are actually really boring for me. My days were filled with looking at bad resumes from students for years. I could quickly scan a resume and find at least one error … every time. But it takes a trained eye. Some HR recruiters might not even notice some errors. I think I covered most of the bases. Y’all should be able to get a job on your own now.

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So let’s flip over to talking about social media training. I know there are thousands of readers that would love to have a huge social media following. First ask yourself, why do you want that following? Maybe it is so you can build a platform so you can get publishers to notice you and print/publish your book? Your ability to prove to a publisher that you will sell future books is monumental. They claim it costs a lot to print books. Wrong. It costs a lot to print unsellable books. Just think how many stores Barnes & Nobles has, and how many books have to stock each store. Some readers want a following so they can monetize their content. Right. So if you get enough views on YouTube, then advertisers will pay money to put their stupid ad on your video. But you get paid. You might have a big “voice” that other people want to hear. Maybe you have a different take or perspective on a particular issue, and your platform shares those concerns? If you are in the spotlight, your personal lifestyle choices might be “reviewed” and if not deemed appropriate, YouTube can/will demonetize your channel and you get paid nothing. I can think of a certain individual who not only got banned but also lost monetary abilities.

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So if you own a website it may or may not have a blog incorporated into it. Believe it or not, that is something that is extra. If it is a WordPress website it is super simple to use the blog feature. If you didn’t know, WordPress allows additional software, called plugins to be installed to enhance your website. I think this is what has made their platform so successful. One thing that I would encourage website owners (you) to do, is use the Jetpack plugin which has all kind of cool features. If you have subscribed to the site, then you know you don’t have to visit it daily to check if a new blog has been posted. Super convenient for you, and also gives the site a rest from getting too many hits. That is a Jetpack feature. I don’t own my server, so if it gets overloaded, it causes it to stall or get a 503 error. You refresh and it is fixed. But imagine if you were say, Lady Gaga, who has millions of fans. Everyone’s website is different and has different reasons/usage. Some sites actually sell products, and when they launch a new product, … it crashes.

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So if you are a normal person, you probably won’t get millions of hits. But when you do, you can upgrade your site with your hosting server. Just so you know, there will be fans that love you so much they will actually set your website as one of their start up tabs. From the back-end you will know this happens as the same IP address is registering daily in your logs. Everyone has some interesting “hobby” that they are sort of an expert. You can write about it, or YouTube about it, and someone will like it and be a new fan. If you create interesting, new, fun content then you will start your social media following. What are you known for? Then brand yourself that way. Or what do you WANT to be known for? If you knew you were going to die next year, what do you want your legacy to be known for? Or do you have a secret recipe that you really should share with the world? Pin it. Instagram it. Write about it. Do all of the above.

 

Maybe you don’t want a huge social media fan base, but you can still start a free blog and document/write your thoughts that you want shared to your family and friends one day. I know you’re just bored, so do it out of sheer boredom. Writing out your thoughts can really help your mental health.

June. Teenth. What a stupid name for a federal holiday. Wow congress really has their priorities don’t they? May 4th should be a federal star wars holiday. I am sure there are lot of other “groups” that say “Where’s my fucking holiday?” Just saying, since no one else will. Evil is now streaming on the Paramount app instead of CBS. It is like $5 a month. So $1.25 an episode as they launch now every Sunday. I saw it, and it’s worth it. You do get a free trial.

 

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Sales 102

Have you had any formal sales training? Like, you actually sat in a classroom with other students, an instructor (preferably a seasoned salesperson), did role playing and actually closed some sales? No? Okay, well, today in your training you are going to learn a few things in life that might actually help you … in your job, your finances, your relationships. I, on the other hand, have had years of training and mentored with some of the best sales guys I have ever met. In fact, when I was a sales supervisor at Best Buy I was in charge of the orientation/on-boarding/sales training for all new recruits. It actually was really cool as I did the screening, interviewing as well, so spending all that time with new hires helped to retain them. One of the first rules at Best Buy (for me) was if you don’t shop here, you can’t work here. What? Why? You need to already know the products, the industry, the store. You know, basic expectations out of a candidate. So I am going to start with some basics, BEFORE you meet your contact, you have to prospect to get them. I do not mean posting something on your social media that you are now selling the latest, coolest, best _____ product on the market and you need to be one of the first with your foot in the door. Unless you have some geeky kid next door in his garage starting some cool idea company, I would be very, VERY apprehensive in whatever they are selling. Chances are it is a multi-level marketing company, and let’s be honest, you are never going to make real money selling for an upline. I personally know of dozens of good people who fell prey to the “what if it’s you?” bait/marketing scheme.

