Category Archives: Self-Education for Small Business Owners

Suggestions and tips for self-education to grow your small business by leaps and bounds.

Audiobook Review: Earl Nightingale’s The Essence of Success

I am an avid audiobook listener, who is in love with I use their site to browse non-fiction titles, including business books, motivational and self-development titles.

I recently came upon a compilation of audio books by Earl Nightingale called The Essence of Success on Audible. He is a master motivator who has inspired thousands, probably millions of business leaders and wealthy people in this country. He is the co-founder of the famed Nightingale-Conant corporation.

This audiobook is just what I have been looking for — straight to the point, no-nonsense motivation with clearly outlined tips and advice for how to get ahead in life. I highly recommend this audiobook for anyone who is looking to make a big move in a new direction.

Keep in mind that if you’ve never tried Audible before, The Essence of Success audiobook (valued at about $59 as of this posting, and worth every penny) will be free when you start a new account using your Amazon login. Just click here to download Mr. Nightingale’s audiobook with a free credit.

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Louise Gaillard is a prolific writer, social media marketing consultant and small biz owner.

Starting up a small business, even if it's just on the side, is no longer an option -- it's a necessity. Why? Because everyone needs an additional source of income in our new economy. Click here to sign up for educational and motivational posts to keep you on track.

A “Crazy” Idea: Instead of College Loans, Fund an 18 Year Old’s Small Business Idea

I received a tweet from Forbes magazine today that says the United States is now $1.2 trillion in tuition debt. People are taking out college loans for students at an alarming rate.

In light of these startling stats, I think it’s time we got off of the “gotta go to college at 18” train for a moment and start seriously considering alternative ideas .

Parents in Debt

Pocket Watch And Five Dollar Bills
© Alan Crosthwaite | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Parents are going into serious debt to help fund their kids’ college education. Many of them still have this debt at age 50, 60, 70 and beyond. Some of them are literally *dying* burdened with this debt.

Then the cycle continues with their children, who also find themselves in debt with private and public loans. When their kids’ kids reach 18 they will also feel the pressure to take out tuition loans. Then those kids will have to go through life with this great burden. And so on and so forth.

I believe the main source of this grief is colleges, who keep increasing their tuition costs year after year because they know how easy it is for parents and students to get these college loans. They should be ashamed at how they are sucking families dry, but as corporations they are mostly concerned with making their shareholders as wealthy as possible, so they’re not ashamed one bit.

The only real answer is for the general public to get off that merry-go-round ride that tells us we have to do whatever possible to send kids to college at the age of 18.

A New Idea (“Crazy” Talk)
So here’s a new “crazy” idea for parents to consider for their 18-year olds:

– Save as much money as you can from the time your child is a baby if possible. Even if you put just $30 per month into a savings fund earning 6% per year your child can have at least $12,000 saved in an account by the time she’s 18.

– Enroll your 14-year-old child into a local or nearby entrepreneur school or take him to an SBDC center to learn about entrepreneurship. Ensure that the child attends classes at least once every month up until he is 18 and starts running a business by 16.

– At age 18 give the child a choice: 1) take the money you have saved to put toward a college education 2) put it toward his business or 3) put half toward starting a small business and the other half toward going to college in the near future.

– Encourage, promote and fund self-education for your child (books, audiobooks, courses) while she’s in high school about her industry of interest, marketing, sales and general self-improvement concepts.

– If the child chooses option 2 or 3, encourage and assist her with growing her small business so that in 2-3 years she is making enough income from it (still living with you) to afford to pay for her college education. Every dollar of profit she earns from running her business should go toward a fund to help pay for her education.

– After 3 years has passed, the child can still enroll in college if she chooses. She may even decide at that point that college isn’t that important because of the success of her small business, which she can run and maintain for as long as she wishes.

Here are the benefits of this “crazy” idea:

– You teach your child from a young age about entrepreneurship. You also teach her from age 14 that going to college at 18 doesn’t have to be her only choice for success.

– You teach your child from a young age that she doesn’t have to go along with the “crowd” (all you have to do is show her what the “crowd” is doing when they’re 40,50, and 60 years old and still knee-deep in debt).

