Best Friends Forever: Working With Chinese Suppliers

Recently, I began a business specializing in toys and games. I had some great ideas on branding and product creation, but I had no idea where to start looking for someone to make my products. I can’t get anybody to play my games or be entertained by my toys if I have none, right? So I began some research through podcasts, blogs, and YouTube videos; focusing on small business owners who shared their journey from beginning to present. It is that I trust them more than a well-known magazine or website… I’m not a big fan of people faking information for financial gain. I learned many ways I could begin manufacturing my products and after weeks of negotiations, guess where I found a supplier? China!

The negotiation process is pretty straight forward: they offer you a price, you haggle because the price is too high, they say that’s their best offer, you say you’re walking away from the deal, then they come down on the price. Only, that’s the American way to negotiate. The one thing American business owners fail to realize is that Chinese culture is not the same as American culture. Working with a Chinese manufacturer is much like courting someone in a dating relationship. You start off with the preliminary “hello” and exchange of basic information. Later on you share information about yourself, but you also ask the other person many questions and learn more about their personality, interests, and aspirations. If things go well then you try a first date, and another, and so on, hopefully building a deep and lasting bond.  Perhaps this even leads to marriage (like the dating sites advertise).  The Chinese need to be nurtured in a similar way because they place much of their business risk in relationships, not price.

Claria Muriel Ruano writes a blog called Foreign Entrepreneurs in China. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Economics in Spain and an MBA in Europe and works in the export department for her company. She has 12 years’ experience in the field, where several years were spent in China. In her blog, there was an article posted called, “36 Tips on How to Deal or Negotiate with your Chinese Suppliers”, and I’d like to focus on two of those 36 tips. Number 14 states, “The best way to do business in China is face-to-face. Technology is great, but I do not think it is the way Chinese people are wired to work.” While going to China and meeting with a supplier is not always going to be an option, this illustrates how important personal relationships are to Chinese business partners. Number 36 reads, “… Your Chinese supplier sees the contract as the ‘beginning’ of the relationship.” This tip definitively informs the reader that business dealings are thought of as relationships, so treat your supplier in the same way you would treat those in your personal relationships.

In my experience so far, in dealing with Chinese suppliers, courtesy and respect are a must in every individual form of communication. A compliment, apology, formal salutation, thank you, or anything of that nature needs to be included in your communication… it will definitely be in theirs! The more active you are in getting to know your point of contact, the more willing they will be to just discount the price without you even having to ask. Here in America, when we are trying to sell something, we usually have two prices: “the price” and “the friend/family price.” If you treat your supplier like they are a real human being, and not like a computer haggling machine, you will find yourself getting the “friend price” more often than not.

It all boils down to respect and integrity. We’ve all heard that Americans have a bad reputation across the globe. This is because our culture is vastly different than many other cultures in the world. We aren’t rude, we’re just American. Be conscious of this when dealing with Chinese suppliers, respect their culture, and your worries about dealing with Chinese suppliers may be reduced drastically!

Ruano, Clara Muriel. “36 Tips on How to Deal or Negotiate you’re your Chinese Suppliers.” ForeignEntrepreneursInChina, 11 Feb. 2011, Accessed 15 Feb. 2017.

Phillip Wiseman is a Management Trainee at one of the largest automotive retailers in the world and earned that position due to his undergraduate studies in Management at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is also currently enrolled in the Master of Entrepreneurship Degree Program at Western Carolina University. Webmasters and other article publishers are hereby granted article reproduction permission as long as this article in its entirety, author’s information, and any links remain intact. Copyright 2016 by Phillip Wiseman.

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Which Are Better, Banks or Credit Unions?

by: M. Afsheen Noorbakhsh

People have always asked the question: Which is better, a bank or credit union? In this article, I will attempt to differentiate between the two in an objective manner. Naturally, there are pros and cons to each, and the final decision is simply a personal one. Either way, there are significant differences you should know as to whom you should use as a primary financial institution. This will be a simple overview.

A major difference between a bank and a credit union is the business structure. The larger banks, such as Wells Fargo or Bank of America, are some of the biggest companies in the world and are leaders in the financial sector. Banks have incredible reach, with thousands of branch locations across the nation. For example, Wells Fargo has over 8,700 branches and 13,000 ATMs across the country.

Credit unions are significantly smaller in size and are structured to serve a particular region, city or group, such as members of the military (e.g., PenFed), or employees of a particular state (e.g., NCSECU). Latino Community Credit Union (LCCU) has only 12 branches in North Carolina. However, just because most credit unions have fewer branches does not mean they cannot have a similar reach as the big banks. Many credit unions join a network designed to expand the reach of credit union ATMs. For example, Navy Federal Credit Union members have access to over 52,000 ATMs nationwide.

Another difference is that banks are in business to make profits for their shareholders. A shareholder’s voting power is based on how many shares held; therefore, the largest shareholders have the most power.

Conversely, credit unions are nonprofit entities, and customers are considered members. A member’s voting ability is not based on how much money is deposited. Each member gets an equal vote, which can directly impact the leadership of the credit union. Some credit unions are also very specific on who can apply for membership. Others have an open membership that requires a membership fee.

