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Web-Site Savvy For Pet-Care Business Owners

Pet-care business owners don’t have an inordinate amount of time or money to dedicate to hosting, building or maintaining a website. But you should note that the internet plays a part in the daily routine of 88% of Americans, and of those, 92% indicate that it’s a good place for information.As a pet-care business owner, you know that the majority of the decision-makers regarding a pet’s care are women, and a March 2004 Nielson/NetRanking & Washintonpost.com survey found that “60% of working women using the internet at work do so because they feel that there is not enough time for personal activities and issues in their lives. 63% of those women would definitely include the internet in a marketing campaign geared toward their demographic.”On-line usage is not just for city-dwellers either, 52% of the residents of rural areas are on-line too! (PewInternet, American Life Project, February 2004).As a pet-care business owner, don’t overlook the power of your web-page as a key part of your marketing plan.You can build your web-site yourself (there are lots of ‘turn-key’ options available by searching the internet) or hire a professional (again, searching the web will provide thousands of options for high-quality and cost-attractive designers).No matter what you decide to do, here are 17 rules for making sure your pet-care business web-site stands out, provides your customers what they need to know and makes it easy for them to do business with you.1. Define and target your particular audience. Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Write each page for your ‘perfect reader’ and don’t sway from that target.2. Forget the bells and whistles. Internet users have all kinds of browsers and many are not impressed by the fancy animations and sounds you may think are cute. Keep to the facts and pertinent information about the particular service you provide.3. Use one page for one topic. Don’t try to cram everything you know about cat-care onto the same page as your introduction, service and rates and links to other sites.4. On the web, remember the mantra, “Less is More.” Ask yourself constantly can you say what you need to with fewer words and pictures?5. Check your spelling and grammar. If this is not your strong suit, hire someone to provide this service. If your spelling and grammar are not up-to-par, visitors to your site will either think your business is a ‘fake’ or they will believe that you do not pay attention to detail. Neither of these is a good thing!6. Make sure your website is easy to read. Use headings and sub-headings. Keep your sentences short. Use bullets and lists to make important points. Set apart important text by bolding or using a different color.7. Make it easy for your potential clients to reach you. Have a link on every page to your e-mail address and include your phone on every page.8. Ensure that you home page makes it abundantly clear who you are and what you do. Don’t make them guess.9. Use terms like YOU and YOUR rather than terms like WE and US. Your potential clients want to know what benefits you can provide to them. Make them feel how you can solve their problem.10. Do your potential clients know what to do next in order to schedule service with your company? Make sure each page lets them know what they should do to set-up a client interview and get started with your service.11. Check all your links. Dead links can turn off a client fast. If you are providing links to useful information, make sure they can there! If in doubt, leave it out.12. Choose your graphics wisely. Too many graphics distract from your message. Most clip-art graphics look tacky and take away from your business message of caring personally for client’s pets. If you’ve seen the graphic before, they have too, likely several hundred times and they won’t remember if it was your company or someone else’s.13. Write conversationally. Make sure the tone of your web-site sounds like you. This is especially important for the sole-proprietor who is selling their unique, personal care to each and every pet.14. Choose your colors wisely. Bright vibrant colors are terrific, but use them sparingly in borders or to highlight sections. Don’t use busy patterns behind your main text and don’t use background colors that clash with your text color. In most instances simple black text on white background for your key pages is best.15. Maintain consistency. Make sure your website look likes it belongs together. Have similar fonts and layouts on every page.16. Avoid using all caps.17. Keep it flowing. Don’t just build your site and leave it. In order to keep people coming back your site must provide useful information that is not stagnant. Schedule an appointment with yourself at least once a month to update your site.Successful pet-care business owners have identified their web-site as one of their top marketing tools. Make sure that you are getting the most out of your web-presence to ensure continued pet-care business success.