– Your child still has the option to go to college if he wants, if only for having a chance to live the “college experience.”

– You jump-start your child’s future, giving her a real shot at becoming a millionaire instead of limiting her mind to being happy with a $35,000 per year 40 hour, 9-5 job for the rest of her life.

– You give your child the opportunity to avoid being burdened by large amounts of debt at a young age

– YOU avoid being in debt with college loans for your child until you’re 100

Also, if enough people were to take this or a similar route for educating 18-year-old kids, colleges would eventually be forced to reduce or plateau their tuition costs just to stay in business.

College Loans for Students – Something to Think About
This may not be a perfect alternative for every case, but it’s something to think about, right?

Remember that high school education is a necessity but a college education is not (unless your child is determined to become a doctor, lawyer or engineer). Ask Bill Gates and most of the country’s self-made millionaires.

Parents of today who have already taken out college loans for students may have to deal with this great tuition crisis, but we can start making changes today so that young children don’t have to go through the same situation. Giving your child an education in how to be financially independent and run his own business is just as valuable if not more than a basic college education.


Louise Gaillard is a prolific writer, marketing consultant, small biz owner and author.


Starting up a small business, even if it's just on the side, is no longer an option -- it's a necessity. Why? Because everyone needs an additional source of income in our new economy. Click here to sign up for educational and motivational posts to keep you on track.

Converting Word to PDF : Tips to Preserve Hyperlinks

If you’re having a problem preserving hyperlinks when you convert a Microsoft Word document to PDF, these tips might help you resolve the issue.

Turning your Microsoft Word document into a PDF is ideal for portability — a PDF is easy to email and open on just about any computer. But sometimes when you convert Word to PDF format you lose the hyperlinks that you’ve created in your original document. So instead of a clickable link you’ll get static text. This is a problem if you’re trying to convert an eBook that contains links for publishing.

While there’s no guarantee that every single document you convert will preserve links when converted to PDF, there are a few precautions you can take to assure that you preserve these clickable hyperlinks after performing a conversion:

1. Check your hyperlink settings in Microsoft Word to assure that you’ve typed out the entire URL including the “http://” at the beginning. If you type a partial URL, that could cause problems during the conversion depending on the PDF conversion software you’re using. Select the text then right-click it and select “Hyperlink…” to view your hyperlink settings.

2. Type out the full URL address for the hyperlink as a way to assure that you preserve the links when you convert to PDF. For instance, instead of creating a link to a word or phrase like “dog beds,” type out the entire link like “” in your original document.

3. Try opening the document you want to convert directly in Adobe Acrobat (the original PDF converter program) if you’re having problems with hyperlink conversion. Adobe’s built-in PDFMaker function is specifically designed to facilitate conversion of embedded elements, like hyperlinks. Adobe Acrobat offers a free trial for new users.

4. Use the “Convert to Adobe PDF” tool (comes with Acrobat) within Microsoft Word as another option to convert links. Avoid using the Adobe PDF Printer tool in the Print Dialog box, as that might not preserve hyperlinks.

5. Examine the preferences or options in your PDF software of choice before you perform a conversion of a Word document. Depending on the PDF conversion program, you may have to specifically select an option to include or convert hyperlinks in order to get them to show up in your PDF document. So check your preferences thoroughly before converting if you want to preserve hyperlinks you set in your original Word document.


Starting up a small business, even if it's just on the side, is no longer an option -- it's a necessity. Why? Because everyone needs an additional source of income in our new economy. Click here to sign up for educational and motivational posts to keep you on track.

The Ladder to Success: Why Most People Don’t Reach the Top

Napoleon Hill said, “The ladder of success is never crowded at the top.”

This certainly is true, but why is it true? Let’s use Mr. Hill’s metaphor of the “ladder to success” to dissect the various occurrences that prevent a lot of people from reaching the top.

  1. Ladder of SuccessLooked Down (Fear)

So you’re making your way up that ladder. You’re getting higher and higher, closer and closer. Then for some reason, you look down. Fear grips you and takes you back into your old reality. “What am I doing up here? This is dangerous / risky. What if I’m doing the wrong thing?” Then you slowly make your way back down to where it’s “safe.”

