Category: business

An Interview With Designer and Reality Star Kari Ann Peniche

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Kari Ann Peniche is the owner of Revamp Décor. Ms. Peniche is a former Miss United States Teen and reality television star; here is a link to her website:

 

http://www.revampdecor.com/

 

Q: What made you interested in design?

 

A: I moved around quite a bit growing up and after University, and with each new place, I felt I had to personalize and create a statement before I could call it home.  I wouldn’t settle for living in a generic space, even if I hadn’t planned on living there long.  It has always been important that my home represented who I am. Friends started asking me to help with their places, and I soon realized that there are many people that don’t have the patience or desire to do what I love doing.  After I got married, my husband, who’s a residential developer asked me to be involved with his projects, which led me into the full time world of design and decor.   Designing peoples homes has allowed me to apply my creative energy and artistic sense into interior spaces as designer which has had a profound impact on me, as well as my clients and their surroundings.

 

Q: Why should someone looking for a designer hire you?

 

 

A: My expertise lies in understanding the unique vision of each client with the belief that anything is possible.  It is my passion to create original interiors, as well as finding creative solutions for budget-conscious clients.  I have put the leg work into sourcing materials and furnishings by creating and sustaining relationships with fabric designers, manufacturers and builders, which in the end will save a client valuable time, money and headache. For all my clients, I diligently strive to create their dream home by capturing their personalities, goals and aspirations, while at the same time adding value to their space.

 

Q: Your site says you offer mood boards. What are mood boards?

 

A: A mood board is a group of pictures taken from magazines, books or websites, fabrics, textures, color swatches pretty much anything that can help express the mood, feeling or overall look you are wanting to achieve.  It’s something I really like working with because it can help a client visually see my direction.  It also helps me me get an idea of what clients are drawn to and if any changes need to be made in the overall feel of the design.  I always use a mood board before jumping into the expense of the project no matter how big or small the project is.

 

Q: What kind of training do you have in design?

 

A: As anyone will tell you, the most valuable training comes from actually doing the work. For the past 10 years I have worked with a group of exceptionally talented manufacturers and principal designers. The knowledge I’ve gained from hands on experiences has been and continues to be invaluable. The theoretical lessons and guidelines learned in becoming certified in “Design Psychology”, and “Home staging” has given me a foundation on which every job begins.  It continually amazes me to watch how my clients wellbeing and quality of life changes once we begin the process of designing their homes.  Design Psychology is about understanding the impact these environments have.

 

Q: You were a Miss Teen USA. What do you think would surprise most people about the beauty pageants process?

 

A: I have found that most people are surprised when I say that I believe pageants offer a great opportunity for personal growth.  Preparing for a pageant is doing everything you can to become the best possible you.  How often do we get the opportunity to focus on ourself and give the attention needed to become our best both inside and out, physically, mentally and spiritually?  Not very often.   People often think pageants are about competing against other girls but the truth is you’re competing against yourself.  At the end of a pageant every delegate leaves a little more poised, confident, has better speaking and interview skills all of which require really getting to know who you are, what you believe in, what your goals are, what you stand for and what you want others to know about you.  I think having the experience of pageantry translates in a positive way to other areas of life and career.

 

Q:  You lost your crown when you posed for Playboy. Do you regret your decision to pose for the magazine or did it help your career?

 

A: I do believe Playboy was a positive stepping stone in my entertainment career but that was over a decade ago and my career goals today are so different than what they were when I posed for the magazine.    I was 20 years old.  My experience working with Playboy was all positive and it was also a fun time in my life.

 

Q: You have appeared on a couple of Dr. Drew’s rehab shows. How were you selected to be on these shows in the first place?

 

A: My manager David Weintraub pitched this new VH1 show called “Sex Rehab with Dr Drew” which was a spin of the successful “Celebrity Rehab” series. David, having been a producer and casting director for “Celebrity Rehab” knew what the show was looking for, and stressed how being on the show would be good for my career and that the network was looking for a new starlet. I wasn’t sure I agreed with him and I didn’t consider myself a sex addict, but to be honest I was interested in being on television. It had been five years since I was in Playboy and the opportunity to be on the screen was tempting. To make a long story short the following day I was the first member cast for “Sex Rehab with Dr Drew”.  Producers liked me and I was asked to be a part of Celebrity Rehab and then Sober House.

 

 

 

Q: Do you think you were portrayed fairly on the show?

 

A: No, I was not portrayed fairly for who I am in real life.  I was cast for a part.  Reality TV is not real!  I portrayed a character that the producers were looking for.

 

Q: After being evicted from Dr. Drew’s Sober House for violent behavior, you asked the other residents if you could return and they said no. Do you now understand why they did that?

 

A: I needed to leave the show to take care of some personal things that had come up and I was told to ask the other members if I could come back, it was pretty much staged to look that way.

 

Q: If you could design a house for any reality star who would it be and what would the house look like?

 

A: I’d love to design a house for Donald Trump and not just any house but the White House.  Now, if I could just do anything I wanted to the house, then I would go with a mix of its classic American history and Trumps gold bling style he does to most of his properties.  It would be an old world modern vintage that sparkles.  An understated elegance with a little flash.  However, since I’d be working for Donald Trump it would be a collaboration of ideas. I’d be focused on what he and his family’s visions were and I’d be there to bring vision to life.

