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26 Things Your E-Commerce Shopping Cart Should Do

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Calculate Shipping and Tax

This is one of the reasons why you have a shopping cart. It's a basic function, but some do it better than others. Make sure you have several options on how to calculate basic shipping charges. Don't forget, some customers will want fast shipping like Fed Ex. Can the cart handle this?

Soft & Hard Goods

This is extremely important for anyone who wants to sell informational products. A hard good is a physical product that has to be shipped to the customer. A soft good is a downloadable product or software type of product. You want the shopping cart to be able to handle both types of products in the same transaction so the customer doesn't have to go through the ordering process twice if ordering one of your widgets and a downloadable E-book at the same time.

Also, when the cart is delivering a downloadable product it should generate a webpage for the download that disappears automatically after a short time so that customer can’t give the link to all his/her friends.

Customizable “Continue Shopping” Pages

Where you send your customers after they add a particular item to their shopping cart can mean a big difference in the amount of money they spend with you. Sophisticated shopping carts allow you to customize the “Return to Shopping” button so it takes the customer to a related product of your choice. This one feature can dramatically influence whether the customer simply checks out because it’s too difficult to find related items, or purchases something else because you made it easy.

Offer Management

Most lower-end shopping carts don’t have the capability to offer discounts for multiple purchases, or to offer “one free when you buy three” or similar special offers. Having this capability can really increase the average amount that someone spends when they shop with you.

Receipt and Confirmation Emails

The shopping cart should be able to send an email confirmation and thank you automatically to the customer and also generate a receipt for you to put in the package if you are shipping a product.

Multiple Order and Dropship Email Capability

The shopping cart should be able to email suppliers who ship directly to your customer (dropship). The email sent to the supplier would not have the customer's credit card info.

Web-Based Admin Page

If your shopping cart has a web-based managers' administration page, then you can work on your shopping cart, i.e., add products, change prices, etc., anywhere in the world. You are not stuck at your home base to make these changes.


This is the PGP stuff I talked about in a previous post. Just make sure you have it.

Back End-Output to Your Accounting Software

This is a very handy feature that allows you to export the sales data directly from your shopping cart to popular accounting packages like Quickbooks, Quicken, and Peachtree.

Associate / Affiliate Program Compatible

An associate program means that someone else (your associate/affiliate) can put a link to your products on their website.

When someone clicks on the link and visits your website, associate program software tracks the person to your website. If they buy something, you pay your associate a commission for sending them. This basic premise made a billion-dollar company.

Now millions of small businesses are taking advantage of the same concept. It’s like having an army of commissioned salespeople working for you AND you don’t pay anyone a nickel unless they sell something.

This one point caused me enormous nightmares. If you plan on having other people sell your products by means of an associate program, try to get a compatible or integrated system right from the start. Otherwise, it could be difficult or impossible to add one later. A really good system will have an associate program built in so everything is compatible.

Upsell Modules

Good shopping cart systems will have the capability of suggesting related products to the shopper based on what they have already bought. This is what I call the “Do you want fries with that?” method of selling?


Around Thanksgiving, I conducted a teleseminar called “How to Make Money Speaking at Fundraisers.” 60 people signed up at $30.00 each. $1800.00 — Not too bad for a holiday seminar unless you compare it to the final figures:

When people clicked on “checkout” so they could pay for their seminar, the cart offered them several deals. This is called “upselling” and is normally only offered in the most sophisticated AND expensive shopping carts.

One of the deals offered them 11 other MP3's of previous TeleSeminars for $97.00 which was a big savings over buying them one-by-one.

LISTEN TO THIS — 21 people went for the upsell of $97.00 which gave me an extra $2037.00 for the promotion for a total of $3837.00 for my one hour on the phone. This more than doubled the revenue from just one promotion.

I’m sure you can see this is real power and something you absolutely want in the shopping cart system that helps you run your business! — and you can have it at your fingertips at a fraction of the cost of custom programmed systems.

Database Handling

Customer data coming into a shopping system should never have to be retyped and it should be able to be manipulated to increase sales. High-end systems will have this built-in.


Before I had a modern shopping system, we would have to print out the orders and have them typed into ACT database program by an administrative person (complete with all the mistakes, typos, and hourly fees I might add).

If I wanted to email these customers, I would have to be a genius to export the data from ACT in comma-delimited format and then also be a genius to import the data into an email program so that I could send out the email a half-hour later – if I was lucky.

Now, at the touch of a few keys, I can instantly email everyone that buys a particular product and even put their name in it (this is called mail merge) with no administrative help whatsoever. This is a massive cost savings and errors have been reduced by 90%.

Broadcast Capability

Most shopping carts require you to export your data to another unrelated system where you have to massage the data in order to send emails back to the customer. You just about have to be a database expert to do the manipulations. Good shopping carts have integrated mailing capabilities that can allow customers to be sorted and broadcast to immediately. You should be able to email to all customers, or only to ones that bought certain items. You should also be able to broadcast an email to your affiliates right from the system.

Sales tip: Don’t make every contact with a customer a sales pitch. They will most likely ask to be removed from your mailings. Alternate a helpful tip based on what they bought, and a product offering. Just to be on the safe side so they don’t alienate customers. Some people do two separate helpful hints to each product offering.

Email List Management

If you are starting an electronic newsletter/magazine, a good shopping cart system can manage all the subscribers for you automatically. It will automate the process and give you a form for your website that lets people subscribe and unsubscribe themselves which is a tremendous time and money saver.

