Direct Mail Marketing For CPAs And Accountants

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In the accounting industry, direct mail marketing can be very cost effective. CPAs and Accountants are fortunate to be in an industry where they are able to purchase a database, which provides precise information on potential clients. This makes marketing with direct mail a very cost effective approach to develop new clients.

The first thing a CPA Accountant will need to do is purchase a list of businesses that meet the criteria a CPA Accountant establishes to qualify a client for his or her firm. There are many criteria a CPA Accountant may choose, but the most common are, location, number of employees, sales volume, and industry. Some list companies will even provide limited credit information. It is best to generally select locations closest to your office. Most compiling companies use databases with zip codes to establish locations. Accordingly, the CPA Accountant should start by providing the zip code for his or her office working a radius outward until the desired number of businesses on the list is reached.

Once the criterion is established, the Accountant is now ready to purchase a database. Info USA and Dunn & Brad Street are perhaps two of the largest companies that compile and sell database information for resale. It is recommended the list be purchased from one of these two companies. They are reliable and have been in business a long time. Unfortunately, there are many companies selling list information that are not reliable and that have high error rates. Many other companies are basically just list brokers who purchased a list wholesale from one of those two companies and then resell it to you. It makes sense to always purchase your list from a database compiling company, which has a proven reliable record.

With the list purchased, the Accountant now has a defined target market of potential business that could be good clients for his or her firm. Direct mailing to the defined target is cost effective. The CPA Accountant is not incurring costs of marketing outside of his or her target market. Radio, television, and newspapers all broadcast or publish to the general public. Advertising in these forms of media would subject the CPA Accountant to incurring cost communicating outside of his or her target market. Direct mail focuses the cost of communication to his or her defined target market.

There are three basic rules the CPA Accountant must follow in direct-mail marketing. The first rule is always use professional letterhead and envelopes. Many times Accountants generate “in house” their own business stationary giving it a “home made appearance.” The CPA’s direct mail piece is the first representation of his or her firm’s work that a potential client might experience. The CPA desires his or her marketing piece to be of the highest quality. A professional appearing CPA Accountant direct mail marketing letter to a profession or business will be opened while a low grade appearing letter is often just discarded.

The second rule is never use bulk mail or mailing labels. When unsolicited mail is received, the business owner will look at it and make a decision. Does this look like something he or she should open? The decision is then based on visible attributes of the CPA’s direct marketing envelop labeling. If the labeling of the envelope was with a pre-printed mailing label accompanied with a bulk mail stamp, most likely the letter will never be opened and will be discarded. However, if the Accountant directly labeled the envelope with postage paid via a metered or regular first class stamp, the envelope will appear important influencing the decision to open the letter.

After the business owner decides to open the Accountant’s letter, he or she will always scan the piece to discern quickly if it is of interest. The third rule is to always keep the letter short and to the point. The prospective client will quickly determine if it is interesting and short enough to read while not consuming much time. A common mistake CPA Accountants make is attempting to write long lengthy letters to “sell themselves”. This is a very costly mistake. The objective of the letter is to initiate a positive response. Once a prospective client responds positively, he or she will be provided an opportunity to convey those things in subsequent conversations and meetings enticing him or her to use the CPA Accountant’s services.

In addition to the three basic rules, it is always recommended the CPA Accountant include a business card with the direct mail letter. This will allow the prospective client to locate the CPA Accountant’s contact information and retain it for future reference. It is also recommended that the CPA Accountant refrain from using postcards in direct mail marketing for the accounting industry. They have a commodity appearance diminishing the perception of the quality of the CPA Accountant’s firm. Finally, always use industry-specific direct mail pieces whenever possible.

In summary, direct mail marketing for CPA Accountants can be very cost effective. The use of target markets avoids spending advertising dollars outside of the target audience. It is important to always follow the three basic rules for direct mail marketing for CPAs and Accountants. The costs of violating those rules can be enormous. Marketing for CPA Accountants does not have to be expensive but can be very cost effective if implemented correctly.

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Networking With Tact and Professionalism

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Networking is the process of developing strong relationships over time with people who can help you locate information, resources, and other people, to help you locate information, resources and other people. This is accomplished by sharing information, your expertise, your resources and your contacts. Networking is not asking for a job or asking for free services. Most people fail to network with tact and professionalism when they do not realize networking is the process of building familiarity and trust over an extended period of time.

