Entrepreneur

Make Money with Judgements

Posted by 6 November, 2008 (1) Comment

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What is a judgement? Wikipedia defines a judgement as:

A judgment in a legal context, is synonymous with the formal decision made by a court following a lawsuit.

If a judgement is made, it entitles one entity (a person or business) the right to collect the amount of the judgement from the other entity involved. The only problem is that the court doesn’t help you find the debtor or the debtor’s assets. This is a huge need, but there are few services available that perform this task. Al Schweitzer, from my understanding, is the “father” finding debtors and a debtor’s assets. I recently went to a meeting where he was speaking. I go to a lot of real estate meetings and entrepreneur meetings in general and I was surprised I hadn’t heard of this before. Here are a few facts that he gave out (note I have not been able to verify whether these are true or not).

1. 80% of judgements go uncollected

2. Courts award judgements in the US every 1.5 seconds.

3. Judgements can last 3-10 years

As a wanna be entrepreneur, I’m always looking for other potential ways of making money. Al went on to state that:

If you are owed money from a judgement, you can legally take all of the money from his/her account, garnish wages, place a lien and all without being a bill collector or attorney.

I thought this was absolutely fascinating. I must admit that part of the appeal is that because it almost sounds borderline “dangerous”. I will certainly follow up with an attorney and follow up with a future blog post.

Here were some of the websites given that allow you to find people who in many cases, don’t want to be found.

Insightamerica.com
IRBsearch.com
Merlindata.com
Locateplus.com

So, all of this sounds cool. How do people make money?

1. Find the debtor

2. Send letters and call if you do not hear from them after a week or two.

3. Ask them if they would be interested in settling their debts if you could cut their debt in half. Do they have the cash to settle the debt now?

4. Call the creditor.

5. Ask them if they would consider selling the judgement for $.20 – $.30 on the dollar.

6. Purchase the judgement.

7. Settle the judgment with the debtor and pocket between 20 to 30% of the value of the judgement.

All of this sounds relatively easy, but it usually is when people are trying to sell you something as Al was at the meeting.

There are some other uses with this knowledge:

1. If people have judgements against them, do you think they might be potentially facing foreclosure soon? This could be a way to find pre-foreclosures for real estate investors months before other people start mailing to them.

2. You could use these techniques of finding information on people to screen potential tenants.

3. Do a thorough background check on potential business partners.

4. Locate abandoned property owners.

5. Use judgements to reduce the price of the property you are trying to purchase.

In my opinion there is certainly a lot of value that Al has to offer. I’m pretty frugal so I was not willing to fork over the $500 for the tapes and CD’s or the like. It’s $279 and $767 respectively for his kit through his website, Courtcash.com. I do have a friend that purchased the kit, but he reported that it’s been on his bookshelf, untouched.

photo by Dbking

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Other Posts that may interest you:

What Would Happen if More People Were Financially Independent?
What’s the Best Financial Decision You’ve Made?
10 Reasons Why You Should NOT Own a Pool

Categories : Entrepreneur,Real Estate Investing Tags : ,

Interview: CopperReflections.com

Posted by 16 October, 2008 (0) Comment

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1. Could you please tell us about yourselves?

We have been making handmade copper jewelry and gifts for almost 25 years. We have built our company from the ground up. We started with just a small table on the street, we had a retail store, we have participated in arts and crafts shows in Canada and the United States, exhibited at wholesale jewelry and gift shows and now we are online for the entire world! There is no overnight success in business; you need to build your business step by step on a solid foundation to ensure continued success.

2. You mentioned you are semi-retired, what all does that entail?

Ten years ago nothing was more important than building our wholesale handmade jewelry business, a legacy for our children. We spent night and day working, blinders on, seemingly unaware of the world around us. We focused on our goal so completely that there was no time for friends or family. We were on our own just trying to get everything done on schedule. All in all we were quite successful but something was missing.

