20 Simple Secrets of Life

Since a swift kick to get us out of our ruts is healthy from time to time, I’m sending you over to this excellent article by Johnny B. Truant: “20 truths about life that nobody wants to believe.” 

In Johnny’s typical irreverent but refreshingly blunt style, he introduces the 20 truths with these words: “…I thought I’d make a list of the truths I’ve discovered in case anyone out there is wondering about them. NOW: I’ve tested these things and can vouch for their truth, but feel free to ignore me if you’d like the experience of screwing up for yourself. It’s cool.”

Read them here for yourself.

What other life truths have YOU learned (the hard way or otherwise)?

Photo credit: Dmitriy Shironosov via BigStockPhoto



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Live Event Report: Online Business Training That Knocked My Socks Off

Limited Time Offer on recordings of all the sessions from this conference: Over 70 hours of recordings from 30+ NAMS Presenters. Only $77 until midnight 3/4/13. Then increase to $197. CLICK HERE (my affiliate link) for more info.

Just returned from NAMS9

I got in about 1am Monday morning from NAMS9, an absolutely top-notch conference of online business workshops in Atlanta. The brainchild of David Perdew, it was three solid days of pure gold, not only in the training and information I received, but also in the networking and relationship building I was able to do with smart, successful people who were generous with their time and knowledge. It truly was a community of entrepreneurs who believe the focus of any business is service and many of whom considered their business to be their mission, not just their livelihood. NAMS is an acronym for Niche Affiliate Marketing System, and while there is definitely training about how to sell other people’s products by becoming their affiliate, most of the workshops were about removing common obstacles to success and developing business skills in any type of business or industry.

Experts, experts, experts…

Each of the three days consisted of three workshops as well as a morning and evening keynote speaker. Each of the three workshop time slots offered a choice of four different workshops, ranging in experience level from beginner to advanced. The ones I attended were all excellent:

  • Kevin Riley: “Your First Product.” This gave the step-by-step formula for creating an info-product from idea to sales page.
  • Jeff Herring: “Ca$h In On Your Content: How to Create Prospect & Profit Pulling Content in 20 Minutes or Less.” When we finished this workshop, we had written the outline and partly fleshed out the content for an article in our own area of expertise we could take home and use in our blog or get published in someone else’s ezine or blog.
  • Lou Bortone: “How to Become a Product Machine.” Lou is known as The Video Guy, but he gave clear instructions on how a simple topic or article could be repurposed to become a slideshow, a podcast, a video, or any number of other products to offer for sale.
  • Tina Williams: “Social Marketing: Social Search Engine Optimization.” Tina gave a grad-level course on using social media to drive traffic to your website.
  • Maritza Parra: “Building Yor List.” Maritza covered her famous list-building system and had us actually start writing our compelling opt-in offer that would entice site visitors to share their email.
  • Connie Ragen Green:” Getting Started with Affiliate Marketing Using the NAMS Model.” Connie took the mystery out of the intimidating MyNAMS website and showed us how we can build a business based on selling other people’s quality products and services by being their affiliate.
  • Helen Raptoplous: “Playing to Win: Productivity Beyond Average.” Helen motivated us to step up our game, whatever that is. She compelled us stop playing not to lose and start playing to win.

Here’s a photo from one of the keynote sessions – that’s me in the bright red jacket; NAMS9 photo by Kurt Scholle

Here I am in the workshop with Jeff Herring on creating content: NAMS Workshop group by Kurt Scholle

The cost of the conference includes recordings of ALL the sessions, so I didn’t have to fret about choosing the wrong one. Others included Nicole Dean discussing ways to add income streams to your existing business, Ellen Britt showing how to repurpose your content to use it in various formats and platforms, Daniel Hall revealing ways to get your ebooks and content on iTunes, Regina Smola demonstrating WordPress and Internet security, Karen Thackston teaching copywriting skills, Marnie Pehrson showing how to write a WOW book, and Internet Marketing master Willie Crawford inspiring small steps to great success and tackling common business hurdles. In addition to the hour-and-a-half workshops, they also offered free 15-minute laser-sessions with experts of your choice: the perfect way to ask questions about your particular business or industry. I scheduled at least four of these.

