Employment Law, Part I

Just how serious is employment law to the small businessperson? Very serious and let me tell you a true story; A horror story, which will make you think about just how serious these issues can be. In San Antonio TX one of our wash trucks was driving down the road and a border Patrol Officer passed them. We run a company that does onsite washing; Http://www.CarwashGuys.com . Down the road they dropped over two trucks and were handcuffing Mexican illegal aliens from those company's work trucks. Our crew drve by on their way to work. They had just left the shop and had on board two workers who worked for Labor Ready Co, for a year and a half previously and were still employed from them from time to time. We had gotten extra workers and filled our service truck with workers who were temporaries to work for us since they needed extra help with the full schedule that day.

The border patrol officer was then done with the other companies' trucks and saw we had Hispanic labor in the back and folded over our truck after chasing it down the highway. Turns out Labor Ready had hired the illegals because theyave fake identification to them; I question the Labor Ready procedures. Labor Ready charges us $ 11.95 per hour for workers they pay $ 5.40 per hour. That is fine with us on those super busy days. So it's a deal and saves us from background checks for jobs that are not too serious like rinsing car lots. Well we found out that 4 of the five workers we had gotten from Labor Ready did not have green cards or US Identification of any type, so they cuffed them right on the highway and took them in. Good, we do not hire illegals anyway. But think about it we hired labor from a reputable nationwide company, a franchise called Labor Ready. They take care of all this stuff and charge us up the gazooo for the workers.

We know they are overcharging but for temporary extra labor for one day it is worth it. They told us there are certain questions that can not ask them when hiring, such as are you a US Citizen or where were you born or things like that. I can not believe we have laws in the banking industry called "Know your customer laws" yet in employment we have no "Know your employee laws". We have an unspoken do not ask the employee anything except when you can start and explain the type of work. We have laws in banking so we catch money launderers and those who are working hard to not pay taxes they owe.

So it is okay for the government to enforce those laws through private enterprise, but it is not okay for employers to ask questions to protect homeland security and save themselves from embarrassment. Of course in this case it is not a crime to hire someone who has given you false information, and we can not collect damages from a company who followed the employment laws? So what the hell do we do here? We want to help enforce the law as well, so do all true Americans. But we have so many laws in place that keep us from helping the situation.

Incidentally the workers who were handcuffed called us at 7 am morning two-days later and are ready to work and asked what time to meet. They were picked up at 9 am hand cuffed and stamped and transported that day. They were back in one day ready to work within 2 days. Some border patrol we have, what a complete joke; Protecting America, me ass? Why not implant a homing devise in these illegals and track them by satellite and find out the leaks in the system and plug them; Homeland Security or Homey Land of opportunity. You step up border patrol and catch these people and document on a board the number of deportees, yet they come the day back into the country. This is a true story you can call me for more information.

We have half a notice to go to the border patrol and give them free truck wash every morning and ask them to run the workers records and remove them from the crew. Sometimes the yellow truck will be known for not hiring illegals. A few weeks of that and every one who comes to work for us from Ready Labor will know it. Is this what we have to do to plug the system? Can not the border patrol guys figure it out; Then we will? If you can not enforce our borders then open them. But do not lie to the small businesses of America that somehow we are protected at our borders. We are not. This is a sham. Did not the Jordan Commission spend years putting together a plan only to have it never implemented? Why did we waste or breath? This is pure politics, not reality; Another of Smoot's points in his book "The Business Side of Government." One of the workers asked to work for us again and he wanted to borrow the twenty dollars he spent for the bus ride from Laredo to San Antonio. Even the illegals think this is a joke. We told him he could not work for us anymore. He did not understand why, because other businesses would have I guess that is why he was dumfounded when we told him to get lost. We called the border Patrol and they said they could not pick him up unless we knew for sure he was illegal. We said well you picked him up yesterday is he suddenly legal now? Can you prove it? No, all we can prove is your system does not work and that Labor Ready is doing an injustice to its customers, stocksholders and this country by not enforcing the laws of our land; The same laws, which have provided economic wealth to them over the years. Are they doing this all over the country? Yes.

The manager of Labor Ready said they did not like the laws either, but they needed to make a living and the companies need workers. So does this mean that Labor Ready who has offices all over Texas never disclosed this to their stockholders or customers? Yes it does, which is a gray area at least and a violation of disclosure law at best. The truth here is that no one cares. We make rules to appease the masses who vote for these things and tell the people we are saving them from terrorists. What about terrorists who are dark skinned and speak Spanish? What if a Middle Eastern spoke Spanish and was a terrorist and told the others he snuck over the border with he was from Argentina, they would not know either. And the business owner would hire them through a temp agency, who was making money off the business owner pointing to employment laws and said, well they had fake paperwork not my fault. Maybe it is not the border patrol's fault but shunning responsibility does not save us from the next attack.

Either we are worried about the next attack or we are not. I want someone to call me from the INS or Border Patrol to discuss this and I want a satisfactory answer or we will take this true story and document it and send it to the media one day before we send it to all the Congressmen and Senators. If we are not worried about terrorists then tell us. If we are, then fix the leaks. Why does it take 10 years to fix problems, when international terrorist groups only wait 3-5 years between acts? Good question worth answering and with all the BS and rhetoric we are seeing opposition from the Hispanic Chambers of Commerce and Hispanic Politicians. With 65% of the population of San Antonio Hispanic who do not want these laws at all, then extend the Mexican Border to include San Antonio TX as a free zone. Why not make it all of Texas and we can then defend the borders of Texas, which can be a free zone with Mexico.

If you are just going to give it lip service and not fix the leaks of illegals then open the borders and forget it. This is pathetic. We know how to enforce the barriers and we give out fines to businesses who do not complain, yet allow free entry by anyone who can walk. I am surprised we have not made ADA mandated border crossings for those in wheel chairs or are asthmatically challenged. Put in 1 foot per 1 inch inclines over the Rio Grande for those in wheel chairs and then nice sidewalks all the way to Washington DC so they can have a baby and run for Congress or become a radical speech writer and proponent of mass demonstrations and guns . You think I am kidding do not you. I am serious all this is so fake and such a ridiculous waste of breath and tax payers money.

End of Employment Law, Part I

Maintain A Healthy Lifestyle

Our modern, urbanized lifestyle relegates most of us to a sedentary lifestyle. Sitting or working behind the computer is commonplace. While it is almost impossible to give up our jobs, there are ways in which we can incorporated exercise into our hectic schedules. If you live in an apartment, make the effort to walk your way up to your residence. If you take public transport to work, try flying from the train or bus one stop earlier and walking the rest of the way. Take time off to exercise at least twice a week, 30 minutes each time. Vigorous exercise engages the cardiovascular muscles and improves blood circulation, reducing the risk of high blood pressure.

Maintain A Healthy Diet

Our food intake today includes some form of processed food. Increased affluence has led to demand for better lifestyle and with it, food that looks appealing and tastes good. While it will be impossible to eradicate processed food altogether in your diet, try replacing some of it with fresh food. Replace sausages and bacon with fresh meat. Use natural seasoning like species and herbs instead of pre-packaged condiments. If you need to snack, choose apple slices or cupped corn over potato chips. When eating out, ask for reduced salt or go salt-free. Cutting down on salt goes a long way towards giving yourself a healthy body.

Reduce Stress

We live in a competitive world. The pressure to perform both in the workplace and at home brings stress to us at a level never witnessed before. If you feel that you are burning out, drop your work and go for a walk. Take a stroll through the park or sit quietly by the beach. Breathe some fresh air. Find a moment of solitude and let your mind enjoy some peace, even for a short 30 minutes. Better still, set aside at least an hour every week to spend some quiet moments by yourself. Do not wait till the stress starts to build up. Prevention is better than cure.

Avoid Excessive Alcohol

Research has shown that excessive alcohol consumption has the effect of increasing your blood pressure level. In addition, alcohol contains calories, which leads to weight gain, one of the factors leading to high blood pressure. If you are a heavy drinker, aim to reduce your intake gradually over time. If you must drink at social functions, limit yourself to just one or two drinks. Having less alcohol cleanses your system and puts your body on a path towards normalcy.

Quit Smoking

Smoking is one of the foremost contributors towards the increase of blood pressure. Smoking increases your blood pressure temporarily but instantly. Frequent smoking increases the frequency of increased blood pressure and the long-term effects of such temporary blood pressure increases can not be ignored. Aim to quit smoking over time. Reduce your number of cigarettes gradually till you have quit altogether. There is another benefit to be enjoyed: The gradual absence of nicotine also reduces your chances of getting narrow arteries and hardened artery walls, two major factors leading to blood clot, which in turn causes heart attack or stroke.

Summary

In summary, exercise, eat healthily and remove stress from your life. Also aim to reduce your alcohol intake and quit smoking. A few simple changes in lifestyle not only greatly reduces your chances of getting high blood pressure but also makes you more fit and feel good!

Building Your First Website? – Some Things to Consider

If you have, or have had, a website on one of the free hosting services you are aware of the limitations. Your choices of layout are limited to the templates provided and you are allowed only so much space. Your URL is not distinctively yours and, very likely, there are ads put there by your provider. So now you are thinking of starting a website under your own domain name so that you can personalize it to suit yourself. If you are planning to do business on the web it is crucial to have your own domain name and unique look.

Stop. If you are going to do it yourself, rather than hire someone to do it for you and you have little or no experience, there are a few things you need to know and some planning you need to do first. Sure, you could just charge ahead learning as you go (and there will still be some of that) but things will go a lot more smoothly if you take an honest inventory of your knowledge and skills as they apply to the planned content and format of Your site.

Basic Computer Skills

Anyone who uses a computer is familiar with the way folders and files are organized. Casual or recreational users usually do not take advantage of this structure to keep their own files organized but you should definitely do this with your pages. As you develop your site (and especially when you are ready to upload to your host) a well organized structure will reduce the amount of effort required to find, link to and upload pages.

A strategy many find useful is to build the entire site on their local file system so that it can be thoroughly tested prior to launch. This is a simple matter of creating a folder to serve as the root or top level of your site and subfolders as necessary to organize the content. For example, you might make a folder called mysite to serve as the root and a subdirectory called images to hold all the graphics you will use on your pages. One big advantage of this strategy is the ability to use your computer's file manager to determine the storage space required for your site. This will help you in choosing a hosting plan that has enough but not way too much allocated file space.

It is advisable to use relative path names for all internal links of your site as in./images/picture1.jpg or ../adobefiles / helpfile.pdf so that they will not need changing when you upload to your host. The single dot is shorthand for the current directory (the one where the page that contains the link is located). The double dot representations directory one level up.

As you build your pages and links you can test them by double clicking on the index.html (the default first page of a site) in your file manager which will start your browser and display your page. You can name this first page anything you like provided you use the.html or.htm extension and specify this name in the ultimate URL of your site but that will require visitors to type something like www.mydomain.com/firstpagename.html to get To your site or you will have to do a redirect to it from your top level. If you leave the default name they can just type in the domain address and it will automatically load. At launch time the entire site can be uploaded via an FTP client (file transfer protocol) and be 'live' in minutes.

You will need to be comfortable with and know how to find your way around the web. Also, you definitely need to know how to download and install software as well as how to use an FTP client to upload and download files and directories. FTP client software is not something that most of us use in routine computer use so you may need to just learn this when the time comes to attempt your first upload. One good (and free) FTP client is FileZilla. You will also need to know a little HTML as that is what makes the web work.

HTML

Most people these days use some form of WYSIWYG editor (what you see is what you get) for most of their page development. Many, if not most, hosting services provide a simple one similar to what you may be accredited to on the free services. To break free of the lookalikes, though, you should acquire and learn to use one of the more general purpose editors. A very good one is SeaMonkey from Mozilla and it is free for the downloading. It also works directly in HTML so that you do not have to convert from the editor's native format to HTML before uploading. SeaMonkey is actually a 'Browser Suite' and includes a browser, a WYSIWYG editor and a viewer / editor for the HTML text file. However, some basic knowledge of HTML and a text editor like the one in SeaMonkey or even Windows Notepad will allow you to tweak things if necessary.

How much HTML should you know? Well, you should certainly know how to define a link so that you can link your pages and how to insert images. You should also know some of the text formatting tags for bolding etc. And how to specify text and background colors in hexadecimal (there are pages on the web with charts of colors and their hex equivalents). Metatags are another thing you should be familiar with. There are many books and online tutorials where you can learn about HTML.

Hosting

In order for your site to be visible on the web, you will need a domain name (your URL) and a host. Your host will be providing the space to store the necessary files and web access to those files so that browsers can find and display them. Most hosting services provide a convenient interface for you to access your pages for maintenance, etc. And most will also register and host your domain name.

You will want to consider two main things when picking your plan; Storage space and file transfer limits. All the other stuff is nice and some of it is important but these two are critical. Your storage requirements are pretty easy to estimate as stated above. Your file transfer requirement is not so easy because it depends on how many visitors come to your site and how much they look at. One "rule of thumb" says to buy a minimum of five gigabytes or ten times your actual storage usage whichever is larger.

In Conclusion

Designing and building your own website from scratch can actually be enjoyable. So brush up on your skills and get to work. Share your hobby with the world or put your business on the web. There is a lot of satisfaction in doing it yourself. Most of all have fun with it.

Thinking Like An Online Entrepreneur – E-Commerce Tips

So much has been written about entrepreneurial thinking that I will not try to distil it here. However, there are certain behaviors I have noted about how some web owners approach the development and running of their e-commerce websites which deserve a little discussion.

Let me start with the most important, influencing factor to any web owner's success: belief.

Belief

Starting your online entrepreneurial activity with the right mindset and beliefs is like winning the match before you've stepped out onto the court. It's what separates the really successful businesses from the average ones.

Ask any sportsperson or sports psychologist and they'll tell you that your beliefs greatly affect your performance.

What we believe is possible in our online entrepreneurial life is the limiting factor in our success.

Let's take an example. Lots of people wish they were millionaires, but of those who want to become millionaires, very few actually believe they will be millionaires. Those that do, however, stand a far greater chance of becoming what they believe. Why? Because at a conscious and subconscious level they are doing everything they can to pursue that one objective. Now I'm not suggesting that being a millionaire should be your life's goal; I'm just using it as an example. The point is that your underlying beliefs in what you are capable of fundamentally affect the actions you take and the choices you make.

All this may seem more like some New Age incantation rather than hard-edged business-speak, but there is good reason I mention it. Owning and running an e-commerce website is not for the faint-hearted. It is complex and demanding and do not let anyone tell you otherwise. Be prepared for long hours, headaches and hard work, but also be prepared for more customers, a growing bank account and a sense of achievement. Your belief that you are doing the right thing is what will see you through and keep you on course for success.

Owning an e-commerce website can be a wild ride but how you handle it is totally dictated by your mind and your beliefs. For example, many e-commerce websites fail because their owners give up – they lose confidence, interest and commitment, especially in the early days of their website's life. It's easy to give up if you're struggling or faced with outright failure. However, those who believe they will succeed do not see failure as a setback but as a learning experience – they have the right mindset and they will do well because of it.

I'm telling you this because you know that success is not a set of purely mechanical step-by-step processes. (If it were, we'd all be millionaires.) Success comes from your mindset: what you believe you can achieve and the expectations you set yourself. This mindset is as important as knowing how to Search Engine optimize your e-commerce website or write compelling sales copy.