What is online mediation and how to use it

Mediation has been a popular alternative to lawsuits to resolve disputes, especially those involving small amounts of money. For businesses, conflicts between state and international laws have made dispute resolution costly, no matter how big the transaction.

St. Louis retiree David Hubert couldn’t have been happier to score a replica of a $3,000 Charles Eames leather chair on eBay – for only $450. When it arrived, he tore open the box, pulled away the bubble wrap, and immediately sunk into the chair to ease his bad back. “As soon as I sat in it, I could tell…whoa, this isn’t right,” he says.

“It had a bad mildew smell – I mean, a really bad mildew smell.” Distraught, Hubert emailed the seller to demand that he either pay to clean the chair or take it back. The seller refused. “He basically stonewalled me,” Hubert says. So Hubert filed a grievance with SquareTrade, a San Francisco-based startup that helps resolve disputes on eBay.

Continue Reading

Powerful traits of successful entrepreneurs

Let me start this post with a couple of concepts I have discovered over the years.

Concept #1
We are what we think. The Law of Attraction guys say it this way: The only thing that stands between you and everything you want is your mind. It’s so true and it may be hard to believe, but I am a GED graduate and I try everything to improve my confidence. I failed at high school because there was nobody to help me with my self-confidence so I had a bad image of myself.
It’s all water under the bridge now but I remember how hard it is to think about yourself positively and being able to accomplish what you want.

Concept #2
What we talk about, comes about. Dickinson translation: What you speak into the Universe is what controls your life. We are controlled by our positive or negative self-talk.

Truth: The true power we possess does not come from prestige or place in life, it comes from what we think and how we speak. For the entrepreneur (and everyone else), true power comes from within. With this being said, let’s dive into the four verbal traits of the powerful entrepreneur:
Continue Reading

6 must-have plugins for beginners

We were all new to WordPress at one time and most of us can remember searching through the endless amount of free plugins. Some we still use, some we don’t. Some even broke our site altogether – sending us all into panic mode. Yeah, those were the good old days weren’t they?

WordPress just wouldn’t be WordPress without the ability to add so many diverse plugins. While browsing the thousands of plugins can be fun, there are at least a few that on my list that I feel every new WordPress user must utilize. Here is my list of the 6 best WordPress plugins for the WordPress newbie. If you’d like to know if creating websites is your cup of tea, you can always take a free career quiz.

Take also a close look at this video that explains how to install a WordPress plugin:

WordPress SEO by Yoast

Some love this plugin and some not so much. With a 5-star rating from over 3,000 users, it’s hard not to give them a shot. WordPress SEO by Yoast forces you to choose a focus keyword or phrase when you’re writing an article and then makes sure you use that focus keyword everywhere. It’s simple to use and can greatly enhance your website and its content on search engines.

Continue Reading

MIT OpenCourseWare

With a noble nod to the Internet’s ability to spread knowledge, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has made most of its course material available on the Web- for free that is! The Website for the project, MIT OpenCourseWare, includes material such as lecture notes, course outlines, reading lists, and assignments for each course. Over the next few years, the project expects to provide materials for more than 2,000 courses spanning MIT’s entire curriculum–in architecture and planning, engineering, humanities, arts, social sciences, management, and science.

“With the content posted for all to use, it provides an extraordinary resource, free of charge, which others can adapt to their own needs,” said MIT President Charles M. Vest, in a statement. “We see it as source material that will support education worldwide, including innovations in the process of teaching and learning itself.”

The project began as a pilot program for just two years, starting with the design of the necessary software and services, and the design of protocols to monitor and assess performance. By the end of the two-year period, MIT materials for more than 500 courses were available on the OpenCourseWare (OCW) Website.

Continue Reading

How to Apply to a Job or Write an Email That Actually Gets a Response

I am one of those people who thinks jobs are irrelevant to making money, despite having a full-time job. I also believe in financial diversification, multiple streams of revenue, freelancing, and self-employment. I’ve had staff jobs, long-term freelance jobs, sold e-books, got paid to participate in focus groups, transcribed amateur wrestling interviews, held temp jobs, and made money through traditional publishing routes.

I seem to be one of the few that jobs are sometimes fun. Or teach you things. Or give you a place to stop and rethink where you want to go. Or offer a useful way to learn how to launch your own business or harness skills to take to your freelance endeavors.

Regardless of if you want a job or a freelance life or are still just figuring your life out; you need writing skills to get there. It doesn’t matter if you’re not interested in being a writer, you still need them. If you can master a traditional job application via email, then you can master the query letter, guest post pitch, or anything else.