Fear of success is real — it holds a lot of people back from starting their own small businesses and pursuing other endeavors in life. Someone who is fearful of success doesn’t want to leave her comfort zone.

  1. Someone Yelled Up from the Ground (the Peanut Gallery)

We have all come in contact with one or more people who have tried to hold us back from progress in one way or another. They insult, discourage or distract us from completing our journey.

There’s that guy who always wants you to come out and drink, smoke and party (then you don’t want to do anything else). He’s down at the bottom of the ladder holding a cold one up to you. “Come on down buddy, relax, have a drink with me.”

That relative who keeps telling you that your “silly dreams” are useless and you should be doing something else. “What are you doing up there on that ladder? You could be over here digging a ditch instead. What’s wrong with you, you know you’re meant to stay here with both feet firmly on the ground!”

Then there’s that vindictive “friend” or family member who insults you and tries to pretend it’s just innocent fun. “You look so stupid up there on that ladder (laughs). And by the way, everyone can see up your dress!”

If you spend your life listening to the “peanut gallery” you will find it more and more difficult to ascend your own personal ladder of success.

  1. There’s a Snag along the Way

Another reason why some people don’t make it to the top of the ladder of success is that they catch a snag along the way. Something grabs hold of their pants on the ladder and they just stop cold in their tracks. They jerk and jerk their leg to get free and keep climbing, getting more and more frustrated with each tug.

It might be that the one idea you were counting on didn’t turn out the way you hoped or the bank said “no” to your small business loan. Maybe the product prototype you developed isn’t functioning properly.

A snag is merely a setback but unfortunately a lot of people take it as an indication that they’re not meant to go forward at all. So you sullenly descend the ladder and go back to “business as usual.” But what you don’t realize at the time is that all you really have to do is sit down on the ladder for a moment, take a rest, think things over, un-snag your pants and then get back to climbing with a better plan in mind.

  1. There’s an “Emergency” Down There

Another reason why someone might turn around and get off the ladder to success is when she learns that there’s an “emergency” going on back down on the ground that requires her to put the climb on hold.

What people often find is that the “emergency” didn’t really require their immediate attention, and now they have to start all over. Some people get stuck here, tired and weary from having to constantly put out fires, and give up on the climb altogether.

  1. They Miss an Opportunity

While you’re climbing, slowly and steadily, you might find that someone who’s up higher reaches down to offer you a hand. Maybe it’s unsolicited advice, a small loan, a partnership proposition or some other form of assistance. Some people let their egos get in the way of progress and refuse to accept the help they desperately need as they climb the ladder. “I can do it all by myself!”

It’s important to remember that no one reaches the top all by themselves — they need other people, whether it’s support from a customer or an investor.

  1. Not Satisfied With the Speed of Progress

Ladders to SuccessSome people stop climbing the ladder of success because they aren’t happy with how fast things are progressing. They feel that they should be farther along, higher up — that they’re peddling on a stationary bike and going nowhere. But the truth is that some people find success rather quickly while it takes others more time to see the fruit of their efforts. Slow and steady often wins the race.

  1. Too Occupied with What Others on the Ladder Are Doing

Too often we are distracted by the progress of others who are trying to achieve success when trying to achieve our own goals. Either we’re enviously watching what the guy is doing a few rungs up on the ladder or spending too much time looking down at others who aren’t as high as we are to feed the ego. This distraction and lack of focus causes us to stumble and fall down a few rungs or off the ladder completely.

Focus on your own climb.

  1. The Ladder’s a Bit Rickety…

Another possibility is that the ladder you’re climbing is a bit unstable. Maybe it’s breaking, damaged or cracking. If it were to fall apart you would go down with it and become discouraged by this major time-wasting setback.

If you notice that the ladder’s rickety, that might be an indication that you’re just on the wrong one. Maybe there’s a better, more stable ladder out there that you can be climbing to find success.