When comparing the two structures, most consumers are under the impression that credit unions cannot service the public like a bank. Banks have more locations, which is good for customers who like in-person service by visiting any branch location in the nation. Credit unions have considerably fewer locations than most banks, but branches are located in close proximity to most members.
Banks are beneficial for consumers looking for a financial institution that offers a wide variety of products and services. Banking clients are not as concerned with low fees and rates but are more concerned with the convenience of nationwide branches and more advanced online and mobile technology.

Credit unions are for consumers looking for a financial institution with basic banking products and services. But with less variety. Credit Unions are for individuals where lower fees and lower interest rates are a high priority, and the overall number of branches is not a primary concern. Also, credit union members typically experience more personalized customer service when visiting a branch where the employees know their name.

So, which is better? The answer falls in the eyes of the beholder. As a consumer, one must evaluate his or her needs and decide which financial institution is the best choice for various services. One can also consider having certain types of accounts at a bank, and other types of accounts at a credit union.

Sometimes the answer isn’t about financial products as much as social responsibility. There is a clear difference between a not-for-profit, membership driven organization, and a for-profit entity. However, deciding upon the best option(s) is entirely a matter of your personal needs and preferences in relation to the financial services that may be available to you.

Mohammad “Afsheen” Noorbakhsh is a Financial Service Officer at Latino Community Credit Union, Entrepreneur, and family man.  Afsheen is also currently enrolled in the Master of Entrepreneurship Degree Program at Western Carolina University.  Webmasters and other article publishers are hereby granted article reproduction permission as long as this article in its entirety, author’s information, and any links remain intact.  Copyright 2017 by Mohammad Afsheen Noorbakhsh.

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Struggling Readers

I often hear on the news and in discussions with other educators that we are approaching a reading crisis among our young students in America… or maybe the crisis is already here! I recently read an article from the National Center for Education Statistics that said in 2013 sixty-five percent of fourth graders in the United States read at or below the basic reading level and that almost fifty percent of Black, Hispanic, and American Indian students read below the basic level. This same article also emphasized that “summer is a critical time when students either leap ahead or fall behind.” I fear the fall behind group is the larger of the two and if we do not take care of this problem now, it will only get worse.

I feel that a great need for a business / program, would be a non-profit group that works with underprivileged children K – 3 that struggle with reading. Schools have pull out groups for reading, but some of the things that they read in these groups are boring or don’t make sense to a struggling reader. I would like to develop a business that focuses on the needs of these struggling readers and provides them multiple resources to help develop a love for reading.

This program would be especially beneficial during the summer when school is out. I would have a different approach with it though. Rather than having them think of it as school, I would turn it around and make it fun. For example, I would have them read a book that is also a movie. Once the book is completed we could either go to the movies and watch it or have a movie day at the facility where this program will take place. I would also deck the facility out with character clothing and a small stage so that students could act out the stories they read.

I also think it’s important to read aloud to the kids. Even my middle school students still love the idea of being read to and per Karen Tangersley, in her book, Literacy Strategies for Grades K-8, children who were read to when they were younger have visually seen and heard more words than students who were not as fortunate to have someone read to them.

“It is certainly no surprise, given their years of frustration, that struggling readers typically are anxious about school (Tangersley, 2005). They tend not to be very motivated, and often lack self-confidence regarding their ability to read (Kos, 1991).” Motivation is a big part of the process that these struggling students lack and if I can help motivate them, I can help possibly turn things around for them.

I feel that this program would have to have multiple varieties of books, computers, tablets for audiobooks. I also believe some students are turned off because they can’t read the books of their choice. That wouldn’t be a requirement for me. These children would pick what they want to read without feeling the pressure of a classroom reading class. It would be a pure learning / development environment, but a learning environment that lacks the focus of testing. I feel that a program like this would be beneficial to all counties and could help decrease the gap for these struggling students.

 Works Cited
Tankersley, Karen. Literacy Strategies for Grades 4-12 Reinforcing the Threads of Reading. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2005. Print.

Jann G Haynes is a 6th grade Language Arts and Social Studies teacher. Jann  is also currently enrolled in the Masters of Education Special Education (Gifted, Creative, and Innovative Education) at Western Carolina University. Webmasters and other article publishers are hereby granted article reproduction permission as long as this article in its entirety, author’s information, and any links remain intact. Copyright 2017 by Jann G Haynes.
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Crowdfunding and the Gender Gap: Democratizing Entrepreneurship

The gender gap is alive and well in nearly every realm of the business world, with fewer women in leadership positions than men, inequities in venture capital funding for and investment, and persistent and pesky stereotypes that persist within the industry. According to Access to Capital by High-Growth Women-Owned Businesses, research commissioned by the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC), female entrepreneurs start companies with 50% less capital than male entrepreneurs.

