I opened my Amazon Handmade store on May 12th!

Check out Exsect on Amazon Handmade

 

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ADVENTURE IS OUT THERE leather luggage tag, an Exsect exclusive!

A classic adventure quote from the Disney Pixar movie UP! Adventure IS out there! This quote makes a great graduation gift as well as wedding gifts, leather luggage tag wedding favors, third anniversary gifts and much much more!

Sturdy and durable, these luggage tags are not thin cheap leather. They are only made from the highest quality thick harness leather and designed to last for decades and to be passed down from generation to generation. All Exsect Inc. items are heirloom quality!

Celebrate all of life’s big moments with genuine leather gifts.

 

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Personalized carved tree initials leather luggage tag. Fantastic 3rd anniversary gift or Personalized Wedding Gift also great luggage tag wedding favors.

Find it exclusively on ETSY by EXSECT!

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Tony Robbins’ epic 20 hour read MONEY Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom was very informative, especially to a newer investor willing to consume any reasonable advice on the subject.

Though drawn out at times and a bit of an over done promotion for a few products (fixed index annuities); I thoroughly enjoyed the interview section (minus Tony’s repetitious response of “awesome”) and the detailed portfolio breakdowns from so many successful advisors.

I found the chapter on dollar-cost averaging most beneficial. This tiny part of Tony’s huge novel inspired me to auto-invest to our SEP and IRAs every Tuesday in addition to our 1st of the month contribution, electing the funds to be directly invested in to VDIGX – Vanguard Dividend Growth Fund and VHDYX – Vanguard High Dividend Yield Index Fund Investor Shares.

This move will add $7200 to our portfolios each year, finally bringing our retirement investments up to 13.22% of our taxable income a year (my goal being 15%). Now to spend the rest of the morning deciding where to put the other 1.78%.

The dollar-cost averaging excerpt from MONEY Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom the Game book is below:

Example 1

• The index stays at $100 per share for the first year.

• It goes down to $60 the next year.

• It stays at $60 the third year.

• Then in the fourth year, it shoots up to $140.

• In the fifth year, it ends up at $100, the same place where you started.

Example 2

• The market is at $100 the first year.

• $110 the second year.

• $120 the third.

• $130 the fourth, and

• $140 the fifth year.

So, which index do you think ends up making you the most money after five years? Your instincts might tell you that you’d do better in the second scenario, with steady gains, but you’d be wrong. You can actually make higher returns by investing regularly in a volatile stock market.

Think about it for a moment: in example 1, by investing the same amount of dollars, you actually get to buy more shares when the index was cheaper at $60, so you owned more of the market when the price went back up!

Here’s Burt Malkiel’s chart that shows how it happens:

After five years of a steadily rising market, your $5,000 turns into $5,915. Not bad.

But in that volatile market, you make 14.5% more in profit, winding up with $6,048! The problem, Malkiel told me, is that most people don’t let the first scenario work for them. “When the market falls, they say, ‘Oh my God! I’m going to sell!’ So you have to keep your head and keep a steady course.”

Investors learned a hard lesson during the first ten years of the 2000s, or what’s known in financial circles as the lost decade. If you put all your money into the US stock market at the beginning of 2000, you got killed. One dollar invested in the S&P 500 on December 31, 1999, was worth 90 cents by the end of 2009. But according to Burt Malkiel, if you had spread out your investments through dollar-cost averaging during the same time period, you would have made money!

Malkiel authored a Wall Street Journal article titled “ ‘Buy and Hold’ Is Still a Winner,” in which he explained that if you were diversified among a basket of index funds, including US stocks, foreign stocks, and emerging-market stocks, bonds, and real estate, between the beginning of 2000 and the end of 2009, a $100,000 initial investment would have grown to $191,859. That’s over 6.7% annually during a lost decade.

“Dollar-cost averaging is how you make the volatility of the market work for you,” he told me.

Everyone from Warren Buffett’s mentor Benjamin Graham to Burt Malkiel and many of the most respected academics certainly make a case for using dollar-cost averaging when you’re investing a percentage of your steady stream of income. But if you have a lump sum to invest, it may not be the best approach. If this is your current situation, read the breakout box in this chapter titled “Dollar-Cost Averaging Versus Lump-Sum Investing.”

What dollar-cost averaging really means is systematically putting the same amount of money across your full portfolio—not just the stock portion.

Remember, volatility can be your friend with dollar-cost averaging, and it can also allow for another technique that will keep you on track, “rebalancing,” which we’ll address in a moment.

So what’s the best way to put dollar-cost averaging to work for you? Luckily, most people who have 401(k)s or 403(b)s that automatically invest the same amount on a fixed time schedule already reap the benefits of dollar-cost averaging. But if you don’t have an automated system, it’s easy to set one up. I have a self-employed friend who set up her own tax-advantaged retirement account with Vanguard, and she’s instructed it to automatically deduct $1,000 from her bank account every month to distribute among her diversified index funds. She knows she might not always have the discipline to buy when one market feels too high or another drops too low, so she takes herself out of the picture. She’s a long-term investor who doesn’t worry about timing anymore, because her system is automated, and the decision is out of her hands.