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I wrote a kids book and most of my friends have kids. Guess what? A tiny fraction of those friends bought or even asked for an autographed copy of my book. Why? I never asked, and actually didn’t care. I have hundreds of thousands of fans/readers all over the world who don’t know me who DID read it. Trying to convince your friends and family to buy your product or service is hard. It is like trying to convince a muggle that you have magic powers or you are psychic. Read my mind. Not all psychics’ powers work like that. So how do you get new customers if your own circle won’t buy? You pay for them. It is called advertising. You see it everywhere. You also get someone to endorse your product … like an influencer or someone who has a lot of people who look up to him/her. What it all comes down to is … word of mouth/ willing to recommend. Sometimes it is simply exposure and marketing your product. A book, like any product needs a marketing plan, a launch date, and many different vehicles to let everyone know. I used Facebook business advertising and exposed my book all around the world until I found my sweet spots. Who knew Algeria and Egypt would be big on my book? As I instructed my clients, we need a minimum of six months exposure before you launch. Get people excited about it before it launches.  The artist I hired for the cover granted me unlimited licensing of my characters so I made bookmarks with their faces. Everyone loves free bookmarks. I actually designed the bookmark, but if you hire a graphic artist, they can easily do one of you and your product (a book). It was also clever as it had the launch date on the bookmark so for a lot of people they saw the book daily before it launched. I know this was key in the marketing efforts. If you want one, Venmo a dollar for postage and envelope (USA only). Put your address in the notes.

 

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When I was in sales at AT&T, the “willing to recommend” was HUGE and I had to drill it into every single one of my customers. It was even on the survey. Are you willing to tell a couple of trusted friends to have the same 5 star experience? Yes? Awesome, here are two cards, write your name on it and when they come in I will give you 2000 roll over minutes for free. Wow. I know right? Now that wouldn’t work. While your own circle of influence may not buy your _____ (for me it was book/websites), they might actually give you customers. Weird I know. As a website guy I also would go to networking groups and I was always hitting up new business owners who didn’t have a website on their business card. I didn’t always get paid actual money, but I did manage to get some awesome trades in return. Keep in mind that not every prospect/contact is going to be a mutual beneficial arrangement. I can think of many, many times I built a website for someone and never got paid. I know, it sucks. When I first started I had a client who tricked me into thinking I was going to get all this new business from her. After a year of no clients from her she moved her website back to WordPress.org and put it on a shitty blog template. She didn’t deserve me. I also volunteered on a church business networking group on the committee/board. I did the website and got “free” advertising and membership. Yeah, that didn’t quite work out as well as I had wanted, as I was donating my websites for charitable causes all the time. Now when people want me to do a “pro bono” website I send them to Wix.com. If you haven’t used/seen it, they actually host a ton of professionals websites. Those who are too cheap to invest have their branding all over it. Although it is somewhat easy to use, it is slow, clunky, can’t be customized how I build websites. I had a client who thought she could do it better and later confessed she had no idea what she was doing. Again, a website for “trade”, I got to read all her training manuals on her specific trade, as long as I promised never to compete against her. I was like, okay, I do websites, you do emotional healing. You’re safe. While I don’t advocate spamming your newsfeed with your product/service I do promote listing it so people can find more about it. You can list your Facebook business page on your personal page, and then when people click it, they can see your posts and website address.

