A Motivational story about Positive Thinking

Screenshot 2019-04-18 at 09.34.17(Author Unknown)

Read this, and let it really sink in… Then, choose how you start your day tomorrow…

Jerry is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, “If I were any better, I would be twins!” He was a unique manager because he had several waiters who had followed him around from restaurant to restaurant.

The reason the waiters followed Jerry was because of his attitude. He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, Jerry was there telling the employees how to look on the positive side of the situation.

Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Jerry and asked him, I don’t get it! You can’t be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?” Jerry replied, “Each morning I wake up and say to myself, Jerry, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood.

I choose to be in a good mood. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life.

“Yeah, right, it’s not that easy,” I protested. “Yes, it is,” Jerry said. “Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people will affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or a bad mood. The bottom line: It’s your choice how you live life.”

I reflected on what Jerry said. Soon thereafter, I left the restaurant industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it.

Several years later, I heard that Jerry did something you are never supposed to do in a restaurant business: he left the back door open one morning and was held up at gunpoint by three armed robbers. While trying to open the safe, his hand, shaking from nervousness, slipped off the combination. The robbers panicked and shot him. Luckily, Jerry was found relatively quickly and rushed to the local trauma centre. After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Jerry was released from the hospital with fragments of the bullets still in his body.

I saw Jerry about six months after the accident. When I asked him how he was, he replied, “If I were any better, I’d be twins. Wanna see my scars?” I declined to see his wounds but did ask him what had gone through his mind as the robbery took place. “The first thing that went through my mind was that I should have locked the back door,” Jerry replied. “Then, as I lay on the floor, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or I could choose to die. I chose to live.”

“Weren’t you scared? Did you lose consciousness?” I asked. Jerry continued, “…the paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the ER and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read ‘he’s a dead man.’

I knew I needed to take action.” “What did you do?” I asked. “Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me,” said Jerry. “She asked if I was allergic to anything. ‘Yes,’ I replied. The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, ‘Bullets!’ Over their laughter, I told them, ‘I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead.'”

Jerry lived thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude. I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully. Attitude, after all, is everything. 

Positive thinking the first step towards a happy life.

Attitude is everything

If everyone applies just these, the whole world will live in happiness.

Image: https://pixabay.com/photos/bullet-cartridge-ammunition-crime-408636/
Posted in Inspiration | Leave a comment

Rocking With Me

woods-3023033_960_720(Author Unknown)

There was once an elderly, despondent woman in a nursing home. She wouldn’t speak to anyone or request anything. She merely existed – rocking in her creaky old rocking chair.

The old woman didn’t have many visitors. But every couple of mornings, a concerned and wise young nurse would go into her room. She didn’t try to speak or ask questions of the old lady. She simply pulled up another rocking chair beside the old woman and rocked with her.

Weeks or months later, the old woman finally spoke.

‘Thank you,’ she said. ‘Thank you for rocking with me.’

‘There is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.’ – Vincent Van Gogh

Image: https://pixabay.com/photos/woods-outdoors-porch-rocking-chairs-3023033/

 

 

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#Travel Itinerary Part 9 – Essential Travel Tips

Welcome to Part 9 of this #Travel Itinerary series; in the previous articles I have covered:

In this article, I look at aspects of travel I may not have covered in the previous sections and hopefully provide some handy tips to make your travels hassle-free and more enjoyable. These are in a random order, as the thoughts occurred to me.

Plan as little as possible

I know that the whole series of articles has helped you plan, but now I am telling you to plan as little as possible – allow for spontaneity and surprise to be part of your experience. Never rush around so much that you don’t have time to stop when you see an interesting place or walk around and find a better photo.

Make a list

As soon as you start planning your travels, start making a list of the things you need to do and the things you need to pack. Then regularly review by adding things that need to be done and packed, or deleting things that you have done or don’t need to take.

Passport expiry date

Do you know when your passport expires? Remember some countries may deny you entry should your passport be expiring within six months of the date of entry. If you regularly travel with your partner try to get the expiry dates at the same time if you can.

Local language

Learn some of the local languages before you visit a place, you’ll be amazed by how much you can learn on YouTube.

Travel insurance

Make sure you have taken out good travel insurance, let’s hope you never need it, but you will never be sorry should things go wrong.

All electronics and essentials in Carry-On

Carry all your important items and electronics with you in your carry-on luggage.

Earplugs and sleep masks

Sleep is important when you travel, pack the items in your carry-on that will assist you in sleeping. Try all these things before your journey and make sure they fit comfortably.

