Free Napkin Site Promotes Free Stuff, but What About Responsibility?

It is termed the Free Napkin, and visitors to can find free stuff to claim. Once claimed, they pay shipping and it appears at their homes. The catch? None. The potential for entrepreneurs? Priceless. The enforceability of Free Napkin covenants? Iffy.

Log on to the Free Napkin at, and you are most likely surprised by the hodgepodge of items that look like your neighbor’s garage sale. At the same time, a closer look reveals that these items could all have been found at said garage sale, except on Free Napkin they are free of charge.

Donors like the Free Napkin idea because it allows them to get rid of working appliances and other items for free. lets them post pictures of the items and interested parties may then claim them. Once claimed, the person pays for shipping – or drives on over and picks up the item – and the transaction is complete.

Best of all, Free Napkin suggests that there is no liability attached to the transaction. Thus, if you post your old waffle iron on and it sets someone else’s house on fire, they cannot come back and sue you. Resellers are discouraged from claiming bunches of free items and then offering them up on eBay to the highest bidder; Free Napkin suggests that other users keep a watchful eye open for this sort of behavior.

The Free Napkin site is wonderful and the idea is grand, but the potential for problems is not answered by the FAQ. First and foremost, donors do not receive the tax write-offs they would otherwise enjoy if donating their unwanted items to a charity. Moreover, in spite of the protestations that there will be no liability claim forthcoming, it is questionable how much of this is truly enforceable and how much is more or less a Free Napkin gentleman’s agreement that won’t hold up in court.

Entrepreneurs appreciate the fact that they can advertise their businesses on their donation pages. Unfortunately, there is no telling if someone is actually claiming and keeping the goods for personal use, or if the Free Napkin recipient of free stuff will turn around and sell it – if not on eBay, then on Craig’s List or another site – or simply donate the items themselves to a charity for the sake of a tax deduction.

Even more concerning are the ads for free animals. After all, even though Free Napkin users might be the nicest folks in town, it is hard to differentiate them from the shady characters that might sell Fido to a lab or offer Squeaky to a pet snake as breakfast. Donors and recipients should proceed – but with caution – when making use of the site.


What is Baconnaise?

What exactly is baconnaise? Apparently it is bacon flavored mayonnaise that is actually made without actual bacon, but tastes like it. Baconnaise comes in regular and light varieties from an entrepreneurial company called J D;’s.

J D;’s is owned by two gentlemen named Justin and David who, while working for a small technology company two years ago, hit upon the idea of a bacon flavored salt. After developing bacon salt over a period of several months, Justin and Dave rolled out the product with three varieties, original, hickory, and peppered. The line has since expanded to natural and several “limited edition” bacon salt varieties, including applewood, jalapeno, mesquite, cheddar, and maple.

The way Justin and Dave got their first startup money is probably unique on the annals of small business. Dave’s three year old son Dean won five thousand dollars in America’s Funniest Home Videos by hitting a series of T balls around the back yard, hitting the swing set and daddy the cameraman among other things.

After a success selling bacon salt on the Internet and through various retail outlets, Justin and Dave, following a customer request, hit upon the idea of “spreadable bacon.” The new product would not just be bacon flavored mayonnaise, so a product development phase ensued in which Justin and Dave put their health at risk by tasting various varieties of baconnaise and actual bacon to compare tastes.

J D;’s advertises baconnaise as being suitable to put on sandwiches, salads, dips, chicken, fish, and hamburgers. One wonders what potato salad, deviled eggs, or crab cakes would taste using baconnaise.

Somewhat counter intuitively baconnaise is not a coronary in a jar. It is not make with real bacon and is therefore even vegetarian safe. The nutritional information for regular baconnaise states that a serving of baconnaise contains 9 grams of fat, including 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, and 2 grams of polyunsaturated fat. Per serving of baconnaise there are also 10 milligrams of cholesterol, and 130 milligrams of sodium.

Baconnaise is not exactly health food and has little to no nutritional value in the way of vitamins, minerals, or fiber. But the idea of baconnaise is that it’s a food product that tastes good and enhances the taste of other foods., not that it will add years to your life or improve your health.



Why You Should Start Your Business in College

Some did not plan past their school schedule and are staring into the abyss. Others are already knee-deep in their chosen career path and look out and see a horizon!

