2015 tour v1 300x143 The Things I Think About: Parenting and Safe Driving #FordDriveSafeMy regular readers know that I typically don’t talk about regular “life” stuff on my blog. Most of my life is kept in boxes – a box for business, a box for home, a box for parenting, etc. and I try to keep them as separate as possible. For the past three months the boxes have started to overlap – at least in my mind – because I’ve been giving more and more thought on how my business life is going to change once my son heads off to college.

Here are some of random things that have been running through my mind:

  • What life lessons has he picked up from watching me run my business over the past six years?
  • Why doesn’t he understand why I’m telling him it’s not worth getting into $200K of debt for school?
  • Does he have the determination and motivation to keep going when things get tough in life?

Do you know what scares me the most?

Will he make smart decisions when it comes to driving? 

I’ve lost several loved ones due to driving accidents – some involved alcohol, some didn’t. Driving is an integral part of so many people’s lives and when you live in a large metro area the odds of being involved in an accident are even higher. (here are some interesting stats on the most dangerous cities for alcohol related accidents)

I can’t help but to think of all of the new dangers today’s kids face due to how different things are from when I was learning how to drive as a kid. In my opinion one of the most significant change is how prevalent Smartphones are today.

How many of these things have distracted your own driving? 

  • Using GPS
  • Answering the phone
  • Reading or writing text messages
  • Changing music/radio stations
  • Eating
  • Personal grooming
  • Turning your head to look at someone in the back

By no means is this even close to being all-inclusive – these are just some distractions that immediately come to my mind.

My son recently finished his driver’s ed class and I imagine they certainly covered safe driving. But teaching safe driving can’t just happen in class. As a parent, I’m “teaching” him every single time we are in the car together. I’ve always tried to be very conscientious that I’m modeling safe driving behavior, especially when it comes to my Smartphone.

Did you know?

Vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for 15-to-20-year-olds in the United States, claiming more than 5,000 lives a year. Ford Driving Skills for Life was started back in 2003 to address this issue. Thousands of teens, parents, and educators have utilized the resources.

This is really scary! I’ll do anything to do my part in trying to prevent him becoming one of these sobering statistics.

I’d love to hear from other parents – what conversations, tools and resources have you used to teach your children about safe driving? If you haven’t already, be sure to check out the many resources available on Ford’s Driving Skills for Life site.


Disclosure: I receive a fee for participating in certain promotional campaigns for Ford Motor Company. All views and opinions expressed are my own.


Have you been wondering "How Do I Start A Virtual Assistant Business? or "How To Find Virtual Assistant Jobs?".



Pre-Note: The information below is for a session I will be presenting at VA Networking’s annual online event. I’m just one of 20 speakers. And you can sign up for the entire multi-day event for as low as $37! The event runs from November 17 – November 21, 2014 

Want to know more about it? You can watch this video (and maybe even learn some new tools you can use in your business).


Depositphotos 52262339 xs 300x200 Only $37 to Hear 20 Speakers at Virtual Assistant ConferenceDid you know there are ways to simplify bookkeeping by utilizing cloud services?

Imagine the satisfaction and relief you’ll experience by having all of your business bookkeeping up to date. You won’t have to set aside multiple nights and weekends as tax time creeps near to get your records sorted out while praying and hoping you have everything on hand.

Most virtual assistants offer Paypal as a client payment option but cringe at the ~3% Paypal keeps. Merchant service (credit card processing) accounts for small businesses can be cost-prohibitive once you factor in monthly fees, annual compliance charges, etc. Additionally, if you’d like the ability to process American Express there are typically even more hoops to jump through. There are incredibly cost-effective and easy ways to accept credit cards and to receive payments through Paypal for only $.50.

My session will focus on six different tools you can implement in your business to save both time and money (or even for bookkeeping clients you service).

Execute these solutions and you will experience the following benefits:

  • Reduce your admin time maintaining your business bookkeeping.
  • Easily keep up your bookkeeping on a monthly basis so you can regularly run financial reports to monitor the health of your business.
  • Utilize cloud services to automate bookkeeping tasks. The more you automate the less time you need to spend!
  • Offer your clients multiple online payment options by accepting all major credit cards, including AMEX. Best of all there are no monthly service fees and no annual compliance fee. (You will still have to pay processing fees)
    • NOTE: By offering multiple easy online payment options you can often reduce your Accounts Receivable turnaround time.
  • Receive Paypal payments for a mere $.50 – no matter how large your invoice is.
  • If you bill by the minute/hour you will be able to effortlessly and accurately track billable time and simply invoice from time records.
  • Have a team and need to bill for their billable time too? Easy peasy whether you have a team of one or thirty!

Two of the services are free to use and the other three will cost between $47.90 – $71.90 per month (total). Think that’s too high? Look at the savings I’ve personally experienced from January 1, 2014 through October 31, 2014. Of course, individual results will vary.

  • $62,624.75 collected via Paypal payments
  • The normal ~ 3% Paypal fees would have resulted in $1,878.74 being kept by Paypal
  • My Paypal fees were only $44.05 – that’s a savings of $1,285.18!
  • I’ve paid $593.56 for the services – deduct this from the $1,285.18 and that leaves me with a net savings of $1,241.13.

Not factored in are the countless hours of my own time I’ve saved with invoicing and bookkeeping. Whatever time I save on my own business tasks is time I can be working, and billing, a client.

Join me on Tuesday, November 18, 2014 to learn how you can set up and utilize these services for yourself.

Your time is valuable. Invest in yourself!


Have you been wondering "How Do I Start A Virtual Assistant Business? or "How To Find Virtual Assistant Jobs?".

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Photoxpress 706535 300x225 Is Your Copywriting Interesting?This is no time to get metaphysical about it. Quantum mechanics can be fascinating in theory, but their actual explanation is often so dull you’d rather have a dentist drilling in your molars than sit through it. Your topic may be interesting, but what we’re really asking is whether your copywriting has made it seem interesting to your reader.

There are a few ways to do that:

  • Throw out a surprising fact or figure. Remember how they used to tell you to start your essay with some great fact? It’s the same concept. If you say, “Small businesses are actually more likely to succeed in a failing economy,” your reader’s reaction is likely to be “What? Why? Tell me more.”
  • Play up the coolest conclusions and examples. If you have great examples of why your product or service is worth promoting, give them as much screen time as possible. “Walt Disney founded Disneyland during a recession, and Ford came up with the conveyer belt.” Those are cool facts that make your reader intrigued.
  • Appeal to the layman, not the expert. When you confuse your readers, you usually bore them. Quantum mechanics are usually boring to hear about because the explanation is riddled with jargon, not because the topic is boring. Don’t say, “Studies have shown that entrepreneurs have an improved fiscal outlook in recessions.” That’s jargon, and even though the conclusion is valuable, no one really gets it.

About the Author: Allison Nazarian is a writer who works closely with organizations of all sizes to put stories into words. Learn more about Allison and her services at AllisonN.com.

Photo Credit: Photoxpress user Sydney Alvares



Have you been wondering "How Do I Start A Virtual Assistant Business? or "How To Find Virtual Assistant Jobs?".


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First Thoughts: Review of HTC One M8 #VZWbuzz

by Michelle MangenOctober 21, 2014 Verizon Lifestyle

I received the HTC One M8 the same day I received the Sony Xperia Z2 tablet and it was a toss up on what device I was going to explore first. HTC, I owe you an official apology for neglecting you for so long! Here are some highlights on some of the HTC One M8: […]

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