  1. They Never Start Climbing in the First Place

A lot of people don’t make it to the top of that ladder of success because they never start climbing in the first place. They don’t ever even try. This is due to that other type of fear: the fear of failure.

People who never try are usually thinking “I could never climb that ladder because _____”… just fill in the blank (money, not smart enough, not pretty enough, not skilled enough).

Can You Relate to Any of These?

If you’ve tried to ascend the ladder of success in the past but never quite got there, which of these reasons do you think most accurately describes why?

Regardless of the reason, what’s most important is to know that all is not lost — that ladder to success is still there, and no matter what anyone says you can start again anytime you want. Take some time to reflect on these points before you restart your climb so that you can maintain your resoluteness and keep going uninterrupted this time.


Louise Gaillard is a prolific writer, marketing consultant and social media manager.

Starting up a small business, even if it’s just on the side, is no longer an option — it’s a necessity. Why? Because everyone needs an additional source of income in our new economy. Click here to sign up for educational and motivational posts to keep you on track.

Time to Get Up Off of the “Nail” You’re On

Les Brown tells this story about a dog who’s lying on a porch next to his owner groaning in pain. Day after day he groans.

The guy finally decides to ask the owner of the dog why he’s groaning in pain. The owner says “oh, he’s just lying on a nail.”

The guy looks at the owner curiously and asks the obvious question, “why doesn’t he get up off of the nail then??”

The owner sheepishly responds, “I don’t know, I guess because it’s not hurting enough yet to inspire him to get up.”

So how does this story relate to starting up a small business?

Are You Laying on a Nail?
The dog laying on the nail is the average guy who is miserable working at a job he hates. It’s the mom who loves her children but hates where her own life is headed. It’s the college grad who is sitting at home, unemployed with loads of debt, in his parents’ basement stressing over whether to file for bankruptcy.

They’re hurting, but not enough yet to get up off the “nail” and do something about it.

Getting Up Off of the Nail
I have been on that nail before — laying there in pain feeling like there was no point in even trying to get up. Thinking “what’s the point?”

But what I’ve found is that the longer you sit on it, the worse it gets. The wound festers and becomes infected until it ultimately leads to your demise emotionally, mentally or even physically.

You have to find the strength in YOURSELF to get up off of that nail. Talk to your inner self (some people call it God or your intuition) and come up with a plan of action.

In many cases, that plan involves taking control of your life and starting your own business. Even if you keep your job, that’s fine. If you decide to become a WAHM (work at home mom), yes your schedule will become even more crazy but more fulfilling at the same time. If you have to file for bankruptcy, just start planning for the next steps — it’s not forever and a cash only lifestyle is possible. Just add something new to the mix and try something different. It’s okay to slowly move in a new direction.

You may be surprised at how quickly that wound starts to heal up.


About the Author:

Louise Gaillard is a prolific writer, marketing consultant and the author of  Easy Twitter Marketing Tips for Business Success.

Can Listening to Audiobooks Give You a College Level Education?

Did you know that some experts believe that listening to audiobooks in your industry of choice can give you the equivalent of a college education? Zig Ziglar talked about this in one of this famed speeches. In my personal experience, listening to audiobooks every day for a year can give you the same level of training that someone would receive pursuing a bachelor’s degree.

Listening to an Audiobook
© Danabeth555 | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Think about it — when you go to college you’re basically sitting in a lecture hall (barely) listening to a guy talk for an hour or two. Then you go home and read materials based on the same things your professor was talking about in lecture hall. Besides taking an exam at the end of the semester, how is this that much different from self-educating yourself with audiobooks?

The Message Sinks In…

I’ve been consistently listening to audiobooks for the past year or so. In that time I feel as if I’ve acquired a superior body of knowledge in my field of interest (marketing, writing and communications). Though I was formally educated at an Ivy League college I feel as if the vast majority of the knowledge and training that I use today is due to a) experience and b) listening to books on tape.

The audiobooks that I prefer to listen to are a mix of motivational, scientific, informational and educational works. A few of my favorites include Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point, Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends & Influence People and all of Les Brown’s speeches on personal achievement. I listen to those on repeat.

