Are You Not Sure if Your Shipment is Over-Sized?
AA Freight Brokers
If the item or items you are going to ship might exceed the height, width, length, or weight restrictions of your state, or any state they will be traveling in, you need to get very good measurements to your freight broker.
In the instance that you cannot get an accurate weight because you lack the equipment to do so, you need to have the weight estimated using a reliable method. With this information, your broker can help you determine the right trailer needed, and advise whether or not permits will be needed. Your freight broker should take care of obtaining all permits. There will be a cost that varies state by state.
The Importance of Accurate Shipping Information:
Once on the road, a truck (with your material or goods) can be held up for inaccurate information. Once it is held up, it must be remedied before it can be moved from that weigh station, or location that it has been stopped. If this happens many states away from you, not only do you have to count on your goods being safely trans-loaded, but expect a hefty cost for having it done. Give your broker accurate information. Include any dunnage that affects the dimensions.
STATE BY STATE: For your reference, this link contains the contact information for each state's department of transportation. http://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/freight/sw/permit_report/index.htm#obt
Your shipment will require a permit for each state your goods will travel through. Occasionally a city will require additional permitting. Limitations for each state will be similar to those I have listed below for Arizona, but, may have some varying restrictions. Some cities also add restrictions. Keep in mind that older parts of the country, such as in the east, may have bridges and overpasses, and some areas of cities will have overhead lines that have not been upgraded to modern standards.
Basic restrictions for the State of Arizona:
Length: 65’ on non-designated highways - including truck, trailer, and your goods
Overhang:3’ front or 6’ rear (with permit). legally, you can usually overhang 2' front and 4' back
Weight: GVW 80,000 lbs.--GVW- gross vehicle weight- includes the truck, trailer, and your goods
Width: 8’ 6”
Height: 14’ on Interstate; 13’ 6” on secondary road- this measures from the ground to the top of your freight, including any dunnage, lifting supports, etc...
Pilot Car - Escort Car Requirements:
Width: On 2 lanes over 14’ requires 1 pilot car or escort vehicle in front of truck and 1 the rear of truck. On Interstates over 15’ wide you are required to have 1 pilot car in front of truck.
Height: Over 17’ requires 1 pilot car in front of truck.
Length: On 2 Lanes:Over 120’ requires 1 pilot car in front of truck and 1 rear of truck.
On Interstates:Over 120’ requires 1 pilot car in front of truck.
It is important to remember that the permitting offices will provide the route for the truck driver. They could possibly add miles to avoid bridges, overpasses, city roads, etc... I had a route for an over-height load from San Antonio to Dallas, and the permitting office added over 100 additional miles to that route. Your freight broker will not know this until the permit has been issued. Give her plenty of time for accurate pricing for miles. Permits expire within 96 hours. If the load is delayed, another permit will need to be purchased.
HOURS OF MOVEMENT:
Permitted loads have restrictions for travel during certain hours, called "hours of movement". Usually, you cannot be on the roads in the many city limits during rush hour traffic. If you are in the city, you will have to wait until after that time to leave your yard. Also, the driver must pull over at certain times so they are not travelling at night when restricted to do so. They cannot just stop where they are, so, even if they can travel until a half hour after sunset, they need to stop at a place they can stay the night. You need to plan around these time restrictions to make sure you do not miss your own deadlines with your customers. Some loads will need to travel with escorts at night time.
DIVISIBLE VS NON-DIVISIBLE LOADS:
This is something that is often not well understood by shippers. If your load is divisible, it must be shipped in a way to avoid it being over-sized. Example: If you have two or more pieces that will be more than 102" when placed side by side, you must re-arrange them so that they are not over-width, or you will need to arrange for additional transportation. A “non-divisible load” is one piece or item which cannot be separated into units of less weight or width, or height, without affecting the physical integrity of the load. Examples of non-divisible loads include, but are not limited to single poles, girders, columns, wood or metal trusses, buildings, houses. A state may require you to remove a part of a heavy piece of machinery, such as a bucket, to make it under the weight restriction. It would then be shipped on a separate truck. If it is too time consuming to do so, you may have to provide proof to the permitting office of such.
CONSIDER BECOMING INVOLVED IN THE PLANNING AND DESIGN PHASE OF PROJECTS:
The design and/or planning department at your organization should consider you as an invaluable resource when planning projects that will eventually be shipped to another location. It may be better to design and build projects within shipping limitations to avoid additional costs and/or delays when it comes time to ship. For example, if you are designing a sign, you may need to design it to be constructed in two or more pieces and then assembled at the installation site. Involving the shipping department at the beginning can often times save an organization big headaches!
Please request a copy of trailer types and guidelines, including illustrations, by emailing: SEND TRAILER TYPES AND GUIDELINES to: firstname.lastname@example.org
I gained 4.5 lbs of muscle and lost 2.5 lbs of fat in 39 days.
I've posted my results. I'm a 44 year old man. I don't take any supplements. My secret is threefold:
- I eat one time per day
- I work out with weights and walk
- I have added modified German Volume Training to my workouts
Herein I want to emphasize my addition of a modified form of German Volume Training to my fat burning and strength training routine.
But before I get to this point, let me start by saying that at my age I have had a ton of success managing my weight by eating one meal a day, and I've blogged a lot about this diet. Additionally, I have been very successful maintaining my muscle and restoring my strength to historic levels by using a pretty low volume, but heavy weight training program. So, before today I had a great program for losing weight while increasing my strength to old highs.
However, never before, not even as a young man, was I ever able to gain weight while losing fat.
This means adding muscle weight while getting leaner! And I'll say it once again. All it took was adding a third step to my diet and exercise routine. I added German Volume Training, granted I modified it a bit. By "modified" I mean I'm doing it a little less rigorously than the strength coaches advocate.
First, let me explain what I understand German Volume Training ("GVT") to be. Opinions differ, but it is essentially working out with a weight you can lift for 10 sets of 10, pausing between sets between 20 seconds to 2 minutes. By weight you can lift, the "experts" say you should be using a weight between 60-70% as heavy as you can lift for a single set of 10. Granted, coaches and trainers will vary in what they describe to be the rules of GVT. I've read a lot of conflicting authority, and I'm not sure who invented GVT.
But for argument's sake, and to keep it simple, let's assume GVT consists of doing 10 sets of 10 with 60% of your 10 rep max, with a minute of rest in between. You only hit each major muscle once a week with one exercise for 10 sets of 10. E.g. if you are hitting your chest with GVT, you pick one chest exercise to do for 10 sets of 10, and you use 60% of what you can do for 1 set of 10. Then, you don't do another 10 sets of 10 of anything for chest for at least a week. Do the same for your back, quads, or any other muscles you want to build. I personally stick to the big muscle groups, e.g. back, chest, quads, and traps. Sometimes you can do smaller muscle groups, like biceps or triceps, maybe every other week. Besides, GVT for back really gets your biceps. In other words, doing the major muscles usually sufficiently hits the minor ones.
Now that we have a consensus on what GVT is, I'll tell you how and why I modified it by only doing about 40% of my 1 set of 10 max instead of 60%. And I rest as long as I feel it takes to get the next set of 10. This can mean resting up to three minutes between sets.
We know the reason I have to go easier than the standard program requires. As I said, I'm 44. My joints and other working parts just can't take as much as they once could. Yes, I'm even a bit of a hypocrite because now I'm advocating GVT when my originally proposed exercise routine (which we are now supplementing with high volume) is based on lifting weights at a low volume level, for as little as one heavy set per muscle with lots of warming up. My only defense is that my modified German Volume Training program is very low weight for high volume. My basic routine (which may appear contradictory) avoids high volume with heavy weight.
So in conclusion, I've added 4.5 lbs of muscle and lost 2.5 lbs of fat in less than 5 weeks. All I did was add modified GVT to my standard diet and exercise routine. This means, I eat once a day, do my regular weightlifting routine every morning, and at the end of each routine, I throw the old GVT at a muscle I haven't punished in a week: 10 sets of 10 at 40% of my 1 set of 10 reps max, resting as needed to make sure I can pump out the next set of 10. And given the short duration of my exposure to this new program, I haven't even gotten to periodically increasing the weight.
I will keep you posted!
When you need the best freight broker you can find, there are a few important things to consider
Quick Response Time:
A responsive freight broker will always be quick to respond to you and will keep you informed, even if just to reply back to your request for quote or a reliable lead time, that they are "working on it!" You should never feel you are abandoned, especially when the pressure to get a shipment out is mounting.
All of Your Questions are Important:
A knowledgeable freight broker welcomes all of your questions and answers them. She knows that you are the best source of information for planning ahead and avoiding the problems you've often experienced shipping your materials or manufactured equipment and goods. You have to work as a team to get from dock to dock, and she knows two heads are better than one. Together, your questions and combined knowledge will lead to your freight being shipped to its destination in good condition. It will arrive within the anticipated lead time, and with as few administrative, highway department, and red tape hiccups as possible.
Trust is Key:
Find a broker you can trust. They should treat your company and business as their own, with care, concern, and seriousness. After all, they really are an extension of your company, and one of its representatives. They are your agent. How do you know the trust is there? Actions speak louder than words. As a freight broker, I call all of my consignees to make sure they are expecting the shipment, sometimes multiple times. I always verify the delivery address. I always ask lots of questions about delivery to make sure there aren't any surprises. For instance, will we be able to back the truck up to the dock without any trouble? Such an approach, being proactive, not only establishes trust with my clients, it shows them that I really care. It also fixes a lot of problems before they arrive. Finally, I never forget that when I call the consignee, I am truly representing my customer. I need to be professional, patient, and prepared.
No Old "Bait and Switch:"
Have you ever been given a freight price and then the lined-up truck suffered 'a service breakdown'? It happens. But, does it ever seem to happen with the same broker over and over? Many brokers will give you a rate, say they have a truck secured, but, they are just trying to cut all the other brokers you are going to out of the equation. There never was a truck available to suffer a 'service breakdown' in the first place! Nevertheless, this old shady trick gets you gouged. Remember the trust. It is better for you to have an honest broker who will tell you when there is really a truck available and when there is not.
I refuse to commit to a price without a carrier ready to take it. If I give a quote and do not have a truck, I will let my customer know I'm still looking for a truck. I will give my best estimate based on normal rates for that lane, and let you know it is based on availability during the time frame you need the shipment to be made. There are a lot of variables, and risks with pricing. Both broker and customer need to balance the risk and cost, and to do so honesty is the best policy. For instance, we both know the weather can change the availability of trucks. If there are 20 trucks and 10 loads out of that area for pickup, I can negotiate a good price. If there are 10 trucks and 20 loads, the carrier pretty much can have their pick and they WILL raise their prices to the broker, which unfortunately passes to the customer.
As I've emphasized before, It really doesn't take that much time for me to keep you informed of the status of the pick ups and deliveries of your shipments. If your broker isn't doing this consistently, you need to find one that does. To always know what is happening with your freight keeps your worry away and it makes you look smart in the eyes of your superiors, as well as in those of your own customers.
Your freight broker needs to be able to quickly answer questions about load and material restrictions, highway conditions, the weather, and the transportation laws and regulations over the highways your load will be traveling, just to name very few. She will either immediately inform you, or she will find the answer and call you back promptly. She will always have knowledge of the resources available, or will diligently pursue the answers you need so that you can be properly advised. The greater the knowledge of all the conditions through which your freight will traverse, the better positioned you are for a safe and on time delivery.
Always remember that some lanes are tougher than others. Just because you paid $1.90 per mile on one lane doesn't always mean that you will pay $1.90 a mile on another. The nearest truck may be 100-200 miles away this time. The location to which you are delivering may offer very little outgoing freight. Lots of variables can increase your costs. The drivers are another variable. Their costs for leasing, operating and maintaining their trucks vary from driver to driver. If a driver thinks your lane will cost them money at your expected price, they will move on to another less risky opportunity.
Your broker should share all of her knowledge with you. You should inform her of all the considerations and pitfalls to which you are aware. Sharing information and knowledge will empower you both, keep your prices as low as possible, and result in the best and safest on time delivery. Always be prepared to let her know of any possible height, weight, or width issues. Let her advise you on ways you can save money in the loading, shipping and delivery process. She will do the same. You may not have thought of everything. Remember, you and your freight broker are a team!
I hope these tips help you find the best freight broker out there!
AA Freight Brokers
I remember reading about Bill Gates quitting Facebook because it was a time sink. In short, it took him too much time to manage all his social media friends. Gates sees technology as a means for saving time, not taking it away.
Computers, smart phones and social media should improve our lives and give us more freedom, not entrap us and devour our time.
Right after reading about Gates giving up Facebook, I started noticing how I and others were virtual slaves to our smart phones. Everywhere I looked, people were texting or talking on their cell phones. It didn't matter if they were walking, driving their cars, or even having dinner with friends. It was absurd.
I started seeing groups of people out to dinner, and they weren't talking to one another across the table. Instead they were engaged in cell phone conversations (or texting) with someone else that was somewhere else. I started seeing people on nature hikes, and what were they doing? Talking business or family affairs on their cell phones, or otherwise texting something I could not hear. I even watched a man cross the street without looking for cars. He was nearly killed, but luckily a non-texting driver had put on the brakes and come to a screeching halt in the nick of time!
I decided to start using my smart phone only when it helped make my life better, and not when it made my life worse. I wasn't going to be part of the madness! I refused to become one of the Borg!
So, I changed the way I used my cell phone, and ever since I've freed up a lot of time, and have been able to focus more on the things that mattered most.
With all this said, here is my smart phone make-your-life-better adage and Smart Phone 3 Steps to a Better Life Program.
"To the extent we use our smart phones to save time in our daily endeavors, we free up time to enjoy more of the things that make our lives worth living"
My Smart Phone 3-Steps to a Better Life Program:
- Put your smart phone away. If you are going to go to work, go into a restaurant to dine with friends or business associates, go to a party, or meet someone for a social event or activity, leave your smart phone at home or in your car. Remember the good old days when people couldn't call you on the phone unless you were home? Go back to that. At first, I had a lot of complaints from friends and family, but when I told them my new smart phone rules, they understood, and now some of them are doing the same! I can't tell you how much more fun my activities, dining out, and conversations have been since I've learned to put my smart phone, The Great Interruptor, in its proper place. My smart phone works for me. I don't work for it.
- Put your smart phone on silent. In my opinion, noise, beeps, buzzing, vibrations, etc., do nothing but distract us. We can only really perform one mental task at a time, and to suffer interruptions to whatever we are focusing on only impedes us. In fact, research shows these constant interruptions from our cell phones are making us dumb. Anecdotally, my work tasks, especially my financial accounting and writing endeavors, have really improved in efficiency, just because I've turned my smart phone's vibrators and noise makers off. When I'm interrupted, I lose my train of thought and waste time getting started again. Really, I think the trick to this tip is simply putting a stop to being distracted mid thought.
- Text instead of talk. Here is where I'm not being possibly too old school. I'm not being a retro guy who says talking on the phone is only fun if it is attached by a cord to a wall. Phone calls take a lot more time than texts. If you call a friend to ask them to dinner and the movies, it might take 30 minutes. It is only polite to catch up, and that takes time. Text a line "can you do dinner and the movies Monday at 6:00 pm?" and it just takes a second. Save the chatting for face to face at dinner, and leave your cell phones in the car! Texting also helps with work tasks. Sometimes you can save a lot of time by texting a long winded coworker a simple yes or no question, and if they have a long explanation, you can read it rather than listen to it. Texting can also be done outside of real time, unlike a phone conversation. Deal with your texts when you are taking a breather from focused activities. See how if you are texting you and others can follow my 3 Steps and still communicate effectivly and without interruptions to either of you?
I know this article will probably rub a few people the wrong way. They will say their jobs and their families require they be plugged in like a Borg. I agree there are cases when you simply need to be tied at the hip to your Smart Phone, but there are also a number of cases when you don't need to be a slave to your gadget.
You can make your Smart Phone work for you. You can use your technology to make your life better!
I love big cheeseburgers, and the best one in Tucson is cooked and served at R Place Bar & Grill
3412 N Dodge Blvd
Tucson, AZ 85716
Here is the Double "R"
First, let me make the cardiac disease admission that I have tried nearly every burger in Tucson. Not the ones served at the fast food joints, but those at nearly all the restaurants and grills. Fast food joints rarely cook to order, and I don't like well done.
When I dine upon a cheeseburger, I always insist on a double patty cooked medium rare. It has to be slightly bloody. It is simply yummier, and doesn't the creatine get cooked out when the beef turns from red to brown? A man needs to feed his muscles!
Additionally, I always skip the onions, and more often than not substitute Cole slaw for fries. I simply despise onions. Skipping the fries makes me feel a little more innocent with respect to cholesterol considerations. Plus, with a pickle, tomatoes, mushrooms, avocados and lettuce which naturally accompany the burger, I really am eating the equivalent of a salad, right?
With this said, herein I will not insult any of the other Tucson burgers because so many of them are good, if not great, and I do not desire to make any enemies. Instead, I will praise the R Place Double "R" Burger for its being Tucson's best.
In bullet form I list the favorable attributes of this delicacy, with the proviso that the only way for you to truly judge my claim is to taste the burger yourself.
- the meat. R Place doesn't give you the fatty beef. It is very lean and the cook never fails to keep my double patty pink on the inside. Some pink always stains the bun. Not only this, the beef is always salted just right.
- the bun. The bun is always fresh and nicely toasted on the inside, then perfectly coated with a thick layer of mayo.
- the cheese. The Double "R" comes with an abundance of cheese slices, and I think they apply both Swiss and cheddar. What can I say? Cheese is yummy and the more the merrier.
- the other accouterments. This burger really is layered with just about everything else, bacon, mushrooms, and I believe avocado. I may be missing a few things, and I always forget to take notes because I'm too busy chewing and swallowing. But nevertheless, I'd still call this burger the best in Tucson, even if everything but the bun and the beef patties were omitted.
So, in conclusion, I am not a food critic. I am just a guy that loves burgers, especially the double patty ones. R Place has served me the Double "R" a number of times and it has always been so yummy I could not resist blogging about it today.
If you are skeptical the Double "R" is the best burger in Tucson, there is only one way to find out, or you may be missing out!
In closing, I want to give thanks to Tom Garcia, Bill Stevenson and Tori. Tom and Bill introduced me to R Place and are so often hanging out there when I get off work ready for supper. Tori gets a special thanks for always putting her hair in pigtails, and for being the most entertaining and cute waitress ever. And of course, all the patrons and other employees, and especially the cook, deserve an honorable mention. Everyone has always been amicable.
As a postscript, yes, eating this burger is in compliance with the rules of my one meal a day diet!
I have talked a lot about which small business website builder I believe is the best to use.
My belief is that Doodlekit gives you the most user friendly, robust, functional, and complete set of web building tools.
With Doodlebit's Doodlekit package at your web building disposal, no programming is required and you end up with a business site, or even a personal site, that looks great, does what you need it to do, is easy to update, and it all comes at a very reasonable price.
I have not talked much about the real basics of actually building a small business website.
What I mean is how do you do the stuff that really puts your site together, like which company name do you use, how do you pick a domain name, what colors or template should you pick, what kind of by-line should you put beneath your company name? The list goes on and on.
With this said, I'll start my list of to-do's for building your small business website, from ground up. Over time I will add more and more to this list with the objective of this blog becoming a reliable treatise on the subject.
For purposes of illustration and to visually demonstrate my below points, I will refer to HMS Fasteners, a website I built all by myself using Doodlekit's website builder. I currently run HMS Fasteners. It is a 60 year old company in Tucson, Arizona. We sell nuts, bolts, screws, clips, and every other type of fastener that goes into everything from a tank, helicopter, automobile, or even home fixtures. And most importantly, for the purpose of this article, the company now has an attractive and functional website!
How to Build a Small Business Website:
1. Name your small business website
In Doodlekit's terms, this is your "site title." In the picture above, the site title is "HMS Fasteners." I chose this name because this is the company's dba, or doing business as name. I really only had one other choice, which was Hardware and Metal Specialties, Inc. This is the corporate name, as filed with the Arizona Corporation Commission.
HMS Fasteners was the obvious site title to use because the company has been in business for 60 years and calling itself this name during this time. It is the name on the building outside, it is the name on the business cards, and it is the name we use when we answer the telephone.
In short, you want your company to be called the same thing on your web site as you call it everywhere else. My choice was easy. We had an established name in use for decades. There was no reason to use any other name. It would cause confusion. Go by one name and one name only. You want your customers to know who you are.
However, if you are starting a new business and have not even given it a name, you may be forced to pick a name for your business based on the domain names that are available to you. Which leads to Point 2 below.
2. Pick a small business domain name
When I chose Doodlekit for HMS Fasteners' web building and hosting platform, the company already owned the ideal domain name. It was www.hmsfasteners.com, the exact same name we'd been using in business for 60 years.
Additionally, note the ".com" at the end of this domain name. This stands for "commercial," which is the designation I believe is the best, or only, choice you want for a commercial business. In other words, only hmsfasteners.COM, would have sufficed for me. Hmsfasteners.ORG, or hmsfasteners.NET, or any other three letters at the end and after the period would not have worked.
I give you my practical business explanation for why I'll only settle for .COM as the three-letter ending to any business domain name. I've worked for a few business which used the .NET or .ORG designations, and customers could never find them on the Internet. Here is how it happened:
Customer: "What is the name of your website?"
I can't tell you how many times the customer then tries to find you on the Internet at a later time and you are nowhere to be found. Why? They instinctively type "business.com" in their browsers. Everyone thinks .COM. As a result, either you don't show up or the customer ends up on the site of your competitor. He's the one who happens to own www.business.com.
So, if you don't have the easy road as I did with selecting an ideal business domain name - it was already owned by the company when I came aboard, and especially if you are just starting a business and have not yet named your company: seriously consider naming your company something which has an available .COM domain name available.
If for whatever reasons you are stuck with a business name and can't reasonably change it, and the identical .COM is not available, seriously consider a .COM acronym, or maybe adding something like an "inc" to your name, e.g. www.businessinc.com, before going with an ORG or NET or equivalent.
Of course there is no sure method for tying your business and domain name together. Most good names have already been taken and a lot of new companies are naming themselves based on whatever domain names are still available. It often becomes a balancing act between company name and closest domain names available.
Nevertheless, with this said, if you are just now considering what to name your small business, please go to name search. You can search all the domains available, and ideally you find one that specifically matches your perfect company name. If not, maybe you will find a domain name that is close and you will only have to change your company name just slightly, so the two are identical matches.
3. Choose an effective subtitle
Go back up to the image taken from HMSFasteners.com. As previously discussed, the "Site Title" is HMS Fasteners. The subtitle is right beneath the site title, and is set forth as "mil spec, industrial, and commercial fasteners."
Without getting into a discussion of simply SEO, or otherwise creating a subtitle based on capturing search results through merely technical schemes, rather than content, I believe your subtitle should be simple and straight forward. It should simply say what you sell in plain, non extraordinary words. HMS sells three types of fasteners and it says so. This is notwithstanding my understanding that Google cares more about content than SEO tricks these days.
Back to my point. Originally we said in the subtitle "we sell nuts, bolts, and screws," but later changed it because the eyes our target audience were more easily captured with the specialty "fastener" lingo. Our best paying customers (the big orders) are ones with large procurement departments. Their procurement officers find our site by typing stuff like "mil spec fasteners," rather than "tank bolts." So we play to the lingo of a bit more sophisticated audience than a mom and pop hardware store. Know thy customer! Speak their language in plain terms.
So, there are really two points I'm making with respect to choosing your given subtitle. First, you want to say, in plain words, what it is you are selling and in your customer's language. When your customer arrives at your page, be sure to offer him a subtitle that tells him exactly what you have to offer him, in his words, in only a glance. Otherwise, especially if he's never visited you before, he may assume that you don't really sell what you really do sell. Hence, he immediately clicks out of your site and goes looking for your competitors.
Second, (and really I am being redundant here) try to make your subtitle say exactly what your ideal customers will be searching to buy. If you sell apples, say "apples" and not "fruit" or a "tasty treat." If HMS didn't focus on selling specialty fasteners to the military and large commercial industry, but rather to individual customers for their home and personal needs, we'd be better served by saying we sell "nuts and bolts," not "mil spec, industrial, and commercial fasteners." Be clear. If your targeted prospective customers can't easily tell you are selling what they need with a single glance at your site, you will lose them.
This reminds me of a company I'd once worked with and it went bankrupt when it shouldn't have ever faltered. All they really did was manage inventory and do mass packaging and shipping for large IT companies. They never said anywhere that they "pack and ship for technology companies." The entire company's lingo, both inside and out, was fraught with terms like "core competencies, supply chain management, turnkey solutions..." Even the salespeople had trouble telling customers what they were selling and few of the employees could ever give a clear answer as to what the company was really in the business of providing. Nevertheless, I believe this disease of not being able to speak what you sell is rampant, so I'm really not singling anyone out. The point is made with a question: have you ever been to a commercial website and couldn't, for the life of you, figure out how they made their money? What did they sell? It happens to me every day.
Yes, I know I am at risk of prevarication. On the one hand I say keep it simple, but on the other I say be as complex in your language as your customers are complex in theirs. The trick, as I've said before, is to draft/create your subtitle based on what you know of your customer's language. What do they ask for when they call you on the phone? What do they call your goods or services? Their words need to be in your subtitle, not yours.
I keep my blood pressure low through diet, exercise and meditation.
My current reading is around 125/70, which is pretty good for me, especially because my body weight of 230 pounds is a bit too much, granted my body fat is currently less than 16%. My BMI is very bad, but from all I've read on the subject, my body fat % isn't terrible for my age. I'm 44.
The explanation, or excuse I provide for my high BMI, is that I have more than an average amount of muscle. But whether or not this is my own hubris, the good news is that if I do everything right, I can be a little on the fat side (or at a high BMI) and still not have high blood pressure. Nevertheless, I am losing weight! I swear it!
When I don't do everything right, which requires my eating right, exercising daily, and going on meditative walks, my blood pressure skyrockets.
It can hit 150/90 if I'm not actively doing all three of these things. If I exercise and go on meditative walks, but eat poorly, my BP is up. If I eat right and exercise but don't go on meditation walks, my blood pressure is high.
However, I'm only saying that MY blood pressure is kept low when I do three things simultaneously. This may not be the case for you. You might need medication, and if you do what I do you might not be doing the right thing for you. I'm not a doctor. So, please consult a doctor before you try any of my blood pressure remedies.
As a side note, I know when my blood pressure is high. My hamstrings are stiff and I can't easily touch my toes. I'm not sure if stretching my hamstrings lowers my BP. It is just that not being limber is a symptom of my blood pressure being too high. In fact, there has been some research on this subject, suggesting that my anecdotal observation may be more than urban legend, but I can't find a good source to link.
Here are my 3 steps to lower blood pressure:
- Eat Right. I advocate My One Meal a Day Diet, but eating right can be something different for everyone. Eating once a day seems to stress my body less, give me energy, improves my strength, reduces my body fat %, and otherwise provides me with a vast number of benefits. In particular, it helps keep my blood pressure down! As a matter of fact, if I eat 3 square meals in one day, my blood pressure goes way up. In my case it doesn't matter so much what I eat as how frequently I eat. However, I know a lot of people that have lowered their blood pressures by doing a lot of different things with their diets. Some lower their salt or sugar intake, some eat more vegetable and less meat. Some swear by throwing out carbohydrates or gluten. The takeaway is that if your blood pressure is high, changing how or what you eat may help.
- Exercise. At least five mornings a week, I go to the gym and do what I coined My Best Workout Routine for a Middle Aged Man. This workout essentially entails warming up and warming down on the treadmill by walking a half mile both before and after weight lifting. My weight lifting entails a lot of compound movements and low volume. The idea being that my 44 year old joints, tendons, and ligaments can't take too much, but it is good to subject my body to regular heavy loads. As I've said before, if I don't do all three things: diet, exercise, and meditation, my blood pressure goes way up. So even when I'm eating right and meditating, it isn't enough to keep my BP in a healthy range if I'm not lifting weights. I'm not sure why weight lifting is so intricately tied to my blood pressure, but it may have something to do with the stress I put my circulatory system under by pumping iron. Long story short, it works, regardless of why.
- Meditate. I must add meditative walking to my diet and exercise routine to maintain a healthy blood pressure. Once again, I must do all three things, and why they only work synergistically is a mystery to me. They just work. So, I advocate meditation for healthy blood pressure. For me, a meditative state isn't reached by going into a trance in a dark room or saying a mantra, or using techniques advocated by religious gurus. I meditate by walking more than once, for about 8 miles, every week. If I only eat right and go to the gym, my blood pressure rises. I must also go on long walks. Why this is the case I am not 100% certain, but what I do know is that blood pressure is often tied to mental well being and anxiety. I am by nature a pretty anxious person. But I can tell you that I've never had any anxiety left in me after going on an 8-mile meditative walk!
My blood pressure reducing program has a lot of critics.
Why? Because I have a method for reducing my blood pressure that doesn't cost anything. I don't have to buy any drugs or pay a doctor to prescribe me something. I'm not spending a lot of money on some blood pressure reducing supplements at a nutrition store or with some online store. You may be different than me and require something I'd call a gimmick, but it may work for you. Placebo or not, if it works, it works, right?
I advocate a healthy lifestyle, eating right, exercising, and doing something like meditating to reduce anxiety in order to keep your blood pressure in check. It is a synergistic approach to health which does not require a pill, a priest or guru, or a motivational seminar.
My crazy ideas about how to lower blood pressure may cut into someone's profits!
The best website builder for your business and personal needs is Doodlekit.
I've been using Doodlekit for a number of my websites since 2006. I have only been very pleased with the web building tools, hosting, and interface it provides.
A number of my clients use Doodlekit for their websites, for both website building and hosting.
They, by and far, have only been delighted by how user friendly and intuitive their web designing, page creation, blogging, forum setup and administration, shopping cart setup and maintenance, image insertion, photo album creation, form building, and page formatting have been.
This is not the complete list, but just my attempt to name a few of the many wonderful things Doodlekit offers its users.
Caveat, I am Doodlekit's General Counsel. I've been active in the business for many years, since its origin, but I am not a shareholder. I believe my praise of the company is not biased. I simply love the product. It is the best website builder out there. I've used a lot of web tools and platforms and have an MSIM with an emphasis on programming. I've worked in a lot of tech companies and know a user friendly and functional technology product when I see it. This is one of them.
Reasons to use Doodlekit as your website builder:
- It is free. If you only need a basic website without your own domain name, you pay nothing. Free of charge you get web hosting, a template library, user friendly design tools, access to the advanced editor, complete blogging capabilities, image uploading, galleries, and tools which help you interconnect all your social media profiles, like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.
- No obligation tryout. If you doubt my opinion that Doodlekit offers the best website builder, I dare you to give it a try. As I just discussed, the basic web builder sans personal domain name offers you all the tools I'm espousing. Sign up takes less than a few minutes of filling out forms. If you are trying out the free website option, you don't have to give any of your financial information whatsoever. Doodlekit does not ask for your credit card information if all you are doing is signing up for its most basic package. Give it a try. See for yourself if the builder does all I claim it can do.
- No onerous contract. Even if you buy a website package above and beyond the free basic website, you sign no contract for more 30 days at a time. You are charged month by month, and if you want to cancel, you are never stuck with recurring charges. As Doodlekit puts it, "No obligations, no contracts, no extra charges, no hidden fees."
My proof Doodlekit is the best website builder is shown in three examples:
This is my own personal website for business. It advocates my services as an attorney, as an executive, and as a director for my commercial clients and prospective clients. It provides an excellent and easy to use platform for blogging and for detailing my professional credentials.
The easiest text editor is made available for your use. You just login, create a page, blog, add or change content, save your work, and you are done. Images and even video are simple to insert into the articles I provide my readers. Formatting and typesetting tasks are made as easy and as user friendly as you can imagine. In other words, Doodlekit's toolset is as self-explanatory and robust as any other software tools out there, including Microsoft and PowerPoint.
A few other bonuses are that I can receive comments which are sent directly to my email account. Most importantly, I control all my own content and can add to it and change it as I wish. I am never held hostage by a webmaster. With Doodlekit I am in charge of my website and website builder tools. I can do it my way without any obstacles.
I started running HMS Fasteners in November 2012. It is a Tucson based company that sells commercial and military spec fasteners, e.g. nuts, bolts, and screws and it has been in business for over 60 years. Though HMS has always been very successful and has an outstanding customer base, it did not have anything but a rudimentary website when I came aboard.
The website builder the company was using before November 2012 will not be mentioned out of professional courtesy. HMS had spent a lot of money to receive very little in the website department over quite a bit of time. It was often held hostage by a webmaster and it didn't have control over its content. Promises were made time and time again, but there was no delivery.
Nevertheless, because I am a Doodlekit website builder believer, shortly after I came on board, by using Doodlekit's user-friendly and robust tools, I threw out the old builder and got rid of our webmaster. I created HMS's website in less than one day!
I'm not tooting my own horn. I'm actually boasting Doodlekit's website builder made my work building a website easy and seamless. I didn't have to do any coding. I just used the provided interfaces to build my pages, add images and write text. As you will see from the results of my Doodlekitting, the home page has rotating header images, there are social media links, and we even provide an RFQ form you can fill in and submit. We'll give you a quote right back! Creating the RFQ form was incredibly easy! Doodlekit provides a tool (a form builder) with dropdown menu options and fill in the blanks.
I can't boast that I did the work creating this website. I didn't. All I can say is that when Crystal and Karen Franco decided to open a business selling Carseatreminders, they asked me how to go about putting together a website. I told them don't worry. You don't have to spend more than $29 per month. You don't have to hire anyone. You can do it all by yourself by using Doodlekit's website builder!
At first I received a number of objections, such as "I can't program!" I countered with, "Just sign up for a free Doodlekit and play around with it. I think you'll quickly see how easy it will be to do it all on your own. Given the simplicity and robustness of the tools, and a little elbow grease, you'll have your own website up and working in no time flat."
I was right.
Carseatreminders went live and is now in business. Building the website took less than a week. The two owners are making sales and managing all of their own content. They do all the formatting, upload all the images, and even have an active shopping cart. Yes, the Doodlekit tools were so easy to use that going live with a shopping cart was nearly seamless. It plugged right into PayPal and the orders started coming in.
And because I am an advocate of Carseatreminders, if you or anyone you know has a child of carseat size or age, please consider buying a Carseatreminder. It is a bracelet you always wear around your wrist whenever your child is in her carseat. This way you and others are always carrying a reminder not to ever forget your child in a hot or cold car, or in a dangerous public place.
Previous articles on Doodlekit's functionality as a web building tool:
Walking is my meditation
Whenever I am overwhelmed, my blood pressure is up, I'm having trouble sticking to my goals, I can't focus, I'm procrastinating, I don't know what to do next, or I am dealing with a problem I can't solve, I meditate.
I meditate by walking
I don't meditate by sitting in a dark, quiet room, by doing breathing exercises, by emptying my mind of all thoughts by contemplating emptiness, or by striking and holding certain poses. The way of meditation according to the gurus never worked for me. I walk 8 miles, and often more than twice a week. Walking gives me focus, lowers my blood pressure, and helps me solve problems.
Here is how to meditate by walking:
- Find a path to walk. Ideally it is a place without noisy traffic or too many people, it is fairly smooth, and it is easy to walk at least 5 miles without interruptions. I find that getting into the meditative state you are seeking takes me at least 3 miles of walking. Then every step beyond 3 miles becomes the distance you start working things out, mentally, physically, and emotionally. This is my experience. A smooth path allows you to get into the rhythm of walking, which inspires the inner contemplativeness that comes with repetitive stepping. Cracks and bumps in the road can trip you, distract you or interrupt you. The less the noise around you, the more you can listen to your inner voices. My favorite distance is 8 miles. This takes under 3 hours and provides me with a good 5 miles of meditation.
- Forget your cell phone but you can bring a friend. Cell phones are a distraction. Take a cell phone with you and you'll likely never reach your desired meditative state at the 3 mile mark, or at any time thereafter for that matter. Meditation requires rhythm, repetition, and no interruption. A vibrating noisemaker that randomly disturbs you, as the epiphanies and realizations and motivations build within you with every step, will do nothing but defeat you. Epiphany defeated with a single vibration, buzz or ring. Leave your cell phone at home. However, I have found that taking a good friend with you actually does just as much for you as walking alone. Walking alone becomes an uninterrupted dialog with yourself, which helps you reach that meditative state that solves problems and lowers your blood pressure. Walking with a friend you can discuss anything with, without incurring criticism or judgment, can do the same thing. Instead of talking it out with yourself, you talk it out with another person!
- Start walking and talking. Whether your meditative walk is alone or with a friend, just start walking and talking. Let it all out! You'll find that after about mile 3 your head is clearer, your body will be starting to feel like it is back in the groove, and you'll be getting a better grip on whatever is bothering you. You'll find answers whether they are from within or emanating from your meditative walking friend.
Benefits of Meditative Walking:
Below I list a number of the benefits I receive by walking 8 miles or more at a time.
- Lower blood pressure. I talk a lot about my blood pressure, and that's mainly because it tends too be higher than lower. Whenever I am experiencing any stress, eating the wrong things, not getting enough sleep, or generally doing anything improper, my blood pressure goes up. However, whenever my blood pressure is high, going on my 8 mile walks reduces it back to normal as soon as 1 hour after I'm finished. The positive effects can last up to 48 hours.
- Solved problems. Nothing puts me in problem solving mode like walking. The rhythm of my step and swinging arms, after 3 or more miles, is almost certain to clear my head and give me focus. I can't tell you how many times I've had a problem at work that I couldn't solve after several days, but once I'd dealt with it via my meditative walk, I realized the fix was as easy as something like a 2 minute phone call. One time I had to figure out a really tough contract negotiation that had gone on and on for more than two weeks, but once I had walked 8 miles on the problem I realized a simple answer. My company didn't even want the contract! It would have resulted in big losses even had we worked through several serious points of dispute and signed the thing! Somehow the state of mind provoked by walking helped me realize the real problem. It just came to me because I had meditated on the matter. I had put one foot in front of the other, over and over, until the light bulb came on.
- Increased motivation. Last but not least, nothing increases my motivation and focus on my goals like meditation walking. Like I've said, it clears my head. It helps me concentrate on a dialog either with myself or with my friend. By the time I'm done walking, I can clearly see what matters most and I'm ready to get to work! The last time I walked it became so obvious to me that I'd just been living day to day, letting time pass, and none of the things that really mattered in my life were being achieved. Why wasn't I writing every morning any more? Why hadn't I gone on a long weekend trip to see old friends in over a year? Why wasn't I sticking to my diet? And why had I abandoned my blog for so long? Long story short, there is something about taking more than 10,000 steps, which allows you to step outside yourself and really take a look at things.
Walking is meditation!
Three Steps to Improving Willpower:
- Do or don't do what you need to do right now - don't wait until tomorrow
- Eliminate your vices one at a time
- Create good habits
Everything I suggest works. My one meal a diet will help you lose weight, my workout will make you stronger, and my goal calendaring method will help you attain success like you've never known before.
I'm not tooting my own horn.
I admit that many, many diets, workouts and goal setting programs work very, very well. My way of doing any particular thing may or may not be the best for you. Yes, my way works for me, and maybe you, but each of us is different.
The Paleo or Atkins, or even a 6-meal a day diet, may be better for you than my one meal a day diet. Swimming may be your ideal for achieving health and fitness, not lifting weights and walking as I do. Maybe you don't need to write down and calendar your goals as I propose is best. An internal and firm commitment may do the trick.
What am I saying?
Willpower is the problem with most diets, exercise routines, and goal achievement.
With enough willpower, just about any diet, method, commitment or dream will yield incredible results.
This was my epiphany this morning. I woke up to my iPhone alarm and just wanted to sleep more. I'll skip my workout and do it tomorrow. Delaying one day won't hurt. I need a break, I told myself. Then I closed my eyes, but before I could fall asleep again my eyes popped back open!
I was currently failing at my diet and workouts because I wasn't doing them. Due to lack of willpower I was eating more than once per day quite frequently and I was just skipping about half my workouts. I was sleeping in like a lazy boy! This was why I wasn't losing any weight and wasn't increasing my muscle mass or endurance. My methods worked, as I had used them with success before, but only if I got out of bed and went to the gym, and only if I stuck to my one meal a day plan.
So, in the context of my three steps to achieving willpower, I will discuss how they worked to get my lazy body out of bed and to the gym this morning, and then how I skipped the delicious Del Taco breakfast burritos I so dearly love. Oh, I also skipped the ones at Chick-fil-A, which are just as yummy, but I'll get to this in a minute.
Do or don't do what you need to do right now - don't wait until tomorrow
When I woke up this morning, I tried to bargain for one more sleep-in. I promise I'll go to the gym tomorrow, I told myself. But I realized that this was the exact problem with my having lately missed so many workouts. Tomorrow I'd probably try the same ruse on myself! And it would work!
Part of my epiphany was that I clearly realized the secret to success is acting now! If you put it off until tomorrow, you'll continue perpetuating the destructive cycle.
So, I forced my lumbering body out of bed and brushed my teeth and went to the gym. It hurt, but soon I felt great. 12 minutes on the treadmill and I was ready for some squats.
When I finished working out and warming down on the treadmill, I hopped in my car and started it up. You have time for a few of those yummy Chick-fil-A Chicken Breakfast Burritos, I tried to bargain with myself. You deserve it for having gone to the gym.
Again I realized I was bargaining with myself to have two meals today and to really get started tomorrow. I promised tomorrow I'll be good. Just one more time! It was hard to just drive home with an empty stomach and get ready for work, but I did it. As soon as I made it home I felt relieved and proud of myself.
One step at a time my willpower was increasing. By not putting off what I needed to do until tomorrow, and doing it now, I was getting back on track.
And I have to boast, on my way to work I skipped the Del Taco breakfast burrito challenge. I refused to give in today with the fictitious promise of starting fresh tomorrow. Now was the time, right now, to start doing things right. Delay is only an excuse to fail yet again.
Eliminate your vices one at a time
As I'm writing this article, my stomach is empty, and as I've advocated and sworn before, skipping breakfast gives me energy. Had I eaten my desired breakfast burritos, I'd have been way too sleepy and lethargic to be imparting this wisdom upon you right now.
Which gets to the second point, the value of increasing your willpower by eliminating your vices. As we have seen, one of my vices is breakfast. When I eat it I fail to achieve my goal of blogging in the morning. I am too lethargic with a full tummy to get any work accomplished.
For each of us I believe our vices play a large part in reducing our willpower. For me, eating at the wrong time takes my fire away. For you, it may be watching television or surfing the internet, or stopping at the tavern every day after work. Each of us is different. Each of us has a long list of challenging vices that steal our valuable time and willpower. As a result, we don't have time or the energy, or the desire to achieve our goals. We don't lose weight, we don't go to the gym, we lose focus at work. The list is legion.
Let me explain. I believe the vices can be anything which steals from our achieving our goals. Vices steal our willpower. They kill our energy and time that would otherwise be available for achieving our goals, making our lives better, or just doing (or not doing) what we need to be doing.
I think eating too much, smoking, drinking, or watching television or surfing the internet in excess are vices. Chatting on the phone too long is a vice. Why? These activities take away from what we could otherwise be putting into good things.
Think about it. What if you eliminated eating too much or too frequently, smoking, drinking, or watching the television or surfing the web in excess from your life? What would you have left? You'd have lots of time and energy available for doing good things and achieving your goals.
You'd have nothing but good choices in which to invest your time and energy!
Create good habits
This third point, create good habits, is really a corollary to my second point above, eliminating vices. In discussing this point, I give all the credit to Benjamin Franklin, who first introduced me to this concept.
Here the idea is that getting rid of our bad habits and doing what we need to do now is best done one step at a time.
For example, I have mentioned two challenges I've had recently, those of skipping workouts and eating breakfast when my one meal a day diet forbids it. Imagine I'm really having issues with willpower so that correcting both problems simultaneously is just too much to bear. I don't have what it takes to do it all at once.
My answer is to do things one step at a time. I want to work out every morning and stop eating breakfast, but to make these challenges manageable given my feeble will, I might start with only getting up and going to the gym. When my workout is finished, I can eat my breakfast burritos. Perhaps after a month of not missing a workout, I'm then able to start my diet in earnest.
The point is that by creating good habits one at a time we aren't overwhelmed. And the amazing thing about habits is that we just do them without thinking. Go to the gym regularly and consistent enough, and going to the gym is no longer a challenge. You just do it. It is part of your routine. Stick to your diet long enough, and that's just the way you naturally eat, without even thinking about it.
So, the irony is that good habits require no willpower. We just do them without thinking! This in turn makes it easier for us to focus on our next goal or challenge. Just turn them into habits as well.