There’s a way to make dollar-cost averaging even easier, and that’s by setting up an account with Stronghold, where it will do this for you automatically.

Also, remember, in the next section I’ll show you an extraordinary tool that can protect you from losing your principal in these volatile times. Where, even if your timing is all wrong, you don’t lose a dime in the stock market. And if you’re right, you win even bigger. But before we get there, let’s have a look at a second time-tested pattern of investing that will protect your savings and help you maximize your Freedom Fund as you build true wealth.

 

In closing, I’m gleefully up at 4am thanks to The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM). Viva!

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Instagram ads are somewhat hard to figure out. I consider myself to be able to understand most concepts. But when reading the entire Instagram Advertising website it was still quite confusing as to where to start.

So I hired Kit. Kit is my virtual marketing assistant. And is now my #1 amigo when it comes to advertising on Instagram and Facebook. Kit works with my Shopify, Etsy, Big Cartel, Instagram, Facebook and more!

It is amazing. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.

Simply connect your phone to Kit and sent text messages to set up ads, market your products, post to Facebook, update your business Facebook page, run business reports and run advertisement reports. Initiate contact with Kit by texting “Hi” and have your task complete in under a minute.

The best part: monthly subscriptions to Kit start at $10. I opted for the $25 Kit Pro plan.

Highly recommended. I have chosen wisely and I am down with Kit. My homie, my beastie, my favorite (and only) employee, Kit is my savior. My lighthouse in the dark.

Don’t ever leave me. I love you.

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I found Kit while listening to the Unofficial Shopify Podcast.

In the Dec. 1st 2015 episode linked above, Michael Perry, CEO of Kit, explains advertising on Facebook and Instagram, the benefits and the wonders of carousel ads on both platforms.

Dig it.

 

If you sell on the Etsy marketplace and become even marginally successful, it is a given that you will encounter copycats. Design thieves. Unimaginative pathetic morons. Whatever you like to call them.

A few months back I came across a seller that offers leather luggage tags. Every single design was copied from an established Etsy seller. They copied six of my designs.

When I asked them to remove the listings they replied “but i want to said is design myself” (seller is located in China).

No. You did not design it yourself. Copying my exact listing titles is a dead giveaway that you copied the design directly from me.

They quickly removed the listing in the sample image below and the other matching tags that said “Wild & Free” not “Free & Wild”

And I am not against other sellers making leather luggage tags. Not by any means. Hell, I even sell blank leather luggage tags in bulk so others can use my exact supplies to create their own designs.

But blatantly ripping off other sellers designs if just ridiculous.

Enjoy this treat (my design is on the bottom):

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PersonalizedBrownLeatherCameraStrap

Personalized sunburst brown genuine leather camera strap found exclusively on Etsy.

Premium full grain leather camera strap. Meticulously hand dyed with only non-toxic leather stains for an antiqued sunburst look. Sealed with exclusive Exsect Inc Leather Conditioner for a beautiful dream soft camera strap with superior strength. Gorgeous metal (NOT PLASTIC) black hardware, clips and rings. This camera strap arrives flexible and hand broken in!

Strap is 1″ wide.

The clip and ring set measure 2′ long on each side for a total strap length of 40″. Some style cameras will need both the clip and ring, some will only need the clip.

ALL CAMERA STRAPS ALWAYS ARRIVE WITH BOTH THE CLIP AND RING ATTACHMENTS!

This camera strap is designed for easy attachment and easy detachment. No more fussing with the terrible slider straps and buckle straps that ship standard with most cameras! As a professional photographer, quick change out is a must! The standard straps are simply unacceptable.

I can’t get enough of super tiny leather keychains. When I have extra time (which is rare) I click out shapes and make lovable little keychains.

Here is there newest one:

 

The perfect AFFORDABLE personalized genuine leather gift. CLICK HERE to view it on my website.

This lil’ love measures only 1.25″ and is thick cut from huge 8/9 oz hides, this tiny key chain will last GENERATIONS. Super lightweight to not weigh down your keys. Split ring hole is reinforced with a matching silver grommet.

I opened a new EXSECT SHOPIFY STORE over the weekend. Although it seemed fairly easy to set up, importing from Etsy is a nightmare. After fixing all of the prices, variations, spacing in the listings, titles and links… I discovered last night that ALL of the tags have underscores in them instead of spaces. What a pain.

Sometimes I truly get tied of doing everything myself. I wish I could pass off the most tedious tasks to SOMEONE and have confidence that they will actually be done correctly.

Off to fix tags for HOURS!

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As a seller, I am unsure what to think of Etsy’s new shop layout that will be going live to all shoppers on April 5th, 2016. To me it looks HUGE and involves an eternity of scrolling.

However, I doubt it will effect much of anything and Im sure I will get used to it in no time.

It did inspire me to open a Shopify store, though I have no idea what I am doing and don’t have much time to fiddle with it.

Out with the old, in with the new!