I, for one, always wanted to be a writer/entrepreneur. I have rarely wanted to be anything else (after discovering that I could neither be an astronaut, or a super secret agent Ninja) so I went to college with the sole purpose of getting a degree that would enhance my understanding of human nature because that is what sets good writers apart from great writers.

Along the way, I happened to learn a few other things – lessons that not everyone gets to learn in College, in spite of the fact that they should.


At first, I did not discriminate among my friends – whoever was there was it. Whoever naturally migrated towards me was my social circle, no matter how much I abhorred them. Sometime around my Junior year, I said enough! I began nit picking, choosing and judging who I would spend my time with. I surrounded myself with honorable people, entrepreneurs, writers, intellectuals not necessarily because I found it easy to be around them – actually I found them intimidating – but because I wanted to absorb something from them. I wanted to be like them and the first step was to be around them.


It’s easy to just watch TV, it’s also easy to take that afternoon nap and sleep the morning away. That’s what some college students do, then there’s the athlete-scholars that are involved with every campus event and everyone else in between. When I got rid of superfluous activities – random brunches that served no purpose but to cluck-cluck like hens around the water cooler or binge drinking nights where it was required that you not just puke through the night, you hurl through the next morning and so on – I had free time! I started blogs, I made jewelry that I’m now selling, I found freelance jobs, I moved out of a shoddy little 600 sq/ft house to the 1600 sq/ft house I live in now. I stopped wasting time on vices, and found something else.

Money got Easier

With the exception of a few tumultuous personal events money has always been relatively stable, even more so now that I have explored more options. It’s getting easier by the day, to the point where *gasp* I may even be able to add to my savings account. Can you imagine?

I got to know myself

Not starting your career path while in college is just… wasting time. While some people waited tables, other people started their small business. After all, why wouldn’t they? Traditional college students have a lot of free time. Anyone who says otherwise is down right insane. So how do you prioritize that time? Do you network, do you start your business? Do you slovenly get drunk and fall flat on your face as you crawl to your Mid-Terms hung over?

How I handled class and how I handled obstacles were obvious – I dodged most things, if I could, and did enough to skate on by. I didn’t become the champion of academia I had fantasized about being. Strangely enough, though, my writing improved, I was seeking out opportunities and, to my shock and amazement, I was able to be social. I made contacts, was able to link people up, people were able to link me up with valuable resources and I could network. I could get people jobs, or find people that could get them jobs, I could research, I could sell almost anything!

Knowing that technology, math and attention to details wasn’t exactly my think, I tried to work on it, while really trying to emphasize how I was able to think of the big picture. I wouldn’t have known that if I had gone to College and if looked at from the perspective of self-analysis, a traditional college experience is really worth every cent if you don’t waste your time.

Have a Successful Career Working at Home

It is important that at home workers, entrepreneurs and the self-employed are certain to take care of their health, spiritual, mental and physical. Working at home can call for long hours, especially if business is booming. It can be tempting to work late into the night and on weekends. Over time, this can find a person spending large amounts of time indoors.

Successful At Home Workers Taking Regular Breaks and Days Off

A few weeks of sitting in front of the computer for ten or more straight hours a day without venturing outdoors might find one’s mood and energy levels dropping. For this reason, at home workers are strongly encouraged to take regular breaks throughout the day. Get up and walk away from the work area and do something completely relaxing and unrelated to the project that one was working on. At least one hour a day, be certain to get outdoors and soak up the benefits found in the sun.

Vitamin D is one of the key benefits gained from being outdoors beneath the sun. Women’s Health Magazine reports in their “Why You Need More Vitamin D” article that the vitamin helps to balance the body’s calcium levels. It also helps to boosts immunity and helps to regulate blood pressure.

Getting outdoors is also a great way to shift one’s thoughts and take a break from focusing on work. And who knows? One might also meet someone and make a new friend while outdoors walking at the local track and field or while walking or bike riding around the neighborhood.

Importance of Organization and Scheduling for Successful At Home Workers

In addition to taking regular short breaks throughout the day and for at least one to two hours a day, at home workers can find it highly beneficially to schedule and take regular vacations. These are times when at home workers leave their work for five or more consecutive days. Simply step away. Doing this can rebuild and strengthen one’s passion for the art or work that one earns a living doing. It can also hedge off burn out and allow insight and profitable ideas to surface.