Why is this a problem? Besides the fact that gender equality should be a given in a modern democracy, women start business at twice the rate of men. Because of these astonishing numbers, organizations such as the World Economic Forum identified women entrepreneurs as “the way forward” at their annual meeting, while Saskia Vossenberg, of The Maastricht School of Management describes women entrepreneurs as the New Women’s Movement, asserting, “Forget aid, focus on foreign investment in women entrepreneurs as key drivers for growth and development.”

Amid this dreary outlook for women, crowdfunding is a bright spot. Fundraising through online platforms skyrocketed to $16.2 billion in 2015, a whopping 167% increase from the previous year, according to Massolution’s 2015 Crowdfunding Industry Report. Female entrepreneurs are almost ten times more successful in raising capital with online platforms than with conventional banks, according to CircleUp. Not only do women make up 44% of businesspersons on Kickstarter, but the Wall Street Journal found that 37% of female-led projects on Kickstarter were successful in reaching their funding goal compared to just 32% for male-led projects.

The reasons for female success on these platforms are not clear, though academics have theories as to how the gender gap is closing online. According to Andrea Gorbatai, an assistant professor at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Management, “women are better at telling a story that resonates with potential crowdfunding investors.” In part, this has to do with the unique writing styles and social constructed roles between the genders. Women are more often willing and able to express themselves emotionally and write about their personal lives, including relationships; this approach is generally more successful in persuading readers to donate to a project than what men write. Gorbatai, along with her co-author Laura Nelson from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, found that female-created pitches were less likely to use dry, impersonal business language and more likely to convey positive feelings, inclusiveness, and liveliness.

Jason Greenberg of New York University and Ethan Mollick of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School have a different explanation for female success with crowdfunding. They believe the key is unconscious gender bias: men are more likely to associate with men, and women with women. While this dynamic is problematic in the conventional financial arena of banks, venture capitalists and angel investors, most of whom are male, online crowdfunding platforms are open to any and all people, vastly increasing the number of women who can help fund fellow females.

However, the news is not all positive. Only 22.5 percent of male investors’ funds went toward women-run projects, which seems to reinforce Greenberg and Mollick’s claim of gender bias. Moreover, while women did have more success than men in meeting their fundraising goals, this could be because females set their goals thousands of dollars lower than men. Female-led projects had a mean of $6,890.50 while men-led goals had a mean of $12,175.90.

Crowdfunding has become an intriguing way to potentially democratize the field of entrepreneurship. However, it is not a silver bullet for fixing the deeply engrained and institutionalized gender biases that exist in the business world.


Margaret McAlister is completing her doctorate in business degree this May, a management and health professor, and a researcher. She is also currently enrolled in the Masters of Entrepreneurship Degree Program at Western Carolina University. Webmasters and other article publishers are hereby granted article reproduction permission as long as this article in its entirety, author’s information, and any links remain intact.  Copyright 2017 by Margaret McAlister.




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Attention Deficit Disorder; Can It Be Used As An Asset For Entrepreneurs?

All of the following people have something in common; Sir Richard Branson owner of Virgin Airlines, David Neeleman owner of JetBlue, and Paul Orfalea founder of Kinko’s and a serial entrepreneur. They all have some form of ADD/ADHD. A few other entrepreneurs have another learning disability, dyslexia, and find ways to overcome; Charles Schwab and Alan Meckler of WebMediaBrands. But not everyone has successful results. About 4% of Americans have Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Disorder Hyperactivity (ADD/ADHD). Many in the general public think this disorder revolves around being lazy or having no get up and go, but this could not be further from the truth. This disease is a real disorder and can be paralyzing if the individual does not learn some coping strategies. For someone with ADD/ADHD, everything is a distraction! It is like being the crazy chef in the kitchen with every burner and cooking device being used or having 30 sessions open on your browser. From the ticking of a clock, the cell phone notification noises, the sound of your partner chewing, a bird flying by, a sound of something falling from upstairs, television from the family room, family discussion, laughter, all while trying to write a research paper – yes, this is where I live!

If I shared with you the amount of money I have invested in planners and online planning systems, it would make you blush. All purchases were made with good intentions because I want to be organized. But the systems usually break down within the month with more money wasted.

I have been told I have a lot of energy and that is what people love about me but harnessing that power and putting into production is what I need to be doing. I talk with my hands, and I am very animated. I am also a toe tapper, finger roller and noise maker.

Ask the ones who actually know me and love me, I will be telling a story and right in the middle of it forget why I am even telling the story. Now put that in the perspective of giving a sales pitch or board room presentation, would you really want this person to be the one ‘working’ with your company?

There is treatment in helping you focus on tasks at hand, but sometimes this can turn into what is referred to as hyper-focus. This is dangerous for me! When I am working on a project and getting into this mode, granted I should be in bed each night at 9:30-10 pm so I can wake up at 3:45 am, but the next time I look at my watch, it’s midnight, and I am only going to get 3 hours of sleep. Or a family member comes into the study area and asks why you are awake and do you know what time it is?

