Wasting taxpayer resources – is this a murder scene?

Wasting taxpayer resources – is this a murder scene?

The first scene

Chicago police car

Chicago police car (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last week, I wrote a blog post entitled The best way to start an US small business at US small business story. I met each Wednesday via Skype to talk about the business and technology ventures I wrote about.  At 7 PM CST on Wednesday, August 8,2012, the party I call Jay (i.e. all fictitious names) was unavailable.  Jay lives in the same condo building I do in Carol Stream, Illinois (USA).  I called and left a voice mail to join us, as well as a Skype text message.

The next day on Thursday, August 9, 2012, I followed up via email and copied the other person I call Ray on it.  Thursday went by without a response via phone, Skype, email or in-person.  It’s unusual for them not to show up.  If they had to be away, they would usually contact me.

On Friday, August 10, 2012, I sent a fax to the condo association.  I asked them to contact the emergency contact and ensure everything is OK, as they should have these numbers.  I got a call from the condo association manager informing me he contacted his sister.  His sister said he should be at home.

Handling the situation

English: Chicago police officers

English: Chicago police officers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

About an hour later, I noticed a fire truck and ambulance show up.  They departed a few minutes later, with no sirens or alarms on.  I had to assume that Jay perhaps passed away.

Shortly afterwards, I noticed that 4 squad cars – three marked and one unmarked appeared on the scene.  Perhaps they thought this was a murder investigation?  Jay’s door was locked – no forced entry.  Nobody heard any gun shots. If they did, they would have informed neighbors and called the police.  I kept an eye on the squad cars.  The drivers stayed in their respective cars for about three or four hours.  The family members were also there.  After the time span elapsed, the cars all took off.

The next day I bumped into the family members.  I introduced myself to the sister, who was also a nurse.   She informed me that Jay was found bent over the bathtub.  A later autopsy fixed the cause as suffocation, but couldn’t explain why he couldn’t get up again.

College of DuPage

College of DuPage (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

College of DuPage

I have taken several classes over the years, from the College of DuPage (COD).  The courses have been in software engineering, philosophy, creative writing, literature and other disciplines.  In one class, an officer was presenting a project.  I asked the question, “what would the town of Mayberry do if they had a real murder?  Would they be able to secure help from the state police?”

The answer to the question was this: you could secure detectives from the Chicago police or the state.  Perhaps if the Carol Stream police thought a murder was committed, why not secure help from the Aurora police department?  They are very close and have much experience with gang killings.

So why have three marked and one unmarked squad car there for three to four hours, with the officers observed sitting in the car?

  • Is this a good use of taxpayer dollars and resources?
  • If you think a murder is committed, then you should secure the help of resources from either the Aurora or Chicago police homicide divisions.  Then you send in the proper resources to dust for fingerprints, interview residents, etc.

Summary

Perhaps the police department thought I was a murderer?  After all, I did report the problem to the property management company.  And I would be the most likely suspect on a typical TV crime show. I wonder if Inspector Jacques Clouseau would have handled things similarly?

But I have talked to Jay’s sister.  So far, the autopsy couldn’t pin when the death occurred.  They think it was on Tuesday, August 8, 2012.  But Ray and I noticed a database the three of us share was updated often on Wednesday, August 9, 2012.  We concluded it was on auto update.  I suggested the sister also have the computer examined.  In talking to a couple of computer experts I know, they mentioned:

  • You can tell when the computer was turned on and off (see Yahoo answers)
  • You can tell when an email was sent out.

The Carol Stream city council should tell the taxpayers of Carol Stream what was going on.  For me, a good friend and brilliant technology mind has died of natural causes.  I’ve been invited to and attended the Catholic memorial service.  And I will continue to work with the existing partner on the technology project.

