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Facebook brings people together during life’s milestones

by guest blogger, Jackie Eldridge

The last thing I want to sound like is an advertisement for Facebook. (That’s my caveat for this post.)

I know I’ve said many times that Facebook and Google are taking over the world. Maybe I should say they’re changing the world instead. Despite all the push-back each giant receives regarding privacy, I believe the ability to share our lives to many usurps the threat of privacy. (Hmmm. There used to be  a mega giant called the yellow pages who had all of our private information and published it in a book!! Then they distributed to everyone!! Hope this puts Facebook in perspective.)

My cousin Patrick and his partner Tabatha had their first child last week. Facebook kept me in the loop to the point that I almost felt like I was in Ohio with them. I read updates, enjoyed videos and chatted with family. Pretty amazing that technology can bring people together during a major life event. The photos and videos meant everything to me.

Then there’s my friend Lindsay. Her father has had stage IV cancer for a year now. I read her posts, and those of her siblings, as her dad transitioned from hospital to hospice. Reading the posts not only kept me connected, but I couldn’t help but feel that Facebook was serving a much larger purpose for Lindsay and her three siblings. They were posting their feelings, talking to God, praying, reminiscing, sharing photos—truly commemorating their lives with their father. This morning, when their dad passed, I read their posts and felt connected to them, and most of all, they were connected to each other. I cried for them. Today, on his death, I know his life was full—as full as a parent’s could be—because he, too, got to witness how his kids and grandkids expressed their feelings and love for him, with some thanks to Facebook. When a loved one is passing,  we often break that stubborn dam of intimacy and flood them with last words and pent-up emotions. While I have no doubt that Linds and family did their share of “flooding” with their dad, I know that being able to emote on Facebook for the past three weeks has been a great release for them. And it’s made them a closer family.

Despite the privacy issues (that we need to constantly monitor) Facebook’s ability to bring people together during life’s milestones is a gift.

November 15, 2013   No Comments

DollarDays Featured on DailyLounge.com

DollarDays has a huge arts and crafts customer base. With thousands of creative products and rare finds to choose from, our customers can get their craft fixes by logging in, browsing and buying. It’s that easy!

Because of our large following of crafters, we were selected to choose a question to ask a panel of professional crafters on the very popular DailyLounge.com’s live chat today. Our question was, “Being crafty, nuture or nature?” Hands down, the four panelists agreed it was a combination of each! We had fun being a part of their chat! View the chat here.

dailyloungeSM

November 7, 2013   No Comments

Converse, Don’t Complain

by Hiroshi Mikitani, CEO, Rakuten Inc., from LinkedIn

ballSometime today, you may take a break from your work and walk around the office. Perhaps you will talk to a colleague. What will you say? Will you complain about the boss? About the workload? About the weather?

That is common. But it’s not helpful. If you work in a big company, chances are this kind of complaining is what usually goes on in the hallways. But if you look at small companies – at venture start-ups – there is a different buzz in the halls. That’s the sound of conversation.

The best part about being an up-and-coming company was always having someone to play verbal “catch” with. Starting a company is an experiment of trial and error, and when something happens you always end up discussing it with those around you. When Rakuten was in its early stages, there were not many employees, and the office was small. It was as if we were playing verbal “catch” 24 hours a day, all year long. It is no exaggeration to say that Rakuten today was born out of the conversations of that period.

In bigger companies, that natural ongoing conversation may fall off. When that happens, the company loses a critical tool.

In the same way that pro baseball players use a game of catch to warm up and check their form, you can use conversation to verify whether your own way of thinking and judgment are correct or not.

Try raising an issue – “throwing a ball around” – with those nearest to you. People are strange creatures. In most instances, if you throw a ball to someone, they will throw it back. And from there you can start playing catch. This is much more constructive than just approaching other people to complain about your boss or coworkers, or to gossip. And more than just helping you to find a good conversation partner, it is fun.

October 30, 2013   No Comments

Helping others is what we’re all about

Pinelake IndiaIf you know anything at all about DollarDays, then you know we always like to help others in need.  And we love to hear about others doing the same and thought we’d share a story of a customer who is devoted to helping others.