The real reason isn’t the practice or skill, but the creative strategy in its approach. Do you treat a prospective employer or client like they’re a listing found on Craigslist? Or a breathing entity whose time and point-of-view is valuable? If you can get past thinking of the email recipient as a robot or intimidating force that hides behind an HR Department, and start thinking of it as a practice in creativity, then you can land anything.

Continue Reading

Talking Heads

Financial data reported by mainstream media were once mercifully simple and brief. Reporters might tell us that interest rates had risen a quarter of a point, or that the unemployment rate had dropped a tenth of a point, or that the dollar had risen slightly against the German mark. But now, even on general news segments, we are bombarded with details once considered too technical even for seasoned financial industry professionals.

I watched recently as one of television’s talking heads reported that although the monthly trade deficit had dropped, the movement should not be interpreted as a positive sign. Why? Because export figures contained a large commercial aircraft shipment that markets had known about for months in advance. Another correspondent told me that the rise in the wholesale price index should be discounted heavily, because 34 percent of it was attributable to movements in traditionally volatile energy components of the index.

Continue Reading

Chronological vs Functional Resume

Many people especially young job seekers mistake a resume’s purpose, they think a resume should to get them a desired job. In reality, the sole purpose of the resume is to open doors. Your resume purpose is to create interest so the employer will invite you in for an interview.

But how do you create that interest when you don’t exactly fit the job description? Here are some tips from Chris from Covcell.com where they help students get an HSED (High School Equivalency Diploma) with online video lessons and free practice testsand teach them how to find a desirable job. If you are looking for free practice tests to refresh your knowledge, check their website. Cardiff Language Academy works with them as well.

Use the resume to your advantage he says. Recently we weighed in about the usefulness of functional style resumes vs. chronological resumes.
Historically, functional style resumes have been recommended for first time university/college/HSED graduates and career changers.

The functional resume had its heyday in the 70’s as a clever way to display one’s skillset. Now they are seen as a ‘bluffing tactic’ a way to distract an employer from undesirable information such as gaps in work history. And it’s not unusual for that type of resume to end up in the shredder! Continue Reading

Mastering Tips English

After six or seven months, Adel began to master English and make friends with American students. Her turbulent background has made her particularly grateful for the help she received at the High School Law, Advocacy and Community Justice. “The teachers really have this desire to help students… When I arrived I couldn’t say anything, but the teachers were always there helping me, which I really appreciated. In my country, if you don’t speak French they wouldn’t help you.”

Adel, whose favorite subject is math, now lives in Brooklyn with her siblings and mother, who works at Whole Foods. Life is still hard, she says, but “I love it here as I have a lot of opportunities to do well in the future.” The strife in the Congo region – which suffered a long civil war and continuing turmoil – forced Adel not to attend school for more than a year. “You could get shot at in the street,” she adds. Continue Reading

What you can learn from Mespa

Slow down, take a breath, and enjoy the countryside, where life takes on a peaceful more gentle pace. Quilting is one of those things, along with knitting and taffy pulling, that seems like it should be reserved for older women from pioneer days. Contrary to this stereotype, Denyse Schmidt of Denyse Schmidt Quilts is a modern woman born and raised in central Massachusetts who simply has a passion (and a talent) for patchwork.

She was raised in a family where hand-making things was normal: her father and mother made furniture and clothes in their spare time, and while they never made a career out of their talents, Denyse was inspired to take her capacity for creation a bit further.

After studying graphic design and working in a myriad of industries, Denyse finally “patched together” her experiences to create her very own patchwork quilt company, and it’s anything but old-fashioned.

Continue Reading

Suh-Tweet: Twitter is Officially Stupid

Suh-Tweet is a new word that I invented today. It is a play on the word “sweet”. Say it everybody: Suh-tweet. Kinda like “so sweet” except instead of sweet we say tweet.

Best of Stupid is officially on Twitter. That’s right folks, you are free to stalk our latest updates here. For you Twitter addicts out there, that’s kind of suh-tweet.

For those of you who don’t know what the heck Twitter is, consider yourself blessed, as you still have the opportunity to save yourself from being sucked into a time-killing pointless vacuum. You should stop reading this post and hide under a rock as fast as you can if you are not on Twitter. SAVE YOURSELF.

You can officially declare something as stupid when you are sitting in the waiting room somewhere stuck watching some mainstream news channel and instead of reporting the news, the news anchors instead are talking for 30 minutes about Twitter and who they are following. Apparently knowing that someone we don’t know spilled coffee all over herself this morning is WAY more important than things like health care or world poverty.

Continue Reading