Should You Work From Home to Make Money With the Internet?

With soaring gas prices, it’s no wonder that many American workers are dreaming about eliminating their commute and working from home. Recently, many companies have begun to allow their staff members to work from home for economic reasons.With recent advances in technology, the web, email, internet, modems, cheaper fax machines and voice mail, some people rarely go into the main office anymore. Working out of your home can be a mixed blessing though.There are certain benefits that any worker would love. If you are facing such a decision, take a look at a few pros and cons of working from your home. There is clearly a lot to consider before making this transition.Ask yourself these questions: Am I a workaholic and if so, would working at home worsen that problem? Would I feel isolated if I’m at home more than usual? Could I separate my business from my personal life if both were under the same roof?Be honest about your personality and think carefully about your work-life balance before you decide. Be realistic about potential feelings of isolation and true reasons for wanting to work from home. Make sure you are making this decision on a personal happy basis.Do you enjoy being your own boss? Do you work well without requiring constant feedback and direction? You also must be willing to stop work and not be chained to your desk 24/7 which would negatively impact your family life.Do you have good self-control and are goal-oriented? These two disciplines alone can help you make money as you desire with the Internet. And by working at home you have the freedom to fly with your own creatively.There’s extensive research that supports increased productivity among home-based employees. Also, that they are more dedicated, effective and positive towards their chosen employment.Working from home may be your idea of bliss, but those affected by your decision may not see it the same way. Be sure you have worked it out with your partner and/or your family, and that they are happy with your decision also.Your spending more time at home will affect their lives too. In most cases the effect will be positive, but you still may have family commitments and make sure that your plans do not conflict with other family members.More and more innovative companies have work-from-programs. All 1,100 of JetBlue’s reservations agents work from their homes and if that is your desire it certainly can be done.

5 Insightful Travel Tips for Your Holiday Break

The year has caught on already, so thinking about your annual leave, however far off that may be, is completely justified. The pressures of career work and domestic responsibilities are draining, and holiday breaks help us rediscover whatever energies we might have lost.Travelling is perhaps the best thing you can do when you have a couple of weeks off from work. There are significant emotional and psychological benefits gained from it. You learn more about yourself, and you are able to appreciate the immensity of the planet.Travel has evolved with the times, and now it’s much more convenient. The interconnectivity of the globe is to thank for this expediency. There are of course some less desirable changes that will occur this year- such as the elevated air fair prices and the increased costs of hotel accommodation. But the gains made far outweigh these trivial disadvantages. Here are 5 travel tips that will make your traveling more enjoyable and comfortable.Plan Ahead
The better you plan, the greater the chances of your vacation going well. Planning enables you to have an objective look at your finances, and this helps you know what you can afford and what you cannot. It doesn’t matter how many months precede your travel; start making the plans on paper right away.Use Technology
Unless you plan on travelling off the grid, make use of technology to serve you. There are many travel apps to help you plan an itinerary, and many applications that can help you overcome the challenges of travel such as currency exchange rates, local languages, points of interest, accommodation and so on.Use Low Cost Carriers
Unless your flight is across continents, opt for low cost carriers. They have their shortcomings and inconveniences, but the savings they make you are significant enough to offset these other concerns.Don’t Go It Alone
A sunset is never quite as beautiful when you watch it alone. For travel, you need someone to share the adventures with. Besides, you’ll find awesome deals for couples, so there really isn’t any good reason to go it alone.Remember the Stills
Every moment you experience in your travel is a moment you will want to hold on to. Most mid-segment to high end phones offer enough in terms of photography and should suffice for quick snaps. But for the best photos, consider a DSLR. The resolution achieved by these is always more desirable.Stick to these tips and your 2014 holiday travel plans should unfold nicely.

With Counterfeiting on the Rise, Brand Security Plays a Vital Role to Both Large and Small Brands

According to the Counterfeiting Intelligence Bureau of the International Chamber of Commerce®, counterfeiting is one of the fastest growing economic crimes of modern time. Once a cottage industry, counterfeiting has become a sophisticated network of organized crime, accounting for 5 to 7 percent of world trade, worth an estimated $600 billion a year.

Until relatively recently, the black and grey market economies did not pose a significant threat to brand owners. The black market operates illegally outside government-sanctioned channels with the buying and selling of goods and services, while commodities in the grey market are distributed legally, but through channels that are unauthorized by the original manufacturer-commonly referred to as diversion. Customers who would frequently shop in one of these two markets now have the ability to browse the Internet for the same products, posing an even deeper threat to a brand’s reputation and integrity, impacting the world’s biggest brands and smaller brands alike.

With the growth of global brands and the Internet, brand owners face threats from counterfeiters and brand pirates who are attempting to generate large profits by illegally producing credible look-a-like products to sell at deeply discounted prices. Brand owners are being forced to take a closer look at their supply chains and police the whereabouts and authenticity of their products at all times.

In the past, such luxury and high-end goods as designer clothes and accessories, spirits and perfumes, were most likely to be counterfeited. However, times have changed with technological advancements in digital imaging, cameras, scanners, artwork software, color and inkjet printers, aiding counterfeiters and brand pirates to generate a profit from any branded item-pharmaceuticals, electronics, software, cigarettes, hardware and food items like baby formula. Even automobile and aircraft parts are being counterfeited. It has been reported that the majority of counterfeited goods are coming from China, North Korea, Taiwan, India, Russia and parts of Africa.