The art of networking has even made it to primetime television. As I sat at home catching up on my TiVo recordings, I thought it would be interesting to incorporate a recent episode of ABC’s “Ugly Betty”. Characters Mark and Amanda provided Betty with tips on how to network at a social event to build her list of “important contacts” to establish her professional reputation in the magazine industry.

Mark and Amanda told Betty networking is gathering information to advance her career by using the following steps:

1. Forge a bond

2. Gather information

3. Perform an exit strategy

They added other information, but for the sake of keeping networking tactful and professional, I decided to omit their definitions and provide my own. When members of your network refer you, they are essentially putting their professional reputation on the line. Establishing yourself as a professional from the very beginning will ensure that your network connections do not hesitate to refer you to others. Let’s look at how to apply these steps in either networking setting.

Social Event

  1. Introduction: Provide your name, where you work, and a mutual bond. This person may not be in your industry, but they may be in the same industry as your best friend or something else’s best friend in your network. This also allows you to learn and connect with someone outside of your normal environment.
  2. Exchange Information: Here is where your listening skills are challenged. Listen with the intent to provide information on how you can help this person. Once you establish a connection, you will be able to get what you need. Keep in mind networking is a two-way street that involves both giving and receiving.
  3. Thank You & Follow up: Thank the person for their time. Ask how you can reach them to follow up with them later. As in the previous step, you want to be able to provide them with information about what you uncovered while listening to them.

Online

  1. Introduction: Provide your name, how you found out about them, and why you are contacting them. Often, I receive request to connect on LinkedIn with nothing attached, other than I want to add you to my professional network. I’m left wondering why they want to connect and how can I help them.
  2. Exchange Information: When networking online, it’s important not to ask for a job or free services. Let the person know why you are interested in them but make sure to include how you can assist them as well. Once I received a one page email that told me more information than I needed to know about a complete stranger. Remember, avoid providing personal details and be mindful of the recipient’s time. How would you feel if you received a one page email from a complete stranger who asked for something and offered nothing in return?
  3. Thank You & Follow up: After receiving information, always thank the person for their time. Be sure to follow up with that person as well. Often times I participate in informational interviews or provide resources and I’m left wondering if the person got the job they interviewed for or if my information was helpful. This allows you to continue building trust and familiarity, but more importantly, it allows you to reconnect with this person again as sharing must be done on a regular basis to build long term relationships.

Implementing the previous steps will ensure you are networking with tact and professionalism. Networking is the number one way to build your career. The last thing you want to do while building your network is to appear unprofessional or non-business like. Keep these three steps in mind as you build your network and enjoy the fruition as you watch your relationships blossom and grow.

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Exploding the Myths of Insulating Concrete Form Construction Technology

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The insulating concrete forms (ICF) industry is rampant with inaccurate information. Some have been passed along by industry members, while others represent simple misunderstandings about the technology. Most of these misstatements are made by persons that simply lack the appropriate knowledge behind the information. The toughest part of researching ICFs is not finding the information, but sorting through all of the inaccurate information.

Virtually every aspect of the ICF industry is affected by misstated information, but the most common issues involve discussions of R-Value, waterproofing, and termites and bugs. R-value statements range from R-18 to R-50+. To explode this myth and get a clearer understanding of this myth, you will need a firm understanding of R-value and the difference between PERFORMANCE and TRUE R-values.

Myth 1: R-Value

An R-value is the measure of resistance (R) of heat flow. Heat flow can be resisted by insulating materials such as plastic foams or mineral fibers, or can be slowed by massive dense materials such as thick masonry or concrete. The larger the R-value, the greater the resistance and the better the insulating value.

All building materials transfer heat to some degree. Heat transfer can be measured by any of the following: 1. Conductivity (k); 2. Conductance (c); 3. Transmittance (U); 4. Resistance (R).

