Saturday, August 22, 2009

Canada's Next Cheap Traveller- Cheap Travel to Iceland

"Takk fyrir" the airline stewardess thanked us as we left the plane. It was early June, and the sun was still shining full strength at 5 AM as the land of the midnight sun came into full view. Tired travellers shuffled their feet as they made their way through the airport, but there was an excitement that could not be denied- we were in Iceland!

Iceland, like the rest of the world, is in the midst of an economic recession. Hence, cheap flights can be found, and we were lucky enough to find a return flight for only $580 from Halifax to Rekjavik, Iceland's legendary capital city. But just because we found such a cheap flight didn't mean we had extra cash to blow; we were students and had bills to pay. How could we possibly avoid spending a lot of money in a place known for being one of the most expensive countries in Europe?

There are many ways to save some dough when travelling, and the surefire best way to save money is on accommodation. There are certainly a multitude of hotels and hostels to choose from, but for those of you who don't mind roughing it in rugged terrain, why not pack your tent along with you? There are designated camp sites, but we just ended up pitching our tent wherever we felt like it. Our favourite site was in Borganes, not only because it is the location of the Vikings in the legendary Egils saga, but also because it seemed to take the edge off our mood. We had argued on the trip from Rekjavik to Borganes, but once we set our tent up in this beautiful land it seemed as if all was forgotten. The tent was surrounded by flowers, the ocean was to the west, and the mountains were our backdrop. What a beautiful picture!

Another great way to save some money is to bring some of your own food from home. There are certain limitations on what you can bring on the plane and into the country, so it's a good idea to check what's allowed beforehand. We brought items like cereal, dried toast, and tuna, and during our stay we also shopped at the local supermarket and bought some of their famous skyr yogurt. By shopping at local supermarkets, we were able to talk to friendly locals, but we also saved $100 per day!

So you can save money on food and accommodation, but what about other fun stuff like getting around and seeing the countryside? By taking public transit instead of renting a car, we saved about $125 per day. In fact, our 2 hour bus ride from Rekjavik to Borganes cost us $2 CAD (or 200 kronurs for you Icelanders). The added bonus? The busdriver taught us how to say "goodbye" in Icelandic!

Even though we only spent about $250 each for the entire week, we still managed to have a great time. The atmosphere, the people, and the beautiful views- what's not to like? Saving money is part of the fun too!

Friday, August 21, 2009

How to Get More Clients to Make More Money

You can make a lot of money in sales positions; that is, if you know what you're doing. Whether you're a financial adviser or salesperson, making money for you is like investing in stocks- the more options you have, the better your chances of winning big. In other words, the more clients you have the better. But how do you go about getting more clients, especially if you are just starting your new position? Don't worry, it isn't that scary at all; just follow some of these pointers and you are well on your way to making more clients!

  1. Get out there! It's hard to make clients when you're sitting at home in front of the T.V., unless you somehow think that telecommunicating with Tyra Banks is going to get you somewhere. Take a class in something you like- painting, sculpting, french - whatever it may be, they are certainly a great way to meet people. Plus you get to learn something new!
  2. Be the Teacher. You could either be a student or a teacher. You can offer to host a free, one-time "class" whereby you teach others about some of the services you offer. For example, if you are a financial adviser, teach others about proper financial management. If you are a beauty consultant, host a class on how to do a smoky eye. This way, you can advertise the service or product you are promoting.
  3. Start a blog. By blogging about your services, you are more likely to spread the word about what you do and how well you do it. Send the link to your blog to everyone you know because they may pass it to their friends, who may pass it to their friends... you get the point.
  4. Advertise. Put an advertisement in your local paper, or some other free online service like Kijiji. You never know who may see it- maybe Tyra Banks is looking for a beauty representative....
  5. Reply to advertisements. Likewise, look in the papers or online to see if someone is requesting your services in your area.
  6. Cold Calling- not for the faint of heart, and a little less personal than meeting someone in person. But it can be worth a try.
  7. Take care of your appearance. Would you buy something from Oscar the Grouch? It may seem harsh, but people are influenced by what they see. Just like you wouldn't buy rotting flowers from a florist, people want to see a professional as someone who takes care of themselves.

Remember, you don't have to lie when you are selling, and indeed it's best if you don't stoop to such a level. People will see right through you, and everyone hates a liar! Be honest, and avoid a MSM (Martha Stewart Move). Otherwise, you'll need some serious PR to repair the damage done,