Clickbank Marketplace

The Clickbank Marketplace is where you’ll find thousands of products to promote. The marketplace is organized by topic and sub-topics. When searching for products I recommend you look for products that you are interested in or have an expertise in.

Let’s say you have an interest in golf. Maybe you’re not very good, maybe you are, that’s irrelevant. You have an interest and that’s something you can build on. So, for this particular niche example, search the Clickbank marketplace for golf related products. You’ll likely turn up a dozen or so products selling ways to improve your swing, your putting orlower your scores. The reason why you want to pick a niche that interests you is because if you like it you’re going to do a better job promoting the product. The key to making it as a Clickbank affiliate is consistency and perseverance. If you like the topic you’ll work on in with consistency.

If you pick something you don’t like you’ll lose interest fast. You want marketing to be fun, not boring. It shouldn’t feel like a job. You should feel excited to get up every day and work on it.

The Clickbank Marketplace is where every affiliate should begin their search, but unfortunately the marketplace has very limited functionally and product information. I recommend a third party marketplace analysis tool that has more search functionality and data to help you better find and select products to promote.

Four things to look for in a good product:

A) Your level of interest as discussed before

B) Gravity. Each product is assigned a gravity number that reflects a products sales strength. I recommend selecting a product with gravity between 10 and 100. Anything below ten usually signals the product isn’t selling well or has a low demand. Over 100 obviously signals the product is selling well, but it’s hyper-competitive and it will be tough to muscle in and get sales.

C) Refund rate: The Clickbank Marketplace does not publish refund rates. But one particular third-party tool does. I look for a refund rate that’s below ten percent and I never promote a product with a refund rate over twenty-percent, ever.

D) Visit the websites that interest you. Is the website professionally developed? When you read the copy are you hooked? Do you want to buy? Is the spelling and grammar correct? A lot of sites might look great, but they’ll have a terrible pitch or its horribly written, or both. Despite a product’s gravity and refund rate never promote a product that doesn’t present itself in a profession manner.

Promoting Clickbank products:

There are many ways to promote Clickbank products: video, articles, PPC, CPM, forums, e-mail advertising. No matter which marketing method you choose let me give you a tip that hardly any affiliate ever takes advantage of. When you find a product you like contact the merchant and ask for help promoting the product. I do it all the time and they’ll often provide you with free content, keywords and phrases that convert, video, text and banner ads and I’ve even had them help me prepare my marketing. I’ve written up marketing pieces and they’ve given me in-depth feedback helping me fine-tune my pitch for optimal conversion rates. After all, they’re experts when it comes to their product, so use them for their expertise. Most of them will be delighted to help. Take advantage of it.

How To Find Legit Online Jobs

There are many legit online jobs on the network marketplace,
A legit online jobs must be founded on the following principle,
People will earn money in direct proportion to the value of their
contribution to the business company.

Those people who are making money on the online marketplace are
adding value to the community. Therefore, the secret to create
wealth on the online marketplace and actually anywhere, is to provide
something of value. If you want to make money on the internet or
anywhere, then you need to provide something that the people need.

Now, what do people value? well, the people value all the things which
are beneficial to them in all the ways. Most of people make decisions
based on the things that will give them the most perceived value. There
are numerous legit online jobs and opportunities, everyday more people
use the internet in order to find all kind and information that they
need.

To find legit online jobs you can make a research on the most popular
freelance websites, there many sites offering legitimate online jobs,
and there are also online jobs forums, there you can find all information
that you need in order to make your legit online jobs research, the best
way to start is by asking people who are already found legit online jobs.

These online jobs forums are very helpful, and sometimes you can also
find online jobs there, because there are employers who use these forums
to recruit people who would like to work from their homes, there are a
lot of opportunities on the online marketplace, if you are looking for
a new and better lifestyle then legit online jobs is the ideal for you.

Job Search Tip: Master the FOUR BEES!

Ok. So you’ve decided it’s time to make a career move!

Maybe you just got laid off. Or management is driving you crazy. Maybe you need to make more money. Or you’re anxious to advance yourself.

Whatever your reasons, it’s critically important that you go into the job marketplace with your eyes wide open. If you haven’t been there recently, things have changed–a lot!

For example, the expectations of employers are different from what they were just a few years ago. Formerly, it was enough to have a good resume with a strong employment track record of accomplishments. You could tell an employer what you used to do and hope that he/she would make the connection and see you as a valuable addition to the organization.

Those days are gone forever!

Today, you have to be able to demonstrate that you understand the goals of the organization and show exactly where you would fit in and how you can make a contribution to bottom line.

So, before you head into that marketplace you have to understand and practice the FOUR BEES.

1. BE COMMITTED to your career. Make it a part of your life. Accept responsibility for what goes right as well as what goes wrong.

