Tax Tips for Youngsters With Summer Jobs

The availability of summer jobs for students and other youngsters is higher in 2011 that it was in 2010. The unemployment rate for people aged between 16 years to 24 years stands at 17.3% for 2011. This is lower as compared to the 2010 rate of 18%. However, the rates are still far from the 9.9% rate that existed prior to the economic meltdown in May 2007. Even beyond the decreasing rate of unemployment for younger people, there are also some tax incentives for those who plan to work over the summer. Therefore, look out for tax incentives and take full advantage of these. Some of the tax advice that a young worker can use for this summer are:

Under 18 and Hired by Parents

Children who are below the age of 18 and employed by their parents in their business will not pay both Medicare and Social Security taxes, irrespective of the wages earned. This is a huge tax savings for children and their parents as Social Security and Medicare accounts to about 13.3% of the tax amount paid. The wages paid to the children is an allowable business expense and therefore, the parents can deduct the payments from their business income taxes. However, the children are not liable for Federal Unemployment Benefits. Regular taxation rules will apply for children (who will have to pay taxes) if their annual wages exceeds $5,800.00, the 2011 minimum. If the children contributed to a qualifying retirement fund, the first $5,000.00 is also tax-free and therefore, they can receive payments of up to $10,800.00 without paying taxes (if they make the retirement contribution of $5,000.00).

Employee or Contractor?

One of the decisions pertaining to classification that one needs to make when taking up a summertime job is whether he or she will be an employee or a contractor. The IRS website gives clear guidelines as to who is an employee and who is a contractor. However, the general rule is that if the person working comes with his or her own tools for the work and determines how to do the work, then he or she is a contractor. Those who are given tools and are told what to do by the person who hires them are generally considered employees. Babysitters and house-workers will pass for employees while painters and plumbers will usually be contractors. For employees, withholding tax is applied to their wages while contractors receive their full wages and pay their own taxes. The threshold for withholding taxes for employees is $400.00 while the income tax threshold for those who pay their taxes directly is $5,800.00. For contractors, it would be wise put aside funds to pay their taxes to avoid surprises when taxes are due. They should also keep track of any deductible expenses, such as fuel mileage, uniform purchases, and qualifying equipment costs, so they can deduct these business expenditures when they file their taxes.

Retirement Fund Tax Incentives

All employees who take up jobs this summer can pay up to $5,000.00 to IRA accounts and get a tax deduction for the contributions. Any amounts paid above the threshold will be taxed at the regular tax rate that applies. For traditional IRA accounts, contributions are generally tax deductible while withdrawals are taxed. However, the Roth IRA works in an opposite fashion – the contributions are taxed, but the withdrawals are generally tax-free. Tax experts advise young workers to go for a Roth IRA, as their taxation rate is very low and they will get distributions from the retirement accounts tax-free.

Odd Jobs for Children Under 21

If a person below 21 years of age is employed by his or her parents for home jobs or jobs other than the parents’ regular business or place of work, then the income earned will not require any payroll or employment taxation. The parents cannot also claim any deductions from such payments.

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How to Find, Nurture, and Close More Leads in Real Estate

Being a real estate agent can be tough since the competition’s always growing. If you’re not on the top of your game, you can get left behind. New agents often want to go out there and market themselves yet they just don’t know where to start. In that case, here’s a quick guide on finding new leads in real estate.

How To Find Real Estate Leads

Most real estate leads come from real-world networking and online sources. Some tried and tested methods that result in valuable leads are:

· Contacting those who previously listed their homes

· Regularly touching base with former clients

· Hosting open houses

· Following up on “For Sale” sign inquiries

· Following up on client referrals

· Advertising yourself and your business

Moreover, social networking sites can be a goldmine for new leads, when done correctly (see below).


Prospective clients have enormous amounts of information at the tip of their fingers thanks to websites such as Zillow and Trulia. What sets you apart? How do you generate leads in a crowded online market? Create value for your prospects and demonstrate your knowledge.

Post market updates on your social media platforms (like Facebook), offer valuable tips for your prospects such as how they can increase their home’s value using low-cost improvements, and share success stories of past current clients (with their permission, of course). These kinds of efforts will position you as an authority and make it easier for them to reach out when they do want to buy or sell.