Academic and business blog posts

Here are some blog posts I recommend from academic and business acquaintances of mine:

  • Head Lice: Symptoms and Treatments Blog post
  • A Nanny’s Guide to Packing for a Day trip Blog post
  • Think Outside the Envelope for Your Next Party Invitation Blog post
  • Employment Rights All Nannies Need to Know Blog post
  • 7 Myths About Getting Old Blog post
  • 10 Things Every Teacher Needs to Know About Emotions and Learning Blog post
  • 5 Rules for Handling Hand Me Downs Blog post
  • 8 Best Places to Study Besides the Library Blog post
  • 5 Home Improvements That Don’t Add Value Blog post
  • 8 Things You Should Never Say to Your Professor Blog post
  • 8 Unexpected Ways to Promote Your Business Blog post
  • Pros and Cons of Divorced Parents Sharing a Nanny Blog post
  • 50 Impressive iPad Apps to Fuel Lifelong Learners Blog post
  • Steps Nannies Can Take To Prevent Common Childhood Injuries Blog post
  • What Nannies Need to Know About Bottle Prep Blog post
  • How Parents Can Attract the Right Nanny for Their Family Blog post
  • How to Make Your Own Tutu to Play Dress Up Blog post
  • How to Organize Breast Milk Blog post
  • 8 Reasons to Keep Your Live-In Nanny Out of a Spousal Dispute Blog post
  • 11 Proven Benefits of Outdoor Learning Blog post
  • 15 Facts About China’s Grueling College Entrance Exam Blog post
  • 7 Ways To Cut Down On Your Daily Driving Blog post
  • 14 Books You NEED to Read Before Pursuing a PhD Blog post
  • 15 Reasons Reformers Are Looking to Finland Blog post
  • 6 Things to Know When Starting a Record Label Blog post
  • 7 Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing a Major Blog post
  • The Top 10 Happiness Experts of All Time Blog post
  • The 10 Most Impressive Athletic Buildings in the NCAA Blog post
  • How to Stop Siblings From Fighting Blog post
  • How to Keep Baby Cool in the Summer Without AC Blog post
  • Teaching Children Problem Solving Skills Blog post
  • 30 Blogs Nannies Should Try for Discipline Ideas Blog post
  • 10 U.S. Cities With the Best Alternative Medicine Blog post
  • 10 Cities Becoming Education Destinations Blog post
  • 6 Common Exercises That Are Actually Bad for You Blog post
  • How to Sell Your Self-Education to Employers Blog post
  • 9 Indisputable Reasons Offices Need Naptime Blog post
  • 5 Ways to Find and Leverage Expert Bloggers Blog post
  • How to Quit Smoking for Real Blog post
  • How Nannies Can Build Care Giving Skills During Gaps in Employment Blog post
  • The 10 Cleverest Back-to-School Promos Blog post
  • 10 Ways Data Mining Will Transform Higher Ed Blog post
  • 10 iPhone Applications for Moms on Bed rest Blog post
  • 10 Things to Consider When Traveling Internationally with Your Charges Blog post
  • How to Throw a First Birthday Party on a Budget Blog post
  • 6 Ways to Keep Your Car From Being Stolen Blog post
  • 10 Health Care Jobs Most Impacted by Obamacare Blog post
  • A Newbie’s Guide to Microfinancing Blog post
  • 30 Blogs Full of Kid-Friendly Crock-Pot Recipes Blog post
  • 100 Inspiring Pinterest Pins for Back to School Blog post
  • 30 Blogs for Creating a Safe Sleep Environment Blog post
  • 20 Colleges Embracing the Green Roof Trend Blog post
  • How to Remove Stains from Baby Clothes Blog post

 

 

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Shawshank Redemption and Governor Rod Blagojevich meet The Walking Dead

Mug shot of Rod Blagojevich.

Mug shot of Rod Blagojevich. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Shawshank Redemption and Governor Rod Blagojevich meet The Walking Dead

Everyone knows Illinois politics – right? It’s the same place that Republican George Ryan and Democrat Governor Rod Blagojevich were convicted in federal courts.

But what does that have to do with the book and movie the Shawshank Redemption? In the movie, Andy Dufresne was really innocent – despite being convicted in a court of law. It’s akin to the TV and movie The Fugitive. Yet while Andy was innocent, Warden Samuel Norton was guilt of corruption – among other vices. He was really a hypocrite – carrying a bible and all. He could even quote from it and encouraged other inmates to carry and read one.

I can’t really say from the movie if the guards were corrupt. Maybe they were just guilty of brutality. But I would imagine that some were on the take.

