Sideroad Expert Interviews

Monday, July 30, 2007

How to Write the Perfect Thank You Note

gift ideas expert Nancy WurtzelIn today’s article, “How to Write the Perfect Thank You Note,” Nancy Wurtzel discusses:
  • What to write
  • Materials to use
  • Time frame for sending a thank you
  • Handwriting
  • Use of e-mail and e-cards
  • Children sending thank you cards
Click here to read the article.

Nancy Wurtzel has over 25 years of marketing and communications experience. She consults with small businesses seeking to enter the marketplace or grow their existing e-commerce business.

Related Articles:
Writing the Post Interview Thank You Letter by Jeanne Knight
How to Properly Thank the Person Who
Gave You a Referral by Lillian D. Bjorseth
Cross Cultural Gift Giving Etiquette by Neil Payne

» Permanent link to How to Write the Perfect Thank You Note

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Selling and Sales Management: What’s Involved

sales coach Jonathan FarringtonWhat any individual Sales Leader actively does is conditioned by the size of their company, the products it sells and the way they are sold, the organization of functions within it, and perhaps their own special ability. They may carry most or all of the responsibilities which would be those of a Marketing Manager, if this position does not exist within their company.

Essentially, however, the task of the Sales Leader is to produce revenue for their company through the operations of the sales staff for whom they are responsible. The size of this revenue, and the profit (however defined) which it should show, are usually predetermined in order to achieve the aims of company policy. The objectives which they set for the various activities which are involved in carrying out this task should therefore be derived from, and be compatible with, company objectives, such as return on capital employed, cash flow, market position, growth… (continue reading Selling and Sales Management: What’s Involved)

Business coach, Jonathan Farrington, is a mentor, author, and consultant who has helped hundreds of companies and thousands of individuals around the world achieve their full potential and consequently, optimum performance levels.

Related Articles:
Sales Management Strategy by Don McNamara
The Sales Manager Checklist by Jonathan Farrington
Assessing Your Sales Team by Jonathan Farrington

» Permanent link to Selling and Sales Management: What’s Involved

Monday, July 23, 2007

Closet Remodeling

Geralin ThomasNeed a closet that suits you? As a closet pro, in the know, I’ve helped hundreds of people remodel their closets. Regardless of how many closets you have and how big they are, chances are that you’d like to get the max for the minimum when it comes to using space wisely. Using closets efficiently helps turn chaos into calm and is usually more affordable and less time consuming than hiring a crew to construct a new “custom fit” closet tailored specifically to your needs… (Continue reading Closet Remodeling)

Professional organizer Geralin Thomas works with homeowners, designers, builders, architects, and businesses creating organized environments and enhancing client’s lives.

Related Articles:
Closet Organizing: How to Purge by Monica Ricci
Tips on Organizing a Closet by Geralin Thomas
Helping a Pack Rat Get Organized by Maria Gracia

» Permanent link to Closet Remodeling

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Sustainable Furniture

Peggy FarabaughPeggy Farabaugh is the owner of Vermont Woods Studios which specializes in fine furniture from sustainable sources and supports the artisan’s way of life. More information is available on their website at www.VermontWoods.com.

1) How do you define sustainable furniture? Is it just where the materials come from? Or…?

Certainly there are a lot of definitions out there, but I try to put myself in the shoes of a customer who is searching for “sustainable furniture.” Usually that person is looking for more than just an assurance that the raw materials in their furniture come from sustainable sources. More than likely, that consumer is looking for a holistic product that comes to market through a series of steps that embody both environmental and social responsibility. Our company is founded on those values and each of our products is reflective of them – some more than others. For example, our minimum criteria include:
  • Raw materials from sustainable sources
  • Eco-friendly production practices
  • Proper safety and health practices for craftspeople
  • Involvement in promoting sustainability
  • Commitment to improvement
  • Consideration of third party certification

2) How did you get started in this field? What was the inspiration for forming this company?
An unusual sequence of events unfolded over a long period of time to get this business started. About 12 years ago I heard an alarming statistic: The planet is losing its rain forests at a rate of approximately 1 football field per second… 24-7-365. I was shocked and wondered “why isn’t somebody doing something about this? We need the rain forest to fight global warming and maintain the miracle of biodiversity that has evolved on this earth over so many millions of years.” Then I thought about Gandhi’s quote: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Shortly after that I found myself being rushed to the hospital in an ambulance and fighting for my life. According to my doctors, I had lost so much blood that day that it was astounding that I had survived. I felt at that point, that perhaps there was a reason why I survived and perhaps I had some significant work to do. I quit my corporate job and focused on raising my family and supporting my community, with an emphasis on environmental conservation. It wasn’t until 10 years later though, that several seemingly unrelated factors converged to give me the inspiration to establish Vermont Woods Studios.