Direction, Desire and Determination, 3 D’s to Home Business Success

When reviewing business opportunities you must do a thorough review of the opportunity. Make sure the company has a superior marketing plan as well as exceptional marketing tools to help you succeed in your quest for home business financial freedom.To make money using the Internet you need to be involved in several different opportunities to be successful – make sure the home business opportunities you choose to pursue have a clear path to success, giving you a definite direction in achieving your home business goals.Most people fall into one of two categories, those that just think about success and those who have the desire to succeed. Even though every one really wants success in their life, few really take the necessary steps to be successful in life or any type of home business for that matter.It is so easy to come up with excuse after excuse why you can’t be successful. It really is a mystery why we can’t take control of our wants and needs. If you just step up to the plate and take control over your life’s ambitions you’ll see how success is really within reach. If you believe you can achieve, but you must also have the desire to achieve what you believe.You’ve been provided great direction; you have the desire, so now it’s all down hill, you are going to be successful in your home business and you will make money – right? That may be enough for most, however without determination your chances for success will be far less than someone who has the determination to withstand the hurtles a home business entrepreneur will face.9 out of 10 home business ventures will fail – why? Many people start a business from home with excitement and a desire to be successful – but as soon as the going gets tough, most will lose hope and faith and turn the energy that fueled their home business completely off.You must go the extra mile, have the passion and determination and success will not be an issue – you will succeed in your home business. Your success should be fueled by your mistakes and failures. Take what you learned from an unsuccessful situation and build on that failure – never give up, never surrender.A successful person has the endurance to make money with their home business in spite of all the difficulties that will arise. They have no doubt and never waver no matter what is thrown at them. You must be stubborn and hard willed refusing to cave in when you are at what seems to be the bottom. The power of your determination has most likely never been tapped – we can all be successful at anything, I mean anything if you are stronger than the opposition – failure.Failure must not be an option – Thomas Edison made 4,999 unsuccessful attempts at creating the perfect light bulb – it was his strong willed determination that finally lead to his successful 5,000th attempt. The list of these types of examples is endless – your determination for success must be endless as well.You can pursue success and overcome just about any problem, snag, or bump in the road that life has to offer – if you have a strong enough determination. Where there is a will, there is a way. If you waste time wondering “why me” or “why can’t get a break” you will be destined to fail and never have a successful home business.Nothing worth doing will ever be easy, you can overcome the odds and make money in your home business venture if you have Direction, Desire and Determination – nothing can hold you back with when you have these three ingredients deep within you.Copyright 2005 – Tim Somers, 3G Enterprises, LLC

