(Book) Tactical SEO, a way to increase traffic to your website!

Wonderful reading material, I would rate it at (6/10★) maybe because the topic is quite dry. Nonetheless, did finish the book to keep my “at least 2 books a week” mission for 2019.

If you’re a blogger or into online business, this is a wonderful book for you to get ahead. It is a comprehensive, well-designed search engine optimization (SEO) strategy can increase your search engine ranking and drive visitors to your site. If you design your website with SEO in mind, you can do a better job of engaging visitors and achieving higher conversion rates.

Key lessons from the book

  • How search engine optimization (SEO) works,
  • How digital marketers use SEO to drive website traffic, and
  • What SEO activities and practices will improve your business.

Main Reading Points

  • The goal of SEO is to increase traffic from search engines to your website.
  • Google: dominant global search engine.
  • Delivering SEO relies on managing this process: “analysis, research, strategy, technical, on site, off site, report and refine.”
  • Stay flexible to respond to changes in the market.
  • To boost your ranking value and to optimize indexing, create site content with SEO in mind.
  • SEO-designed content increases the time and engagement users experience on your site.
  • Search “ripples” are a visual device that shows how actions lead to a result.
  • A well-balanced SEO tactic includes metrics, but focuses on activities that drive value.
  • The four main areas of focus in a value-driven strategy are “website, user, search engine and business.”
  • Common search metrics : “click-through rate, bounce rate, time spent on page/site, user engagement, pages seen per visit, demographics and end results.”

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Understanding the context and rationale for each step of our search engine optimization (SEO) process would enables us to craft an effective strategy.

This definition may help:

SEO “is the application of specialized expertise for the purpose of increasing the quality and quantity of organic (earned, natural or free) traffic from search engines to a website.”

The most important search engines, including Google, Bing and Yahoo, provide answers to users’ queries in the form of a list of websites and pages that focus on the requested topic.

Effective search engine optimization (SEO) helps your customers find what they want and need easier. Even people who are unfamiliar with digital marketing recognize what SEO is and understand how important it is in drawing visitors to your site. The website visits you receive that don’t entail paying a cost per click are organic traffic. Such visits stem from your site’s visibility or from the impressions you generate with organic marketing.

SEO provides visibility by engaging and interacting with users. When visitors create and share user-generated content (UGC) by posting reviews and suggestions on your site, they promote public trust in your brand. Creating unique and in-depth content for your site increases your UGC.

SEO isn’t expensive, it works for you around the clock and it attracts more people to your website. Yet, some website owners who’d welcome extra traffic still limit their SEO efforts to the use of a single key word, prioritization, link building and ranking goals.

Google

Founded in 1998, Google became a $55-billion company by 2014. It is far and away the most dominant global search engine. Its market share is three times that of its closest competitor’s. Google defines success in terms of how well it serves users and it reflects its intense user focus in all that it does. Google takes a continuous improvement approach to its search engine and constantly strives to surpass its accuracy and speed records.

However, a sound SEO strategy goes beyond Google to include other search engines such as Bing and Yahoo. They vary slightly and each provides access to different target audiences. SEO practitioners should work from a Google/SEO checklist that includes methods for optimizing Google like “title tags,” “mobile optimization” and performance enhancers such as “anchor text” –text with clickable links and images.

The SEO Process

A structured approach to SEO relies on establishing a process that organizes your activities, provides consistency and enables repeatable success in boosting your search results. Since search is always evolving, SEO frameworks must leave room for flexibility and adaptation.

A typical SEO process includes:

  • “Analysis” – Outline a set of goals and deliverables and identify key performance indicators (KPI).
  • “Research” – To gather information for shaping your SEO strategy, conduct a SWOT review of your current “strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.”
  • “Strategy” – Create a framework for achieving your objectives.
  • “Technical” – Set up a website technology plan that supports your SEO.
  • “On site” – Every touchpoint on your site, including the domain name, affects search engines. On-site considerations include items that are visible externally, such as meta descriptions and title tags.
  • “Off site” – Off-site signals weight heavily toward links, although other factors, such as citations, also influence results.
  • “Report and refine” – Set up metrics that show you how well your SEO strategy is performing.
Your SEO process should be a loose, agile framework.

If it’s not, you’ll miss the opportunities that arise in a continually changing industry. You’ll stifle creativity and innovation, and become a follower rather than a leader.

Long- and Short-Term Strategy

To be sure people find it, boost your site with descriptive URLs and site maps.

To boost ranking value and optimize indexing, create website content with SEO in mind from the outset. Make your content user-oriented, valuable, and easy to find and use. Solving problems, proposing solutions and providing data your users want and need will increase the value of your content.

Long Term

Finding the correct balance between a long-term and a short-term strategy is a challenge for most SEO experts. Ongoing long-term SEO activities are practices you maintain for a period of six months or longer.