The ability of dense materials to retard heat flow depends on their ability to store heat and is measured by specific heat and heat capacity. (BTU per lb. Per degree F; Density lb. Per cu.ft.; Heat Capacity BTU per cu.ft. per degree F)

When it comes to stating R-values in residential construction, the insulation values applied to a wall or ceiling typically refer to the R-value of the insulation material that is installed, not of the wall or ceiling assembly. For example, when a 2×4 stud wall is insulated with R-11 batt type insulation, the builder states that the wall is an R-11. This is not totally accurate and is NOT TRUE since approximately 20% of the wall is not insulated at all. The wood framing and sheathing do have an R-value, but for the sake of making insulation claims, they add very little. The real R-value or PERFORMANCE R-value ends up between R-3 and R-9. Add to this, the fact that the wall is full of penetrations, such as electrical outlets etc. and the fact that the wall itself is basically hollow in nature. This added thought leads to another discussion on air leakage through the wall.

With ICF technology, the TRUE insulation value of the wall is that of the Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) since the EPS provides a continuous insulation plane from the footing to the top plate. The insulation value of the EPS is determined by the density and thickness of the material. Some ICF systems have EPS that is of differing thickness (waffle and post and beam systems) that typically average the thickness of the foam. This is, in my opinion, not an accurate measurement since a bucket with a hole in the bottom doesn’t carry as much water as a solid bucket with a hole at the top. Most ICFs utilize EPS foam that has a density of approximately 1.5 lbs pcf to 2.0 lbs pcf. The insulation values differ only slightly in that range and depending on the testing laboratory, provide R-values between R-4 and R-4.5 per inch of EPS thickness.

The claim that ICF walls are an R-50 started a few years ago after the Insulating Concrete Form Association (ICFA) and several members commissioned CTL Laboratories in Chicago to perform some R-value testing and analysis. The summary of the report basically said that depending on the climate zone, the PERFORMANCE R-values for ICF technology is as high as an R-52 when COMPARED to typical wood frame and batt construction. In order to make the comparison correct, one must insure that the comparison is being done vs. the alternative to ICF on the particular project. On average, the performance R-value is much less than the claimed R-50. Research by the consumer must be done to clarify the comparison for the actual project. In short, ICF will PERFORM at an R-50, but that statement is not accurate as far as an insulation value goes.

For more information on insulation values, green building, and energy efficient building, try these websites for research:Energy Star Program, Concrete Homes. Do a Google search to find others many others. It is worth noting that there are many options for research on the internet and that I neither own nor control any of the suggested research links listed in this article.

Myth 2: Waterproofing

Yes, below grade concrete construction should always be waterproofed and this includes ICF technology. Three options include: dimpled membrane, peel and stick membrane, and roll-on/spray-on products. In some jurisdictions in the US, a combination of dimpled membrane and peel and stick membrane or roll-on/spray-on products must be used to meet local building codes. It is best to consult your local building code officials and your local ICF supplier to ensure that you meet the minimum code requirements and use only products that are compatible with EPS.

Myth 3: Termites and Bugs

According to the ICFA, the International Residential Code has provisions in the IRC to allow for foam to be used below-grade. The IRC stipulates in addition to chemical soil treatment, foam can be used below-grade on the exterior of the wall if one of the following requirements is met:

  1. All interior partition walls and roof trusses are built of a non-combustible material such as steel studs or pressure treated lumber.
  2. An approved method for protecting the foam plastic and structure is used.

Polyguard Underseal(TM) XT Waterproofing Membranes has an evaluation report that shows they are an approved method for protecting foam from termites below-grade. Checkout the Polyguard website for additional Polyguard information. Tip, you may want to install an aluminum termination bar along the top edge (AKA: termite stop-ant stop). One benefit, besides stopping insects, is that the termination bar helps out with screeding stucco, etc. over the foam which you will need to protect the exposed area of foam. Also, don’t run your siding down to the grade. This is just another shortcut for ants, termites, and other insects to get up the wall and start nesting behind your siding.

Remember, these insects don’t eat the foam, but they can burrow through it, especially in search of food. Eliminate the food source and eliminate the problem. Wood products can be totally replaced in your new home. There is no longer any reason to use wood products in areas of the US with high termite infestation. Consider steel framing, AZEK Trimboards and V-Buck for your next project and get the wood out! Although many additional myths exist and continue to thrive, it is important that you remain diligent in your information gathering. As you seek additional information, be sure to work with those that have the heart of a teacher. Seek those that have a passion for the industry and both understand and can explain the issues.