Five Steps To An Effective Business Plan

You have an idea for a business. You know what you want to sell, who you can sell it to, and how much you stand to earn from it. There’s just one more thing you need: a business plan.Many people dread the idea of preparing a business plan. They think of them as complicated, unnecessary documents that exist only to make it more difficult for them to get started as an entrepreneur. They are wrong.Business plans are necessary because they help you “see” your business. Instead of just talking in abstract ways about your “customer base” and your “profit potential,” it lets you put those things in writing and in concrete terms. It forces you to think through every aspect of your business in advance so down the road you don’t realize you’ve made a mistake that’s cost you your business, your life’s savings, and your job.Besides all of that, they are also important tools for getting other people interested in your business. For one, if you’ve taken the time to create a business plan, others will realize that you are serious about this endeavor and that it isn’t just some pie-in-the-sky dream. A business plan also shows people that you are a professional and that you understand what it takes to start and manage a business. This is all extremely important, particularly if you need any type of outside funding, such as loans or investors.So while the bad news may be that you definitely do need a business plan, the good news is that they don’t have to be complicated. The truth is that your plan only needs to cover seven main areas and none of these areas are going to require you to write a full-length novel. These five sections are the executive summary, the company overview, the business environment, the company description, and the action plan. All of those sections may sound complex, but most of them won’t involve information that you don’t already know.Executive SummaryEven though this section will technically be first in your business plan, you should actually write it last because, just as its name implies, it summarizes the entire contents of your business plan. Because many readers never bother to get beyond the executive summary, you must make sure that it is comprehensive and well-written.If that sounds difficult, it isn’t. Just make sure to read through your entire business plan before you start writing the executive summary. Make a list of information that you think is the most important or that would really stand out to a reader, and be sure to include all of it in your summary.Company OverviewThis section explains the guiding force behind your business. It gives them a chance to see what you have in mind for the business and how you plan to get there. Generally, the overview does this by providing a mission statement, goals, and objectives for your business.In a nutshell, a mission statement provides the answers to all of these questions in less than 50 words: What am I selling? Who am I selling it to? Why am I selling it? It doesn’t need to be just one sentence, but keep it as brief as possible.Goals and objectives, the other components of the company overview, are often confused by first time business plan writers. Remember that goals are things your company wants to achieve while your objectives are how they plan to get there.Business EnvironmentThis section will probably require you to do some outside research because it involves information relating to your industry, your market, and your competition. You need to take an honest look at the field you are preparing to enter and pay close attention to its structure, its trends, and its barriers to new businesses. Become familiar with the major competitors in your industry and decide how you will differentiate yourself from them. Also, get to know your potential customers and what makes them tick. The more you know about them, the more likely you will be to turn them into buyers.Company DescriptionAt this point in your business plan, you need to go into detail about your business. You can’t simply define your company in terms of what you sell, but also in terms of who you serve, what resources you will use, what types of employees you are looking for, what type of distribution method you’ll utilize, and more. All of this factors combine to create your company.In addition to this, you should also state your company’s UPS (Unique Positioning Statement). This is a one sentence statement that explains what sets you apart from all of the competitors.Action PlanThe last part of your business plan is this section which outlines the steps you need to take now in order to make your plan work. These should also reflect the goals and objectives that you’ve outlined in your company overview.Besides these primary pieces of a business plan, you may also need to include a financial section, particularly if you plan on using it to get outside funding for your business. This may take more thought and planning than the other sections because it will require you to make some assumptions about your business’s revenue potential. The most important thing is to base any estimates on realistic expectations, not optimistic dreams.You may want to visit the following websites for some samples to give you an idea of how things should be formatted and worded:http://www.businessplans.org/businessplans.htmlhttp://www.bplans.com/sp/With some useful models and this helpful information, you’ll be well on your way to completing your effective and professional business plan.Copyright 2004 Vishal P. Rao

A Wolf In Sheeps Clothing – Identifying Scams That Look Like Legitimate Businesses

As I`ve mentioned in previous articles, there are a whole lot of various business opportunities for you, as a marketer, to get involved with. Before you do though, you need to be aware of the fact that there are also thousands of scams out there, posing as legitimate businesses. While a lot of these types of programs are totally on the up-and-up, some unscrupulous people will almost re-create the different types of program and scam you for all you`ve got.No matter which road you decide to take in your pursuit of becoming an online marketer, always do your due dilligence and check up on whatever program you are thinking of becoming part of.Here`s a list of some legitimate type programs that can actually be easily re-created by fraudsters:- Web Cramming -Promise: You get a free custom-designed website for a 30-day trial period, with no obligation to continue.Fact: Sometimes, people have been charged on their telephone bills or received a separate invoice, even if they never agreed to continue using the service after the trial period.Be Aware: Check your phone bills and challenge any charges you don’t recognize.- Internet Access Services -Promise: “You`ll get Free money, all you have to do is cash this check”Fact: You are at risk of being “trapped” into long-term contracts for Internet access or another web service. There`s usually huge penalty fees if you cancel, or terminate the service before the “agreed” period is up.Be Aware: If you receive a check, read both sides and look inside the envelope for any hidden conditions that you’re “agreeing” to if you cash the check. Also read your phone bill carefully for any unexpected or unauthorized charges that may be there.- Business Opportunities -Promise: “You can kiss your 9-5 job goodbye, be your own boss and rake in the cash.”Fact: There`s a lot of hype out there. Unfortunately, people believe all the wild promises about potential earnings, and end up investing big bucks into a program/opportunity that turns out to be a total flop.Be Aware: Always look for evidence to back up the earnings claims. Talk to others who`ve started businesses through the same company. Get all the promises, claims and conditions in writing.- Investments -Promise: Just make one investment in a day trading system or service and you’ll get huge returns.Fact: Any promised profits come with a risk. The bigger the profits, the bigger the risks.Be Aware: Talk to other people who invested through the program to find out what level of risk you’re assuming. Do a check on the promoter through state and federal securities and commodities regulators.- Internet Auctions -Promise: You can shop for a huge selection of products at great deals, from the comfort of your own home.Fact: A lot of people have received an item that is less valuable than promised, or at the very worst, nothing at all. Of course this is AFTER they`ve parted with their cash.Be Aware: When you`re bidding through an Internet auction, especially if it`s for a large quantity, or a valuable item, check out the seller first. Also, insist on paying with a credit card or using an escrow service. An “escrow service” will act as a “paid middle-man”. They will hold your cash until you get the merchandise, then they will pay the vendor, for a fee.As you can see, there are lots of ways to get scammed, so always make sure you ask a lot of questions, do background checks and scrutinize ALL contracts and papers before you sign anything at all.Remember, it may be easy just to sign up and wait for good things to happen, but it`s just as easy, if not easier, to lose your shirt.Anna-Marie Stewart

