Jacquelyn Lynn - Online Consumer Advice and Commentary

Jacquelyn Lynn is a business writer whose dynamic books and insightful articles have been helping business owners and managers work smarter and more profitably for more than two decades. She is the author of Entrepreneur’s Almanac, Online Shopper’s Survival Guide and co-author of Make Big Profits on eBay, as well as a regular contributor to Entrepreneur magazine. For more information and for the link to her business blog, visit www.jacquelynlynn.com.

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Location: Central Florida

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Gifting Clubs are Illegal Pyramid Schemes

If you’ve been approached to join a “gifting club,” your best answer is “thanks, but no thanks.”

Gifting clubs are a scam spreading through the mid-Atlantic states and the Pacific Northwest. People pay to join by giving a cash “gift” to the highest-ranking club members. They’re told that if they recruit additional members, their own ranking will rise and they’ll receive money—eventually far more than they initially paid to join the club.

This is an illegal pyramid scheme. Certainly it sounds attractive—make money and new friends at the same time. And the person recruiting you could be someone from your neighborhood or even your church.

If you get involved with a gifting club, you will likely lose your money and could even face criminal prosecution. For more information, and to find out how to file a complaint if you’ve been approached by someone recruiting for a gifting club, click here to visit the Federal Trade Commission’s page on the issue.

Jacquelyn Lynn

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Travel Tip

My dear friend Stephanie Tamblyn is an experienced and adventurous world traveler and is just full of super tips and ideas for things you can do to make your trips absolutely wonderful.

Here’s some advice she gave me recently: when you’re going to be in a hotel for more than one night, tip the housekeeper on the first day—don’t wait until you’re checking out. Leave the tip in a conspicuous place with a note that says “Thank you for taking care of me during my stay.” You’ll find the level of service you receive will usually improve noticeably.

Wishing you safe and pleasant trips,
Jacquelyn Lynn

Monday, April 24, 2006

Online Shopper’s Survival Guide

I just completed the process of reviewing the page proofs of my latest book, Online Shopper’s Survival Guide. It looks great and I’m very excited about it. It’s got some excellent shopping and fraud prevention tips that you can use whether you’re an experienced online shopper or a novice.

The official publication date is August, but it will be probably be available sometime in July. I’ll let you know.

Jacquelyn Lynn

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Long-term Care Insurance: Coverage you should consider

While working on an upcoming insurance column for Entrepreneur magazine, I did some research on long-term care insurance (LTCI). If you are 50 or older, you need to consider this coverage.

LTCI pays for care that health insurance doesn’t cover—things like non-medical assistance that allows seniors to live at home rather than move into an assisted-care facility. There’s more to it, of course, but a blog isn’t the place to go into a full discourse on what LTCI does. So let’s just hit two important points:

Something many people don’t realize is that LTCI premiums may be tax deductible if you are self-employed or a business owner. Check with your tax advisor to be sure the plan you select is qualified.

If you have employees and want to make this insurance available to them as a benefit (either voluntary, which means the employees pay the premiums, or as a company-paid benefit), I recommend that you look for a policy that allows your employees to also cover their families. Baby boomers in their 40s and 50s are starting to think about what sort of care their parents are going to need in the coming years. With adequate insurance, they’ll be able to maintain their focus on their jobs and not be distracted by dealing with caregiver issues.

For more information about long-term care insurance, contact the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance.

Jacquelyn Lynn

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Consumer Action Handbook available and worth getting

I just received my copy of the 2006 Consumer Action Handbook, a great manual packed with consumer advice and resources. It’s published by the GSA Federal Citizen Information Center, and you can get your copy free by going to www.consumeraction.gov.

Jacquelyn Lynn

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Write Your Own Publicity

It’s great publicity to be quoted in articles, but it’s also very effective to be the expert author of articles. Many small publications that reach your target audience don’t have a lot of money to pay writers, but they might be willing to publish an article by you with a tag line at the end telling readers how to reach you. In fact, many publications are begging for such content.

Publicity guru Joan Stewart addresses this issue on her blog at http://publicityhound.net/?p=553.

My advice: if you are not a writer, hire a pro to ghostwrite these pieces for you. It’s worth the investment. Also, when you pitch articles to publications, let the editors know you will be using a professional writer—it will make their job easier and they’ll be more inclined to use your submissions on a regular basis.

Jacquelyn Lynn

Monday, April 10, 2006

Avoid e-mail blacklists

E-mail has become a critical marketing tool, especially for small businesses. At the same time, spam is driving the amount of unwanted e-mail to ever-increasing levels. To combat the problem, companies are using “blacklists” to spot and block unwanted e-mails—and sometimes legitimate messages from legitimate small business get trapped by these blacklists.

Click here for a great article that explains e-mail blacklists and how to stay off of them.

Jacquelyn Lynn

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Raise money for charity on eBay

Let eBay be a source of fund-raising for your church or favorite charity. Instead of the traditional garage sale, sell it on eBay and donate the money.

The easiest way to do this is to work with an eBay trading post, such as QuikDrop. I have set up an account with a local QuikDrop store so that members of my church can bring things in to be sold and the money (less a commission for QuikDrop) goes to fund mission work.

It's easy and is a great way to get rid of the stuff you don't want but that's too valuable to be sold for pennies at a garage sale. For more about QuikDrop's charity program, go to www.quikdrop.com and click on "charity."

Jacquelyn Lynn

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Ticked off about taxes

Like probably millions of Americans, I am trying to get my 2005 income tax return finished up. It has gotten so absurdly complicated and frustrating—not to mention unfair—that I am ready to become a single-issue voter. My issue is the Fair Tax. We need to junk this massive, punitive income tax system and replace it with the Fair Tax.

If you haven’t yet read The FairTax Book by Neal Boortz and Congressman John Linder, go to this link and order it now.

Jacquelyn Lynn

Monday, April 03, 2006

Welcome to my blog

Thanks for stopping by. I’ve created this blog as a venue to share business and consumer information with my readers. I hope you’ll find it valuable, and I look forward to your comments.

Jacquelyn Lynn