Day calendars, Blackberries, Internet provider calendars and Microsoft Outlook are tools entrepreneurs, self-employed and at home workers can use to create their calendars. Retailers and office superstores sale day, week and monthly calendars. The calendars come in various colors including black, brown, pink, green and blue. The calendars also come in an assortment of sizes including pocket size, 8” X 11”, 4-7/8” X 8” to 24” X 37”.

Prices for the calendars and day planners range from $5.99 to over $24.00 per item. Some day planners like the At A Glance desk calendars come with a base stand that allow at home workers to simply buy annual refills to replace the former year’s calendar pages with.

Using Day Planners and Calendars to Stay on Track

Entrepreneurs and self-employed at home workers might find that shopping for the calendars and day planners early in the fourth quarter of the year or in February of the new year might allow them to realize the greatest cost savings. Reason for this is that retailers and office superstores often lower the prices on their calendars and day planners at the times of year when demand for the products is lowest.

At home workers can also purchase office supplies like staplers, staples, pens, desktop computers, laptops, ruled notebooks, erasers, journals, envelopes, shredders, copiers, printers and copy and print paper from office superstores. Be sure to check prices across products online before venturing out to the store. This can save at home workers time and gasoline money.

Also check local newspapers and coupon websites for coupons and rebates on office equipment. These costs saving websites allow users to locate and print coupons and rebates directly from their website. Most major retailers and office superstores accept coupons on manufacturer products that are sold at their store.

Best Blogs for Entrepreneurs

Blogging as a whole has become a very popular venue. Just as with the world wide web, business blogs have exploded with so much information that it would not be feasible to attempt to read it all. The key is to facilitate a means by which to attain the information you need, while sifting out the information you do not need. Below is a list that has been formulated for entrepreneurs.

Some of the blogs have been discontinued, or their activity levels have substantially dropped. It is for this reason that they have been moved and new blogs have been listed to take their place. Please keep this in mind as you try to access any of these blogs online.

There are primarily three main concerns of the entrepreneur. The first is trends and how to deal with their impact on business. Tips to make the business stronger, establish a business, or market the business. Productivity would be number three. Ways to make the employees and staff more productive, means by which to enhance the effectiveness of your marketing strategy, and overall productivity in sales and fabrication.

In terms of trends, there are a few good blogs out there. Anita Campbell on small takes an informative look at the present trends in the business world. She elucidates the entrepreneur of the trends that impact the business’ ability to enhance productivity and sales. Jeff Cornwall, of Belmont University does an in depth look at business trends and their impact on the small business. His research can be found at forum.

The entrepreneur can always use valuable tips from veteran business owners to improve their business. Denise O’Berry runs an informative blog that deals with tips for the entrepreneur. She keeps the discussions light and informative. ( John Jantsch’s blog, duct tape marketing offers multiple tips per week. He keeps the terminology simple, and easy for even the layman to understand. A must read for those who are new to business. (

Finally, in terms of valuable tips for the entrepreneur, Ben Yoskovitz delves in depth with the spirit of business ownership, and the factors that aid the entrepreneur in formulating a successful business. His site; also spotlights some entrepreneurs of notable mention.

Productivity is the pinacle issue for many small business owners. After all, if your marketing plan isn’t working, and your employees do not have the motivation to perform their tasks efficiently and in a timely manner, then how will the business flourish? That is what the final set of blogs deal with. WorkHappy net deals with just this. How to make the tasks you perform more productive, and how to get more out of your work. Carson McComas has developed methods to aid the entrepreneur to perform more intelligently, not to perform yourself to death.

Anthony Cerminaro is an attorney who has also dedicated his time to the functionings of business. His blog, looks at the many issues and challenges that confront entrepreneurs everyday. He also explains the legal issue that can destroy a business. Dane Carlson takes this one step farther and relates the advice to actual real life circumstances. He offers insight into business opportunities as well. (

Wil Schroter runs a blog called Gobi It is on this site that aid is offered to entrepreneurs through the means of networking. He gives contacts to investors, investors, employee agencies and the such to enhance the growth of small businesses. Michael Simmons also deserves a definite read. He wrote the Student Success Manifesto. This is a thoughtful piece of work which offers solid advice for the soon to be entrepreneur. It is a new blog, but the insight and thought put into it leaves the readers vying for more.