3a) How did you gather your network of artisans?
Vermont is a very small, rural state with lots of forest and only about 630,000 people. Not surprisingly, a high percentage of those people work with wood, in some fashion or other. We are linked by professional organizations, community events and a need to collaborate with each other in order to achieve the size necessary to market and present ourselves to the world. It became clear to me that our talent in woodworking far exceeded our capacity to market our products. Most of Vermont’s woodworking artisans have a critical need for assistance with marketing and sales.

3b) How do you judge their work?
The great majority of our furniture artisans have won numerous awards and have been featured in galleries and fine woodworking magazines. That makes my job easy in this respect. However, part of our mission is to provide opportunities for artisans who are just beginning in their field. We want to help them achieve the recognition that the others have attained. We want to help Vermont grow this green industry, and do our part to help our state maintain its environmentally-friendly economy. So with the newer artisans, we review their work, bring them into the professional woodworking network in Vermont and help them to develop their skills to the point where we can match them up with customers who are seeking furniture within their niche.

4) What are your best selling pieces?
With custom work, our sales are so diverse. No two items are the same and we really haven’t seen any one item that seems to overshadow the rest. We’ve had a lot of interest in four poster beds and hallway organizers lately. Reclaimed barn wood pieces are also very popular. But we also sell small tables, dining tables, desks, entertainment centers and other types of cabinets, bureaus and armoires that are made for every room in the house.

5) How much customization can happen with these pieces?
As much or as little as the customer desires. At the high end, we have pieces that not only accommodate the customer’s exact dimensions, style and wood type, but also reflect their passions in the form of, for example, carvings of their pets or favorite flowers. We just did a podium for a university that had their seal carved into the front panel.

For customers who don’t require complete customization, we offer a full line of affordable eco furniture that is handcrafted in a very large Vermont workshop by Lyndon Furniture. It can be customized to a degree while still being very competitively priced.

6) Aside from buying one of your pieces, what can a person on a tight budget do when buying furniture to ensure they are making as small a footprint as possible?
First, be aware that up to 90% of the imported wood furniture in North America is made from wood that is illegally harvested from the world’s rapidly diminishing rain forests. It’s important to ask the vendor where their furniture comes from and if they are FSC* certified. If the furniture was made in China, it’s also a good bet that it was made by some of the poorest people on earth, working in deplorable, inhumane conditions.

Purchasing previously owned furniture is also a great green practice.

*The Forest Stewardship Council is considered the gold standard for sustainable forestry around the globe. The FSC seal on furniture is an assurance that the wood in the furniture came from a responsibly managed forest and the company that produced the furniture employed socially responsible business practices.

Related Articles:
A Guide to Outdoor Metal Furniture by Debbie Rodgers
A Guide to Wooden Outdoor Furniture by Debbie Rodgers

» Permanent link to Sustainable Furniture

Thursday, July 12, 2007

What is WomanSavers.com?

Infidelity expert Stephany AlexanderOnline dating and infidelity expert Stephany Alexander is the CEO/Founder of WomanSavers.com, the world’s largest database rating men. She is the author of “Sex, Lies & the Internet – How to Avoid Being Scammed, Used & Abused by Men“.

1) First off, can you give us a quick summary in your words about what WomanSavers is, and why you started it?

Like many women, I survived various forms of abuse as a child and as an adult and decided it was time to stop living with the pain and start doing something to prevent further abuse for others. I created WomanSavers.com in 2002 after the break-up of a relationship because everywhere I turned I was reading and hearing stories about how women were being used and abused. I knew there could be a way to help solve this problem by women networking together through technology. The mission of WomanSavers.com is to help women worldwide avoid and prevent abusive and painful relationships by making more informed and safer decisions.


