Friday, January 30, 2009

PhotoJournalism : Does Creative Freedom Exist? by Rohn Engh

What profession could be more exciting and rewarding?

But there are roadblocks. Because you represent an investigative factor, you are not always welcomed - especially by political, social, military, and governmental elements that would rather not expose their own shortcomings.

So, you find yourself in a battle between your passion to tell the story and get it right, and the deterrents that would prevent you from "trespassing" into their domain.

There are also detours. If you are good at your profession, you'll be offered incentives that entice you to give up your initial interest in photojournalism and turn your talents to more commercial areas for greater income and social status, areas like public relations, advertising photography, corporate assignments, etc.

You are not alone. A talented musician can be tempted to turn to producing elevator music; a talented composer to TV show themes; a talented writer to Hollywood screenplays; an established actor to performing in TV commercials.

The difference in pay scale can be tempting. In photojournalism, unless you are a well-known photographer with many credits, remuneration for your work is not much higher than for basic labor positions (sometimes lower!).

Add to the financial challenges the fact that like any business, the publishing world is always trying to reduce expense. Often their first target is freelancers and staff photographers. A current attempt is being made in Germany (Frankfurt) to reduce the employee classification of a photojournalist from editorial worker to clerical worker. If they are successful, the pay scale of photographers would be lowered to be on a par with clerical workers, not editorial employees.

It would seem that organizing into a union of members would be the answer for the photographers. It isn't. Freelancers by their very nature are independent people and are resistant to 'organizing.' Creativity can't be organized. As an observer of freelancers over the years, I've seen attempts to unionize freelancers come along, sputter, and disappear.

A contemporary approach to organizing freelancers into a union is to hook up with an existing union as an affiliate. For example, affiliating with the United Automobile Workers (UAW) and through them with the AFL-CIO. If we were to classify freelancers as craftsmen, or clerical workers, I would agree this might be the answer. But could you imagine a poet or painter joining a union?

We all know that unions are a two-edged sword. You might receive higher fees on one hand, but you have to accept constraints and regulations regards your work, and who you work for, as decreed by the union.

In just about every survey made of workers, not only freelancers, but everyday service personnel, the reward that workers consider most important is not salary but recognition of their contribution to their chosen career. For a person who has a passion for photojournalism, the carrot of higher pay is not going to outweigh the gratification and self-esteem the photographer realizes from her/his profession.

Do photojournalists need charity? Should they receive grants or subsidies like farmers? Again, no. It would only make them beholden to some government party line.

Is there an answer for this dilemma? Yes. And it's been played out for centuries.

Demand for creative talent will never subside. Your experience and knowledge will be rewarded if you stick with your profession. There will always be challenges concerning your job: amateurs, other photographers, your family's financial needs, etc. But if wild horses can't pull you away from photojournalism, you will eventually come to a stage in your career where you will have blossomed and matured. You'll ride out the ups and downs of the publishing world and their cost-cutting cycles, to their traditional returns to their realization that to get quality service and consistently good photography, they have to pay accordingly. Your services will be in demand, and freedom for you to choose what and when and for whom to photograph will continue to be your laurel.

Rohn Engh, veteran stock photographer and best-selling author of "Sell & ReSell Your Photos" and "," has helped scores of photographers launch their careers. For access to great information on making money from pictures you like to take, and to receive this free report: "8 Steps to Publishing Photos," visit his website at PhotoSource International or call 1 800 624-0266.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Blogging for Business - Small Business Tips by One SEO Company

I have been in the web business for many years now and have worked with a variety of local and international companies on their web design, search engine optimization (SEO) and web marketing projects. Inevitably, during a meeting where the client and I discuss multiple means of attracting web traffic, the client dreads blogging, usually because of unawareness or lack of time management.