Mail Merge Capability

Emails that are personalized normally get a much higher response than generic emails. Most of the time you must do sophisticated export and formatting manipulations on your database and send the results to a separate and expensive mail merge program. Good shopping cart systems integrate the database with an included mail merge program so that reaching your customers in a personalized fashion means only pushing a few buttons.

Coupons and Discounts

People love sales. Only the finest most high-end shopping carts are able to do percentage and fixed amount discounts when selling your products. These coupons and discounts can mean a tremendous boost in sales. Having this option can mean a big difference in gross and net income.

You should be able to make custom coupons for any group. This customization gets you even more sales.

Multiple Website Capability

Most shopping carts are only good for one website. You are required to buy a completely separate system for each website you want to develop. This can be ENORMOUSLY EXPENSIVE, time-consuming, and frustrating. Shopping cart systems that can handle products from multiple websites save tons of money and development time.

A side benefit is that completely different product lines can be sold with the customers from one website never even knowing about the products sold on the other website unless you want them to.

Also, you will have an organizational nightmare if you have multiple shopping carts and databases of people spread out all over. Trust me, I've been there.

Note: This is a perfect example of what is taught in our school about making your hobbies and family interests legitimately tax deductible. You can make products about your hobbies or recommend affiliate products.

Integrated Autoresponders

Sequential autoresponders are one of the most powerful sales tools on the Internet today. They send follow-up emails to customers and prospects to keep your sales messages going out automatically. This service is virtually never seen integrated with a shopping cart system. You usually have to contract out with a separate company and somehow get the shopping cart and autoresponder company to work together. Only the most advanced carts would have this function integrated.

Even when integrated into very high-end shopping systems you have the problem of an autoresponder sequence being delivered to sell a product that the customer has already purchased. This makes you look foolish and irritates the customer. The most advanced systems would have autoresponders available for each product and a special feature called “unsubscribe on purchase.” This automatically takes the customer off the autoresponder when they purchase the item. It can also then put them into a different autoresponder to continue to try to sell some other product.

Autoresponders can be used to train the customer in the use of your product and/or suggest other products that would likely be of interest. The best part is that after they are set up, the entire process goes on autopilot totally unattended which saves you time and money. A recent survey on ZDNet found that 98 percent of customers would repurchase from a company if they were asked.

Autoresponders make sure they get asked when you are too busy to do it yourself.

Another big benefit of autoresponders is that they tend to decrease returns, especially on big-ticket products. Buyer’s remorse can really increase your return rate. A simple automated series of follow-up emails will let the customer know you aren’t going to disappear now that you have their money. It can also reassure them they made a wise decision in purchasing your product.

Ad Tracking

Again this is one of the most powerful cost-saving and money-making tools available to people selling products and services on the Internet. Again it is rarely found as part of an integrated system. You usually have to contract for this service separately, or buy additional software. Integrated ad tracking allows you to tell which of your online links, or banners is paying off.

Old-style non-integrated systems only tell how many people clicked on the link or ad. The most advanced integrated systems not only tell how many people clicked, but also tell how many of those people bought. This keeps you from making tremendous mistakes.

You might think an ad is great because it got many click-throughs, so you keep buying the ad over and over. You might also think that another ad is not worth it because it only has half as many click-throughs, so you cancel it. Integrated ad tracking could tell you that the ad that is getting all the click-throughs is producing only a tiny number of sales and the ad that got less click-throughs is producing a very high percentage of sales. Without this information, you would keep the bad ad and cancel the good one. . . which is not a great way to make money.

Conversion Rate

This term is the number of website visitors as compared to the number of buyers. To figure it out, simply divide the total number of visitors to your site by the total number of people who bought something. So if 100 people visited your site (or sales page) and 5 people bought, you would have a conversion rate of 100/5 or 5 percent.

If you can use your shopping system to raise that figure of people that buy to only 10 people out of 100 then you have DOUBLED YOUR SALES and CONVERSION RATE TO 10 percent without even increasing your traffic. The technology did all the work. Simple shopping carts do not have the capability to do this for you, but good shopping systems do.

Ad Rotation / Split Testing

This is a tremendous feature found only in the most expensive high-end custom-programmed systems. It will really make you a ton of money and keep you from losing a ton of money which you will do if you continue to run ads that aren’t selling for you. This feature allows you to have several advertising pages running at once. The shopping system alternates the ads automatically for you. When you combine this feature with the ad tracking and conversion ratio features you will get instant feedback on which ad is making you the most money.

Order Form Sell Through / Shopping Cart Abandonment

This feature helps you overcome the biggest problem Internet marketers face – people quitting the sale just as they get to the order form page. They either get cold feet, are afraid to put their credit card on the Internet, or who knows what else might be stopping them from completing the sale.

A good shopping cart lets you put customized text right on the order form page that recaps all the good reasons the customer should complete the sale. Of course, this sell-through information is customized depending on what the customer ordered. This is an awesome feature to have and it will get more people to complete the sale which means more money in your pocket. Here's an example that has saved lots of sales:

This order form sell-thru has saved many sales and is responsible for tens of thousands of dollars that might have been lost if it wasn't in the shopping cart just as the person was checking out.

Recurring Billing

This is another awesome feature you must have to make big money and to get residual income (income that comes in automatically every month). This feature allows you to offer packages that are billed to your customer every month. You could do a “Video of the Month” promotion, or a monthly coaching package, or just about anything you can think of that you sell on a regular basis. It doesn’t have to be month to month. It could be a larger billing every 90 days or whatever you want to set it at.

This feature is also tremendous for offering finance options on all your products.