Pinelake Church, with several locations in Mississippi, is helping people in Punjab, India who are in need.  Teams from Pinelake Church travel to India and offer a Compassion Kit that is a good-sized box filled with practical living items like soap, toothpaste, t-shirts and other basic items.  The Kit is a gift that also shares the story of Jesus and gives the opportunity for a person to begin their own story of knowing Jesus.

DollarDays feels fortunate to be Pinelake Church’s wholesale connection for the contents of the Compassion Kits. It’s projects like these that make us feel like we are making a difference too.

Keep up the good work, Pinelake Church!

October 9, 2013   No Comments

Should You Open Your Own Online Store?

By Marc Joseph

storeThe economic recovery for most is much slower than the news would lead you to believe. Many people ask themselves, “How can I supplement my income so I can provide more for my family?” The perceived hot trend to accomplish this goal is doing business on the Internet—but it is not as easy as it looks. Before you go off and open an online store, you need to fully understand what online stores are all about.

Online stores are not much different than physical stores except you don’t have to worry about paying the rent or having a lot of money tied up in inventory. In online stores you still need to present the right product at the right time at the right price. You still need to be very clear about what you are selling and project stellar customer service.

The first obstacle to overcome is deciding what to sell. It is always much easier and much more fun to sell something you have a passion for. That way the long hours you spend with your online store become more engaging and less work. Many products are more conducive to selling online, such as jewelry, clothing or school supplies, while other products are more difficult to sell when they can’t be seen in person, such as refrigerators or leather sofas. So, the questions you need to ask yourself about what to sell in your online store include:

  • Can I sell a digital product that can be sent right over the Internet (like an e-book) or should I sell a physical product that needs to be shipped?
  • Will you specialize in one category of goods like pets or party supplies or will you offer a wide selection of products?
  • Do you have to house inventory or can you find a company to drop ship for you?
  • Will you be creating your own product to sell? If so, are you going to make it yourself or do you need to form a relationship with a vendor who will manufacture it for you?
  • How are you going to ship your product? From your home, a storage facility or drop shipper from a third party warehouse?

The second obstacle to overcome is finding the customer niche who will buy from you. You need to list what differentiates your site from all the other similar sites (and don’t kid yourself, they are out there) found online. So, to find the right niche:

  • Study the competition and if you can’t beat them with product or price or customer service, find another niche. Go to the main marketplaces like Amazon, Wal-Mart, Sears, Rakuten, Tiger Direct or Newegg to see who is already selling and make sure you can do it better or faster or cheaper
  • Become the expert on what you sell. Show your passion for your products through original content that differentiates you from others. The more originality you add to the site, the more you stand out
  • Make sure it is easy to purchase from your site. Even if the products are similar to other sites online, you will set your site apart by making shopping easy. The quicker you can get customers from liking the products to finalizing the sale, the more you will stand out from all the competition

There are plenty of places on the Internet that can help you open up your dream store. Yahoo stores, Go Daddy, Volusion, Big Commerce, Doba, 1&1, Web.com and a whole slew of other sites can be your partner. “Build it and they will come” sounds good in movies, but it does not work the same with online stores. Marketing your site with search engine optimization, paid search, emails, affiliates, etc., will be the topic of another article.

At DollarDays.com, we have partnered with Lucrazon to offer an easy and fast way to get a site up and running. There are several website templates to choose from and you can sell as many products as you like. In fact, the DollarDays products are already uploaded to your site, so you can decide if you want to sell them all or just a few departments. There is no limit to the amount of pages you can create and the site is integrated into a shopping cart so you can begin selling in less than an hour.

We come back to the original question of should you open your own online store. It is inexpensive to get started if you find the right store-building partner and the right drop shipper of products for you. It can become a black hole if you start to throw money at every marketing scheme that comes along. So like any business, it takes time to build. If you are an entrepreneur, an optimist and a hard worker, then you should be in the online store business. If you believe that if you pay for a site and all you have to do is sit back and watch for an income stream, then the online store is not for you. The Internet is still the Wild West. Learn how to do guerilla marketing on the Internet with your online store, show your customers you are passionate about what you sell and this could be a fun way to make a living.