Classified ads are a traditional method of real estate marketing and can still be an effective tool to reach prospective clients, especially if you’re targeting an older audience. Some successful agents recommend devoting an hour a day to lead generation, which includes knocking on doors, distributing “For Sale” or “Just Sold” flyers in the neighborhood, and calling potential clients.


Successful real estate agents know how to market themselves without being pushy or obnoxious. At parties and social gatherings, always work to build rapport and offer value first. If you feel like you made a solid connection and might be able to help them in their real estate search, let them know you’re an agent and that you’d be happy to assist them in taking the next steps.


Generating leads in real estate is easier when you specialize in one particular area. Get familiar with the school districts, upcoming neighborhoods and developments, and even popular hang-outs. You can send postcards or flyers with local attractions as part of your marketing strategy and as a way of keeping in touch with your clients.

How to Nurture Leads

Real estate agents work very hard to generate new leads, yet they often fail to convert them into clients. Most leads never convert due to a lack of follow-up and lead nurturing. Here are a few tips to nurture your real estate leads and convert them into loyal and lifelong clients.

· Add each new lead to your real estate CRM: You need a real estate CRM (customer relationship management) platform to organize and manage your business, stay in touch with clients, and nurture leads. Assign each new lead to a marketing campaign, such as email auto-responder sequence that contains buying or selling tips. This helps to educate them on your services and ensures that you’ll be the fresh on their mind when they’re suddenly ready to make a move.

· Contact immediately: Respond to each lead as soon as possible since response time is critical in the early stages of the relationship. Being the first person to respond to a lead gives you the upper hand when it comes to converting a hot lead into a buyer or seller. When a person’s in the heat of the moment and you don’t call them back, they’ll just move on to the next agent they find.

· The most effective way to nurture a lead is to become their trusted advisor by providing them with relevant information throughout the home-buying process, without being pushy. Remember that not all leads will be ready to buy or sell right away. If you stay in contact with them and provide valuable information, they’ll choose you when they’re ready.

· Be open to alternate forms of communication. Most agents want to get every lead on the phone. This is a huge mistake. Some prospects prefer to communicate in written form, such as by email, or even text (with the younger generation). Simply ask them, “Would you prefer to continue communication by email or phone?”

Turning Leads Into Clients

In a perfect world, every lead would be interested and engaged with you and your services. Yet it doesn’t work that way in the real world. People are busy and often get side-tracked and will forget to follow-up with you.

Make sure to continually follow-up with them in a professional manner and ask them open-ended questions. Here’s a breakdown of the communication from start to finish.

· The first contact is precious: During the first contact, you have to chance to find out what what’s really driving them. Do they want to sell their home so they can distribute the earnings to their family? Do they want to buy a new home so they have enough space for a new baby that’s on the way?

· Once you find out their real reason for making a decision to buy or sell, you can use it as a touch-point to build rapport. “How’s it going with your brother and sister? Are they still pushing you to sell?” As the client explains their reason behind the move, you can be their confidant and advisor.

· Demonstrate your expertise: Send them a list of references without being asked, and show them your case studies. Reassure them that you’re watching the market constantly and continually touch base with them on their desired end result (such as distributing the assets to the family or getting a bigger house for the baby).

· Talk about your success: Share stories of past deals during casual conversation to reinforce their confidence along the way. Many prospects get nervous when they’re about to make a big decision. It’s your job to keep their interests in mind and keep them grounded.

· Make them a priority: When clients reach out for help, talk with them right away. Sit down with them and address their needs and concerns. Go through the entire buying process and layout a clear and concise plan for them. Often times the prospect is just getting nervous and needs your reassurance.

· Keep them on track: Help them to continually take the next step in buying or selling. When that final counter-offer comes in and you know it’s their best chance, strongly encourage them to take the deal. Likewise, if a bad deal comes in, advise them against it.

Their most important need is for you to be there when they’re ready, answer their questions, and provide resources and solutions. When they come out on the other side with a new home and a successful transaction, celebrate! Ask them for a quick note so you can save their experience as a case study and add it to your portfolio. Then add them to your follow-up system and keep in touch every few months to see how they’re doing.

It’s been said the average homeowner moves every 5 years. Service them right the first time and you’ll be able to help them sell again and again.

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Drive Your Business Into A Niche: How To Do Niche Marketing

Adapt and innovate are the #1 tenets of marketing. In the best business conditions, the brands grabbing the most market are those who best leverage this concept to their advantage. In a troubled economy, adaptation and reinvention may be your company’s best hope for survival. Innovate and invigorate your brand and drive your business into a niche.