Jetlag

Remember you may have travelled a long time and you could either be very tired or even suffer from jetlag, so always give yourself sufficient time to sleep on your first day of arrival.

Public transport

Have you booked your City Pass card already? They can save you money by getting from the airport to your accommodation. Do your research beforehand so that you know what options are available.

Sunscreen

Sunburn or even sunstroke can seriously derail your holiday. Wear sunscreen all the time (even in winter) and if you can find a good moisturiser with a high SPF factor then you will do even better.

Print out or write down your itinerary and addresses

Never rely totally on your electronics, have your itinerary available and include all the addresses and contact numbers of all booked accommodation.

Extra underwear

Underwear is light and easy to pack, a few extra pairs may just come in very handy when you least expect it.

Public toilets

If there is an opportunity, use it and don’t drink too much. Remember that many places require that you pay for the convenience either in actual coins or you may need to order something. We have a special purse with bathroom change. There are some handy apps you can find to help you locate toilets – simply type in ‘Toilet Finder”unnamed

Wet weather gear

Pack a lightweight raincoat and waterproof pants in your daypack, as getting wet is never fun.

Washing clothes

Only pack clothes that can be worn a few times before you need to wash them and if you need to wash in the sink or basin, remember to pack washing powder, some pegs and a string that can be tied up as a wash line.

Plan your clothes

Wearing jeans the whole time could be a plan, but if you have two pairs of jeans the same shade then it may feel or look like you wearing the same jeans all the time, especially when jeans can really be worn for quite a long time before needing to wash them. The best is to pack a varied range of colours that can be mixed and matched so that you can attempt to look different each day.

Authorities and custom officials

Always be polite and co-operate with them, they have a job to do and they have the whole day to do it, being polite will ensure you do not spend their day with them.

A few debit and credit cards

Take a few debit and credit cards with you, you never know when one type is not accepted or the system may be offline. Draw some cash and have it available just in case.

Notify your bank of your travels

Remember to notify your bank before you travel and test your card by drawing some cash as soon as you arrive.

Emergency cash

Have a supply of cash available just in case you find yourself in a situation where you have either lost all your belongings or you need to travel in an emergency. Be prepared!

Offline maps

Google Maps is great, but have another map service as a backup just in case something happens. Search: Offline Maps and you will find an alternative service.

Free wi-fi & VPN

Free wi-fi always sounds great, but nothing is really free so always be careful. Use a VPN service which will help secure your device from cyber attacks and will also help if you log in if you using subscription services to watch your favourite series.

Back-up your photos and data

Use a cloud server to back up all your information and memories. I would also recommend backing up to a small portable hard drive for extra security as you don’t want to lose your valuable memories.

Screenshot 2019-04-16 at 16.30.57Don’t buy every souvenir

Never feel that you need to come back with souvenirs, rather decide what type of souvenir you would like and start collecting them. Spoons, fridge magnets and keyrings are much smaller and easier to transport than mugs and soft toys.

Keep a journal 

Even if you are not a blogger keep some type of journal, write down the names of places you visited while they still fresh in your mind. We often photograph things thinking that will help us remember something, but in the case of food the menu is normally removed before the food arrives and it is often difficult to remember what the exact name of the dish you ordered was. Write down short notes whenever possible, it also frees the mind so that you can think of other things.

Mixed packing of Check-In luggage

Travelling with a friend? Don’t pack all your things in your bag – rather give them at least one of your sets of clothes and shoes. Do the same for them and in case your luggage does not arrive on time you will not be completely stranded.

Take more photos of yourself

Often when travelling we take photos of everything we see but forget to include ourselves in the photos. I often think it would have been great to have a photo in front of the …  Remind yourself to take more photos of yourself.

Be like a local

How do the locals dress? Do some research beforehand and adjust what you pack so that you are not the obvious tourist.

Photocopies & Photos

Scan and email all your documents to yourself and a trusted friend or family member, also make photocopies of your travel documents and have extra passport photos with you and give an extra set of copies to your travel partner.

Google Translate

Have you downloaded the App? It is more than useful when trying to have a conversation with someone who does not speak English. Use the camera option to read and understand menus in other languages.

Screenshot 2019-04-16 at 16.34.02

Toilet paper

Always pack your own toilet paper, your 3-ply delicate soft may not be available where you are going and even some of the 2-ply brands are more industrial than what you may be accustomed to. Remember to pack some in your day pack.

Post for your friends and family

Travelling puts you amongst a small percentage of the world’s population. Share your photos and stories on Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms daily. People love to follow you around the world so please don’t disappoint them.