How to Get from Market Niche to Passive Income in Three Easy Steps: Steps 2 & 3 – Make the Match

One of the surprising truths about marketing a product – a book, workbook, booklet, recording, etc. – is that the most effective marketing begins before you even decide which product to create.It’s easy to be successful if you remember the ART of marketing:A – Ask what your customers wantR – Review your strengths and interestsT – Tailor your product to capitalize on bothIn this article, we’ll take a look at your strengths and interests – to ensure that the product you create for your customers will bring YOU big benefits, as well.1 – What topics or subject areas are you really knowledgeable about?Here’s your chance to flaunt your experience, your knowledge, your areas of expertise. When you think about it, be as specific as you can (organizing a Table of Contents vs. writing books).Grab a sheet of paper and right now (yes, now!), list at least 10 things you know a lot about.2 – What are you really terrific at?Go outside your ‘routine’ answers to this question – and go outside your coaching business.Maybe you’re terrific at teaching … calming people down … bringing humor to tense situations. Or organizing. Or writing. Or….Once again, time for a list. Write down at least 10 things you’re terrific at, before you read on.3 – What do you really love to do?Again, stretch yourself. Look for the things that get you excited, make you smile, and so on. (Yep, you’re on to me! Write at least 10 things, right now.)4 – Head back to your listsLook over the lists that you’ve just written, and circle your top three in each section.Any surprises? Similarities? Chances are, if you went all out writing your lists, your strengths and interests are really beginning to emerge.5 – What product formats interest you most?Unless you have a very unique niche, with very particular requirements, your clients will generally care much more about how well your product answers their questions, or fills their needs, than about the physical format of your product.So why not develop your new product in the format that excites you most? Which of the following get your creative juices flowing:o booko e-booko workbooko bookleto e-courseo audio CDo audio cassetteo RealAudio or MP3o client-only web pageo teleclasso live workshopo seminaro something else?6 – May I share a secret?Most people who develop a new product do one of two things:o They either create the product around the needs of their clients – OR -o They create a product simply because they’d like to work on itIf you’re going to choose just one, go with what your clients want.But why stop there? Chances are you can find a project you’d love to work on that your clients are asking for, too. Get the right combination and you’ll not only have fun, you’ll have a product that your clients will love – and purchase!(More on this in my article, “How to Get from Market Niche to Passive Income in Three Easy Steps: Step 1, Your Customers,” also available on this website.)

