Top Ways to Save on Home Improvement

Change is simply inevitable. As the family gets bigger, the children grows up, and the difference in lifestyles is felt; among the first things that is done to accommodate these adjustments is a change in the home. But with the challenging New York housing market, upgrading through home improvement proves to be a more ideal option than selling and moving into a new house. And to make the changes more financially beneficial, here are tops ways to save on home improvement whether you are in Long Island, Brooklyn, Staten Island, Manhattan, or Queens.

Work within the Existing Blueprint

Envisioning your ‘perfect’ kitchen or bathroom can be totally exciting. Major changes however can be bank breaking. To avoid the hefty costs it is important to smartly choose which changes can be done to answer to the family’s needs without having to move primary features such as sinks, bathtubs, and toilets. If you are working with basement remodeling, instead of removing and relocating support columns, pipes, and other unsightly structural elements, you can work these into the design by using creativity. Not going through these major tasks in your home improvement saves you a big chunk on the remodeling project.

Reuse or Resell

If the fixtures and other features in your home improvement project are still in good working condition, consider reusing to save on the money you need to spend buying new things as well as demolition and disposal. Refinishing is a great way to create changes and make fixtures and furnishings as good as new. Some of the jobs you can include in your project are refinish hardware, repaint cabinets, refinish hardwood floors, etc. But if you really decide for new items, then sell your used fixtures and furnishings online or at a yard sale. The profits can add to your budget.

Buy Smart

There are many options that you can consider to get you the best value for your home improvement money such as:

  • RTA Cabinets – you can use ready-to-assemble cabinets for kitchen remodeling or bathroom remodeling. Without having to pay for labor costs, this will considerably cutback on expenses.
  • Bid on Materials – you can buy items at very cheap prices at auctions. One place to find such great buys is at the US Treasury auctions. You can also try searching for online auctions or local yard sales.
  • Buy Salvaged – salvaged materials such as hardwood, glass, marble or granite slabs, and other old fixtures and furnishings are great buys. This green way of doing home improvement is an amazing way to trim down on expenses. Some places to find such deals include recycling centers, architectural salvage yards, online classifieds and specialty boutiques offering vintage furnishings.

Know When and When Not to DIY

There are home improvement works that can easily be done by you and there are areas that are best left for professional contractors to efficiently do. Knowing when and when not to DIY is crucial as this decision can save you from the risks, hassles and costs of doing things wrong. Specially if the project involves any updates or changes in plumbing, electricity or other complex areas; it is best to hire a qualified contractor and get the best value for your budget.

Reclaiming Good Mental Health

What is good mental health? We are all more or less mentally healthy, and this usually varies through our lives especially as we deal with difficult life events, change and so on. Whether we call this psychological wellbeing, happiness, contentment, positive mindset, all these terms relate to good mental health.

With our physical health, it’s part of our everyday discourse to be aspirational. We want to feel physically fit, energetic, strong, balanced in our weight, eating a healthy diet, supple, resilient and not prone to minor ailments. Sure we complain about our problems, and talk about how we can’t do all the things we know we ought to do. We know it’s not easy to stay physically healthy without working at it, especially if we’ve experienced health problems. We know that even if we reach the peak of physical fitness, we can’t maintain this for the rest of our lives without paying attention to it.

Research tells us that good mental health is even more beneficial than good physical health. A positive mental outlook increases the rate and speed of recovery from serious, even life threatening, illness. Psychological resilience and wellbeing gives people the strength to turn problems into challenges into triumphs.

Yet whenever I ask a group of people to tell me what words come into mind in relation to ‘mental health’, their responses are about mental ill-health! It’s as if the term has been hi-jacked to become totally problem-focused.

In the meantime, we’re experiencing an epidemic of mental ill-health. About 1 in 4 people are experiencing some form of common mental health problem such as depression, anxiety and various stress related symptoms. GP surgeries are overwhelmed with such problems, mental health services are only able to provide support for the 1% of the population with much more severe mental health difficulties, and there’s a plethora of largely unregulated services, treatments and remedies out on the private market. A recent research study showed that the majority of long term sickness absence from work resulted from stress related conditions.

The trouble with focusing on the problems and the pain, is that that’s what we become experts in. We’re looking for cures and treatments to fix the problem, instead of focusing on what makes for good mental health. We know that physical health is multi-dimensional – no-one imagines that pumping iron to build your muscles is a recipe for overall physical health, although it will certainly make you stronger for certain activities.

So what are the essentials of good mental health?

Connection is certainly one of the best known. Having positive close relationships is good for our mental health, as is having a wider network of friends, colleagues and acquaintances which will vary over time. Giving to others is another really important aspect of connection, improving our sense of self worth and wellbeing.