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How Mobile Apps Are Fast Altering The Hospitality Industry

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A consistent challenge for hoteliers and other related tourism business is keeping up with the expectations of customers. Apparently, mobile app technology flared up in the past years as a game-changing development for businesses across different industry verticals to offer high-end customer services. No doubt,hospitality or tourism services too have adopted and embraced the app technology, they have helped businesses in the field to augment customer engagement along with providing great experiences. There are innumerable ways mobile apps impacted hospitality businesses and completely transformed the holidaying experience of avid travellers. Here’s illustrating how do mobile apps are revamping the hospitality businesses and are transforming the travelling experience for people in an incredible way.

Provision of personalised services

People no more have to search the internet to know about great destinations, hotels, resorts, adventure spots and other whereabouts of a place. They can now get every bit of details of their specified destinations, book flight tickets, reserve hotel accommodations and enquire about reasonable holiday packages, all through the apps. Due to the presence of apps, travellers can explore their destinations all alone and no longer has to contact a tourist agent to who will make arrangements for their trip considering the budget.

Up-to-date and detailed information sharing

Apps became a great tool or information hub to the hoteliers who can provide all real-time and accurate information about them to the end customers from any part of the globe. As such, hotels, resorts, restaurants and other attractive amenities at a tourist place can own an app to inform travellers about their services, help them book services in advance, offer seasonal discounts or notify about any events. Thus, mobile apps empowered various players in the hospitality sector to widen the market of their property or services and engage them in an extraordinary manner.

Enhanced communication with customers and develop long-term relations

It’s a great hurdle for every company involved in hospitality to communicate with customers in a way that attracts them to their services. Mobile apps provide the businesses with immediate and an intimate way for interacting with customers throughout their planning for the trip. They allow customers give feedback on any service availed by them, search for tour packages that deemed fit in their pockets prior to their trip, great holiday hotel packages, enquire about the weather, transport and other situations of the tourist places. In other words, apps are a great channel for travel companies to nurture their relations with customers and possibly expand their market with word of mouth promotion through positive reviews social media shares.

Help businesses uplift their customers’ loyalty

Offering specific rewards or loyalty schemes to fetch back old customers or attract more other customers through references are great ways to intensify revenues for hotels and resorts. Apps seemingly empower them to offer loyalty programs to their trustworthy visitors. Apps help business owners recognise their reliable and steady customers, and hence they could target them with push notifications about their offers on the basis of their previous visit history, location, behaviour, user/ family profiles and so forth.

Apart from these lucrative benefits that companies in the hospitality sector can get from mobile apps, there are much more usefulness of mobile apps that can they can leverage from them like reduced paperwork and entries, online receipt of payments, advanced marketing, easy navigation services to travellers and so forth. While adoption of technology became a paramount aspect for every business, a well planned and dedicated mobile app can definitely aid hospitality businesses to magnify their revenue and growth.

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The Fitness Industry Wants You to Stay Fat

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It’s confusing, isn’t it? Well guess what, they want you to be confused, because like the old saying goes, “Confusion sells products.”

If the fitness industry can keep you confused, they can keep you fat. And if they can keep you fat, they can continue to get richer and richer off you.

But you can end your confusion, right here, right now.

There is a very simple reason why you can’t lose the fat and keep it off. Everything the fitness industry has told you up till now is WRONG. Really, you are overweight because you are relying on the wrong information to get fit.

Whether you are being blatantly lied to, or whether you are just being fed the wrong information by friends and family because they believe the lies, you are getting the wrong information, and that is why you are fat.

So let me take a minute, right now, to introduce you to the 5 Truths of Quick and Permanent Fat Loss.

Keep in mind that these five truths will probably contradict everything you’ve ever heard about fitness!

Weight Loss Truth #1: You need to lose fat, not weight. If you do lose any weight with any of the trendy diets and programs out there, you are actually losing water weight, not fat. You aren’t getting any healthier…in fact, you’re actually getting dangerously dehydrated!

