I’m a freelance writer and blogger for many websites and corporate blogs, on topics ranging from personal finance to small business marketing to insurance, personal wellness and career advice. I also write humor articles.
Des Moines Is Not Boring
Des Moines is Not Boring is an entertainment blog highlighting the various art, culture, food and music offerings of my home city of Des Moines, Iowa.
- Des Moines is not boring…but it sure used to be!
I moved to Des Moines back in 2002, when it was known as “the Death Star of Boredom.” No, really. That was the actual city tourism slogan.
- Best places in Des Moines to ignore your kids
Here are some places where Des Moines parents can go to enjoy the serenity and bliss that can only come from neglecting your children’s emotional needs.
- 10 (or so) questions from Ben Gran: Interview with Mike Draper, RAYGUN
I did an in-depth interview with the hilariously talented Mike Draper, founder of beloved Des Moines T-shirt shop RAYGUN.
InsuranceQuotes.com is part of the BankRate network of websites publishing consumer information on insurance and financial services.
- Tips for picking the best home insurance company
How can consumers do their homework to get the best customer service and the best deals on home insurance?
- Buying life insurance for America’s most dangerous jobs
If you work in a job with a higher risk of fatal injuries, is it still possible to get life insurance?
- Lessons from a life insurance policyholder
We asked, “what would you do differently if you had to buy life insurance, knowing then what you know now?”
- How life insurance helped a woman rebuild her life after her husband’s death
Melissa Wandall lost her husband under tragic circumstances – but because they had planned for the worst, she had financial security.
SAIL Pay is a mobile payments processor owned by Verifone, helping small businesses accept payments on the go with low-cost transaction fees. The SAIL Pay blog publishes informative and entertaining articles on small business marketing and small business management.
Marketing and Management articles:
- Marketing lessons from “The Dark Knight”
It’s hard to believe this now that the “Dark Knight” trilogy has grossed a billion dollars, but the Batman brand used to be in trouble…
- What can the Presidential election teach us about small business marketing?
Some of the same tactics that campaigns use to get out the vote can also boost your profits…
- 5 of the biggest social media mistakes your small business should avoid
Are you listening to your customers (and learning from them) on social media, or just spamming them with sales pitches?
Personal finance articles:
- 5 personal finance lessons from the Rolling Stones
Even if we can’t dance like Mick or strum a guitar like Keith, we can live like rock stars in our own way.
- Money lessons from bankrupt pro athletes
78% of NFL players will go broke. Learn why – and learn how to avoid their predicament.
- Want to save money? Try saving time.
Why I’d rather pay a handyman $150 than waste five hours trying to fix a faucet.
- 4 risky money mistakes to avoid
Don’t flush your hard-earned money down the toilet with these costly, high-risk money moves.
- Everything you want to do with your money is wrong
John Bogle, founder of Vanguard Investments, said that when it comes to managing money, “Don’t just do something, stand there!”
- In defense of Christmas shopping
How this Christmas “Grinch” learned to make peace with the holiday shopping frenzy.
- Want to save money? Live like a college student.
If you want a financially secure adulthood, keep your lifestyle “student-sized” for as long as you can.
- How to have a healthy relationship with your spouse and money
Build a stronger financial foundation for your marriage by clarifying your money roles.
- 5 hidden risks of everyday life
Americans are more familiar than ever before with the concept of financial risk. But some of the most common (and costly) risks are often hiding in plain sight.
- Money lessons from “Til Debt Do Us Part”
90% of divorces result (at least in part) from money problems. Too many young married couples, even with healthy incomes, are deep in debt.
- 4 types of money personalities – which one are you?
Are you a Miser, a Spendthrift, a Speculator or an Avoider? Too much of any one personality can lead to unhappiness in your financial life.
- About to lose your job? Here’s what to do with your money
If you fear that a pink slip could be in your future, here are some essential financial moves to make RIGHT NOW.
Parenting and Money articles:
- How to support a family on one income
More Americans are learning to live on one income, either by choice or by necessity. Here’s how to trim your budget, boost your earnings and make ends meet.
- Is it becoming too expensive to be a parent?
Many parents struggle to make ends meet while raising kids. But as costs continue to rise, is parenting becoming “too expensive” for our societies to bear?
- 3 times in life when it’s okay NOT to save money.
Every time you save money, you’re sending money to your future self. Are you both happy with the deal?