2. BE PROFESSIONAL . . . in how you treat people . . . in how you sell yourself . . . the way you negotiate a deal . . . even how you dress and speak.

3. BE ASSERTIVE. Go into the job marketplace assertively . . . not aggressively. That means respecting other peoples’ right to expect quality. And to refuse you if they choose. Most importantly, it means you expend every effort to command their attention so that you can help them make a decision in your favor.

4. BE PERSISTENT. Don’t even bother with the first three BEES if you’re not going to follow through and follow up. If you are going to wait for someone else to make decisions for you . . . or if you’re going to sit around and wait for the phone to ring . . . do yourself a favor and bow out gracefully while you’re still ahead. You’re not going to make it in today’s demanding job marketplace.

Fortunately there are exciting new strategies and techniques that can turn you into a winner. They can significantly shorten your job search and get you above average compensation. Best of all, they show you how to make the FOUR BEES work for you.

Should You Go To Freelance Marketplace With Your Software Project?

Freelance marketplaces are designed to cover many problems of outsourcing which sooner or later are faced by all business people who need to delegate certain activities to offshore teams. Where should you look for contractors? Which one should you choose? Which skills do you demand to get the job done? How can you carry out the hire and the project transparently? The answer may come from a freelance marketplace, such as Elance, Guru, or oDesk.

But why freelance marketplaces, when there are lots of more accessible options?

• You may Google for software companies and look at the top results; but the highest search results will show the best SEO level, not necessarily the best expertise in your field. You’ll also lose lots of time jumping from link to link, from website to website – not the best way of comparing companies.

• You may visit specialized developers’ events, exhibitions, and conferences, and look for a contractor there. The benefits are the eye-to-eye contact and direct conversations. But the downside is costs: no one can guarantee you a perfect contractor at the very first conference you attend.

• Social networks, forums, blogs – close to googling, but again, it’s more about checking the company that appeals to you, than to search one by one.

• References – do you have fellows who had the experience of working with a company they would gladly recommend? Very good, but what if you don’t have such fellows?

• Freelance marketplaces. Here we are with the most universal solution. Lots of players gathered in one place. The simplest way is posting your job and waiting until contractors find you. Or – you can start checking the rankings to find the company you need in the most convenient way.

Let’s take a look at the Elance stats provided by their website: they are arguably the most popular marketplace with more than 1.7 million clients and 3.5 million contractors. The quantity of posted jobs reached the 3.5 million mark in 2013. Even your niche has a pretty huge competition; but anyway it’s more efficient than googling for a contractor.

The Bad Can Be Overcome

The drawback of these marketplaces is that there are many freelancers who are relatively novice in their subject area; or they are there just for an additional source of income – so to say, a lower overall level of professionalism. If you need a ‘serious’ team for your middle or large project, or if you simply want to hire someone from the top, it will be a matter of thorough search. However, it’s inevitable wherever you’d be looking for your contractor.

Top players of these marketplaces really stand out, so you may start with checking the rankings from the top.

The Good May Determine Your Choice

The main good trait – it’s affordable because of the competition. Outsourcing earns its living by being affordable. The rest is quality delivered in time – and it isn’t impossible to find these among the sea of contractors.

There are many other time-saving and convenient goodies provided by such marketplaces – some of them may prove crucial for you when making a choice. Let’s take a look at some of them provided by Elance.

• First, if we talk about IT and software development, the aforementioned ranking list of over 47.5 thousand contractors. You may save time by checking the leaders, their professional expertise, clients’ feedback, and other information. The ranking list is based on a point system and updated weekly by Elance.

The results are influenced by: delivering high-quality work on time and budget, level of client satisfaction, lasting client relationships, and performance indicators, which depend on the category of services.

• Time-tracking software counts the time spent by contractor on the project and takes screenshots of the work in progress. They are taken at random time (once per about several minutes) and delivered to the client. You can view the work process in real time, in order to provide the team with your comments. Rather convenient and transparent for both sides – you are confident paying for documented hours and contractors are guaranteed payment for hours worked.

• Freelance marketplaces take their share for providing the platform (usually 10%). They don’t want to lose earnings, and they provide secure and efficient means of payment (which are also highlighted as a protection from any kinds of financial fraud). As for Elance, the system that’s used is called Escrow. After the project is divided into milestones, the funds are placed into Escrow. Again, it’s risk-proof for both sides – the payment will be conducted only after the completion and acceptance of the agreed amounts of work.

• Client feedback is an extremely important part of each contractor’s profile. Once posted, it cannot be deleted or altered. This work history is provided by Elance members and is based on legitimate experience only – the work that clients and contractors did together on Elance. The rating is set by clients for each job done, and comprises the following indicators: quality, responsiveness, professionalism, subject matter expertise, adherence to schedule and cost.