But Andy and Rob could share a trait in common. You see, Andy became popular among the guards and warden. He provided tax advice and help. And he kept different sets of books to hide the warden’s corruptions. He was also popular among most inmates, due to the privileges granted them by the warden and guards.

So how does this relate to Rob?

Rob is guilty. There are those who say he shouldn’t have gotten the long sentence he did. But he’s also a former lawyer. This would be a great access to inmates. They like to file both legitimate and frivolous appears. If Rob would help inmates with their legal work, I’m sure he would be as populate as Andy.

The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Walking Dead connection

This brings us to the Walking Dead connection. Expects on news services like ABC News talk about inmates maintaining outside connections. The daily – yet short – phone calls become real important. Otherwise, inmates might become indistinguishable from the walking dead.

If you read the Wiki Walking Dead comics overview, you will see the plot summary. Then you notice the AMC show producers are pretty much following the comic book. It makes it easier to write a screen play or script, if you don’t have to start from scratch.

And I wouldn’t mind the zombies myself, if you can train them to do repetitive tasks. Perhaps they can work like the intelligent apes in Conquest of the Planet of the Apes or the robots in I, Robot.

But if you talk the Walking Dead and change the word order, you might just get Dead Man Walking, which tells the story of a man on death row.

Underground prison culture

We notice an underground prison culture in the movie. Notice how Andy’s friend can get just about anything – for a price.

Perhaps Rob can barter his legal skills for just about anything – within reason.

If I were in prison, I’ll probably do the following to occupy my mind:

  • Write like William Sydney Porter did when he was in prison.
  • Practice French and Spanish with willing nationals who speak those languages.
  • Play Chess. And the game did get Bobby Fisher in trouble with the US government. Does anyone remember the circumstances?

 

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LDS employment service advice and why use multiple browsers

Here’s some advice I gave to a friend in Michigan this weekend. Keep in mind I neither belong to the Church of Latter Day Saints nor do I follow and subscribe to their theology.

Detroit skyline

Image by Bernt Rostad via Flickr

My advice

One of the best services I found for both job hunting and is the Church of Latter Day Saints. You don’t need to be a member to use their services and they don’t try to convert you – unless you start the inquiry. I used their employment services in Lisle, Illinois during the year of 2008.

Anyway, if I go to their website at LDS jobs and click on the link looking for a good job,

Looking for a Good Job?

it takes you to a search. I searched for Michigan and got 2 centers in Detroit. I then clicked on find a center

Find a Center

to start the search. I then choose USA and Michigan. I got two centers in Detroit. If I click on the first link, I get LDS jobs. Here’s what it says:

Whether just starting out in your career or well established in your career, LDS Employment Resource Services (ERS) can help you carry out your career goals. The employment center offers one-on-one coaching, workshops and a large database of employment, education and self-employment opportunities. By visiting the center you learn the most effective job search practices, build your network and find resources to help you further your education or manage a successful small-business. “

We recommend that you log-in and begin creating your profile on LDS jobs prior to visiting the employment center. Even if an employment center is not close enough for you to visit, LDS jobs offers many online resources. If you wish, an employment adviser can also provide assistance over the telephone or through e-mail.”

Here’s What I said:
I advice you to create a job profile at LDS jobs, so you can use “an employment adviser can also provide assistance over the telephone or through e-mail.” If you can’t find a contact, then call one of the Detroit resources to work over telephone or e-mail. I have found their advisers to be professionals they hire (i.e. they are also church members, but with the right secular academic and work experience for the position).

English: Browser usage share on Wikimedia Foun...

Image via Wikipedia

Why multiple browsers

As you probably know, there are multiple browsers out there. For Windows, some of the most popular are Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Apple Safari, FireFox and Opera. Given that most people are connected via high speed (i.e. broadband connections), speed is not much of a factor.

So why run different browsers?

Because I can’t do all functionality on one browser. Maybe it’s my configuration – don’t know. Besides Internet Explorer, I run Firefox, Chrome, Opera and Maxthon.

For the longest time, I couldn’t play the Publishers Clearing House number games, where you choose several numbers. I usually do a quick pick. It never worked on Internet Explorer for some reason. I recently kept Opera as my default browser. The games now work perfectly. I can even play the new Publishers Clearing House casino type games perfectly.