 

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.

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An Interview With Professional Organizer Francesca Villardi

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Francesca Villardi is the owner of Perfectly Organized by Francesca; here is a link to her website:

 

http://www.perfectlyorganizedbyfrancesca.com/

 

Q:  What is Perfectly Organized by Francesca?

 

A:  It is my company I started about 4 years ago, I help people organize their homes, offices, garages and lives. I also do Personal Assistant services, I design websites and maintain them for clients, I do social media work for clients and teach them how to set up social media.

 

Q: What inspired you to start the business?

 

A: I was a legal assistant that worked for Real Estate Attorneys in a title company when the real estate market here crashed, I couldn’t find a job that would pay me for my 17 years of experience.

I remember my pastor said I should do something I was passionate about and I really loved to organized my friends home so I decided to step out in faith, even though I was getting divorced and this was a risky move for a soon to be single mom of two girls.

 

Q:  Why do I need your business?

 

A: Everyone needs more time, everyone wants to come home to a peaceful space but you cant do that when your surrounded by clutter, it is overwhelming and it weighs you down, literally and emotionally. I come in and help you, one on one to set up a system to get you and keep you organized. Most of my clients keep their spaces clean and organized even months and years later. Its all about having a system in place. You have to want to change, once you decided to do that, the rest is easy.

 

Q: Are you able to pay all your bills with this business or do you have a day job?

 

A: This is my day job, I started adding services to this business like personal assistant work, I also added social media work, building and maintaining websites for clients, different things to try to make more money.

I write an Inspirational blog every day called Treadmill Treats that I get some royalties from, not much but it all helps. I still do hair at night because once your a hairstylist always a hairstylist and the extra income is great, since being a single mom is hard these days,

 

Q: What was the most challenging thing about starting your own business?

 

A: How was I going to pay my bills? How was I going to take care of my girls? I was well off being married and this was all new for me, taking care of myself, starting a business all on my own. I guess the most challenging now is that I work a lot of hours and that is hard for all of us, but I love what I do and I love my clients.

 

 

Q: What is your weirdest work story?

 

A: Well I do find all kinds of things in a persons closet! You never know what you will find.

but the saddest story was a client who was a hoarder she was moving from 3000 Sq ft home ,1500 miles away to a 900 sq ft apartment and she could grasp the fact the her whole retirement money that she would be able to get from selling this home would be spent moving and storing a bunch of junk. It taught me this went deeper with people, that some people it was a true philological problem

 

 

Q: How much do you charge?

 

A:  I charge 40.00 Hour for organizing work, if you book more than 6 hours I will give a discount and 18.00 hour for Personal Assistant work. The web designing ranges depending how involved the site you want.

Everything I do is on my website http://www.perfectlyorganizedbyfrancesca

 

Q: What qualifies you for the job?

 

A: I took some courses, I read a lot but I think it comes down to a love and a passion for what your doing, to do something, no matter what it is and truly love it. That make you more than qualified because you put your all into it, all the time.

 

Q: What are some common mistakes people make when it comes to organizing their personal lives?

 

A: They let it go, then they get overwhelmed and then start to avoid it, like it will disappear but it keeps getting worse. The hold on to things and cant let go, if you want to change you have to let go of things, start fresh, let go of fear, I promise you, the end result will be amazing!

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.

An Interview With Real Estate Agent Lauren Davis

 

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Lauren Davis is a Los Angeles based real estate agent; here is a link to her website:

 

 

http://www.ldavisestates.com/

 

Q: What made you decide to go into real-estate?

 

A: I have always loved homes, designs, landscaping etc. I have a sales background so combining my passion with my sales background and the ability to have my own business was extremely appealing.

 

Q: What kind of jobs did you have before getting your real estate license?

 

 

A: I was a Sales Manager for Sandals and Beaches Resorts and worked for Bleacher Report.

 

Q: What was the most challenging thing about the real estate exam in California?

 

A:  I’m not going to lie, I am an awful test taker and not a traditional student so reading and reading made it hard to grasp. It wasn’t that it was hard, its just such an abundance of information, terms and scenarios. I got lucky and passed the first time but I took a crash course and studies flashcards for a month!

 

Q:  What is your strangest work story?

 

A: There are so many and I hate to label any of my clients as a strange experience. However, that being said I guess I can mention that I had clients that found me through my website and didn’t speak English so everything was google translate and then in person things got a little tricky. My arms were sore from all the motioning I was doing and trying to act my words out. Had anyone seen this they would have either laughed until they cried or thought I was definitely insane.

 

Q:  What are the advantages of being in so many professional associations?

 

A:  The networking, support, education and credibility all are extremely valuable.

 

Q: What makes Los Angeles buyers unique?

 

A:  Los Angeles buyers are from everywhere! One day you’ll have a family that just moved from Austrailia and the next day meet with a capitol group from China looking for investment properties. I am fortunate that the always changing scenarios keep my life anything but dull.

 

Q:  How has the real estate market changed over the last few years?

 

A:  Every market is different, however I’ve noticed lots of first time homebuyers have emerged with interest rates being at historical lows.

