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Yes, Freebies are Real! If you tell someone that something is free, they immediately start looking for the catch. After all, the words of wisdom ?there is no such thing as a free lunch? have usually been proven true for people time and again throughout life, and so a healthy cynicism towards free stuff usually springs up with good reason. If you are one of these skeptical types, however, you may be missing out on some really great stuff. The truth is that you CAN get free things that are really and truly free, and yes, actually worth having. You just have to know where to look. OK, here is where the caveat comes in. The definition of ?free? often depends on the definition of ?cost.? As any economist can tell you, cost really doesn?t only come down to how much money you have to hand over to get something. There are additional costs, like inconvenience and time spent doing something. And true, some freebies have these ?non monetary? kinds of costs associated with them. You have to balance all of the costs with the value of the free stuff you are getting and decide if it is worth it to you. The two biggest costs associated with freebies? Time and convenience are at the top of the list. Time is a big factor in many free offers. Companies want a bit of your time in exchange for their free products. Indeed, some companies literally want hours of your time. Have you ever taken advantage of one of those ?free weekend vacation? offers in which you received free accommodation in a beach house or condo for a weekend in exchange for suffering through a long presentation and intense sales pitch? For some people, they can handle the presentation and have no qualms about refusing to buy anything and the free vacation more than makes up for it. Other people would rather pay any price to avoid having to listen to one of these spiels. So, while these weekends are freebies, for some people, they cost too much. More often, a company wants your time in a less obvious way ? they want you to spend time filling out forms. These forms may simply be your name, address and email address, or they may be very lengthy, quizzing you about buying habits and the like. The reason the companies want you to do these forms is often for market research, and they are more than happy to give you a freebie in exchange for this. Many people find the time spent filling out these forms will worth it to get a great free product. Convenience is the other cost involved with many freebies. Time and convenience go hand in hand in some cases ? after all, it may not be especially convenient to fill out form after form simply because it is time consuming, but convenience takes another hit from freebies in the form of spam email. Often, signing up for a freebie can land you on a spam email list, and for some people, getting tons of spam is so inconvenient that they would rather pay full price. The truth about all of these costs of freebies is that the freebie is in the eye of the beholder. You have to decide what you are willing to put up with in order to get a free product. Once you know the limits to your freebie costs, than you can cash in on some really great products that don?t cost you a dime. When you spend five minutes filling out a form and get rewarded with a free DVD player that you have been wanting, you will realize that there are free things out there to be had.

The Ins and Outs of Free Writing Contests (free writing contests) Free writing contests are available by the thousands. They are virtually a dime a dozen on the Internet. No matter what your niche is in the writing community there is a free writing contests out there for you. How do you know which ones to enter and which ones are legitimate? That?s simple. You do what you do best-- research. While providing the story for the free writing contest will probably be the easy part, researching the thousands of available contests will be a daunting task. If this is un-chartered water for you, you have the start at the beginning. Finding what free writing contests are available. Grab a notebook or start a word document and list the contests that are available. Beside each contest name you will want to put what kind of writing they are looking for and when it needs to be done by. By doing this first you will be able to eliminate any that do not coincide with your writing niche or with your schedule. Now the free writing contest research begins. Finding out if a contest is worthwhile and legitimate is comparable to running a background check on a person. First check the contest website. Do they have all contact information available? Do they tell you what company is hosting the contest? If they are not, you will have likely found warning number one that it is a scam. So scratch those off your list or at least move them to the bottom until you can find out more information on them. Start asking around to colleagues and writers groups. Search the writing forums and the Internet scam sites. The Better Business Bureau is also a good place to look. Once you narrowed the free writing contests down to the legitimate ones, read the contest rules and regulations. Some contests require you signing over all rights to a story even if you don?t win. Are you willing to do this? Giving up rights to you writing is a lot easier to do when you are getting something in return. After you enter there is no going back, so make sure this is what you want to do. The final thing you need to look for is if the contest is just a cover up to get you to buy services or products. This does not necessarily mean they are a scam or don?t actually award winners. It simply means that they will try to entice you to use their critiquing services or offer you a book at a reduced fee that your work will be published in. Being published sounds like a great deal but is it a book that carries prestige that people are going to see? Many authors think that writing contests will launch their career into a successful endeavor. This is not the case, especially for free writing contests. Even winning the grand prize of a smaller known contest is not going to affect your literary journey. Even though they may not springboard your career, there are good reasons to join writing contests. You will get unbiased opinions and valuable feedback from the judges. If you make it into the higher rounds, editors could also see your writing. Ultimately whether you enter a free writing contest the choice is yours. Just ask you self if the time spent writing and researching the piece you choose to enter is worth writing for free in most cases. The critique and feedback may be the most worthwhile thing you receive from the contest. But then again the judges opinions are a dime a dozen just like the contests.