In the past, this blog has talked about beginning with the end in mind. It’s back again but now with a twist, the niche. The niche is the tiny nook or cranny of the market that you define as your target. Many savvy marketing pros say that the narrower segment has distinct advantages; there are certainly many examples in the marketplace of niches done well.

So let’s take a look at what to consider when branding in the context of the niche. The key components to brand marketing don’t change. Only the perspective changes, becoming more focused and selective.


1. Your USP – Your Unique Selling Proposition

How does your offer or your promise meet this specific audience’s needs? Consider variations to your existing lines of products and services. Figure out in what way your products and services provide added value to this targeted market. Answer this question: how is my company’s offer (products and/or services) better and different from the other choices available?

When you look at the retail market for consumer products, you will see an ongoing trend of polarization between the giant warehouse stores (Costco, BJ’s, Sam’s Club) and the specialty retailer. In a mature retail market with more refined consumer tastes, product categories are getting smaller and smaller. New players are successfully entering the market in these niche categories.

In their specific niche these smaller brands are more innovative and exclusive. The smaller brands, retailers and businesses in launch mode are energized by the opportunity to satisfy a more selective market. Think micro like microbreweries – creating a small selective niche or micro market.

Tip: Look for trends by examining the demographic shifts in your industry or geographic location. Consider the ways the trends and shifts might align with your company’s product line.

2. Your Message – Your Brand

The customer is king and queen. Get to know them. Talk to them. Speak their language. What is their motivation? What keeps them up at night?

When you write your copy you are talking in the voice of someone on their team, someone who knows them. You are “in the know” and on the inside. To do this you need to be crystal clear on this market’s key issues. Are you being attentive to the customer? Are you developing customer intimacy?

The good case study for examining customer attentiveness is the consumer banking industry. One of my banks was recently acquired by a bigger bank, and this larger bank leaves me feeling as though they don’t understand me as a business owner or as a consumer. A different bank I use seems to be friendlier and more customer-focused. They are at least willing to listen to me. Be the company that listens, the company that puts the customer first at each and every stage.

When someone calls your company, are they greeting by the automated phone attendant? These phone systems are affectionately known here as the gateway to the inferno of hell. How many minutes of your customer’s time are wasted listening to what your company wants to tell them? Turn it around and find out why the customer is calling you before telling them anything.

When you create your brand and message, you’d better be delivering a benefit or you shouldn’t waste your time or money. Can you deliver on your promise? Are you engaging the customer, nurturing them and creating a dialogue, or are you talking at them?

3. Test and Measure

Look at your competition. What do they use as their key selling points? What are their price points? How do they deliver their service? What is their service like? Is there any competition at all for what you are going to offer?

Reduce your risk by testing your marketing to see how well your idea is received. Test your competitors’ marketing to see how they’re doing.

As a small business owner, one effective niche strategy is to build awareness for your brand regionally. You can avoid spreading your resources too thin by focusing most of your marketing activities within the region. Integrating the area’s uniqueness with your brand to serves to strengthen the attraction, tying your company image with the local flavor. Kraft Philadelphia brand cream cheese was an originator of this niche strategy.

Tip: Keyword research is an essential step to uncover the potential for your company to sell your company’s product or service. It’s time-consuming detective work to figure out your market’s keyword demand. At the end of the exercise you will learn the best words and phrases (compelling copy) to optimize your marketing efforts. You will learn more about your customer, regional and national market demand.

You can create quite a buzz with an integrated marketing strategy using social media to get the word out beyond the local market. The Internet is a game changer so long as you understand the commitment of time and advertising costs to build the buzz. Keyword research is one of the first steps you should take.

3 Major Niche Marketing Trends

Here are three major trends have lured many companies big and small. Nearly every product and service category and both B2B (business-to-business) to B2C (business-to-consumer) companies will be able to find a way to integrate a key trend into their brand statement.

  1. Aging Population – Consider the fact that the population boom is aging. Shifting your products and services to the older market niche is a very popular move.
  2. Green Movement – Consider the ecology and how many companies are tweaking their products and services to entice customers in this segment. Eco-friendly, eco-conscious, eco-products…the list of branding statements goes on. Solar energy is a category that is very popular nowadays. How about the alternative energy companies who call to entice you to switch your service from a current provider to save money?
  3. Healthy Living – The focus on health and products for healthy living is pervasive. It’s not enough to eat yogurt every day. Touting the pro-biotic Activia® Yogurt has invigorated the Dannon® brand. Niche marketing in the health care can be seen in the line extension of famous brands like Campbell’s® with the additional of their Healthy Request® sodium-free soups.