Ensuring a positive user experience requires continuous website maintenance that focuses on improving performance daily, responding to changes and innovations, and fulfilling user expectations.

Short-Term

In contrast, short-term strategies are actions designed to elicit an immediate, positive response. Begin by searching for missed opportunities and finding small changes – “low-hanging fruit” – that are easy to implement.

Replicate Success : Learn which of your competitors’ tactics worked in the past or are working now. Always seek to improve your search performance by fixing bugs immediately, increasing speed when you can and enhancing your mobile performance.

Ripples

Google once offered a feature named “Ripples” that people could use to share and reshare their original content. Google named this feature after the ripples a stone makes when you toss it into a pond, because shared and reshared content ripples out through the Internet.

Google removed the feature in 2015, but the concept of ripples is a powerful metaphor of the way your actions may cause subsequent actions, and those actions, more actions – all starting with your content.

Separating SEO from Return on Investment (ROI)

Viewing SEO strictly through the lens of ROI thwarts the goals of building and driving value. Building an SEO strategy based on granular metrics excludes actions that don’t directly affect those measurements. However, the tangential but positive effects of a worthwhile change may not directly correlate to a measured activity and may remain invisible to metrics.

For example, quality blog content increases users’ trust in your brand and may increase positive word of mouth, but neither bonus will show up in your measurements of transactions.

To evaluate how your current optimization efforts are doing, check your search engine results pages (SERPs). Assess the quality of this traffic by analyzing the data on click-through rate (CTR), time visitors spent on your site and other relevant metrics. Even when metrics don’t drive your strategy, they are useful tools for evaluating how your SEO is performing and in what specific ways or arenas. Studying data regarding impressions, clicks, SEO traffic, linking and referrals can help you refine and revise the components of your strategy.

Value-Driven Strategy

A value-driven strategy focuses on four key areas:

  1. “Website value” – This includes the site’s technical design and architecture.
  2. “User value” – This refers to the elements that contribute to the user’s experience, such as content and accessibility.
  3. “Search engine value” – Search engine value pertains to the signals that register on the Google ranking algorithm, such as metadata, linking, key words and themes.
  4. “Business value” – This value derives from fulfilling your commercial objectives and returns.

Metrics provide insight and deliver real-time information for measuring the success of your SEO strategy. Worthwhile metrics paint a clear and immediate portrait of how users interact with your site and content. Common search metrics include “click-through rate, bounce rate, time spent on page/site, user engagement, pages seen per visit, demographics and end results.”

Evaluate Your Activity Checklist

To gather information that will help you evaluate and modify your activity checklist, ask your SEO staff these questions:

  • Why are you taking this step?
  • What effect did it have the last time you tried it?
  • What should you do to follow up?
  • What goal are you trying to meet, and did you meet it?
  • What feedback did you receive from your users?

SEO Plus

Don’t limit your SEO strategy to maximizing search engine discovery and ranking. Limiting your scope in that way would impede your campaign’s success. A comprehensive approach to SEO includes taking care of other digital arenas where users interact with your brand, offerings and website.

Incorporate four main digital hubs into your SEO strategy: “content, social media, pay-per-click (PPC) and design.”

Quality Content

While creating quality content is crucial, quality alone isn’t enough to attract an audience. However, superior web content helps your site outshine your competitors’ sites, increases the time users spend with you, and boosts the quality of their interaction with your material. Providing original, intelligent content positions you as a thought leader and an expert in your industry.

But even wonderful content needs correct coding. Proofread for errors in spelling and grammar, and make your material easy to load and navigate.

In SEO terms, fit key words organically into your page headers, secondary headlines and text that centers around that topic.

When people engage with your content, post comments about it and share it on social media, their activities boost the likelihood of search engines discovering your site. Leveraging social media to get readers to discover your content is a strategic and savvy SEO move. Additionally, social media data will tell you what your target audience wants and responds to, thus informing your ongoing content creation.

The idea that media outlets compete with each other is a popular misconception. An increase in audience percentage on one medium does not necessarily mean a decrease in others. Pay-per-click campaigns can supplement organic SEO activities and ensure that your target audience sees your content as frequently as possible.

Always Evolving

The SEO environment is always evolving. SEO practitioners must constantly learn and adapt. Recent trends affecting SEO strategy include mobile and app search, and the integration of social media into search engine results. New technologies such as artificial intelligence can enhance searching as search engines explore more deeply into video, still images and voice.

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(Wealth) The Six Steps to Financial Independence

The world is filled with get-rich schemes and early retirement plans which promises a lot for very little. In this case, remember this, if it’s too good to be true, it’s probably is.

Here are the 6 steps to financial independence.