6 Hot Online Marketing Strategies: How To Develop Online Business With Internet Marketing

The internet is a rich source of marketing ideas and strategies for any marketer wishing to develop his business online. The main advantages of the internet are that one can reach out to a broad set of people, broadcast the marketing message to a targeted audience, develop and deliver products to customers online and also do it with the minimum effort. Here are six hot strategies for online marketing.

Article Marketing For Creating A Brand

A personal brand goes a long way in attracting prospects and customers to one’s products and services. Therefore, article writing and article marketing have emerged as a popular means to create one’s online reputation. When people see various articles written by the marketer and published in multiple article directories, they immediately develop a sense of trust in the author and start considering him as an expert in the field. Then the prospects naturally seek out the author and know more about his product offerings.

Ebook Writing For Generating Traffic

When there is a lot of competition, a marketer needs to differentiate his services from others and also must use unique methods to attract prospects to his business. One of the popular means is to write an ebook and share it with others. Since the ebook moves from one person to another in a viral manner, it is the best way to promote one’s products. Alternatively, the marketer can also offer the ebook as a gift in return for opting in to the mailing list.

Sales Funnel Development For Selling High Ticket Products

When there are high ticket products to be sold, an elaborate process needs to be followed in the form of a sales funnel. This sales funnel approach prepares the prospect in stages to buy the high ticket item. In the process of setting up a sales funnel, the internet marketer can also sell affiliate products and earn significant revenue. In a sales funnel, the marketer develops trust by sharing useful information with the prospect and then encourages him to buy the products.

List Building For Trust And Relationship

Relationship building with one’s prospects and customers is of primary importance for an internet marketer. Therefore, the first step in this direction is to build a list of email ids. The next step is to supply information which is of relevance and value to the prospects. This will make the prospects want to receive emails from the marketer. As the trust level increases, the marketer can sell many products to his prospects.

Online Coaching For Sharing Expertise

Sharing one’s expertise through an online coaching class is a marvelous strategy to attract prospects for the business. For instance, if one is marketing nutritional supplements, one can start an online class which imparts knowledge of good dietary habits, qualities of food and importance of exercise. All this helps to generate more value to the products one is selling. In addition, these online classes can also become a source of revenue for the marketer.

Social NetworkingFor Making Friends

Social networking is usually a means of making new friends but it can also be used as a platform for promoting one’s online business. Although one must not directly promote one’s business on sites like Facebook and Twitter, one can use these sites to connect with prospects and customers and strengthen the bonds of relationship which is the foundation of any business.

The internet has made it extremely easy for entrepreneurs to start and develop their business online. And the above six strategies can help them to grow their business on a consistent basis.

Married Business Partners: Working with a Spouse

A large percentage of new entrepreneurs are operating a family owned business where a husband and wife team are involved daily in the business management. This might cause a unique set of problems. Often many conflicts arise that are outside the framework of managing the business. These personal conflicts between married partners overpower any business problems and should be addressed at the onset of the business. It’s inevitable, when married partners experience conflict the business will suffer. Without communication there is a total breakdown in the business and marriage.

First, the husband and wife business team should outline a complete business plan before any troubles arises. The following tips are effective in alleviating personal conflicts which might affect the business relationship between spouses.

Discuss Business Plans

Both partners should discuss the business intimately to make sure they both share a passion for the business venture. It would be to the detriment of the business to discover later that the wife initially wanted to open a health food store and the husband wanted to invest in a sports bar. But they both decided on a family restaurant because it’s what they thought the other wanted.


Discuss which family obligations might interfere with the business operation and commitments. Decide which is more important, attending your daughters softball game or answering client questions about a new business proposal on the table.

Business Decision Making

Discuss any problems you might encounter in the decision making process concerning the business.

For example:

  • Who will make financial decisions
  • Who will make marketing decisions
  • Who is responsible for sales
  • Which partner will make major purchases
  • Who will work with the clients
  • Who will handle the office work
  • Will both partners have to agree or will one make all decisions

Business Profit Shares

Agree how the profits will be allocated. Decide beforehand who is responsible for bill payments. What are the partners salaries. How much of the business profit shares will be invested back into the business.


