Thursday, July 30, 2015

Make Settlement Offers to Creditors

July 30, 2015

Dear Cathy:

A few years back I sought out the help of Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies so I understand exactly what they do.  However, I have gotten behind on a couple of bills since receiving counseling from them.  But now I would like to go ahead and try to settle a couple of past bills and I am thinking about offering a settlement offer.  What is the best way to do this?  Settling My Debt, Ohio

Dear Settling My Debt:

It is great that you are looking at your credit.  Do not take credit lightly.  It will follow you all your life.  Contact past creditors and ask if you can settle or pay a certain amount to wipe out a debt.

For past-due debt, you can possibly negotiate a settlement offer of fifty cents on the dollar with the creditor.  For example, if you have a $2,000 debt that has been outstanding for six months, offer the creditor a $1,000 lump sum settlement to get rid of the debt.

It’s often more attractive to the creditor to receive $1,000 than payments of $20 per month for the next five years.  Be sure to ask for an immediate removal from the credit report as part of the deal, and as always get all agreements in writing.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Easiest Way to Become A Speaker

July 29, 2015

Dear Cathy:

It’s been my lifelong dream to become a Speaker but I have a fear of speaking.  I wanted to join Toastmasters or the National Speakers Association but I heard you have to get in front of an audience and be criticized for the way you speak.  I don’t think I like that method so do you have any suggestions on how I should proceed?  Trying Hard To Become A Speaker, Georgia

Dear Trying Hard to Become A Speaker:

Speaking is one of the most sought after careers out there right now.  Everyone is doing it and many others would like to do it but they lack confidence and self-esteem -- even though they have great stories that need to be told. 

The Public Speakers Association (PSA) ( that has been around for two years welcome people who are imperfect -- so they will not only welcome you with opened arms but they will work with you to become a better speaker.

The PSA love having fun, nice, imperfect people who want to go out and change lives with their message, products and services.

There are 3 things you need to know about the Public Speakers Association:
-The Public Speakers Association believe in changing the world from in front of the room.
-Unlike other speakers that compete with each other -- they don't -- instead they help each other become better speakers by providing continuous speaker training.
-They are like Toastmasters ( and the National Speakers Association ( but they are looking for people who are IMPERFECT.

It's time to up your game in business.  What you have to remember is that no one is an island and you can't be successful as a solo business owner.  In order to be successful you have to form business alliances, strategic partnerships, co-ops, and joint ventures with other businesses and that is what you will be doing with the Public Speakers Association.  

So if you are imperfect and want to improve your speaking skills, sign up today to become a general or featured speaker with the Public Speakers Association. Of course you will have more perks as a featured speaker.  You can be a part of the leadership team by becoming an Executive Director; Co-Executive Director; or join the Communications or Membership Chair in your city.

To find out more reach out to the CEO and Founder of the Public Speakers Association (PSA), Tonya Hofmann ( from Austin, TX, on the website or email:

To learn more about speaking careers or for a list of speaking careers read "The New CEO: 185 Easy-To-Set Up Businesses for Youth and Adult Entrepreneurs" -- available as an e-book or paperback.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Who Are Consumer Credit Counseling Services?

July 28, 2015

Dear Cathy:

My husband and I recently got married.  Are there any agencies that can help counsel my husband and me on our credit?  Need Credit Counseling Help, Oklahoma

Dear Need Credit Counseling Help:

The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) ( (800-388-2227) -- along with many others is known as Consumer Credit Counseling Services. There are a ton of these counseling services that have sprung up due to this recession. So be careful.

Consumer Credit Counseling Services or other counseling agencies should be contacted as soon as you find yourself being overextended.  Most of these agencies are government-run and you can find them in the government section of your phone book.

If you are under pressure from creditors, a counseling service counselor can negotiate with your creditors to repay your debts through a financial management plan.  It allows you to lower your credit card interest rates to zero in some cases and cut your monthly payments without filing for bankruptcy.

Sometimes creditors will agree to reduce payments, lower or drop interest and finance charges, and waive late fees.  If you are accepted in this program, you make one monthly payment to these counseling agencies. They distribute the agreed-upon amounts to your various creditors for a small fee.

Many people recommend this option, however, be aware that if you use this service, it shows up on your credit report and can be viewed as a red flag to future lenders. Many people who go to these counseling agencies are able to get their bills together without utilizing any more help from these counseling agencies simply because they learn to get organized.

Monday, July 27, 2015

How Do I Get Started in A Gift Basket Business?