Don’t miss NAMS10

You should absolutely consider getting to NAMS10 next August 9-11:

  • if you’re a small business owner with a storefront trying to enhance your visibility and marketing online.
  • if you’re a local service provider who’s been told they need to get online but doesn’t know how.
  • if you have an idea for an online business but don’t know how to get from idea to implementation.
  • if you want to get an idea about the variety of ways you could add one or more income streams to your website and blog.
  • if you’re fairly comfortable with the Internet and social media, but you want to crank your business success to another level.

The cost is only $197 for a ticket to NAMS10, and that includes not only the workshops and keynote addresses, but also audio recordings of each workshop, even the ones you don’t attend. Hotel and travel are separate, of course, but the conference rate for the fantastic Atlanta Century City Marriott was only about $100 a night. Take a friend and share a room! You won’t find this kind of value anywhere. And here’s the bonus if you sign up through my link: I’ll be there too, so I can introduce you to some of the awesome people I met last weekend, and I’ll have a bonus teleconference call afterwards to help guide you in implementing what you learn.

Your ticket will give you access to all the NAMS10 workshop recordings even if you don’t get to the live event, so you’ve got nothing to lose by signing up now

Don’t wait. Sign up now at MyNAMSLiveEvent.com, and please write my name in the box asking who referred you.

Email or call me or leave a comment below if you have any questions.

P.S. Since I wrote the post above in mid-February, 2013, David Perdew, NAMS founder, sent the following information:

NAMS10 is on Aug. 9-11 in Atlanta.

We’re capping NAMS10 at 500 people. Right now, as I
type this, we have 189 signups – that’s in 5 days
after NAMS9 kicked off.

We’re also adding a fifth educational track that will

    • NAMS100 – beginners with no sales and no site
    • NAMS200 – beginners with occasional sales and a blog
    • NAMS300 – intermediate folks making money, but working way too hard
    • NAMS400 – advanced, full-time business folks who are trying to build sustainable business and business assets
    • NAMS-Special – Special tools and knowledge


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What To Do When “Shockwave Flash Has Crashed”

[Since first writing this post, I have encountered a downside to disabling Shockwave Flash: you may get an error message when you try to watch some videos. If you get a message saying that Adobe Flash is not active, all you have to do is go into your Chrome plugins (http://chrome://plugins/), find Adobe Flash and Enable it again.]

I love the Google Chrome browser and use it on my Mac instead of Firefox or Safari. It is intuitive; you can type a search term right into the browser window without having to put it in the Google browser first; and it has lots of optional free extensions that add convenience and functionality.

And Chrome worked great until…well, until it didn’t.

First, out of the blue, my Gmail became slow as molasses. Then other tabs froze. I couldn’t even quit or close windows for a while. Eventually I got this scary message:

Message: "Shockwave Flash has crashed"

Usually I could close Chrome and open it again without problems, but eventually, the same thing happened over and over. I won’t bore you with the searching I did and the things I tried to fix this. I finally found an article by a couple in New Zealand named Mike and Midge, that provided this simple solution:

  • Type  chrome:plugins  into your browser. This will take you to the plug-ins that are operating behind the scenes in your Chrome browser. Here’s what you’ll see (yours may differ in the exact plug-ins, but you get the idea):

Screen shot of my plug-ins list

  • Scroll down until you find Adobe Flash Player Shockwave Flash and click the Disable link.
  • That’s it! You’re done.

Mike and Midge suggest other things to do while you’re there and in your Tools/Extensions folder to remove unnecessary functions that can potentially slow down your browser. Read their article if you’d like to do any of this, but I primarily wanted to share the solution to the Shockwave Flash irritation.

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Designing a Logo or Website? Learn About the Psychology of Color.

I loved this eye-popping infographic by the folks at The Logo Company in a fascinating article by Simon McArdle.

My RiverwoodWriter colors say, “Peace” and “Trust”–love it! My colors at Heartspoken.com are more about “Excitement” and “Creativity.” I especially enjoyed seeing the logos of brands I know.