Here's another real life example:

I have a course on how to make a WordPress Website that includes a consultation with my tech guys. We sold about 700 of them. The online course costs $97.00 if you paid all at once, or three payments of $39.00 if you financed it which totals $117.00. 180 people took the finance option which brought in an extra $21,060.00

I don't know about you, but I'd rather have that extra $21,060.00 over three months than nothing from those people who couldn't afford to put $97.00 on their credit card.

Sales Reports

A good shopping cart system will give you sales reports in a number of different ways so you can choose the one that gives you the information you want. You should be able to switch between reports instantly, and have many to choose from. Some common reports are:

Sales by Date – This, of course, tells you how much you sold on a certain day.

Sales by Item – This tells you how much of a particular product you sold and you should be able to put in a date range, i.e. You sold 22 widgets for $418.00 in the five-day period from November 20 – 25.

Sales by Client – This report is a listing of your clients and how much money they spent. This is handy for identifying big spenders and rewarding them or giving them special thanks and/or incentives.

Sales by Card Type – This report breaks out the amounts of money that comes in from different credit cards. This is handy for reconciling your credit card fees each month.

Sales by Ad Campaign – This report tells you exactly how one of your promotions performed.

Sales by Affiliate – This report tells you how well your affiliates are selling for you.

If the shopping cart you are considering doesn’t have these kinds of reports, I’d be very reluctant to use it. You will never know how well you are doing, or if your promotions are working or not.

Earn by Telling a Friend

A good shopping cart system will give you a chance to make money by referring it. That's basic affiliate marketing. You can make a substantial income recommending your cart to others who are starting to sell online. In many cases, you can refer a few people and in effect get your cart for free, or even make money because your commissions are greater than what you pay for the cart.

Help with Off-Line Shopping

Make sure the shopping cart gives the customer an option to print out the order form so the customer can email it to you. You should also post your phone number for customers who want to call in an order. Do whatever it takes to make it easy for them to order.

It will be extremely difficult to get everything on the above list in an inexpensive shopping cart. Go through the list anyway when you are considering a shopping cart system. Pick the cart that has as many features as possible that are important to you. If it only has say five out of six, that's pretty good and you can usually pay a custom programmer to add the sixth feature.

Checklist for Evaluating a Shopping Cart System

(Remember… most pieces of software are simply shopping carts and not complete and integrated sales systems)

Instructions to use this checklist

Whenever considering any shopping cart or shopping cart system ask the questions in the list below. Most have either yes or no answers. If you start getting answers like, “Well if you wanted it to do that, we could custom program it for you,” or “Yes it will do that if you buy another module from a third party vendor,” or “I think we could get it to do that, but we’ve never had anyone ask before,” then you may be on pretty shaky ground by going with the system or shopping cart in question.

  • Will it calculate shipping & tax?
  • Does it handle specialized shipping like FedEx and UPS?
  • Will it deliver soft & hard goods in the same transaction?
  • Does it offer customizable “Return to Shopping” pages without needing custom programming?
  • Does it allow you to make special offers?
  • Does it deliver receipt and confirmation emails?
  • Does it allow multiple order and dropship emails?
  • Does it have a Web-Based administration page?
  • Does it use encryption technology?
  • Does it deliver easy output to your accounting software?
  • Does it have its own associate program or is it easily compatible with other major brands of associate software?
  • Does it have integrated upsell modules?
  • Does it have an integrated sales and prospect database?
  • Does it have broadcast email capability?
  • Does it have mail merge capability?
  • Will it deliver your ezine/enewsletter and automate the subscription process?
  • Can it handle coupons and other discounts?
  • Can it work for multiple websites with no extra fees?
  • Does it have unlimited and fully integrated autoresponders?
  • Does it have Ad Tracking tied into actual sales?
  • Will it rotate ads for you and tell you which one makes the most money?
  • Can the order form page be customized?
  • Will it do automatic recurring billing?
  • Does it give you a variety of sales reports?
  • Does it have a “Tell a Friend” module?
  • Does it have a printable off line order form?

My recommendation and what I have been using for 19 years is This is my private label of 1shoppingcart and we give unlimited one-on-one tutoring to help you make the most money using the powerful features of this cart.

Visit to get a 30-day FREE trial or call or text to set a no-obligation appointment to discuss your needs 301-346-7403.

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Shopping Cart Systems

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How to Pick an E-Commerce Shopping Cart that Makes You Money


Picking a shopping cart system is a very serious decision that you will likely have to live with for some time. It is simply too important a decision to make without knowing the right questions to ask.

So many systems are frustrating to install and once installed are incomprehensible and extremely difficult to use which means lost sales for you. If your customer is sitting in front of their computer with an open wallet, you better not make it hard for them to buy or they will be gone in a flash.

You really want to automate every part of the system so it’s less work for you and extremely easy for your customer. Today’s smart shopping system technology can make this happen at a price that any small business can afford.

In addition, smart shopping systems will dramatically increase sales because they manage the entire shopping process including upselling the customer, making special offers, handling special sales and discounts and completely managing your extremely valuable database of prospects and actual customers.

There are thousands of simple shopping carts on the market either for free or for a low price. Basically, they just take the order like the cashier at a grocery store. They do nothing to help you sell in the first place.

Custom Carts

You will have webmasters all the time trying to sell you a custom shopping cart that can run anywhere from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. They tell you that what you want to do with your site will require lots of expensive programming and custom adaptations. Well, there are very few small business people (and I’ve coached hundreds) that need anything so sophisticated that it would cost thousands of dollars. Keep your wallet in your pocket when you get around these people.