One day we woke up and the enthusiasm was gone, we were tired of the stress of our dream. So we decided that the dream needed revising. After much conversation, not to mention a little too much wine, we came up with a new plan. We were going to change everything; we were going to begin living the life we always wanted.

We packed up the house and the kids and we moved to Turkey. At times it seems like a fairy tale! We live by the sea; we go for long walks and spend entire days at the beach. We take drives along the coast and the views take our breath away, it is a truly enchanted life; a dream come true!

We still work on the handmade jewelry business but we are a lot more relaxed about it. Now we are focused on our website and new designs for our handmade jewelry and unique gifts instead of the day to day running of the business. The wholesale jewelry business is now working for us instead of us being the slave of the business.

3. How long have you had your business, http://www.copperreflections.com/? What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in maintaining your business?

We started our business almost 25 years ago, but have only been focusing on the website for the last eight months. When we made our first website a few years ago, we sat down with a website designer and he made the website just how we wanted it. We were busy with our wholesale handmade jewelry business and didn’t focus on the website, it was just there. We had invested money but not time to understand how to make the website work for us. It was like printing business cards before you know what you are going to sell, pointless.

In the last eight months we have devoted a great deal of time to learn about internet marketing and to develop our website. It takes a lot of time, but research is the key to success. Knowing your target market and creating a marketing strategy are very important. This is not an overnight process; it takes time to find out what works and doesn’t work. It is a work in progress; every day we learn something new and try to apply it to our situation.

Six months ago you couldn’t find our website unless you typed in our URL. Now we are in the top ten for several of our keyword phrases and seeing improvement every day for the more competitive phrases. Every day we get inquiries about our handmade jewelry and unique gift ideas.

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4. How did you get started in your business? How do you plan to grow into the future?

My husband starting making jewelry and selling on the street, he had a 2’x4′ table in Gastown, a historical part of Vancouver, Canada. We’ve come a long way since then. We are very much looking toward the future. Being online is like having a store for the whole world! We have recently found a distributor for our handmade copper jewelry and gifts in Australia. We receive inquiries every day and hope to find distributors throughout Europe and the UK. The future is looking very bright.

5. Are most of your clients within Turkey or do you do a lot of your business overseas?

We just moved to Turkey about a year ago, we don’t sell our products in Turkey. We have been in business in Canada for about 25 years. Our customers are mostly in the United States and Canada, and our designs are fitted to that market. We sell to the top tourist attractions in Canada, like the CN Tower in Toronto, Butchart Gardens in Victoria and Capilano Suspension Bridge in Vancouver. We have distributors in Canada and the US who sell wholesale to retail stores, 90% of our sales come from there.

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6. You guys seem to have done very well considering you are under the age of 50. Do you have any tips for other up and coming entrepreneurs?

If you want to be happy, sell retail; a store, online or craft shows. If you want to make money, sell wholesale to the retail stores; it’s a lot more work but it has its own rewards.

Sometimes a successful wholesale jewelry business just sneaks up on you overwhelming your life. It took years to realize that one person cannot be responsible for everything. In any type of business you must delegate the work so that the business is working for you. Choose what you like to do and outsource what don’t enjoy. Life is a balance; work should not overshadow all other areas.

Take time to enjoy life: family, friends and especially your kids. Before you know it they grow up, make sure you are the most important influence in their lives, not someone on tv. They are depending on you to show them the way to be happy and successful in life. Don’t let them down, be there for them.

To find out more about Tony and Jen, please feel free to visit their blog:

http://copperreflections.com/handmade-jewelry-blog/

or chat with them on twitter

https://twitter.com/unique_jewelry

Categories : Entrepreneur,Success Story Tags : ,

Interview: Liveworkdream.com

Posted by 9 October, 2008 (2) Comment

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Could you tell us a little about yourselves?
We met in San Francisco, CA where Rene worked downtown and Jim commuted to Silicon Valley. In 1997, we got married and moved to Eureka, CA to get away from the rat race. We started a small home-based graphics and marketing firm serving clients around the country. We grew the business for ten years to the point where it was ready for additional staff, and decided to sell. We marketed the business opportunity ourselves and closed the deal in six months with a buyer who purchased our home along with the business. During that time we decided to take a sabbatical road trip and researched potential RV options, selecting a 24′ Arctic Fox as our home/office on wheels. We hit the road in June 05 2007. Our plan was to see the country and find some land near a community we liked where we would settle down. We quickly discovered this was not possible in one year and decided to start workamping to extend our journey. In exchange for full-hookup sites and/or a stipend, we have worked at an animal rescue in North Carolina, organic farm in Florida, a New Mexico hot springs resort, and most recently a Colorado guest ranch. We see no end to our “trip” in sight, but have begun a serious search for some land where we can set up a home base camp so we can stop paying fees for the items we have in storage.

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(sorry, I couldn’t resist putting this picture in)

I’m impressed with the guts and audacity you guys had to sell your business and most of the things you own to go traveling across America. What do you think was the turning point that propelled you to sell your business and a lot of your belongings to travel across America?

We had always intended to grow our business to the point where we could sell it someday. But this was mostly just talk until our dog Jerry got sick. We had always hiked and camped with Jerry, and we knew we wanted to travel with him. So when he was struck with bone cancer we knew it was time to plan a trip. Since we had his front left leg amputated in November 2006, hiking and camping was out, and we decided to research RVs and market the business for sale. Jerry was given 3-4 months to live after his surgery. He is still with us 22 months later and has become an inspirational canine cancer survivor with a website (www.tripawds.com) dedicated to educating people going through what we did with him.

Do you miss your business and the stable environment it provided?

Not in the least. After ten years, it was beginning to get tiresome and monotonous. Jim does not miss dealing with client headaches and production issues. Rene does not miss the overhead, debt and drudgery of logistics management. Compared to the new daily experiences and myriad challenges of life on the road, running the home based business seems like entrapment, a lifetime ago.

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What are some of the advantages that you guys have enjoyed by full-time RVing?

The freedom to choose our own life path and experience what we want to do, where we want to do it, is the best advantage to full-timing. Equipped with Satellite internet service and solar power, the ability to work and stay connected while getting way off the beaten path is a joy that must be experienced to be fully appreciated. Working online or listening to internet radio where there is not even cell phone service is another enjoyable advantage to life in an RV. And, the often magnificent view from our kitchen table changes almost nightly.

What are you guys doing for income?

Workamping at the guest ranch this summer recently provided us with a small income, but more importantly extreme savings from campground fees and fuel. (We went the whole summer on one tank of gas!) Jim provides on-call internet-based consulting services. Rene is a digital scrapbooking consultant, selling software and traditional crafting supplies online. Our websites include syndicated advertising from Google AdSense and other programs. We are Amazon affiliates which allows us to sell books and other products for small commissions. Our Amazon store at LiveWorkDream.com includes items related to travel and full-time RVing. Our Tripawds.com Amazon store includes resources about canine cancer and three legged dogs. At RVblogz.com we provide free travel blogs for other fulltime RVers. At Tripawds.com we also resell Ruff Wear products — including a harness, dog boots, and a canine life preserver — which help people provide support and mobility for their three-legged dogs. We also have a Café Press store (www.cafepress.com/tripawds) which offers merchandise for three legged dog lovers. None of this by any means will enable retirement for us anytime soon. But every little bit helps us extend our journey.

What are some of the more interesting places you have RVed at?

The best times have been spent boondocking off the grid, far away from others. One memorable stay was in Colorado’s Routt National Forest (Seedhouse campground) at about 9,000′ deep in the rocky mountains outside Steamboat Springs. Another was early in our trip alongside the San Juan river near Bluff Utah. One rather scary memory was in the woods outside Eau Claire, WI where we sat out a tornado warning. A developed campground in Georgia’s Okefenokee Swamp was memorable, primarily because of our alligator encounters.

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If someone was considering quitting their job to RV full-time, what are some of
the preliminary steps they should be doing?