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If are you NOT selling a product or service and you are simply looking for work, let me visit your employment profile for a moment. If you are unemployed then you definitely need to let all your contacts know you are looking for work. Text, email, post an update, snap it, meet friends for drinks and find out more about their companies. If I had to go look for a corporate job, I would hit up my network of colleagues to see what they had open and would recommend. There are lots of jobs out there if you look. Keep in mind that many companies will not post jobs on outside websites so you might have to do more work to find those jobs. Getting an employee referral is your ideal situation. When you do meet up, be ready to spit out all kinds of tactical experiences that you can easily transfer to another company. I’m a sales/marketing/HR kind of guy, so a job traveling for trade shows selling HR ____ would be my target job. Could I sell to HR colleagues? Easily. If I didn’t have any networking friends, I would use LinkedIn, theladders.com and I would target companies that I felt were desirable to work at, like, you know, Google, apple, Disney. What software are you an expert? Can you really use Photoshop or are you just using a fancy paid app like Khloe Kardashian? How fast do you type? As silly as that sounds, there are still millions who can’t type. I hate typing on a phone, so I use voice to text. But I am long winded so you might think I type really really fast. It is crazy when I go somewhere and I see the employee looking at the keyboard for the right letters. Crazy right? How are your organizational skills? What do you use to keep you on time, at the right place, and not forgetting shit? What apps do you use? As weird as it sounds, in this day and age, you really have to know how to use apps to work. Like, Slack for instance. It isn’t industry specific, but it is an app that I had to learn to use.

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I haven’t updated/visited my resume in a decade, and I bet there are a lot of other people who can say the same. So why don’t we start together and create something new, current and ready for today and tomorrows job market? The first part of the sales process is going to be selling YOU, your skills, experience (or lack thereof), your personality and what you can do for a company. Start by identifying WHO you are, and how you are going to market that. For example, am I a writer? HR guy? website guy? sales? trainer? You might have several resumes based on your skills, or you may just have one that you customize with each job/employer. Think about the “things” you can do now, and for your next job. Everyone has something that will make them unique, and highly desirable as a candidate. Having lots and lots of skills that multiple departments can benefit from will quickly advance a candidate. When I said I could train the staff on some different sales and closing techniques that would increase revenue and new business development, I was a “sure thing”. When I was asked if I knew the 4 “C’s”, I replied, “Cash, check, charge, credit.”

 

For your resume, start with your objective and/or your professional profile (or highlights). This will be the first section of your resume. I also like to call this the formal 30 second commercial. If someone only had a few seconds to scan through your resume, what are the things you want them to see immediately?

Share the wealth and forward/share this valuable information with someone you know needs it. If this was forwarded to you, hit up the website and subscribe to get your own blog updates.

 

 

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Sales 101

Alrighty kids, let’s learn something, or shall we say, revisit a very simple but important concept in running a business. So if you don’t think this relates directly TO you, there might be someone in your circle of influence that you need to pass this message. Fair enough? One of my specialties has been to identify areas of opportunity and determine sources of revenue. So small business owners or really creative idea generators listen up? Whatever your business is … you MUST secure a stable stream of revenue or you will fail. Now, there are exceptions to every rule, such as, a millionaire like a Kardashian can start a company, it can fail and they don’t lose everything and go on unemployment. You can also be a non-profit and you get grants, donations and sponsorships to keep the daily operations going. One of the hardest thing to do in starting a business is acquiring new customers. Hence advertising, word of mouth, social media all have a huge effect on whether people will buy, use and recommend your product or service.

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So where am I going with this? Well, take a look around at what products or services are now hard to come by, … such as rental cars. About a year ago after everyone was forced to stay home, some of the supporting industries took a huge dive in customers. No one was traveling and many of the big rental car companies were forced to sell off their inventory at a huge loss or face bankruptcy, which actually happened to a couple of companies. So now that things are somewhat returning to normal, there are no cars to rent. In some places, people are renting the pickup truck from Uhaul as it is cheaper than a rental car. So if you weren’t aware, there is a car sharing app/company that has been around for a little while, but like everything, had a downturn in sales. That company is Turo.com. Now I have never used the company myself, nor do I know of anyone who does, but it comes highly recommended. It is like air B&B, where you rent your property to someone, and it is covered by another insurance company, and you can make money on your car if you aren’t using it. There are actually people who went and bought or leased a new car, and then turn around and put it on Turo as their income. Same concept with the air B&B, … as long as you have customers. So if you are planning a vacation or trip anytime soon, be sure you use this cool website. You can rent anything from a Jeep 4×4 to a brand new corvette. This is especially fun if you are going to be doing a lot of driving on your trip.