Smile

A smile changes you and it changes the world around you, always remember to smile – your travels will be better than if you did not.

Drink water

It is so easy to become dehydrated whilst travelling. Remember to drink water to keep yourself healthy. Find out if the tap water is safe for drinking so you can refill your water bottle. If necessary or you are unsure, always have bottled water with you.

Charge your devices whenever you can

Use the opportunity to charge whenever you can. Often you will only have one plug available so if you have many devices you may want to consider a strip plug.Screenshot 2019-04-16 at 14.21.03

Trust people

Learn to trust, be streetwise and take advice from the locals. When a local who speaks perfect English suddenly wants to be your friend, he or she is a con artist and these people are not to be trusted.

Who knows your plans?

Would someone be able to find you in an emergency if you lost your phone? Always give a plan to someone you trust and stick to your general plan (like the accommodation you are booked into) and notify them of any changes.

It has been a pleasure sharing the Travel Itinerary series with you. Please feel free to send me comments and or any suggestions of topics you would like me to cover in future travel related articles.

 

Posted in Travel | Tagged , | 9 Comments

Demand or Wait for Service?

pexels-photo-296888Have you ever been at a restaurant or coffee shop when the staff have simply not seen you or are so busy serving other patrons that they just don’t serve you?

When I speak or run a training session in a new country, I like to spend a day in that country familiarising myself with local life and the people to bring local relevance into what I will be sharing. Part of this learning is the service rendered by the local businesses and hospitality industry as this will give me a good idea of the quality of life and the amount of kindness that exists in the community.

I won’t mention names as this will not add to the story. I was booked into a 5 Star hotel for 3 nights by my client who was the local tourism agency and some of the hotel management would be attending my session the following day.

My plan for the first day was to visit some of the local attractions and do some shopping. I decided to visit the hotel’s in-house coffee shop and answer a few emails before venturing out. When I came into the coffee shop I greeted some of the staff and found myself a table, connected to the wi-fi and started with the emails.

After a while, I realised that I had not received any service and thought to myself, ‘They look busy but I am sure they will attend to me.’ I continued to work until I was rudely interrupted by a large local businessman shouting and demanding he gets served – at this stage it was apparent that I was not the only one who was not getting service. He got what he demanded from a very flustered looking waiter.

The coffee shop had already started to empty, and I had still not been served after waiting another 20 minutes and having been there for more than an hour already.

What would you do in a situation like this? I would love to hear your comments.

What I did was as follows, I packed up my things and left the coffee shop quietly and proceeded to the general manager’s reception. Here I asked to see the general manager and the receptionist asked what it was about. I then reminded her that I had politely asked to see him and that I did not need to justify why I needed to see him. She was rather taken back by my reply, but then she realised the direction I had just come from and asked if I was just at the coffee shop and I said ‘yes’. She asked me to take a seat and wait.

After a few minutes, a manager appeared who was clearly not the General Manager (I have worked long enough in the hospitality industry to identify a GM when I see one) but introduced himself as the manager. I appreciate honesty and this guy was not being honest with me, but he did ask if I had a problem.

My response was ‘No I actually don’t have a problem, and I feel sorry for every guest of this so-called 5 Star hotel, as they are not delivering the level of service that would be expected.’ His response was to ask what can they do for me and before the complimentary offers came I interrupted him by saying ‘I want you to do nothing special for me, I would like to see you and every member of your staff serving quests to the best of their ability and if I notice any of your staff trying to treat me any differently to any other guest I will be visiting the real General Manager.’

It was amazing as from that moment on the guests in the hotel looked happier than I had previously observed.

The actual general manager who was in my session the following day approached me during the lunch break to give me his excuse for the level of service in his hotel and how they were short staffed due to budget constraints. He then told me that by comparison, his hotel had one of the best service ratings in the city, which made me very sympathetic to the guests of the other hotels. When I asked him about the lack of service in the coffee shop, he replied by saying that the service is good and I had just experienced a shift change. The general manager believes his own lies and the staff follow his wonderful example.

The moral of the story is one of leadership, and if the leader is honest and kind the level of service will always be good. We can never expect staff to treat customers better than the leaders have treated them. The fish begins to stink at the head, not the tail.

Image: https://www.pexels.com/photo/attractive-bar-barista-breakfast-296888/
Posted in LEADERSHIP, Travel | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

#Travel Itinerary Part 8 – Photography

Fish Eagle at Falcon Ridge Bird of Prey Centre

Fish Eagle at Falcon Ridge Bird of Prey Centre – iPhone7

Making memories is one of the reasons we travel and to have a record of these experiences is as important as the travel itself.