Step One: “Face the Facts”

True wealth is not about money, cars or mansions. Real wealth equals financial freedom, with liberation from boring jobs, bill collectors and lost sleep.

Financial freedom means you have sufficient funds and an automatic flow of “passive income” to pay for the nuts and bolts of life (food, home, entertainment, education) and for retirement.

“Passive income” is money you earn from real estate, bonds, equities, business ventures, royalties and other investments. It’s called “passive income” because you don’t have to clock in traditional nine-to-five hours to earn money.

This kind of income is the key to wealth and a comfortable retirement.

Begin with a savings plan.

A strategy for saving money provides the launch pad for your wealth-building journey.

The formula is simple: Spend less than your paycheck.

Too often people waste extra income on frills and toys. They may make you feel posh momentarily, but they sap your bank account. Remember this, even if you can pay the monthly payment, doesn’t mean you can afford it. Only buy if you can pay cash for it.

“Having enough money can liberate you from a thankless job, free you to follow dreams and allow you to take care of your loved ones.”

Calculate how much money you need for retirement; tally your costs of shelter, food, utilities, entertainment, travel, taxes and other nuts-and-bolts items.

Your goal is to accumulate a net worth of 10 to 13 times more than the amount you need each year, depending on what you believe your investments will earn.

“If you think that you’ll live another 30 years and believe the market will average a mere 8% ROI, you’ll need a multiple of 13 to consider yourself comfortably well off.”

“You can’t wish yourself to wealth, you have to plan for it…one detail at a time.”

Step Two: “Plan to become Wealthy”

Launch your plans now. Dedicate an hour a day to a new venture or a money-generating idea that will create a steady stream of passive or extra income. Establish concrete financial and personal goals for your family, your career and even your social life.

Effective goals include your core values, personal dreams of achievement, relationships, health and finances.

Create a timeline by establishing annual, “medium-term” and longer-term goals.

For example:

  • Annual goals : Get a $15,000 salary hike; launch (for example) an Internet-based plumbing supply operation; develop more industry contacts in that business.
  • Seven-year target : Generate pre-tax income of $125,000 through a combination of rental property (income of $50,000), bonds/stocks (income stream of $35,000) and an equity stake in a business ($35,000 annually).

Divide each annual objective into 12 goals. Create weekly and daily targets. The recommended schedule for planning includes this dedicated time:

  • The yearly map – One complete day of planning each year.
  • The monthly agenda – A couple of hours of planning every four weeks.
  • The weekly planner – A 60-minute planning session every seven days.
  • The daily strategy – Plan 10 to 15 minutes daily, preferably in the early morning.

Step Three: “Develop Specific Wealthy Habits”

Amass a financial base by acquiring the habits of the wealthy.

The “Eight Habits of Highly Successful Wealth Builders” are:

  1. “Work hard” – The typical millionaire clocks in about 59 hours of work per week. The agenda is usually challenging, but the time speeds by because many hard-working, successful millionaires enjoy their work.
  2. Build strong skills – Wealth generators are accomplished in their fields. Their mastery of business skills gives them the poise and confidence to tackle new opportunities.
  3. Develop several sources of income – Diversified income streams build wealth. Some of the wealthiest individuals have more than 12 income sources.
  4. Buy a “relatively” modest house – Wealthy consumers typically live in relatively inexpensive homes. Average Americans with a net worth of $6.8 million paid $545,000 for their homes. Lower home prices translate into less expensive taxes, maintenance, utilities and other costs.
  5. Spend moderately – Wealth builders hold down spending even as their earnings continue to grow.
  6. Save your money – Save much more than you spend. Avoid costly lunches, trendy new clothes and the wasteful accumulation of junk.
  7. Pay the home team first – Set aside your savings before you pay bills.
  8. Count your dollars – Effective wealth generators take frequent and periodic inventory of their income, assets and possessions, and calculate monthly financial statements.

“The more money you have, the more choices you have.”

Forget about a budget; budgets are like trendy diets with an endless cycle of deprivation and over-indulgence.

To reduce expenses, “pay yourself first,” by regularly stashing a pre-set amount of your salary into savings.

“You are not going to get rich by saving 10% of your income every month.”

Keep your savings plan simple. Establish a renewable annual contract with yourself promising to save more this year than last year.

Begin now.

“To get your financial fortune started, you have to radically boost your income.”

Step Four: “Radically Increase Your Income”

The path to wealth requires a six-figure salary.

Choose among several routes to boost your income, including one or more of these revenue generators:

  1. a dramatic merit-driven raise from your current employer;
  2. freelance consulting;
  3. launching a part-time second business; and
  4. investing in income-generating property.

“The purpose of spending less is to have more.”

