Do Not Settle For The First Car Insurance Quote You Obtain

If you are shopping around for a new motor vehicle, your purchase need to go hand in hand with acquiring a car insurance quote. As soon as you drive your new vehicle off the dealership’s floor you are at risk of getting in an accident or you can be hijacked on your way home, consequently you have to have your car insurance policy in place previous to getting behind the controls of your car for the very first time.There are many variables that would influence the car insurance quote that you will obtain. Causes such as your age, gender and driving history are all examples of such variables. The price of the car in question will also play a role, as will the number of nominated drivers on the vehicle.Never settle for the first car insurance quote you receive. Try to contrast and compare as many quotes as possible – no less than three or five. In case you are uncertain about the terms and conditions associated with your policy, make certain to discuss this with your insurance agent or insurance broker prior to signing your contract.One of the points that may perhaps result in a lower car insurance quote is opting for a higher excess amount. An excess amount is essentially the difference between the price for repairing your vehicle and the amount that the insurance company is willing to pay. Say for instance you must repair your bumper after a small accident and the repair price is R10 000. The insurance company agrees to pay R8 000. Your excess amount (payable by you!) is then R2 000. The greater your voluntary excess amount, the lower your associated premiums (usually!). Just be careful that you do not pick such a high excess amount that you would not be in a position to honour the payment when it is time to put in a claim!Also keep in mind that your car insurance quote will typically only give you an indication of your first year’s premiums. An essential issue to remember is that your insurance premium is likely to increase on a yearly basis. You might be thinking that this is not making sense, as the value of your car is in fact decreasing year after year and thus the insurance providers’s subsequent risk is lower. On the one hand that is true, but remember that the cost for repairing your vehicle (parts and labour) increase every year and insurance firms have to cater for this increased cost by increasing your premiums.Often times an insurance business will provide a car insurance quote, but your insurance policy will only be activated as soon as you’ve taken your vehicle for an inspection. These inspections are necessary as insurance firms must make certain that you are not trying to insure a car with an existing problem and that all the security features (such as an alarm system, immobilizer etc) stipulated on the contract are indeed in place.Obtaining a car insurance quote is really not difficult. Research your options, compare a couple of quotations and make an informed decision.

Personal Branding: The Lighthouse Branding Model

More and more people are talking about the importance of personal branding, both in career searching and in career development. Effective personal branding not only makes you stand out from the crowd to employers and recruiters, it can also increase your job security by communicating your value as a leader and team player to your organization.

What is personal branding?

Personal branding is the process of identifying the unique and differentiating value that you bring to an organization, team and/or project and communicating it in a professionally memorable and consistent manner in all of your actions, both online and offline, to all current and prospective stakeholders in your career.

The Lighthouse Personal Branding Model

The lighthouse is a great model for breaking down the branding process into four key steps: the foundation, the beacon, the tower and the beam.

Foundation:

Your foundation is your unarguable strengths and experience in your chosen area. To identify your own foundation, write down the strengths that differentiate you from the rest and ask your friends, family and colleagues/managers to do the same for you. Identify the top three to five overlapping strengths that support the career direction you want to pursue.

Beacon:

Your beacon is the memorable and consistent communication of your strengths and experience. Now that you have identified your foundation, it’s time to create your beacon by finding a word or phrase that represents these strengths and can become your brand. Develop a short pitch that can follow your brand, describing your strengths in more detail. Ensure that your word or phrase is versatile and can change with your direction.

Tower:

Simply put, your tower is your visibility, reach and presentation, both online and offline, which support the beacon. This is really everything you do to proactively build your personal brand. The higher you build your tower with your efforts, the more visible you will be to potential career stakeholders. Here are some ways to proactively build your brand and credibility in front of your target audience:

Create a LinkedIn profile and follow the suggested steps to complete your profile 100 percent, making sure you include your personal brand and pitch in your subtitle and summary sections.

Create a Google account and profile for improved search engine optimization.

Include your personal brand on your resume, cover letter, business cards, email signature, voicemail message and across your other social networks, such as Twitter and Facebook.

Consider creating a personal website/blog site where you can house all of your information, including experience, education, skills, honors, entrepreneurial efforts and more.

Start your own blog with a unique point of view on your industry/area of interest.

Contribute value in your book or product reviews, your tweets, your comments on other blog posts, your own blog articles or articles for print publications, your discussions in LinkedIn Groups and your advice via LinkedIn Answers or other forums.

Start a company full-time or on the side with relevant and valuable products/services/resources for the industry.

Publish and offer print and/or electronic publications.

