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Friday, March 27, 2015

Meet Jordan Hernandez, Entrepreneur and Afghanistan Veteran

Jordan Hernandez is a veteran of the US military who served in Afghanistan. Now living in Texas with his wife, Dulce, he is working on starting his own business called Article Express. He is raising start-up funds for his business through this GoFundMe campaign. Jordan also hopes to help his parents and brother through his new business.

1. When it came to developing a business idea, what inspired you to focus on an online-based business?

The thing I love about doing anything online is that it's liberating--it's totally creative. I feel as though this was how the "American Dream" was back when we had such a massive and booming society. It allows anyone with a vision to create it and get the benefits from that creation.

2. Why did you decide to create a site focused on articles and content marketing?

Well, I started meditating a few years ago, and it has helped open up my consciousness so much. It helped me understand what thoughts ran through my head, and how to better interpret the meaning of those thoughts. The way I understood what popped into my head has led me to a gut decision that this is something that I am meant to do too liberate my family's life! So I'm doing it, one way or another!

3. For you as a reader, what makes for interesting web content--and what keeps you coming back to a website?

Anything that would keep me coming back would have to be giving me insight on something. It's that feeling whenever you hear something so true that you just can't help but smile and shout "YES!!! I know exactly what you mean!!".

4. Why did you decide to kick off your project by seeking backers through a crowdfunding platform?

Honestly, I decided to go this route because I would like to avoid the debt of a loan. My wife and I are trying to get a new house which we got pre-approved for, and took on a new car bill recently as well. Reaching my goals this way will avoid all the excess debt we just can't handle. I believe when people see a legitimate cause, they are compassionate, and they are loving. I have high hopes for humanity.

5. As you and your wife look ahead to the next year or so, what are your goals?

I try to place myself in this present moment. If I do try to think of a future, I'm creating separation from this moment, and now have a chance to be dragged down by thoughts of anxiety and worry. In the present moment that will be in the "future" so to speak, we are hoping to accomplish an income that will take care of us and my family around us. I hope to help my father and brother who are addicted to antidepressants, and to free my mother from a household of gang retaliation due to my brother's lifestyle. I just wish to ease the pain and hurt from their minds. Thinking about that every day must be torture.

These pictures show my brother today, and back when we were kids.

Thank you for taking the time to interview me!

Thanks, Jordan!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

An Excerpt from Ashes and Asphalt by Trevor Halloway

Trevor Halloway braves the New Orleans swamps every day to go to work. During the commute he works out fantastic stories in his head to put out for future generations. His love of homebrewing and cats is legendary.

His debut novel, Ashes and Asphalt is a story about brotherhood, about reconciliation and honor. Mike and Kyle Byrne's father has died and requested that his estranged sons bring his ashes to the annual Sturgis Bike Rally...together. Naturally, this does not please the duo, but they do honor the old man's request.

They have five days and two thousand miles to cover. If they can elude a pissed-off biker from New Orleans, a trio of whacked out carjackers, and the police, then they might just survive...unless they kill one another first.

Ashes and Asphalt is available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle ebook format.

The excerpt below is from the beginning of the novel.

***

"I'll bet you twenty bucks that you won't mess with that old man by the bar."

The large man looked to where his friend pointed. He noticed a few bikers around him and shook his head. "I'm not messing with bikers, bro."

The smaller man took out his wallet and slapped down two twenties. "Toby, would you pull at his jacket for forty?" He pulled out another twenty. "I'll even buy another round. Besides, all you have to do is tug a little at the jacket. If anything, you could play it off as an accident... Pretend you're drunk or something."

"Fine, but make it eighty."

"Deal."

Toby got up and eased over to the bar. No one stood near his target, and the old man slumped over the bar with a beer still in his hand.

Toby approached the bartender and ordered another round. The bartender gave him two bottles and left him to tend to the other patrons. With a swig from his bottle, Toby staggered and gripped the old man's sleeve.