Economic trend articles:
- What if the Consumer Economy never comes back?
Learn how to protect your family’s finances even if the economy doesn’t return to “normal” anytime soon.
- Fun Facts from the Money Chart
If you really want to “teach the world to sing,” like in the famous Coke commercial, it’s going to cost you $840 billion.
- How the top 1% got so rich.
The rich are getting richer because they own the biggest share of our economy’s recent productivity gains. Here’s how you can position your family for better financial success, even if you’re far from the top 1%.
- Can the Middle Class be saved?
America has become far less friendly to the middle class than most Americans realize.
- What are we really going to do about the National Debt?
Can the U.S. government navigate the challenges of maintaining big deficits without scaring the global bond markets, or are ordinary Americans going to feel the effects of a painful reckoning?
Mortgage and Housing articles:
- New realities of mortgage refinancing (Part 1)
An article based on an interview with Quicken Loans Vice President Stephen Luigi Piazza.
- New realities of mortgage refinancing (Part 2)
More tips and trends from a Quicken Loans VP on how people can make the most of their opportunities to refinance their mortgages in the “new normal” of the housing market.
- Are “tiny houses” the next big trend in homeownership?
As the housing boom turned to bust, Americans stopped “trading up” and started buying smaller houses. The most extreme end of this trend is the “tiny house,” with floor plans as small as 65 square feet.
Transportation and Auto articles:
- Rise of the hypermiler: How to save money on gas by changing the way you drive
What if you could save 30% on gas just by adjusting your habits behind the wheel?
- 3 reasons why your daily commute is making you poor.
Commuting by car is an expensive, time-wasting, budget-busting activity that too many of us take for granted as “just part of life.” It doesn’t have to be this way.
- Are you paying too much for your car?
Americans love cars, but our cars do not always love us back. The average total cost of car ownership is $9,500 per year, or 30% of the average American’s income.
CorpNet is an online business incorporation service based in Los Angeles that helps companies form an LLC, incorporate as a corporation and manage business filings. Here is my complete CorpNet author archive.
General Business articles:
- 5 entrepreneurship lessons from Ashton Kutcher
This sounds ridiculously lame, but it’s true: Ashton Kutcher can teach us a lot about how to start a business.
- What can small businesses learn from Louis C.K.
Comedian Louis C.K.’s online sales success can set an example for entrepreneurs.
- Small business inspiration from Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Seeing these exemplars of human excellence always makes me want to get better at what I do for a living every day.
- Small business lessons from Japan
I lived in Japan from 2001-2002. Here are some of the most powerful impressions I took away from Japanese business culture.
- To succeed as an entrepreneur, “think like an immigrant”
Immigrants to the U.S. are 30% more likely to start businesses.
- Do you have a “business” or a “job?”
Building an entrepreneurial venture that can grow and sustain itself is different from doing a series of small “jobs.”
- “Don’t have time” to start a business? Think again.
Find ways to squeeze extra hours out of your day to devote to an entrepreneurial pursuit.
- Lessons for entrepreneurs: Be like a stunt dog
After seeing a high-flying stunt dog show at the state fair, I reflected on how entrepreneurs can learn from these canines’ “dogged” determination.
Marketing and Customer Service articles:
- The best small business marketing? Remarkable customer service
Instead of nickel-and-diming your customers, look for ways to surprise and delight them. Give them something extra. It will pay huge dividends for your company.
- Want more customers? Give them what they want
Marketing and customer service lessons from the movie “Big Night” with Stanley Tucci.
- Are you trying to be replaced by a machine?
How to make your business – and yourself – indispensable to your customers.
- Small business lessons from the British Airways TV ad: “To Fly. To Serve.”
British Airways’ new marketing campaign encourages people to rediscover the grandeur of flight. What are your customers taking for granted about your business?
- The most important pancakes in the world
A story from the day my grandfather was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
Economic/Business Trends articles:
- Job creation is a false idol. Start a business instead
In the past few years, young companies (5 years old or younger) have created all of America’s net job growth.
- How does the Euro crisis affect your small business?
If the Euro crisis doesn’t get resolved in an orderly fashion, global stock markets could plunge. How can you best manage your business in times of extreme uncertainty?
- Why the Penn State scandal should make you want to start a business
The Penn State sex abuse scandal is the latest in a series of failures at big, powerful American institutions. We can do better.