Don’t expect to get rich through standard raises. Over the past 10 years, salary increases have dropped sharply; they hit record lows in 2003. On an inflation-adjusted basis, total annual wages actually dropped from 2000 to 2002. It’s still possible to earn “above-average” raises and bonuses, but to do so you have to produce “above-average” results. Become an “invaluable” performer and quietly broadcast your results.

Arrive earlier, work efficiently, be a team player, assist your boss and document your performance.

“Your home isn’t meant to be an investment. It’s a sanctuary.”

Shift your career goals.

Decide to meet the qualifications of the most lucrative positions in your company or industry. Update your skills to fill the demands of high-paid posts that start at $130,000 annually. Top-earning positions include management, technical jobs and profit-producing jobs inside companies.

“Profit producers” – employees who tap into new ways to cut corporate expenses or locate new pockets of revenue are especially valued because their labors have a direct impact on the bottom line.

“Be suspicious of stock stories. The stock brokerage and information businesses work on the basis of drama.”

Employ your other talents to launch a part-time venture, such as a consulting business, a direct-marketing company, or a sales and services firm.

The universe of potential product sales is broad and includes audio/video recordings, diet products, office/craft supplies and Internet-based publishing.

Flipping in and out of real estate is also a potential source of income.

The guidelines for successful transactions include:

  1. Buy property for fair or below-market prices;
  2. Target neighborhoods that you know;
  3. Calculate and compare square-foot costs; and
  4. Create a realistic investment plan based on your budget.

“It is how you act, not what you think, that will determine your success.”

Step Five: “Get Rich While You Sleep”

Sweet dreams!

It’s possible to accumulate a fortune even when you’re slumbering. That’s because equity investments – in a private business or on Wall Street – appreciate (or depreciate) on a continuous basis. But if you enter the stock market, step carefully. A variety of factors – revenue forecasts, “price-to-earnings ratios” and historical earning trends will affect the value of share prices.

Follow these rules to avoid getting burned:

  • Target familiarity – Invest in companies and industries you know and understand.
  • Be wary of fables – The investment world is full of myths, hot hypes and other forms of corporate deceptions.
  • Create a “Plan B” – Keep your options open. Hope for the best, but plan for a worst-case scenario. Use “Stop-Loss” techniques to limit your risk. A “Stop-Loss order” enforces your pre-planned price for selling a stock. Basically, when a share price falls to that pre-set value, your broker activates your standing order to sell it. With such a plan, you’re less likely to fall prey to dangerous market emotions or risky Vegas-style investing.
  • Diversify – Purchase a wide range of shares from companies with large and small market capital levels. Investments in corporate bonds, Treasury bills, gold, real estate and foreign stocks also provide diversity and hedges against risk.
  • Contain risk – Establish guidelines for your investments in single stocks and in the overall stock market. A conservative investment portfolio typically has 5% to 20% of its assets in stock; a risky portfolio could lodge more than 80% percent of its assets in the stock market.

“Start saving now, even if your income is small [because] you want to create the habit of saving. When saving becomes habitual, it becomes easier. And anything that you can do easily, you’ll do better.”

Similar rules apply for potential investments in small, privately-owned companies. Examine the customer retention and “customer acquisition” levels of the business you are considering. How much does it spend to create new customers? Examine its profit statements and long-term growth opportunities.

Apply those same benchmarks if you plan to start your own business. Use your own time for your business development activities; avoid using any of your current employer’s resources to launch it. Consider a “home-based” venture that taps into your existing knowledge, skills and contacts. Cultivate opportunities with lofty profit margins, growth potential and unique products or services.

Real estate is an investment that can pay for itself, with a few caveats. Consider this example: You purchase a property for $100,000, with a $10,000 down payment and about $2,000 in closing costs. If your property value spikes by 6.5% a year, then in 11 years, your compounded annual gain will be $12,200, earning far more each year than your initial down payment.

The investment looks even better if the property generates “net rents” or a profit from rent revenue after subtracting taxes, insurance and maintenance.

This strategy does not work if you overpay for the property or make some related mistake due to lack of familiarity with the local rental market.

Learn the territory.

Step Six: “Retire Early”

This strategy yields early retirement, within seven to 15 years, or sooner. A “side business” is likely to generate a surplus of capital. Your part-time business ventures can produce annual returns of 20% and can go as high as 100%. Likewise, prudent property investments can yield up to 25% annually. What’s more, real estate and “side businesses” represent less risk than the stock market. Regardless of your investment path, follow these four basic signposts:

  1. The $25,000 net-worth threshold – Avoid stocks and bonds at this level. Be an aggressive saver; improve your employment value and invest in a small piece of residential real estate. Launch a business that does not require huge capital investments. (Forget restaurants or pharmaceuticals.) Consider developing a hobby into a lucrative opportunity. Sell supplies or services that you know well.
  2. Net worth of $25,000 to $100,000 – Keep emergency cash on hand. Invest in revenue-producing real estate. In the short term, buy, renovate and resell; for the long term, buy income rental properties. Purchase a $10,000 stake in a small business. Or use that sum to create your own venture. Invest in municipal bonds, Treasury bills or top-quality corporate bonds.
  3. Net worth of more than $100,000, but not quite independent – Reserve easy access emergency funds for three to six months of living expenses. Buy a small emergency stash of gold and a collection of hard assets: art, furniture, books, coins and dolls. Invest in equity-generating real estate, part-time businesses, stocks and bonds.