Great photos are what reminds us of our travel experiences for the years to come. In this article, I will be sharing my photography experience and helping you with tips that will get you better photos without becoming too technical.

Before I go further, I would like to give you some information about myself. My interest in photography started early in life, but we did not have good cameras at home. One of my first goals, when I started working, was to buy a camera and after buying the camera I needed to learn to use the camera properly. I must have learnt rather quickly and by the time I was 19 years old, my first full page spread photo was published in a South African national magazine. I went on to specialise in motorsport photography for the next fifteen years working for motoring magazines, newspapers and manufacturer clients. For the last 15 years, I have concentrated on people and corporate photography.

I will keep this article practical and simple to help you take better photos.

Travel Photos

If you want really great travel photos then you need to remember that good photos require a bit of thought and planning, so try not to rush and see and much as possible in one day. Take time to discover interesting things and observe them, then once you have observed something you can think about it and plan the best angle for your photos.

Digital SLR, Compact or SmartPhone?

Which camera should you take? I personally use my iPhone for all my photography and the videos I record. Sure I would get fantastic shots with a high-end digital SLR (single lens reflex) and my choice would be a mirrorless Nikon Z7 with prime lenses, but for travel purposes, I would opt for the 28-300mm Lens. There are many good SLR cameras, however, the reason I do not use an SLR for travelling is that it is too heavy to carry.

nikon a1000The compact camera that I would strongly consider would be the Nikon Coolpix A1000 which has a superb x35 optical zoom lens that covers focal lengths from a wide-angle of 24mm to a telephoto range of 840mm and it weighs less than 400 grams. The cost of this compact which is perfect for travel is around $500.

The results I get with my iPhone are good enough to share on social media and I would suggest you consider your needs carefully before spending thousands of dollars on camera equipment.

Principles and Elements vs Basics of Photography

I am going to cover the elements or principles of photography: Light, Colour, Emphasis, Composition and Balance rather than the basics of photography which are Shutter Speed, Aperture and ISO / Film Speed.

The Best Light for Photography

The principles of photography are simple if you want the best photos – photograph when the light is best and that is usually at sunrise or sunset. However, we travel when the light is not always ideal and we need to learn how to compensate for good and bad lighting conditions.

Where should the Sun be? As a rule, the sun should be at 90 degrees to your shoulder, if you are unsure simply move your camera around, you will notice how the colour improves as the angle to the sun changes. 

With the help of PaDi (Yellow Bean Duck), the main photo is taken with the sun at 90 degrees and you will notice the interesting shadow it produces. The top-right photo is with the sun behind the camera (you can see the shadow of the camera) and the lighting is flatter. The bottom right photo is taken directly into the sun and this produces a silhouette.

What if I need to photograph in the middle of the day? Use shade and try not to include the sky in your photo as the sky in the middle of the day is usually grey.

Colour

When viewing your photos on your computer, you may want to add a bit of saturation to make your photos a little more vibrant. Don’t overdo the adjustments, keep them looking as real as possible, unless you want a different look.

 

Colour is great but sometimes changing the image to black and white, sepia or saturating will produce more impact.

Angle  

IMG_8999Unless you specifically photograph to emphasize angles, photos try to depict things correctly, buildings that are falling over (unless it is the tower of Piazza) should be straightened and horizon lines should be levelled. Otherwise, it looks as if the river is emptying!

Emphasis

What is your intention and what story are you telling with your photo? Often just taking a moment to think about the photo will improve your photography in leaps and bounds.

The three images above of the Whale Bone of Arco della Costa in Verona, Italy are an example of a simple record shot, a photo that has more impact and a story. The image on the top left has a pole and wires that are distracting. The image on the bottom left was taken from a different angle, with better composition and a clear emphasis on the Whale Bone. Whilst the image on the right tells you a story about where the photo was actually taken.

Composition & Balance

IMG_0930Placing things correctly in your photos helps to give them a better perspective. The image of the train above gives a space for the train to move into, the tracks start at the left bottom and move into the photo and will take the viewer into the photo from left to right (our way of reading) making the photo easier to view.

Selfies

If you like taking selfies of yourself then make sure you get a good reliable stick with remote triggering. This will give you a better perspective than the up close and personal. Most other times you can ask other tourists to take a photo of you, which will provide a far wider perspective and you can reciprocate by taking a photograph of them. This way you also have the opportunity of meeting more people.