• Many other benefits of working at such marketplaces usually show in the process of work. For example, Elance provides education and training resources, tips and best practices for both clients and contractors – all the links are conveniently stored on the dedicated page. Or the Referral Program, which allows Elance members to bring friends to the marketplace as new clients – thus earning money and Connects (you may also get acquainted with it in detail on the website).

• Each marketplace needs to ensure the security and openness, thus membership requires providing and updating true, accurate and complete information about each member: legal name, contact information, portfolio, etc. Individual accounts cannot be shared between users; team members cannot share or transfer log-in credentials; accounts cannot be transferred or sold to other users. There are also means of reporting infringements and suchlike.

21st Century Job Search Alternative!

The 21st Century job search marketplace is constantly shifting. So are job-seekers. And so are the rules for how you can land a great employment opportunity.

In fact, today there are two
marketplaces. One is the old-fashioned traditional marketplace of resumes, classified ads, website postings, agencies and recruiters, interviews and rejection letters.

The other is the hot fast-track job search marketplace of career partners, contact banks, automated interviews, professional introductions, interactive dialogs, on-the-spot employment creation and savvy negotiations.

Let me show you what I mean.

In a traditional job search, you start by putting together a resume. Your resume follows a prescribed format that includes an objective statement and your job history in a reverse chronological order. You add educational and personal data.

You take a look in the Sunday paper and comb through job openings and you check out some online job sites. You send out a few resumes and/or post them on some popular websites.

Maybe you approach a couple agencies or recruiters. If all goes well you get called in for an interview, maybe two, maybe none. The procedure is pretty straightforward.

The job you’re applying for is clear-cut, too. The interviewer knows what’s desirable in a candidate. At the interview you dress well, behave pleasantly, do your best to answer the questions.

If there is a match between your background and the employer’s needs you may advance to the next level in the decision-making process. Maybe you’re called back, maybe not. If not, you may get a “thanks-but-no-thanks” letter. But, then, there’s always the hope for another interview somewhere.

That was then. The dynamics of the 21st Century have changed everything.

OK. You can still find classified openings in the newspaper. There are still lots of agencies and recruiters at work, as well. But the marketplace has shifted dramatically.

Expectations of both employers and job-seekers have moved in decidedly new directions. For example, employers expect job-seekers to know and understand corporate goals. They want prospects to demonstrate how they can contribute.

On the other hand, job opportunities are being created on the spot and the candidate can be part of the creation process. Above-average deals are the products of above average negotiations where “dollars” is only one part of the total package.

Most importantly, if you want to excel, if you want a superior job with more money, if you want to select your next job rather than settle for it, you must understand and embrace the dynamics of today’s job marketplace.

You do that in 2 steps:

STEP ONE: throw out everything you ever heard about how to find a job!

STEP TWO: become an expert in the exciting new skills and strategies that can propel you job-search success!

Know Your Self Worth in the Business Marketplace

Far too many times in the last few years because of the crummy economy, professionals are devaluing their self-worth in the job marketplace. We as a society need to put a value on our own lives in the business world and start driving the price of employees up instead of down.

This theory is not only goes for solo-entrepreneur’s on the internet and off, but the common job seeker who has just found themselves laid off from a job, re-entering the job marketplace, or trying desperately to move on from their current position. I worked for a company once that lost their contract. It was awarded to another vendor and the employees in my office scrambled to move on before being laid off.

The one thing that distressed me was the inability to determine one’s self-worth in the business marketplace. What irks me the most in corporate America is when people take a pay cut when they really deserve a raise. Why on earth would you work at a position for 3-10 years, gain all that experience and then let someone tell you that your worth is less than what you are currently making or valued at the same amount?

It’s inexcusable to let someone dictate your value in our society regardless of what the economy is doing, what your friends tell you should be making, or what an HR person says your job title is worth! Do you want to know why? Every time you take a pay cut you are not only undermining your ability to survive and your family’s ability, but you are telling the HR person and the economy they are right. Do you have any clue what that does to the job market? That not only makes the rich richer (the big bad business owner), but it also now tells the rest of the job pushers that your job is now only worth this much money. That means everyone else who is qualified for that position in a different state and a different city has now been told their job is only worth this much.

So for example, Project Coordinator Jane in ABC city USA has made 60K a year as a high level project coordinator on at IT project for the last 3 years. She has gained invaluable skills and could probably do the job of a project manager now and run circles around them. Unfortunately she has also gotten burned out on her job and she has heard rumors that they are eliminating her department.

She has now applied for a better coordinator position at company Awesome. They have everything she wants in a position and are even going to give her more duties such as managing a small staff. Guess what? They know she needs a job so they offer her 55K a year to this awesome new job and explain that’s what everyone else in the industry is now offering. Jane takes it without even negotiating and she is happy to have a job. But she has a twinge of depression creep in because she feels that she should have and could have been making more but tries to rationalize her thoughts stating she was going to be out of a job soon so she should be grateful for anything at this point.