July 27, 2015

Dear Cathy:

I have been told by many friends that I am good with my hands especially when it comes to putting together gift baskets.  This is a hobby but I would like to start a business around these talents so how would I get started in my gift basket business? Gift Basket Entrepreneur, Missouri

Dear Gift Basket Entrepreneur:

Gift baskets aren't just for those get-well times.  Many people would love to receive gift baskets especially women on special holidays. They come in all shapes and sizes.

Gift basket entrepreneurs need to produce truly beautiful baskets and must have creativity to come up with great ideas.  They need wholesale sources from whom they can purchase their baskets and the items that will fill and wrap them.

This is a very flexible business that you can run from your home on a part-time or full-time basic.  You can start a gift basket business out of your home or tie in the service with a local florist, card store, sports shop or just about any other type of business you can think of that might want to also offer gift baskets to their clients.

You can learn more about business by reading “How To Take Control of Your Own Life: A Self-Help Guide To Starting Your Own Business” – available as an e-book and paperback.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Should My Family Open a Restaurant?

July 22, 2015

Dear Cathy:

My family would like to open a restaurant. What are some of the things we need to know before we go into this venture? Future Restaurateur

Dear Future Restaurateur:

All businesses are risky but opening a restaurant is a business that is on the top of the list. Over 7 out of 10 restaurants go out of business. Don’t pick a location simply because another restaurant was located at that same spot. 

That might have been the reason the restaurant went out of business in the first place. Was it surrounded by 4 or 5 other restaurants that provided better services than that particular restaurant? Do your research and find out why other restaurants do not succeed. 

The biggest problem with most restaurants is they open their doors and don't even have the menu ready or the chef in place. Before opening your doors have employees trained in customer service; have menus ready; and advertise by using coupons and discounts especially in your local newspaper to draw customers to your restaurant. And don't forget to buy a sign for your car.

If patrons have to go a mile or two down the street and take a U-Turn to come back to your restaurant then they will not want to come to the restaurant so accessibility will be key. Make sure the location is easily accessible from the freeway with plenty of parking in a crime free area. Women especially will not come out if they don't feel secure. 

For more info on how to set up a business read 
“How To Take Control of Your Own Life: A Self-Help Guide To Starting Your Own Business” – available as an e-book and paperback book.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Should I Start A Franchise?

July 20, 2015

Dear Cathy:

I am trying to find out more about business ownership. Is opening a franchise a good idea?  New Future Franchisee, Indianapolis

Dear New Future Franchisee:

For those of you who don’t want to start a business from scratch, opening a franchise might be what you are looking for.  The franchise governs the method of conducting business between two parties.  Generally, a franchisee sells goods or services supplied by the franchiser or that meet the franchiser’s quality standards.  That master franchisee is usually responsible for recruiting the individual franchisees and providing all training and support they need, both initially and on an ongoing basis.

It’s important to remember if you open a franchise to make sure you have a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or get Incorporated in case the business fails and the franchiser tries to sue you.  If you have a credit score over 700, collateral and meet other requirements required by the Small Business Administration or Banks, then a franchise just might be what you are looking for.  Again, conduct extensive research before you sign any paperwork.

You can read more about how to start a business at “How To Take Control of Your Own Life: A Self-Help Guide To Starting Your Own Business” -- available as e-book and paperback.

Friday, July 17, 2015

First Time Author Would Like To Be a Publisher

July 17, 2015

Dear Cathy:

I am writing my first book but I am also thinking about publishing books for other authors.  What would be some of the pros and cons of setting up my business in this manner?  First Time Author, Ohio

Dear First Time Author:

There are many advantages to writing a book and being an author will set you up in many ways to gain free publicity for your business.  If you chose to be a self-publisher, which means only writing your book and not putting other authors under your publishing company, you can still give seminars and workshops so this is how I set up my company,

If you chose to write a book and start your own publishing company then you will still be in a position to grow a lucrative business by helping other authors with their books.  However, when you are dealing with other people, especially other authors, then more problems will arise. 

For instance, if you put these authors under your company and tell them in their contracts that you will market their books, if their books are not selling, they will be ready to sue you.  This is one reason I decided not to set my business up in this manner.

So instead of starting a Sole Proprietorship for this type of business, you will need to get incorporated or make sure you have a Limited Liability Corporation (or Company). 