You may already have a ton of money invested in your shopping system and you may not have the sales you think you should. It might be time to consider scrapping the old system in favor of a new less expensive system that has sales tools built-in. Sticking with an antiquated system just because you have lots of money invested makes no sense and it will continue to hurt your sales in the future
. . . what’s that saying about pound foolish and penny-wise?

What is a shopping cart?

A “shopping cart” is actually a piece of software. The metaphor is,
. . . you guessed it, . . . shopping. You push your cart through the “cyberstore.” When you see something you want to buy, you put it in your cart by clicking on it. Then when you are ready to leave, you “check out” of the store. This is where the shopping cart totals up your purchases and adds the tax and shipping for you.

At any time along the way, you can take an item out of your cart. It's just like at a real store when you see a toaster in the men's clothing section. . . . Someone decided they didn't want it and just left it wherever they happened to be in the store. Well, in cyberspace you don't have to feel bad about throwing something out of your cart. At this point, you’re only moving electrons around.

You then fill in your name, address, phone, and shipping info along with your credit card and expiration date. Most carts still give you a chance to make changes, or back out of the deal altogether. Once you hit the final submit button, all the mechanisms kick into gear to send that money hurtling toward your checking account . . . minus the credit card company percentage, of course.

Real-Time Credit Card Processing

The credit card processing is not actually done by the shopping cart. Many people don’t realize this. You still have to have a credit card merchant account to process credit cards. If you don’t have the real-time processing capability, your shopping cart will simply email you notice of the sale. You log in to your cart to get the credit card number for manual processing later.

If you settled for this antiquated method, you would lose all credibility with your potential buyer and pretty much look amateurish and stupid.

When you do have “real-time credit card processing” capability (which you must if you want to totally automate your system) the customer puts their credit card in your shopping cart and a few seconds later gets a notification that the sale went through. Sometime later that day the money is deposited in your bank account.

The credit card number is encrypted as it flies through cyberspace so no bad boys and girls can intercept it along the way. This is a process called PGP, or Pretty Good Privacy. Hahaha, That term always cracks me up. I think I'd rather have Darn Good Privacy, or Invincible Privacy, but PGP is all we have at our level and it has shown to be Darn Good Enough.

After the transaction is complete, in sometimes as little as five seconds, you either get an email regarding shipping the product, or the customer gets a link to download the product directly. And that's all there is to it. I've simplified it considerably, but believe me, you don't want to know all the details. You just want it to work!

AGAIN I WANT TO EMPHASIZE — Your shopping cart system is separate from your merchant account and from your real-time processing mechanism. The shopping cart must connect to the credit card system, but it is a separate system.

What about PayPal?

Many new small business owners want to save money in upfront fees and I generally applaud that attitude. In the case of them only using PayPal as their merchant processor, I have to draw the line. Only using PayPal connected to your shopping cart has a stigma attached to it and makes you and your store look less credible. I usually tease that it makes you look like a reject from eBay. Many potential customers think to themselves, “If this company is so great, why do they only have PayPal?”

I suggest you get a regular merchant account AND use PayPal. We have seen as much as a 15% increase in overall sales by having a choice of how to pay. Having a regular merchant account removes the stigma of only having PayPal, but people do like to spend their PayPal money.

What Should I Do?

I've personally been using and recommending KickStartCart for over 20 years. I've found it to be the most powerful, user-friendly and affordable complete shopping cart system that also takes care of all your email marketing and autoresponder needs.

Once you decide on the cart, we also give unlimited FREE one-on-one tutoring. Many other carts charge you for that and their carts in many cases require you to hire an IT person to operate them. We want you to have great success with KickStartCart to help you take advantage of all the features that help you sell more online automatically. That attitude is why we've been in business so long with zero complaints. Click here to start your trial or leave a voicemail for Tom and he'll call you back to discuss as fast as humanly possible 301-346-7403.

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Thanksgiving for Digital Marketers

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15 Reasons Digital Marketers Should Be Giving Thanks

They are Not affected by workplace mandates
There is no risk in losing your job or being forced to quit when you have your own online business.

They are immune from supply chain issues
Digital marketers sell electrons which don't have to sit on a ship or be delivered by truck to you or your customers.

They don't have to wear a mask all day.
Unless you choose to work from a coffee shop, you don't have to maskup while working.

Their income is not dependent on any local or national economy.
Digital products are sold and delivered instantly around the world.

They have a much smaller exposure to other sick people.
You are around far fewer people which limits the bad air molecules you are forced to breathe.

Their kids can be home-schooled without the need for one parent to quit a job.
With all the craziness going on in schools nowadays, working from home makes homeschooling a much less family devastating choice.

No packing, shipping, and dependence on independent shipping services and/or the post office.
It's a MASSIVE hassle to handle physical products.

They save a fortune on gas and insurance.
You can get breaks on your insurance for low mileage driven and putting $50-$100 bucks in your gas tank a couple times a week.

They don't have to put up with idiot, incompetent bosses.
So many people rise to their highest level of incompetence and get off on telling you what to do.

They can make their hobbies legitimately tax-deductible and they have time to enjoy them.
You can make products, or sell affiliate products based around your hobby and turn it into part of your business.

They can spend way more time with their family.
One of the biggest complaints of worker bees is that they never get to see their families.

They can be surrounded with their pets.
Not many places let you take your pets with you to work. Plus, it's a shame to leave a loving pet alone all day while you slave away from an unappreciative company.

