Kori Morgan reports:
"Whether it's a historical incident or a family story, real-life events offer rich inspiration for fiction writers. However, they also impose many challenges in terms of plot development, creating characters and staying true to the events and people involved. You can write a story based on real occurrences by being willing to alter the actual events, transforming facts into plots and understanding the ethical issues that come with this source of inspiration...One challenge of writing about actual events is the temptation to incorporate every detail of what happened into the story. Novelist Julie Schumacher says that even though your memories inspired the story, the act of writing puts distance between the memories and the finished product. Because the circumstances of real life and the imaginary world you're creating are different, the events and characters may change to fit the story. Although the final draft may differ from your original memory, being willing to deviate from the events will make the story more unified and enjoyable for readers...In fiction, plot is the order of events in a story that gradually build tension. Although there may be elements of tension in the real events, fiction writer Robin Hemley says that until you impose the order of plot on the events, they are just episodes, or pieces of a story...If you're writing about a historical event or something that happened in another time period, research will be a key component of your process. Writer Caro Clarke states that fiction writers must create an authentic, accurate world without giving readers too much or too little information. It can be easy to make mistakes, but careful research can help you avoid anachronisms and factual errors...Writing about real life ultimately requires you to think about the people behind the story, especially if telling it could damage their reputations. Santa Clara University professor Ron Hansen warns that even if a project is fiction, stories that defame others or misrepresent events can be deemed libelous. You may want to be creative in your adaptation of the events if there's a chance someone could be hurt by the story."
Sheila Shanker reports:
"Accounting policies and procedures help your employees run your business without your constant supervision. They are simple, easy to understand and [easy] to follow...Writing accounting policies and procedures can be difficult, but they will help you in the long term, keeping processes standardized and simple...Organize your writing. Have a separate section for each accounting process, such as accounts payable, accounts receivable and fixed assets. Give each policy and procedure (P&P) a number and use the numbering system to organize the documentation. For example, all accounts receivable P&Ps could start with a 1, accounts payable with a 2. So, if you're looking for a specific document related to paying bills, you can look for the 2 series and find it easily, maybe as a 201 or 2001...Use a template to write policies and procedures. That makes the documentation easy to write and understand. Consider having a format where at the top you have a standard label with name, date, document number and other information. Below that on the page you could place a section called 'Purpose' to explain the goal of the P&P and following that you could start with the actual narrative of the process you want to standardize...Write clearly with good spelling and grammar. Policies and procedures are to be used by many people, so make it easy to read and foolproof. Avoid naming people's names, and instead, use position names. Be consistent in your writing to avoid confusion. If you have an 'Accounting Clerk' filing bills, don't change that same position to 'Clerk I' or 'Filing Clerk' in other P&P...Design your policies and procedures with an eye towards good internal controls. For example, the bookkeeper should not be able to sign checks. All check disbursements should be accompanied by sign-offs from owner or manager acknowledging that the purchase was authorized and all services and goods were received in the appropriate manner...Consider getting a ready-made policies and procedures software package for your industry...Get your accountant to take a look at your P&Ps to spot any internal control problems that could be fixed by using a different procedure...Review the policies and procedures at least once a year to make sure it is still valid and proper. Things change in business, and the P&Ps need to update with the changes."