The bar sounds faded as everyone witnessed Toby's move, especially Billy Byrne, who dusted off his sleeve.

The brawny upstart rubbed his swollen jaw, sneering as a pound of pain coursed against the alcohol. "I never expected an old man like you to have such a strong right hook."

Billy Byrne pulled at his opponent's jacket, drawing Toby in close enough to smell the cheap beer on Billy's lips. "I never expected some young punk like you would be dumb enough to grab my jacket."

The bottles slipped from Toby's hands, crashing onto the floor and staining both of their jeans.

Billy locked his eyes with the guy before him. "Lesson number one about biker bar etiquette is you never touch a biker's jacket." Billy's bony fist connected with Toby's not-so-tough stomach and he doubled over. His eyes bugged as he clutched his ribs, gasping.

The old man cracked his knuckles. "Lesson number two is you never knock over a biker's beer, especially on the same jacket you touched."

Toby's friend pushed Billy and got into his face. "Look, asshole. You don't mess around with Toby!"

Billy's friend, Mack, lunged forward, slicing through the air with a cobalt blue custom pool cue. Billy darted right as the stick connected with a tall gutter punk's back. The lanky kid spun around, his mouth open as he struck the tabletop.

Billy looked down at his opponent. "And you don't mess with a Gearhead and his crew."

"Hell, man," said a large black man with the short dreads. "You smashed my stick!"

Billy smiled at Mack, who shook the broken stick in the air. "Don't sweat it, Mack. I'll get you a better one." Billy ducked a blow intended for his face. "Behind you!"

Mack spewed forth unintelligible words. A chair smashed against his neck.

A boy in brown trousers and a collared shirt wiped his hands and dodged another biker's right cross. He didn't take into account a second biker whose fist connected with the boy's stomach, sending him to the floor.

Jason, the bartender, emerged from the back room with a few tequila bottles. A full beer can flew past his head, spraying its contents onto his shirt. He ducked behind the bar and rummaged through his drawers, searching for a few shells for Old Bessie. He gazed at the red cartridge between his thumb and forefinger and readied his shotgun.

Before Billy's fist struck a preppie's face, a blast exploded from the bar, saving his nose from certain fracture. Bits of ceiling sprinkled from above, freezing everyone in mid-fight. The jukebox wound down, leaving the thud of the fainting preppie to fill in the sudden silence. The remaining customers turned as the bartender pumped the shotgun, ejecting the spent shell onto the ground.

"Now that I have your attention, I want to point out that you lot have done some heavy damage to my place."

Broken glass littered the beer-soaked floor, sparkling beneath the few fluorescent lights that were still working. The neon beer sign above the door flickered a few more times before giving up with a final defiant spark.

"Don't be shy," Jason said as he waved his piece. "We accept most major credit cards."

Silence filled the room.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Meet Charles Silberman, Fiverr Seller and P.E. Teacher

Based in Maryland, Charles Silberman is a physical education teacher who currently teaches P.E. to 800 elementary school children every week. He has been teaching for over ten years. When he's not teaching, Charles is working as a freelance writer, specializing in SEO content. He also writes a monthly column for the Maryland Association of Health, Recreation, Physical Education, and Dance, and his articles and blog entries have been published on a variety of websites. Charles also enjoys writing poetry. Learn more about him by visiting his educational portfolio.

Most recently, Charles has found a venue for his freelance work on the website, Fiverr. Check out his Fiverr profile and available gigs at https://www.fiverr.com/silberma1976. You can also follow him on Twitter and Facebook. His current offerings include SEO-optimized and well-researched web content, product reviews, data entry, and custom-written poems. Here's a video about his writing work.

1. What inspired you to set up a seller's account on Fiverr?

As a teacher, I am lucky I get to do something I love every day: help positively mold the lives of our youth. However, that does not come with the highest salary, so I am always looking for ways to help make some extra cash to pay student loans and save for retirement.

I came across Fiverr while reading an article on how to make extra income. The article described the site and what it took to get started. I decided to look into it, and I saw it was a legitimate option to earn extra cash for my skills.