I have had this learning disability all my life, but back when I was in elementary school, I was told I was slow and behind my classmates. Hum, how did I go from doing 5th-grade work in 3rd grade while I lived in Virginia to being put a level behind when I moved to Georgia? It was ADHD and dyslexia. But instead of learning coping skills, I became the class clown and entertained everyone! At one point in college, I was ready to quit, and my sister explained, “…sometimes a C is okay – it means average, you can’t be excellent in everything!” That is where I started taking pressure off myself, and by my senior year, last semester, I was making A’s. I bought a voice recorder, and it came to class with me every day. Each night, I had to review my notes with the recorder while everyone else went out to socialize, but I learned and retained the material.

Sometimes we forget details, have anxiety and may seem like a terrible friend. These will be all the thoughts you have about our friendship, but because we are friends, you snicker and love us anyway. We might need your extra set of eyes to review our idea or project. A mind buzzing with activity can start to think negatively and next thing you know, we are in a downward spiral and anxious over something that probably won’t even come true. And as your friend, our minds will drift while you are talking and we will forget about lunch dates or appointment times we set up but just know we will feel awful about it!

I have used some of the following tips to avoid killing my productivity and getting tasks done;

I can only ‘control’ my thoughts, my energy, and actions into being the best that I can be. Trying to please others can be exhausting.

I have to take breaks to trick my brain and reward it for staying engaged! I am always playing a game of 30 minutes of focus and then 15 minutes of reward. Varying the tasks is an excellent way to keep my brain engaged while giving me something to look forward to.

I try to focus on the task at hand and know eventually; I will be able to work on another task. I try not to allow the current or future task to become a distraction from the current project.

I try and let colleagues know how to best communicate with me. I hate email and do not want to get stuck in the email zone – it is boring and disengaging. Calling or sending me an app message allows me to respond quicker getting through the task individually or as a responsible team member (my text message service reads it to me).

I have tried to stop being Wonder Woman. I try to not set myself up for disappointment by thinking every task on my list will be completed, or the project I have envisioned will turn out exactly as I pictured it. Tomorrow is another day. I try and stay focus on the ‘must accomplish today’ items. When completing the task, the sense of accomplishment decreases stress and releases all types of good endorphins and hormones into the body.

When I have a large project, I have to make a plan; putting so many 30-minute focus task blocks down per day, then piecing the days available for that type of work. If I do not accomplish what is on the daily and weekly schedule, I reschedule and try again. Each day gets me closer to completing the task. Easier said than done for someone with ADD but tomorrow is coming, and you need to be ready.

I try not to get lost in the details and try and re-evaluate every 15 minutes (half of my 30-minute timer). Perfection is great if you have the time, but I usually do not. When I really need to get things accomplished, I always work with a timer.

The last point is a perfect lead-in for trying not to become, what I call, a perfectionist procrastinator – both keep you from completing your work. To get a task started, I come up with a simple outline plan and then add details. If I get worried about the project not being sound or possible failure, I try and run it past my inner circle (one of the reasons I am late with this assignment).

I catch myself talking about a project, a form of procrastination, when all I really need to do is take action on a project, even if for just for 10-15 minutes. I find when I get started, the whole anxiety of getting started starts to go away.

I need to avoid big, long to-do lists. They only get bigger and make me feel depressed. I try and put things on my calendar, and if it has to get done that day, that’s right, it get’s put on a timer! I drive my family crazy at times, but they know these strategies work for me.

So why do I share these things? Psychiatrist Ned Hallowell has written that people with ADHD are “natural entrepreneurs.” He has said he sees the condition not as a disorder, but “as an advantage. The reason: Individuals with ADHD possess innate energy, grit, creativity, originality, insight and interpersonal skills. And these are the ingredients of entrepreneurship.”

“The most important skill successful entrepreneurs learn—by instinct, consultation, education, experience or practice—is the skill of maximizing the benefits of their assets while minimizing the internal damage. I’ve learned that what separates successful from frustrated entrepreneurs is their ability—or inability—to capitalize on this. The great entrepreneur learns how to harness and direct mental power, while the frustrated entrepreneur spends life trying to learn how. Entrepreneurs and those with ADHD who find the pot of gold are the ones who learn how to master their minds, rather than letting their minds misdirect.” Dr. Hallowell goes on to explain, and I have experienced, that the mind of someone with ADD/ADHD, the brain is always in go-mode. It’s hard to ‘put on the brakes’ or ‘keep the filter in place’ with the mind going in 15 different directions. The ADD/ADHD entrepreneur must learn to slow down, focus and set up a plan. Easier said than done!

I actually hired Heather MacMillian, an ADD/ADHD coach, and worked with her from January 2016 through April 2016. She also worked with my daughter and my husband (my daughter has ADD and my husband PTSD/traumatic brain injury)! She taught me that the brain can be retrained and will believe what you tell it and what it sees. For instance, when you are watching a movie or playing a video game, and the video image comes to the edge of a tall building, you start to get feelings of scared, queasy, or an adrenaline type rush in your body. Why? The brain does not know the difference in the image and reality. If you stop and think about it, there is no danger, why does our body react this way? Our brain’s primary goal is to protect us, so we have to ensure that the brain has all the facts and keep the misperceptions to a minimum. Heather taught me some tactics of helping my brain retrain the way it perceives threats and rewards that drive my behavior. She explained to me our reaction patterns using the SCARF model. Dr. David Rock describes the SCARF model in a video link listed in the sources section below, and I have put together this brief write up about each of the items.