James Scott reports:
"When you build a landing page, you think that it will become a positive experience for your visitors. Therefore, the work and focus you need to put [in] when you build it is immense...When you want to create the best landing page, you should pay attention to the tiniest details...When you create a landing page, you should stay away from fluff. Landing pages are the ones that convince people to take action. So, the content should be straightforward. You should focus on the problem your products will solve and convince your visitors that you offer answers to their questions. If you feel you are not so inspired, you can collaborate with professional writers...It is very important to think of a clear call-to-action for your landing page. You want your visitors to do a specific action when they enter your page. Therefore, your content and design should convince them to subscribe to your newsletter or buy your products instantly. You can use a button to grab visitors’ attention and make them do exactly what you want them to do...A landing page that attracts doesn’t have to be overloaded with images and videos. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use them at all. You need images, videos, and colors to catch your visitors’ attention. Your design should be in line with your content. What is more, it should lead your visitor directly to the call-to-action button. 'Colors are also very important as they shouldn’t be tiring. Furthermore, if you use headers, the colors shouldn’t be distracting,' Leona Henryson, a UX specialist at EssaySupply[,] explains. She adds[,] 'It’s very important to have a clear understanding of color psychology and what every color could mean to your visitors before starting any visual project'...OptimizePress can be used both as a theme and [as] a plugin. Either way you use it, this is a tool where you don’t need any technical knowledge. Apart from landing pages, OptimizePress can help you create sales pages or membership portals as well. According to Veronica Wright, CEO at ResumesCentre, 'OptimizePress is an excellent tool for landing pages. Its visual editor helps you preview all the changes you implement and thus test various options before you build a high converting landing page[.]'...[Thrive] is another plugin for WordPress which helps you create a successful landing page without any coding knowledge. What is more, WordPress is very proud of this tool and considers it to be the fastest landing page builder they have developed so far. The great thing about it is that it comes with 170 templates which you can use to build your landing page. For instance, you can add columns, social media icons, and much more. The surprises offered by this tool don’t end here. In comparison to other tools, this one helps also to create engaging content. You can choose from various templates which make copywriting a 'children’s play'. 'Thrive is great also when you want to analyze how your landing page is doing. You can track and optimize the conversion rates with this plugin. You can choose from various features like CTA buttons to personalize, testimonials, lead generation forms, or countdown timers[,'] says Christopher K. Mercer, digital marketer and founder of Citatior...The greatest thing about WordPress Landing Pages is that it is free. You don’t have to pay anything and still have an effective tool to help you develop interesting landing pages. It also allows you to visualize in real time the changes you make on your landing page. Therefore, it will become easier for you to decide which design option to choose. Furthermore, it is very easy to use this plugin thanks to its drag and drop interface. In addition, you will have plenty of templates to choose from and decide which one 'talks' better about your business. It is also compatible with other useful add-ons like WordPress Call to Action or WordPress Leads. 'Word[P]ress Landing Pages offers a variety of features to help you create a high converting landing page. You can clone your landing page and use it in a different context[,] or you can also pre-fill forms with information about your visitors. You can use this piece of information for your future marketing strategy and increase the number of visitors on your page[,'] says James Daily, the head of the content department at FlashEssay...[The] drag and drop tool helps you build your landing page almost instantly. You just pick the features and elements you want to add on your landing page, and you will have it ready immediately. There are 100 templates you can choose from to convince your visitors that your product is exactly what they need. What is more, you have plenty of design elements to choose from and thus enhance your visitors’ experience on the website. For example, you can add videos, graphics, column, images, and anything else you can think of to stand out of the crowd. The built-in image editor helps you keep the graphics and design aspect to the highest standard. Finally, Instabuilder is very useful as it comes with robust statistics and analytics to help you understand how your page is doing...Creating a [high converting] landing page in WordPress is not rocket science as you have plenty of options to choose from in terms of plug-ins and templates. Before choosing one tool or the other, it is very important to keep a balance between features like ease of use, responsiveness, drag and drop functionality, [and] costs. Once you have combined these elements, it will become very easy to choose those tools that help you obtain the results you always wanted."