2) What kind of feedback having you been getting from women about the site?
Women absolutely love WomanSavers and I receive daily emails from women thanking me for giving them a voice because as long as women remain silent, they remain victims. WomanSavers is extremely popular to post about cheaters and lying and abusive men. There are tens of thousands of men currently listed, the largest database of its kind in the world. However, not all posts are negative. Many times married or involved women will post their partners to let the world know they are involved with a great guy who is taken. In addition, men frequently post themselves. However, when a man posts himself it can be quite obvious because they usually go on about how great in bed they are. Women rarely post about a man’s sexual skills but rather about infidelity, lying and abuse. WomanSavers is like a credit bureau for dating.

3) What are the limits, if any to your submissions process? What’s the line between rating/criticism, and defamation of character?
Before a woman posts she must agree to our terms and that she is telling the truth because the truth is 100 percent defense to libel and is covered under the First Amendment. If a woman lies, she leaves herself open to a possible libel lawsuit.

4) Have you faced any legal challenges or other threats because of this website? If so, how did you handle them?
No, because WomanSavers doesn’t do anything illegal and is covered under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act which basically states that a third party provider such as a blog owner, forum owner, or search engine is not held liable for what others say. WomanSavers is like a blank sheet of paper that allows women to write on it.


5) What happens when you get a complaint about a listing? Do you ever pull a rating, or edit it?
The law does not allow WomanSavers to edit or delete listings. Only the original author has the ability to do that because they wrote it. If a man disagrees with what was said, he is free to tell his side of the story. Upon notification, WomanSavers will remove personally identifying information such as social security numbers which could be used in identity theft. However, posting personally identifying information that could be used in identity theft is strictly against our terms of use.


6) What advice do you have for women who want to date men who *aren’t* listed on your site? How can they protect themselves?
First and foremost, I suggest women Google their potential dates, ask a lot of questions and phone them between the hours of 7-10pm to make sure they aren’t married or involved. You wouldn’t believe how many women constantly fall for the “I’m out of town working” line when the men are actually at home with their partners. In my book, “Sex, Lies and the Internet – How to Avoid Being Scammed, Used, and Abused by Men” I share all the top ways on how to avoid getting involved with an abusive or cheating man. I’ve spent the last five years of my life reading thousands of abuse and infidelity stories and have become the internet’s first and foremost online dating and infidelity expert. My members started calling me “Little Miss WomanSaver” many years ago and the name just stuck.


7) What’s your advice to men? How can they avoid a “bad rating”?
Don’t scam, use or abuse women. It’s as simple as that. Many of the men who are doing this to women are listed repeatedly in the database by multiple women. I’ve seen a serial bigamist in the database who was married to 7 different women and they found out about each other through the database. It’s very powerful. If a woman discovers a man she is involved with listed in the database and the listing has negative comments, proceed with caution.


8) What are your plans for the future of WomanSavers.com?
WomanSavers.com is growing at a phenomenal rate and is already in the top 5% most popular women’s websites in the world which shows the intense need for a service like this. Our sister site, www.rateb4udate.com is a place where men can post women but it isn’t as popular as WomanSavers. Women love to gossip and talk about their relationship experiences much more than men. It’s in our genes. Safe dating to all.

Related Articles:
Signs of an Abusive Man
Why Women Like a Bad Boy
How to Get Out of a Bad Relationship

» Permanent link to What is WomanSavers.com?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Losing Body Fat

Lynn BodeToday’s interview questions are answered by certified personal trainer, Lynn Bode.

1) Assuming that some form of dieting is necessary to lose body fat, is there a “foolproof” way to lose fat without losing muscle tone? Eg. By making sure you have enough protein, or some other method?
Unfortunately, nothing is ever foolproof. But, the

key to a healthy approach to dieting is not to do anything in extreme. Keep to moderation. Do not lower your calorie intake too far. The amount of calories you consume daily varies a lot from person to person based on many individual factors. But most experts agree that 1200 calories per day is the absolute lowest one should consume. You also should intake at least the USDA recommended daily amount of protein based on their guidelines. And, exercise is, of course, very important. Both cardio and strength training are important elements to losing body fat. The strength training will definitely help ensure that your weight loss comes from fat more than from muscle. But don’t take exercise to an extreme. Too much of a good thing can be detrimental. It can lead not only to burnout but even to injuries.