Tripods

To avoid out of focus and blurred images, additional support is often necessary to keep your camera still and also allows you to think a bit more about the composition of your photo. When using these tripods, using the self-timer or some sort of remote device would help to avoid further camera shake.

Two of the most effective travel tripods are the Joby Gorilla (above left) which comes in various sizes and is flexible enough to be attached around things like railings and branches. Manfrotto’s Travel tripod (above right) is around 30cm long and is designed for the heavier cameras.

If you are using a Smartphone, make sure you buy a good tripod phone adaptor that will last. The cheap types that comes with selfie sticks are usually plastic and are only good for a few uses.

Additional Lighting

You will not always have sufficient natural light and you may need to to use additional lighting. As a rule, you should never use your smartphone’s flash, the results are never great. Rather add additional lighting and be creative about how you do it. Ask a friend to switch on their smartphone’s torch or even a normal torch, adding extra light to illuminate your subject. Remember to choose the correct setting on your smartphone as it will make a difference.

IMG_8800When photographing food or close up items model your light until things look better. If you keep your light source directly overhead your subject will look very flat, however, if you angle your light more, then you can work with shadows that create depth and add texture to your images. If you are photographing buildings or bigger objects and you require additional light, ask your friend to hide and add light in a dark corner or even from behind which could create an interesting halo effect.

Most of all, enjoy taking photos and making memories.


Whether you are travelling for business or pleasure this series of posts will give you the necessary guidelines and assist you in finding the easiest and most cost-effective way of booking and planning your itinerary.

Please follow my Blog and you will be updated when the other parts in this series are published. Feel free to send me comments and or any suggestions of topics you would like me to cover in future travel related articles.

Posted in Travel | Tagged , | 8 Comments

Bank or Bitcoin Mining?

farm-2852024_960_720Every day there is a new Bitcoin Mining opportunity and people who tell you how much money you can make from Bitcoin Mining, but the question is does it work?

I have reviewed two major Bitcoin mining companies in the recent month and I have come to one simple conclusion – it would have been better to leave your money in the bank or in Bitcoin itself.

What is the problem? Simple really the people who are trying to get you to join these schemes are either one of three things: 1) Unable to use a calculator 2) Recruiting and they are making money from joining other people to the system by way of referral and team bonuses or 3) Dishonest.

Was it always like this? No, when these companies started the members were making reasonable returns and almost doubling their money in a year and a half. Then the companies started to become unprofitable and they needed to lower their returns (this is caused mainly by equipment becoming old and redundant) and the company not been able to invest in new machinery to keep up with the growing number of members.

Even though the Bitcoin price increased in the last month and the volume of Blockchain transactions increased, they were still unable to show enough profit and again they needed to decrease the earnings. Will these companies ever recover or does the business model only work when the price of Bitcoin is in the region of $20,000? We may never know.

Knowing that people who are trying to recruit you, don’t know how to use a calculator and they are trying to make money from you. With this information, you should get all the answers first and don’t just believe what people tell you. Be careful it is your hard earned money we are talking about here.

In summary, both of the Bitcoin Mining systems, are not outperforming the banks currently, so it may be time to look at alternatives and make sure you can use a calculator before proceeding.

Image: https://pixabay.com/photos/farm-mining-the-ethereum-market-2852024/
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How can you be a Top Influencer?

vault-847463_960_720Are you thinking of being a Top Influencer? You probably have some form of influence already and you are wondering how you can take your influence to the next level?

Let’s look at one of the Top Digital Marketing Influencers in the world. His name is Evan Kirstel and he is definitely in the Top 10 in the world. What got Evan to this position you may ask? The answer is simply HARD WORK!

Five years ago Evan Kirstel was virtually unheard of, then slowly and consistently he started to rise and rise, and rise. Perhaps he understands social media better than most people? Maybe it is because he is constantly looking for information and searching for articles that will be of interest to his followers?

There are many reasons, it could be that Evan tweets at least 200 – 250 times a day on Twitter @EvanKirstel and this excludes the retweets and other engagements he does. Over and above this he also posts on other platforms like Instagram EvanKirstel and LinkedIn Evan Kirstel. Have you tried to post twenty times a day or even 50 times a day? Will you get to 250 times a day? Are you prepared to work like Evan does or is Evan’s position as a Top Influencer secure?