S (status) – Status is your perception of where you are in relation to those around us. If a person feels a drop in status, the brain activates the same circuit as if experiencing pain. Feedback can be perceived as a threat especially if negative.  And an increase in status activates a reward circuitry, almost the same as receiving a monetary reward

C (certainty) – ambiguity of any kind sets up a threat response. Providing information, details, dates can provide clarity and help lower a threat response perception

A (autonomy) – People need to know they have choices. When a person experience stress but has choices, this increases one’s leave of autonomy. And vice versa, a lower level of autonomy when you feel you have no choices

R (relatedness) – brain perceives those we do not know as threat (foe vs. friend) so when working in team created a common bond

F (fairness) – A fair exchange activates the reward circuitry, and an unfair exchange activates a danger response

Brain research explains the brain is looking to minimize danger and maximize reward. So when a threat response is perceived by the mind (sometimes we are aware, and sometimes we are not aware) the amygdala (emotional brain) sends a message, and the limbic system gets triggered into a Flight, Fight, or Freeze mode. The pre-frontal cortex shrinks because the body is now in protection mode and is sending blood away from the brain and to the limbs. Our executive functioning ability lessens, leading to poor decision making (which is a limited resource to begin with). As opposed to when someone makes us feels good (Status), we know the task and what to do (have Certainty). We can then think about the options and make our own choices (Autonomy), feel connected with individuals or a team (Relatedness) and feel treated fairly (Fairness).

Some tools to use when you notice a threat response (i.e. overwhelmed and can’t make a decision, feel threatened, want to ‘escape’ watch TV, have a list but are not working):

1)  Label it – say it out loud if appropriate – I am really overwhelmed/stressed/exhausted/feel hurt or demeaned etc

2) Take a few deep breaths and attempt to bring corners of mouth up in a slight smile (even if angry) because a smile sends a signal to the brain that everything will be okay.

3) Reframe the thought or statement or tell your brain even though I am overwhelmed, I am okay (no tiger charging at me – I am safe).

4) Ask yourself, what is one simple thing I can do right now, just one thing and take action.

5) FOCUS and get yourself in action to do that one thing.

6) Tell yourself, this is my brain, not me, and I can manage my ADD/ADHD.

Entrepreneurs – if this resonated with you, I challenge you to make an appointment with yourself once per day for a 30-minute focus session. Pull out your timers, stay focused and you will not believe after a week, how much work you have accomplished on your project.

I would love to get your feedback! 

Tabitha Myler is currently enrolled in the Masters of Entrepreneurship Degree Program at Western Carolina University. She has owned multiple businesses and been employed in a variety of industries; finance, marketing & advertising in destination marketing, insurance, and athletics. Webmasters and other article publishers are hereby granted article reproduction permission as long as this article in its entirety, author’s information, and any links remain intact. Copyright 2017 by Tabitha M Myler. Speaking engagements requests and contact information can be found at


Dr. Ned Hallowell. Success. July 18, 2014. February 17, 2016 (date of access).  < >

Neil Patel. Entrepreneur. January 13, 2016. February 17, 2016 (date of access). < >

Heather MacMillan. ADD/ADHD Life Coach. email address. Resource shared during coaching session; SCARF MODEL: by Dr. David Rock

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10 Innovative Remedies to Use at Home or In the Woods

Below is a list of remedies to treat seasonal colds, allergies, and minor scrapes, cuts, and burns that may happen around the house or outside. Try each innovative remedy for yourself or someone you love.

  1. Strep Throat and Coughing – gargle with salt water for throat and then you can drink heated pineapple juice with honey to ease coughing
  2. Allergies – eat local honey – usually a spoonful a day
  3. Stomach Bug – eat blueberry or blackberry pie filling (helps coat the stomach) canned blackberry juice can also help ease your stomach
  4. Cuts – Super Glue
  5. Bruises – place banana peel on bruised area and leave for about 5 minutes
  6. Small burns – Aloe (Aloe plants are easy to raise and take up little space)
  7. Bee Stings – Ragweed or baking soda paste eases the pain
  8. Poison Ivy – Rub touch-me-not (a type of plant) onto your skin to stop the itch
  9. Baby Cutting Teeth – bull nettle necklace (DO NOT consume)
  10. Splinter – tape or glue (press and peel)

As a mother and outdoors enthusiast, I like to use natural remedies when I can instead of purchasing over-the-counter drugs to treat common colds, allergies, minor scrapes, cuts, and burns. Many of the tips and advice came to me when I had my first child. It seemed to be a rite of passage that other parents share their secrets with you. Sometimes it can be irritating to be flooded with some much information and make you doubt yourself as a new parent. I embraced the new knowledge and found it to be very helpful.I also found it helpful to use when being outdoors because the bull nettle, ragweed, and touch-me-not can easily be found outside. I hope that you found something useful to try next time you have a common cold, allergies, or a minor scrape, cut or burn. I keep my pantry stocked with the chicken noodle soup and blackberry pie filling, and my medicine cabinet stocked with bandages and other medical remedies. I have also try to keep super glue, small cans of pineapple juice, pie filling, honey, and baking soda on hand.