And in case you missed it, Colorado was the tragedy of the “Mother’s Day Massacre”, in Colorado Springs where six people were gunned down at a family celebration in a mobile home trailer park. The killer was the boyfriend of one of the victims and died of a self inflicted gun wound. Our hearts, warm thoughts and prayers go out to the surviving family members and friends.

 

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Entertainment Subscription Websites

How many websites do you pay a monthly fee? Yes, some are for entertainment, like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney+, cable, … all of these are things the occupy your time and feed your need for entertainment. I think “most” people are okay with paying for music or video, but when it comes to reading content, they just simply refuse. How many times have you visited Wikipedia and seen the “help us, and donate anything you can” banner? Web hosts and services aren’t free but yet every day people use that website and don’t pay a dime. Why? Surely if you were accessing some information you found valuable you could easily justify the expense. So this is a teaching article, and mostly I am targeting any artist who is self employed, such as myself. So, if you get a 1099, or you send invoices, then this might be you. If you create something that someone can buy, this also might be you. Your customer base/fans love and support you. I watch as “collectors” go crazy when a limited edition anything is released. So maybe things are a little slow for you now. COVID sucks for everyone and networking and art shows, festivals, and other performances are extremely limited. I am willing to bet if you asked your fans/customers for donations, they just might do it. I saw Billy Gilman doing a livestream on Facebook, and just like me, he is an artist that can’t make an income, so he listed his Venmo “tip jar”, and believe it or not, people gave him money. If you aren’t familiar with Venmo, it is an app that you link to your bank account that allows you to transfer money to friends easily and for free. We literally live in a cashless society. Some of us, rely upon customers to make our rent/mortgage. I’ll admit it, I’m one of them. Things are tough for everyone. So if you have a website, or a Facebook page, go to your Venmo app, take a screenshot of your QR code and post it so your fans/supporters can donate to your cause. Here is mine. If you are a long time reader and found one of my articles/blogs helpful, handy, inspiring or just entertained you and took you away from this nasty world for a few moments, then do me a favor and help me out. Did I help you out with a job issue? HR situation? WordPress or website ah ha? Btw, if you are running WordPress there is a new core out and you need to upgrade. Did you close a sale, get a new job, new customer, or negotiate a better salary because of something you learned from this site? Is that worth the equivalent of buying me a drink or a dinner? For my fans/readers who have already told me they want to support me, this blog is for you. And if you are also an artist, you should be putting your Venmo code out there too. People generally are good heart-caring people. So put your code out there, and maybe if you get a donation, you can share the information with your circle to do the same, and then hit me up with a donation for teaching you something new and creating some income for you.
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When I was in college, I was the VP of Finance for the American Marketing Association for the University chapter. Fancy title huh? Yeah, it actually came in very handy when I interviewed for jobs years later. A lot of interviewers wanted to know what all that big fancy title entailed, and of course I was happy to talk, and talk, and talk. I partnered with dozens businesses amassing thousands of dollars in “door prizes”. I was amazed how easy it was to ask for gift certificates, prizes, food … and businesses gave it without hesitancy. I called it active fundraising and partnership affiliate marketing. I also had check signing rights, and held a pretty heft budget for college organization. Little did I know that simply asking for money was a real job in the real world. Some places call it grant writing … again asking for money. Later in life I used that valuable skill to get companies to pay for something called “Sponsorships”, so their name would be advertised prominently to a captive audience. Gold, Silver, Bronze levels … honestly was the biggest con ever. Oh yay, your name is on all the ____ at the event. You get a table and a banner (that you provide).

 

A thousand thank you’s for my long time readers/supporters. Post your Venmo code. Start your fairy garden today. YouTube has fairy music that you can play to attract fairies.