One thing I have learnt about people is that at this stage of this article they will be making excuses. The excuses will be trying to justify why they don’t need to do what Evan does to become an influencer. Let me help you bust the myths in your thinking …

Evan probably has a lot of followers and that is why he is a top influencer! – It has nothing to do with the number of followers, Evan only has 240,000 followers so if that was true only celebrities with more than a million followers would have made the list, but I see no celebrities on that list – check out one of the lists here: Top 50 Digital Marketing Influencers 2019

250 Posts a day is too much, my followers will not like that! – The reality is you will not like to do that much work, most people want to be successfully lazy. You will not get results from being lazy, it is hard work that brings the results. You may need to find out how many posts you can do a day and how that works for you before you start judging someone else’s efforts and their engagement levels with their followers.

Where does Evan get the ideas for all the posts he does? Where do top authors, composers and artists the find inspiration for what they do? As the great Picasso said ‘the inspiration finds you working’. If you want to write, start with the pen in your hand or at the keyboard, and if you want to compose or paint, get the brush in your hand or sit at the piano and start playing.

The inspiration for Evan Kirstel comes from consistently communicating about the Technology and HealthTech industries and this has resulted in Evan becoming one of the most respected specialists within the B2B social media space.

Evan may be are a hard act to follow, but he has certainly set the benchmark for influencers all around the world.

I would like to hear your thoughts on Influencers, please leave your comments below.

Image: https://pixabay.com/illustrations/vault-round-wave-wing-beat-847463/

Also read: Evan Kirstel – Social Media Superhero @evankirstel

Screenshot 2019-04-17 at 11.29.21

 

 

Posted in Inspiration, Social Communication | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

An Investment Legacy

country-house-417973_960_720We all would like to leave a legacy. Did you know that every person dies twice? Yes, the first time is when you physically die and the second time is the day when people no longer remember you and stop talking about you. That is what the meaning of a legacy is in reality.

We can do many things in our lives that people will remember, but one memory that will remain with your generations to come is whether you were able to leave a financial legacy. This is the wealth you leave that will benefit your future generations.

There are many investment options available; some traditional and other more unconventional all offering you the dream of financial freedom and the ability to create long term wealth. Many of us will come to the realisation that we just don’t have enough time left to accomplish this rather audacious dream, or is there a possibility?

The most important start is to make sure that your investment beats inflation and then to invest in an opportunity with a proven track record. There are advantages in trying the more risky investments but that would depend on your risk appetite. I have tried some of these in the past and only a handful make a small profit.

At the end of 2018, I was introduced to a company called R.C.O. that has a 40-year track record in property development and real estate investment. This family business was started by the grandfather in 1977 and has grown from strength to strength and is now one of the biggest privately owned companies in the American property sector.

It is the company’s track record that gives me peace of mind, this is not some wannabe person who is trying to make his first million. Having completed numerous projects including luxury hotels, shopping centres and over 10 timeshare holiday resorts totalling more than 450,000 square metres of development, the family is already successful and I estimate their wealth to be in the billions.

The investment offering within the Investor Club gives all members the same benefits of profit earning. Regardless of whether you invest anywhere between the minimum $750 or the maximum $250,000, you will all earn the same amount of profit from the club’s activities.

This is an investment that I know will give me the wealth I am looking for and leave a legacy for my future generations.

I invite you to find out more about the investment club and how you can become a member. Please contact me and I will gladly assist you.

Image: https://pixabay.com/photos/country-house-architecture-417973/
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Influencer Reality Check

influencers-3151032_960_720Are you familiar with the term Influencer? Do you understand what an influencer does? How could an influencer help your brand? Perhaps you are an influencer already or you are thinking of becoming an influencer?

In this article, I am going to give you the information you need and some facts that you probably don’t want to hear – brace yourself!

What is an influencer?

An influencer is a person who has built their personal brand to a level where they are able to disrupt and change the way someone thinks about a product, service or brand.

How could an influencer assist your brand?

Firstly there is an old saying that you can promote anybody, but you cannot promote yourself. Whether you agree with that statement or not, it is always better if someone else promotes you.

Companies want knowledge about their offering to be distributed to as many people as possible, and one the most effective way is to use an influencer to promote your company’s product, service or even to raise brand awareness.

It is the influencer’s duty to serve their followers, so when the influencer is communicating it will also be benefiting them and boosting their personal brand. The influencer will need to find creative ways of communicating a message that would suit their followers.

How effective is the influencer process?

The process works well if the influencer is creative enough to take the brief or content the company has provided and is able to give it the right treatment. However, if the brand gets too involved the message becomes diluted and the message will not be perceived as authentic by the followers of the influencer.