It is better to plan and prepare for one or a few of these ailments by having items on hand. The question is not what might happen to you, but when! We are all susceptible to seasonal colds, allergies, and minor scrapes.

Note: The above recommendations are just some of the remedies that I have found helpful. They may not be suitable to treat your needs. It is best practice to seek medical attention and advice for severe situations.

Sabrina S. Arch is a Native American member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Enterprise Development Specialist, and is interested in helping others. Sabrina is also currently enrolled in the Masters of Entrepreneurship Degree Program at Western Carolina University. Webmasters and other article publishers are hereby granted article reproduction permission as long as this article in its entirety, author’s information, and any links remain intact. Copyright 2017 by Sabrina S. Arch. Visit her website at

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Education is Where Our Future Lies

Education has always been one of the most important aspects of my life. Striving for more knowledge, even outside of my comfort zone, is what I try to work towards on a daily basis. There are certain things in my life that help me with that, such as famous quotes. Just about everyone has some sort of line that has been stated by an individual they view as great (whether that is a friend, family member, someone famous, or a complete stranger, is completely up to them). There are no rules for who we, as individuals, view as important or influential in our lives. For me, one of those people would be Maria Montessori.

Have you ever read one of her many thoughts on how we should educate children?

She is one of the biggest factors as to why I chose to pursue an education degree as an undergraduate. Education is one of the most important factors for any society or group to be able to progress forward into the inevitable future. Education should be viewed as a starting point, or foundation, regardless of what it is for (i.e. individual, community, country, etc.). Unfortunately, in many cases, school can end up becoming viewed as a mundane task. Which is why so many essentially “give up” and just do the bare minimum to get by. Which is how we end up with such a gap between basic knowledge and understanding as a population.

The way students are taught, along with what they are taught as they develop, will be their foundation for the rest of their lives. From what I have seen and experienced, though, we are not achieving that with every student within our schools. What we are having them develop is a rocky surface that is impossible to build on without the necessary tools; an unfinished foundation that they no longer have the means to finish it.

I say this as someone who always felt like an outsider in public schools. I finished my last six years of K-12 schooling in public schools but started at a private Montessori school, so my foundation is from before my 7th-grade year. My understanding of why there are so many individuals with such rocky foundations is this:

Public schools are controlled by so many required tests to develop statistics, that it is crippling the current and future generations. What good are these tests if the ones taking them are not really benefitting from them?

Students are being taught a broad scope of information, regardless of interest or necessity, while we leave hardly any room for exploration within topics for personal and developmental growth, which is how we end up with eighth graders that ask questions along the lines of, “Is France in Italy?” Montessori environments can teach you everything a public school can, but at the same time, leaves so much room open for individuals to learn on their own.

One of the many concepts and beliefs that come from Maria Montessori is creating a learning environment where the students have been guided [by their teacher], but have continued their learning and exploration without the teacher “holding their hand” every step of the way. That is when she (Maria Montessori) felt the teacher has truly succeeded.

So, in order for education and our future to succeed, we need to stop with this whole, “proving a subject is truly worthwhile to have in schools,” and, “teaching to the test,” mentalities. Because, if we really allowed a teacher to do the job they are most passionate about, without having all of these mandated tests, I feel our future and educational system would be that much brighter.




Chelsea Miller is currently an employee out at the Jackson County Green Energy Park, working as the Program Assistant. She graduated from Western Carolina University (WCU) in December of 2014 with a B.S.Ed. and a BFA and is currently enrolled in the Masters of Entrepreneurship Degree Program at WCU. Webmasters and other article publishers are hereby granted article reproduction permission as long as this article in its entirety, author’s information, and any links remain intact. Copyright 2017 by Chelsea R. Miller. 

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The Critical Importance of Explanation

Picture in your mind that you just developed a breakthrough business idea, and now it’s time to tell your friends, partners, and potential investors all about it. Next, picture yourself doing homework (not very difficult, I’d imagine), and your assignment involves writing an essay on a particular topic. Finally, picture yourself speaking with all the people you encounter on a day-to-day basis. Now ask yourself, what did the three of these situations all require from you while you lived them out?

It might not have been on the tip of your tongue, but “explanation” is one of the major components that is required from you in each of these situations. In fact, almost everything we do in life requires explanation when at least one other person is involved. And this high degree of frequency is exactly what makes great, clear explanation of critical importance to each of us. Just think of all the things that would be impossible if good explanation didn’t exist – school, work, training, writing, pitching ideas, brainstorming, collaborating; the list continues on into infinity.