 

Q:  What has been the most unique house you have ever shown?

 

A:  I get chills when I walked in the historical Hancock Park mansion on Lucerne designed by famous architect John C Austin. He was the architect of the Griffin Observatory and LA City Hall. The wood work in the mansion and layout is so grand.

 

Q:  What is the best movie you have ever seen about your profession?

 

A: This may be a little creative but I love the movie ‘Far and Away’, its about the Oklahoma Landrun (and I’m from Oklahoma) and it shows how valuable land is and always has been and that its chaos in obtaining it. This movie shows the historical value of real estate. Things could have been more organized if there real estate agents back then haha.

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.

An Interview With Motivational Speaker and Coach Nate Lindquist

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Nate Lindquist is a motivational speaker and coach, here is a link to his website:

http://www.natelindquist.com/

 
Q:  What made you interested in being a motivational speaker?

 

A: Since I was 6 years old, I had access to the Nightingale Conant library of personal growth resources – among many others.  From books and tapes from Earl Nightingale, ZigZiglar and Wayne Dyer, just to name a few – to the monthly Insights cassettes, of which I couldn’t get enough.  I was (and always will be) a learning sponge and these programs introduced amazing leaders and successes like Tom Peters, Wally Famous Amos and an entire segment from Earl Nightingale called “The Time of the Trains” and “the Strangest Secret”.  Through all of this powerful content, I was captivated by the magical ability that stories had to create a bigger, more inspiring vision in my mind and how it felt to promote expansive thinking in the minds and hearts of others.  My life has been a testing ground for entrepreneurial ventures where I really went for it and learned the power of confidence, certainty and not giving up even when I failed. In my marketing firm I was constantly making presentations and leading brainstorming sessions where my goal was to create a compelling vision and then to influence my team to take action in order to create it… after over a decade of doing this with my team and with client presentations, I realized that it was in those moments where I felt most alive.

 

 

 

 

Q:  What makes you different from other life coaches/motivational speakers?

 

A: Every single one of my clients is a genius… there are no exceptions.  Before I work with any new client, I find out if they intend to use it, or blame circumstances and choose to settle.  I only work with clients who want better results like a drowning victim wants AIR. My approach is based on a mindset that I call “ZERO BLOCK”.  I’m exceptional at seeing all of the causes of roadblocks and excuses – when others just can’t seem to see how simple the problem really is.  Example:  We make blocks bigger with time and how we rehearse the movie in our mind of a painful outcome.  Although I do give clients access to new information, my coaching is expressly designed to remove blocks that are always self-created.  My clients will do less and make more progress toward their goals.  My coaching is precise and minimalist.

I’ll absolutely guarantee any client who WANTS to get on the path of their ultimate purpose and their true calling can do so if they fully commit to it when working with me as a coach.  The GIFTS Formula within my Journey Power program literally reveals every person’s greatness that is hidden behind excuses and fear.

When I hear the label “motivational speaker” I always feel that for me it’s important to really qualify that I’m not just a motivational or inspirational speaker… I’m an influencer – committed to empowering my clients and audience to take immediate action. Motivation gets you moving, but a higher purpose and decisive action creates change. My goal is to activate meaningful, profitable and freedom-creating change.

 

 

Q:  I am a customer service representative.  What kind of day jobs have you had had and how did they influence your philosophies?

 

A: Wow, I’ve had some pretty interesting day jobs.  I was a rental car agency assistant manager, a pre-press associate at a print shop, a sign designer, a marketing director, a burger flipper, a drug store clerk and a green house laborer… just to name a few.  These jobs helped me see the world from the perspective that I believe most employees do at times… from the eyes of someone who wants more. At the time, I had the very real sense that all I needed was more money and freedom.  If I could have lots of money and travel to do fun things, then life would be good!  Anyone who restricted my income or my freedom was immediately nicknamed an “A*&” hole boss – and in a few of the cases was the very person who wanted to help me find my freedom by firing me!  My philosophies have grown from the stark realization that “meat and potatoes” success isn’t really about going after money and freedom at all.  The real win is about seeing your work as a “giving system” and getting onto your true higher purpose –not just your purpose for hire. The truly happy employees and business owners have a mindset of a job they “give to” rather than one they “get from”. I’ve been exclusively self-employed for about 14 years and the more I shift my daily focus and actions to giving my best and working on the areas of my genius; doing LESS with massive focus, the more wealth, freedom and meaning I experience in my life.

 

 

 

Q: How did you go about establishing yourself as a motivational speaker/life and business coach?

 

A: I was invited to speak a few times about marketing due to the success and visibility of my agency.  Although the first few times were a bit “shaky” in my mind, I really found a flow that I didn’t realize I had.  It was like when I started speaking I just seemed to sense what it would take to move the crowd and inspire them.  I began adding “business and results coaching” to my marketing contracts under a new brand that I called “Innerspire” and then in a very short amount of time realized that the value my clients were getting and the ROI I was getting were both the highest in the realm of coaching services, rather than marketing.  I basically moved from selling “shiny things” such as websites, logos, brochures and other strategic advertising and design projects, to offering strategy calls where my former marketing clients began asking me to continue coaching them as a part of my services.  To accomplish this, I then began offering what I called, “Contract CEO Services” which blossomed into becoming a trusted advisor at the highest level, rather than a provider of marketing “stuff”. In a short time, it became quite clear to me that my own greatest breakthroughs in business were derived from my personal life changes.  By thinking and behaving differently, I began to see pointed improvements in my business results as well.  So, I offered the personal coaching to a few clients and they were glad to sign on for a second service agreement, at which point, we would have life coaching sessions that in time became “results coaching” and covered life and business, which I believe are truly one and the same.