Chris Daniels reports:
"There are many reasons for stepping away from your career temporarily or exploring other careers. Self-work is nothing to be ashamed of and likely provided you with valuable experience. The entrepreneurial spirit that drove you to self[-]work is a great asset for any employer. Your time spent self-employed should be listed on your resume to account for your career timeline and to avoid raising red flags for a potential employer...List self-employment as you would any other job. Describe the work you performed, clients, skills you developed and milestones of your success. If possible, use numbers that provide concrete results of your self-work. Also, list your website, publications or photographs...Avoid describing your employment status as 'self-work' or 'self-employed.' Use a functional job title such as consultant, writer, artist, web developer or whichever term best describes what you do...Be frank about any extenuating circumstances. If a personal circumstance such as your health or the needs of a family member took you away from your career or led you to change career paths, state that. However, be brief and state circumstances in a way that do not make the reader uncomfortable...Provide at least one reference who can confirm and discuss your self-employment...Obtain the references' permission before listing them on a resume and make sure they are prepared to discuss questions a potential employer may have in a way that shows you in a positive light...Format your resume as a functional, rather than chronological, list. For example, the headings under your 'Professional Experience' are your marketable skills such as management, analysis, strategy, writing, speaking, presentations and client interaction."
Paul Cole-Ingait reports:
"Fraud has seen many nonprofit organizations lose funds running to millions of dollars in unclear circumstances. Your report of fraud could help recover diverted assets and serve justice to perpetrators...Financial audits and investigations of nonprofit organizations have unearthed many fraud cases perpetrated by employees and other insiders. Some fraud perpetrators falsify financial information of their nonprofit organizations to conceal the embezzlement and misappropriation of funds...The incidents of fraud at nonprofits are usually precipitated by environments of trust and friendships that employees and volunteers exploit to fleece these organizations...Once you detect fraud, follow leads and gather appropriate evidence from accounting and communication documents. This could be local purchase orders, supplier and debtor invoices, payment vouchers, credit card slips, credit notes or signed contract forms. Form 990, which nonprofits file annually with the Internal Revenue Service, can also provide substantiating evidence. The nonprofit is required to report contributions and grants, program revenue, benefits paid to members and other financial information. The documented evidence will help you back up your allegations against any individual suspected of defrauding the nonprofit organization...If you are an internal or external auditor, highlight detected fraud in your audit report and recommend further investigations. An insider such as a staff member, board member or volunteer may have to report fraud anonymously to avoid retribution from perpetrators of the fraud. Contact fraud reporting organizations, such as the Fraud Hotline and Federal Trade Commission, to confirm whether they can investigate your fraud report. Fraud Hotline offers fraud reporting services to its registered organizations while the FTC attends to fraud red flags from donors and consumers of nonprofit services...Use the hotline numbers, email contacts and online contact forms provided by whistle-blower organizations to submit your fraud report. Some of these organizations provide website links for reporting fraud online. They also allow you to attach copies of your documented evidence in the emails and online contact forms. Seek the help of your state attorney general for legal guidance for reporting fraud in a nonprofit organization."
Megan Leonhardt reports:
"If you are going the DIY route, you’ll need to research your state’s laws. The rules can be quirky: Handwritten wills may not require any witnesses, for instance — but only half of states accept these wills as binding. A newly drafted, typed will now requires two witnesses’ signatures to be valid, wherever you are — but an older typed will that was executed in a state like Vermont or Georgia, which used to require three witnesses, will be subject to the old requirements unless it is updated. You may also want to know if your state has an estate or inheritance tax and how to plan for it...A will won’t cover all of your assets...Anything that’s in joint name or payable to a named beneficiary, such as life insurance policies or 401(k) balances, is outside the scope of a will...Before you even start a will, you should assign beneficiaries for as many accounts as possible...You can also create transfer-on-death or payable-on-death designations for checking, savings, and money market accounts, as well as certificates of deposit and U.S. bonds...The requirements vary by institution, though, so it’s worth making a call to find out what’s needed...Use the right language. You need to spell out who you are and the purpose of the document. Statements like 'I declare that this is my last will and testament' and 'I declare that I am of legal age to make this will, and that I am sound of mind' are not just for the movies. They’re critical to ensuring your will is taken seriously by your heirs and the courts...Be specific. If you are using a will to pass on your house, for instance, include the full address when identifying the property. For personal items, include a complete description. And use the full names of beneficiaries...Name an executor you trust — and tell them where to find your will. This is the person who will be wrapping up your affairs after your death and