2) Will every weight loss or diet program cut into body fat? In other words, can your diet make you lose muscle mass and water weight but not body fat? Can a diet ever *increase* your amount of body fat?

Absolutely a diet can cause muscle loss and little to no body fat loss. When the steps mentioned above are not followed, it is very common for people to lose muscle. And, since muscle is more dense than fat, the scale will reflect a larger amount of weight loss. This can mistakenly create positive feedback for and individual when the feedback is actually anything but positive.

3) True or false: Overeating carbs or proteins will cause body fat. (Ie. it’s not just eating too much fat in general that leads to body fat?)

In general most research has really shown that overall the number of calories taken in versus the energy expended is what controls your weight. But, what you eat can have some effect as well. For example, carbs can elicit a response in your body that actually makes you more hungry. This can lead to eating too many calories.

4) Is there an optimal exercise range to help burn body fat? By time, or by heartrate?

There has been a lot of research on whether exercising at a lower intensity or higher intensity will burn more fat. Many of the top fitness organizations have published information stating that both low intensity and high intensity are effective at burning fat. They state that lower intensity exercise burns a higher proportion of fat calories but high intensity exercise burns more total calories from fat. I recommend that exercisers include both forms of exercise in their weekly regimen. The most important thing is to do workouts that you enjoy enough to stick with week after week.

5) Does resistance training (Eg. weightlifting) burn body fat the same as cardio training? Is it important to mix cardio and resistance training while trying to lose body fat?

Yes, it is very critical to include both types of workouts. Moderate aerobic exercise, such as walking, has a metabolic cost of 5-7 per minute on average (in other words, it burns 5-7 calories). Moderate to vigorous strength training has a nearly equal metabolic cost at 5-8 per minute. So both walking and strength training can promote an equal amount of calories burned during the actual activity. But, there’s an extra benefit to strength training: you burn calories after you’ve stopped working out! Resistance training recruits both slow and fast twitch muscle fibers so the metabolic rate stays elevated longer. This means that you are burning calories long after you’ve stopped working out.

6) True or false: Exercising in the morning before eating breakfast will help you burn body fat? Why or why not?

There is no concrete evidence that this is true. Some research has shown that exercise on an empty stomach in the morning can elicit small increases in burning body fat. Again, though, the best time to exercise is the time of day that works best for each individual.

7) Does the “six-pack abs” look come from having extremely low body fat, from extensive abdominal workouts, or a combination of the two? If so, how low a body fat % range would you need to achieve that look? Is it a realistic goal for most people?

It certainly is attainable by the majority of people. There is no magic body fat range to achieve it. But, it is possible to have a “six pack” but not be able to see it because of either too much body fat in the stomach or even possibly too much stretched out skin. So the key is both lower body fat and also abdominal, core and strength workouts.

Related Articles:
Do Muscles Turn Into Fat? by Robert Adams
Beginner’s Guide to Getting Fit by Diana Keuilian
Easy At Home Workouts by Lynn Bode
Get in Shape for Summer by Lynn Bode

» Permanent link to Losing Body Fat

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Sideroad Expert featured on NBC Nightly News

Denise LandersThe Sideroad’s Denise Landers will be featured tonight on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. Landers, a productivity expert and organizing specialist, will be commenting in a piece on work-life balance.

NBC discovered Landers through her article Labor Day Reflections in the Sideroad section Work Life Balance. She has also authored eight articles on Time Management.

It is common for Sideroad authors to be contacted by the media for their expert opinions and we are exceptionally proud of Denise for achieving network television status. Her biography, contact info, and works can be found here: Denise Landers – biography.

» Permanent link to Sideroad Expert featured on NBC Nightly News

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The Sideroad brings you practical advice, straight from the experts, through expert articles and interviews. Learn more about The Sideroad.

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» A Beginner’s Guide to Exporting Products
» André Taylor: Entrepreneur Coach
» Losing Body Fat
» Public Speaking Anxiety
» Sustainable Furniture
» Tips for Active Listening
» What is WomanSavers.com?
» What is a Marketing Coach?

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