Challenge is about learning and development, it’s how we grow. For children, everyday brings new challenges, yet as adults we often become increasingly fearful of change, unwilling to learn new skills or put ourselves in unfamiliar situations. So expanding our comfort zone, sometimes in small ways if we’re feeling particularly vulnerable, will help develop our self-confidence and sense of personal achievement.

Composure means a sense of balance, and ability to distance ourselves from our thoughts and emotions. It means our ability to respond rather than react. This could be described as our sense of spiritual connection, which may come through a particular belief or faith, or may be found through connection with nature. A mentally healthy person will feel an inner strength of spirit, and find ways to support that.

Character relates to the way in which we interpret our experiences and our responses to them. We all have our own personal story, or stories, which we may or may not tell others. We may cast ourselves as the hero, the victim or the villain, and however we do this will impact generally on our mental health. Someone who has experienced severe life trauma may have great difficulty piecing together their story at all, leaving them feeling literally fragmented. Good mental health means having a strong sense of personal values, awareness of our own strengths, skills and resources, and personal stories of learning from mistakes, survival, success and appreciation.

Creativity represents the fun, childlike aspects of our mental health. As children we are naturally creative and we play. As we grow into adulthood, our creativity and playfulness is often discouraged or devalued, and this can cause great frustration, literally diminishing the capacity of our brain to function as well as it could. Exploring creative activities has often been found to have a powerful therapeutic effect, and good mental health certainly depends in part on opportunities to bring fun, playfulness and creativity into our lives.

These 5 C’s of good mental health offer a framework within which we can think about our mental health in the same way as we might our physical health. It’s pretty damned hard to be a perfect specimen of physical health,but then who needs to be perfect? Just like our physical health, our mental health is a work in progress and always will be.

In years gone by, many people with physical illnesses were treated cruelly because of ignorance and shame. I recall when cancer was spoken in hushed whispers as the Big C. Nowadays mental ill-health is the ‘elephant in the room’ which we need to be looking at long and hard, exposing to practical common sense and intelligent discussion.

World Mental Health Day on October 10 has been a timely reminder that good mental health really is something we can aspire to for everyone. Let’s make it so!

6 Keys To Home Business Success

The Home Business industry is a multi-billion dollar industry, but unfortunately the vast majority of people (more than 95%) never achieve any level of success with it.

Why?

Because they don’t know the 6 keys to home business success, and they give up before they see results.

So many people get started in this industry with the vision of creating massive residual income by telling 5, who tell 5 who tell 5 and they all live happily ever after. Unfortunately, they tell 5, who tell them where to go, and for most people that’s enough rejection to make them throw in the towel and give up all together.

Very few people have the fortitude to hear no as next and keep persisting.

And even the few who do persist still won’t see the kind of results they want because the system they’ve plugged into is missing one or more of the 6 keys to home business success.

What Are The 6 Keys To Home Business Success?
I haven’t been in this industry for decades like many of my mentors have, although I’ve seen enough in a few short years to know what works well and what doesn’t.

My first exposure to the home business industry was at a seminar. A speaker at the front of the room was pitching his program on how to get grants and loans from the government. The program sounded great, but near the end he said “who here would like to learn how I really broke free from my job as a garbage man and became financially free?”

Of course most of the hands in the room shot up, and he proceeded to go into his home business presentation. After more than 30 minutes of hearing about how these revolutionary products would replace most of the everyday cleaning and self care products in your home a few people in the audience finally started muttering “oh, it’s ______”. I won’t mention the name of the company here, but suffice it to say it’s a very well known company in the network marketing industry.

He made an irresistible offer waiving the sign up fees and allowing anyone interested to get started for just $1. He even promised to work with anyone who was serious and to help build our teams for us. Seemed like a great opportunity so my wife and I signed up and bought our starter products. After a few months of paying nearly $100/mo to keep our distributor status and earning a big $2 cheque we bailed.

Now in fairness, we didn’t work on building the business either. What I do know is that the 2 people who’ve done very well in that business speak from the stage, and seem to build their business from the hundreds of people in the audience, not from doing milk and cookie parties like they encourage their team to do.

My next venture into the home business industry was even more eye opening. This was a program with a high ticket core product. It was a vacation travel package that cost over $3,000. The allure was that with just 12 people in your organization you’d earn 4 times that amount!

What should have been a clue though is we were trained to tell people that we invited to see the presentation that “I can’t tell you what it is, you just have to come and see.” if they asked what it was about. What’s interesting is that I saw people make thousands in that company in as little as a couple of weeks. They had people making 6 figures in their first year, but despite my best efforts, I still barely broke even on my initial investment.