Financial independence – You are fiscally independent if your balance sheet totals a minimum “of 10 times the amount” of after-tax income you need. At this stage, aim for a diversified mix of stocks/equity funds, bonds, real estate, fun money and emergency gold and cash.


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If you’re interested in starting to make money online or even starting a blog. Please read How to start a Blog.

“Start testing immediately. A little bit of something is better than a whole lot of nothing.”


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The Richest Man in Babylon (Book Review & Summary)

This book is my absolute favorite, in fact, I’ve read it more than 5 times already. Therefore, I would rate it at 10/10. And yes, there’s a significant number of people who would disagree with me, but I wouldn’t care.

So, it seems odd that I’ve yet to record my notes on it properly. I was just going to bed before stumbling on my old notes in my desktop on this book which apparently I’ve forgot to publish.

This is a book of terrific story telling skill and tales of the ancient Babylon.

Here’s the key reading points:

  • the book start with some background on Babylon. Babylon was one of the world’s richest city in its time. And Arkad, its richest man, was tasked to teach his fellow citizens on how to become wealthy.

Among his teaching include

  • always save a minimum of one-tenth (1/10) of your income. And invest your savings. Which means, making your money works for you.
  • Be thrifty. Which at the moment one of my goals for 2019. I’ve too many awesome watches at the moment,but I”m thinking of getting another Tissot or maybe a Tag Heuer. Man that aquaracer looks cool. Nonetheless, the book do teach me to budget carefully and not to spend on needless things. Yup, the struggles is real.
  • Seek the counsel of knowledgeable experts before you invest. Well, this rings true always. Recently, a distant family member of mine decided to invest in a fixed return investment scheme called ARBA, they invest thousands of ringgit for a fixed monthly ‘passive’ income. Well, the passiveness stop after few months, and they left with a huge loss. If they would’ve asked for my opinion, I would them to stay away from it likes it’s a plague. Besides, from Islamic perspective, investment which promises guarantee returns are Haram (prohibited) since the nature of investment are with profit and loss, so, there’s no way a fixed return investment are legit.
  • Never put the principal that you’ve invested at unseemly risk. As if the author suggest never to take unnecessary risk with your investment. A good idea, but also you need to evaluate your risk appetite. Besides, I’ve loss a lot of money myself when the previous Malaysian ruling parties loss to so called Pakatan Harapan (PH) which could loosely be translated as The Alliance of Hope. At the moment, I’m just hoping that they wouldn’t screw up.
  • Next lesson is to increase you knowledge, expertise and skills. Soyou can earn more. It’s like what Jim Rohn said, you’ll get paid primarily on the value that you’ll bring to the marketplace.
  • Good luck comes to those who know how to seize opportunities and act on them quickly. And if you want to learn more on good luck affect on our success, read my notes on Malcolm Gladweel’s Outliers.
  • Be cautious with your money. Lend it only to those who are sure to repay it. Trust me, it’s very hard to recollect your money. So, yup, lend your money wisely.
  • Take comfort in hard work. It is your best friend.
  • If you are determined to get ahead, you will.

Now lets take a look at assorted bits and parts of the book

The story of Bansir, the Chariot Maker

As skilled craftsman, Bansir built chariots for the high and mighty of Babylon. He was a hard worker, but after years of work, he became discouraged and distraught, because he had not saved even a single coin. And when his best friend, a musician named Kobbi, asked if he could borrow some money, Bansir humbly admitted that he had none.

Then, the two friends whining about their poverty. Then Bansir suggested going to see Babylon’s richest man, Arkad, and asking how he became wealthy. Kobbi agreed to accompany the chariot maker on his visit, so he could learn how to get rich, too. Excited, Bansir and Kobbi recruited others with the same predicament as them to walk to Arkad’s regal palace. They prayed silently to the gods, asking that this visit would mark an important turning point in their lives and that Arkad would be kind enough to share his secrets. They all hoped they would learn how to become wealthy.

“Money is plentiful for those who understand the simple laws which govern its acquisition.”

A bit on Arkad the Wealthy & His Mentor, Algamish the Moneylender

Arkad was a great man, Babylon’s wealthiest in fact, but also kind and wise. He was pleased to speak with the men. He explained that they could not improve their individual lots in life if they did not understand and apply the laws of developing wealth.