I usually get the reply 'Why don't you blog for us, we don't have time.' Sure, we can blog for you but the business owner must understand the importance of using blogs a medium of attracting attention, and generating more qualified web traffic to the web business. The reason why blogging is necessary and the benefits of blogging are not clearly understood by business people. Let's understand the basics of blogging and its benefit:

a) Blogs initiate dialog with web visitors

Blogs start a two-way traffic with web visitors. When you write about your products and services and write with authority, as though you are the master of your business and with in-depth knowledge about your products and services, you not only create awareness of the benefits and disadvantages about the product and service you deal in, you engage people's attention. Your blog should also have a call to action, to make the readers of the blog interact with your website.

A call to action can mean asking them to leave comments, encouraging them to speak out. Comments left by the readers of blogs might include inquiries and leads that could lead to sales.

Blogs generate a prospective about your company. It silently speaks about the culture and vision of your company and even helps in building a brand image.

b) Search Engine Optimization (SEO) - Benefit of blogging

Blogs peppered with targeted keywords, keyword phrases and search terms related to your business puts blogs in plain sight whenever web visitors use related search terms. Instead of using long-tail keyword phrases, targeting niche keywords will help in attracting more qualified web traffic.

c) Blogs attract more links

Blog are meant to be informative and not advertisements. Informative quality, industry related articles that provide insight or a critical analysis of product and services you deal in helps you to get more links.

Links will get better search engine rankings for your website and will help in generating more traffic.

d) Fresh, original content for blogs

Fresh and original web content is the feed for search engine spiders. Websites that are updated frequently get crawled by the search engine spiders more often. Your website gets more authority and better search engine ranking.

By now, you should have enough reasons to being seriously considering blogging. For your interest and for the interest of getting more visitors to your website, blogging is the way to go. Don't wait to begin blogging right away.

Start writing blogs, use targeted keywords and keyword phrases, generate qualified web traffic and get better search engine positioning and ranking. Fresh content and informative articles with SEO are best for search engine marketing

Contributor: One SEO Company = Web Design + Web Marketing + Search Engine Optimization (SEO) ,

Friday, January 23, 2009

Squidoo Releases Twttrstrm.Com, A New Tool For Gathering Feedback From Your Twitter Followers this week launches, a lightweight free tool that helps Twitter users organize and archive feedback from their followers.

Twttrstrm makes it easy for anyone on Twitter to create a page about a topic, question, prediction or debate. "Should I buy a Blackberry or an iPhone?" or "What do you think of Alltop?" or "Short reviews of The Dark Knight" or "The best line in Obama's Inaugural is..."

With one click, followers can respond and in turn easily tweet their answers. A powerful element of a Twttrstrm is that you not only reach your followers, but you reach your followers' followers, and so on. And then, once the storm has passed, the record of the conversation stays live for the rest of the web to see for weeks or years to come.

"Here's the magic part," says Squidoo founder Seth Godin. "As your followers click through and respond, the storm spreads to their followers. So, in short, it's a threaded, viral, structured conversation in the middle of the Twitter melee."

Powered by Squidoo's popular platform, every Twttrstrm page supports versatile uses far beyond just simple polls or surveys. It's simple to add content ranging from videos, photos and polls, to links, RSS feeds and even Amazon and eBay widgets. These options help bring background and context to the central question or statement.

And every page generates revenue, for the person who built it or for the charity of their choice. Some Squidoo users earn more than $40,000 a year.

"One of Twitter's many strengths is in culling realtime (or near to it) feedback from your followers," says Squidoo Editor in Chief Megan Casey. "If Robert Scoble asks for restaurant recommendations in Tokyo, 10 minutes later he's got some. But it's hard to see all the @reply responses at once, even with the help of hashtags. Even harder to access that rich, human content a few days later. So we've created an easy way for Twitter users to gather and store all responses to a certain question or discussion. In the Scoble example, a single list of great restaurants in Tokyo is a super useful page to share with the rest of the web. You get the best of both worlds: quick feedback, and an organized storehouse for it."

Just imagine a Twitter user creating a Twttrstrm page to ask and gather replies the following questions!