Besides that, I can’t open my gmail Twitter following announcements in Firefox. But I can open Gmail and my Firefox announcements perfectly in Chrome.

So the next time something doesn’t work in one browser, type the same functionality with another browser. You may be pleasantly surprised.

 

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Cancer Treatment Centers of America – marketing panacea or best in class cure?

English: designation mark

Image via Wikipedia

Before we begin today’s topic, I found an interesting blog post on Carrier IQ this week at Finding and cleaning out your smartphone’s Carrier IQ poison. It relates to an earlier post on smart phone spying.

If you live around the Chicago area, you will be inundated with commercial for Cancer Treatment Centers of America.

These commercials have recently gotten to my mom. She had non-malignant skin cancer a few years ago. It was treated by surgery and some radiation. Her neck bothers her but the specialist couldn’t do anything for the tightness. His advice was to turn the neck a bit.

Now she feels that the new Cancer Treatment Centers of America will solve all her problems.

A few years ago, I did call Cancer Treatment Centers of America to ask about a female friend’s cancer. I couldn’t get off the phone with the marketing person. They were asking all kinds of questions about the patient, condition, etc., when all I was trying to do was get general information. They even wanted a doctor to talk to the two of us. But this is just my first phone call.

U.S. News and World Report

Image by afagen via Flickr

The same thing happened when I was trying to find out about university tuition. If I contact a university like the University of Phoenix or Full Sail University, I’m put through my paces with the marketing staff. If I contact a private Illinois university like Benedictine University, Aurora University or Elmhurst College, it’s more laid back and relaxed.

Most of the commercials show someone who has been helped giving a testimonial. But if I look at the U.S. News best hospitals for 2011-2012 at U.S. News best hospitals for 2011-2012, I don’t see them listed. And how do they compare with the University of Chicago or other top Illinois hospitals? If I go to the University of Chicago’s hospital website at University of Chicago cancer hospital, it says “U.S.News & World Report consistently ranks our cancer program among the top in the United States and the highest in Illinois.” The website goes on to list other endorsements.

I looked at the U.S. News and World report for top cancer treatment facilities in Illinois at U.S. News and World report for top cancer treatment facilities in Illinois . I have found several hospitals listed – but not Cancer Treatment Centers of America.

I have found an interesting story in the Cancer Survivors Network about them at Cancer Survivors Network user chats. Here is what one person had to say:

“…my husband did not want to travel and be away from home for 3 days — he’s on a feeding tube and just feels more comfortable at home…I called them and told them based on the itinerary they sent it was a waste of time for us and I would prefer if they can review the records we provided them with and then tell us if there is anything they can do for my husband and if there is then we would come down, but if there is nothing they can do for us then there is no reason for us to come down. They agreed to this. Well — now I find out that they actually BILLED our insurance company for $500 to read the medical records — they NEVER said they were going to bill us and we never agreed to this.”

Interesting story!

So next time you are dying of cancer and live in the Chicago are:

Would you like to go to Cancer Treatment Centers of America based upon their excellent marketing commercials and commercialized testimonies?

Or would you prefer to visit the University of Chicago hospital, who give the following stats at University of Chicago hospital?:

  • U.S.News & World Report consistently ranks our cancer program among the top in the United States and the highest in Illinois.
  • We are designated a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute–one of only two in Illinois.
  • In addition, the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer awarded the Medical Center a three-year accreditation with commendation.
  • Our program earned the highest overall rating in seven areas, including prevention and early detection, outcomes analysis, and cancer-related quality improvements.

There are many other hospitals recognized in the US News and World Report recommendations. But they don’t run a TV commercial marketing blitz. The only other TV commercial for a cancer treatment program in Illinois is Advocate Health Care.  They are more low-key and claim to “help more  people become survivors than any other facility in Illinois.” I probably can find them in the US News and World Report recommendations.

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Solution to high college costs and writing advice to gifted 14 year old

A partial solution to the high cost of

Launching Writers Academy @ Pesta Penulis 2011

Image by Chandra Marsono via Flickr

college education

If you follow the news lately, higher education costs is in the spotlight. Young people are complaining about being thousands of dollars in debt.