Arkad told the men his history. The son of a simple merchant, he had no inheritance. As a young man, he had gone to work as a scribe in the hall of records, engraving clay tablets. One day, Algamish, the elderly moneylender, ordered a copy of the “Ninth Law,” and promised the youth two coppers when he completed the job. Arkad began working, but the passage was quite long. He did not finish on time and Algamish was furious. Arkad wanted to become wealthy himself, but he did not know how. Therefore, he promised to work all night to finish the Ninth Law if Algamish would teach him the secrets of wealth.

Algamish laughed at his boldness, but agreed.

“The first sound principle of investment is security for thy principal.”

Arkad worked straight through until morning. The next day, he gave the newly baked tablets to the pleased moneylender. Sitting Arkad down, the old man proceeded to tell him how to get rich. First, Algamish said, Arkad must always keep part of his earnings. When the young man protested that he kept everything he earned, Algamish explained that no, he did not: he paid for things he needed, like food and clothing, but he did not save anything for himself. Arkad nodded. It was true. He had no savings. Algamish told him that saved money would work for him and earn even more money, the “children” of the saved funds. When the savings, their children, and their children’s children were working for him, Arkad would be rich. Algamish told Arkad that if he could do that, and control his expenses, he would soon prosper.

Here’s the advise.

“Every gold piece you save is a slave to work for you. Every copper it earns is its child that also can earn for you.”

Arkad took the moneylender’s advice. He began to save, but for his first investment he gave his savings to Azmur, a brick maker, who promised to invest the money in beautiful jewels the two of them could sell. But wily Phoenicians posing as jewel merchants tricked Azmur, selling him worthless glass trinkets instead of jewels. Algamish then warned Arkad to invest only with (known) experts that is, if he wanted to buy jewels, he should go to a jewel merchant, not a man who made bricks. When it comes to money, he said, always seek knowledgeable advice.

“A small return and a safe one is far more desirable than risk.”

Arkad started saving again. When he had put aside a notable sum, he invested it with Aggar, a maker of shields, who used it to buy bronze. Then he made and sold bronze shields, and gave Arkad a portion of the profits. Soon, Arkad was becoming wealthy. When Algamish asked if he was following the rules of wealth, Arkad could answer that he was and that he was getting rich. Algamish clapped him heartily on the back. Praising his intelligence, Algamish asked Arkad to become his partner, oversee his lands and inherit his estate. Arkad thanked the old man for his generosity.

He worked years for Algamish and was his heir when he died. By that time, Arkad had become wealthy through his own efforts. He smiled at the men who had come to his home to learn the secrets of wealth and told them these golden money tips

  • Save at least one-tenth (1/10) of what you earn.
  • Seek counsel from experts on how to make your money grow.
  • Invest your savings wisely so that they earn for you and so their earnings do the same.
  • Live within your means. Do not spend money foolishly.
  • Pursue opportunity promptly – that is the real meaning of good luck.

“Better a little caution than a great regret.”

on investing your money

King Sargon Seeking Arkad’s Counsel

Arkad counseled many people about gaining wealth, including King Sargon, who asked him to teach other Babylonians how to manage their earnings and prosper. Being poor, the citizens were restless and despondent. The king thought that if they learned about money, they could get rich and Babylon would become a great city of wealthy men.

A few days later, Arkad met with 100 of Babylon’s citizens in the great Temple of Learning. They eagerly waited to learn what he would teach them. His first rule was what he had taught the other supplicants: Save a tenth of your earnings and cut back on your expenses. He told them to invest their earnings, not to bury them in the fields for safekeeping.

“Opportunity is a haughty goddess who wastes no time with those who are unprepared.”

Arkad explained that the most important investment rule is to protect your principal. He warned the men against quick-rich schemes, and told them to be as careful choosing their investments as they were when choosing their wives. To invest, he said, they should seek wise counselors who knew about both gold and life. Arkad told them never to invest their gold in ventures they did not understand or with men who were not skilled in the enterprises they promoted.

He told them to buy homes instead of renting them, thus taking advantage of one of life’s best investments. He cautioned them to plan carefully for their later years when low energy, illness, decrepitude and age would make it more difficult to work.

Finally, Arkad advised every man present to increase his knowledge, expertise and skills, to become wiser so he could earn more. The 100 citizens thanked Arkad for his excellent advice. They all applied his ideas, and passed his knowledge along to their friends and family members. Thus, many people in Babylon became wealthy and the city became as prosperous as the King had hoped it would.

“A man’s wealth is not in the purse he carries. A fat purse quickly empties if there is no golden stream to refill it.”