When it comes right down to it, they all pretty much have the same general themes: making your life better, making more money and getting better at what you do. Something special happens when you listen to this same message over and over again: you start to believe it can happen for you.

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Learn While You Live

When you’re studying a book, you have to set aside a special time to sit down and do so. Maybe, just maybe, you can turn on some music in the background while doing so.

The great thing about audiobooks is that you can accomplish a variety of other tasks while listening to your book. You can drive to work, workout, run around a track, prune your garden, mow your lawn, cook and even write or work while absorbing these books. There’s some kind of “left brain, right brain” activity going on where you can take in the message while doing other things.

Compare the Costs

As more stories hit the news about how kids are graduating with loads of college debt that they’ll never pay off, I think that we’re going to have to evolve as a society to a better way of getting educated for success. According to, the average cost for a college education at a private institution as of 2013-2014 was $30,094 per year. The lowest cost is just under $9,000 for a state college (state resident). So the average student can expect to pay between $36,000 to $120,000 for a 4-year education at a private institution.

The cost of your average audiobook is about $15. Listening to three educational audio books per week for a year will cost about $45 per week or $2,340 for the year. Even if you were to purchase one book a day for a year it would be an investment of $5,475 compared to $30K.

Sometimes you have to look at things from a different perspective to find a better solution. Whether you’ve never gone to college or you’ve already gone to college but still feel like you’re not adequately prepared for success, consider investing in an audiobook education for the next year and beyond.

Bookmark this page of for book reviews and more helpful information on self-educating yourself for small business success.

Starting up a small business, even if it's just on the side, is no longer an option -- it's a necessity. Why? Because everyone needs an additional source of income in our new economy. Click here to sign up for educational and motivational posts to keep you on track.

Audiobook Review: No Boundaries by Les Brown

This is a quick review of Les Brown’s audiobook “No Boundaries” — now available at .

About the author: Les Brown is a motivational speaker known the world over. He hits home with listeners with his honest, no-nonsense and often humorous message about personal success and achievement.

My favorite highlights from this audiobook are as follows:

– Les makes a very real joke about how it’s best to be nice to your kids and tell them you love them when they’re young, because you never know if the time might come when you can’t get up from bed and they have to take care of you… “Remember that time when you beat me!” I laughed so loud at this that it got my neighbor’s attention.

– Les talks about his early influences that helped him become a success after being called “the dumb twin” by his peers and deemed “educable mentally retarded” by his teachers.

– I could relate to the part when when said that we often have a lot of stuff going on in our heads that even we don’t know it’s there, and that this “stuff” could be holding us back from achieving our dreams. This “stuff” makes it so easy for us to give up.

Dream Blocks, Removing YoursI highly recommend the audiobook No Boundaries by Les Brown and his series of other audio titles if you’re looking for motivation and inspiration to keep moving forward as a new small business owner. Stuff happens along the way, but that doesn’t mean you should stop and give up. You might just need to make a few adjustments to your plan.



Starting up a small business, even if it's just on the side, is no longer an option -- it's a necessity. Why? Because everyone needs an additional source of income in our new economy. Click here to sign up for educational and motivational posts to keep you on track.

Using the Law of Attraction to Jump Start Your Small Business

The law of attraction is a theory that says we attract things into our lives based on the way we think and communicate with the world (but mostly our thought process). Having a positive thought life creates a positive real life. The ideas behind the law of attraction can be applied to your business activities. Here are three principles of the law of attraction and how you can use them to jump start your small business.

The Power
FREE for First Time Audible Listeners

The Way You Start the Day Defines the Day

What is the first thing you think of when you start the day? Is it positive or negative? Do you think about what a horrible day you have ahead or do you think about all the wonderful opportunities that lie ahead for your small business?

The very first thought that you have in the morning before you even get out of bed can determine how your day will go managing your business and your employees. Even when it’s a struggle to do so, tell yourself something positive about how your day will go before you get up and head to your small business office.