Some schools I surveyed

Is this correct? Is higher education costly? To find out, I decided to call a few Illinois schools. I usually talked with someone in the admissions or register’s office:

  • University of Chicago – This is a top rated school. According to them, one undergraduate course costs $5883. Two courses cost $9908, while 3 or 4 courses cost $13951.
  • Northwestern University – This is another top rated school. The tuition is $4000 per course or $13280 per quarter.
  • University of Illinois at Chicago costs $7,482.00 per semester for 12 hours and up.
  • Northern Illinois University costs $525 per semester hour. The price per hour goes down the more courses you take.
  • Elmhurst College costs $854 per undergraduate course hour. Graduate costs are much less. As it example, it is $700 per semester hour for a business graduate degree. It costs about $15000 full-time for undergraduate semesters.
  •  Benedictine University costs $750 per semester hour.
  • Aurora University $570 per semester hour. Graduate degrees cost more. It’s $625 per MBA semester hour and $565 per semester hour for an MS or ED graduate degree.
  • Harper College (in-district) costs $102.50 per credit hour.
  • College of DuPage (in-district) costs $132 per credit hour.
  • Some colleges or universities seem to have a professional sales staff. As an example, I got screened by the University of Phoenix, which has an online program office in Naperville. I got some questions asked by the first receptionist. It’s one program I didn’t follow though for cost info.

Notice anything interesting about this list? One thing I notice is that Harper College and College of DuPage both have low tuition rates? Why? It’s because the tuition is for in-district students.

How is this useful?

I recently received some literature from the College of DuPage. It talked about students transferring to well rated schools like the University of Chicago or the University of Illinois at Chicago.

They showcased how someone from their integrated engineering program. He transferred to the electrical engineering program at the University of Illinois. He mentioned he was doing well academically there.

What is the takeaway? Save money by doing your first two years at the in-district junior college. But have a four-year school in mind to transfer to. See how I used this advice to a fourteen year old on Linkedin this week.

Linkedin question of the week

Writer Wordart

Image by secretagent007 via Flickr

Don’t let my age fool you, this 14-year-old can write! I do journalism, flash fiction and novels! The only problem is I need to find ways to get paying work. I want something for my time. What should I charge? Where can I find jobs? And what is the best way to get known? Thanks for all for your help!

My answer

I have been in creative writing classes at the College of DuPage over the years. I especially remember a high school youth taking a class with me. He was a gifted writer and science student.

One thing you can do is call the adult reference section of your local library. Go down to the library and ask to see the current edition of Writer’s Market. There is a good section called “What should I charge.” Photocopy it and keep it. There’s also markets for magazine editors, etc.,in this great reference resource.

The other thing is to ask them for your local in-district junior college and local writers groups. Talk to a counselor at the college about taking any creative writing classes they offer. Take the classes (i.e. if possible) and talk to the professors. Visit the local writers groups. Share work and talk with other writers. Local area book stores are also good sources for finding local area writers groups.

Sometimes libraries and book stores have professional writers speak – ask them about this. Go to their presentations. There’s usually a time to ask questions at the end.

long-term goals

But let’s look at your long-term goals. If I was 14 and a gifted writer, I would finish high school. At the same time, I would join a local area writers group (or groups) and share my work there. It’s a good way to get and give group feedback.

I would then attend my local in-district junior college after high school. The costs are very cheap. I would focus on taking any required courses to transfer to a 4 year writing program. While at the junior college, I would take as many English literature, journalism, philosophy and creative writing courses as I can. I would also try to become involved on their newspaper as a writer and/or editor.

Best creative writing programs

The Ghost Writers Logo

Image via Wikipedia

I would transfer to a top school for writing. A good list is found in the article at The 10 best American colleges for writers. But if you want my opinion, I would focus on attending the University of Iowa. I’m not sure why it wasn’t included in the list. You can find out more at Creative Writing Track.

Let me just add this Tidbit. I once attended a talk by a business professional, who was a graduate of that program. He was also a published author and I asked him how he got published. The answer was due to the extensive connections of his professors there.

I guess I’m not losing my mind, after all. The previous list of top schools was compiled by USA Today. But another list compiled by Education-Portal at Best Creative Writing Schools in the U.S. does rank the University of Iowa as number one. It does raise a question on list compilation. What statistical data do they use to publish their results?