There are many more pros and cons to being a self-publisher or publisher so check out my writing book “How To Write A Book:The Complete Guide to Writing and Selling Your Own Paperback or E-book" -- available as an e-book, paperback and audiobook.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Mate Addicted to News on TV

July 16, 2015

Dear Cathy:

I have been with my mate for a while and it bothers me that he is glued to the TV watching news for at least 6 hours every night.  He thinks I am the strange one because I don’t look at news period on TV.  I get all my news from independent media online.  Am I strange for not being addicted to the media on TV like him?  Addicted to News, Alabama

Dear Addicted to News:

The corporate media (aka mainstream media) is junk food for your brain.  Watching these shows is like eating an addictive junk food.   No you are not strange at all.  Many men especially spend their evenings watching news on TV. 

There are even people that think if a story don’t appear on CNN, that the story is not really happening -- like CNN is everywhere -- 24/7.

Personally I agree with you about mainstream media.  I get all my news online from independent media which is written by real people.  I watch very little TV because I can’t deal with the 5, 8 or 10 minute commercials.  

When I want to watch a movie, I usually prefer Netflix or Amazon Instant Video Streaming but I avoid news and other programs on TV at all costs – so again, no you are not strange.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Should I Leave My Mate Because of His Diet?

July 14, 2015

Dear Cathy:

I moved in with my boyfriend that I have known for 10 years in another state, after we both retired.  I never wanted to end up with a mate that ate really bad foods. My mate should be known as the 'Poster Boy' for eating bad foods. 

I am a healthy and conscious eater and he is not so we agreed to buy and fix our own meals.  However, sometimes, at least once or twice a week, he brings enough food home for the both of us so he tempts me to eat the bad foods.  

On several occasions I have found myself eating these foods which makes me feel horrible later – plus the foods makes me feel tired and run-down and this is probably another reason why he constantly complains about being tired.  I am so unhappy with his behavior but he won’t stop this so I am thinking about moving out.  What should I do?  Bad Foods, Virginia

Dear Bad Foods:

This is a major issue for many couples who get together later on in life and many couples have even chosen to get two refrigerators.  One thing for sure is you will not be able to change a man in his 50s or 60s because by these ages -- they are just too set in their ways.  But if you truly love him try to work something out.

Yes bad foods will make you feel weak, sluggish and run-down but many people have not been able to make this connection yet.  This is where will-power and self-discipline will play a vital role in your life.  Make sure he understands beyond a shadow of a doubt how you feel about the foods that he eats and tell him that you feel he is tempting you to eat the bad foods also.

Maybe he thinks he is taking care of you by buying enough foods for the both of you but when he sees that you are not eating the foods and that the foods are going to waste, then he should get the message.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Is My Girlfriend Marriage Material?

July 13, 2015

Dear Cathy:

I have been dating a young lady for over a year and she has many other interests.  I really enjoy our conversations when we are together and our families get along but I want to know if she is marriage material?  Marriage Material, Detroit

Dear Marriage Material:

In today’s world no woman is going to sit at home and wait on a man.  No woman want to be up under a man 24/7 and men today don’t like clingy women.  So chances are if she has her own life, she is probably marriage material. 

She’s got her own interests, friends, and life outside of you. Maybe she engages in hobbies with her girlfriends or has her own business which keeps her busy.  Her world doesn’t revolve around you.  This is the type of women that most men should be looking for so - YES, she is marriage material.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Should I Close My Business Doors?

July 10, 2015

Dear Cathy:

I have had my business for 2 years and it is not doing well.  I am thinking about closing it down.  Can you give me anymore options?  On My Way Out of Business, Georgia

Dear On My Way Out of Business:

Without telling me what type of business it is -- I can’t give you direct advice but what you need to understand is that most businesses do go out of business within 2 to 5 years and there might be many reasons for this.

One of the main reasons for this is not conducting enough research.  Remember the research stage is the most important stage of starting a business and the more research you conduct on the front end of opening a business, the better chance you will have being successful at the back end.

Also every business owner whether they are young or old, should have a business mentor, coach or consultant to work with them so they can avoid mistakes -- especially financial mistakes.

Sometimes you have to step back and reevaluate your business to make sure you started the right business in the first place so if your business is not your passion, then chances are – you will go out of business.

You can read more about business ownership in my book “How To Take Control of Your Own Life: A Self-Help Guide To Starting Your Own Business” – available as an e-book and paperback.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Married to a Homebody

July 9, 2015

Dear Cathy:

My husband and I are both retired at age 62. He doesn’t have a lot of friends. He has spent a lot of money on our home making it comfortable for the both of us.  The problem is now that he has fixed up our home, I can’t get him out of the house to save my life.

He use to at least take me out to dinner, a movie and for a walk, but now I can’t get him out of the house.  He keeps busy by doing chores around the house or fixing something up at home.

