Physicians Assistants Are Top Healthcare Career


In the United States, Physician Assistants (PAs) are non-physician clinicians licensed to practice medicine with a physician’s supervision.

With over 13.5 million jobs in the United States, the healthcare industry is one of the fastest growing in the nation. The demand for certain health-care workers is growing faster than the supply. There are more people needing more health care, and the numbers will only grow.

What Does a PA Do?

PAs are formally trained to provide diagnostic, therapeutic, and preventive health care services, as assigned by a physician. Working as members of the health care team, PA’s take medical histories and perform physical examinations; order and interpret lab tests; diagnose and treat illnesses; and assist in surgery. They also treat minor injuries, by suturing, splinting, and casting. PAs take notes on progress, give patients’ instructions and counseling as well as order or carry out therapy.


Physician assistant programs usually last at least 2 years, but admission requirements vary by program, but many require at least 2 years of college and some health care experience. All states do however require that physician’s assistants complete an accredited education program and pass a National exam to obtain a license. You will need to go to school full time to earn your degree as a Physicians Assistant.

Why Become a Physicians Assistant?

Being a physician’s assistant is one of the best   jobs  in healthcare according to Money  Magazine . Money  Magazine , in conjunction with, lists physician assistant as the “fifth best  job  in America” based on salary and job prospects, with an anticipated 10-year job growth of 49.65% for the profession. According to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics reports that employment of physician assistants is expected to grow “much faster than average for all occupations through the year 2014, ranking among the fastest growing occupations.” Our aging baby boomer population and a growing healthcare industry are major factors for large growth in this field.

The American Academy of Physician Assistants reported that first year graduates in this field can expect to earn about $65,000 per year with the average salary of a physicians assistant being $74,264. Salaries will vary by specialty, training and geographic location.


On Writing and Poetry: Harry Calhoun in Conversation


“This is just brilliant. The whole interview is incredible… I’m… REALLY appreciative of some seriously good advice from a fellow writer.” Mark Howell, Senior Writer, Solares Hill

Harry Calhoun’s picture could appear beside the dictionary definition for “journeyman.” Living proof that not all writers have to be famous or stick to one type of writing to be successful, Calhoun has found frequent editorial favor as a poet since 1980 and was a widely published freelance article and literary essay writer in the 80s and 90s. In addition, he has edited a poetry magazine and a trade magazine for the housing industry and placed poetry and fiction pieces in magazines such as Thunder Sandwich and The Islander. He has been an award-winning marketing writer for multinational companies such as GE and IBM for the past twenty years.

Trina Allen is a freelance writer and editor who has read and enjoyed much of Calhoun’s work.

Trina Allen: Your poetry has gotten you the most recognition in publications. To what do you attribute your success?

Harry Calhoun: Absolutely no doubt, three words — three words, short attention span! That’s why I like my job now. Marketing writing is a lot like poetry. It’s frequently very short. It’s trying to express something in the fewest amounts of words and say it with the kind of spin that sticks with the person who’s reading it. It certainly isn’t poetry, but it’s the same mentality, just trying to say things really quickly and crisply. People think that poetry is flowery language or something that goes on and on, but usually it’s quite the opposite, it’s succinct and quick… trying to nail it in as few words as possible.

Allen: Is there any one poem that you consider your most successful piece?

Calhoun: Yeah, there’s a poem — ironically, a very short one — called “Leaving.” I always look at that as a success because I feel like it captured the feeling and the moment concisely and with compact verbiage.

Allen: I understand that a reviewer once surprised you with his take on your poem, “The Day after Christmas.” Can you tell me about that?

Calhoun: Oh yea. It was a really funny moment. I had the poem published in a little magazine, Taurus, where I was published pretty frequently when I was starting out. The poem was called “The Day after Christmas,” and I wrote it to compare the feeling of let down you get after Christmas to the loss of a love relationship — we had something great, like Christmas, and now you’re gone and it’s all mundane again. The reviewer said that he liked the poem, which was cool, but he said it was a scathing indictment of the commercialism of the Christmas season. He apparently didn’t get the idea that I was trying to tie it into a love relationship at all. And it surprised me, but it also showed me that poems and fiction are open to interpretation. Just because I wrote it doesn’t mean that he can’t interpret it the way he wants to. His interpretation is as valid as mine.