Q: What are the best Twitter tools?
Q: Which should I buy, Blackberry or iPhone?
Q: I'm looking for people to do freelance research for me. Post your contact links here.
Q: What are the best blog posts on green building?
Q: I think the Oscar for best picture should go to...
Q: What's the worst thing about Bill O'Reilly?
Q: Shoutout what you like about Guy Kawasaki. Let's make a tribute page.
Q: Here's a photo. Now you write the caption!
Q: My book is getting published next fall. What cover design do you like most?
Q: Livetweet on January 20th. The best line in Obama's inaugural is...
Q: I love Oasis. Anything similar to them I should by on iTunes?
Q: I read Moneyball... should I read Panic, and why?
Q: I'm applying for a job at Google. If you've worked with me, post a testimonial.
Q: Who's the stupidest person in the news today? Post to the stupid list.
Q: Tweet today's smartest person. Join the smart list!
And so on.

Go to to start your free page in under 2 minutes.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Major Trends in 2008 Freelance Job Market

oDesk, the leading marketplace for online workteams, has compiled and analyzed data from over 100,000 freelance jobs posted in 2008. The findings, which show the most critical skills to stay employed, are summarized in the three reports below.

Web Developer Skills in Most Demand
PHP programmers were by far the most in-demand web professionals in the oDesk marketplace in 2008. Other hot programming skills that employers are looking for include Ajax, MySQL, CSS, and Graphic Design.

Fastest Growing Skills by Demand Growth
Wordpress developers (+427%) and SEO consultants (+242%) enjoyed the greatest increase in demand for their particular skills, reflecting small businesses' ongoing need to have a strong web presence. Growth in writing and Excel reflects the increasing number of jobs oDesk buyers are outsourcing as well as oDesk's expansion into these categories.

Jobs with the Least Competition
Freelance professionals can also improve their chances of finding jobs by focusing on skills with the least competition. oDesk's findings show that Database Modeling, LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP), Facebook, and Drupal represent some of the best opportunities for freelancers because demand for these skills far outweighs the number of available contractors.

"In these difficult economic times, it's harder to earn a living which makes it even more important for freelancers to focus on the skills that are most in demand," said oDesk CEO Gary Swart. "oDesk will continue to publish useful data to help freelance professionals stay informed about the skills that are most in demand."


2008 Tax Changes Include Self-Employment Tax Modification

Prior to preparation of the 2008 tax forms, micro-business and the self-employed should be aware of a few tax law changes, including an increase in retirement savings opportunities and self-employment tax modifications.

"Don't let the 2008 filing season sneak up on you," said Keith Hall, national tax advisor for the National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE). "There are many online resources available to micro-businesses to help them get prepared, including the NASE and the Internal Revenue Service."

The following tax law changes relate to 2008 returns:

First-Time Homebuyer Credit -- Offices located inside a first-time home purchase may qualify for additional tax incentives if the purchase was made from April 9, 2008, to June 30, 2009. The $7,500 credit is very similar to a 15-year interest-free loan.

Standard Mileage Rates Adjusted for 2008 -- The standard mileage rate for business use of a car, van, pick-up or panel truck is 50.5 cents per mile from Jan. 1, 2008, to June 30, 2008. The rate is 58.5 cents for each mile driven during the remainder of the year.

Talk to the IRS -- The IRS is reaching out to taxpayers who are unable to meet their obligations during this economic slump with tax credits, deductions and additional outreach. Please visit for more information on how the agency is working to help financially distressed business owners.

Contribution Limits for IRAs and Other Retirement Plans -- Where an IRA contributor who is not covered by a workplace retirement plan is married to someone who is covered, the deduction is phased out if the couple's income is between $159,000 and $169,000.

Self-Employment Tax Changes -- For those who receive Social Security Retirement or disability benefits, Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) payments are now exempt from the 15.3-percent social security self-employment tax. The income thresholds increase for the 2008 filing season and are indexed for inflation.

AMT Exemption Increased for 2008 -- For tax-year 2008 only, the exemption for a married couple filing a joint return is $69,950, up from $66,250 in 2007; $34,975 for a married person filing separately, up from $33,125 and $46,200 for singles and heads of household, up from $44,350.