Pull Them, Don’t Push Them

This article is primarily directed toward people who work at home in a business that happens to involve network marketing.I am often contacted by members of my business team with complaints regarding a lack of response or lack of action on the part of their affiliates. Their complaints typically go something like…”I send out lots of emails to all of them and I very rarely get any response and it seems like very few of them are taking any action. What am I doing wrong?”.There are many types of internet-based home businesses where feedback and interaction are quite important and getting anaffiliate or business team member to communicate with you is adefinite objective. It’s not at all surprising that this can bea challenge when you stop to think that what you are trying to dois initiate a dialog between two complete strangers who have never even seen each other.In the case of network marketing, it is of critical importance to build a sense of trust with your team members. Network marketing is very definitely a relationship business and each relationship typically starts out with two complete strangers sitting at their respective keyboards.The team building aspect of network marketing is of vital importance to the success of each individual member and to the team as a whole. Two key elements of team building are trust andconfidence and these factors play a very large role, particularlyfor new team members.With all that being said, many people love the IDEA of making goodmoney working at home in their own business and expect it to just “happen”, but have no willingness to take any action or put forthany effort to make it happen.Having been involved with team building and network marketing forsome time, I have come to adopt the following as my operatingcredo…”if you have the desire and are willing to put in the effort, I’ll pull you along so you can go faster down the road to success, but if you don’t want move on your own, I’m not going to waste my time trying to push you forward”.Its like working with a length of chain…pulling it along worksfine, but trying it push it forward only results in a pile offrustration.You need to be able to distinguish between people that have a legitimate interest in developing a home based business and those lost souls that feel that they have just joined another chat group and only want to engage in an endless “debate” about the virtues of whatever business you are promoting, but never actually had any intention of establishing a business…you will have to develop your own method of reading people like this (its mainly a sense of feel…sort of a belly button thing).You can help someone reach for success…but you can’t reasonably expect to make them want to be successful. Its just another variation of that very old and tired cliche…that “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink”.Another way of looking at it is if you are trying to move peopleforward, you pull them from in front (a leadership position), butif you have to push them it will be from behind (not a position of leadership).

The 7 Elements of A Successful Online Business

What is success to you?Definition:Success n1. the achievement of something attempted.2. the attainment of wealth, fame or position3. a person or thing that is successful.4. an outcomeSuccess is after all a satisfying state of mind.When one achieves an objective, and has a feeling of good emotions about the situation or circumstance, this is the attainment of success.The 7 Elements of a successful online business are:1. The Love for the Business.2. Time for the Business.3. Knowledge.4. Finances.5. Personal health.6. Creates and seize the Opportunity.7. Personal Development1. The Love for the BusinessLove for the business plays an important part in its success. The driving and motivating factor of its success.2. Time for your Business.To make your online business a success you must spend productive time on it. Spending time and efforts to research the business niches, your competitors and the market itself. Spending time to find ways to market your products and your websites.3. Knowledge.Knowledge gained through the learning process, through books, courses, seminars, training etc. Most importantly, knowledge is gained through the processes of practices and experiences.4. Finances.Money or financial support is critical to the success of your online business. Your online businesses can not expand and grow without the aid of finances. Money pays for hosting, advertising, tools etc. Initial finances are needed to start your online business, and more to keep the business going; what we termed operating costs.5. Personal Health.To achieve online business success we need metal as well as physical health. Healthy mindset to think, plan and make decisions. Healthy conscious as well as sub conscious mind, do make or break a successful business.6. Make and seize the Opportunities.Opportunities may drop in any time from nowhere; or when it is created. Most importantly is that when opportunity does come or when created, are you prepared to seize it? Be alert and always on the lookout for new technologies, new softwares and new ways of doing things, what is trendy and what is hot on the market.7. Personal Development.Continuous personal development is very important, for someone to be successful. Not only in the business sense, but also the personal development, in areas of personal and mental skills. Should it be spiritual growth, motivational, leadership skills, relationships skills, communication skills, marketing and sales.There are many people who spend their time talking and just dreaming about online business success; but never making the effort to do anything about it. Some put in the knowledge and the time, but when opportunity comes knocking they do not respond and therefore nothing happens.Only those who work on the elements of online business success, and when opportunity knocks they do not hesitate to seize it. Online business success goes to people with desires for success.Are you one of them?

Learned Any “Secrets” Lately?