Weight Loss Truth #2: A low carb diet won’t actually help you to lose fat in the long run because it will sap your body’s energy and become impossible to stick to. And low fat diets are even worse, because they actually cause you to gain more weight. The only real way to lose fat is to eat the right foods in the right amounts, at the right times. It’s easier than you think!

Weight Loss Truth #3: Long cardio workouts are the worst way to go about losing fat. You can burn five times as much fat doing certain exercises only 45 minutes per week…not per day, per week!

Weight Loss Truth #4: Those celebrity-endorsed boxed food diets are expensive and ineffective. You’ll have to keep paying for months, and buy all your own vegetables. You’ll end up spending hundreds of dollars each month and lose weight very slowly.

Weight Loss Truth #5: Restrictive diets and starving yourself are dangerous and don’t work.

Now that you know these facts, you can see that your weight loss efforts were probably sabotaged before you even started!

But there is a better way.

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Importance Of Data Mining In Today’s Business World

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What is Data Mining? Well, it can be defined as the process of getting hidden information from the piles of databases for analysis purposes. Data Mining is also known as Knowledge Discovery in Databases (KDD). It is nothing but extraction of data from large databases for some specialized work.

Data Mining is largely used in several applications such as understanding consumer research marketing, product analysis, demand and supply analysis, e-commerce, investment trend in stocks & real estates, telecommunications and so on. Data Mining is based on mathematical algorithm and analytical skills to drive the desired results from the huge database collection.

Data Mining has great importance in today’s highly competitive business environment. A new concept of Business Intelligence data mining has evolved now, which is widely used by leading corporate houses to stay ahead of their competitors. Business Intelligence (BI) can help in providing latest information and used for competition analysis, market research, economical trends, consume behavior, industry research, geographical information analysis and so on. Business Intelligence Data Mining helps in decision-making.

Data Mining applications are widely used in direct marketing, health industry, e-commerce, customer relationship management (CRM), FMCG industry, telecommunication industry and financial sector. Data mining is available in various forms like text mining, web mining, audio & video data mining, pictorial data mining, relational databases, and social networks data mining.

Data mining, however, is a crucial process and requires lots of time and patience in collecting desired data due to complexity and of the databases. This could also be possible that you need to look for help from outsourcing companies. These outsourcing companies are specialized in extracting or mining the data, filtering it and then keeping them in order for analysis. Data Mining has been used in different context but is being commonly used for business and organizational needs for analytical purposes

Usually data mining requires lots of manual job such as collecting information, assessing data, using internet to look for more details etc. The second option is to make software that will scan the internet to find relevant details and information. Software option could be the best for data mining as this will save tremendous amount of time and labor. Some of the popular data mining software programs available are Connexor Machines, Free Text Software Technologies, Megaputer Text Analyst, SAS Text Miner, LexiQuest, WordStat, Lextek Profiling Engine.

However, this could be possible that you won’t get appropriate software which will be suitable for your work or finding the suitable programmer would also be difficult or they may charge hefty amount for their services. Even if you are using the best software, you will still need human help in completion of projects. In that case, outsourcing data mining job will be advisable.

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The Future of Github and the Impact of Data Hosting in the Industry

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During June of last year, one of the biggest providers of version control services, Github, was acquired by Microsoft. What repercussions does this entail and how is the future of such services? What can we extrapolate of such decision? To truly understand the questions in matter, we need to focus on what we are storing. Data is vital to every aspect of development, ranging from how we manipulate it, where we store it and who do we entrust our precious information with. Who has access to it, what law protects it from unintended use and what projects may branch out of it. Information has become so critical to us that in order to keep it safe, we have developed mechanisms to keep a tight control on how we collaborate and store it.

Data hosting services are nothing new, we’ve had Rapidshare, Megaupload and other companies all provide data hosting services for years before Github was even a thing. While the services they provide are in essence different, they are all handling and storing data for end users with paid and free hosting paradigms. These free plans were the first step towards the snowball that slowly led the industry to accommodate to newer and different approaches to paid and free repository services.

To show, or not to show?

GitHub has always had a free storage option, but in the past, that free tier was limited to public repositories, where everyone is able to see and fork a copy of your hard work. If you were an aspiring developer who wanted to delve into source control at first, the best affordable option was to make your code public. Even after landing your first developer job, when it comes time to move on or work on a side project, you might not want to have your work out, available for anyone or for your current employer to see and make assumptions out of. A company that in the past held a free Github account for their source code in serious business projects usually had as much credibility as a three dollar bill.