 

 

Q: What kind of educational background do you have?

 

A: I’ve got a bachelor’s degree in commercial design and illustration from Notre Dame College.  Other than that, I’ve got a Doctorate from the school of hard knocks!  My early business ventures, starting at about 9 years old and then my illustration and marketing work, starting at 16 all showed me how to learn, access information and organize my thoughts.  My ongoing learning is derived from a constant diet of seminars, books, online training programs and practical application of what I learn.

 

 

 

 

 

Q: What is your core philosophy?

 

A: My core philosophy is this.  We all have a powerful calling that is our higher purpose.  By facing our greatest fears and serving that calling, despite the challenges it creates we will access a level of freedom, wealth and meaning in our life beyond what we can currently envision with a “normal” approach of trading time, life and effort for material wins, money or self-serving acquisitions. Bottom line – we have all the resources, power and capabilities within us to create the circumstances we LOVE rather than settle for becoming the effect of circumstances.

 

Q: Your website states “As a coach … he was instrumental in

relaunching a small oil company to over $500k in new profits in

under 3 months, doubled the ticket sales to a NASCAR speedway in

just 27 days.” Who was the small oil company, what was the

NASCAR speedway and how were you instrumental?

 

A: The small oil company was Putnam Fuel Company, Inc. and the Speedway was NHMS.  My work with the oil company was focused on discovering the key frustrations and roadblocks keeping the company from growing.  After taking them through the Journey Power program and specifically the Excuse Removal Blueprint process, we determined that at their core they needed to shift all of their marketing, branding and even internal processes to focus on delivering what they were most passionate about and who they really are – not the average industry clone that most oil companies become after nearly a century in the same business! I helped my client realize that they didn’t need to remain mired in the traditional “oil business” – which was becoming mundane and dull to them as a commodity business, but rather the family moments business – which opened up a series of fun, creative and customer attracting initiatives that would otherwise never have been reasonable or possible.  By restructuring what I refer to as the “ideal business experience” and systematically removing obstacles to growth, we were able to increase the owners’ enthusiasm for the work they were doing.  Also, we increased the marketing reach, making a promise of more energy for family moments – which drove new customer sales quickly.

 

Q: Your website says you were making six figures within several

months of starting your coaching business.  What was your

business model?

 

A: My first coaching business model was offering monthly fee based coaching services scheduled based on taking clients through workshops organized around their top frustrations.  As an example, one of my clients was struggling to grow his financial business services company. My program for this client started with the same workshop (for personal and business clients) I always begin with which is a discovery workshop where we challenge the client to explore the 6 elements of the GIFTS® Formula.  This gives us an excellent picture of the value the client already brings to the market.  All of my coaching begins with asking great questions and challenging clients to think bigger and explore alternative business models – often counterintuitive to the practices common in their industry.  In time, I shifted my coaching model to annual group coaching, where I mentor and coach often up to 18 or 20 clients during one weekly webinar style training.  Then, I give them exercises to do between the weekly calls.  Most of my new clients begin our relationship with what I refer to as a “truth call” so we can bring out some of their more obvious problems, frustrations and pains – many of which tend to be caused by limited thinking rather than actual circumstantial problems.

 

Q: What have you done to promote your business?

 

A: I spent most of my initial marketing efforts contacting clients from my marketing business.  Then, I spoke at events on other people’s stages and was able to give value to people who I hadn’t even met or done business with at zero cost to them.  This has always been a sure way to gain a list of new client leads.  All of my clients apply to work with me, to make certain that we can provide them with excellent results.  Quite often I refer prospective client applicants to attend one of my free webinars or to watch a few of my videos if they haven’t engaged with my coaching yet.  It’s in this way I can provide valuable coaching and insights even if initially they aren’t the best match for one of my coaching programs.  Fundamentally my marketing and promotion comes in the form of providing value to those who can most benefit – regardless of whether or not they’ve paid me anything yet.  It’s my giving system.

 

Q:  What has been your biggest challenge as a coach?

 

A: Leaving all of my other businesses behind and committing 100% to my calling – doing less, but better.  By focusing on my ultimate purpose … my higher purpose, I’ve left the realm of worrying about new business and money and practicing my “old story” as if somehow my calling would ever limit me in how I serve the world.

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.

An Interview With Ultimate Discount Services owner Casuel D Pitts Jr

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Casuel D Pitts Jr is the owner of Ultimate Discount Services INC; here is a link to his website:

 

http://www.udsinc.us/

 

 

 

Q: What is  Ultimate Discount Services INC?

A: Ultimate Discount Services INC, is a membership association benefit’s program. Our focus is to help our customers save on everyday challenges that we face on a day to day basis. Challenges such as:

Bad Credit

Cell Phone Deductible

Traffic Violations

Co-Pay’s and many more.