Clearly outline who is responsible for what duties on a daily basis. Write it down in the initial business plans. This will decrease conflicts before they start.


Always treat each other as professionals and with proper respect, recognizing the others unique contribution to the business.

And finally, married business partners should always remember that their marriage is more important than any business conflict that might arise. And they will discover that the benefits surpass any conflict issues that arise. Following this will lead to long term success in the business world and marriage.

Buying a Home: Step by Step Instructions for Purchasing a New House

The following is a guest post from Nigerian real estate developer Michael Chudi Ejekam.

Buying a new home is an exciting venture whether you’re a first time home buyer or have owned houses before. It can seem overwhelming at first but if you break the process down and follow these step by step suggestions you’re sure to find the home that is right for you and fits your family requirements.

Get Preapproved for a Home Loan

According to realtor Collette McDonald of Collette McDonald & Associates your first step should be arranging your financing, “Know what you can afford and have the financing lined up before you even go online and look at a home.” Knowing your limits will make you an informed buyer and save you a lot of time and stress.

New Home Priority Checklist

McDonald also suggests, “Once you have determined what your price point is, the next step is to determine what is important for your criteria.” Make a couple checklists, one a list of things that are essential and then a list of things you’d like but don’t need. You should also make a checklist that pertains to the neighborhood as well. This will help you instantly narrow your selection and keep your new home priorities in check.

Realtor or Not

You do not need a realtor to buy a home but you may want one, especially if you’ve never purchased a home before. An experienced realtor can ease the entire process, saving you time and money. As McDonald points out, “Many buyers do not understand that hiring and agent, in most cases, will not cost them a dime. The buyer’s agency is covered in the marketing fees that the seller of the home pays.”

Look at New Homes

Now you’re ready to start shopping. If you have a realtor you can let them find homes that fit within your budget and criteria lists, but most people prefer to do a bit of shopping themselves. There are several great online resources for home searches such as

Make an Offer

Once you’ve found a home that fits your price range and criteria then it’s time to make an offer. Look at the value of houses in the area, how long the home has been on the market, any repairs you may have to make, any extras in the home that make it worth more. You’ll want to make an offer that will be a deal for you but not offend the seller.

Home Inspection

Once your offer is accepted you’ll want to have a home inspection. You don’t need a home inspection but it’s a way to hedge your bets as the offer is usually contingent upon a home inspection. This means that if the inspector finds huge problems you can back out of the offer. It also gives you a bargaining chip to get a discount or have repairs made before you close.

Close on your New Home

When buying a new home the closing is a tricky step filled with expenses and legal paperwork. A real estate attorney is a good idea, especially for first time home buyers, as they can guide you through the process. If you have a realtor they’ll also be able to provide a lot of assistance.

Buying a new home is a wonderful time and should be enjoyed. Eliminate the stresses of buying a home by following the steps above one at a time and not letting the entire process become overwhelming. Remember the key to finding a home you love is sticking within your budget and criteria checklists.

Small Business Selling in a Recession: Entrepreneurs Need to Sell Smarter in this Economy

There are a lot of books and videos, to help sales people sell better. Few, however, tell salespeople how to sell in a recession. That is often handled with a Darwinian approach that eliminates the weak. While survival of the fittest may be a common way to deal with this problem, it is not necessarily the best way to survive – particularly if the small business owner is the prime salesperson.

Understanding the business opportunities available to a small business is necessary to sell successfully. Small business owners should find ways to make more sales by finding solutions to the issues that prevent sales from occurring. During a recession, prospects are reluctant to spend money on anything they do not perceive as absolutely necessary. To make sales to these people, sellers must clearly show the need for their products and services. Additionally, sellers must approach their jobs differently. Here are a few suggestions.

Don’t Reduce the Price

The product has value. If a small business owner reduces prices, it can often lead to the perception that the product was never worth the original price. In an article for called Five Strategies for Selling During a Recession, author Christina Salerno quotes HR Chally Group Chairman and CEO, Howard Stevens who said, “Most people think in tough times you have to give a special offer or cut prices. But that ends up devaluing the product – and the salesperson’s reputation.”

Stevens suggests that sellers should offer additional services or stronger guarantees with their products so customers will get added value without paying more.