Get quoted in the media by joining HARO (Help a Reporter Out) and contributing advice, experiences and insights to writers and journalists seeking expert sources.
Beam:

Your beam is your career direction and more active personal branding and career search strategy. It involves you gaining and projecting a strong understanding of where you want to go, what you want to pursue and how you will pursue it. First, you need to determine what functional area, geography and industries/companies you want to target. Then, you need to actively network your brand with potential career stakeholders. Here are some ways to start:

Join associations or networking groups within your industry and attend events to meet new contacts and build your target network. Be sure to share your personal brand with those new contacts.

Conduct informational interviews with target network contacts (whether or not you’re seeking a job) and share your personal brand with them in your introductions.

Find ways to bring fellow industry thought leaders together on a project or at an event.

Find ways to contribute to the projects or events of fellow industry experts.

Get recommended on LinkedIn and display testimonials from customers, clients and partners
Personal Application

I used this model to help develop my own personal brand during my MBA career search. Having identified my foundation to be my endless energy, out-of-the-box creativity, relationship building and problem solving, I looked for a word that could pull all of those strengths together into one memorable brand message. The beacon I chose was “generator” as I generate energy, creativity, relationships and solutions to problems. I was pursuing a career in marketing and brand management, and therefore, I became a brand and marketing generator. I proactively built my tower by incorporating my brand directly into my online profiles, my resumes and my entrepreneurial efforts. I then took a more active approach, targeting the “beam” by incorporating my personal brand in my interview responses, networking introductions and informational interview outreach. It was this process that helped me successfully secure my current employment, and this model continues to help guide all of my professional and entrepreneurial ventures.

Boomer Generation Fitness Tips

A generation of baby boomers is now entering their 60′s with high expectations of themselves when it comes to how they will spend their retirement years.  The boomer generation has always thought of lifestyle as a key factor in determining how successful they are at living and the key to that living is health.  Many boomers plan to travel the world and see all of the things that they have read about over the years, but without good health and a reasonable level of fitness, those dreams are often shattered.

Most of us dread the thought of spending long tedious hours in a gym grunting and groaning on machines that are dripping with someone else’s sweat and germs in order to restart some sort of muscle activity.  This process is usually spurred on by looking in a mirror and realizing that it will be difficult to view all of the sight seeing locations, let alone getting on and off the bus, without some minimum level of strength and agility. What is the easiest and most effective way to approach better health through fitness? We need to concentrate on three main body areas, mainly upper body, core and lower body.  There is no point in trying to work on minor muscles when what we really need to do is make sure that the major groups are strong enough to do the job.  The smaller ones will follow along as we become more active.  Let’s look at 3 specific calisthenics you can do at home in about 10 minutes per day:

  1. UPPER BODY   push ups are the obvious choice to make the most difference in the least amount of time.  If you can’t use your toes to sustain the full body push up, then use your knees and keep your back straight as you lower your upper body to the floor and raise back up.  It is very important to maintain correct form but just as important to do as many push ups as possible in 90 seconds.  I realize that might be only one, but to get the most benefit requires pushing yourself slightly beyond what you thought you could do.  Spend an honest minute and a half working at your pushups and record the number so that you can do an extra one next time.  When finished, rest for 2 minutes.
  2. CORE   you know what’s coming, situps, of course.  Two ways to do this, first crunches.  Lie on your back, raise your knees to a 45 degree angle with your feet firmly on the ground and cross your hands over your chest – never place your hands behind yur neck.  Now, spend 90 seconds lifting your upper body as high as possible (this might be only a few inches) and lowering back to the floor.  Try to move your head up and down vertically as opposed to bending it forward and straining your neck.  Count again and add more each day to increase your core strentgth.  The second method requires bending your knees in the same way but hooking your feet under a chair or something sturdy so that they won’t lift off the ground.  Now, keeping your hands crossed on your chest, lift your entire upper body to a sitting position and return to the floor slowly.  Count again and record the total number you do in 90 seconds.  You will do fewer of these but they are much more effective. Rest for another full two minutes.
  3. LOWER BODY   squats are a great choice and once again 90 seconds and do as many as possible.  Standing with your arms stretched straight out in front of you, palms down, move your arms back and keep them at shoulder height then lower them to your sides while you lower your body to squat position keeping your back straight. Lift your self back up, using your legs, thighs and hips in a smooth motion to your original position. 

The key to the success of this program is the natural process of your own body which continues to benefit from this brief activity for hours afterward.  Dr. Al Sears, in his program called PACE, shows how our bodies increase the capacity of our heart and lungs without creating more fat stores by the use of a short duration but high intensity workout.  This is especially important for a boomer generation trying to become healthy and fit in the most efficient way possible.