eventually distributing your assets. [T]he American Bar Association recommends naming a secondary executor or a co-executor, in case your first choice is unable to carry out the task or predeceases you...Appoint a guardian for minor children[.] For each child, you should name one person as a guardian and another as an alternate...It’s perfectly legal (but not necessary) to pick different guardians for each child...Spell out contingencies. Perhaps the most difficult aspect of a DIY will is thinking through all the contingencies...Say you’re leaving everything to your sister. But what if your sister predeceases you[?] Do you want the property to pass to her children? Or do you want to go to your other siblings? Describe the contingencies for each portion of your will...While a DIY will is better than nothing, lawyers argue that a professionally drafted document can do far more to protect your heirs — particularly if the beneficiaries you’d choose aren’t those provided by your state’s intestacy law. It might even cost less than you’d imagine. While a handwritten will won’t cost you a penny, in most states, a fill-in-the-blank formatted will, downloaded from a site like LegalZoom, will set you back about $100 — while a will drafted by an attorney can cost, on average, only about $375, says LegalZoom. (For a larger, more complex estate, with federal estate tax considerations and specific trusts or entities such as family limited partnerships, the price tag will be $1,000 or more — but complex estates should not be relying on DIY wills in the first place.) And at many firms...a will is billed as a flat fee, rather than an hourly rate. So if cost is a concern, you can call ahead to ask what the fees are. Don’t know where to start? Many bar associations...offer...lawyer referral services. Under such programs, lawyers have agreed to provide initial half-hour consultations that are generally free or cost less than $50. Paying a bit more now for a good, legally drafted will can also save your heirs money — particularly if they are not the beneficiaries designated by your state intestacy statutes...If your surviving family or friends are not the designated successors, they may have to spend thousands (or hundreds of thousands) of dollars fighting for what they are entitled to."
Grace Ferguson reports:
"Before you lodge a complaint, examine its relevance...Think about how your co-worker’s behavior affects your ability to work. Be honest about your reasons for coming forward at this time...Start the letter by briefly stating your reason for writing it. Explain that due to a series of incidents that arose between you and the co-worker, you feel it’s time to make an official complaint. If you have already tried to handle it on your own, share that information, too...Next, write what happened between you and the employee. List each incident separately and the respective dates. Stick to the facts and maintain a neutral tone when describing what happened...Write how the [co-worker's] actions affect your ability to work. State your job duties and your goal to meet them. Point out how your co-worker’s actions are preventing you from fulfilling your objectives. Say that you would appreciate the company's help in stopping behavior that doesn't belong in the workplace. Make a photocopy of your signed and dated letter...Approach your manager professionally and explain the situation. Explain that you’ve written a letter, which contains specifics of the matter. Then present the letter to your boss. If you[r] boss is unable or unwilling to deal with it, contact your human resources department. Give HR a copy of the letter."
James Collins reports:
"There are three main types of financial statements. They are the balance sheet, [the] income statement and the cash flow statement. The cash flow statement is created by line items from both the income statement and balance sheet. There are three different sections of the cash flow statement, and each one provides a little more insight into the cash position of the company. Writing a financial analysis of a cash flow statement must include a discussion about cash flow from operations, cash flows from investing and cash flows from financing activities. Analyze cash flows from operations. This is the first section in the cash flow statement. Investors want a company that has positive cash flow from operations. If cash flows from operations is positive, explain which line items contributed to the increase. If it is negative, talk about those line items which contributed to the decrease. Be sure to include a discussion about working capital, which is calculated by subtracting current liabilities from current assets. Working capital is used to discuss short-term funding needs for operations. Identify cash flows from investing. Cash flows from investing is usually negative due to the purchase of assets. Assets purchased in this section are considered depreciable or capital assets, which are tax deductible unless they are financial instruments such as marketable securities. Discuss the amount and nature of purchases if the value is negative. If the number is positive, discuss why the company felt the need to dispose of assets. If the company is strapped for cash, it may have to sell assets in order to raise capital. Write about cash flows from financing. Financing activities include the issuance of bonds or stocks. It also includes the payment of interest and dividends on those stocks. If cash flows from financing is positive, discuss how that capital was raised -- through debt or equity issuance. Talk about what the capital will be used for and if the company anticipates a need for more. Write a conclusion about the company's sources and uses of cash. Most investors want a company that has positive cash flows from operations rather than investing or financing. If this is not the case, investors or readers will want to know why. Provide a recommendation about the health of the company's cash flow situation based on your analysis."