The idea behind the influencer marketing process is to add additional communication to the company’s existing campaign, it should never replace the normal communication from the brand.

Here is a basic guideline for a typical influencer campaign:

  1. The brief is received from the client
  2. Supporting information, sample images and press release received from the client
  3. Blog posts, proposed tweets, FaceBook, LinkedIn and Instagram posts are submitted for approval (whichever is applicable)
  4. The blog is written, (if the influencer is creative enough, there are possibilities of more than one blog from the normal press release) approved and published.
  5. The blog is tweeted about on Twitter and posts are done on other social media platforms.
  6. Other social media posts are also posted and the influencer should also be retweeting and sharing company posts on their channels. These posts need to be interspersed amongst the influencer’s other content to ensure exposure at different times. The influencer should also have enough of their own normal posts so that the campaign does not become obvious to their followers.
  7. Further promotion of the blog posts and other messages should continue for the duration of the campaign.
  8. The process should be monitored, and should opportunities arise they need to be utilised (it is a good idea to keep 10% of the budget in case of opportunities emerge)
  9. When the campaign ends ask the influencer to identify opportunities and suggestions for future campaigns. 

Notes: Blog posts are incredibly powerful and they form a good basis for all social and online communication, they have longevity and good blog posts can be referenced in brand communication. Ensuring that blog posts are part of the influencer campaign will mean that you get long term value from the campaign.

We have various influencer campaign offerings and we work together with top influencers around the globe to ensure maximum reach and exposure of your brand message.

Image: https://pixabay.com/photos/influencers-social-networks-social-3151032/

 

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#Travel Itinerary Part 7 – What to Pack

IMG-3510Travel is fun and for this article on what to pack, I am introducing you to a prolific traveller called PaDi – you can find out more about PaDi in the following story YELLOW DUCK DIARIES – International Icebreaker

I am not sure if PaDi could give us much advice on what to pack. From the above photo, it looks as if PaDi has the following motto: I haven’t worn these since I bought them. I should definitely pack them for my 3-day vacation. Just in case.”

When looking for advice on what to pack, some people will tell you that you should lay out all your clothes you intend taking and all the money you intend to take, then simply pack half of the clothes and take twice the money. In the ideal world, I could tell you to book the ticket and take only your credit card with you, but we do not live in the ideal world. I will try to get as practical as possible in this article.

Checked-in Luggage

Checked-in is defined as Suitcases and bags that are too big to be carry-on luggage.

Never overpack your luggage, leave space for things you may buy and other souvenirs you gather along the way. Pretend you are packing into a smaller suitcase as this will ensure you don’t overpack.

Your choice of luggage should also suit your type of travel. Holdalls are light and because they are flexible you will be able to pack in the most, but moving around with a fully packed holdall can be challenging. Backpacks are great if you are going to be doing a lot of walking to your accommodation or if you plan on doing a bit of hiking and you need to be very mobile.

Unless you plan on using taxi’s or you will use the hotel shuttle you may need to walk a block or sometimes a few kilometres to your booked accommodation.  It was during these walks between stations and hotels that I discovered the reason why some suitcases cost more than $500 and others are simply cheap. Expensive suitcases have decent wheels with ball bearings which move along smoothly, whilst the cheaper alternatives tend to fight you every step of the way. You don’t need to take my word for it, but the cobblestones in Europe may convince you to think about what I have experienced.

IMG-3511Carry-on Luggage

Some travellers try to pack so light that all they take is carry-on luggage, they pack the minimum and they never need to wait for luggage.

For most of us, we will have our checked-in luggage and carry-on luggage. As I need to travel with my laptop most of the time, I got the smallest lightest laptop possible.

In my laptop backpack, I always pack the following items:

  1. Laptop and cables, together with adaptor plugs
  2. Powerbank and USB charging cables for my phone
  3. Notebook, pens and pencils
  4. Sunglasses (in a crushproof container)
  5. A pair of gloves, beanie and a neck gaiter
  6. A lightweight raincoat with hood
  7. Lightweight down jacket
  8. Cable ties of varying sizes
  9. A rain cover for my backpack
  10. Hand sanitizer and tissues
  11. Basic medication – e.g. headache tablets and plasters
  12. Snacks and sweets
  13. Water (which I buy at the duty-free after going through security, where possible)

Let’s look at specific items that you will need for your travels:

Shoes and Boots

Shoes take up a big portion of your luggage so deciding what to take should be carefully planned. In the warmer months, I travel in slip-on shoes (this makes the security checks easier) that are also good walking shoes, and I will generally take a pair of smart shoes to wear on smarter occasions. For longer trips, I will also pack a pair of training shoes so that I have an alternative should my other shoes get wet. Shoes getting wet is often a big challenge so you may want to consider opting for shoes that are waterproof.

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Chelsea Boots

In the colder months, I wear Chelsea boots which can often also double up as smart shoes. When choosing your boots make sure they have a good grip so that you don’t slip when things get wet. I have found these boots great for air travel as they are easy to get on and off when going through security at the airport. You can wear thick socks when it is cold and I have even worn my Chelsea Boots in the snow.

If you will be doing a lot of walking you may want to consider hiking boots or walking shoes, there are many options to choose from and they don’t need to weigh a lot either. When going to the places that have a lot of snow you will probably want a good pair of snow boots, that not only keep the snow out but will also keep your feet dry and warm.

Pants

Shorts are great for really hot places, but I have found that jeans and cotton pants are the best for travel, as long as they are comfortable with somewhere to keep your wallet safe. When things get colder then consider lined pants and athletic or thermal tights which will usually fit under your normal pants.

Shirts

My personal preference is to wear a technical t-shirt as a base layer unless a thermal base layer is required, with a normal cotton shirt over that. This way I always feel smart enough when we stop at a restaurant or some other place where some kind of dress code is required.

Mid Layer

Layering is important when you travel, it will be freezing outside and as soon as you go indoors the heating will be turned up to 20 degrees more than outside. Choosing the correct layering method will always be a challenge.

A lightweight fleece or jersey is usually a good mid layer.

Screenshot 2019-04-10 at 19.05.30Jackets

Windproof or water-resistant should be your first consideration, then how warm do you need the jacket to be? Waterproof is a tradeoff between breathability and water resistance, the more water resistant the less breathable something becomes. There are many different waterproof technologies out there, but a trusted name is Gortex. You will never find one jacket that does everything so you may need to have different jackets for different activities.

Ski-jackets which are usually designed for layering are quite versatile in the cold and will also keep you reasonably dry in the rain and snow.

The lightweight down jacket (pictured above) that I carry in my backpack is great when things get a little colder than expected in winter and occasionally in summer. The bonus is that it packs so small that it is a great everyday jacket and a backup in case of emergency.

Scarves

Keeping warm is vital, scarves do the job well. Alternatives to this are the neck gaiter or Buff, which is made from a range of materials from microfiber to polar fleece. The original Buff is good for hot and cold conditions, has numerous uses including a face mask, headband, bandana and beanie.

IMG_9469Gloves

I always carry gloves, with gloves you can also layer – starting with a pair of liners (get a black pair and they will also double as smart looking gloves) and then putting the heavier gloves for colder conditions over them. If you are going to be in the snow or rain, then getting a pair of water-resistant gloves made from Gortex would be a good investment.

Hats

Keeping the sun off your head and keeping the heat in is a challenge. Buy a hat that fits well and that keeps the sun away. Check the UV rating as you can still get sunburnt through the material.

When it comes to staying warm the best is a beanie and I have many from thin ones for cool evenings to polar fleece beanies. When it is really cold I will wear a thin beanie and a polar fleece beanie to ensure my head stays warm.

Waterproof Clothing

Keeping dry is important, getting soaked can really put a damper on your holiday spirit. Having a good raincoat with a hood and a pair of waterproof pants that you can quickly slip on will make all the difference. These lightweight items which easily fit in your backpack also come in handy as an additional layer when temperatures suddenly drop.

Screenshot 2019-04-10 at 20.27.01

Pillow

Many travellers have a neck pillow, I have a small duck down travel pillow that has its own stuff bag that fits into my backpack quite easily. This then also doubles up as my main pillow during hotel stays.

Other Items

An exhaustive list of things would be impossible, but here are some things you may want to consider: washing powder, pegs, plastic bags and other types of bags that will help you find things easily or separate your clean items from the dirty ones.

Whatever you decide to take with you on your travels, make sure you have worn them and washed them recently. Some clothes things work and others seem to be more of an irritation, so only pack the things that work for you and leave the items you may not use at home.

Enjoy packing in the meantime, I look forward to having you join me for the next article when I look at the subject of Travel Photography.


Whether you are travelling for business or pleasure this series of posts will give you the necessary guidelines and assist you in finding the easiest and most cost-effective way of booking and planning your itinerary.

Please follow my Blog and you will be updated when the other parts in this series are published. Feel free to send me comments and or any suggestions of topics you would like me to cover in future travel related articles.

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