This is where the downward spiral starts. Jane in turn has started a ripple effect by not even negotiating herself worth even though she deserves more. But now she feels a bit of anxiety every time she goes to work at her new awesome job because she knows she should have asked for more money. This is a common problem not only in the corporate world but online as well. Because Joe Shmoe in India can live on and will take 4 dollars an hour, Joe Brilliant in the good ole USA feels he needs to lower his prices as well.

If the entire workforce would stand up for themselves and tell corporate America they are worth more, and that they will not being doing the job of 3 people instead of just 1, I believe our job force would be much happier and work more productively. You have to value yourself everyday in life and business much higher than what you would expect. In turn others will value you as well in turn affording you better opportunities, more money, and a better lifestyle. The moral of the story is, if you have to fake it do, ask for what you are worth, know where you are going in life whether it be in corporate America or as a solo-entrepreneur. Never settle for less than you are worth!

Sales Letters: Bane of Your Existence? Maybe, Potential to Solve Issues in the Marketplace? You Bet!

Sales letters provide information to consumers and organizations about products and services of which both groups might be unaware. It’s a service to the marketplace. Without this service, consumers and business might miss out on things that could be of value to them. And yet, how often are these letters simply glanced at and tossed into the garbage?

That’s the luck of the draw. If the sales letter has no connection to us, or what it’s offering doesn’t spark our interest, we’ll disregard it. At best we’ll put it aside for review at a later date, like so many companies who accept resumes then file them away for posterity, never to be seen again. Second best is a trip to the recycling bin. Worst is tossed into the garbage.

What is it that makes a sales letter of interest to us? The answer is equally straightforward. It solves a problem we have, or an issue that’s been bugging us, or it tells us of a book that we’d love to read, or a video we’d really like to watch. In seminars, one of the first things I tell students when they’re discussing the development of sales letters for their business, is this. “What is the problem or issue or opportunity in the marketplace that your product or service is designed to solve?” It is that simple, yet so many students are challenged by the concept. They are unable to define the problem in the marketplace.

So here you are, the new entrepreneur, or the new non-profit CEO, or the VP of sales and marketing and you cannot define what marketplace issue this new product or service will resolve. Quick example. Suppose you’ve put in a new lawn at your house. It’s a great lawn but it has a couple of drawbacks, namely two long but narrow grass pathways. A regular size mower simply won’t do the job. It will either run into rocks on one side of the path or decapitate flowers on the other. The problem in the marketplace is that you, like many other people, have areas too difficult to cut with a regular mower.

The smart manufacturer of such mowers is not going to say in a sales letter that “we have a variety of mowers for every kind of job and that it’s lightweight and easy to handle and comes with a 5 year warranty.” Instead that manufacturer is going to address the problem in the marketplace. “You know those narrow grass pathways, those awkward grassed areas in your garden that have always been a problem because they take so much time and effort to cut. Well, we have the answer for you. It’s our new…”

The sales letter for this new mower is informative. If it doesn’t interest the consumer it will be tossed out. The litmus test is whether it addresses the marketplace issue for which consumers and/or organizations need resolution. If you are about to develop a sales letter for your product or service, make sure you can identify the issue or problem in the marketplace.

Neil Sawers develops books and e-books on business writing to help you grow your business. He is a strong supporter of entrepreneurs, small business and students in business and entrepreneurial programs and recognizes the importance of developing and writing powerful and effective sales letters.

Saving Jobs by Sending Jobs Offshore

It is my contention that “Sending Jobs Offshore Saves Jobs”; or put another way, “Saving Jobs by Sending Jobs Offshore. The phrase “Sending Jobs Offshore” during an election is about as divisive as the abortion topic. The idea that sending jobs offshore can save jobs in the United States goes against all reasoning, so how can this be? If you are a union member, a factory worker, an admin person, or a manager in the United States this article is meant for you.

There was a very effective negative TV commercial that ran during the California Senate race between Barbara Boxer and Carly Fiorina. The commercial mentioned the supposed 30,000 jobs that Fiorina sent offshore while the CEO was at Hewlett Packard from 1999-2005. What the commercial did not mention was that when Fiorina did this the economy was experiencing the dot.com and technology bust during the 2000 recession. Not to mention there was 911 that also set the economy back. As of October 2009 Hewlett Packard employees totaled over 304,000; a 30,000 person layoff would have been around 10%; sounds reasonable. What the article did not mention, was the fact that she also cut 3,000 management potions.