Networking Know-How: How to Get Through to the Busiest of People When you are job hunting, sometimes the most frustrating part is just getting your foot through the door to let the right people know that you are out there and available for work. Companies can be like members-only clubs; they tend to be a little distrustful of cold callers and most executives advise their assistants to run interference for them on the phone so they do not get stuck having a protracted conversation with someone they just aren?t interested in doing business with. The thing is that to get an interview, these people can be the very same people you need to talk to. How do you get these busy people to clear some time off in their busy schedule to speak to you? First things first ? you have to get the right attitude. If you want busy people to make time to talk to you, you have to present yourself in a way that makes them feel like you are worth the time investment. The trick here is that you have to do this by phone, and often, you have to first convince an operator or personal assistant that your call is one worth putting through to the boss. Your phone etiquette and vocal confidence will be the key here. Consider you basic phone manners first. Instead of launching right into what you want, respond to the greeting of the person who answers the phone with a hello of your own. Animate your voice and always remember that simply saying ?please? and ?thank you? can go a long way. Be the kind of caller that you would want to talk to if your job was answering the phone all day. People will respond to your positive attitude with a positive attitude of their own. Next, consider your confidence level on the phone. Do you tend to get tongue-tied and stumble over your words? That kind of delivery from you will set all the warning bells ringing on the other end of the phone, and you will find the person with whom you wish to speak always ?out of the office.? Instead, work on sounding like you are confident that it is a forgone conclusion that you will get to speak that busy person you want to talk to. Be confident that what you have to say is something that is worth hearing. It may help to write out a framework of what you will say and practice a few times so you sound relaxed and composed when you make that call. Once your attitude is right to make the call, you can then employ a few tricks of the trade for getting through to those busy people. Instead of giving away too much up front, start your call by asking if the person with whom you need to speak is in. If the answer is yes, then you can remove on potential ?excuse? for not putting your call through. If your call can?t be taken at that time, skip the message. Let the PA or operator know that you will call back again. That way you have a legitimate reason to keep calling. Of course, you might have to keep calling and calling, and that assistant might start knowing the sound of your voice. If you keep speaking to the same person, it?s time to open up with some person details. Let them know your name, why you?re calling, and if someone referred you, who that person is. Developing that personal relationship can help you get your call through to the boss. Last but not least, don?t give up. Busy people are, well, busy, and not necessarily avoiding your call. Persistence pays off, so keep on calling until you get through.

Family Entertainment ? How to Get a Free Ticket for your Child Free tickets are not something that can be found very often, but every once in a while there is a company that offers a free ticket for your child. How about a free ticket to the circus? Almost all children love the circus and there will be that point in time when a child sees the circus come to town and wants nothing more than to go to one of the shows. Honestly, circus visits can break the monthly budget that was planned so carefully, not taking in account such activities. Well, the circus actually offers a free ticket to children of all ages, as long as that ticket has been requested within baby?s first year. On his or her own web page, the circus offers the ticket to anybody that signs up for it. As babies grow, many new things come along, baby will learn to crawl, baby will get the first teeth and at some point baby will be big enough to visit the circus. The First Circus program is for parents and their newborn up to twelve months that are living in the Unites States. All the parents have to do is to visit the circus own homepage and sign up for the program, to receive a free ticket voucher and a special personalized baby certificate. The certificate is printable online and the ticket voucher will be sent to the parent?s home address. The voucher can be exchanged for a free ticket to any of the participating circus performances, anytime, anywhere. The voucher does not have an expiration date. Unfortunately for parents that did not know about the program and whose children are older than twelve months there is only the possibility to receive a commemorative certificate and no free ticket. Therefore it is important for all parents to find out about this wonderful program that will help their child to their first circus experience without breaking the parent?s bank account. On the other hand, the circus visit is free for children under the age of two as long as they sit on an adults lap. By the way, if a child was adopted after the age of twelve months there is still a chance for a free ticket as long as the parent requests it as per direction on web page within the twelve months after adoption. In general the circus will only give a way one free voucher per family per year, but they will make exceptions for parents of multiples. Parents of multiples will have to check out the circus page and follow the directions given there. Since it is not possible to order more than one free voucher besides the few exceptions, every duplicate order that is done by parents after signing up for the first time will delay the original order for the free voucher. It might be also important to know that this free ticket is a very good deal, since children?s tickets have the same price as adult tickets for circus performances. Sometimes, in bigger cities there are special offers from bigger supermarket chains or other places, where a discount on tickets is given, but in general the circus itself does not offer any other discounts. Any parent should take advantage of this First Circus program, since it is not often that companies do give away tickets for free. Circus also has never lost its magical and still pulls the crowds and makes children gasp in astonishment or laugh out loud when seeing the circus clowns. How often do children nowadays have a chance to see elephants stand on their back feet, artists balancing on ropes or swinging and flying through the air and funny clowns fall over their own feet?