They save a fortune on fancy work clothes and cleaning bills.
You might like clothes, but who wants to get blood on them when co-workers stab you in the back? LOL

They can work remotely while on a trip or vacation.
There are many people making great money online that don't even have a home or apartment. Get a wifi signal and you can take care of business.

And best of all . . .

They don't waste half their life sitting in traffic making someone else rich.

Click Here to become a digital marketer in 6 months or less while in school, or working the dreaded JOB.

Categories : digital marketing
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The “New Collar” worker is the common sense wave of the future.

I know for many decades parents have obsessed on doing whatever it takes to get their children a college education. The questions are, “Is that the best route for most young adults?”, or “Is it a colossal waste of money and a disservice to your child?”

Changing Times

Many parents even before the birth of their little bundle of joy have started college funds. Many didn't and then panicked when their child was in high school so they started looking at refinancing their homes to come up with the money. Grandparents frequently got involved wanting to help out.

According to an article by educator Chase Mielke, “How Our National Obsession with College Is Destroying Education”, Mielke says, “We are so fixated on just getting kids to college, we don't often ask why and for what purpose.”

Mielke couldn't be more right. Times change. You can count by the tens of thousands young adults racking up massive debt for themselves and their parents. Some overcome their disillusionment and actually graduate. Then, if they're lucky, they can work at Starbucks.

Sure, there are dubious statistics that say that a college degree will mean more income in a person's lifetime. Why do I say “dubious”? Just Google the various lawsuits waged against law schools for falsifying their post-graduation employment stats. 90 plus percent employment of graduates sounds pretty good, doesn't it? Not if you have $300,000.00 in debt while working at a job that doesn't even require a bachelor's degree.

Easy Loan Money is Easy to Squander

I just heard an entire segment on a TV Business network this weekend. It talked about how easy-to-get student loans provided tons of money to students so regular colleges and universities could inflate their already outrageous tuition and fees while forcing useless classes on the students. . . . Don't even get me started on the fact that teachers are giving extra credit for protesting rather than attending class. I guess these kids could get jobs as professional dissidents. I'll check to see how many openings there are for that.

Times have surely changed and it didn't happen recently. Somehow Mielke's fixation comment is evidence that bloated higher education systems that raise tuition and lower standards have blinded conscientious parents, educators and students. They've been putting out the self-promotional message for years that their way is the only way. They say, “Go to college no matter what”. I wouldn't be surprised if booze and pizza companies were behind this propaganda too.

The irony here according to IBM CEO Ginni Rometty is that, “Employers can't find the skilled workers they need even though job openings are at near record highs.” Why is that? I recall a cartoon I saw years ago in New Yorker Magazine. It was a Ph.D person at an employment office. The counselor said, “We have tons of BA's, MBA's and Ph.D.’s. What we need is a good body and fender man (sic person).”

Today's record high “body and fender” work is now electronic, computer and Internet related. True body and fender work is considered “Blue Collar”. Professional work like accounting, finance, executive banking, etc. is considered “White Collar.” Rometty is credited with coining the term “New Collar” work and that's what this article is about.

Put on Your New Collar

New Collar jobs are ones that don't require a college degree. Health care, manufacturing, and service businesses of many types utilize pretty much zero of the curricula forced down the throats of hapless, indoctrinated families and students.

You'd be better off burning your money rather than wasting 4 years or more of your child's life and burying them with debt.

Add to that the craziness the electives you're paying for that will certainly impress when interviewing for a job. I'm sure “Zombies in Popular Media” (Columbia College), “The Strategy of Starcraft” (U.C. Berkeley), and “The Textual Appeal of Tupac Shakur” (University of Washington) will have companies bidding against each other for your grad's services. Oh, and don't forget “Underwater Basket weaving” (I'm not kidding) at Reed College.

Many people have been credited with the quote, “Common sense is not so common”, but Holy Wasted Tuition Batman! Stop and think about this. You just may be risking your child's future and your own financial future because you have been made to feel guilty into thinking college is a must.

CNBC said, “Vocational Schools
are the forefront of
preparing students for
the 21st century workforce.”

Now before you fly off the handle saying, “My kid is too smart to work with his hands as a laborer”, let me tell you a quick story. Then I promise I'll show you that “vocational” doesn't always mean bricklaying, welding and plumbing (which, I might add, are all very lucrative vocations).

I saw an interview with a high school graduate female that was in an apprenticeship to be an electrician. Her friends who were all going to college were pretty much making fun of her. This young lady had a great head on her shoulders. She told the interviewer that she's already making good money as an apprentice. She's learning like crazy. And she's gaining a skill that's in super high demand.

(Sidebar here: If you think I'm kidding about being in demand, I referred the electrician I use at my house to my new neighbor. He was told it would be 2 to 3 months before my guy could get to him. Every day across our fence he's been telling me he's checked about 10 other places and none can get to his job for a couple months…now that's being in demand!)

Back to our young lady. . . . She told the interviewer she was making her own way. She's going to finish the apprenticeship program with money in the bank and no debt in less than a year. She said her friends are all a financial burden to their parents and are taking a bunch of worthless classes and partying way too much.

Vocational” Does Not Mean “Backbreaking”

OK, so maybe you can't picture your little girl pulling wire all day, but just because it's called a “vocation” doesn't mean it's manual labor where you have to wear a hard hat.