Q:What inspired you to create the company?

A: This is GOD’s Vision and he gave it to me to seek it out to the world. But in short I have faced several of these issues personally and I said to myself from personal experience I can not only help people save but change the world.

Q: How does it work?

A: Lets say you receive a speeding ticket. You now are faced with a $100 violation and with our basic membership you would take a pic of that ticket and send email it to our claims department. Once we verify the ticket then we mail out a check covering 50% of the ticket to either the provider or customer depending on the situation.

Q: Why is it better than other credit services?

A: Well first allow me to say that we are not specified as a credit service however one of the many services that’s offered is 720 Credit Repair. Now what separates us from other credit repair companies is one we are affordable, efficient, & consistent and what I mean by that is that we actually build a personal portal for our customers to evaluate alongside our creditors. We don’t just call you and tell you what’s going on we actually go though it together.

Q:  What qualifies you to run the company?

A: I’m the Founder

Q:  What are some pit falls that people fall into when it comes to their credit?

A: One of the pitfalls is lack of education of how credit repair works. Some individuals think that they can repair there credit on there own when not knowing that when done on your own the process takes ten times longer. But working with a professional company the process can be executed ten times quicker.

Q:  What was the most extreme case of bad credit you have encountered and how did you deal with it?

A: We had a client who has been with us for 8 months and she has already used our services 3 times. She was up for credit repair after her third on time payment with Ultimate Discount Services INC, and we then forward her profile to our credit department where she started with a 580 and within 8 months her credit is now a 660.

Q:  What kind of rates do you offer?

A: We have 3 different membership packages and they are:

VIP Basic which is $10 a month

VIP Premium which is $20 a month

VIP Deluxe which is $30 a month

Q:  What is your opinion of  The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009?

A: Honestly I would say lets save that question for a more political debate although I will say that it has not made my business grow or decrease.

 

Q:  How did the act affect your industry?

A: As stated in question 9 it has not made my business grow or decrease.

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

An Interview With Liberator Art Brand Owner Zig Gruz

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Zig Gruz is the owner of Liberator Art Brand; here is a link to his website:

http://www.liberatorart.com/

 

 

 

Q:  What is Liberator Art Brand?

 

A: Liberator Art Brand (LAB) corporation is an American art manufacturing and distribution company. Liberator Art Brand produces the artwork of talented emerging artists under our own brand. Normally art investments are very risky, not practical, and only for the very wealthy. LAB has now revolutionized the way people can invest in art. LAB art ownership comes with almost no risk and many great safe guards, benefits and opportunities.

We want to change the world for the better by offering products and services that can bring financial safety and liberty to millions of regular Americans and others around the world. Our product and benefits offer unlimited possibilities with losses limited to 20% max.

Liberator Art Brand art Is the only Investment in the world that has a 10 Year Money Back Worldwide Return Guarantee. LAB art can be used for Safety, Profit and Protection.

Liberator Art Brand is a lot more than just another company with another product. LAB can be used by people as their own financial liberation vehicle. Our customers can invest, protect and preserve their hard earned money just by acquiring one or more of our artworks. All funds used to purchase our art become automatically protected from just about everything and everybody.

Q:  What qualifies you to run this business?

 

A: I have a great passion and desire to be able to help regular Americans to protect and preserve their financial future and make their life easier and simpler.

I do not have any direct experience in running large corporations. Having said that, I do have more experience and qualifications than Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg combined.  I do have very wide knowledge of economics, engineering, software, tax laws, finances, legalities and politics;  American and international. I am a natural inventor and problem fixer.

I deeply believe that it’s about time that somebody did something significant to help middle class Americans. Politicians are only giving us a lip service and in too many cases make things worse.

Q:  What is your background in art?

 

A: I am an art lover. Art speaks to me. Art is timeless and I appreciate this fact. Art is one of the great world’s natural equalizers, since education, race, color, age, country and nothing else matters – just art itself.

I understand how art values appreciate and how art market works. I studied this subject extensively.  I want make art even more than it is today. I believe that we can increase art value and appreciation tenfold. We can help thousands of artists.

LAB art can bring true equality of opportunities to all people.

Q:  What are your standards for the artwork itself?

 

A: There is no such thing as a standard in art. Art is subjective and we do not plan to control anybodies taste. In a long run, we are planning to let people with help of some experts to choose our art.

Q: How can it serve as an alternative to a pre-nup?

 

A: Depending on individual circumstances, it may or may not be a full prenup alternative, since we can offer protections only to liquid assets (holdings converted to cash).

What is the purpose of a prenup? Basically, one or both parties are trying to protect some of their assets from a future spouse, in case of a divorce. For the average Joe or Jane this can create a source of present and future tension and even breakup.

Purchase of one or more LAB artworks can handle this type of situation painlessly and without hard feeling. LAB solution is even better from legal aspect, since it cannot be challenge in court like a prenup can be. LAB art can be easily acquired without other people knowledge. Even if it’s known, it would not make much difference, since only the registered art owner is entitled to return and other benefits.

In case of a divorce, all fund used to acquire LAB art stay “property” of the art owner.  No courts, no lawyers.

