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James asks…

Any tips on getting customers for a new pet sitting business?

I’m 12 years old and have started a new pet sitting business. I have done everything so far, fliers, business cards, what else will attract customers?

SEO Tips:

With a business like that, I think you need to be really proactive. From what you mentiuoned above — the things you have done are all reactive.

By proactive, I mean you need to establish personal relationships with veterinarians and pet store owners. You need to get to know the key people at these places — and they need to know you, your compentcies and how much you care about doing a good job.

You might want to offer a luncheon for them that you host to talk about how you are better or uniquely different. What are the things that result in you being the place a pet owner would choose when in need of your services? What do you do to bring value? That all needs to be communicated and demonstrated to them. Ask them to attend this luncheon and ask them to bring at least one of their clients who would benefit by knowing about your services.

You’ll need to spend some money on them and show them what you do.

Establish a testimonial book with letters of recommendation from other satisfied users of your service. You’ll need to solicit these from people and maybe even help them write the letter — but this will really help you out when talking to others.

Another thing is to be a real visible presence at dog shows. This is going to take more time to develop — but these would be people who will use your services if you can show them how good of a job you will do for them when they need some time away.

Does your flier really stand out? It needs to be similar to what a top tier hotel would put out.

Do you have a web site? You need one so they can see what you do that is better or different. You can send out newsletters and establish a drip marketing program through the email addresses.

Shoot a video — of the things you do when pet sitting. It is relatively inexpensive to do and run copies, but that is better than a flier.

One thing I didn’t see in the things you have tried is any kind of media advertising. Are you listed in the phone book’s yellow pages in an attractive ad? Do you advertise in the newspaper in an ongoing way? Do you advertise in dog publications like the fliers that pet shows put out?

You can try any or all of these things — the key is to differentiate yourself through a personal relationship.

Sandy asks…

Does anyone know how I should start scrapbooking?

I have never done any scrapbooking and need some tips. Please help

SEO Tips:

To start there are a few supplies you’ll need….

A scrapbook – there are several kinds out on the market but it seems that the most popular kind are the drop in page kinds (more explanation later); they come in several sizes – 6X6, 8X8, 8 1/2 X 11, and 12 X 12. Personally I prefer the 12 X 12 because you can put several photos on one 12 X 12 page.

Card stock – this is what you will use to create your pages. You will want to select card stock that is quality and lignin and acid free. You want the hard work you put into your albums to last for years to come. If you use inferior card stock it could ruin your photos rather than protect them.

A note here about card stock…it’s best to select card stock and decorative paper from one particular line of products because doing so will ensure quality of product across the board and the colors will coordinate better.

Speaking of color – here’s another tip – choose only 3-4 coordinating colors to use in your scrapbook in addition to white or vanilla. It will create a cohesive look through the whole book which will make it look very put together.

A cutter – I recommend one with a 12″ cutting capability. No matter what size album you choose there are a lot of pretty decorative papers on the market that only come in 12X12 size. You must have a cutter this size to be able to cut the paper smaller. A lot of solid color card stocks also come in this size so you will need to cut that too sometimes.

Adhesive – again make sure you choose a quality product that is safe for photos. You will also want to make sure that you can purchase refills for your adhesive. This is probably the one item you will end up spending the most money on over time. Personally I prefer the Dotto repositionable adhesive. Refills are easy to find and about the same price at most places and should you ever decide to remove a photo you can easily do so with this adhesive. It is made for use in scrapbooks.

A pen for journaling the stories you have to tell in your scrapbook. Again make sure it is safe and will last. Don’t use a regular ball point pen. They are not safe for protecting your photos and never write on the back of your photos with one as the ink has been known to leach through to the front of the photo ruining the picture.

I want to say here that journaling and writing your stories with in your own handwriting is really important. Your family will treasure the time you took to write the titles and information. On some pages you’ll want to put a title but not every page needs one.

Another thing to remember is that you don’t need to scrapbook every photo. Choose anywhere from one to 6 per event or milestone. Don’t be afraid to crop them to get rid of distractions and to emphasize the focal point of the photo.

Scissors – you’ll need scissors for doing longer cuts and well as a pair for doing some detailed cutting.

Okay from there you can add all kinds of things – ribbon, eyelets, stickers, rubber stamps & ink, buttons, rub-ons, brads, flowers made for putting in scrapbooks, die cuts, punched shapes, etc.

There is one simple rule to remember – the photos are what should stand out on the page not the decorations around them.