Awesome

The Story of Rodan and His 50 Gold Pieces

Rodan was Babylon’s most able spearmaker. Pleased with his craftsmanship, the king gave him 50 gold pieces. Rodan was both pleased and disturbed. He was happy to be rich, but he did not know what to do with the money.

Rightly so, many people begged him to lend them gold for this purpose or that. Beleaguered, Rodan went to Mathon, a trusted wise man, for advice.

Mathon told him a wonderful story about a farmer who could understand the animals’ language. The story goes like this.

“One night he hid in the barn to listen to them. What the ox said disturbed the farmer. The ox told the mule that he worked much harder than the mule did, because he pulled a heavy plow all day, while the mule only carried the master to market once or twice a week, and could rest or play the rest of the time. The mule told the ox that he, too, could spend the day laying in his stall if he pretended to be ill when the master came to hitch him to the plow. The ox followed his advice, but the wily farmer was ready for the ox’s deception. He hitched the mule to the plow and made him pull it for the following fortnight.
At the end of the day, the ox thanked the donkey for giving him a day of rest and the donkey proclaimed that he was “like many another simplehearted one who starts to help a friend and ends up by doing his task for him. Hereafter you draw your own plow, for I did hear the master tell the slave to send for the butcher were you sick again. I wish he would, for you are a lazy fellow.”  
I believe that’s the end of the friendship between the mule and the ox.

“For a man to wish to be rich is of little purpose. For a man to desire five pieces of gold is a tangible desire which he can press to fulfillment.”

Mathon asked Rodan to guess the story’s meaning. When the spearmaker could not, Mathon explained the fable. It showed that he should never help others if it means assuming their burdens on his own shoulders. He advised Rodan to loan his gold only to those who had the means to repay him and to enable him to earn a reasonable profit from the transaction. Mathon further warned that Rodan would never regret exercising extra caution when he lent money, because lending recklessly would lead to losing his gold and weeping bitter tears.

“That which each of us calls our ‘necessary expenses’ will always grow to equal our incomes unless we protest to the contrary.”

The Story of Dabasir, the King of Camels

One day in the market, Dabasir, Babylon’s most famous camel trader, approached Tarkad, a young man who owed him money. When Dabasir asked for the copper and gold he had lent Tarkad, the young man hung his head in shame and confessed he did not have the money. Dabasir urged him to go get it. When Tarkad said that was impossible, Dabasir told him a story.

“‘Fickle fate’ is a vicious goddess who brings no permanent good to anyone.”

He was once a slave, and still would be one if not for the kindness of his mistress, who took pity on him and helped him gain his freedom. She gave him two camels, some bread and a jug of water, and told him to ride across the desert to flee for his freedom. He was greatly afraid because the desert is vast and cruel. Then his mistress asked him if he had the heart of a free man. If so, she said, you will take your chance. If not, you will stay here and remain a slave.

Dabasir took her dare and rode into the desert. He journeyed for weeks, his food and water long gone. He thought often of death, but the words of his mistress spurred him forward. He vowed to trek on until he was safe and free.

“Good luck waits to come to that man who accepts opportunity.”

He finally made his way to Babylon. From that day on, he always used his learned determination to move forward, no matter what difficulties lay in his way. Dabasir looked hard at the young man by his side and told him that he, too, had either the heart of a free man or that of a slave, and that a free man would find a way to repay his debts.

Tarkad rose and thanked him for the story, assuring him that as a free man he would repay the money.

The next day he did. Where there is a will, there’s a way.

“Without wisdom, gold is quickly lost by those who have it, but with wisdom, gold can be secured by those who have it not.”

The story of the Merchant, Sharru Nada

Sharru Nada was the richest merchant in Babylon, but few knew that he also had once been a slave. Many years before, his master had chained Sharru Nada to two other men: Zabado, the stealer of sheep, and Megiddo, a burly farmer.

The master took the three slaves to Babylon to sell them. As they approached the great walls of the city, Megiddo, the oldest, advised the other two slaves to talk to any potential new master, to explain that they were hard workers and that the man would never regret buying them. Then, he said, they should become hard workers, because hard work is a man’s best friend and all good things derive from it.

Zabado laughed, and said he would not proclaim himself to be a hard worker lest he end up among the slave crews repairing the great wall, breaking his back carrying brick and mortar all day. But Sharru Nada thought long and hard about Megiddo’s advice.

Later that day, Nananaid the baker asked the slave dealer if any of the slaves for sale were trained as bakers. Sharru Nada quickly spoke up and urged the man to buy him, promising to work hard and willingly, even though he was not trained as a baker. Nananaid liked Sharru Nada’s bold spirit. He bought the young man and taught him to bake.