Entrepreneurs preparing to meet the filing deadline can turn to Hall and other qualified CPAs for help through NASE's TaxTalk program at While there, they can submit a tax question, watch or download tax advice from Keith Hall and browse the TaxTalk resource library.

Find out more information about these and other tax law changes for the 2008 tax season check the instructions on the 1040 form or

Friday, January 16, 2009

Top Ten Internet Marketing and Website Promotion Predictions for 2009

With business owners and executives experiencing slumping sales and tightening their belts everywhere they can, there is a pervasive and ongoing exodus of marketing dollars out of print, radio and television and into Online Marketing. Businesses of all sizes are becoming more aware of the effectiveness and high ROI of generating leads through the development of their own personal brand of web system.

Top Ten Jorn and Price Internet Marketing predictions for 2009.

10. Continual Keyword Research is now more important than ever as the web marketing landscape becomes more crowded. Most companies would be wise to re-analyze their choice of keywords right now. If a company's focus or positioning has changed or if they have added new products or services, a new keyword list is in order.

9. RSS subscriptions will increase dramatically. Consumers are becoming more savvy and particular about the information they take in from the web and already many people would be more likely to subscribe to your RSS feed than your e-mail list. This trend will continue as the awareness and popularity of RSS feeds will rise substantially.

8. Websites that focus on entertainment will do very well. Entertainers have always expanded their influence and thrived during tough economic times and in 2009, consumers will land more and more on creative and engaging video, art, music and news sites.

7. Despite the fact that total ad spends will be down, there will be huge increases in corporate spending on Internet Marketing and Advertising in 2009, due in large part to advances in geographical targeting, greater local advertising opportunities and a general need for all businesses to be included in relevant search results. This welcome change represents a great opportunity for search marketing firms to start new relationships and expand existing accounts.

6. User-controlled advertising will become a viable marketing tool as consumers embrace the idea of dovetailing with advertisers to provide only ads that are relevant to their interests and hobbies. Bloggers and site owners that sell advertising space will love it because they will experience higher click through rates and higher returns. takes the lead in user controlled advertising in 2009 and forges a path to an entirely new way of thinking about paid internet advertising.

5. In the world of Search Marketing and SEO, content remains king. Quality blogs rule the Google rankings thanks to fresh content on a regular basis coupled with lots of linking. Article marketing to bloggers and news sites will be one of the best ways for site owners to cut through the clutter of search results and target prospective clients directly.

4. New online startups will be everywhere. There are lots of very skilled people that have been and will be laid off or asked to take unacceptable cuts in pay. Many of these people will decide to go into business for themselves rather than fight a tough job market.

3. There will be a significant rise in large corporations use of social media. This will prove to be wildly successful for some and a complete disaster for most. In the close knit world of social networking, greed is punished immediately. Companies that focus on making friends and sustaining relationships through permission marketing and providing useful content are guaranteed success. MySpace and Facebook will remain the 900lb gorillas in social marketing and contrary to popular belief, Twitter is not a fad. Twitter will continue strong growth and is a great marketing tool for companies that respect the privilege of attention.

2. The line has become quite blurred between the online experience and television and the use of Video Marketing will continue to expand in importance. YouTube's domination will continue and interesting or exciting video will be a wonderful tool for the creative web marketer.

"Drum roll please, the #1 most important change in 2009 to Internet Marketing is..."

1. Google will begin to incorporate user's actual preferences into their search algorithm! Personalization and customization of search results will wreak havoc on many search marketers, as Google makes major adjustments to its search algorithm to place a heavy emphasis on how consumers actually use the returned results. Ultimately this makes Google's flagship product even better, and will mark the death of the "black hat" search optimization era. Spammy, irrelevant sites and directories that are ranking but are useless to consumers will no longer reside on the first page and the cream rises to the top in 09. Legitimate businesses have nothing to fear. On the contrary, they have reason to be excited as their high rankings will increase in importance and trustworthiness as the most genuine value of the internet, relevant search results, is preserved and expanded thanks to this wonderful advance.