When you’re designing a logo or website, it’s clear from this chart you need to think about more than just your favorite colors. What colors have you chosen for your logo or site and why? You’re welcome to leave its URL in the comments below.

Chart showing color choice significance

Infographic by The Logo Company

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Keep Up With Critical Changes At LinkedIn

Wayne Breitbarth, author of  The Power Formula for Linkedin Success: Kick-start Your Business, Brand, and Job Search, is my go-to person for LinkedIn expertise. He’s been helping his blog followers with posts on how to navigate all the recent changes at LinkedIn, but I was still delighted to learn that Joan Stewart, Publicity Hound, is interviewing Wayne in a special webinar called “LinkedIn Update: What’s In, What’s Out and Under-the-Radar Tricks to Help You Crush It in 2013.”

Who should attend?

  • Anyone who uses LinkedIn to find their next big customer, investor, strategic partner, vendor, donor or job opportunity
  • LinkedIn users who want to promote their products and services without obnoxious promoting
  • Business owners who want to use LinkedIn to grow their email lists
  • PR people and marketers who manage their clients’ LinkedIn accounts
  • Publicists who want to know all the ways their clients can use LinkedIn to promote
  • Social media experts who want to share these new tools with their clients
  •  Virtual assistants who help their clients with social media
If any of these describes you, invest in your business and learn to use this valuable professional development tool.

Can’t attend the live event? It will be recorded.

The live event will take place Thursday, February 7 from 3-5pm EST, but when you buy your ticket, you’ll get both the video replay and an MP3 recording so you can watch or listen to it at your leisure.

CLICK HERE to get all the details and bonuses.



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Digital Publishing Online Intensive: Stellar Lineup of Experts!

Guy Kawasaki

If you are an online entrepreneur or author who is interested in learning how to create, market and monetize your digital content—and these days, who isn’t?—you should strongly consider attending the LIVE Digital Publishing Online Intensive beginning March 6th…

BREAKING NEWS: Tech guru, author and former Apple Product Evangelist Guy Kawasaki has just been announced as the Keynote Speaker…


Plus, these 12 expert faculty members will deliver the very best training in a dozen in-depth webinars. I’ve taken classes from many of them, and it’s an absolutely stellar lineup of instructors. The presentations include:

  • Kathleen Gage – Internet Marketing Mentor
  • Lynne Klippel – Expert Book Coach & Publisher
  • Laura West – The Creative Thought Leader
  • Daniel Hall – Serial Entrepreneur and Webinar Master
  • D’vorah Lansky – Book Marketing Expert
  • Lou Bortone – The Video Master
  • Marnie Pehrson – Founder of Ignite Point
  • Sue Painter, The Confident Marketer
  • Jim Kukral – Best-Selling Marketing Author & Professional Speaker
  • Bob Jenkins – Internet Marketing Business Teacher
  • Kristen Eckstein – Expert Publishing Consultant
  • Nina Amir – Inspiration to Creation Coach

This Digital Publishing Online Intensive is like no other you’ve ever attended…


You’ll walk away from each training webinar with concise, powerful, effective digital published strategies…and practical information that you can implement right away to help you create, publish and monetize your digital content…whether you are an experienced digital publisher or a newbie…

And don’t worry, there will be plenty of information for new business owners as well as more advanced strategies for you experienced folks…

All you have to do is click on the link below to purchase your ticket and reserve your seat now for a savings of $250 today (until 2/2/13, then it goes up but is still a great value)…


but do it now…

Don’t let this opportunity to learn how to create, market and monetize your digital content pass you buy

To your success in 2013 and beyond!