If one is not independently wealthy, three things to think about are to plan, plan, and plan. Preparing a budget is most important. Rene created a detailed financial plan for our sabbatical road trip including all potential expenses which we review regularly. This is especially important with the volatile cost of fuel. We make our planning documents and budgets available at LiveWorkDream.com to help others plan their own fulltime RVing adventure. It is also imperative to know your comfort level, with your living space and your spouse/partner. RVing is very cozy, intimate living. We are very comfortable in our 24′ trailer, even after going from about 3,700 to 200 sq. ft. of live/work space! We budgeted for a few hotel nights each month, but have only spent a couple nights in a hotel all year. And that was because we were workamping in Truth or Consequences at the time and left our rig there while we took Jerry to the veterinary cancer clinic in Santa Fe.

Where do you guys see yourselves in 5 years? Do you see yourselves RVing full
time?

More likely, we will be part time full timers. We are starting to consider going seasonal. Perhaps we will purchase some land where we will park our home for half the year, then travel and/or workamp for the other half. Another idea is to have two small pieces of land — one in the north and one in the south. We could then travel between these two lots seasonally. Regardless, RVing will indefinitely be (a big) part of our lives.

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Is there anything else you’d like to add?

For people who say they can’t afford it, we say think again. Compared to the costs of paying for, maintaining and living in a stick house; full-time RVing can even be less expensive. Do the math — compare mortgage, insurance, utilities, and home improvement costs to fuel and campground
fees. You may be surprised. But when it comes to quality of life … There is no comparison.
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For more information about Jim & René, please take a look at their websites.

www.liveworkdream.com

working to find the dream life

www.tripawds.com

better to hop on three legs than limp on four

www.rvblogz.com

get your own free travel blog

www.agreda.com

the mobile headquarters of Agreda Communications

Photos courtesy of LiveWorkDream.com

Categories : Entrepreneur,Frugality,Travel Tags :

Do You Squidoo?

Posted by 6 October, 2008 (14) Comment

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Squidoo is a website that allows anyone to EASILY build a single page website called a “lens”. The lens can focus on a particular subject or can be a broad overview. The person who makes the lens is termed a “lensmaster”. Squidoo claims you can build a lens in 60 seconds and best of all, it’s free!

So, who should use Squidoo?

1. Business owner

2. Blogger

3. Anyone marketing anything

4. People who are passionate about a subject and want to spread the knowledge.

5. People who want to complete a simple webpage about themselves.

Why should you Squidoo?

1. Money

There are a few ways to make money using Squidoo.

On your lens, you can elect to have Google ads displayed. This can be a revenue source for you, but it will more than likely take some time to see any money so be patient.

You can opt to showcase Amazon, eBay, and CafePress items on your lens and if people purchase them, you earn commission. This is also termed “affiliate marketing”.

You can also make money by referring traffic from your lens to your blog or website. Of course, you only make money on your website or blog if you have advertising of some form.

2. Give to Charity

One of the great aspects about Squidoo, and has most likely attributed to a lot of it’s popularity, is that they give to charity and give YOU the option to give to charity. The breakdown of revenue is:

1. 5% goes to charity off the top of the revenue they pull in from ads and affiliate links. You don’t see this from too many companies so Squidoo should certainly be commended for that.

2. 45% of the revenue goes to the overhead of running Squidoo.

3. The other 50% goes to either the charity of the lensmaster’s choice, or is directed to the lensmaster in the form of cash.

3. Simple Web Page

There are not too many other websites that can get you up and running as quickly as Squidoo.

4. Great Publicity

Building Squidoo lenses that direct people to your website or blog is a great (and free) way to promote your services. If you have a blog, you need to have a Squidoo lens.

Even if Squidoo doesn’t seem like your “cup of tea”, I would encourage you to visit a charity lens that Squidoo set up: http://www.squidoo.com/squidoo-charity-giveaway. For every vote they receive for a charity, they will donate $2 (up to $80,000) to that charity. As I write this, I believe they have already exceeded the 40,000 vote ($80,000) figure, but you are still able to vote.