A CASE FOR SAVING JOBS BY SENDING JOBS OFFSHORE: Why have companies made the painful decision to take their production offshore? As hard as it is to believe, sending United States production to another country to lower the “Cost of Goods” is nothing new. The 1960’s brought us an explosion of Made in Japan products. Back in the 1960’s, still a short time after WWII, “Made in Japan”, came with a negative connotation. The Aerospace industry was sending component parts to Mexico for assembly in the 1970’s. The mid 1980’s changed Wal-Mart’s “Made in America” slogan forever. Wal-Mart’s economies of scale and distribution made too much sense for Wal-Mart to become 10% of China’s GDP. The 1990’s brought us the “North American Free Trade Agreement”. It is obvious that American Industry has always been about reducing material costs and searching out a cheap source of labor.

Business has always been about operational efficiencies. Unfortunately, process efficiency, such as the wave soldering machine and the auto insertion machine eliminated hundreds of thousands, if not millions of jobs. These two machines eliminated the career soldering person in the electronics industry. These two machines are a perfect example of how the American factory workers have been replaced by efficiency. The impact that these innovations continue to have in the electronics industry is priceless. It is not an issue of going offshore; it’s good management.

Using the Case Study No: 1 as an example we can see how a Toronto based speaker company could not be competitive using their own resources. Although they were vertically integrated, the cost advantage could not compete with the low cost of the Asian labor-rate. Their Labor-Rate could not be competitive, even with their manufacturing advantage. Their domestic labor force kept them out of the marketplace. Combined, vertical integration and an expensive work force created a situation that made their products too expensive for the marketplace, thus losing sales. The Toronto based speaker company knew that they needed to go offshore and have their product made “Turn-Key”, (completely finished), to compete in a market with tough margins.

The jobs that are saved by sending a product offshore are the following:

• Engineering – These positions are maintained when jobs are sent offshore because it would not be wise to trust your engineering to another firm. The liability vs risk would not pose few advantages. Companies are marketing, “Engineered in the USA”. Radio Shack labels their products, “Assembled in the United States with Foreign & Domestic Parts”. They also label their product with the country of origin for product that is 100% made and assembled offshore.

• Industrial Designers – These positions MUST stay in the United States because our domestic market does not accept designs out of Asia. The US design will always win over the Asian design. Simply put, domestic designers have a better feel for US trends than an industrial designer at the factory somewhere offshore.

• Sales & Marketing – These positions are kept alive by having products that are competitive in the marketplace

• Shipping and Receiving – For the obvious reason, these positions are kept because product is flowing from the factory to the warehouse and back out to the retailers.

• Order Entry, Customer Service, and Accounting Departments – These departments are kept busy with their usual flow of paperwork. However, without competitive pricing for their products these departments could experience layoffs.

There is a Win-Win scenario for sending a product offshore that works for everyone:

• Keep the high profit margin products in the United States. Although the profit margin will be higher, the volume will be lower, it’s just a fact.

o Transition the high volume low margin product offshore. This keeps our domestic labor force producing the high margin items.

o The level of domestic factory workers can be adjusted as time & volume prevails.

• Product development has always been an issue of resources, engineering resources, factory resources, high tech equipment availability, quality assurance facilities etc. Taking a product offshore can be a logistical solution. Depending on the size of your company will more than likely determine the availability of such resources? However, taking your product offshore gives you an instant availability to resources you did not have at home.

o The quality of your product can actually improve. The factories that you would choose to manufacture your product will more than actually be an ISO9000 factory. There will be built in procedures that will not allow your product to go off track and be a loser.

o Because you will have specified the “Quality Assurance” procedures for the factory’s outgoing inspection. If the incoming inspection team on the domestic side finds the product to be outside the agreed up QA standards the whole lot is rejected. Now that is Risk Management at its finest.

• Business has always been about operational efficiency. Process efficiencies, such as using a wave soldering machine, an auto insertion machine, or robots

o These efficiencies will only allow the US industry an increased labor rate, to a certain point. The construction industry reduces its labor costs by fabricating product in the shop and bringing it out to the construction site to be erected at a higher labor rate. However, we finally have reached a point where the technology and higher labor rate are impacting the cost and moving production, or a portion of production offshore becomes a necessary component of the modern business model

The Hurt Feelings in the USA! Sending jobs offshore! It has become more of a political hot topic than an actuality. For over half a century now the United States has been importing products in from other countries. After WWII we were importing cheap goods from Japan. Since then we have imported goods from Korea, Taiwan, Mexico, Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, just to name a few. The question is: What 3rd world country will the United States set up shop at?

It has always been our way, (those of us building product outside our borders), to pull out and move to another country once we raise the local standard of living and the labor costs increase too much. Time and time again offshore manufacturing has picked up and relocated to countries with an alternate labor source. We tend to pull out and exploit various 3rd world countries. It is not just the Americans who do this, after all, we are a Global Economy.

At the heart of the matter is that we all have compassionate hearts and hate the idea that someone may suffer if they lose their job. However, the shareholders are the ones whose best interest must be of the utmost concern. If there is equipment that can increase efficiencies then it is everyone’s responsibility to bring the suggestion to management.