Elizabeth Cottrell

P.S. Plus, you’ll get access to our private and exclusive Facebook Group, just for attendees, so you can ask questions, share resources, network with your colleagues, and…

AND get a Free copy of Guy Kawasaki’s new book APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur with your ticket…

Reserve your seat now, as the price goes up Feb 2nd! (and yes, all sessions will be recorded if you can’t make it live)


Promotion Alert: Yes, I’m promoting this and have already signed up to attend myself. I wouldn’t miss this combination of experts for any price.
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A New Reputation Tool Makes Its Debut: TrustCloud

I’m honored to be the guest blogger today on Karen S. Elliott’s excellent blog “The Word Shark.” It’s called “TrustCloud: Harness the Power of Technology to Build a Reputation.” I think many of you readers here at RiverwoodWriter will find it interesting and helpful. Click on over and leave a comment — that will help me thank Karen for having me!

While you’re there, take a look at her other topics, many related to writing and editing. Karen is an outstanding editor and has become a friend and valued business associate.

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Don’t Fall For This Facebook Trap

Facebook is rolling out a new feature that’s giving a limited number of users the ability to pay $1 to send a message into someone’s inbox, even if the recipient is not a friend.

This obnoxious feature is just one more way for Facebook to get your credit card number. The result? Even more spam added to garbage that’s already flowing into our Inboxes from clods who claim to be our Friends but are hawking everything imaginable.

If you want to throw your money away by pestering total strangers, that’s your business. But smart Publicity Hounds wouldn’t even THINK of using this $1 trap to pitch journalists and bloggers.

I wouldn’t use it, either, as any type of marketing tool. It’s as sleazy as the intrusive telemarketing calls from creeps telling you how to consolidate your credit card debt.

You can read all about the new Facebook feature in this PCWorld article.

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Social Media Marketer Program: The Online Library of Social Media Training

Introducing Laura K. Roeder

I want to introduce you to remarkable, young, and highly successful business woman named Laura Roeder. Laura has skyrocketed to social media prominence by teaching online business owners how to use social media simply and effectively. The first video I saw her do was so simple, clear, and practical, I was immediately impressed. Unlike many other “experts,” Laura has not forgotten the frustrations, fears, and confusion we all go through when learning a new set of skills. In fact, she loves to remind her students there’s no other place to start than at the beginning. I find that very comforting when I’m learning something new.

Introducing LKR’s Social Media Marketer program

I’ve taken Laura’s classes to learn more about Facebook, WordPress, and Twitter, and I hired her as a business coach for several months. She taught me a great deal about how to harness the various social media tools for marketing in today’s online world. She always teaches both the Why and the How, so you’re given the framework before you have to build the house. Laura is smart, savvy, and no-nonsense. When she launched a new membership program called Social Media Marketer a few months ago, I was among the first to sign up.

Nothing in it for me except to help you

There is no affiliate program with Social Media Marketer, so there is no monetary incentive for me to recommend it—except my conviction that it could help many of you. After being a member for several months myself, I am able to attest to its value. I do consider Laura a friend and valued professional associate, but even then, I wouldn’t recommend this if I didn’t think it had serious merit for small business owners wanting to ramp up their knowledge of social media and how to use it.

What’s inside Social Media Marketer?

“Social Media Marketer is an online classroom and community that walks you through exactly how to get results from all the social media sites step-by-step.” To me it’s like an online university. Others might think of it as a very comprehensive library of social media videos, checklists, and strategy guides created for small businesses.

In the video below, Laura gives you a quick look at what’s inside. To get a detailed list of the modules included in Social Media Marketer, CLICK HERE and scroll down to “Let’s Get To The Point.”

Who would most benefit from Social Media Marketer?

If you’re a small business owner and you have a website, you can benefit from this program. Even if you consider your primary business to be a “bricks-and-mortar” store, you have an online presence that needs to be nurtured. Your customers and prospects spend a lot of time on the Internet, and you need to know how to connect with them.

More specifically, Social Media Marketer is great for you if:

  • You don’t have time for social media: you’ll learn how to incorporate it into your existing busy life.
  • You need personalized advice: you can get it through the community and the comments area.
  • You own more than one business: you’ll learn how to streamline your social media accounts.
  • You’re in a transition period or feel stuck: harnessing social media can make a huge difference.
  • You need to budget: The pricing should be considered part of your education budget. It is designed to offer huge value for a predictable amount of money with no contracts or commitments. Join for a month or stay long term. I had planned to make my membership short term, but she keeps adding great new content!