I mean, REAL secrets about business success – the ones that will make you rich?You know as well as I that there really isn’t any such thing as a secret – just a truth that you haven’t discovered yet. (I read that somewhere and I don’t know who said it – but it is profound).The SECRET is – discover your own truths – the ones that will help grow your business. Use your imagination; it’s amazing what the mind can conjure up if we slow down and listen to our natural intuition.Having been in various businesses over the years, I have learned that opportunities exist everywhere! For example, just recently my daughter signed a lease on an apartment in her college town, only to discover two weeks before she was to move in that major repairs needed to be made. When we asked the landlord about it, he refused to do them – and also refused to let her out of the lease.Naturally, that prompted good ol’ mom to undertake a serious investigation of the options my daughter had to get out from under this lease so that she could find a more suitable place to live.And guess what I discovered?That this landlord had violated a federal statute when he failed to provide her with something he is required by law to give her when renting this particular type of rental unit.But he didn’t do it deliberately – he just wasn’t familiar with the law. So if he wasn’t familiar with it, how many OTHER landlords aren’t?See where I’m going here?My research further revealed that only about 30% of landlords are complying with this regulation, even though the law has been in effect since 1996. And if it is discovered that they are not providing this information to lessees, they can be subject to substantial fines and penalties – up to $10,000 per violation.So do you think they might spend $15-$20 on a packet that
informs them of this law,

provides information regarding compliance with the law, and

includes a copy of the form they are to provide tenants?

I think they might.Just one example of how an everyday occurrence can put the germ of an idea in one’s mind about another unique way to earn money.Finding a need somewhere – no matter how obscure you may think it is – means that someone needs to fill it. Perhaps that someone could be you!Don’t be afraid to let your mind “wander.” Although you may think it’s a waste of time, daydreaming about business opportunities and ways to generate an income can bring to the surface ideas that may never occur to you otherwise.And that’s what being an entrepreneur is all about!

The Safest Way to Start Your Own Business

Many people are frustrated by their current full-timejobs, but hesitate to take that first step toward independenceout of fear.When you’re used to a steady paycheck from a regular job, and have family and other financial obligations, stepping outof your comfort zone just seems too risky – no matter how miserable you are with your current situation.Your employer, however, could be your ticket to a successful freelance business. When I started my freelance copywriting practice 10 years ago, I negotiated a contract with my employer- a large advertising agency – for 50 percent of my time for thefirst year. This gave me the springboard I needed to go out and find other clients, while covering enough of my monthly expenses to take the fear out of starting my own business.You’re probably wondering… “Why on earth would my employer agree to sign a contract for half my time?” There are a number of reasons, and they can result in a”win-win” situation for both of you.If you’re on good terms with your employer, chances are they don’t want to lose you. It’s tough to find new staff these days. It takes time to train them and wait until they’re familiar enough with the agency’s style and processes to finally become productive.Even if they decide to replace you, it can take months to gather resumes, interview candidates and hire the right person. During that time you can be performing job functions from your home office, perhaps even training your replacement, and providing your employer with an easier transition to the new employeeand minimizing business disruption.If you are not on good terms with your employer or boss, or if they’re thinking of eliminating your position, or if the company is downsizing, merging, or being bought out, you can help them avoid the unpleasantness (and cost) of firing you. You are actually doing them a favorby restructuring this in the form of a contract for servicesthat can be “stretched out” for a period of time.Frankly, if an employer has to choose between letting yougo and paying severance and benefits, versus signing a contract for a period of time and getting tangible work and services in return, which do you think they’d prefer?The funds for your contract may even be allocated froma different budget category, making it more affordable for them.There’s one more reason your employer may opt for a contract: your knowledge. You are already familiar with your company, its clients and services. You’re able to provide the services they need and you understand whathas to be done.It can be a win-win situation. Many creative people have used this logic in approaching their bosses to negotiate their first contract and go out on their own.If you are really interested in starting your own businessas a freelancer or independent consultant, or even thinkingof changing directions with your work life, your current job can provide the security you need in your first year to get started on your dream.