After that he eats dinner and props himself up in front of the TV until the wee hours of the night.  How can I get him to look at me again and treat me like I should be treated? Sick of Being With a Homebody, Alabama

Dear Sick of Being With a Homebody:

Sometimes especially when men age, they get set in their ways and want to do things only the way they want to do them and when they want to do them -- so trying to get him unstruck from these bad habits will probably be extremely hard.

By making his home comfortable for the both of you, he is saying that his home is his castle.  Many people are homebodies and obviously so is your husband which means they enjoy staying at home instead of going out.

He made your home comfortable for the both of you but relationships just don’t involve staying at home all the time so tell him how you feel.  However, by ignoring you it can cause serious ramifications if he is not careful so make sure to get your point across to him.

When couples retire, they think their life will be one way but it may turn out to be another way so don't get frustrated.  Just because he is a homebody doesn't mean you also need to be a homebody.

If he is still unresponsive to your needs, get female friends, take up hobbies and get a traveling companion and do things outside of your home without him.  You can start by going to for a wide variety of choices.

When he sees that you have other hobbies taking you away from home, it might interest him again to look at other activities especially activities that can involve the both of you so don’t give up.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Working Too Much Outside of School

July 8, 2015

Dear Cathy:

I just started college and have a job on the side but I am wandering if working too much outside of school will hinder me from obtaining my college degree.  What is your advice?  Working Hard in College, Minnesota

Dear Working Hard in College:

College is a time for you to have adventures and meet new friends that will probably be in your life for the rest of your life.  Getting a job in school is not a bad thing to do. As a matter of fact, it builds character. 

But you should work only to support your basic needs while you are in college.  If you find yourself working non-stop in order to pay for things that you shouldn’t be buying in college, then that is when it is time for you to settle down and reconsider your priorities.

Your professors are not going to care if your grades are in the toilet because you are engaged in too many outside activities so it is your responsibility to keep up in class. You will have the rest of your life to work, make money and buy all the finer things in life so be careful taking on too many responsibilities while you are in college.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Should I Leave Financially Secure Mate?

Jul. 3, 2015

Dear Cathy:

At 55, I am being wooed by 2 different suitors who live in other states.  One I think I could be happy with, even though I have been living with my current mate for over a year.  My mate and I have a long history together, an on and off relationship for the past 20 years, and even though I have not been unfaithful to him, six months ago he stopped showing any affections toward me. 

I have tried to talk to him about issues he might be having but he abruptly tells me he doesn’t want to talk about anything.  So I am torn between leaving him because of his lack of desire for affection for me even though he is financially secure.  What should I do?  Financially Secure Mate, San Diego

Dear Financially Secure Mate:

Six months is a very long time but before bolting for the door, first talk to your mate and ask him if you both can go and see a family therapist or counselor.  Even though he might have some type of health issue that he is not willing to share with you, if he is not opened to the idea of working with these individuals, then maybe it’s time to try something new.  

However, instead of jumping from relationship to relationship, maybe you need to spend some time alone to work on your own self.  Many men (and women) don’t know that they are making their mate unhappy and sometimes you might even need to put it in a letter.  Remember “Men Are From Mars” and “Women Are from Venus.”

Life is short and despite being with someone who is financially secure, money don’t make anyone happy and it certainly can’t buy happiness.  Just remember, however, that the pastures are not always greener on the other side so you might need to work on loving your own self before making a leap to leave your mate. 

You have a long history with your mate so ask yourself if you are actually being true and trying to work things out or is your mate totally unresponsive to your needs.  But still I would not stay with anyone that is totally ignoring your needs.  Again, life is too short!!!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Still Hoping and Searching for Love

July 1, 2015

Dear Cathy:

I am a 65 year old female and I have been single for a while.  I would not say I am desperate but I would like to have a mate to hold and caress me and make me feel special.  Is this even possible anymore for someone that is 65 years old?  Still Hoping and Searching, California

Dear Hoping and Searching:

You are looking for the great American dream and some time you will have to let go and learn to love your ownself first.  I would have hoped by age 65 that you would have already learned this.

They say there is someone out there for everyone and you might have to lower your standards.  Many men (and women) can sense desperation in women and they are trying to avoid these women at all costs. 

Many men in this country are experiencing Erectile Dysfunction (over 40% at age 40) because of living in toxic environments, eating a toxic diet (GMOs) and not exercising.  So they lack the desire to take the steps to make any woman feel special. 

All this desire, touching and affection is overrated in many relationships and sometimes for many couples it will be as good as it get.  So you really need to figure out your priorities and take steps to love your own self – starting with your brain.

Try to get involved with a hobby or start traveling. The goal is to fall in love with yourself first.   If it is meant to be it will happen.