Q:  You promise “we shall have enough funds at all times to be able to pay out on all return claims;” how are you able to make that guarantee?

 

A: All LAB artworks come with 10 Year Worldwide Return Guarantee.  Due to this LAB art ownership benefit, LAB is legally obligated to keep 80% of the money paid in reserve for the duration of the return guarantee period, to be available in case of return.

After art purchase is completed, LAB will take off  20% (fee charged in case of return) of the total to be used in company’s business, while putting 80% of the money in separate trust type accounts to be kept for the duration of the return guarantee period. So, these funds should be available at all times in case of return. (Note: 80% amount can be less if art owner decides to take a loan against it. LAB allows up to 75% loan amounts. So, the amount LAB will be holding is 80% – $loan amount. In case of 75% loan, LAB would only hold 5%)

Q:  What are some of the reasons potential clients might have for patronizing your business?

 

A: We offer many solutions to many big challenges and problems, in addition to safe art investment opportunities. We hope to communicate to people that they should become LAB art owners to insure their financial future stability and prosperity. They have very little to lose and a lot to gain. Together we can revolutionize the world for the better. We offer the world’s only safe investment opportunity and better safety net than any other product, program or insurance – and we doing it for Free.

Q: How can your services benefit a middle class person?

 

A: Middle class gets abused more than anybody else, especially in case of lawsuits and creditors. Poor do not care. Nobody going to try to sue them or collect money from them. Rich can afford legal challenges and they have experts to do their bidding. The middle class get screwed too many time, too often. Average middle class person is scared to death of lawyers and courts. Even if he wins he is going to lose. One lawsuit or medical expense can wipe out almost anyone.

Liberator Art Brand art ownership can be used as great equalizer. All funds used in LAB art purchase can be protected from lawsuits, creditors and from just about everything else.

Q:  What happens to peoples investments if you go out of business?

 

A: Great and very important question. All 80% funds (funds that are hold in case of return. Explained under question 6) will be refunded to all registered art owners. Art owners get to keep their artworks and 80% of the price paid  (or whatever is due to them after loan adjustments).

 

Q:  What kind of legal research did you do before starting your company to make sure that what you were doing was legal?

A: My research started about 20 years ago when I was frivolously sued. Case had no merit, but my lawyer informed me that courts are unpredictable and there was a very small chance that I can lose. Luckily we did not go to a full trial, nobody won, nobody lost. It only cost me about $30,000. Great success. I was traumatized, hurt, and pissed off. How is it fare that I could lose everything I have for no reason what so ever. Courts can take all you have. Lawyers charge by the hour at rates a lot more than people can afford.

To make a long story short, I spent next 15 years + trying to find answers on how regular people can protect at least portion of their assets. I became an expert on the subject, but could not come up with good solutions for an average person. All standard assets protection schemes require a lot of money. And they still far from perfect.

About 2 years ago I finally had an Eureka moment, what much later became a Liberator Art Brand Inc.

Now to the main question about legality:

This is one of the most ingenious thing about LAB. It almost completely avoids legal and government headaches and regulations. LAB sells a product, just like any other manufacturing company. LAB trying to keep our customers happy and provides the best service to them. To this aim, we offer unprecedented 10 year worldwide return guarantee and many other unique useful benefits. What can be illegal about that?  (For more legal explanations and details please see our website, under Help/ How LAB Free Protection works menu.)

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

An Interview With Helping Survivors Manage Founder Kat Reed

kat

Kat Reed is the founder of Helping Survivors Manage, which is an organization dedicated to delivering practical everyday assistance to the people left behind after a death; here is a link to the website:

http://www.helpingsurvivorsmanage.com/

 

Q:  What inspired you to start Helping Survivors Manage?

A: After my mom’s death, I stayed with my dad to help him with all the odds and ends (the business side of death) that needed to be handled; cancelling appointments, reporting the death to creditors, sorting all the mail (condolence cards, donations), notifying credit reporting agencies, and more. There are so many tasks to manage, so I got on my computer and searched – thinking to myself, “this will be easy, I will just search for the tool that MUST exist to help me get through this” I knew there had to be something to help guide me step-by-step through the process. Turns out, it did not exist. There were tons of resources scattered about in hundreds of different law sites, funeral sites, planning sites, but nothing comprehensive that would hold someone’s hand and walk them through it. As with most new ventures, I filled a void, which I didn’t think was possible anymore. The result was a self-help workbook called Begin Here: helping survivors manage. It helps the survivor through all the necessary tasks left behind after a death – after the funeral – by means of the book (available in hard cover and PDF) as well as online tools and downloads on the site.

Q: What are the basic things everyone needs to know about settling a person’s affairs after death?