Making sure that the company is kept competitive in the marketplace should be job one!

CASE STUDY No 1: The speaker industry in North America was, at one time, an industry employing thousands of employees. From factory workers to the accompanying support staff, the audio industry was an American industry. It still is, but it is different than it used to be. The “After Car” audio market, for the longest time, had to bear the label, “Made in USA”. Once Wal-Mart made the move to purchase goods offshore with intent to hit certain price points, “Made in USA” was not important anymore.

This mindset is the reason why the speaker industry in the United States. The Audio Industry was forced to go offshore to hit a price point. The reasoning was to stay in business by outsourcing the product instead of losing sales because price points could not be met. There are no longer speaker cabinet manufacturers in the United States or in Canada. The last of the speaker cabinet manufacturers in Canada, Audio Products International, put their manufacturing line in “moth balls” around 2005. They are now buying their speaker enclosures out of China as a Turn-Key product. The problem that they encountered was that the costs to make the speaker enclosures in-house were pricing them out of the market and they could no longer compete.

CASE STUDY No 2: The electronic industry is not what it once was. As a young boy in the early 1960’s I remember picking my mom up from work with my Dad. What I remember were all the women, in one warehouse sized room, that would solder all day long. The company my mom worked for was Teledyne.

Those jobs went by the wayside with the advent of the Wave Solder machine. The wave, (flow), solder machine is a bath of molten solder. The printed circuit board then rides along a trolley allowing the electronic components to be dipped in this bath of molten solder; automatically being soldered. The resulting quality is better and the use of the Wave Solder machine reduced by labor by least 80%.

The Auto-Insertion machine was the next process efficiency that would change the face of electronics forever. An average Auto-Insertion machine will stuff 25,000 electrical components in an eight hour shift. The difference between a factory worker stuffing the printed circuit board, (pcb), and the Auto-Insertion machine is exponential. Hundreds of thousands of jobs were replaced with the development of the Auto-Insertion machine.

The design and use of the Wave Solder and Auto-Insertion machines were not intended to put over a million soldering positions out of jobs, but to reduce labor by creating efficiency. However, the decisions to use these machines were driven by the assumption that not using them would place them behind the competition, which certainly would be using them. The fear of not being competitive was a driving force. It was not about saving the soldering positions; it was about staying competitive in their industry. Management has always been about efficiency and making the best return on the shareholder’s investment.

Jim Purcell has been developing products and project managing since the 1980’s. Developing architectural products, consumer electronic products from table top radios; to powered subwoofers; and construction projects has yielded Jim years of rules of thumbs to follow for successful projects.

Jim Purcell’s experience has taught him many lessons. Some lessons learned from “the project from hell” and some lessons learned from projects and products that were home runs. However, as in life, the best lessons learned were the tough lessons from projects that went bad.

Graphic Designers Have Opportunities With Design Marketplaces

Graphic and web designers are in high demand in today’s fast-moving world. Unfortunately, for every designer that has too much work, there is another one that has too little work. Although there are any number of reasons why some design freelancers struggle, there is one excuse for why some of the most talented ones are out of a job.

That reason is many potential clients are simply unaware of a hidden design talent. Furthermore, since freelance talent typically have to work more than one job to supplement their income, many do not have the extra time it takes to devote themselves to marketing their talents and getting work.

Thus, these designers are often left frustrated and questioning their skills within the industry. However, all is not lost because there are design marketplaces that can help a designer boost his or her skills, build a strong client base and learn the quality of work required for major clients.

These design collectives vary per industry, but the design-focused ones typically require their talent to design logos, design websites, help with branding (packaging, fonts, etc.), corporate identity and more. Sites like those have even provided web and graphic designers with enough capital to fund their own businesses.

Thus, not only can one create a strong client base, but he or she will learn invaluable skills for the future design projects. However, not every member of a design collective will be able to flourish. The best ones work hard at constantly honing their craft, marketing their skills, understanding the business side of design and networking.

All of those skills are crucial in helping a graphic designer go from a talented freelancer to one that owns their own design firm. This is because at the heart of all design is a business. Designers who elect to work through a marketplace are exposed to a number of opportunities that someone else in their position would not be exposed to.

Many large international firms are beginning to use marketplaces to source their design talent. This is where a strong portfolio, experience and business skills come into play. However, a person that is new to the site with all of the above traits could easily find themselves working on a multimillion dollar design project.

However, the designers must be ready and projects of that scale typically provide steady work for months. Yet, designers will quickly be let go of an assignment if they are not professional.

Professionalism is key and to take advantage of any opportunities, designers must be very organized and understand how the project will work in the market. Designing websites and marketing materials is simply another medium for businesses to interact with their consumers and impact their bottom line.