Pharmaceutical counterfeiting has led to extreme outcomes, including consumer fatalities, which illustrates the importance of brand security. The Food and Drug Administration saw an 800 percent increase in the number of new pharmaceutical counterfeit cases between 2000 and 2006. According to The Lancet*, the world’s leading general medical journal, counterfeit pharmaceuticals will generate $75 billion in revenues in 2011, a 92-percent increase from 2005.

Taking a Defensive Stand
Diversion, pirating and counterfeiting not only have a negative impact on the revenues and profitability of legitimate companies, but they also impact the credibility and reputation of a brand. Counter measures against these practices must be taken throughout the supply chain-from the brand owner, supplier and distributor to the wholesaler, retailer and ultimately, the consumer.

It’s crucial that brand owners stay attuned to brand security in today’s market and become familiar with the array of available anti-counterfeiting solutions. Ignoring the importance of brand security is not an option, because once the damage is done, the cost to repair it can be far in excess of what it would have cost to prevent it from happening in the first place.

To ensure their customers only receive the highest quality and safest products, brand owners have a broad range of anti-counterfeiting solutions at their disposal to protect their brand positioning and brand promise.

It’s recommended that brand owners ask themselves the following questions before implementing a brand protection strategy:

1. What level of security-low, medium or high-do we want to build into our packaging design?
2. Do we want to check for counterfeiting at the shelf or at the warehouse? Do we want our customers to be able to check for counterfeiting at the point-of-purchase by using a visible authentication feature?
3. How much do we want to invest in brand security?
4. How are we going to ensure consistency of our brand security on a global level?

Pressure-sensitive technology is versatile. It enables intricate designs and complex die-cuts, creating labels that jump from the shelf. But even more so, the array of materials, when combined with special printing techniques, can become a metaphor for the product itself.

Layered Protection
With threats to brand security rapidly growing, the need to differentiate fake products from genuine ones is increasing, as well as the need for more advanced authentication technologies that thwart counterfeiters. However, it’s important that brand owners understand that even the most sophisticated anti-counterfeiting solutions on their own cannot prevent counterfeiting 100 percent, but can signal an alert when a threat exists and thereby encourage action to be taken.

In recent years, anti-counterfeiting measures have become increasingly complex and bolstered by the installment of different layers of security. Many of today’s technologies are used in conjunction with other security features that work in concert to heighten the overall level of protection. For example, a low-level of anti-counterfeit technology that is visible to the consumer is combined with a high-level security feature containing a covert or forensic technology. The more layers of security a brand owner applies, the more difficult it becomes for their brand to fall victim to counterfeiting, pirating or diversion.

The most common anti-counterfeiting technologies employed by brand owners include:

1. Overt technology: This level of protection is visible to the naked eye, and allows the brand to be authenticated without the need of a special inspection tool. Overt technology offers only basic protection against counterfeiting, whereby:

a. Devices can include, but are not limited to:

i. Customized security papers-watermarks, paper color or visible fibers embedded in the paper.
ii. Security threads-threads are embedded in the paper and are made of a film, making a label hard to copy.
iii. Two- or three-dimensional holograms-standard holograms are used mainly for decorative purposes, but customized holograms can be powerful tools in security applications.
iv. Tamper-evident films, paper and voids-destructible/frangible films, papers and void materials show destruction upon tampering. Void labels leave a customized “VOID” alpha numeric or geometrical-shape message on the substrate when the label is removed.

2. Covert technology: The security device is not visible to the naked eye, but can be detected by a low-cost inspection tool, such as an UV light, magnifying glass or plastic film overlay. The type of tool depends on the specific protection technology used. Covert technology is an advanced level of protection with hard-to-copy security features and some level of personalization:

a. Devices can include, but are not limited to:

i. Customized security papers-UV luminescent fibers embedded in the paper, chemical protection or verification with a special reactant pen.
ii. Non-visible security threads. Customized security threads can contain ultraviolet (UV) reflection and microprints.
iii. UV prints-various colors and designs can be printed in the laminate of a facestock or liner. Standard and customized UV prints are available.
iv. Infrared (IR) taggants-can be applied randomly in the paper, a self-adhesive laminate or in a custom spectrum that works as a unique signature. IR readers can be tailored to match the custom spectrum, giving off a signal when the right taggant percentages are detected. Uniquely encoded, IR taggants are virtually impossible to duplicate.
v. Inorganic taggants-can be added to inks, coatings, varnishes, adhesives, plastics, etc. Authenticity is confirmed using a special reader that gives off signals when a particular taggant is detected.

3. Forensic technology: These security devices are not visible to the naked eye, are hidden within the product and require laboratory analysis for authentication. Forensic technology is the highest level of protection from unique and personalized security features:

a. Devices can include, but are not limited to:

i. DNA taggants-microscopic or nano materials that are uniquely encoded for a brand. Provides a forensic chain of evidence that is trusted by police and recognized by courts globally. Large botanical DNA is acquired and then segmented, shuffled and reassembled to form a unique secure signature DNA marker that becomes patented technology. DNA taggants cannot be counterfeited, digitally copied, scanned or re-engineered.

To effectively deploy one of these technologies requires close collaboration between the brand owner and technology supplier.

Brand security is an investment that directly impacts the bottom-line for a consumer packaged goods company. It does this by protecting the brand from counterfeiting and diversion. And it also protects the brand owner from potential liabilities should a counterfeit product result in a consumer injury. Due diligence to protect your brand is a vital strategy that cannot be overlooked.

´╗┐