Repercussions

At the end of the day, the deal was almost inevitable, whether it had been Google, Apple or another company within the cloud of conglomerates that could have bought Github. So what does it mean for the world’s biggest crowd-sourced code repository to be bought by the world’s biggest software company? For starters, it means that now Microsoft has the ability to access the repositories of roughly 28 million developers and organizations. Secondly, Github suddenly becomes a standard for future companies that might ever want to start with a source control service. Developers won’t be settling for less than the minimum they obtain for free, and from our perspective, freelance software developers won’t be settling for anything else.

With this being said, the future holds new and exciting plans as these platforms will continue to shift into different pricing plans, now instead of being a nuisance to developers and logistics, they will move to providing different tools along with the hosting service they provide and for one, I am curious of what we will see in the following years as we expect more and more companies adhere to these new plans.

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The Future of Auto Mobility and Insurance

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Mobility has taken over every industry and has dipped its proverbial toes in the auto insurance industry as well. With GPS and accelerometers as high-tech accessories, mobile technology for the automotive industry too has come a long way and has many more miles to go. In an age where digitization and mobility is one of the bare necessities, most auto insurance providers are lost under heaps of paperwork. That’s the reason why the concept of auto mobility has shifted its focus to the insurance industry.

A combination of mobility solutions – telematics, analytics and communications, has eased the burden for auto insurers through information on driving style, collection of the same, analyses and reports that benefits all the stakeholders.

User-Based Insurance (UBI)

Insurance providers struggle with allocating premium amounts for their clients. Despite their best calculations, they have incurred losses. Traditionally, insurance companies calculate premiums based on driving records, vehicle use, previous claims, insurance scores based on credits and so on. Policyholders believe that these premiums are usually a fixed value.

Telematics technology will change the face of auto insurance through the usage-based insurance (UBI) pricing system where clients pay as per their usage, driving behavior that is. Pay-as-you-drive gives clients and insurers the freedom to calculate premiums based on not just driving records and vehicle usage but actual or real-time driving information.

Real-time Information

Telematics can calculate every minute detail of the client’s driving style, including every hard brake, rapid acceleration, parking style, etc. Analytics will amalgamate, analyze and interpret this data, simplifying it to understand the driving patterns of the client and the risk(s) involved. This driving information will be shared with the insurance provider who can use the same to allocate the insurance premium amount for the respective client.

Vehicular insurance companies have realized the difference that real-time information makes in processing claims. With the ability to capture real-time data in the form of images, videos, driving information, etc., there will be adequate information to process a claim or to decide the insurance amount for a client. It will eliminate the possibility of modified data and increases the accuracy of information analyzed.

Time and Efficiency

Time is everything. Waiting for weeks for insurance agencies to process a claim can be painstaking. Insurance companies will soon provide every client a more personalized and expedited service. Mobile devices will enable evaluation of claims or consultation with clients in their comfort zone. In the case of an accident, real-time data can be captured in the form of videos or images, eliminating the possibility of improper claims or incomplete information, which can prove to be a loss for both parties. Automation will reduce paperwork and redundancy. At the same time, it will increase efficiency and accelerate processing of claims.

Management of Data

With the reduction of paperwork and introduction of technologically advanced analytics frameworks, managing vast quantities of data has become a child’s play. Analytics use complex algorithms and mathematical equations to organize, analyze and interpret huge volumes of information. The ability to retrieve relevant information instantaneously and accurately will save a lot of man-hours.

Beyond Insurance

Mobility solutions for auto insurers come with additional services such as roadside assistance in case of an emergency, geo-fencing for parents to monitor their teenager’s driving, customer engagement to ensure the loyalty of the client, driving suggestions and other customizable options. Insurance companies will be able to go beyond their regular services for the client’s convenience.

Challenges of Telematics

However, there are a few concerns with telematics being used by insurers. Standardized regulations on data capturing and its process is yet to be determined. This raises concerns for loss of privacy or misuse of data. The other concern is when the client wants to switch to another insurance provider. The new insurer might not accept their driving data as the method of data collection is different. This could result in the client losing his benefits and has to start from scratch.