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Trump’s New Blog (desk)

Twice impeached former US President Donald J. Trump has “launched” his blog. He calls it a new social media platform. Uh huh. I’m a webmaster and I read code. I can see right through it. And technically it is no different than my own blog. Instead of calling it blog he simply renamed the location as “desk”.  Unlike my own meandering thoughts and far fetched ideas, displayed in a huge font for us visually challenged folks, his “tweets” or posts I should say, need improvement. They are too small to read and due to his highly formal background in the English language, are nothing compared to our former President Obama, a former attorney and politician. I didn’t subscribe to his website and I did not donate either. He’s a “billionaire” and he is asking for money. I actually have been saying all along he should just use his own domain and website to post his thoughts, … just like Ben Shapiro and myself. You have a target audience that actually wants to hear what you have to say, and like my site, he does not allow you to comment on the site. You can actually comment on mine, I just don’t publish them on the site. Whomever is doing his site really should do some upgrades. Trump is still technically banned on all social media, including Facebook and Twitter, so I am not sure they will allow users to post his “tweets”/posts to their own newsfeed/timeline. When Ivanka did an interview with daddy and put it on Instagram it was immediately removed from her page and every user that shared it. It is no big surprise Trump is still obsessed with spouting lies. I will agree, the election WAS stolen, when he got elected the first time. When you know, the Russians hacked our system and forced the US to have paper ballots as backup/proof. Hillary did not once pull a temper tantrum like Donald. She didn’t tell hundreds of democrats to storm the capital. I think he still thinks he is innocent and the fact that lives were lost due to his immaturity is not his fault. I’m still waiting for New York to find him guilty of all kinds of shit. Tax evasion, racketeering, and not to mention the egregious abuse of power. He made millions charging guests (secret service) at his hotels. And let’s not forget every one of those damn hotels charge … you got it, a resort fee. Which we know is a bullshit fee since we all have internet on our phones.  Ironic how those hotels are remaining unoccupied, mostly due to COVID, which he said would magically go away the day after elections.

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And in other news, I read that the Biden Administration is looking to increase the number of years that a public student would need to graduate, to an additional 4 years. So if you can’t make college free for everyone, then simply change the rules for public education and give them the 4 years for free. I see this could be a good thing, or a bad thing. What if the kids say “F” this and they all start dropping out after the 12 years are up? I don’t know about you, but I was ready for college. High school was … confining. I don’t personally agree with all the things they make kids do to graduate. If I was in charge of education, I would make some serious curriculum changes. How to change a tire, jump start a car, cooking for dummies … you know, real life skills. As a member of the InstantPot group on Facebook, I have come to the conclusion that millions of people do not know how to cook, and they think their new magic InstApot is a replacement microwave. Every day, every minute, somewhere, someone is making a 3000 calorie cheesecake and dumping another 2000 calories in chocolate and toppings. I drink my calories, in those delicious Arby’s orange creamsicle shakes. If you haven’t had one you really should try one as they are for a limited time only. A large is a whopping 950 calories. Yep, that was my lunch and dinner that day.

Did you get your mom a gift yet? Time is running out.

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Sephora, Ulta, or Discount Store