George Lawrence reports:
"Hair care is a lucrative business opportunity if you have what it takes to be a barber. While you may start out in an established barbershop or hair salon, eventually you may venture out and start your own business. Barbershops require planning, securing financials, and marketing—just like other businesses. Drafting a business plan is the first step to opening your own shop...Research your local market. At a minimum, look in your phone book and count the number of barbershops and hair salons in your area. Consider visiting the competition and reviewing how the shops are [set up]. The more thorough your research, the better prepared you will be to meet the competition. Find potential locations to open your barbershop. According to business-plan-made-easy.com, locations should be easy to access, have ample parking, and have the potential to attract customers. Space in a shopping mall or a shopping center is generally good. Gather data about your finances. Think about how you will secure loans and start-up costs. This step will also require you to think about the equipment you need such as scissors, chairs, razors[,] and sanitizing materials, and how much it will cost to purchase equipment. Think about your marketing strategies and how you will fund them. Take steps to acquire the proper state-required licenses and certifications. If you are not already certified, but you still want to write the plan, discuss how you will get the licenses and how long it will take...Describe your business, the market, the competition, how you intend to staff the business[,] and what insurance you need. Think about a name for your business, write a mission statement, [and] discuss goals. Use the market research information you gathered to complete the first section of your business plan. Create subheadings for each part of this section as necessary. Discuss financial data in section two. Use the preliminary financial data you gathered to determine how much money you need to start and how you intend to acquire the money, either from loans or [from] personal finances. Detail the first year of operation month by month. Project finances over the course of the first three years. Detail your marketing plan. Discuss how you intend to advertise your business. Include information about coupons or specials. Summarize the information in a section you can call 'Executive Summary.' Compile the business plan. Include a coversheet, a table of contents, your executive summary, and the sections concerning the business itself, finances and marketing. Include supporting documents such as prior tax returns, proposed lease agreements, and copies of your license and certifications."
Sharon Kennedy reports:
"Many festivals and venues require music concert proposals from bands in order to consider hosting their concerts. The goal of these proposals is to inform the concert organizer about the band, its music and its promotion strategy so that the organizer can evaluate whether the concert is likely to be a success. A good proposal will be clear and descriptive, and relate to both the commercial and [the] artistic attributes of the band or musician. Most important[ly], it must be persuasive. Obtain a concert proposal form from the music festival or venue you are applying to. Many have ready-made forms that detail exactly what information they're looking for. Give the basic information such as the name of your act, the contact person and his or her contact information, and your website (if you have one). Note the dates you are available to perform. Provide a short artist biography, including some of the band's or artist's musical achievements and previous concerts. This should be one or two paragraphs. You want to be descriptive, but relatively objective. Describe your concert program. Include how many sets you want to play and how long the sets will be. For classical musicians, include which pieces you will be performing, who the composers are, and approximately how long the pieces will last. Attach a sound file with a sample of the artist's music if the proposal will be submitted by email or online. If the proposal is submitted in hard copy, include a CD. Describe your ideas for promotion, and mention how you currently promote yourself (Facebook, Twitter, etc.). If you already have promotional materials like posters or photos, you may include them...Your proposal should be one to two pages in length. Design and layout are important. Make sure your proposal looks clean and professional. Check spelling and grammar before submitting your proposal. Read up on how to write a business proposal; that should give you some good guidelines and tips...Don't be discouraged if your proposal is rejected. The music industry is very competitive and it takes a lot of perseverance to make it. If you decide to modify your proposed program after you have submitted the proposal...you should notify the organizer to keep your credibility."
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