In 2009, Internet Marketing and Advertising will witness explosive growth, so tweak your site, make some money, give relentlessly and have an absolutely phenomenal year.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

How Small Businesses Waste Money

Most business owners subscribe to the thought that you "must spend money to make money." This can be true, but you also must know exactly where that money is going and the results it brings. A small business owner never has any money to waste.

Some ways that your business might waste money includes the following:

1. Manage your credit cards - If you have several cards, develop a computer program that will show you the exact balances, due dates, and the interest rate you are paying. Always be aware of other solicitations that save you money and possibly change your balances over to a new company. If you have any employee cards, see if you can set a limit on them. If not with the credit card company, make sure that the employees know their limits. Manage your credit cards wisely and never, ever miss a due date.

2. Develop an annual plan so you know where you will spend money. This helps you in several ways. The business person will be aware of what portion of the profits are going to advertising, towards incentives, towards accounting and other internal expenses, etc.

3. Do not over-purchase any products or services for a business. If you buy in bulk, the money is tied up and a place must be provided to keep the extras. That might be an unnecessary expense.

4. Developing an advertising budget and knowing just what resources to use is key to keeping money under control in a small business. You must advertise, but you also must get value for your money or you will soon be out of business. Keep a record of how much is spent, can you get payment terms, when is the most efficient time to advertise your particular product or service to get the most value for the dollar. Every dollar must be accounted for in advertising because the lifeline of your business depends on new and paying customers. Advertising is the way to get the word out to the community or the Internet.

5. A small business owner will sometimes be under self-induced stress to manage all aspects of the business. Sometimes, leaving the control and decisions to others that are qualified is the best way to manage the business. Releasing control may be hard to do sometimes, but in a lot of businesses, money can be wasted because the owner cannot possibly be as efficient as the person who has studied or is knowledgeable about a particular field. For instance, if a business owner does not know accounting, many mistakes in reporting income and taxes can be made. A qualified accountant can possibly save more than the cost of their services in reduced taxes.

Take a hard look around your business and do not let anything be set in stone if saving money is the goal. Challenge everything that will cost money and see what can be done to change the situation. Any money that is saved is money that can be put back into the business either in profits or in growth.

A business owner wants their business to be successful and will work hard to sustain growth. A business owner wants a way to continue making and growing money from a product or service that is interesting to them. After growing a business and being smart with cash flow, many business owners will sell their businesses only to start another business.

The reason is that business owners are independent types and challenges are rewarding when met and faced. Saving money through every day operations will help the business owner to meet their financial and emotional goals.


Media Bank Helps Creative Talents Find Their Perfect Match

Birmingham City University's Media Content Lab has relaunched its Media Talent Bank website to help businesses in the creative industries source talent and freelancers to find work.
Their site, allows businesses and creatives to upload a profile, CV and portfolio to an online directory which can be browsed by potential employers or collaborators.

The intuitive search is accompanied by a dedicated jobs page with sector-specific job feeds and an "Out There" page featuring work opportunities.

Media Talent Bank administrator David Allen said: "Media Talent Bank has been designed to help break down some of the barriers to the creative and media industries."

"Although run from Birmingham, the site acts as a platform for creative workers from across the UK to actively promote themselves, as well as allowing businesses both within and outside the sector to efficiently find skilled freelancers to work with."

In addition, the site is on the lookout for creative industry professionals interested in contributing to theMedia Talent Bank blog.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Eight Great Tax Tips for Businesses and Self-Employed Individuals

You get a raise every time you find a legitimate tax deduction. The IRS lists only a small number of the allowable deductions on their forms, and they are not going to tell you about a deduction you failed to take. It's up to you. The savings can be tremendous. Here are a few:

Tax Tip 1. Your business expenses are deductible even if you paid them from your non-business bank account, personal credit card, or cash. Take a few minutes and go through all of your expenses for the year. If the expenses were for your business, deduct them. (Does not apply to corporations).

Tax Tip #2. Be careful when labeling expenses "entertainment." Business expenses such as advertising and promotion are 100% deductible, but entertainment is only 50% deductible. Don't call an expense "entertainment" unless it really is.