If you have ever walked into a Sephora or an Ulta store you know that it is full of highly priced beauty products. Women (and now men) spend thousands of dollars in these stores, all with the goal in mind of looking pretty, or younger. As you glance around the store, almost all the customers are pretty and the salespeople look like they walked out of a magazine. After all, if you are selling beauty products then it should look like you are using them. I used to think that these two stores were basically the same store, selling the same products. But after doing a lot of research, and shopping I have come to a clear decision on which one I like best. AND since a lot of people wonder what I think, telling them where I shop can be advantageous. After all, as one friend said, I have already done all the leg work of doing the research.
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Now if you don’t care about your looks, getting old, or attempting to be somewhat attractive to the eye, then you might just be a straight male republican. Hahahaha. Seriously, my twin brother doesn’t have a skincare routine, and he doesn’t even wash his face at night. And he wonders why I look younger. Kim Kardashian doesn’t just wake up looking gorgeous. So the difference in the stores, from which I can tell, deal with the kinds of brands each of them carry. As you may know, there are literally hundreds if not thousands of brands and products. How do you decide on which ones to spend your hard earned cash? You do want to look amazing for the rest of your life and you can’t do that without some help. As I told a friend, in all honesty, if someone is exfoliating, using a serum, moisturizer and spf, he/she is going to look good. Not knocking any brand, so if you got it at Target or at Sephora, something is better than nothing.
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Sephora is more high end and is going to carry more expensive brands. Ulta will have middle of the line, and maybe some luxury brands. Target, Walmart, Dollar Store all have make up and skincare but they may not be the highest quality. Of course, if/when you find a brand you love, you can buy directly from their website. BUT if you want to make life easier, you can buy online from Sephora and get free shipping, free products, and tons of free samples. They have a $35 minimum to get some of the samples, but if shipping is free, I just make multiple orders and get all the samples. They know what I am doing and combine them all into one box. Twice a year they have a beauty insider event. You give them your email and they track your purchases and then you get a special discount event. So that super expensive _____ that you wanted, you can get it on sale. Some of the skincare products are really pricey, so getting samples of those products is a bonus. If you aren’t signed up, head over there now and the next event for 10% off is this week. I am addicted to “Sunday Riley” skincare, which they sell on Sephora and Ulta. But you don’t get a discount or free shipping at Ulta.

Go pamper yourself with some skincare products. When your skin/face looks good, you feel good. And let’s be honest, no one gives a hoot how tan your face looks. You can use make up bronzing to give you a healthy beautiful glow without damaging your skin. I like to use Natasha Denona’s contouring powder to enhance my dark skin tan.

(I was not paid to endorse any of these companies). Sephora, Sunday Riley & Natasha Denona are “Aaron Approved”. 
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Branding Yourself

If you are reading this blog/article via email, then you won’t see my website header, which includes my smiling face, my educational credentials, and other fun aspects of “who” I am. This is called branding. Here it is for those readers:
AaronMstephensMBAIf you were one of my clients I would instruct you to do something similar in your own efforts. It will help you to narrow your audience and help your readers determine if they want to keep reading. Also, as a … we will just say “influencer” or future influencer, you want people to remember you “for” something. And if you are selling something, they will automatically think of you. You may not have as many “things” you are branding, and maybe you just want people to know you are a _____. (realtor, attorney, writer, artist, actor, salesman … you get the idea)

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In addition to spending time writing expert articles on your blog, you will want to cultivate some of the more popular platforms. The great thing with your blog/website, is you can very easily share your articles to all your platforms. Chances are you already have “some” followers, people who are not your friends or family. I am sure you are still using e-mail, so in your footer signature, you can add your website and Facebook business page. Over the years I have gained thousands of new readers by someone who got an email or forwarded email from me. When you manage and develop these platforms, it is important that you do not repeat the same content across all platforms. What? So, if you post a photograph of an awesome dinner on Instagram, do NOT put it Facebook, or Snap it. Why? Well, a lot of your fans/followers follow you across multiple platforms. So it is best to only share certain things on certain places. Does that make sense?  Of course you can do whatever you want, but if you want to gain new followers, then you will want to create new content across different platforms. I don’t have millions of followers, and I’m just a normal guy. I’m not a celebrity, a rock star, or even anyone remotely famous. I just have a lot of people that like to read my thoughts. Or so I have been told. Content is key, and writing or creating good/entertaining content is king.

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One more thing, when you are branding yourself, it is a really good idea to use a semi-professional looking picture for your profile shot. Now, once you have a million followers and you are identified because of your keen unique sense of style, then do whatever.  But for starters, it is not hard to get a decent background and good lighting for that first impression. Yes, I am guilty of taking car selfies, and they are all over my Instagram. Do yourself a favor and take off the sunglasses and pretend for five minutes that you are someone’s role model. That one day, someone may just want to interview you, hire you, photograph you, and you really want an amazing first impression. There literally are over a billion Asian men on this planet. I’ve been told I am remembered by my beautiful smile. Awww. That is a good thing, since I have literally spent thousands on dental work.

On a final note, if you are a parent, a teacher or a caregiver, you are also a role model. Probably a very important one. A thousand thank you’s for all you do. With great power comes great responsibility.

 

 

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