Here are a few vocations that favor brains over brawn: (and they don't require a 4-year degree)

  • Advertising
  • Bookkeeping
  • Chef
  • Computer Programmer
  • Concierge
  • Cost Estimator
  • Data Entry
  • Dental Assistant
  • Desktop Publisher
  • Hairstylist
  • Electronic Repair
  • Flight Attendant
  • Food Service Manager
  • Interpreter
  • All types of sales
  • Nursing
  • Limo Driver
  • Loan Officer
  • Marketing
  • Medical Assistant
  • Police
  • Social Media
  • Tour Guide
  • Truck Driver
  • Vet Assistant
  • Website Design

This is obviously just a smattering of the thousands of different types of lucrative non-degree, non-backbreaking jobs available all over the country and abroad.

Many also lend themselves to starting a small business either part time of full time. For instance, your child could start a bookkeeping service and could freelance evenings and weekends as a limo driver. (I know from hiring tons of limos the tip alone is a good day's pay for many people.) You could even purchase a used limo for way less than tuition, fees, and lodging for one semester at most universities.

To be totally transparent here, I run a vocational Internet marketing school. But far beyond my self-interest in writing this article I see young people all around drowning in debt and coming to me so overqualified for the jobs I offer, I almost feel bad hiring them. It's a sad state of affairs when I'd rather hire a computer geek high school kid who rides his bike to work, than someone with a Master’s degree in some obscure topic who is desperate for any kind of work.

So, it may be time for some soul searching and maybe a good sit down talk with your young adult to see if it makes sense to ship them off for 4 years, incur a great amount of debt and cross your fingers they’ll get a job upon graduation. Or, it just might make more sense to get them an in-demand skill where they can go to work quickly, incur little or no debt and then decide later if they’d like to go for a degree.

We at the Internet Marketing Training Center would love to discuss with you how your youngster could have a lucrative and totally sought after skill that will allow him / her to get a job, start a legitimate online business, or both. Please call and we can lay out a plan to make this happen in about 6 months, with no lodging expense as we’re a distance learning school, . . . AND for way less than the cost of that limo.

Call me Tom Antion at my office at 757-431-1366, or mobile at 301-346-7403 and I’ll be happy to answer all your questions.

Related Articles:
Is College Really Worth It?

The Future of Universities

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The Internet Marketing Education You’ve Been Looking For

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The online business market is a booming industry. Many individuals are looking to make a living on the Internet by working from home. The individuals interested in the Internet lifestyle range from baby boomers, college grads, single moms and even people with current full time careers. Although, they all have different reasons for pursuing an online career one thing they do have in common is the need for flexibility.

If you are one of the people interested in the Internet lifestyle you have probably done some research on the different Internet marketing programs available. I commend you! It is super important to get started on the right track because without a clear learning path you may waste a lot of time trying to learn the ropes. Besides just learning the process you should also be aware that there are lot of scams floating around on the Internet.

Don't get discouraged because through your search you landed on this page and you’re reading this article I have good news for you!

The Internet Marketing Training Center of Virginia is by far the most unique and best Internet marketing training facility in the world! Let me explain.

First, IMTCVA is the ONLY “CERTIFIED” Internet marketing training center in the entire United States, recognized by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.

Second, the schools program was founded and created by Tom Antion, one of the most respected, top public speakers and Internet marketers in the world. Tom has dedicated his life to Internet marketing and training since the birth of the Internet back in the 90′s.

Third, the staff at the Internet Marketing Training Center of Virginia is obsessed with staying abreast of all the latest Internet marketing techniques and resources of information in this constantly evolving business. You can be sure you’ll learn the best “old school” techniques that still work, as well as the latest techniques that have proven results.

Lastly, each student can work at his or her own pace. Whether they’re an online or campus student, the course can be completed in as little as 6 months, with an Internet marketing certificate upon completion. All students have the ability to interact with trainers and other students by phone, face to face, email, blog, wikis, discussion forums, text messaging, teleclasses and more, giving all students the best training experience around.

To learn more about this unique opportunity and how to enroll, please visit the Internet Marketing Training Center of Virginia – , and remember to download your FREE career brochure!

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Boomers Reinvent Your Career with Internet Marketing

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Are you a boomer looking for ways to supplement your retirement income? Or, maybe you are finally ready to follow your hearts passion. You should consider Internet Marketing as a second career. Baby boomers are blazing a trail in the business world, and there are many opportunities out there.
To get started, I recommend taking a topic, niche, or industry your are familiar with.

What industry did you retire from? Do you think there are areas for you to help other people in that niche grow? It is all about sharing your knowledge to help other people.
The key to starting a second career online is finding a niche that you are an expert in. You want to make this journey fun.

What topics does your heart gravitate toward or have a passion for?  What are your hobbies?

Here at The Internet Marketing School of Virginia, we want to help baby boomers like yourself reinvent their career options. There is a lot to learn but, it is not impossible. The Internet is connecting people; it is a whole new world that we want you to experience.
To get your second career started correctly it is very important for you to feel comfortable using the Internet.

The Internet Marketing Training Center of Virginia offers the training that will help you along the way. We give you a structured, but flexible program that will allow you to learn at your own pace. You will also have access to the school directors to answer your questions and help guide you through the courses.

Starting a successful second career does not have to be a mystery. Once you develop the basics you will have the insight to know what direction to follow for success.

To learn more about The Internet Marketing School visit us by clicking here!


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Try a Career in Social Video Marketing

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If you have been keeping up with the latest Internet trends you may have noticed that video marketing is huge. There are many different options available for creating and distributing videos on social media.
A video marketing strategy can spice up a businesses’ social media presence.

If creating video for small businesses and entrepreneurs interested you, you can use the Internet to grow. The classes at IMTCVA will walk you throughout the How- to's and latest techniques so you can reach your goals.