Tax Tip #3. Hire your kids and save a bundle in taxes. You can pay your children under the age of 18 as much as $5,700 a year, write off the wages as a 100% tax deductible payroll expense, and the children owe no federal income or Social Security tax on the income earned.

Tax Tip #4. You cannot deduct charitable donations as a business deduction (unless you are a corporation). If, however, you purchase an advertisement in a charitable organization's directory or event program, the cost of the ad is fully deductible.

Tax Tip #5. Manufacturers, and some construction, engineering, and architecture firms, software developers, and video producers, are eligible for a 6% "manufacturer's deduction" for income earned from domestic production. This "bonus" deduction is in addition to the deductions already allowed for manufacturing expenses.

Tax Tip #6. You can go back to school, to take courses that further your education in your current business or that help you operate your business, such as bookkeeping and computer skills, and get a business tax deduction for the cost of tuition, books, fees, and even travel.

Tax Tip #7. Clothing you wear to work is not usually deductible unless the clothing is a uniform or otherwise not suitable for street wear. But if you buy shirts, jackets, hats or other clothing with you business name or logo, the cost is fully deductible.

Tax Tip #8. In most cases, the cost of your inventory (goods for sale) cannot be written off until sold. But if you have damaged inventory, inventory that is out of date or out of fashion or otherwise unsalable, you can write off the cost of that inventory immediately.

These "Eight Great Tax Tips" are excepted from the new 8th Edition of 422 Tax Deductions for Businesses and Self Employed Individuals, by
Bernard B. Kamoroff, C.P.A. ($18.95, Bell Springs Publishing,, 800-515-8050). The tax tips are summaries of the current tax laws; read the full details before relying on the information.

In 2009, Retooling Is Essential For Career Success

With unemployment at its highest level in 26 years, many people will face an "unplanned career outage" in 2009, says Marva Goldsmith, president and chief image officer of Marva Goldsmith & Associates. How do you survive a layoff or downsizing? Think of yourself as a "brand" - a product with unique strengths and talents based on experiences, education and innate abilities - and in the New Year, learn how to market, or sell, your brand.

"The key is to know what makes you different and special," says Goldsmith, a Certified Image Consultant who made her own career shift a decade ago after spending 20 years as an electrical engineer. "You will not be the only person in your marketplace that provides your particular service or product, so your success depends on setting yourself apart and distinguishing yourself from everyone else who's out there."

Goldsmith's interactive workshops, coaching and consulting teach clients how to assess what they are good at, eliminate success-limiting beliefs, identify career goals and create a winning networking plan. Her strategy centers on applying the techniques common in branding and marketing to searching for a job, transitioning into a new career or starting a business. Goldsmith's clients have included major corporations such as Enterprise Rent-A-Car, nonprofit associations such as AARP, and government agencies including the U.S. Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency.

In 2008, the United States lost nearly 2 million jobs; many economists are predicting more losses as the recession lingers. That means many employees will face challenges holding on to jobs, keeping careers on track, or shifting into industries that are recession-proof – like health care and education - or into areas that businesses always rely on, such as information technology, accounting and engineering.

"Every man and woman in the career marketplace must prepare so that if you get laid off, downsized or right-sized, you can immediately get back in the race," says Goldsmith, whose workbooks include Marketing Yourself for the Future: Driving Your Career Forward. Her new book, Branding Yourself after Age 50, will be published in January 2009.

"When you're suddenly out of a job you've had for 15 or 20 years, it's natural to feel a sense of loss and betrayal. However, even in those times we have the opportunity and privilege to move into a completely new and exciting direction. The most important thing is to learn more about what you really want to do, and then stepping out on faith to actually reinvent yourself."

Goldsmith has been a speaker at national and regional conferences on career retooling and personal branding and will be a speaker at the Society for Human Resources Management's upcoming Annual National Conference & Exposition this summer in New Orleans.

For more information about reinvention workshops or training opportunities, please contact Marva Goldsmith at 301.474.8808. To arrange an interview, contact Marvin Stewart of 94th Street Marketing at 202.241.3743.