The frost has finally had it for the season, which means it's time to open some windows and doors, and Clear Out The Clutter. The sentiment is pretty widely shared: spring cleaning (whether we do it, or just think that we should do it) is a culturally engrained thing.
As with most culturally engrained events though, there's a whole industry that exists in response, trying like mad to get you to part with some of your hard-earned dollars as part of the festivities. (Think storage tote sales.)
In and among the multitude of links to sell me something when I searched the phrase, "get organized," I found one article, thankfully, that had this very salient piece of advice:
"Hold off on container shopping... getting organized does not start out with a shopping trip."
WebMD, 10 Ways to Cut Clutter in Your Home. Retrieved May 7, 2013.
Even just getting started, though, can sometimes require professional help. Do you sometimes wonder where to start? You're not alone. Enter, the professional organizer.
"We started The Herjavec Group ten years ago with three guys and $400,000 in sales and we finished at $125 million last year and just today, we bought another one of our small competitors that does $30 million a year," he says.
With results like that, it's no wonder he was recently named Ernst & Young's 2012 Entrepreneur of the Year in the technology group and is always pushing the limits of his own success even further. He wants you to reach new heights of success this year too, which is why he wrote The Will to Win: Leading, Competing, Succeeding (HarperCollins Canada) a sequel of sorts to Driven.
While Driven urged readers to take risks, take control of their lives, and stay true to their own visions, The Will to Win pushes them to refuse to accept mediocrity, use their power at the right time and always be willing to adapt and change, with some special advice from Herjavec's celebrity friends like Oprah, Celine Dion and UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre thrown in for good measure.
We caught up to this Ferrari racing, marathon running, cyber security expert just long enough for him to tell us whether he's truly afraid of anything, why it seems like sometimes his investment offers get passed over in favour of the bigger fish in the tank and whether The Millennial Generation needs to invent their own job.
Wait a minute, "Misclassified?" Yes. As Walletpop has covered before, Unless the interns in your office are part of an internship program from a high school, college or university and working for course credit, the following six conditions must all be met before they can legally work for free:
For his part, Labour Minister Yasir Naqvi agreed with the union writing to Huffington Post that "If you perform work for someone – unless you are self-employed, in a co-op placement, or a trainee – you are an employee covered under the Employment Standards Act and should be paid – it doesn't matter if you are called an 'intern' or not."
However, he did not make it clear whether he would address the existing double standard and close the legal loopholes that allow employers to break the law by relying heavily on unpaid or underpaid labour.
However, the exploitation of the youth labour force across North America goes way beyond just unpaid internships, even the people technically getting paid are working harder and longer, while getting paid less than any other previous generation.
According to a PWC 2012 Canadian Retail Survey, Canadian retailers are losing $10.8 million a day in retail losses.
So what makes up this loss in revenue? The number one culprit is theft by employees and paperwork errors.
So although it's not the consumers that are the problem, they may be suffering with small business having to pass on those costs.
With March designated as Fraud Prevention Month, there are ways to help reduce these costs - both as consumers and small business owners.
These two 23-year-old graduates of the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario believe the multi-billion dollar premium vitamin industry is in desperate need of a fundamental disruption, and they would know.
The two entrepreneurs were able to aggregate over 30 years of experience in the vitamin industry in the creation of their new start-up -- Koge Vitamins.
'What we'd seen a lot of is really two things with in the industry," says Lenjosek. "The first thing is that if you want to buy premium vitamins, it is expensive and its expensive because you have all of these costs coming from a sales force, marketing, overhead, etc. These are not at all related to the product and yet customers are paying for it."
But thanks to their own manufacturing facility and by selling online, they are able to cut out the middle man and lower the industry standard cost by 67%.
The second thing the two wanted to disrupt in the vitamin industry was the often confusing barrage of products one faces when shopping for premium vitamins.
"The first time I walked into a vitamin store -- I was an investment banker who was not the healthiest guy -- and there are aisles and aisles of hundreds of products and hundreds of brands," says Lenjosek.
"I'm not a nutritionist, I'm just a normal guy, and I have really no idea what I'm supposed to be taking, so Alex and I really wanted to simplify the buying experience and we eventually want to customize it."
Adrienne K. Woodyard, a tax lawyer with Davis LLP, took time out of her day to answer a few questions about Canadians and taxes.
They also, among other things, pointed out that 10% of the films at Sundance are Kickstarter funded, a Kickstarter backed film won an Oscar, Kickstarter is taught at Stanford, Kickstarter projects have topped the Amazon charts and The New York Times Bestseller List, Kickstarter funded operas have premiered at The Kennedy Center and Publisher's Weekly calls Kickstarter the number two publisher of graphic novels in the world.
But now, The Ontario Securities Commission is seeking input from the public regarding crowdfunding over concerns that sites like Kickstarter pose too much of a financial risk to investors. Others are raising questions about failed campaigns and the fact that some backers are treating incentive rewards as if they are guaranteed pre-orders.
So how do you do that? How do you change your previous pattern of behaivior and start making better decisions? How do you not get sucked into previous patterns? It's not as easy as flicking on a light, or is it?
Dr. Art Markman has the answer. The University of Texas psychology professor and cognitive scientist has written a new book called Smart Thinking: Three Essential Keys to Solve Problems, Innovate, and Get Things Done, which boils down how to make better decisions into a three-part formula that includes developing smart habits, acquiring high-quality knowledge and use this high-quality knowledge when needed.
He has unlocked the tools to replace self-limiting habits with smart thinking, understand how memory works, improve the quality of what you learn, present new information more effectively, better understand how the world works and finally, define and solve problems by finding the relevant knowledge from any area of expertise and applying it effectively.
"My blood pressure was soaring and almost impossible to control," Bostick remembers. "Honestly, if I hadn't gotten help with our credit card debt I probably would have had a stroke."
At the time, Franny and Jim Bostick had accumulated more than $120,000 in debt on 13 credit cards. The amount had accumulated during more than a decade of spending beyond their means.
Bostick says they simply got in the habit of buying anything they wanted. "We spent money on eating out, new appliances, new clothes and gifts for our kids," says Bostick. "We went on vacations and used plastic to pay for everything."
The smell of flames is in the air as Canada's leading banks rush to be the first out of the gate to market a digital wallet. "We're almost there; it's close. It's going to be out in the next 3 or 4 weeks," RBC's Dave McKay told Reuters recently.
This announcement comes just months after CIBC and Rogers announced their partnership to create a digital wallet that uses Near Field Communication (NFC) technology.
As the competition among the big five banks heats up, Canadian consumers are warming to the idea.