Prosperity Adventure: Mexico Cruise on the Carnival Splendor

Here’s our group boarding the cruise ship, the Carnival Splendor.

I first cruised to Mexico when I was 15 years old (before I learned Spanish), and was very curious what it would be like to return 20 years later.

It was great!  I really appreciated being away from phones and internet for a week as well as getting to see Mexico again as a seasoned traveler.  My Spanish was a little slow at first but by the last day in Puerto Vallarta, I was chatting up a storm with our taxi driver and it was tough to switch back to English on the ship.

Here are some pictures of the ship:

 Here are some of the highlights from the trip:



 Each night when we came back from dinner, we had a different towel animal.





So what do you think?  Is cruising for you?  Please post a comment and let me know about your cruise experiences or thoughts.  Thanks!



How to Escape from “E-mail Hell” in 5 Easy Steps

How to Escape from “E-mail Hell” in 5 Easy Steps

After struggling with what I call a “chronic e-mail problem” for several years, I have discovered these excellent steps to keep e-mail from completely taking over my life and destroying my sanity.

Step 1: Schedule Set Blocks of Time to Check and Respond to E-mail
(Instead of checking e-mail throughout the day)

This has an immediate and positive effect on your productivity, almost like magic. This one small step can completely change your life.

Also, when scheduling your time blocks…

Never Check E-mail First Thing in the Morning!!!

That is the worst time to check e-mail because it can get you completely off track for the rest of the day. The only exceptions to this rule are if checking e-mail first thing in the morning is a specific requirement for your job or if you need to go into your e-mail to find a specific piece of information.

If you have to check e-mail in the morning for your job, set a timer for how long you’ll be on so that it doesn’t eat up your entire day.

If you’re searching for a specific piece of information, hold your hand or a piece of paper over the inbox screen while you enter a specific term or name into the search bar so that you don’t get distracted and “hooked” by new messages in your inbox.

Step 2: Kiss Your Current E-mail Address Goodbye (if you’re getting a lot of spam)

If an avalanche of spam is pouring into your inbox, it’s not going to stop.

While you can use SpamArrest or similar tools, the SpamArrest filter box becomes just another inbox because you have to check it for mistakes or risk losing important messages that you did actually want to receive.

The key is to say goodbye to your current e-mail address. Forever.

Put up the following autoresponder:
Sorry, this email box is no longer valid. To learn how to contact me, please visit (YOUR WEBSITE HERE).

Step 3: Set up 5 Separate E-mail Addresses

Your ISP may already provide you with multiple email accounts. If not, you can set up 5 Gmail accounts (you can access them all from the same copy of Outlook or have them all forward to one Gmail account).

You’ll need one email box for personal friends and family. Give that e-mail address out only to people who fit that category.

You’ll need one for general business contacts. This is the one that you give out to potential contacts you meet via your business card, your website, etc. (Tip: you should use a contact form or otherwise protect your e-mail address from online spam-bots). If you’re like me you’ll have someone else monitor this box for you and only send you stuff that’s important.

You’ll need a third e-mail address for “close” business contacts. These are people you work with daily, extremely important contacts, “mission critical” notifications. You can “promote” certain people to this email box as needed.

You’ll need a fourth e-mail address that you use to “sign up for free stuff.” Every time you subscribe to a newsletter you’ll use this address.

You’ll need a fifth e-mail address for making online purchases. Use this address when you buy stuff.

Most of these messages get forwarded to the one e-mail account that I check, but having them come to different e-mail addresses, makes it easier to implement Step 4.

Step 4: Set Up E-mail Filters

If you use Outlook,you’ll use the “Rules Wizard.” In Gmail, you’ll click “filter messages like these” and have certain messages go into a specific “Label” (which I think of as a folder). Most e-mail systems have some kind of filtering system like this.

You just have to create 5 folders or labels (corresponding to the 5 email addresses listed in Step 3) and then tell the Rules Wizard or filter to send the email that comes in to each of those accounts to the corresponding folder or label.

If this idea confuses and overwhelms you, ask a friend or colleague to hold your hand and walk you through it. Once you’ve set up a filter, you’ll understand how easy and wonderful it is.

You can have more than 5 folders or labels, but these are the basic ones. I also set up filters for specific projects or lists I’m on that I like to read (including my own issues of Prosperity Express and speaking tips… yes, I am a total nerd and enjoy reading my own stuff : )

Step 5: Determine Your Own Protocol as to Which E-mails You’ll Check First

or example, I make it a priority to check my “close” business contacts label first, which includes e-mails from my client care representative, my web guy, my assistant, and my accountant as well as my high level mastermind clients and key strategic alliances. I need to respond to these e-mails to keep my business running effectively.

“The #1 Way to Make Your Facebook Fan Page Easier to Promote” By Michele Scism

Are you utilizing a Facebook Business (Fan) Page to promote your business?  If not you are missing a huge opportunity to educate people from all parts of the world about your products or services as well as driving traffic to your website.

If you do have a Facebook Business Page, do you want to know the #1 thing that you can do immediately to put you out ahead of the pack when utilizing your page?

Before I tell you what it is, I am wondering if you feel like you are getting value from your page? Are you actively promoting your page by…

  • Visiting other pages or groups that would interest your ideal client and promoting on those pages?
  • Having conversations with the fans of your page?
  • Having contests to get them involved? I recently ran a contest and gave a copy of my new book “Makeover Your Business in 6 Weeks or Less” to anyone who had 5 of their friends join “Decisive Minds-Success Strategies for Women Business Owners” – that was very productive!
  • Running ads on Facebook? I have done this with great success!
  • Writing blog posts about it?
  • Commenting on other people’s blog posts and signing off with your page URL?
  • Is your Facebook Business Page URL in your email signature file?

These are just a few of the many ways you can promote your page, but wait… there might be a problem. Maybe you aren’t doing these things because you haven’t heard of the #1 way to make it easier to promote your page!

It is simply something Facebook calls a “Vanity” URL

To get your special Vanity URL you can follow these simple steps:

  1. Go to this link There you will see a box that will say “Your username has been set” if you have already set your personal user name.
  2. Below that box you will see “Set a username for your Pages”- click on this.
  3. Click on the Page you want to change from the drop down box.
  4. Choose a new name for your page. Remember shorter is better and it should be easy to remember. For my page “Decisive Minds-Success Strategies for Women Business Owners” I chose DecisiveMinds. So now when I want to send someone to my page I simply say
  5. It’s important to remember that it might take an act of God to change this if you could ever get it changed so be careful with what you choose, take a little time and put some thought into it. (Note: In Jan 2011, Facebook changed the rules and now you can change your fan page name up to the point when you have 100 fans).

So now it’s your turn – Go get your Vanity URL! Make it easy for people to find you and they will. Then get out there and start telling everyone about your new URL – you just might be surprised how many new fans you get.

Michele Scism is a Business Strategist who partners with service professionals and business owners who are ready to cash in on their expertise using her 5 step formula she calls “Take Action Get Profits”. She publishes a weekly ezine called Decisive Success Strategies which, along with her website, provides how-to articles and lots of free tips for business owners serious about creating a powerful marketing strategy for their business. Get your free copy of Michele’s “7 Rules for Creating & Profiting from Your Facebook Fan Page” by going to the following link.