Therefore, quickly translating to their clients how the designer’s end results will service their needs in the market will earn the designer utmost professional respect. Yet, even if one does not land that big job quickly, they will still have unprecedented access to highly talented and experienced designers who are all willing to share industry tips.

After all, there is only so much one can learn from college, but it isn’t until one arrives in the real world and works on real projects does the education really begin. Having access to fellow designers to discover little tools and tricks that they didn’t teach in school will add an extra layer of experience to a designer.

Having a collective where freelancers can work, learn and network is key to developing success in the industry. Many times marketplaces offer a level of support that is unheard of for a new or freelance designer to rely upon. Thus taking advantage of the opportunities presented to them is a must because it will only help them improve.

Saving Jobs by Sending Jobs Offshore

It is my contention that “Sending Jobs Offshore Saves Jobs”; or put another way, “Saving Jobs by Sending Jobs Offshore. The phrase “Sending Jobs Offshore” during an election is about as divisive as the abortion topic. The idea that sending jobs offshore can save jobs in the United States goes against all reasoning, so how can this be? If you are a union member, a factory worker, an admin person, or a manager in the United States this article is meant for you.

There was a very effective negative TV commercial that ran during the California Senate race between Barbara Boxer and Carly Fiorina. The commercial mentioned the supposed 30,000 jobs that Fiorina sent offshore while the CEO was at Hewlett Packard from 1999-2005. What the commercial did not mention was that when Fiorina did this the economy was experiencing the dot.com and technology bust during the 2000 recession. Not to mention there was 911 that also set the economy back. As of October 2009 Hewlett Packard employees totaled over 304,000; a 30,000 person layoff would have been around 10%; sounds reasonable. What the article did not mention, was the fact that she also cut 3,000 management potions.

A CASE FOR SAVING JOBS BY SENDING JOBS OFFSHORE: Why have companies made the painful decision to take their production offshore? As hard as it is to believe, sending United States production to another country to lower the “Cost of Goods” is nothing new. The 1960’s brought us an explosion of Made in Japan products. Back in the 1960’s, still a short time after WWII, “Made in Japan”, came with a negative connotation. The Aerospace industry was sending component parts to Mexico for assembly in the 1970’s. The mid 1980’s changed Wal-Mart’s “Made in America” slogan forever. Wal-Mart’s economies of scale and distribution made too much sense for Wal-Mart to become 10% of China’s GDP. The 1990’s brought us the “North American Free Trade Agreement”. It is obvious that American Industry has always been about reducing material costs and searching out a cheap source of labor.

Business has always been about operational efficiencies. Unfortunately, process efficiency, such as the wave soldering machine and the auto insertion machine eliminated hundreds of thousands, if not millions of jobs. These two machines eliminated the career soldering person in the electronics industry. These two machines are a perfect example of how the American factory workers have been replaced by efficiency. The impact that these innovations continue to have in the electronics industry is priceless. It is not an issue of going offshore; it’s good management.

Using the Case Study No: 1 as an example we can see how a Toronto based speaker company could not be competitive using their own resources. Although they were vertically integrated, the cost advantage could not compete with the low cost of the Asian labor-rate. Their Labor-Rate could not be competitive, even with their manufacturing advantage. Their domestic labor force kept them out of the marketplace. Combined, vertical integration and an expensive work force created a situation that made their products too expensive for the marketplace, thus losing sales. The Toronto based speaker company knew that they needed to go offshore and have their product made “Turn-Key”, (completely finished), to compete in a market with tough margins.

The jobs that are saved by sending a product offshore are the following:

• Engineering – These positions are maintained when jobs are sent offshore because it would not be wise to trust your engineering to another firm. The liability vs risk would not pose few advantages. Companies are marketing, “Engineered in the USA”. Radio Shack labels their products, “Assembled in the United States with Foreign & Domestic Parts”. They also label their product with the country of origin for product that is 100% made and assembled offshore.

• Industrial Designers – These positions MUST stay in the United States because our domestic market does not accept designs out of Asia. The US design will always win over the Asian design. Simply put, domestic designers have a better feel for US trends than an industrial designer at the factory somewhere offshore.

• Sales & Marketing – These positions are kept alive by having products that are competitive in the marketplace

• Shipping and Receiving – For the obvious reason, these positions are kept because product is flowing from the factory to the warehouse and back out to the retailers.

• Order Entry, Customer Service, and Accounting Departments – These departments are kept busy with their usual flow of paperwork. However, without competitive pricing for their products these departments could experience layoffs.

There is a Win-Win scenario for sending a product offshore that works for everyone:

• Keep the high profit margin products in the United States. Although the profit margin will be higher, the volume will be lower, it’s just a fact.

o Transition the high volume low margin product offshore. This keeps our domestic labor force producing the high margin items.

o The level of domestic factory workers can be adjusted as time & volume prevails.