A: Of course ‘settling a person’s affairs after a death’ brings to mind the legal side, of which we have tips on our site and in the book for what the attorneys will need, however, we do not provide legal advice. The Helping Survivors Manage mission focuses on the day-to-day tasks that need attention from a survivor perspective. There are many basic things, but I will break it down into the most important/urgent things:

  • Providing for any dependents of decedent, human or pet. Make sure the people and pets whose livelihood relied on the decedent are safe. Do they need medication? Do they have a place to go? Who will care for them?
  • Checking the home for safety measures. Make sure the stove/oven is in the ‘off’ position. Check for food that needs to be removed (in fridge, cupboards, or scattered inadvertently in the home) that could cause vermin infestation or mold, check windows and doors to make sure they are locked. If in an owned home that is now vacant, turn off the water pipes, set the thermostat properly, retrieve medications and valuables and remove them, turn on a few lights and keep an eye on the mail and the yard, arrange for a trusted or experienced house-sitter if possible, to avert potential burglar issues.
  • If decedent is in any type of rental unit (apartment, retirement community, etc.), notify the owner as soon as possible to set a move-out date. Many places have long waiting lists for new tenants and items should be removed as soon as possible. Take possessions to a safe, separate location for disbursement later.

Of course there are more, but they are in the book and these are the most urgent and important measures to take.

Q:  What are some of the legal resources available to people after a loved one dies?

A: Fortunately, in these times, there are legal resources for just about anything. Unfortunately, on the flipside, the internet is saturated with companies that may have been formed on a whim in the in the past couple of decades that may have ceased to exist, but their websites linger. Side note: Whenever I do an online search and want to make sure I find an updated site, I used the setting to search for the past year or less. This will weed out any old sites that may have not been touched in a long time, meaning, they are likely not doing much to keep up the business. This is not an absolute, but as a general rule, that is my personal preference when I want to find something relevant online. I want to use companies who are keeping up with the times. A few legal resources that are helpful that should, or definitely will, be around for years to come are:

  • The SSA (Social Security Administration) has helpful legal information on survivor benefits.
  • The Funeral Consumers Alliance “is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting a consumer’s right to choose a meaningful, dignified, affordable funeral” excerpt from their website. If anyone is confused and feels they need guidance in the funeral planning, it is important to know your rights, and the decedent’s rights.
  • The National Military Family Association is a good resource for survivors of military personnel. The US Department of Veteran Affairs (aka the VA or Veteran’s Administration) is also a good resource for survivors of military vets.

These sites will help a survivor with basic information. Depending upon the net worth of a decedent, a survivor may want to hire his/her own attorney, just remember that fees add up quickly.

Another important thing to remember is that if the survivor is emotionally close to the decedent, it may be difficult to make good decisions due to the grief. Having a trusted friend who has been through the experience may be prudent as they may be able to provide constructive and helpful feedback. It is a difficult time to think clearly – no matter how together anyone thinks they are, grief is a whole new plane on which to function.

Q:  Why do you think there are so many organizations dedicated to grieving, but only one like yours?

A: What a great question! This is the best question I have been asked, and the answer is…drum roll, please…it is not fun and it is a thankless job! It is like being a janitor; no one wants to look at the mess, or clean the mess, but they are happy when it is clean (which is what happens after a survivor gets and uses my book for a decedent). Death in general is such a tough topic, especially for Westerners.

It is difficult to pick up the phone and tell a creditor “I need to report a death” especially if it is someone with whom you have spent your entire life loving. Because it is not easy, it is typical for people to just let the decedent’s attorney handle it (never underestimate the power of denial), which means you are paying someone between $100-500.00 an hour to do something you can do yourself – or delegate it to someone who wants to help you do it (with the help of my book and the tools on the website). From a practical standpoint, it is not the wisest financial choice to hire a law office to, for instance, shut off the water and electricity of the decedent’s residence, right? Bottom line, it is neither fun nor glamourous and no one will care when you finish; and when you finish, you never want to think of it again.

Also, there is no sense of happiness or achievement when you complete the tasks because it means the decedent is really gone in every way (physically). To get a perspective on not wanting to let go (which is what managing all these tasks is accomplishing), my dad died in 2008, I still have his email address in my contact list, I cannot (of course logically, will not) delete it. Almost everyone I know has the last voicemail someone left a survivor before the decedent died. I have my grandma’s last voicemail message she left me on my answering machine tape (and I no longer have the answering machine) and she died in 2001.

Plain and simple, it is not fun; but that doesn’t make it unnecessary.

Q: What kind of professional background do you have?

A: Since 1984 I have worked as an Office Manager, an Executive Assistant, an Accounting Manager, a Business Analyst, a Technical Writer, an Editor, a Bookkeeper, a Training Coordinator, and an Instructional Design Developer, now an author and blogger – all jobs that have anything to do with details. I love details and organization and take great pride in every job I have ever had. I also have an affinity for the elderly and have been a Hospice Volunteer, and I am an avid reader and true crime fanatic.

Q:  What are some of the ways a person can manage a person’s online presence after they die?

A: Again, as with anything available now, companies come and go on the internet. Great ideas are a dime a dozen and people have them every day – and these ideas are thrown on the internet with a free website that may only be touched once or twice. I have done this myself with ideas. It is what we do with those ideas – and how we cultivate something lasting that will be sustainably reliable – that matter. Frankly, from my research, I have not seen anything stand out as a great product yet. In my opinion, it simply has not been a long enough period to make a judgment on the credibility of some businesses out there that claim to want to help you with your online social media presence after a death. This is why I recommend having your own plan (we will have a tool on our website by mid-2015) that you can use as instructions for your survivor. It is old school, but until a company proves to me it has the best method for decedents and survivors, manual is the only way.