Allen: You have over 500 publications in magazines including Writer’s Digest, Private Clubs, Gargoyle, Mississippi Arts & Letters, and The National Enquirer and you have won awards for your promotional materials including an Addy award for best direct mail. What are your feelings about your success?

Calhoun: It’s kind of like looking at your resume and saying, “Gee, did I do all that stuff.” You realize that somewhere along the line you did it, but it almost doesn’t seem real. I feel some remorse for not having done more, particularly in fiction and poetry, but I also feel that it’s been a good, full career and I’m basically at peace with it.

Allen: Would you expand on your greatest success?

Calhoun: Yeah, actually I’ve bounced around enough that I’ve had some successes in different areas. I can’t really point at any one great success. Things that come immediately to mind were in my most fertile poetic period, which was back in the late 80s when I had a few chapbooks of my poetry published by small presses. That was really fulfilling for me. I was also having a lot of my poems published in magazines around that time and even after that — and I hosted a poetry reading and music series with my friend Mark Howell in Key West. That was a really great time in my life… but so is right now, being a marketing writer, which is obviously totally out of the publication realm. I’m still finding a lot of happiness doing that because its nice being at this stage in my career where I feel like I’m fairly good at what I do.

Allen: What advice would you give novice writers regarding a career in writing?

Calhoun: The first prerequisite is to have talent. You have no control over that. But beyond that, there are several things within your control. Here’s my top five list for writers, in reverse order David Letterman style:


5. Read voraciously, especially in the genres you’re most interested in. One thing that amazed me as a poetry editor is that people who didn’t read poetry would send me poems. It’s like trying to walk before your legs develop. Reading gives styles to copy, styles that will help form your own personal style.

4. Remember that it’s all writing. Whether you’re writing a novel or an e-mail or a poem, it’s all writing and it all helps. Plus, if you’re like me and a lot of writers I’ve known, the very act of writing feels good — no matter what kind of writing it is. Writing this response to your interview question feels good, for example!

3. Work, work, work. Don’t let anything get in the way of your writing. Make it your job, even if you’re already working another job to support yourself.

2. Have goals — but don’t be afraid to change them. Not everyone’s career is like mine, and some people start out wanting to write fiction and end up doing just that. But if you find other genres that you’re good at, don’t be afraid to change your goals. The corollary to this is: Don’t have preconceived notions about where your writing will take you. I started out trying to write fiction, took a detour into poetry and then magazine editing and ended up as a marketing writer. My goal was always to be a successful writer — but the form that success took changed several times during my career.

1. And my number one rule for writers: Want it more than you want anything else in the world. Passion is everything. I’d recommend Ray Bradbury’s Zen and the Art of Writing for advice about writing for love rather than money. I honestly think that any success I’ve had is because I wanted to earn the title of writer — wanted to do it for a living — more than anything. I wanted it more passionately than anyone else I knew.

You’ll notice that I left off two of the usual tips for writers: Keeping a journal and setting a daily time or page limit for your writing. That’s because neither one was particularly effective for me. I think that if I had stuck with fiction I would find a journal more useful, but as a nonfiction writer and poet it just got in the way of my “real” writing … it was more efficient to get my job done than to bother with a journal.

As for setting a goal to write for an hour a day or one page a day, I find that having an assignment is more of a motivator than an artificially set limit. Don’t have any freelance assignments? Make them up! In my poetry heyday, I would often set myself the task of completing x number of poems so that I would be able to submit them to a given magazine. No daily time limit, just the “assignment” to have the submission ready in a week or two weeks.

Allen: Would you like to share any additional thoughts on the topic of writing?

Calhoun: Writing is writing… (It’s) a tactical thing… that takes passion. Some lucky people start out writing fiction and can do it– for them the linear path is best. Personally my career has been organic, which is a good way of saying I’ve been all over the place. I certainly didn’t start out thinking I’d be writing marketing copy and nobody could have told me I’d enjoy it as much as I do. I got my first marketing position because I’d written a lot of freelance articles and parlayed that into marketing. I wanted to find work in a more metropolitan area and the owner of a small ad agency in Pittsburgh was very impressed with some of my freelance writing and hired me as a marketing writer. I’ve been doing it ever sense.