Combining Internet marketing with a creative video approach can become a win – win situation. You will help entrepreneurs produce compelling and entertaining videos for their target market.
A lot of business owners would gladly pay to get video ideas and help for their business.
A successful video marketing strategy can help build consumer awareness and increase engagement. Video marketing can be used in many different industries.

You can offer to:

– Take the consumer behind the scenes of the businesses’ daily operations. Consumers love feeling connected to their favorite brands.
– Highlight an upcoming event. Answering the 5 W’s in a quick and entertaining video will help build excitement for the event. Consumers will often remember the event if there is a video associated with it.
– How to video for a product or service that the business offers
– Answer any FAQ’s
– Throw a contest and ask for consumers to post a video to win

These are just a few ideas you can offer to business owners for their video marketing strategy. It is important that you stay creative and use your imagination. Facebook, Intsagram. Vine, Google+ Hangouts, and YouTube are all platforms that allow you to share video.

Take a look at so you can start your education toward Internet marketing today!

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Is College Really Worth It?

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Many disillusioned college graduates are asking the question these days: Is college really worth it?

With one of the latest studies claiming that more than 73% of college grads are forced to accept job positions well below their educational level and salary expectations, it's becoming increasingly clear that college can no longer be legitimately  touted as a guaranteed path to success.

The first thing I’d like to state is that I’m not against traditional education. I was valedictorian of my high school and got a good solid B average in college. What I am against is an unwarranted and relentless frenzy of misguided voices telling you how important it is to get a college education. Then they railroad you or your kids into crippling debt with little chance of it paying off with increased job prospects and salary increases.

Let’s take a more realistic look at what you can expect when going the traditional route towards higher education.

Benefits of Traditional Education

Well, there’s no question you'll learn how to drink and socialize . . . no doubt about that. You’ll also earn an appreciation for beer economics, concert ticket scalping and class scheduling based on start times of noon or later and at most two sessions a week.

Night class at a typical 4 year college

Night class at a typical 4 year college

According to an article in “The Economic Collapse” “Most college courses are so easy they could be passed by the family dog…..A college education can be a wonderful thing, but right now we have got a system that is deeply, deeply broken.” Take a look at their article “20 Completely Ridiculous College Courses”

Ridiculous College Courses 

Now that may sound a little outrageous, and admittedly there are many schools that give high quality and required training for certain professions. The point I’m trying to make is that in this tough economy do you really want to pay a fortune and blow 4 to 10 years or more to come out with tons of debt you can’t get out of and few job prospects?

Advance Degrees are Not Exempt

I remember seeing a cartoon once that was set in an employment office. The caption read, “We have tons of BA’s, MBA’s, Ph.D.’s and JD’s. What we need is a good body and fender man.” This sentiment of having a skill that an employer actually wants, or a marketable service allowing you to start your own business couldn’t be more true today.

You better approach your advanced degree with an even bigger “degree” of skepticism. Class action suits are being filed all over the country by students who are claiming their institution purposely and fraudulently overhyped their job prospects when they graduate as well as inflated the success rates of past graduates.

You tell me if you think it’s ok if a law school boasts that “the overwhelming majority of its students — 90-95 percent — secure employment within nine months of graduation.” Seems OK to say such a thing doesn’t it?

According to a suit filed against New York Law School (NYLS), “The reality of the situation is that these seemingly robust numbers include any type of employment, including jobs that have absolutely nothing to do with the legal industry, do not require a JD degree or are temporary or part-time in nature.”

Now what do you think? Would you be willing to plunk down the $50,000.00 a year tuition if the above claim against the school was true?

Well NYLS dodged a bullet and got off with a dismissal and a little finger wagging from their brethren judges, but it’s pretty clear to me and some of the other judges involved in the case that this entire situation looks a little shaky.

Do you think all the other bloated colleges with rising tuitions and Tenured professors who couldn’t care less if you get a job or not, but need to get paid are above fudging the job prospect figures just a little? I certainly don’t and I’ve seen plenty of MBA’s working at Starbucks.

Student Debt Crisis

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics the cost of a college education is increasing by two to three times the overall rate of inflation. College costs are rising even faster than the cost of medical care.

Estimates for college loan debt per student run all across the board. A 2012 study by The Institute for College Access & Success showed the average debt for undergrad school was $29,400.00. Another average for the top ten most expensive schools went as high as $49,400.00. BusinessWeek reported that “Median debt loads for graduate school borrowers increased to $57,600 in 2012”,….with law school grads hitting a whopping $140,616.00

Even considering the fact you have to die or leave the country to get out of paying off your student loans, defaults are high everywhere especially in the “for profit” sector where I’m located. I think there are several reasons for this. 1. High pressure sales tactics are used to enroll students that shouldn’t be enrolled in the first place, and 2. Poor quality training is common in the “for profit” sector so  the student doesn’t really have marketable skills when they graduate.

I don’t think it is fair to claim that a higher percentage of defaults are to blame on the fact that the colleges are “for profit”. I think the playing field is balanced when you consider for the past 50 years parents and children have been brainwashed into thinking a college education is the end all/ be all for your career prospects. With this ingrained attitude people begrudgingly pay off their student loans from traditional institutions and blame themselves or the job market when they find themselves stocking shelves at Walmart.

The Argument for Skills Based Schools

It all boils down to money doesn’t it? In many cases a person could opt for a 4 year college, rack up significant family and personal debt, be exposed to useless classes that pretty much fritter away their time and get out with no better job prospects than the auto body mechanic mentioned in the cartoon above. AND if he does get employed doing anything, he sends a large chunk of his paycheck to pay off loans for years and years. . . . All in the name of the social experience of college. OR,

This person could take a practical approach by going to a skills based school in a profession that virtually guarantees employment. In this case debt is minimal or non-existent, additional housing and living costs are cut by 75% (by 100% if it’s a distance learning school), income is generated within six months to a year and the job prospects are known to be legitimately high.