Keeping Your Email Box Organized & Ready for Business

Learning how to get the most organization from your email software is very likely the most important skill you can learn to conduct a successful online home business.There are three primary email applications on the market that folks use to manage their incoming POP3 email. Those three are:
Microsoft Outlook Express

Eudora

Netscape Mail

In order to get the most from your email software, there are three key processes that you should learn. These processes are concerned with data organization, saving time and email database management.SET UP EMAIL FOLDERSOrganization is key to any emails that you intend to save. Having 2000 emails in one folder is a sure-fire road map to confusion and lost communications and information.You are the best judge as to how to organize your email into topics that provide an easy method of retrieval of the information when you need it most.Fortunately, the primary email browsers make it easy to organize your information. By allowing you to create folders within your email software, you can file specific emails into folders dedicated to the topic of the email.To create new folders:OUTLOOK EXPRESS: 1. Click File – Folders – New — alternatively, you may also right click an item in the Folder window — and then type in the name of your new folder. Highlight the folder above where you would like your new folder to be placed, and then click OK.EUDORA: Click on Mailbox – New — or right click on Eudora in the folders window and then click on New. When the window opens, type in the name of your new mailbox and click OK. If you want to create a folder to place other mailboxes into, click the checkbox before clicking OK.NETSCAPE MAIL: Click File – New Folder. Then from the drop-down menu, select the folder that you wish to be the folder directly above your new folder, before clicking OK.FILTERING EMAILEmail filters are a tool to help you save time and frustration. Have you ever lost an incoming email under the deluge of email coming into your mailbox? With filters, you can direct the important email or not-so-important email into certain pre-ordained folders.As part of the war against spam, most ISP’s use filters every day in an attempt to keep the spam out of your mailbox. In fact, I even use filters to sort my incoming mail trying to catch the spam my ISP missed.Don’t be fooled into thinking you need some special software to filter your email. Setting up filters is actually quite easy.To setup email filters:OUTLOOK EXPRESS: Click on Tools – Message Rules – Mail. A wizard will open to help you create your new email filters. Just follow the instructions provided to direct mail based on certain criteria into certain folders.EUDORA: Click on Special – Make Filter. Once again, just follow the instructions in the Filter wizard.NETSCAPE MAIL: Click on Edit – Mail Filters. Then click on New in the wizard. Once you click on New, you will be taken to a new wizard window. Follow the instructions here, then when you are done, click on OK. This will return you to the first window where you will set up the sorting order of your filter.CLEANING AND COMPRESSING YOUR MAIL DATAThis is an important part of your email management. When you no longer need an email, it should be deleted. When you first delete an email, your software will send the email to the Trash Bin. Your email is not actually deleted until you first empty your trash bin.Emptying your trash bin compresses the mailboxes from where the email was originally filed. This is absolutely paramount to the protection of your email data. If you go too long between compressing your email data, then your email data could become corrupted and you might need assistance in recovering your email data.Even after you have emptied your trash, Compressing Folders is a recommended step to prevent other data corruption. Once you understand that an email does not actually move from one folder to another until the folder is compressed, then you can better appreciate this advice.As an example, when Email A comes into your main Inbox, the data connected to Email A appears in two files. One file contains the header and body of the email. The other file contains only the email header information.When an email is moved from one folder to the other, only the header information is actually moved. The body information will not be deleted from the original folder until which time the original folder is compressed.This explains the purpose of emptying the trash AND compressing folders. If the email was simply moved from the Inbox to another folder, then emptying the trash is not enough. The original placement of the email is not actually removed from the file that contains the body information until the message has been designated for compression.To empty your trash:OUTLOOK EXPRESS: Click on Edit – Empty ‘Deleted Items’ Folder. To compress the remaining folders, click on Tools – Options, then click on the tab for Maintenance. Then click the button that says, “Clean Up Now”. Once the compression is completed, click OK.EUDORA: Click Special – Empty Trash. To compress the remaining items that need compression, then click on Special – Compact Mailboxes.NETSCAPE MAIL: Click on File – Empty Trash Folder. To compress the mailboxes, click on File – Compress Folders.I cannot stress enough how important it is that you utilize the tools for emptying the trash and compressing the mail folders. Protecting your email data on a regular basis is good practice for avoiding disaster in your mailbox.So many of us rely upon our email software to keep our online business running smoothly. Once you master the tools provided in your email software, your online business will run smoothly also.Let me share one important lesson I l’ve learned about computer software. One should never be afraid to try new things. Learning how to get the most out of your software relies upon your willingness to dig in and learn how to use it.Once you learn how to use your software to its full potential, then your life will be greatly simplified and your effectiveness will be dramatically improved.