August 22, 2013   No Comments

Taking the SAT? Get FREE online test prep help

DollarDays SAT Test PrepNationwide, million of students take the SAT exam each year  for admission to colleges and universities. The SAT is the standarized benchmark exam that determines who gets into which schools, based upon scores.  If a student wants to go attend a top tier school, it’s important to do well on the SAT.  That’s why it’s important to take an online test prepration class prior to taking the exam. Not only can it help raise students’ scores, it can also build confidence for the big exam day. It will also help students manage the expectations regarding the flow of the exam.

Studying for the SAT is a smart plan, but knowing how to study is even smarter.  That’s why DollarDays has partnered with Boston Test Prep, an online SAT test prep tool, to give away 1,000 online SAT test prep courses through the end of August. We believe using this course can be the difference between a decent score and an amazing score!

So, go be amazing and enter to win a free SAT test prep course. You deserve it!

 

August 16, 2013   No Comments

Back to School: It’s Make It or Break It Time for the Economy

by Marc Joseph (reprinted from August 1, 2013 Huffington Post)

Marc Joseph Dollar DaysSpending this fall for students K-12 is expected to drop 12 percent, according to a National Retail Federation survey reported in the Wall Street Journal. The average that will be spent on each kid is $634.78, down from $688.62 in 2012. Even those going to college are expecting decreases from $836.80 this year, down from $907.22 last year. So it looks like the payroll tax hike, the sequestration and the continued sluggish job market are finally going to rear their ugly heads during the first major sales season of the year. This is troublesome news for retailers because the back to school (BTS) season is like the canary in the coal mine; BTS sales trends historically predict how the holiday fourth quarter sales will turn out. And in another BTS warning about the economy, 47.7 percent of college students expect to live at home, up from 42.9 percent in 2012.

These depressing numbers tell us that the American family has begun to focus on the needs of their children for BTS rather than the wants of their kids. If working Americans are having trouble getting their kids ready for BTS, what about the children in families stuck in poverty or not working at all? According to The Hechinger Report, poverty is getting so concentrated in America that one out of five public schools is classified as a “high poverty” school by the US Department of Education. To be classified as high poverty, 75 percent of an elementary, middle or high school students must qualify for a free or reduced price lunch.

Moyers & Co. reports that U.S. poverty (fewer than $17,916 for a family of 3) affects 46.2 million people, up 15.1 percent. The 16.1 million children in poverty are 22% of all children, including 39 percent of African-American and 34 percent of Latino kids. Deep poverty (fewer than $11,510 for a family of 4) hits 20.4 million people, which represents 1 in 15 Americans. On top of all this, we have 1,065,794 homeless students enrolled in U.S. preschools and K-12 schools and we know that only 48 percent of poor children are ready for school by the age of 5, compared to 75 percent of children from moderate and high income families.

So we have parents who are going to be spending less on their children for BTS. And we have poverty creating a major burden for schools to figure out how to deal with accommodating these kids’ needs. This is a bleak time for not only our economy, but to the answer of how we cope with an all-inclusive society so that no child is left behind.

Some organizations are rising to the occasion with drives to provide the underprivileged with what they need to go back to school with dignity with staples like backpacks, school supplies and clothes. Fox News reported in St. Louis that the National Council of Jewish Women brought a Back to School store to 1,200 children in need where they could just pick out what they needed for school. The Broomfield Enterprise in Colorado reports the organization “Crayons to Calculators” hopes to provide 9,000 students with new backpacks full of supplies. The City Wire in Arkansas reports on the “Stuff the Bus” campaign supported by the United Way where bright yellow buses will be scattered throughout Fort Smith, AR to collect school supplies for children in need. This is the ninth year of Stuff the Bus. We can all help online at Operation Backpack, where they are gathering backpacks for the New York City children in need (collected 13,500 in 2012). At DollarDays on our Facebook page, we are giving away $2,500 in products to a back to school drive that is nominated, so submit your favorite.

We have been putting up with this recession since late 2007. It has been close to six years where the poor are getting poorer, the needy are getting needier and now it looks like our school children will be getting less. Spending less for BTS is a major blow to our economy and when word of this decrease becomes widespread, it will be a major blow to the American psyche. As Americans, we have to do what we can do to ensure the long-term survival of our educational system, because all these kids, rich and poor, are our future. Dig deep into your pockets and help out your local backpack drive by donating backpacks, school supplies or cash so they can buy what is needed for the underprivileged. If you are a parent or grandparent, spend a little more on your kids for BTS so we can prove the predictions wrong. If this BTS season is truly less than last year, then we are in for a long, cold fall and winter retail season which will keep us in this recession for another year.