Fiction writers must embrace content marketing

One last comment here. Justine Musk is a writer who has an interesting blog. Recently she wrote an interesting 2 part piece, where she argues that fiction writers need to be familiar with content marketing. The piece can be found at are fiction writers screwed? and are fiction writers screwed? part 2.

While the University of Iowa is the target of choice, any school on either the USA Today or Education-portal would be a great target. An in-district junior college gives you time to dabble at a cheap cost. It gives you a chance to dabble in journalism, English Literature and philosophy. In case anyone doubts the last discipline, just look at authors like Ayn Rand, Friedrich Nietzsche, Franz Kafka, Albert Camus, or Jean-Paul Sartre.

Best graduate schools in creative writing

Front view of the Alma Mater statue

Image via Wikipedia

If you can afford to wait and money weren’t an object, you might want to target degrees through the MFA (Masters of Fine Arts) in creative writing. The Atlantic recently came out with this online article entitled “The Best of the Best – A guide to graduate programs in creative writing” at The Best of the Best. What I like is that it gives the top five in various categories.

King and Rowling

One last take on King. He is a good horror fiction writer and his book On Writing is great. But I still prefer the classic horror writers like Edgar Allan Poe or H.P. Lovecraft.

Always try to see visiting writers at libraries, local book stores, etc. I personally know that Anderson’s in Naperville had J. K. Rowling visit, before she was even known. I end with a great article at Where Great Writers are Made. Perhaps you want to find a program that is well-funded, gives free tuition and pays the students to attend the MFA program (i.e. after the junior college prep and 4 year degree in creative writing – see article).

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One important lesson in content marketing

Content marketing – some

The Aviation and Missile Command can now be fo...

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definitions

Here’s some nice tidbits from the art of watching two friends seduce each other + what it taught me about badass blogging Tribal Writer on Seduction

“This is what I don’t think many writers (or other creatives) understand about blogging: that it’s a form of content marketing, which itself is a form of seduction.”

The article defines it thus:

“Content marketing is content that has value in and of itself, but is also driving the reader toward a future action (ie: buying something, whether it’s a service or a painting or a book or a product). “

Here’s how on Wiki at Wiki on Content Marketing at Wiki on Content Marketing defines the term:

“Content marketing is an umbrella term encompassing all marketing formats that involve the creation or sharing of content for the purpose of engaging current and potential consumer bases.”

In What is Content Marketing at What is Content Marketing, it defines it as

“Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”

“Basically, content marketing is the art of communicating with your customers and prospects without selling. It is non-interruption marketing.”

Did Michael A. Stelzner start this?

AR Tower Defense game on the Nokia N95 Smartph...

Image via Wikipedia

The first time I really found this concept was in 2006. It was from a book entitled Writing White Papers: How to Capture Readers and Keep Them Engaged by Michael A. Stelzner. He has a white paper you can also download free. Perhaps you can get the book via your local public library or from Amazon.

In the book, he describes how to present information in a white paper without implicit selling any products or services. I have even come across cases where white papers have gone viral. Instead of asking for email addresses, the white paper creators gave them away free – no strings attached.

Michael has gone on to apply the same principles to social media and has been very successful. You can get more info in his book at Launch: How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition.

Some lessons from Ben Hart

Ben Hart is a well-known copywriter and marketer, who lives in Illinois. His claim to fame is (in his own words):

“Ben Hart’s sales letters, ads, websites and marketing programs have generated more than $500,000,000 in sales over the last 20 years.”

Now he spends his time teaching marketing via his membership site. But he has captured the essence of content marketing headlines, in a lesson he shared on copywriting.

Here’s a lesson I remember when I used to be a member. It involved copywriting but applies to content marketing as well. He was talking about this headline, which appeared in the National Enquirer ads for years:

“7 Ways to Cure Corns”

Right away, we see a pattern. You have a number followed by what you are trying to give information on. Let’s check this a bit closer.

Hubspot is a master of this

iPhone using the Wikitude application, demonst...

Image via Wikipedia

Hubspot is a company on the eastern US coast, that present a great deal of free daily content. Let’s look how they used the same pattern this week, via some content marketing titles (I’ll also throw in one from Michael Stelzner):

See the pattern here?