Another idea associated with the law of attraction is that you can visualize your way to success. Do you have a clear idea of where you want your small business to be in three, five or 10 years from now? If not, go somewhere quiet for at least 15-20 minutes. Close your eyes and start meditating on it. Visualize every detail that you can think of, from the chair you’ll be sitting in to the figures printed on your business bank account statement to the car you’ll be driving to your state-of-the-art office. Do this every day until it’s like you’re actually living life in that other reality. Something powerful happens when you do this visualization exercise regularly — it becomes more and more like a real possibility.


Practicing Gratitude

One of the most important tenets of the law of attraction is that you need to show gratitude on a daily and consistent basis. As a small business owner there are countless people who you can show gratitude to in the course of a day. Thank your employees for a job well done. Thank your suppliers with a special note or card for getting your items to you a day early at a good price. Thank your social media followers for sharing your content by offering them a discount. Thank your repeat customers with free stuff. Show your gratitude in every way, every day.

If your small business needs a boost, try incorporating these principles of the law of attraction in your daily business activities. You may be very pleasantly surprised at the results.

Starting up a small business, even if it's just on the side, is no longer an option -- it's a necessity. Why? Because everyone needs an additional source of income in our new economy. Click here to sign up for educational and motivational posts to keep you on track.

How to Win Friends and Influence People Book Review

One of the books that has really made a lasting effect on me and how I conduct business is How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. I’m ashamed to say that I waited until my 30s to finally experience this amazing book. If I had read it earlier I might not have struggled so much in my 20s with business and interpersonal relationships.

That’s why I highly recommend this book for young entrepreneurs and recent college grads who are heading out into the business world.

The Lumber Inspection Story

One of the “moments” that really stood out for me in How to Win Friends and Influence People was the story about how a consultant dealt with an unsatisfied lumber client. The lumber company apparently inspected the lumber and decided that it wasn’t up to par. They complained and demanded their money back.

The consultant went to the lumber yard not ready to fight, but ready to listen. As time went on and the lumber inspector realized that the consultant wasn’t there to fight with him, and was just listening to his concerns, he began to change his mind about the shipment. Eventually he decided that the wood was fine after all. If the consultant would have come there making excuses and fighting with the inspector, it would have gone a lot differently.

At the time that I read this book, I was working at a small company under a manager who I would say was “less than stellar.” The manager was difficult to deal with and I was pretty much biding my time until I could make my escape. Six months after reading this book and implementing a lot of advice in my day to day interactions, I was offered a supervisory position at the business.

Needless to say, I give How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie 5 stars and recommend it to any entrepreneur or small business owner. It’s also available as an audiobook at .



Louise Gaillard is a social media manager, prolific writer and author.

Starting up a small business, even if it's just on the side, is no longer an option -- it's a necessity. Why? Because everyone needs an additional source of income in our new economy. Click here to sign up for educational and motivational posts to keep you on track.

Where to Get Free Audio Books

Audio books can be a major source of inspiration when you’re in the process of starting up a small business. If you’re looking for free audio books, one of the best options is to use your existing account to log into .

Listening to an audio book might be just what you need to get motivated to keep growing your small business. Along the way you may come across obstacles that discourage you and make it seem as if your company will never turn a profit. This is why so many small businesses fail within the first 5 years.

1 FREE Audiobook Credit RISK-FREE from Audible.comThey say that it’s always darkest right before the dawn. When you’re hitting roadblock after roadblock, you might be right on the cusp of something big. That’s where listening to motivating and education books on tape (now on iPhones, smartphones and iPads) can really come in handy.

As of this publishing, is offering a free audiobook to new users. They know that when you listen to one good book you will be inspired to want more.

All that you need to get your complimentary audiobook is to log into the site with your Amazon ID (click here) and go shopping. If you decide that you don’t want to continue receiving books each month, you can just cancel to avoid being charged.

So take advantage of this special offer while it lasts if you’re interested in free audio books. They will keep you motivated to keep moving forward, give you new ideas for your small business and relax your mind when it’s going 100 mph.

Starting up a small business, even if it's just on the side, is no longer an option -- it's a necessity. Why? Because everyone needs an additional source of income in our new economy. Click here to sign up for educational and motivational posts to keep you on track.