As he promised, Sharru Nada worked hard every day for his new master. Years went by. He always remembered what Megiddo had taught him. He treasured work the way other men treasure jewels and gold. Eventually, Sharru Nada was able to convince Nananaid to let him go into the city in the evening hours to sell honey cakes he baked on his own time. Nananaid let Sharru Nada keep one-fourth of the money he made. This proved profitable for both men.

Little by little, Sharru Nada’s savings grew. One of his customers was Arad Gula, a rug merchant who was so impressed with Sharru Nada’s enterprise that he bought the young man from Nananaid and gave him his freedom. He made Sharru Nada his partner so they could prosper together. And so they did, all because Sharru Nada learned the value of hard work.

And that’s it. The notes on this awesome book, one which without doubt one of the best read I’ve had.

Healthy Diet & Under-nutrition

Dr. Ray Walford

As the picture above states, Dr. Ray Walford, a famous UCLA researcher, concluded,

“Undernutrition is thus far the only method we know of that consistently retards the aging process and extends the maximum life span of warm-blooded animals.”

Food, in its most basic definition, is nutrition used by the body to sustain life. Elite athletes gain a new perspective on food as they push their bodies to physical limits. Eating becomes an exercise in fueling the body with the necessary ingredients to produce peak performance. That’s not to say that an athlete never craves a double fudge, chocolate chip milk shake. But if an athlete ate an average American diet performance would begin to suffer over time. But the good news is that it is rarely too late to make changes that will reverse damage and improve a person’s health.

Here are few simple suggestion I’ve learnt from my studies.

  • Make it slow and simple. There’ll be adjusting phase to your new lifestyle. If you take away all of your favorites you will lose the enjoyment in eating and probably revert to bad habits.
  • Start today. This sounds contradictory to what was said in the first suggestion but keep reading. If your pantry is full of artery clogging, calorie packed snacks and the fruit bowl is barren, you need to make some immediate changes.
  • Limit sugar intake to special occasions like birthdays or date nights. You’ll be surprised at how much more delicious they are when they are eaten less frequently.
  • Variety is exciting! So that you won’t be boring.

The point is to start, to sustain and then to maintain. We can do this.

How much free stuff should I give out to promote my product?

I just wish I knew how much free goods I would have to give out in order to promote my products.

Jacqui Rosshandler

Well, in my experience, giving out free goods would be a good ideas if

  1. You actually have enough inventory to still make reasonable profit
  2. You actually get something in return of the free goods given. quid pro quo kind of agreement. I’ve given free goods before for
    1. Brand exposure
    2. Increase numbers of product reviews and sale ranking ( for example, in most marketplace, if your product have high sale volume and good review, you’ll be ranked quite high in the search ranking – I’ve given free (price set to nearly $0 with free shipping or discount shipping – in order to raise the sale volume and reviews. Just make sure you get the receiver agreement before hand.
    3. Free goods can also be given to your family members, neighbors, friends, & acquaintance. Just make sure they claim it through the marketplace. 2-in-1 benefit, you improve your marketplace ranking and you’ve made those whom received the item a reason to smile for the day.
  3. Make sure the financial aspect and planning are in place, don’t just blindly gave away your merchandise, you won’t be a merchant for long if you do that.

If you’re interested in setting up business online, there’s a few marketplace which I would recommend:

For Malaysian

(1) Shopee (MY)

Love to shop? Keen to sell? Shopee is a mobile marketplace designed for both buyers and sellers to enjoy safe and smooth transactions. The app functions, you can easily turn your clutter into cash and share the fun with your friends, anytime, anywhere.

Just signup for a Shopee account and list your products to sell. (it could also be 2nd hand items, I’ve sold few 2nd hand items on the marketplace.

Get it done fast, free and safe – start your Shopee journey today!

(2) YouBeli

Youbeli.com is one of the top B2B2C marketplace in Malaysia that support 3 main languages which are English, Bahasa Melayu and Chinese. This trusted online marketplace provides a place to visit for everything you need where you can discover anything you might want to buy with the lowest possible prices. You can also shop conveniently on-the-go via its mobile apps – browse, view, buy, track, and review your items.

It have been said to be a good option but I’ve never tried it before.

Click Here to get the website

(3) Lazada

” Lazada is pioneering e-commerce across some of the fastest growing countries in the world by offering a fast, secure and convenient online shopping experience with a broad product offering in categories ranging from fashion, consumer electronics to household goods, toys and sports equipment. Lazada is always striving to offer its customers the best possible offering – including multiple payment options, free returns and extensive customer service and warranty commitments “

Lazada is awesome since it have its own seller apps.

But regardless, you could still get around the on the apps easily and the interface is awesome.

Click here to go to lazada (MY)

You want to have eCommerce Website of your own?

And if you’re feeling adventurous and want to have your own eCommerce website. Just give EasyStore a try. EasyStore is an easy to use tool for sellers to create store and sell products online.

Click Here to go to EasyStore