In my professional work as a teacher, I have been able to use my writing to help advance my field. I have written articles that have been published in state and national publications and websites relevant to health and physical education. In addition, I have written curriculum, and I have presented at local and state conferences on my subject matter. I have always loved writing, and I was ecstatic to be doing education-related writing projects.

There came a point where I not only wanted to monetize my writing, but also use it to help others achieve their goals in advancing their passions along the way. I saw Fiverr as a way to do this.

2. How do you decide what gigs to offer, and what do you feel makes your work unique?

I decide what gigs to offer based on my strengths and things I have found success in. As I mentioned already, I love to write! I am good at it, too. So I decided that my first few gigs would be my writing gigs. I started with a poetry gig, and then added two SEO content gigs. One is for SEO website content. And one is for SEO article content. But I really will write most content or articles. These gigs are entry points, and I find people usually see you're good at a skill, and they will ask for you to use it to do other projects besides the one specific to the gig.

Another gig I have is for teaching people how to make money and earn rewards through online surveys. This is because I have been doing online surveys for a little over a year with booming success. I have earned $2400 in Amazon gift cards and about $800 in cash, and been able to test and keep many products such as cereal, blenders, shoes, and so much more. I know there are people out there who could use some extra cash and gift cards. I have seen it from helping friends start with online surveys to find their own success. That led me to turn it into a Fiverr gig. I just know there is a single parent out there or another teacher like me who could benefit from this service.

What makes my work unique is that every gig is based on a skill where I have found success. I am not trying to mislead anyone. I am an honest, hardworking person, who is taking his successes and using them to try to help others find similar success. You could say in a sea of people looking for a quick buck, I am genuine about my intentions, and my experience and work I produce shows as much.

3. Would you tell us a bit about your day job and how you balance it with your freelance work?

I am a physical education teacher at an elementary school. I have been doing this for 12 years, and I have routines and rituals that help keep me organized and productive at my day job. This allows me to leave my work at work. I also work a second job part-time to help pay down my student loans. So, I am busy to start with. I am able to maintain a balance through routines.

I dedicated a certain day and amount of time to each endeavor. I have set days I work my second job. I schedule in my Fiverr work along with any personal occasions. I use the weekends to catch up, and if I cannot take a gig, I will negotiate what I can handle or be honest and not take it.

In addition to scheduling, taking time for me helps with the balance. I make sure to set aside days and times to exercise and socialize. These times help me keep grounded and productive in other areas of my life.

4. How did you first become interested in writing poetry, and what makes for an interesting poem, in your opinion?

I have been writing poetry since I was 14. It started as an outlet for some teenage angst, and grew from there. I used to keep notebooks of poetry, and I would share it with my dad who always gave me positive feedback on it. So, it was more for personal reasons then anything else.

I put it away for a while as I grew. But I turned back to it time to time, especially during tough times. I have always had a natural ability to sit down and express myself in poetry in a way I cannot verbally. Over the years, I started to use my poetry for local community organizations, to give to colleagues as end of the year gifts, or to publish along with the nonfiction writing I did for the publications related to my profession.

I decided that it was worth sharing that gift with others through Fiverr. If I could write a poem for someone who wanted to communicate something special to someone special, it would be worth it.

5. As someone who has participated in the Fiverr community as both a buyer and a seller, what keeps you coming back to Fiverr--and what would you say to people who haven't yet given it a try?

I keep coming back to Fiverr because it works. It is something that is easy to get started on with little up-front investment time-wise or financially. The tools they provide help you grow and manage your gigs. You will find people on the site with exceptional talents you would not otherwise find. It is a one-of-a-kind place.

As a buyer, I can get a second set of eyes on written work for my profession. For example, I had written a book proposal that I wanted to send to publishers, and I found a Fiverr seller to help edit it. So far that has paid off, as the book is garnering some interest with a major Physical Education and Health publication. As a buyer, Fiverr give you access to people that can help further your goals in life.