As a result of this great importance and the fact that each of us explain things daily, I thought it would be a good idea to write about my techniques for explaining subjects in an easy to understand way. Sometimes complex, other times simple – my personal belief is that either type can become comprehendible when broken down into small enough pieces through logical explanation. And since, over many years,  I’ve had many people tell me that I have a knack for this sort of explanation, perhaps it would be beneficial to jot down a framework or techniques for such a topic. My mind began to think, and the following four bullet points are a few of the techniques I use.

1. Act as if you are explaining the subject to a version of yourself who doesn’t know a single thing about it. Unless you specifically know that the person or people you are communicating with know something about your subject, always start from scratch. By beginning your explanation with a clean slate, you’ll ensure that a more complete understanding of the topic is conveyed, while avoiding the disaster of completing a complex and time consuming explanation that is missing bricks in its foundation.

2. If your audience does know something about the subject at hand, you should still begin your explanation one level below their understanding. This will ensure that your audience can build upon their current understanding without creating a disconnect of information when you add onto it without properly “linking” what has already been learned and what will be learned.

3. Tell people what it is that you wish someone would have told you way back when you first learned about it. When you first learned about the subject at hand (perhaps years ago), there were likely things that you wished you knew about sooner than when you were told about them. Thoughts like “well I wish I had known that a long time ago!” are a great bank of inspiration to pull from. Think about what those specific facts were that would have helped you at the onset of learning, then incorporate those into your initial explanation of the topic when you communicate with others.

4. It is possible (and often wise) to break almost every topic down into multiple, small, sequential steps. First of all, the brain can capture small steps easier than large steps since there isn’t as much information being thrown at it. Second, even if your audience forgets the details of a particular step, they will most likely still remember that there is “a” step in the process at that point. This will allow them to more quickly re-learn the information while accurately placing it where it belongs in the architecture of your explanation. Quite the opposite occurs when an idea isn’t broken down into small pieces and some small piece is forgotten. Instead of being able to at least recall that the information is missing, the audience might not even miss it since the information is less structured and more closely resembles a blur.

You’ve probably used many or all of these tactics when explaining things to others, but I’ve found that taking time to examine the techniques of communication we so often use without question can be beneficial to both our success and the success of those around us. These four techniques are just a few of the ways that I like to explain things to people, and they have proven to be a great success. Give them a try and see what happens!

Austin Parker is an aspiring entrepreneur with interests in what makes businesses and entrepreneurs successful. He is also currently enrolled in the Masters of Entrepreneurship Degree Program at Western Carolina University. Webmasters and other article publishers are hereby granted article reproduction permission as long as this article in its entirety, author’s information, and any links remain intact. Copyright 2017 by Austin Parker.

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3 Marketing Strategies Every Artist Should Implement

Are you a new artist? Are you a veteran artist looking to increase interest in your product? Marketing can be an expensive, time-consuming and a tough road to travel when you are new to entrepreneurship. Here are 3 marketing strategies that are inexpensive and require minimal time away from art production!

Social Media

Social media marketing is a strategy that is just that, social. It is typically done on an Internet platform that engages the public in your content via your computer, smartphone or tablet. Social media allows your target consumers to engage with you and your brand. Some of the most common social media platforms used in marketing today are Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Managing your Social Media Marketing can be very time-consuming. So, I recommend focusing your time and content on a few sites. Here are some recommendations:

Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube are visual platforms that will connect your art with customers. With Facebook you can create a business page this is separate from your personal page. The business page will allow you to create a community of followers that can like, comment, and share your images and content. Instagram has the same basic framework as Facebook in that you can create multiple profiles and navigate between them within the app on your phone. This similarity is nice if you have a personal and a business profile. Instagram is a social media outlet that focuses on images which are perfect for visual artists. Again, you can create a community of followers. For Instagram, the usage of the hashtag is vital in generating traffic to your profile, unlike Facebook that is better built on sending requests and calling for people to share your page.

YouTube allows the public to take a step into your studio to see you working on your most current pieces. It may not seem like YouTube is a form of social media but in fact, by definition it is. Social media is any networking platform that allows users to communicate and connect in a social way. Due to the ability to like, share, and comment on videos on YouTube it is truly a social network. YouTube is actually a social media platform before it is a video marketing technique. In the next section, I will share a bit of information about how you can turn this social media platform into a video marketing tool!

Video Marketing

Video marketing is meant to call your consumer or viewer to action. For a video, you create to be considered video marketing it should either generate interest back to your website or to something they will need to pay for in order to gain additional access. Videos are a great way to share your talent with the public and generate interest in your art. Videos also allow your followers and subscribers to get to know you. Viewers enjoy the feeling of developing a relationship with you. When you can create a sense of loyalty, your viewers can become some of your best marketing partners because they may share your videos with their friends.

Since YouTube is free this is a great way to share videos that focus on your art technique or provide short free tutorials for a specific art medium. Don’t forget for this to be a marketing technique it needs to generate something the viewer will need to act upon or purchase. By running a link at the end of your video to send them to your website or offering more in-depth instructional videos for a price at the end, will qualify as a video marketing tool. With YouTube, you can create a channel that may focus on the techniques of your particular style of art or you can post instructional videos with step-by-step information to complete a unique piece of artwork. Free and low-cost video editing software, like Apple’s iMovie or Windows Movie Maker, is available to allow you to truly customize your videos before uploading to YouTube.