Q: What are some pitfalls of prearranged funerals?

A: There are many aspects of prearranging. Part of prearranged is preplanning, which is not necessarily the same as a prepaid planning. You can plan everything and not pay for it; there are dozens (and dozens) of preplanning toolkits available online, in fact, we will have one on our site in mid-2015 after many requests for it. Right now, many of our customers purchase our book and fill it out for themselves and leave it in a place where a decedent will find it. My dad would have done this, and this is a wonderful gift to give your survivor.

From my research, I think the best description of some of the setbacks is described in the New York State Department of Health site for prepaying for a funeral, which states, “As with any financial transaction, there are potential drawbacks. While the law gives New Yorkers some of the strongest protections in the country, it does not provide absolute protection, as the money is controlled by the funeral director, not you. There are some things you must study carefully before entering into a prepaid funeral arrangement:

 

Make sure you always have a pre-need agreement for services whenever you prepay a funeral, whether it is directly with a funeral home or on your own with the funeral home as beneficiary.

 

Let someone you trust know that you have prepaid your funeral arrangements and the name of the funeral home. Otherwise, they may select a different funeral home and pay again.

 

Always deal with a funeral home with which you are familiar and comfortable, or that has been recommended by someone whom you trust.

 

Know how and where your money is being deposited.

 

If you pay by cash, get a receipt and keep it in a safe place.”

Of course, every state varies, but I think these guidelines are solid and worthy of following no matter where you live or the decedent lived. From my personal experience, both my parents were completely prepared, they preplanned and prepaid their funerals, including their headstones, which they bought decades before their death. However, I am not sure that would have been the case had they not known their funeral director their entire lives and trusted the funeral home implicitly. It was a great relief for me to know they had prepaid, but I am very pragmatic by nature. In my case, I preplanned what I want to happen to me when I die and I will leave enough money for my decedent/executor to pay for what my plan is.

Q:  What are some things a person should include in a living will?

A: As you readers may or may not know, a Living Will is also called a Health Care Directive. I recommend every adult have a completed Health Care Directive now! They vary by state (search online “Health Care Directive”, and your state) and should be completed and shared with a trusted source (one or two family members and a lawyer) and easily found if you become incapacitated. I think my dad kept his Living Will on his person beginning around age 65. I recommend reviewing them yearly when you do your taxes to make sure it is still applicable to your desires.

The directive addresses matters such as how you would like to be cared for if something happened to you and you are unable to make decisions on your own. If you have a stroke and lose the ability to speak and communicate, the Living Will directs your caretakers, nurses and doctors how you want your care bestowed. Another example is you may state in your directive that you do not want to be put on a ventilator if your health declines to such a state that it would be necessary to keep you alive.

Q:  Do you think the Brittany Maynard case will change death with dignity laws around the country?

A: I definitely do. I am a big advocate of death with dignity and the group Compassion & Choices (the leader in the fight for individual end-of-life choice) has a wonderful example in Brittany. This is also a good case in the use of a Living Will, while not always adhered, at least it is something substantial for an attorney as evidence of a patient’s rights and desires. I wrote about it on my blog not long ago, and here is an excerpt:

“In November, Brittany Maynard captured the world with her determination to end her life on her terms, death with dignity. Brittany’s terminal cancer gave her the unfortunate vehicle to be a crusader for the cause. The topic is no doubt one that has affected us from the beginning of civilization. The discussion, however, is more recent in our western culture. According to Compassion and Choices, in 1967 ‘A right-to-die bill is introduced in the Florida legislature. It arouses extensive debate but is unsuccessful.’ Since then, much work has been done to address the need and evident desire for choice when one is terminally and exceptionally painfully ill. We are all survivors of Brittany; and her immediate family and friends grieve the reluctant legend in their midst who made a sea change in our views of dying with dignity.”

Q:  What can a person do to protect themselves from posthumous identity theft?

A: I must preface this answer with the disclaimer that I found people in the funeral profession to be profoundly funny, an unexpected perk to my research and continual work in the industry.

Answer: To my knowledge, there is not much one can do about that, and frankly, there are not many repercussions of it since the potential victim is dead, after all, you can’t squeeze blood from a turnip!

But seriously, folks, I was shocked to find on a well-known religious website (a group regarded for their meticulous recordkeeping) that my mom and dad’s full social security number and their full name was listed. I thought “Oh no!” then I thought “what horrible things will someone do with this information?” then I thought “What can they do – they are dead?” That said, this is a perfect example of how important it is to do all the things that are outlined in my book to avoid fraud that may occur before you have reported the death. For example, if someone got the credit card of a decedent and the survivor had not yet reported the death, it would be a bigger hassle to get the charges removed after the fact. I am not saying the credit card company will not honor your copy of the death certificate and remove the charges eventually, but why take the chance in having to do all the extra work of managing that when you can just let them know right away and avoid the extra work. It is already not fun handling all these tasks, why make it more difficult on yourself?

For survivors, I always say when it comes to death, it never gets easy, just less difficult – and we want to help survivors in that journey as much as possible.

Disclaimer: Helping Survivors Manage has no affiliation with any of the organizations mentioned in the article.

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)