My favorite things about Social Media Marketer

  • All the course materials and resources are online and can be covered at your own pace.
  • Social Media Marketer content is well done and available in a choice of formats to suit your learning style. Every video comes with a downloadable transcript and audio file.
  • Programs are updated constantly to reflect important changes and strategies.
  • The available training classes range from beginner to advanced.

My results from Social Media Marketer

I was fairly comfortable with the social media basics when I joined SMM, but the basic courses feature ongoing updates to reflect recent changes (and these platforms change constantly). There are also modules for advanced social media users to add to their understanding of video marketing, measurements and metrics, and advanced business systems. So far, I have concentrated on learning to move efficiently coordinate the various social media platforms and what can be automated and what can’t.

The 30-Day Money Back Guarantee

“If Social Media Marketer doesn’t go above and beyond your expectations, we will refund your first month’s payment in full.” So there’s truly no risk to you and no reason not to check it out.

Make it a slam-dunk investment

To minimize the cost, look at your calendar and pick a month to start when you can devote time for this excellent training. Concentrate on the classes you feel you need the most. After that, you can stop the membership and know you’ve gotten the equivalent of many professional training conferences at a fraction of the cost. Or you can decide that, for you, it’s worth the ongoing membership to stay abreast of emerging social media trends and information. CLICK HERE to learn more or sign up.

Note from Elizabeth: I’m here to help you with social media too. Call me for a free preliminary consultation to discuss your social media concerns for your business (540-436-3969) or check out my products and services in the main menu above.

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A Lovely Message From Wikipedia

Even though the email from Wikipedia below is an automated one thanking me for a recent donation, I thought it was lovely. I’m sharing it for five reasons:

  1. I want you to remember, whether you’re a business owner or not, there’s always time and place for expressing old-fashioned gratitude.
  2. Gratitude, when expressed simply and from the heart, is a powerful connection tool.
  3. The author of this letter asked me to share it because Wikipedia serves an important function to all of us who use the Internet.
  4. There is a link for how you can make additions and edits to Wikipedia entries.
  5. If you use Wikipedia, I hope you’ll consider making a donation too.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Dear Elizabeth,

Thank you for donating to the Wikimedia Foundation. You are wonderful! It’s easy to ignore our fundraising banners, and I’m really glad you didn’t. This is how Wikipedia pays its bills — people like you giving us money, so we can keep the site freely available for everyone around the world.

People tell me they donate to Wikipedia because they find it useful, and they trust it because even though it’s not perfect, they know it’s written for them. Wikipedia isn’t meant to advance somebody’s PR agenda or push a particular ideology, or to persuade you to believe something that’s not true. We aim to tell the truth, and we can do that because of you. The fact that you fund the site keeps us independent and able to deliver what you need and want from Wikipedia. Exactly as it should be.

You should know: your donation isn’t just covering your own costs. The average donor is paying for his or her own use of Wikipedia, plus the costs of hundreds of other people. Your donation keeps Wikipedia available for an ambitious kid in Bangalore who’s teaching herself computer programming. A middle-aged homemaker in Vienna who’s just been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. A novelist researching 1850s Britain. A 10-year-old in San Salvador who’s just discovered Carl Sagan.

On behalf of those people, and the half-billion other readers of Wikipedia and its sister sites and projects, I thank you for joining us in our effort to make the sum of all human knowledge available for everyone. Your donation makes the world a better place. Thank you.

Most people don’t know Wikipedia’s run by a non-profit. Please consider sharing this e-mail with a few of your friends to encourage them to donate too. And if you’re interested, you should try adding some new information to Wikipedia. If you see a typo or other small mistake, please fix it, and if you find something missing, please add it. There are resources here that can help you get started. Don’t worry about making a mistake: that’s normal when people first start editing and if it happens, other Wikipedians will be happy to fix it for you.

I appreciate your trust in us, and I promise you we’ll use your money well.



Sue Gardner
Executive Director,
Wikimedia Foundation

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