Still stuck on finding a niche for your brand or company?

Another idea is to develop a unique feature or expertise that cannot be replicated on a larger scale. The complexity of implementation will make it nearly impossible for the big boys to deliver the concept to the market. Using this type of strategy means your company will need to attract the market segment that will value the benefits of this type of product and service.

Tip: If you cannot differentiate your product, focus on innovating the packaging. Remember when L’eggs® pantyhose launched? It wasn’t the product that was so different; it was all about the packaging. Another great example of revolutionary or at least innovative packaging is the Keurig® K-Cup®, a packaging change whose brand statement is “Keurig® brews the perfect cup of coffee.” The brand is about the benefit, not the features, of their product.

5 Niche Categories for Consumer Marketing

  • 1st Convenience – Time-saving, easy to handle, portable
  • 2nd Health – Natural, organic, vegetarian, medical
  • 3rd Fitness – Slim, energy, well-being, cosmetic
  • 4th Pleasure – Fun, sophisticated, exotic, appeals to the senses
  • 5th Ethical – Environmental, citizenship

5 Niche Categories for Business Marketing

  • 1st Convenience – Time-saving, turn-key, single resource solutions
  • 2nd Ecology – Eco-friendly products and services, conservation and sustainable resources
  • 3rd Minority/Women-Owned – Meet government contract requirements
  • 4th Industry – Caters to a specific industry or a particular segment of the industry
  • 5th Geographic – Limit the market footprint to economize on marketing impressions

Once you find your niche, speak the language of the niche market and make your promise; your brand will be building a foundation for future growth. Monitor the performance and continue to adapt and tweak to improve the results. Niche marketing racks up impressive revenues for the companies who build these brands.

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Quick Personal Loans – Always Available in Need!

In the present scenario, the demands of the people are increasing and so is the price of every commodity. It is not easy to own or acquire everything in life but some things can not be ignored.

In order to own something or in order to meet the expenses people need wealth.

At times, people may feel helpless and go through certain problems in their life pertaining to finance. Help is offered to these people in the form of loans. Loans are a great boon to everyone. People who seek external financial help, Loans in UK can be resourceful with which they can finance their dream as well as personal desires. Presently, it has become a trend for people to take personal loans for them to go on a holiday rip with their family, or buy their own posh car, renovate their houses etc. People can comfortably rely on these personal loans anytime. This has become a common act by all in a way to satisfy their requirements without any hassle or tussle.

In earlier times, it was not so easy to attain things like a lavish holiday, a classy car, a big house, and many things that provide ultimate happiness. However, now thanks to quick personal loans that people can conveniently without tension or difficulty can do whatever they wish to. Personal loans give chance to all kinds of borrowers for meeting their personal desires and requirements.

In case of urgent financial help, quick personal loans can be very effective. These kinds of loans are granted in a very short span of time, which can e very beneficial for the people who need fast service and need money pronto. Personal loans are basically unsecured loans which do not require any kind of security, unlike the secured loans. A person can be granted quick personal loan in UK if the person is eligible enough. A person needs to be 18 years or above, he or she should be a permanent citizen of UK, if working the salary and job profile shall be considered. To apply for quick personal loans in UK a person needs to fulfill these requirements.

As far as the loan amount is concerned, with the unsecured finance options, you can easily obtain an amount ranging from ¤1000 to ¤10,000. Unsecured are different from secured loans it does not demand anything against the loan amount.

There are two options available for personal loans in the market today. Secured loans, requires a security from the borrower in order to acquire the loan amount from the lender. While, in unsecured loans you do not need to place any kind of security to get the loan.

Best secured loans offer higher amount of finance to the borrower which ranges between 25000 pounds to 250000 pounds, this can be obtained according to the equity of the security presented by the borrower. The amount can be repaid in a term of 5 up to maybe 25 years which is decide by both the parties, a term period which is comfortable enough for a borrower to pay it off, as it is accompanied with a very low interest rate.

Loans in UK are not very difficult to avail. Nowadays, there are many reliable corporations which provide loans to almost everyone. The user is offered a great variety of loans like personal, secured, educational, etc.

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