August 1, 2013   No Comments

Easy way to help your favorite charity

You don’t even have to get out of your chair. Just click on this image and you will be taken to our June Facebook Sweepstakes.

This month, all you have to do is nominate your favorite charity and they will be entered to win in the $5,000 merchandise giveaway. There will be 18 winners total, with a $2,000 first place prize, $1,000 for second place and $500 for third place.  Fifteen will each receive $100 in merchandise. Winners don’t EVER have to pay a penny. No shipping, no taxes.

Tell your friends. Tell your church! Tell everyone! Enter now to help your charity.dollardays, contest, $5,000 contest, non-prfit contest

June 12, 2013   No Comments

5 Ways to Help Teachers and Students Beat Sequestration

may13contest_160x300“Here we are at the end of another school year, and once again, teachers throughout the US are facing uncertainty,” said Marc Joseph, Founder and CEO of DollarDays.  “Will they have a job next school year, and if so, will their classrooms balloon to unmanageable sizes? Congress has not acted and now the impact of sequestration on federal educational programs is becoming a frightening reality.”

DollarDays, America’s premier online wholesaler, works closely with teachers and school administrators across the country, supplying the tools and supplies needed most in public education. We hear the horror stories of budget and personnel cuts from our customers in primary and secondary education throughout the year and the thought of deeper education cuts does not look good for our kids or our teachers.

Who are the biggest victims of the education sequester?
• Special needs kids and Head Start (the pre-school program for disadvantaged kids)
• Poor kids and Title 1 (federal support for low income school districts)

What are the consequences of education cuts?­­
• Special needs kids may not get the therapy they need
• School districts may become reluctant to classify kids with disabilities because of the cuts to this program
• Art and music programs may be reduced or cut to help the budget gap

Five ways  Americans  can help our teachers and students now:
1. Communicate with your representatives in the House and in the Senate.
2.  Donate to National Teachers Assistance Organization for professional assistance for teachers.
3.  At Donors Choose, public school teachers post classroom project requests and you can donate to the project that most inspires you.
4.  At Start Donating, they match donors with teachers in need of supplies.
5. And at DollarDays on our Facebook page, we are giving away $5,000 worth of products in May to help teachers across this great country; so please nominate your favorite teacher who deserves your help.

People become teachers because they want to help others and they want to make a difference. Our teachers need to focus on their passion, instead of worrying about if they will lose their jobs because our political leaders could not act to protect the educational system, which has been the backbone of our society.  Let’s hope our leaders come to their senses before it is too late for our kids, and in the long run, the future of this country.

“It may seem like contacting a senator or donating supplies couldn’t possibly make a difference, but collectively, we can make a difference—a difference that will help our ­­­teachers, our kids and our country.  Be sure to visit DollarDays.com and nominate your favorite teacher to win in our $5,000 school supplies giveaway—eighteen teachers will be randomly selected to win,” said Marc Joseph.

 

May 10, 2013   No Comments

Winners of our April $5,000 Pet Shelter Giveaway!

Dog thank youCongrats to the Winners of our April $5,000 Pet Shelter Giveaway!
$2000 winner: Partners for Pets
$1,000 winner: Jefferson County Humane Society
$500 winner: Adams County Pet Rescue in Othello
$100 winners:

DeKalb County Animal Shelter,P.A.W.S. Tinley Park, Haven of the Ozarks Animal Sanctuary,Pinal Animal Control,HELP Humane in Belton, MO, Clay County Humane Society,Trenton Animal Shelter,Windham County Humane Society,Oconto County Humane Society Oconto,It’s Meow or Never Animal Rescue,Lenawee County Humane Shelter,Eau Claire County Animal Shelter,THE ARK, National Mill Dog Rescue, One of A Kind Pet Rescue

Big thanks to all who entered their favorite pet shelters!

Be sure to participate in our “Nominate your Favorite Teacher $5,000 Giveaway” this month on Facebook!

May 2, 2013   1 Comment