You can go here to make your first lens!

Also, here is my profile on Squidoo: http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/HappinessisBetter

Some other alternatives to Squidoo are:

Hubpages – From what I’ve read, it’s very similar to Squidoo with a different look and feel. I am not familiar with Hubpages and JUST signed up moments ago.

Here is a review of Hubpages vs. Squidoo by JohnKnoo.com

Oondi – This is another website very similar to Squidoo and Hubpages, but not as well known. I’ve read that they pay 100% of the advertising income instead of the 50% offered by Squidoo. I’m also not very familiar with this website.

Anyone have experience with these websites?

photo by TeamStickerGiant

Categories : Alternative Income,Entrepreneur Tags :

Do You Like Money as Much as I Do?

Posted by 2 October, 2008 (2) Comment

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I’m not sure why I’ve always had a fascination with money. I’ve always liked making money and I’ve always been careful with spending it.

It all started when I was in the 4th grade. I do not recall why I wanted money, but I tried to figure out how to make money. I assume it was for baseball cards or the like. I started selling candy to other kids at school. The bus driver even gave me the nick name, “The Candy Man”. I would go with my parents to Sam’s where I would buy laffy taffy and blow pops, then mark them up 100%. Looking back, I was proud that I was able to pull in $40 a week, which is a lot of money to a 9 year old in the 80’s.

Between the age of 9 and 16, my quest for money became more urgent. Once staff at my elementary school told me to stop selling candy to other kids (they didn’t like the competition 🙂 ), I started mowing lawns. In middle school and prior to turning 16, I also worked at my dad’s baseball card shop. I usually had to work for credit so I would use the credit to buy packs of baseball cards that were of high value to other collectors. I had the inside scoop on whether the good cards had already been plucked from a box or not and thus I was able to tilt the chances of opening a pack of cards with a valuable card. I then sold the valuable card either to my dad or to friends.

Once in high school, my first “real” job in was at a dollar theater. I started out asking people “would you like butter with that”. Yes, it was lame. I was covered in all sorts of neon colors because it was owned my Cinemark Theaters. My starting pay was $4.25 per hour which was enough to pay for gas and insurance on my car (which was REALLY expensive ~$200/month). I quickly moved to projectionist which was more up my ally. During my second summer of work eligibility, I had 3 jobs. I worked at the movie theater (my main job), at Winn Dixie bagging groceries and at RGIS as an auditor (REALLY boring).

That fall after I had maxed out my “potential” at the movie theater, I left Cinemark to bag groceries at Tom Thumb. I quickly became a cashier where I was pulling in $5.25/hour. I was only there for 6-9 months before starting at Flashnet (a 1995 internet provider) where I was a salesman. It was actually my best job during high school. I made $8.oo per hour plus commission. With commission and my base pay, I was making $12.00-$15.00 per hour. I’m not much of a salesman, but it made the job a lot easier since the calls were inbound and therefore the callers were already interested in signing up. It was just really a matter of services provided.

I had various jobs working for professors in college. My next business took hold in 1999. I started selling Pokemon cards through my website and Yahoo! Auctions. I had originally wanted to start a website for my dad’s business. Everyone, especially a business, NEEDED a website. It was the big thing. Well, my dad wouldn’t commit to move forward on a website, so instead I asked him to could order more cards than usual so that I could buy the excess (at the time a seller had to have a store front to be able to buy Pokemon cards from the manufacturer). My first internet business was born. I did fairly well considering I had a part time job and a full load of engineering classes. I pulled in around $12K in about a year. Unfortunately, I jumped into the business towards the peak of the short-lived popularity. It was interesting that most of my customers were overseas. That business lasted about a year prior to dying out. It was an interesting ride though, and thankfully that entrepreneurial spirit has persisted.

Do you have any childhood or college money-making adventures? I’d love to hear them!

photo by theritters’

Categories : Entrepreneur Tags : ,