Let’s use a watercolor artist who focuses on floral still life, as an example. The artist posts a 5-minute painting tutorial on the subject matter of roses on YouTube. The video was created through the iMovie software that comes standard on most Apple computers currently. At the end of the free 5-minute video, the artist then advertises a paid 30-minute video from their website that will walk the viewer through painting a floral still life with roses from start to finish. The webcam and software come standard with Apple products. The cost for creating this example of video marketing was free.

Social Media and video marketing are both virtual ways to reach your target audience. A low-cost type of marketing that is more tactile and leaves a lasting impression on your audience is through guerilla marketing.

Guerilla Marketing

Guerilla marketing is a grassroots, low-cost, fun, and in-your-face marketing strategy. Often guerilla marketing takes the form of visual art like spray paint tags or unique posters and decals allowing it to seem like a natural fit for visual artists. This marketing strategy is meant to create interest and cause the bystander to be curious enough to investigate the advertisement. It takes more imagination and creativity than money to make guerilla marketing work for you.

Implementing guerilla marketing can be a fun and exciting. Some ideas for guerilla marketing might be to use vinyl stickers or paper posters; this is called wild posting. Walking billboards or quick pop up galleries of work in public places are another trending approach. It should also be stated that legal issues can arise in regard to how or where wild posting and pop-up galleries appear. Posting decals or posters can cause an issue especially if they are placed on paid advertising or local, state or federal fixtures. In most municipalities, there are permits that are required for setting up in public places. Don’t let the risk of legal infringement deter you from using this strategy. With the proper research and planning, guerilla marketing can be a quick and fun way to create buzz about your art.

Social media, video marketing, and guerilla marketing are ways to increase awareness and create artist loyalty from the community near and far. Successful marketing will help you increase brand awareness and loyalty among art consumers.

Heather Miranda Sholar is an artist and owner of Apogee Art Studio, writer and developer of Oak City Business Blog and graduate student with North Carolina State University in the Masters of Parks, Recreation, Tourism and Sports Management. She is also currently enrolled in the Masters of Entrepreneurship Degree Program at Western Carolina University. Webmasters and other article publishers are hereby granted article reproduction permission as long as this article in its entirety, author’s information, and any links remain intact. Copyright 2017 by Heather Sholar.

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Creating Effective Social Media – 5 Easy Steps to Creating Social Media That Reaches Your Target

Effectively creating a social media presence is not as hard as it seems. Use five easy steps to improve your online presence now.

1) Know your target audience: You know your customer (or you should) – that’s your audience. All audiences have diversity: age, economic background, style, and interest areas. Now, when you create content, do it as if you are directly speaking to them. Start a conversation. Spark your target’s imagination. Use humor and remember that being too formal can seem inauthentic. Don’t forget to be online with your audience. Explore what they talk about, what they like, what they share, what they hashtag. Interact to get to know them. Tip: use hashtags to research the climate around a topic and see what’s trending.

2) Intentionally set boundaries: After you have visualized your target audience you will need to set up “Go” and “No-Go” areas for your content. These parameters are simplistic yet, paramount. Setting social media boundaries will help you keep your target group happy. Your goal is to create content that is professional and pleasing to your audience. Remember, what is appropriate for one audience, may not be relevant for another. Areas to carefully consider: politics, profanity, slang verbiage, etc.

3) Find a graphics tools that work for you: Creating graphics will serve you well, as visuals are an integral part of all social media platforms. Even Twitter is now more visually based; they have made it easier than ever to share graphics and animated gifts, right at the point of creation. You can put your best visual foot forward by utilizing any purchased, or free, graphic software like Adobe Suite (purchased) or Pixler (free). You will want to research which programs work best with your skill level; there are many online to explore.

4) Consider your platform: Create visual content with limited text, to show/say something significant and inspirational. Know what rules apply to the platform you are using. For example, Twitter limits you to 140 characters or less. These rules will shape your content. Research platform parameters online to familiarize yourself with each structure.

5) Use color: Don’t forget to utilize color; it draws the eye! You can also create a theme of colors that you will use to represent your brand. Using colors enhances what someone feels, for example, Greens and Blues are said to create trust and a fresh feeling, while yellows, reds, and oranges are said to excite, or even make the viewer hungry (think fast food chains). Create content that welcomes your audience to take a closer look. Tip: add your logo to most of the content you create.

By using the five steps above: knowing your audience, setting boundaries, optimizing graphics, mastering platforms, and through utilizing color, you are well on your way to creating social media that effectively reaches your target.

Stephanie Newby is the owner of Newgreenie Inc, an Entrepreneur, Writer, Current Graduate Student and Social Media Enthusiast. Webmasters and other article publishers are hereby granted article reproduction permission if this article is shared in its entirety, author’s information, and any links remain intact. Copyright 2017 by Stephanie Newby, Newgreenie Inc.

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