To help achieve that goal of making the photos the focal point of the page you will want to matte them. All this means is putting a piece of card stock behind the photo that is from 1/4″ to 1/2″ larger around than your photo. Then put your photo on the page. Sometimes you might want to double matte the photo but only sometimes.

For all kinds of ideas and where to go from these basics there are some places you have access to…

Split Coast Stampers is a web site full of ideas for scrapbookers and rubber stampers.

They have 3 scrapbook challenges each week which have no deadline but is a source of ideas. They also have a gallery of finished scrapbook pages.

To see the page ideas go to Forums (top right of page) scroll down to Challenges and then click on the sub heading of scrapbooking.

To see completed pages other people have done go to the Gallery (top right of page) and scroll down to scrapbooking. Click and there you go lots of different ideas.

The web site also had ideas and instructions for making your own scrapbooks. To find them there are a couple of places to go to – Resources (top right of page) Then scroll down the list. Some of the items listed are instructions for different techniques but there are plenty of project ideas there too with tutorials.

The other place to go to on the web site is the Gallery then scroll down to Anything but a Card. Click. Then scroll down to Handmade albums, etc. There you go more ideas for making your own scrapbooks.

Another resource for page ideas and such is your local library. There are a lot of books out there about scrapbooking. There are also several magazines about scrapbooking too so wander over to the magazine section to see if your library has any of those for you

Joseph asks…

What is a thermostat and how does it work?

I’m working on a paper with a whole bunch of definitions but i cannot find this answer in the web!! help please.

SEO Tips:

A thermostat is a device for regulating the temperature of a system so that the system’s temperature is maintained near a desired setpoint temperature. The thermostat does this by controlling the flow of heat energy into or out of the system. That is, the thermostat switches heating or cooling devices on or off as needed to maintain the correct temperature.

A thermostat may be a control unit for a heating or cooling system or a component part of a heater or air conditioner. Thermostats can be constructed in many ways and may use a variety of sensors to measure the temperature. The output of the sensor then controls the heating or cooling apparatus.

Common sensors include:
Bi-metallic mechanical or electrical sensors
Expanding wax pellets
Electronic thermistors and semiconductor devices
Electrical thermocouples

Works of thermostat:
When it’s cold, we walk over and turn up the thermostat, and when it is hot, we walk over and turn on the air conditioner to cool us down. But, how does that little box on the wall actually control the temperature of our homes or offices?

A mechanical thermostat is actually a very simple device. It is basically a thermometer attached to a switch that turns on your heater, whether your heat source is natural gas or electricity. If you remove the cover of your thermostat, you will see the inner workings and get a better idea of how a thermostat works.

The top layer holds a mercury switch and a thermometer coil. The mercury switch is just a small vial filled with the liquid metal, mercury. Within this vial are three wires: one at the bottom of the vial; one at the left of the vial; and one at the right of the vial. As the temperature rises or cools, the vial of mercury gets tipped to the right or the left making the corresponding wire come into contact with the wire that runs along the bottom. If the mercury gets tipped to the left, a connection is made that creates a current that energizes a relay, which starts the heater and circulation fan. As the room heats up, the vial levels off and once that is in balance, the connection is broken causing the heater to turn off. If the mercury switch is tilted to the right, another relay causes the air conditioner to turn on.

What tips the vial in either direction is the thermometer coil that rests against the vial of mercury. The thermometer coil is constructed of a bi-metallic strip made of two different types of metal, usually copper and iron, which are bonded together. Because the different metals respond to heat at different levels, this strip contracts and expands causing the coil to curl up or uncurl as the temperature changes. This curling or uncurling motion tilts the mercury vial, which then signals the heating source to kick off or on. When you adjust the temperature knob on your thermostat, you are actually adjusting the tightness of the coil.

Beneath the top layer of your thermostat, you will see the circuit board, which houses the wires that actually lead to the circulation fan and heat source. The circuit board is connected to the mercury switch via a metal screw and wire, which “reads” the switch and turns on the appropriate heating or cooling device.

Newer on the market are digital thermostats. These thermostats differ from the mechanical thermostats in that they use a thermistor, a resistor whose electrical resistance changes with temperature. The microcontroller in a digital thermostat measures the resistance and converts that number to a temperature reading. Digital thermostats can save energy because they can be programmed to turn the heat or air conditioning off or on at preset times throughout the day. For example, you can set the air conditioning to come on an hour before you come home from work, or have the heater remain off during the hours while you work and then turn on an hour before you get back so your home is warm and cozy when you open the door.

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