Pick a number – any number. Then say something about social media- Linkedin, Facebook, Google +, etc.

Or substitute another group – like technology.

There are other frameworks. But the one involving a number and some topic works well.

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Single Member Limited Libility Companies – A Definitively Answer?

Today we will explore the answers from the following free sources:

Before I share the answers, let me share one note – the answers don’t include one from a particular SBDC director, who classified my request for their attorney volunteer to answer my question, as a “request for legal advice.” For the record, their answer was only 1 – 2 sentences long. Nor will I share the identities of the respondents.

Here are my questions:

  • In the state of Illinois, does a single member LLC offer legal protection (or only for an LLC with more than one member)?
  • If one sells goods on the Internet throughout the 50 states, can an LLC registered in Illinois allow that – or do I need to register an LLC in all 50 states?

SBDC Answer:

An LLC is a separate entity to it affords protection to all members whether that is one person or many. Understand however, that an LLC ( or corp or whatever) does not limit liabilities due to personal negligence or actions (e.g., if you personally screw up and get sued, the LLC won’t protect you as you cannot avoid responsibility for your own personal actions.

The LLC would be organized in a state of your choice, and in most cases, this would most likely be your state of domicile or where the business is located. You likely won’t need to register as a foreign entity in other states, however you might be subjected to state or local taxes (you’ll definitely be exposed to these in IL), and certainly any prohibitions or restrictions other states might have on the product(s) you are selling (like alcohol, tobacco, gaming, etc.)

Score Answer 1:

Ordinarily, a LLC provides protection for personal assets regardless of the number of members. You do not need to register in any state in which you do not have a physical presence, eg. warehouse, sales person living there, office, etc. But just to satisfy yourself, I am attaching a spreadsheet with web addresses for the state of Illinois. Please use it to research the answers to your questions.

Score Answer 2:

I have not read the Illinois limited liability statute but imagine it is very comparable to the limited liability statute used in most states. It does not matter whether the llc has one member or several. The “insulation” of private assets from business liabilities applies. There are a couple of exceptions to this.

  1. First, if the business is a personal service business, such as a medical practice, accounting or law office, the state statute generally holds the member who provides such personal service legally accountable for certain kinds of professional liability (i.e., malpractice).
  2. Second, most lenders will require the member(s) of an llc to which a loan has been made to personally guarantee the loan, thereby exposing their personal assets to the liability of the business for the loan.

A business can be registered in one state and conduct business in other states without having to incorporate, or create a limited liability company in each of the other states. Your promotional material should disclose in the company name that it is a limited liability company so the customer understands the nature of the entity with which it is dealing. Thus, for example, listing the business as “Acme, LLC” would communicate that the company is a limited liability company.

Your more pressing concern when you begin to sell in other states is whether you will collect and remit sales taxes to those other states. You will find that large multi-state operators – such as LL Bean – which do a great deal of on-line selling collect taxes for sales to customers in those states in which there are such taxes. Smaller vendors, however, often do not collect and remit such taxes. For all such vendors it is important to be alert to the fact that the states know they are “missing” a lot of potential tax revenue and, sooner or later, are going to try to collect it. So, it is a business “risk” you will have to consider and make a decision about.

I hope this is helpful. Let me know if you need any clarification of what has been said above. Thanks for contacting SCORE.

Score Answer 3:

A single member LLC can offer the same legal protection as a multiple member LLC. However, you should be aware of the situation where the legal action is brought against you (as opposed to the LLC). In other words, if a legal action is brought because of the actions of an employee, you as the owner are protected. If the action is brought against you as owner/employee because of actions you personally took, the result may be different. The laws on this can vary, and for further clarification, you will need to contact an Illinois attorney.

As to your second question, assuming you have only one place of business (in Illinois), you will be engaged in interstate commerce with respect to all other states and need not register or collect sales tax from customers in states other than Illinois.

A Parting Note:

I have finished the book Limited Liability Companies for Dummies by Jennifer Reuting. She has a website at http://www.myllc.com/. For the record, she doesn’t endorse a single-member LLC. Instead, she would tell them:

  • Give some shares to a friend and make them the second member
  • Set up a corporation and make it the second LLC member