Employee spotlight/Entrepreneur profile articles:
- CorpNet staff spotlight: Allison Bethurem, Director of PR and Marketing
Profile article of the company PR director, based on an e-mail interview.
- Profiles in Entrepreneurship: Tisha Marie Pelletier
This successful entrepreneur manages her own PR firm and runs an online club for her fellow “mom entrepreneurs.”
MyInsuranceExpert.com is a national life insurance brokerage based in greater Detroit, Michigan. The life insurance advisers of MIE.com help customers get affordable life insurance from America’s top-rated life insurance carriers.
Personal Health and Wellness Articles:
- What’s the #1 thing you can do to improve your health?
Learn how to dramatically reduce your risk of death and improve your quality of life in only 30 minutes a day.
- Should you get gastric bypass surgery? Here is someone who did.
A true story based on an interview I conducted with a friend who lost over 200 pounds after gastric bypass surgery.
- Health lessons from Michael Pollan’s “In Defense of Food.”
Want to live healthier? “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
- Wellness lessons from “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead”
Filmmaker Joe Cross lost 80 pounds and recovered from an auto-immune illness by going on a 60-day juice diet. What can the rest of us learn from Joe’s story?
Personal Finance and Insurance Articles:
- Eating out? Dine more wisely…
48% of Americans’ food budget is spent on meals away from home. Take control of your discretionary income by changing how you eat.
- New Year’s Resolutions for your personal finances
The New Year is a time of reflection and renewal – and it’s an ideal time to take a fresh look at the big picture of how you spend, save and relate to your money.
- Want to find low-cost life insurance? Stop smoking.
Smokers are at a higher risk of dying, of all causes, at all stages of life.
Beyond.com is an online career network with specialized job listings in Sales, Education, Engineering, Logistics, and other career fields. I wrote blog articles on career-related topics for several blogs in the Beyond.com family of websites.
Economic and Career trends:
- Career lessons from Star Wars: The Phantom Menace
I used to love Star Wars more than anyone, but “The Phantom Menace” ruined everything. What career lessons can we gain from a closer look at why this movie was so bad?
- The future belongs to women
Women now represent more than 50% of the U.S. workforce. What does this mean for the future of work?
- Want a job? Stay in school.
In the toughest job market in 30 years, you’re better off with more education.
- Find education jobs in Japan
College graduates can get good-paying jobs teaching English in Japan.
- Biggest differences between public schools in the U.S. and Japan
The most surprising things I learned from teaching English in Japan’s public schools.
Job Interview Advice articles:
- What to say in an interview if you were fired
Don’t let a bad job experience keep you from acing your next job interview.
- How to find a job when there are no jobs
Ideas for how to create your own job and maintain momentum even when jobs are scarce.
- Got a job interview? Interview the company too
Every job interview is an opportunity for you to determine which company is the right fit for you – not just the other way around.
- What to say if you’re “overqualified”
Fight back against the dreaded words “you’re overqualified for this job.”
Job Search/Career Transition articles:
- How to stay positive during a job search
Don’t let a tough economy get you down. Here’s how to stay energized and hopeful during a long job search.
- How to transition to a new career field
Making a big career move is all about research, networking and taking small steps, rather than a single “big leap.”
- Suffering from job burnout? Here’s how to recover
You don’t have to let job stress wreck your life. Follow these simple tips to regain your zest for living.
- The 5 stages of hating your job
Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance…Life is too short to spend your waking hours doing work that you hate.
- What to do if you lose your job (part 1)
Most people don’t want to think about it, but getting fired or laid off can happen to you. Here’s how to get back on your feet as quickly as possible.
- What to do if you lose your job (part 2)
More ideas on how to recover after you’re suddenly told to pack up your desk.
- How to know when to quit a job
Americans hate their jobs more than ever, but are you really ready to quit? Here’s how to find out.
Company Culture, Corporate Diversity and Work Life articles:
- Does your company “get” diversity?
The best places to work make it possible for people from all cultural backgrounds to feel comfortable and have opportunities to succeed. Can your company say the same?
- How to survive office gossip
Learn to make the office grapevine work for you.
- How to create harmony with your co-workers
Work doesn’t have to be lonely. Learn some easy tips to build stronger relationships and be well-liked by your colleagues.
- Understanding the “culture” of a company
What does “company culture” really mean? It’s a lot like choosing a fraternity or sorority.
- Don’t be afraid of office politics
“Office politics” is just another word for “managing expectations” and “relationship building.”