Work Harder on Fewer Leads

Many sales people will try to accumulate as many leads as possible calling on each lead three or four times. John Asher, chairman and CEO of Asher, a sales training firm, says his firm’s research indicates that it takes 12 contacts to make a sale. Those contacts include emails, voice mails, face-to-face meetings, and phone conversations.

Asher believes the average salesperson will pick 50 prospects and give up on them after three contacts. “Elite salespeople,” says Asher, “will pick their top 10 prospects and give them 15 or 16 contacts.”

Work More Efficiently

During a recession, it is critical for salespeople to use their time wisely. Inefficient practices can cost money.

Most salespeople understand the importance of time management and do whatever they can to consolidate appointments and make all their cold calls in between those scheduled meetings.

Poor planning can result in lost opportunities which are not good for the bottom line.

Philip Mydlach writing for says that employees spend 30 minutes per day looking for misplaced papers and electronic files and are distracted or interrupted every 11 minutes. He suggests that salespeople take some time to determine how distractions are eating away at their work day and find ways to be more efficient. It can make a difference.

Focus on Solutions

Selling business solutions has always been a winning sales pitch, but in a recession, it offers even more opportunities for success. All products and services are designed to solve business problems. During a recession, a good salesperson will find more solutions than the obvious.

For example, a bicycle is not only a solution to transportation; it is an exercise machine, a hobby, a sport, and a faster way to travel in rush hour. An iron is not only a way to press a pair of pants; it is a way to look fresh on a business trip, a technique to apply a decal to a t-shirt, and a good door stop. The benefits are limited only by the imagination.

Don’t Give Up

Every small business owner should not throw up his or her arms and accept poor or low sales as part of the recession. Instead, they should make the effort to overcome the obstacles of this recession.

By maintaining their price and adding more services to their products, business owners will add more value to what they sell.

Working harder on fewer and better leads will increase the salesperson’s productivity and, combined with working more efficiently, will eventually result in more sales.

Lastly, a salesperson should find more solutions to a customer’s problems. Using solutions as a selling technique in a creative way will lead to more sales – even in a recession.

Project Management – Picking a Team Leader: Leadership Requires More than Technical Expertise

Leadership of a project team requires many skills beyond technical knowledge. A team leader must be able to communicate effectively and work well with all stakeholders.

When management needs a team leader, it may be tempting to pick the candidate with the strongest technical skills. However, leading a project team requires people skills in addition to technical skills. A project manager must be able to communicate effectively with team members, support organizations, clients, and senior management (more information in Project Management Communication Tools). A good leader is knowledgeable and trustworthy with the ability to motivate, train, assess performance, and solve problems.

Team Leader’s Tasks

In many ways a team leader is a translator. Team leaders must understand the client’s needs, the vision of senior management, and the work required of team members. The project manager explains to all stakeholders the activities, needs, and intentions of others. What are the tasks of a team leader? The team leader:

  • Is a manager responsible for tasking team members to reach project goals on time and within budget as discussed in The Project Schedule-Powerful Tool for Managers. The project manager reports on the project’s status and any issues in reaching project goals. He or she is also responsible for seeing that documentation and project materials needed to communicate with stakeholders are complete and understandable.
  • Is a motivator. To be a motivator, the leader must believe in the project’s outcome and the process to achieve it. They must communicate the vision and the potential benefits of achieving that vision to all stakeholders. A leader understands that team members are individuals and as such may be motivated by different things.
  • Is a mentor. People enjoy working in an environment where they learn and have opportunities for advancement. It is up to the team leader to ensure that project employees receive training to do their jobs better—learning new tools and techniques. The project manager should give employees the chance to work in positions in which they can grow, accept more responsibility, and move up in the organization.
  • Must build trust. A manager builds trust by doing what he or she says they are going to do. Trust is reciprocal. Leaders trust others and expect them to act in a trustworthy manner.

Team Leader’s Skills

When selecting a team leader, senior management should look for people skills in addition to technical knowledge. The skills required of a project manager include communication with different stakeholders, knowledge of the organization’s goals and procedures, and understanding of how to use tools that facilitate the collection and reporting of project information. Desirable traits of a manager are the ability to listen, openness to feedback, detail-level organization while maintaining a broader outcome vision, and trustworthiness in rhetoric and actions.

Enlightened organizations identify potential leaders early in their careers and offer them mentoring and training to enhance their emerging leadership skills.