Which situation would you rather be in? Let’s think about this in the context of the social experience and personality rounding you get at college which is frequently one of the benefits listed for attending. Let’s use Starbucks as an example. What will people think of you if you are 16 years old and working at Starbucks? . . . No one will really think twice about this will they? They’ll think, “Hey, that’s great!. You’re working and getting good tips. That’s awesome!” You’re young. You’ve got spending money. You feel great and on your way up with the entire world ahead of you.

Now let’s flip this. You’ve graduated college (or even worse grad school) and you’re working at Starbucks…Don’t get me wrong, any work is honorable, but how will people think of you now, or more importantly how will you think about yourself?

You’ll most likely be tight on cash because you’re paying off your student loans. You won’t have a cool and reliable car. You’ll be tight on time because between working shifts you’ll be trying to squeeze in interviews (if you haven’t given up yet). You’ll be embarrassed when applying at a big company with your MBA to tell them that you’re slinging coffee for a living, staying in your parent’s home and generally life will probably not be a bowl of cherries. The only good thing is that you can reminisce about all the fun you had in college and the wild drinking parties you had and how great it was to sleep in every day.

The Stepchild Gets the Spoils

CNBC did an article on Vocational Schools “Call them vocational schools, trade schools or technical schools—it doesn’t much matter. Once considered the poor stepsister to traditional four-year, liberal arts institutions of higher education and a refuge for second-tier students, they’re now at the forefront of preparing students for a 21st century workforce.”

If you recall, Cinderella the “poor stepsister” is the one who got the spoils. She was not the most flashy or the most fun in the beginning, but she got the Prince and the keys to the kingdom.

Take a hard look at what a skills based school can do for you. With little or no debt upon graduation and good solid job prospects (not to mention prospects of opening your own business), you will be able to  afford the things you want, feel great about yourself and have no trouble giving a nice tip to your MBA buddy at Starbucks.

If any of this resonates with you or one of  your children 15 years of age or older call me. I'm the founder, Tom Antion, and I'll be glad to discuss a great future for you or your child.  Call my office at 757-431-1366. The Internet Marketing Training Center of Virginia is the only licensed and dedicated Distance Learning Internet marketing school in the country. (Licensed by State Council on Higher Education of Virginia SCHEV)

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Write to Inspire

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Write to Inspire

Good web copy should persuade an individual to take action or make decisions. If you have a slick way with words and a creative flair, a future in writing web copy may be a realistic goal.

If you are looking for ways to make a career out of writing consider using your words to help small businesses reach their target audience. People buy from brands they they know like and trust. The truth is, many business owners are hesitant when writing for their business.

They don't know what to say, how to say it and they become uncomfortable with the whole process.

Imagine helping a struggling business owner re-write their web copy so that they feel confident in their website or sales letter. You can make a lucrative income by applying the art of copywriting to help a brand resonate with their target audience.

Good web copy is very important in online business. Marketers have a small window and a limited time frame to grab the consumers attention. In face to face interaction movement, voice inflection and facial expressions all work together to keep listening ears attentive. But online all you can rely on is your words and if they are boring and uninspiring the visitor will leave the site.

Writing web copy does not require perfect grammar skills. Copy is all about getting into the minds of the consumer so they will click, buy, share and love whatever product or service your are offering.

Humans react to stories because they make us feel an emotion. Stories give brands life and good web copy involves crafting a story around your brand and goals.

With some practice and research you can learn how to write from the heart of the target audience. Copywriting is considered an art because once you get the basic techniques down you will start to see your words pull emotional strings.

To discover how to reach your full writing potential check out IMTCVA. orgOur distance learning program provides students with easy to understand lessons that will help perfect your copywriting skills. A great copywriter must research the market and the target audience so you can place yourself in the consumers shoes and write the words that will encourage action. Jump start your Internet Marketing career today, visit us at

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Like Research? Content Marketing May Be in Your Future

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Content marketing is the theme for 2013. There has been a shift in the way consumers purchase products and interact with brands or businesses. The popularity of social networking took the marketing world by storm. Social networking is the reason why the marketing industry has changed.

If you are pursing a career in Internet marketing, content marketing is a great focus. If you like to research you can help small business owners fill up their editorial calendar.

Content marketing has become a popular marketing technique because there is a lot of competition online and the consumer has the ability to easily access data that can quickly influence their buying decision. Business owners have to find ways to stand out in the crowd. Content marketing shows the consumer that a business is there to help them by releasing material that they need or content they can relate too.

If you want to be a content marketing specialist you have to understand the target market your trying to sell to. For example imagine one of your clients is a local flower company. As a content marketing specialist you can come up with a content marketing strategy. You have to research what their ideal customers enjoy so that you can form a connection and gain trust. Some content ideas would be, a blog post about different flowers and what makes them special or popular, ideas on incorporating the content into upcoming holidays, or video on how to prepare the flowers once the customer brings them home. The list goes on but that is the type of information you can offer your clients.

The popular forms of content are:

  • Blogs
  • Articles
  • Videos
  • Podcasts
  • Articles

It seems like every Internet marketer is rushing to take advantage of Content Marketing but don’t get discouraged. You can become an expert at advising small businesses on what topics their target audience is interested in, with the training at IMTCVA you will learn keywords and how to find target markets.





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