• Product development has always been an issue of resources, engineering resources, factory resources, high tech equipment availability, quality assurance facilities etc. Taking a product offshore can be a logistical solution. Depending on the size of your company will more than likely determine the availability of such resources? However, taking your product offshore gives you an instant availability to resources you did not have at home.

o The quality of your product can actually improve. The factories that you would choose to manufacture your product will more than actually be an ISO9000 factory. There will be built in procedures that will not allow your product to go off track and be a loser.

o Because you will have specified the “Quality Assurance” procedures for the factory’s outgoing inspection. If the incoming inspection team on the domestic side finds the product to be outside the agreed up QA standards the whole lot is rejected. Now that is Risk Management at its finest.

• Business has always been about operational efficiency. Process efficiencies, such as using a wave soldering machine, an auto insertion machine, or robots

o These efficiencies will only allow the US industry an increased labor rate, to a certain point. The construction industry reduces its labor costs by fabricating product in the shop and bringing it out to the construction site to be erected at a higher labor rate. However, we finally have reached a point where the technology and higher labor rate are impacting the cost and moving production, or a portion of production offshore becomes a necessary component of the modern business model

The Hurt Feelings in the USA! Sending jobs offshore! It has become more of a political hot topic than an actuality. For over half a century now the United States has been importing products in from other countries. After WWII we were importing cheap goods from Japan. Since then we have imported goods from Korea, Taiwan, Mexico, Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, just to name a few. The question is: What 3rd world country will the United States set up shop at?

It has always been our way, (those of us building product outside our borders), to pull out and move to another country once we raise the local standard of living and the labor costs increase too much. Time and time again offshore manufacturing has picked up and relocated to countries with an alternate labor source. We tend to pull out and exploit various 3rd world countries. It is not just the Americans who do this, after all, we are a Global Economy.

At the heart of the matter is that we all have compassionate hearts and hate the idea that someone may suffer if they lose their job. However, the shareholders are the ones whose best interest must be of the utmost concern. If there is equipment that can increase efficiencies then it is everyone’s responsibility to bring the suggestion to management.

Making sure that the company is kept competitive in the marketplace should be job one!

CASE STUDY No 1: The speaker industry in North America was, at one time, an industry employing thousands of employees. From factory workers to the accompanying support staff, the audio industry was an American industry. It still is, but it is different than it used to be. The “After Car” audio market, for the longest time, had to bear the label, “Made in USA”. Once Wal-Mart made the move to purchase goods offshore with intent to hit certain price points, “Made in USA” was not important anymore.

This mindset is the reason why the speaker industry in the United States. The Audio Industry was forced to go offshore to hit a price point. The reasoning was to stay in business by outsourcing the product instead of losing sales because price points could not be met. There are no longer speaker cabinet manufacturers in the United States or in Canada. The last of the speaker cabinet manufacturers in Canada, Audio Products International, put their manufacturing line in “moth balls” around 2005. They are now buying their speaker enclosures out of China as a Turn-Key product. The problem that they encountered was that the costs to make the speaker enclosures in-house were pricing them out of the market and they could no longer compete.

CASE STUDY No 2: The electronic industry is not what it once was. As a young boy in the early 1960’s I remember picking my mom up from work with my Dad. What I remember were all the women, in one warehouse sized room, that would solder all day long. The company my mom worked for was Teledyne.

Those jobs went by the wayside with the advent of the Wave Solder machine. The wave, (flow), solder machine is a bath of molten solder. The printed circuit board then rides along a trolley allowing the electronic components to be dipped in this bath of molten solder; automatically being soldered. The resulting quality is better and the use of the Wave Solder machine reduced by labor by least 80%.

The Auto-Insertion machine was the next process efficiency that would change the face of electronics forever. An average Auto-Insertion machine will stuff 25,000 electrical components in an eight hour shift. The difference between a factory worker stuffing the printed circuit board, (pcb), and the Auto-Insertion machine is exponential. Hundreds of thousands of jobs were replaced with the development of the Auto-Insertion machine.

The design and use of the Wave Solder and Auto-Insertion machines were not intended to put over a million soldering positions out of jobs, but to reduce labor by creating efficiency. However, the decisions to use these machines were driven by the assumption that not using them would place them behind the competition, which certainly would be using them. The fear of not being competitive was a driving force. It was not about saving the soldering positions; it was about staying competitive in their industry. Management has always been about efficiency and making the best return on the shareholder’s investment.

Jim Purcell has been developing products and project managing since the 1980’s. Developing architectural products, consumer electronic products from table top radios; to powered subwoofers; and construction projects has yielded Jim years of rules of thumbs to follow for successful projects.

Jim Purcell’s experience has taught him many lessons. Some lessons learned from “the project from hell” and some lessons learned from projects and products that were home runs. However, as in life, the best lessons learned were the tough lessons from projects that went bad.

Jim contribution is to share with you the good, bad, and ugly of project management.