As a seller, I stick with it because it is paying off. I have seen steady growth in my gig purchases since I started two months ago. I honestly wrote Fiverr off after a month of no gig purchases. Then one order came, then another, then another, and now I am a level one seller all of a sudden. It is extremely gratifying to not only get paid for something you love to do, but to get such positive feedback on your work is a thrill. To know people like what I do and that it is helping them is an amazing feeling.

The big reason I stick with Fiverr is because I feel a part of a worldwide community of like-minded people. I have worked with and communicated with people from all over the world. From London to Louisiana, I have met some very kind and endearing people doing wonderful things. I have learned new things about new places, and I have learned more about life on Fiverr because of the kindness of the community.

I would tell newcomers to reach out for help and stick with it. When I started, I had someone who was sort of mentoring me on how to be successful on Fiverr. He really helped me so much. And now he has given me work as I have given him work. Other Fiverr sellers have helped me with advice, too. Being patient was the biggest piece of advice I got. So, to someone new to this, I would say, reach out to experienced sellers for help, follow the advice that they and Fiverr give you because it works, and be patient as it takes time to see results.

Lastly, I would caution that you have to know that you are starting a small business when you start on Fiverr. Keep that in mind as you build your gigs over time. You will have to consider marketing and social networking.

Thanks, Charles!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Introducing Cycling LED Headlamps at EachBuyer

If you ride your bicycle year-round in the early morning hours or the evening hours, you know how important it is to do everything you can to increase your visibility so that drivers can see you in the dark. One option to explore is the use of LED headlamps. They're easy to use while you ride as they are hands-free since you wear them on your head.

Zoomable cycling LED headlamps are a cool and adaptable product, with many different varieties to choose from. With most models, you get some different options with how to use the LED lights--for example, you can choose to have multiple lights on or only one light on, and you can choose whether or not you want the light to flash (and if so, how rapidly it will flash).

Of course, you can use LED headlamps for other purposes, too, such as walking at night and going on camping trips. There are special lights you can buy, too, that are like the lights you see jewelers or other craftspeople wear so that they can see the intricate details of diamonds or other items that need to be examined closely.

I'd never priced headlamps before and was impressed at what you can get for a relatively low price while browsing on Eachbuyer.com. EachBuyer carries a lot of other products, too, including watches, clothing, and cellphone and tablet accessories. It's always good to find a new source for affordable products.

Introducing CharityCarWash.org, A Unique Fundraising Opportunity

Are you in the greater Seattle area? Do you want to raise money for a nonprofit organization? Are you looking for a project that requires minimal time and effort in arranging? We all love car washes to support charitable organizations, but here's a cool twist on that classic fundraiser: CharityCarWash.org lets you raise money for your group by selling tickets for professional car washes.

So instead of spending hours signing up volunteers and washing cars, you can simply sell these vouchers to your family, friends, coworkers, and anyone else who wants to get their car professionally washed, save money, and support a local nonprofit at the same time.

And even better, you're promoting an environmentally friendly way for people to wash their cars, so in addition to supporting nonprofits, you're helping to protect the Puget Sound, too, as the water from the car washes (with all the dirty residue from your car, including oil, wax, etc!) is piped to treatment centers rather than being washed down storm drains.

When you order a block of tickets, they are customized with two lines of text with the name and a brief amount of information about your charity. There are tickets for attended car washes and tickets for self-serve car washes in the greater Seattle/Tacoma area; see a list of participating car washes here.

Basically, the way that your nonprofit group makes money with these tickets is that you're able to purchase the tickets for less than half of their recommended resale value. The CharityCarWash.org website includes a lot of good hints for having a successful fundraiser, including doing a ticket pre-sale, making a video about your sale to share on social media, and selling your tickets at high-traffic sites like grocery stores.

Remember, this is what happens if you wash your car in your driveway:

For a unique and green fundraiser, check out CharityCarWash.org, a project of the Puget Sound Car Wash Association.