I’ve had to change gears a lot. I’ve had to say, what are my goals now? Do I want to make some money? How can I make some money? Do I want to get published? How can I do that? As much of an emotional thing as writing is, it’s also a tactical thing. I found opportunities to parlay one type of writing into another or into the next step in my career.

I can’t subscribe to the idea that you’re a sellout if you don’t write fiction or poetry… Writing is just writing. If you’re accomplished at it and you’re good enough to get paid for it then there’s a certain amount of satisfaction to that, even if it’s a nine-to-five job like my marketing writing. It’s less bohemian than I though I’d ever be, having lived for a long time in a classic third-floor “writer’s garret” attic apartment. But whatever I do, if I don’t have passion about it then I don’t think I’d want to do it.

Allen: Some of your activities have included poetry readings, book reviews, articles in newspapers and magazines, and poetry, fiction, marketing writing. Which gave you the most satisfaction? The least?

Calhoun: I can look at myself as a journeyman or say I’ve had an incredibly varied life, however you want to look at it. I’ve gotten satisfaction out of the different phases of my writing. I’m considered one of the best writers for the major technology company where I work now. I get a lot of thrills of seeing my work on the Internet for audiences around the world. That’s exciting and I really enjoy that. I enjoyed seeing my poetry published and loved doing the poetry readings, including dabbling in performance poetry. That was a lot of fun.

There’ve been a lot of high points. I still remember getting my first article published and that of course was a huge thrill. It was back in the days when you still wrote on a typewriter and cut and pasted your stuff until you were happy with it and then typed it up on good paper to get it published. Fond memories.

Allen: It sounds like seeing your writing in print was one of the most thrilling things for you as a writer.

Calhoun: Definitely, those first publications were just great. The first thing I had published was a poem, followed by book reviews and my first article. It was nice to see my name out there.

Allen: What gave you the least satisfaction, or was the most frustrating early in your writing career?

Calhoun: I’m glad I made the decision to go away from fiction. I started out in the mid 70s writing it. I read tons of fiction, of course, but fiction was hard for me and continues to be difficult for me to this day. I guess my biggest regret is that I never had a major fiction work published. I had a few short stories published, but it’s not my strong point. That’s the thing I regret most and like least about my career. I have to give myself credit for making the decision to let go of this and do other things.

Allen: Was there a writer or poet that you admired and hoped to emulate in your early writing career?

Calhoun: Actually, there were several. When you asked the question I immediately thought of three or four writers: Dylan Thomas, the Welsh poet, and W. S. Merwin, an American poet who I really admired. I definitely was influenced in my poetry by both. I also thought about Ernest Hemingway because I really like the conciseness and crispness of his writing — I definitely tried to emulate him for a while.

And then I finally realized there was one writer that influenced my style more than any other: Harlan Ellison, best known as a science fiction and fantasy writer. Besides writing entertaining stories, he would do these really interesting introductions to his stories, and they were always written so conversationally– this really drew you into them. A lot of times today, even as a marketing writer, people say that my style is breezy and conversational, and I think I owe a lot of that style to Harlan Ellison because I was deliberately trying to copy his style. I liked the way it sounded and what he was doing.

And Charles Bukowski, the German poet and fiction writer who adopted LA as his home, definitely influenced me. I started out reading him in the 70s and quickly became a fan of his gritty, no-nonsense style, his humor and his accessibility. In the 80s, I got his contact information from a fellow fan and began a correspondence with him that lasted from 1983 until just before his death in 1994. I published his work in Pig in a Poke, a little poetry magazine that I edited for most of the 80s and even put out a small pamphlet of his work. He was an inspiration because he was a well-known writer who still kept in touch with his small-press roots.

Allen: You started a critically acclaimed magazine in the 80s called Pig in a Poke, which you published from 1982 to 1989. What gave you the idea for the magazine and why did you stop production?

Calhoun: It’s interesting. I still see online references occasionally to Pig in a Poke and other magazines from around that time. Some of them, like Thunder Sandwich and Black Bear Review, are still going right now. What gave me the idea for it? At that time I had only been published as a poet for a couple years. I was working as a book reviewer, and when I say working I mean I was being paid in copies of the books I reviewed. I wasn’t making any money. I was working another job and trying to find my success as a writer.

There were a lot of small-press poetry magazines at that time. I really liked the way their editors did business. They were usually really fast in replying. They gave advice. They were more conversational in their letters. It was a kind approach and I really liked it because as every writer knows those rejection slips can be impersonal and pretty tough to handle. I thought I would be good at editing a magazine and I also thought it would expose me to a lot more poetry, which it did, most of it really bad poetry. Definitely I got to know a lot of poets in the scene.

I published Pig in a Poke out of my own pocket for a number of years, which is why basically I stopped production because it got to be too much of a drain on my finances. But also its time had passed with me. I started to work in marketing and get real-world jobs. I didn’t have as much time for it as I had had before. It makes me think that possibly I could revive it on the Internet because that’s more of an immediate medium that printing it myself on paper.

Over the course of the years from 1982 to 88, I held a series of Pig in a Poke poetry readings at Hemingway’s in Pittsburgh every year. They were successful and a lot of fun.

Allen: Do you believe such magazines and chapbooks are a good way to get work published today?

Calhoun: If your goal is to make money, they’re a terrible idea. But my goal was not at all to make money. It was to get my poetry exposure, to get people to read my stuff and respond to it and tell me how to improve and to connect to it in some emotional way. In that sense, the little magazines are good because it is a bit easier to get published in them than the mainstream magazines. Some of them are of surprisingly high quality, though. Usually what you get from them is editors that are quick to respond and respond with a lot more empathy– they actually will give you advice or tell you what they like or don’t like about your poetry. And that’s really valuable, especially for a young writer or someone who hasn’t done it for that long. Plus, because they are fast to respond and cheap to produce there was the thrill of getting to see your work fairly quickly. It is not quite as immediate as the Internet is today, but you could get a poem accepted and within a few months you could see it in print. And you got to share your thoughts with others. It was fun.

Excerpt from the interview in Thunder Sandwich #25, January 1, 2005.

To read the interview in its entirety go to


By Harry Calhoun

It’s like a door closing.

I want it to be gentle, noiseless,

Japanese. Reopen it and apologize

to the wood if it slams.

But humidity swells this

beyond what it should be

and the squeak and push

to close it sounds

as if I beg

to be let back in.


Scoring Free (And Cheap) Sample Magazines: 5 Tricks for Freelancers


While sample copies of  magazines  are tax-deductible for freelance writers, they’re a small expense that can add up to a big cost. Try these tips to find free and cheap sample copies–and a few markets you might not otherwise come across.

1. Swap with friends. Network with other local writers who subscribe to  magazines . When you’re done with back issues, you can trade or give them to other writers with different needs. Ask professional friends who receive trade, alumni, or association  magazines  if they’d be willing to give you a few back issues.

2. Search library book sales and thrift stores. Library book sales and thrift stores often offer a variety of relatively recent  magazines  for $0.10-25 each. You can often find some of the paying association  magazines  that aren’t on the newsstand here, like Elks  Magazine  and American Automobile Association publications. Some libraries even offer free  magazine  boxes for patrons to exchange their unwanted  magazines .

3. Use your Frequent Flyer Miles. Are your frequent flyer miles about to expire, or do you have some miles for an airline you rarely fly? Consider trading them in for  magazine  subscriptions. If you write (or want to write) for the big-name glossies, you can get free subscriptions to  magazines  like Wired, Food & Wine, and The Wall Street Journal for your unwanted frequent flyer miles.

4. Visit the website. These days, most  magazines  offer at least a few sample articles free online. Be sure to check whether the web content mirrors the printed content–some  magazines  offer different content (and have different writers’ guidelines) for their websites.

5. Keep your eyes open. Not all markets are glossy newsstand  magazines : alumni  magazines , speciality  magazines  for grocery stores and doctor’s offices, trade  magazines ,  magazines  aimed at college students, and small local publications are everywhere. While not all of these markets pay, many do, and it never hurts to pick up a free  magazine  and check it out.

If you really enjoy a  magazine , a full year’s subscription usually costs about as much as three newsstand issues. Remember to pick up some cardboard  magazine  boxes at an office supply store to organize your sample copy collection–and to recycle or give away really outdated copies to keep your shelves manageable.


Job Search Strategy and Tips


In today’s fast moving and competitive market place employers and recruiters are constantly competing with one another to attract the most suitable candidates available.

With the advent of the fast growing online job board market which numbers over 1000 sites in the UK alone and growing daily, things can seem quite daunting and overwhelming in where to start looking and what to do.

Here are few tips to give you a starting point.

1.Decide what you want to do

There are 3 main types of work frequency, Temporary and Contract,shorter term flexible and easier to get yourself back out into the job market with certain benefits included, Part time, less than 36 hours a week or full time permanent,working within a employers contract of employment giving benefits to both employer and employee for set working hours and wages.

2.Decide on your job title.

When you search the internet for jobs, remember successful job board advertisers have learned to keep things brief and to the point.

When searching for a job under job title you should do the same,if you a sales manager Put sales manager not business development executive.

3.Decide on location and commuting distance

Common sense tells us that the further we spread our net when looking for work the more opportunities will be available, BUT remember to be realistic, if you are successful in getting a job that means commuting you will need to remember travelling costs and commuting time as the novelty can wear off.

Today’s employers will gladly consider 1 hours commute without disadvantage to your job prospects.

4.Decide on your salary band.

Use our pay scale for up to date going rates by trade and location.

Job Board search tips

There are 4 main types of job board,

Generic which means it will cover all job sectors and all locations and attract the highest number of Job adverts such as reed, recruitersite.

The industry specific or niche sites have fewer jobs but more relevant content for you skill sector such as Planet Recruit and GAAP.

Publication sites which tend to be offline   magazines  with an online  job  board such as theengineer and personneltoday and larger company / recruitment agency job boards which are more location specific.

1. Use a job board search engine.

When you have decided what basic job criteria you are looking for it will save you time to use a job board search engine or aggregator which is a job site that collects job adverts and information from all the top generic, niche, publication and recruitment job boards and will give you a far greater choice of jobs allot quicker than searching individual job sites every day examples are workhound and 1job and simplyhired

2. Start your search over a larger geographical area

This will make sure you don’t miss any vacancies on the fringe of your search area and you can always eliminate unsuitable vacancies.

3. Remember to keep search criteria basic

This is important as most job adverts will use straight forward and straight talking text,

you can always use elaborate search text if you have plenty of time.

4. Upload your CV.

If you want to maximise the effect of your CV on the job market, upload it and make it searchable on the larger generic sites and CV data bases for a free distribution option see

This will ensure that larger companies with personnel departments that have hidden vacancies to fill and often subscribe to search these data basis will see your CV.


Rewarding Careers For The Language Skilled


Why It Is Important To Be Language Skilled

o Broadens Career Options – Not only does learning foreign languages improve your job performance, it also increases your value as an employee. This in turn can improve your chances of getting a raise or a promotion.

o Increases Job Opportunities – Hotel and restaurant, tourism, marketing, advertising, military and defense, and journalism are some of the industries that require multi-lingual people. Being able to interact with clients and customers in their language makes them feel more comfortable.

o In addition, learning several languages can give you the opportunity of getting a project in a new country. The potential of the knowledge and expertise gained could create an entirely new plateau in your profession, or a new job opportunity altogether.

o Liberal Arts Are Being Increasingly Sought After – These days many employers are searching for flexible employees with extensive abilities and skill sets. Communication skills and business skills combined with foreign language abilities are what most managers are seeking today.

Satisfying Careers for the Language Skilled

Some of the careers to be explored if you can speak foreign languages fluently are:

o Translators – Translators have a wide variety of job opportunities. They can find jobs in magazines, books, the news and other media. Translators need to be well read, and be well versed with the current magazine and newspaper jargon in different languages. Most translators are required to specialize in particular fields.

o Interpreters – Interpreters are required to translate from one language to another almost instantaneously. This is what makes this career one of the most demanding ones. Hence, skilled interpreters are much in demand these days. They are required to be comfortable and confident in each of the languages they interpret.

o Teaching – For some, this is the most satisfying career to be pursued with their foreign language skills. Since many people are seeking to become language skilled these days, trained teachers of languages are in demand.

o International Humanitarian Organizations – These organizations provide first aid, emotional support, medical treatment and even lifeline support in areas that have been destroyed by natural calamities, civil unrest and wars. Since most of these people require care and nurture, it is important to communicate with them in their own tongue. As the nature of the job is worldwide, the more languages you know, the better are your chances of working with such organizations.

Whatever your career goals are, being language skilled is very beneficial. People who speak foreign languages fluently can relate to people from all over the world, and can adapt to different situations. These days teaching language-learning techniques have been improved. Graduated steps that are devised to build language skills and improve vocabulary in the foreign language are useful for mastering any language you choose.


Online Proofreading Jobs – Tips on How to Get an Online Proofreading Job


Do you often find misspellings of words or recognize poor sentence structure and other grammatical errors when you’re reading through a book, newspaper or   magazine ? If that sounds like you, it might be beneficial to start looking into a job as a proofreader. May you’ve already tried looking for a job as a proofreader, but haven’t had any luck? Believe it or not, you can get a job as a proofreader online! Online proofreading jobs are all over. A lot of major publishers hire online proofreaders to work from home, and with some careful research, you can land a job as an online proofreader in no time flat!

Proofreading is a job that isn’t for everybody, as it requires more work than what most people think. If you’ve never worked in proofreading before, you’ll have to be aware of a few things before you apply for any proofreading jobs.

Knowing the English language alone isn’t enough to gain a job as an online proofreader. Not only do you have to have a solid understanding of the English language itself, you must also be experienced in different proofreading techniques and editing symbols to use.

Another skill you need to be aware of is how different types of publications are assembled. Learning what  magazines , newspapers, books and other publications do to piece together and produce their product will help you establish more in-depth skills as a proofreader. To brush up on your knowledge, use the internet to do research or visit any local publications to learn how they do things.

Online proofreading jobs are easier to find than what you may think. When looking for proofreading jobs, you’ve got to be sure to steer clear from any of the scam jobs from companies that require a fee to be paid upfront. You should never exchange any information or money with these types of businesses. They prey on peoples false hopes and are only looking to sell you sub-par job information that isn’t legit or is extremely outdated. You don’t need to pay money for legit online proofreading jobs with a REAL employer.

Finding reputable companies that are looking for proofreaders is your best route to getting an online proofreading job. Once you do your research and find a solid company to work for, do some more background checking just to ensure that the opportunity is a true fit for you. You’ll feel more confident in exchanging your information and sending off your resume once you know that the job is legitimate.

If you still can’t find anything online, try checking at freelance job boards. Freelance boards are excellent ways to network and build business relationships. Plus, it’s a good place to pick up a few projects when you’re in between work.

No matter what you do, online proofreading jobs are real and do exist. Use these tips that I’ve laid out for you and you’ll be able to find a job as a proofreader in no time!


Quit Your Day Job: 10 Steps to Venturing Out on Your Own


If you’re one of the 58% of Americans who have considered starting a business but don’t know how to proceed, help is at hand. The following steps will show you how to transform your dream of business ownership into reality.

1. Figure out what you want to do. You’re not alone if you know that you want to work for yourself but aren’t yet sure what exactly you want to do. Start by making a list of your interests, talents, and skills. Talk to your family and friends and begin brainstorming ideas. The sooner you begin your quest, the sooner you will find the answers.

2. Start saving now. It is wise to have at least one year’s worth of living expenses in the bank before you quit your day job. It will take time to make a new business profitable, and it could take longer than you expect. Start saving now so you can be prepared for the worst while you hope for the best.

3. Educate yourself. You can take classes through your local Small Business Administration ( or seek free small business counseling from the Service Corp. of Retired Executives ( Business books and magazines are also essential, and so are industry-specific trade associations.

4. Utilize a checklist. There are many tasks involved in starting a business and using a checklist will help you keep your priorities in order. Take it a step further by adding target completion dates to each task.

5. Formulate a plan. No matter what business you decide to start, it’s crucial that you outline a plan for success. A formal business plan is best, but at the very least begin by mapping out your goals and ideas. Committing your plan to paper will help you anticipate the direction of your business and identify potential weaknesses.

6. Obtain licenses and permits. Business license requirements vary by state and county, so check with your county offices to find out what the requirements are for your area. In most cases you will pay an annual fee to renew your license ranging from $50 to $300.

7. Start part-time. There are numerous advantages to starting your business part-time. If you can find a way to keep your day job while you launch your venture, you will have the opportunity to test your business model and make sure it’s viable while you evaluate your passion for the business and determine if it’s something you would truly enjoy on a full-time basis. You can also reinvest any profits from the part-time venture into the future of the business, and may even be able to take advantage of home business tax deductions at the end of the year (talk to your accountant for assistance).

8. Dedicate the time it takes. Planning your business will take free time from your day, but if it’s something you want badly enough, it can be worth the sacrifice. You can get up an hour earlier, skip the evening news, or work during your lunch hour. This extra work time will also prepare you for the first two years of business ownership, which typically require long hours.

9. Develop a backup plan. Many businesses fail due to under-capitalization. Forecast the cash that you need for both your business and your living expenses and have backup sources for money in case you get into a jam.

10. Don’t take the leap until you’re ready. Before you even think about quitting your day job, make sure you have everything in place: a solid business plan, enough capital to make the business successful, a savings account to cover personal living expenses, insurance (medical, dental, liability and any other required policies), a thorough understanding of what you’re in for, a backup plan if things don’t go as expected, and the passion to make it succeed.

Unfortunately there are no guarantees in business. You could have a rock solid business plan but be hit with a natural disaster, new competition in your area, or other uncontrollable circumstances. As long as you don’t invest more than you can afford to lose and your business is carefully-planned, you can minimize many of the risks and increase your chances of success.


Top Entertainment Magazines


Photos of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s baby were sold to People  magazine  for $4.1 million recently. Yes. You read that correctly, $4.1 million. What is our fascination with celebrity? Is it the larger than life movie stars? Is it the glamorous lives they lead? How is it people can name every character from Grey’s Anatomy but come up empty when asked to name their state senators?

It’s because we are obsessed with celebrity. We need entertainment scoop and there isn’t a shortage in finding it. The E! Network dedicates itself to nothing but entertainment. Searches result in countless pages on your inquired subject. There certainly isn’t a shortage of  magazines  on it either. Supermarket stands sell them. Bookstores sell them. You can also subscribe to these  magazines  online. Websites such as Mags For Less offer a variety of entertainment  magazines  to choose from.

Here is a partial list and brief description of the top selling entertainment  magazine  subscriptions in the U.S.:

  • People  Magazine  – A weekly  magazine  focusing on celebrity and human interest stories. People  Magazine  is best known for its yearly special issue which names its “50 Most Beautiful People” and the “The Best and Worst Dressed” of the year. The  magazine  chooses to cover stories about the people who are causing the news and who are caught up in it, or deserve to be in it. Their mantra is to cover people and not issues.
  • Entertainment Weekly – Entertainment Weekly’s primary concentration is on entertainment media, targeting a more general audience, particularly young people and women. The  magazine  features celebrities on the cover and addresses topics such as TV ratings, movie grosses, production costs, concert ticket sales, ad budgets, and in-depth articles about scheduling, producers, etc.
  • Premiere – Premiere  Magazine  is for the people out there who REALLY love movies. The  magazine  covers everything you want to know about movie watching and movie making. Some of the features include interviews, profiles, and behind the scene looks at soon to be released movies.
  • National Enquirer – Find out what’s going on the lives of the big starts and other Hollywood celebrities. Inquiring minds want to know. The National Enquirer prints all the gossip you can’t get from your typical newspaper.

  • Star  Magazine  – Every week Star  Magazine  covers the latest celebrity news from Hollywood to Buckingham Palace. Weekly features include horoscopes, puzzles, advice, and the latest celebrity fashion trends.
  • Rolling Stone – Rolling Stone is THE music  magazine  of music  magazines . It features cutting edge music reviews, in-depth interviews, provocative photos, and award-winning features. The  magazine  also covers political and social examinations of the world today and how these issues affect the reader.
  • Vanity Fair -Vanity Fair focuses of literature, art, fashion, politics, and personality. It’s devoted to readers who are interested in contemporary society and culture. Features include photo essays and interviews with leaders in the entertainment industry with book, film, and music reviews.
  • US Weekly – Gives a revealing insider’s look at all the trends and personalities important to the entertainment

As you can see, entertainment  magazines  are in no shortage. From the latest scoop on Tom Cruise to a behind the scenes feature on Peter Jackson’s new movie, your appetite for celebrity can be quenched in the  magazine  of your choice.


Photo Editors – Picking Out The Winners


Ever struggled with the task of deciding which of several negatives to have printed? If you think you’ve got problems, you should try being a photo editor for a major news organization. Not that I’m in that position, but I know someone who is.

The next time you’re puzzling over a 30 exposure roll of negatives, deciding which ones you want printed, you might feel better if you consider the job of a press photo editor at a top magazine.

These people often handle up to 400 rolls of film each day on a big event, painstakingly selecting the few key photos the public will see in the finished magazine or newspaper.

At the same time, they are looking for pictures to meet special requests from newspapers and other magazines for photos of the hometown hero in action, whether it be the Olympics, or the World series, or any other event taking place.

Just take a second to do the math, and you’ll quickly get the notion of the task in hand. – 200 rolls of 36 exposure film comes to a possible 7200 negatives to be inspected.

And a key role all photo editors learn early is that they must look at every negative, since the off-beat, prize winning shot may be hidden in a string of routine photos.

Many editors say they cannot spend more than 5 minutes on a single roll of file, so how do they manage to handle all that work?

First, the photo editor and the assignment editor have to study the event, understand what it’s all about, and have a clear picture of what is required. If it’s something like a national political convention, they must have a clear idea of the personalities and the issues, so that the pictures chosen will pinpoint the proper highlights.

They rely too, on the notes from the photographer attached to the films sent in. They may point out that the reel covers a record breaking performance, or perhaps includes a great shot of the candidate.

That roll then gets priority handling in choosing negatives for printing, so that the key shot is pulled out quickly – but each frame still has to be viewed – just in case. In these days of motorized and digital cameras, it’s not unusual for photographers to turn in a string of 15 to 20 shots on one specific moment.

In such cases, the photo editors look for the face of the winning contestant to see which frame shows the action and best expression. Eyes are a key point too – are they open or closed, looking happy or sad etc. Sometimes these little things make all the difference between a winning shot and a loser.

Once the shots are processed, it’s then a case of storing these images for future use. A lot of the time, they will never be used again, so they are usually discarded immediately. The winners and maybes will need to be archived, and then edited to make them perfect for the final print.

This is where the digital photo editor software comes in – and the process is handed over to the technical department. Most media companies have high end photo editor software packages, that can do untold things to photographs that you’d never believe.

From a great photo with poor quality lighting, or serious red eye problems, a good photo editor can turn that into one of the best images you’ve ever seen of award winning quality.

Because let’s face it, if the weekly sports magazine had photos of your favorite hero with half his (or her) face grayed out by bad light, or had red eye like the devil in End of Days, you probably wouldn’t be too impressed.


Eco-Friendly Freelance Writing


As freelance writers, we spend a great deal of time reading, writing, researching, and commuting. Every day we pour through pages of printed books and magazines, write on notebooks and sheets of paper, photocopy or print out research materials, and drive around places to meet people. Imagine all the paper we consume and the amount of carbon we emit! Not to mention the time and energy we spend when we go out several times a week, even just for a good cup of coffee at Starbucks.

Thanks to evolving media technology, we can easily shift to a more eco-friendly way to work and not entirely ruin our routine. Here are five easy tips:

1. Work from home. Yup. The statement “telecommuting is green” rings true. If we do most of our writing, reading and research activities at home, we can reduce carbon emission and be proud of our limited carbon footprint. Besides, wouldn’t it be cool to work in your pajamas?

2. Use recycled and eco-friendly materials for your home office. Consider getting office furniture and equipment made of steel and aluminum. If metallic fashion doesn’t appeal to your taste, opt for recycled wood or fiberglass instead. Use both sides of the paper sheet and buy only paper products that are partly or entirely made of recycled pulp.

3. Go for handy digital tools. Pen and notebook is still the best for every writer. But if you can afford it, upgrade to a digital writing tablet for taking notes and making lists. A handy PDA (portable data organizer) to keep contact information and important files can also help you save time, space and energy.

4. Make your computer your workhorse. Subscribe to a fast Internet connection and turn your computer into a hardworking personal and office assistant. Use online resources and references such as e-books, online dictionary and thesaurus, Wikipedia, etc. You can also consolidate your contact options and information on the Internet (text/voice chat, fax, phone calls, e-mail). By doing these things, you save on printouts and electricity at the same time.

5. Schedule several meetings in one day. Make that one big trip once or twice a week to reduce fuel consumption and carbon emission. It’s also a great way to save your energy. Remember, there are deadlines to work on at home!

6. Promote telecommuting. Share the joy of working from the comforts of your own home. Encourage your writer-friends to telecommute to reduce paper consumption and carbon footprint. Write articles on how telecommuting can save the environment. I just did!