Today, I’ve sworn off of doing business the old way, and that’s why I’m excited to share the 6 keys to home business success with you today, to hopefully save you some of the headaches and challenges I faced in the past.

Key #1 To Home Business Success
1) You need a product to sell that pays high commissions.

The first key to success in the home business industry is to find a product that pays high commissions. For the most part, the commissions paid out in the home business industry just aren’t high enough for someone to make a full time income from unless they’re able to recruit a small country into their downline. In fact, a few of my mentors had teams of 5,000-10,000 and were still only making a few thousand dollars a month, all while getting stuck on 3 way calls from dawn to the early morning every day.

Finding a product that pays 30-70% commissions will make a world of difference to your success in the home business industry. Better yet, is that the commissions will be paid out quickly, not weeks or months down the road. People want to see success early or they’ll end up quitting before they truly get started.

Key #2 To Home Business Success
2) Your product needs to be affordable to the masses.

The core product needs to be affordable to the masses. You will have far more success offering your products to people if they’re what my mentor calls “under the radar money”. This is a purchase that’s under about $200 that someone can make without causing a major fight over spending with their spouse. One of the big objections people get in the home business industry is “I have to speak to my wife/husband” which is really just an excuse. If your core product is only $25 to say $197 most people will be able to make that purchase themselves and not have to run it by their significant other.

Once someone makes that initial buying decision then your goal is to upgrade them to the highest level of products that makes sense to them. Notice I said makes sense to them. Your goal is not to sell the most products regardless of their circumstances. Your goal is to help them achieve their goals, and set them up with the level of products that will best help them achieve that.

Key #3 To Home Business Success
3) People need to be able to become profitable in 30 days or less.

One of the major reasons people fail in the home business industry is because they don’t see any wins in their first few weeks. To ensure longevity your home business system must enable people who plug in and apply the system to become profitable in 30 days or less. If people are able to become profitable quickly, they’ll become loyal customers for life. If not, they’ll quit and hop around from opportunity to opportunity looking for something that is.

Of course, not everyone will become profitable, because not everyone will even take the first step. It’s strange. People will sound all fired up and motivated, and then fall off the face of the planet and never even take the first step towards building a successful home business. It’s just human nature, and there’s nothing you can do about. Focus on helping the people who are in action.

Key #4 To Home Business Success
4) Your offering needs to include upsells and higher ticket items to enable someone to make the most amount of money in the least amount of time.

Having an affordable core product is great to enable people to get started, but earning $5 or $10 or even $50 isn’t life changing income. In order to create a truly successful home business you need to be able to earn higher ticket commissions.

Having the ability to sell $500, $1000, and even $3000 products is how you generate full time income with minimal effort. Making one or two sales of these types of products is how you go from making lunch money to making full time income doing part time work.

Key #5 To Home Business Success
5) The corporate videos need to convert on their own.

This is a big problem for much of the home business industry. People are drawn in by a compelling, charismatic presenter who has a way with words that just draws people in. The problem is, most people aren’t able to duplicate what their sponsor does or says, and gets rejected every time they try to “show the plan”.

Many companies have now produced DVD’s and video for their distributors to hand out, but even those don’t effectively convert viewers into buyers.

To be successful in the home business industry you need to have access to corporate videos that can do the telling and selling for you, so that anyone who gets started can just share the video with others and start seeing results. If the corporate videos aren’t effective in converting, then you won’t be successful either.

Key #6 To Home Business Success
6) Your offering needs to include marketing training to show people how to build their business beyond their friends and family.

Most of the home business industry teaches new people to make a list of their friends and family and to start reaching out to them and inviting them to a presentation. For starters, most people either won’t even make a list, or won’t bother contacting the people they put on the list. A small group of people will contact everyone on their list, and even still will only have a handful of the hundred or so they contact take them up on their offer.

Then the question becomes NOW WHAT? How do you continue to grow your business if you’ve already spoken to everyone you know, and only a few of them were interested? Go find new friends by wandering around Walmart asking people if they keep their business options open? I hope that’s not your plan.

You need to learn how to market so that people actually looking for what you have to offer come looking for you. Yes, it’s possible, and it’s called Attraction Marketing. If you’re in the home business industry and you’re not employing attraction marketing strategies as part of your daily actions you’re going to run out of people to talk to fast.

This isn’t the 70’s and 80’s anymore when no-one had heard of home businesses. Today, pretty much everyone has an experience in the industry, or knows someone who has. Sure those old strategies work, but not nearly as well as they once did, and they never worked as well as attraction marketing does.

So there you have the 6 Keys To Home Business Success. I hope you found the information valuable and would appreciate it if you could leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts.