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WizzleyI write all sorts of content as a freelance writer.

Support independent publishing: Buy this e-book on Lulu.I have no real niche.  I write poetry and fiction.  I write about religion as much as I write about sports and community activities and events.  I blog, journal, present, teach, and edit online as a freelancer.

 I write e-zine articles and post to multiple blogs.  I write for a wide variety of audiences.

You can join me on my freelance journey at iWriter, too.

I have published articles on Squidoo and HubPages, too.  My articles include content related to writing grants and freelance writing opportunities.  I also publish my own books of inspirational poetry on Lulu.

Get a copy of one of the Bible studies offered by Life Path Ministries & Services.  Subscribe to get inspiration from one of my other blogs either Rev Bruce or Life Path.

Bruce Jackson, EzineArticles Basic Author

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The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity.
The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
– Winston Churchill

Not long ago, the State of California and its legislators figured to get a few more dollars from business by taxing goods, products and any items sold on the Internet that had a connection to California.  It didn’t hit me until I got an email from Amazon about my Amazon Associates account facing potential closure due to the fact that I live in the Golden State.  I was just catching my breath again when I received another email that said that it was a done deal.  The night before I had been an Amazon Associate with MP3 samples teasing reading on my blog and magazine images from Relevant and Outreach on the same hone page, linking my blog readers to an Amazon storefront- astore as they call them for their own viewing. 

No more, though.  That is over.  If I have not gotten over that, imagine my Christian dismay when my other affiliate program Christian Book shot me a casual email that said it was cutting ties with its California-based affiliates.  That just added to the barrage of additional junk that gets piled on in the midst of a budget crisis.

I was seeking out just how I planned to get some things done and fought with myself to see things clearly and optimistically.  I had been kicked here and as I turned the other cheek I was gracefully given another swift kick right there, too.  I was fed up as a freelancer who also gets a few coins here and there on my blogs and articles when people click on or through the affiliate ads for Amazon and Christian Book.  Luckily, I hadn’t heard from Google AdSense acting irrationally, too.

I assessed my situation.  Affiliate revenue did not even account for one-third of my total business revenue or a high percentage of my online income either.  My mainstay is the purchase of articles, poems and fillers that I write as a freelancer online.  I get a pretty good amount from Helium and Textbroker.  I am starting to get some real traffic on HubPages, too. 

What I am saying is that I don’t make a lot of fuss over what didn’t make a big difference in the bottom line or in any major category of life such as salvation, family and sanity.  Amazon only dropped me as an affiliate or “associate.” I am still listed as an author on the siteI am stilled adding books and tweets on the site, tooIn fact, my publishing site is still working with me as I struggle to complete another book of poetry and a few sets of materials on Bible study and devotion.

I just added a new video to my author profile on Amazon so go and check it out.

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Surprisingly Simple: Independent Contractor, Sole Proprietor, and LLC Taxes Explained in 100 Pages or Less

Incorporated self-employment is 37% of total self-employment. In January, for example, there were 14.5 million self-employed workers in the U.S. with 5.2 million incorporated and 9.3 million unincorporated.

Small Biz Labs

The Big Book of Small Business: You Don't Have to Run Your Business by the Seat of Your Pants

If you are in business or thinking about going into business for yourself, there is good news.  There is still room for you.  With 14.5 million self-employed Americans, there is still room for you.  There is still room for growth.

Why All of the Optimism?

WebCatalog Builder 3.0 - Your eBusiness Launch Kit - The Easiest Way to Build an Online Store - CD-ROM -I believe that the average American possesses the ability to start and sustain a small business on his or her own, with the help of family or friends, or in an LLC or partnership.  You can franchise it or start it up from scratch, but you need to get the mindset that you can run a small business.  In fact, in your pursuit of happiness, along with life and liberty, it should be among one of those patriotic things that you list for yourself to do as a contribution to society and your personal bottom line.
The Internet Opportunity

Small business is no longer about hanging out a shingle and calling it a day, awaiting foot traffic and catching the eye of the passerby.  No way, buddy! You have to go where the people are today.  You need to get connected online.  in fact, simply having a website alone can be the equivalent of letting your business go to pot.  You have to engage people online in order to get their attention and get them attracted to what you have to offer.
The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the WorldThe brick and mortar business is almost dead unless you have the type of product or service that cannot be mobilized and made virtual with a webinar or a podcast, even an e-commerce storefront.  The real estate bust should tell us how these markets have been consumed by Google, Facebook, iPhones, iPads and the like.  The modern-day consumer has shifted from browsing the shelves to browsing web pages and portals, comparing prices with a click of a mouse.


Start Simple:

  • Use eBay or similar sites to shop products to consumers
  • What Would Google Do?Get as much Google in your daily diet as possible… blogs, calendar, docs, YouTube, RSS feeds, Checkoutapps for business, and you name it (they got it!) And, of course, you need some Gmail
  • Get on Twitter and at least see who’s tweeting about what that may be of interest or related to you… check out @mashable or @google
  • Make a consumer-conscious appeal* with every keystroke


*Your consumer-conscious appeals will reach the average consumer and cause them to at least consider taking some form of action on your site or fan page… sort of like Facebook’s “Like This” button or Twitter’s retweets and #’s

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GOOD NEWS BIBLE TODAY'S ENGLISH VERSIONMessage: The evangelist has to have a message.  The calling of the evangelist may entail the Lord illuminating the message for the evangelist, but the bare essential is that the evangelist have a message of the saving grace of Jesus Christ through his work of redemption on the cross.  Your message should be delivered with confidence and competence.  You should know the Word and know that you know that you have been called to preach and proclaim the Word.

Calling America and the Nations to ChristMethod:  Some share the Word via verbal expression with a Bible and a bullhorn, while others blog and write lessons or strategies for churches, missionaries and shelters.  The evangelist needs a sure method for sharing his or her message.  You don’t get the message out there without some form of methodology.  It may include feeding people at a local shelter and sharing a brief message before, during or after the food has been distributed.  It may entail going down to the rescue mission with a Bible study lesson or a small group meeting in someone’s living room, but there is a method by which the message is disseminated.

YouTube and Video Marketing: An Hour a DayMedium: The modern-day evangelist needs to use a medium by which to broadcast his or her message beyond the “hearers” of the message.  Some evangelists who are into social justice issues are masters at letters to the editor or op-ed pieces for the local press.  They stir up the masses and persuade the would-be bystander to take action.  Others tend to use YouTube or Facebook, even Twitter and LinkedIn, with the mastery of tech wizards.  You have to use some form of medium, even if it is www.youversion.com or www.gracehope.com for Christian connections.
Get Connected: The Social Networking Toolkit for Business

In essence, the evangelists of today need to do more than simply say that they have been called.  They need to demonstrate their calling by acting upon their calling.  The biblical evangelists like Paul and others kept in touch with papyrus and messengers who ran messages from one place to another.  There are too many ways to connect online and make a difference in people’s lives for the evangelist to not be in touch with more than his or her local flock.  The evangelist has to at least get the essentials down in order to become effective at evangelizing.

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The Web Designer's Idea Book: The Ultimate Guide To Themes, Trends & Styles In Website Design (Web Designer's Idea Book: The Latest Themes, Trends & Styles in Website Design)

“Things should be made as simple as possible, but not any simpler.”
Einstein: His Life and Universe


Today’s technology has all sorts of possibilities.  Can I offer some simple possibilities that float around in my imagination? Here there are:

Imagine if you thought more about how to use the technology as a tool.  See how you could get the Word out over the Web (Wow! That was another good one.  Can you patent online content? Hmmm…).

Entrepreneur

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“The ways in which churches are reaching out to people over the Internet are expanding.”- The Barna Group

You have a website.
So what?
Your pastor is podcasting, blogging and streaming videos daily.
So what?
Your ministry team is using social networking and microblogging, tweeting and texting at a fast pace.
So what?

Identify more than what you are doing.  That’s just the evidence of some form of effort.  You have to get to the point to where you actually measure the effectiveness of what you are doing.

Think it through.  You do not want to simply do something.  You want to do something that changes the world.  You want to face your cyber challenges with purpose and intent, confirming the call and cause of your mission and taking action to bring it forth.

Take a moment and see what tools exist that can help and support you to have a critical web presence.  Look at Techmission and Tech Soup for articles and solutions on using technology to its full advantage.  Invest some time engaging your team and focus groups into how to use technology to communicate internally and externally as well as broadcast sermons and services offered by your church or organization.  Take the time to turn your cyber challenges into Internet innovations.

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I believe that every business should make a statement. Whether it is daily, weekly or more occasional, your business should make a statement that goes out to the public through various mediums. Churches, nonprofits and for-profits need a pr and marketing plan that includes raising public awareness about new services and special events, even forging new partnerships and collaborations for programs and other activities.

  • Daily: Use social media to get your daily message out to people in ways that reach people daily. Look into Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter. Consider Voxox for instant messaging, IM, fax, SMS text messaging and other services including video chat.
  • Weekly: Let’s say you want to keep people buzzing about that new worship service you started last month. Upload and embed video snippets onto your Facebook or YouTube page. Let’s say your shelter hosts a special volunteer hour in partnership with the senior resource center in your community. Create weekly e-newsletter using Mail Chimp or Constant Contact. Get your message into nearly everyone’s inbox.
  • Every Now & Then: You should launch a press release every other month or at least every quarter throughout the year. Your calendar of events should provide you with enough room between activities to garner support from many of the same people without wearing them out. Use services such as PR Log, Free Press Releases and PR.COM to distribute press releases beyond your circle of friends. Try out EventBrite and E-Vite for special events and fundraisers as well as posting events on Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn.

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But those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness. -Proverbs 14:22 (NIV)

You are out there now. You have been trying it at tweeting and putting some new ideas out there via your site’s blog. Now you come to the realization that you need to approach your social networking and posting with a plan. The benefits are obvious. Blogging can lead to profits with Google AdSense and Amazon Associates. However, your plans can lead to love and faithfulness, too. People who follow you will need to have a reason for following you based upon what you provide and present through your posts.

  • Planned posting should be viewed by concept. What you post should engross readers and followers in a conceptual idea. You may see this as the “categories” of your posts. If people are searching for content relevant to the church being missional or emergent, you should design conceptual postings that are related to the overall concept of changes within the modern church or church trends. Post content that identifies and explains various church trends in these modern times, keeping readers returning because of your relevance and resourcefulness on the topic.
  • Planning your postings should include a design for content within your conceptual plans and outlines. As you outline your concepts and categories, keep your readers and followers in mind. Make your point and state your case. If you have a post that stretches beyond the average level of understanding or keeps people wondering if what you are saying matches their search results by mistake, you need to review and revisit your content outline and map. Keep your content easy to read (length and breadth) and simple to understand (knowledge). It it is truly a scholarly site, share that in the subheading with a tagline like: Scholarly and Seminary Studies of the Scriptures. That makes it clear before they read something out of their realm of understanding.

Keep your content and concepts in mind as you plan your posts. You can do an entire series on understanding salvation that spans concepts within the realm of soteriology with word studies, discussion questions for small groups or short anecdotes from your experiences working with people in street ministry. Explore the numerous benefits of planning your posts.

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Do what you do right thoroughly, pray over it heartily, and leave the results to God.
– C.H. Spurgeon

Cross-promotion is simply about utilizing an existing platform to promote a service or product while using that same service or product to promote your service. It allows you to establish yourself with a new or even a broader audience. What occurs in such a situation allows the distributor to extend the message through additional platforms and maintain other platforms for traditional methods.

Let me use the Ministry Mechanic as an example. I use cross-promotion with the Ministry Mechanic blog posts because I post content relevant to the services offered via Life Path Consulting Services and its divisions of Nonprofit Coaching, Ministry Mechanics and Principles in Practice. Although the consulting services may not experience a surge of requests and contractual agreements, posting such content on the blog has allowed me to share with numerous people.

I post Ministry Mechanic on Blogger so it is directly connected to Life Path’s Twitter and Rev Bruce’s Facebook accounts. My posts get sent out to my Facebook friends when I elect to “share” and I have an RSS feed going into My Notes on Facebook. I also set up an feedburner to have every post on the Ministry Mechanic imported to Rev Bruce’s Blog. This alllows me to get Life Path Consulting’s expertise regarding faith-based nonprofit and Christian ministry in the grasp of more and more pastors, executive leaders and Christian school principals. In fact, via Google Analytics, I can even determine how many new visitors hit my site and how long they stay as well as what content they view.

I expand the blog’s posts and content to include promotion of my latest book of poetry linked to my street ministry work in San Diego. I link to the blog via my e-newsletter via Constant Contact. Also, I use my Gmail to email a preview or small piece of the blog post with a link to the Ministry Mechanic.

As I review the Ministry Mechanic’s short-lived success, I can honestly say that it has experienced four times as many visitors than when I started Rev Bruce’s Blog for the same initial period. It took Rev Bruce’s Blog at least 3 months to reach the point where the Ministry Mechanic is after its intial 30-day period. There are benefits, but don’t lose sight of what you are doing here. You want to use your blog, articles, newsletter or tweets to cross-promote what you do well and what you do right, so that you can attract others and make all aware of your special services.

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Mini messages are “mini” because they are short and to the point. They allow you to communicate a lot even when you say a little. This particular post will prove beneficial for churches and small groups. However, I think some parachurches and faith-based nonprofits could incorporate some of these techniques to enhance and even expand current communications.

  • Sentence Sermons: Use a single sentence to provide a stirring message. For example: God puts more on you to get more out of you. Such a statement gets people thinking and stirs up interest. Let your sentence sermons connect to your preaching series or a church-wide campaign. If people don’t get the full message, you have at least prompted them with your sentence sermon.
  • Text Messages: You can say a lot in 120 characters or less. Tailor your mass SMS text messages to specific audiences. Use appropriate abbreviations. For example: Sunday’s sermon comes from Jn 15:8-17 Pastor J. GoodNews. It is short and to the point. You can set up specific audiences in programs such as http://tatango.com/ or http://www.eztexting.com/. Even www.skype.com and other services have a texting component. If it is for your small group, you can text up to 10 people on most smartphones and forward the original text to others after it has been sent.
  • Status Updates: With all of social networking’s capabilities, use your status updates so that friends can get the message. For example: Preparing for Sunday’s message on fruitfulness and faith for friends from John 15:8-17. Keep me in prayer. Friends can comment on your status on Facebook, MySpace and other interactive sites.
  • Twitter Posts: Tweet short messages that 140 characters or less on Twitter as well as LinkedIn. This will get your message before your numerous “followers.” Think of using your sentence sermon or text message as a tweet. You want to communicate the same message across a wide variety of mediums.

In essence, you want to give a clear and concise message that leads to greater participation from your congregation or small group members. Let them have more information so that they can remain informed. Remember, the root word of information is inform.

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