Nonetheless, telematics technology is relatively new and is yet to take over the market fully. Like any new technology, there will be glitches which will be fixed in due time. These challenges will not be an obstacle for auto mobility to be integrated with insurance, as the pros of auto mobility outweigh the cons. Gradually all insurance providers will largely depend on mobility solutions in order to develop their business and will become inevitable for auto insurance to use.

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How To Determine If Your Tattoo Artist Is Using The Best Tattoo Ink

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Even though some people might wish you hadn’t, you finally decided to get your first tattoo, and you are really excited because you have done your due diligence. You’ve research the artists in the area, inspected & checked out all of the parlors you had in mind, and you even got a great design in mind. But there’s one problem – how do you know if your chosen artist is using the best tattoo ink in the business?

If you’re anything like most people who hear about the varying scale of tattoo ink quality, you’re now fairly deflated and unsure about moving forward with your tattoo. First of all, don’t feel so bad. As it turns out, most tattoo artists agree that one issue they often notice among clients is a lack of knowledge about ink quality. You’re not alone in missing this one detail, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s a pretty big deal. Still, don’t get discouraged.

As with any artist, he or she may learn their trade with what may be deemed a rudimentary tool, slowly becoming more adept at their craft. As time goes on, their talent dictates that their tool of choice improves in quality. Ask a concert violinist what type of violin he or she plays, and you shouldn’t be surprised to hear that it didn’t come from an online wholesaler. The best tattoo artists are the same. They look for the best tools so that when someone sits in their chair, the client knows this is exactly the place they needed to be.

But if you’re starting with tattoo number one, you might not know how to breach this topic. The best advice on this feeling – dispel it immediately. You’re talking about embarking on a journey that will leave you not only with a lifelong piece of body art, but you’re also placing a foreign substance into your body. You owe it to yourself to get the skinny on whether your tattoo artist has the best ink at their station.

How do you find this out? Here are a few tips:

Learn About Industry Favorites & Standards – Do some research and find which ink brands and ingredients tend to be used the most.

Ask Artists What They Use and Why – Everyone tradesman chose his tools for a reason, and so goes the journey of the tattoo artist. This is where your research pays off.

Read Industry Information on Ink Rankings – Check out any published materials on tattoos, artists, and even ink models. Also, check out the FDA for quite a lot of info on tattoo ink & your health.

Don’t Buy The Hype – Hyperbole is a sure-fire way to know if someone might be pulling your leg. You want information, not a sales pitch.

The best tattoo ink may be hard to peg down considering you have to first define what ‘the best’ really means. Moreover, keep in mind that the type of ink to be used by your artist can depend on your tattoo. It may seem like a drag to go through all of this, but the best tattoo artists out there are always happy to share their knowledge and talk shop with someone who is genuinely interested in it. If you aren’t feeling that vibe, you need to find another artist.

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Why The Travel Industry Is Recession Proof

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With gas prices rising, one might think that getting into the travel industry is counter intuitive. Are people going to travel less because of the rising ticket prices?

The answer is absolutely not! Why, because even in the face of rising gas prices and airline price wars, people still NEED to travel. People need to travel for work, for graduations, to see family, and despite the fact that we may be in a recession, people STILL want to take vacations to get away from the stress of it all! So, the travel industry is still a great industry to be in as a travel agent. What’s more, the travel industry is a 7 Trillion dollar industry! That’s larger than any other consumer market in the world! Now, where do you think the travel industry is going these days?

That’s right the internet! If you are going to start a travel agency the best is to go with an internet based travel agency. It gives you the opportunity to work from home, building this business part-time or full time, it’s less expensive to get started (usually around $500 or less), and the overhead is just pennies a day. If you think about how much it takes to start most franchise business it’s tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars, and the overhead is usually hundreds to thousands a month, not to mention advertising costs.

Starting an online travel agency is easy, and marketing and advertising can be very simple and inexpensive if you know the proper tools use. So if you are thinking about building a business in the travel industry, don’t shy away just because of the recession. In fact, if you can be successful in a recession, just think what will happen when the economy picks up again.

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