Robert Smith Launches Smith Center, Makes Largest Donation For Black Men’s Prostate Cancer Research

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Robert F. Smith wants to help keep black men who have prostate cancer alive, raise awareness and fund research. He recently donated $2.5 million to the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) to focus on black men and launched the Robert Frederick Smith Center of Precision Oncology Excellence in Chicago. Smith is the Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Vista Equity Partners.

Smith’s gift is the largest donation ever made specifically targeting research and care for black men with prostate cancer who, statistically, are 73 percent more likely to develop prostate cancer than any other race or ethnicity. The Smith Center will serve as a precision oncology hub in PCF’s preeminent network of centers working to fulfill the ambitious mission of improving the care of U.S. veterans with prostate cancer. It also has a focus on aiding veterans in the Greater Chicagoland area and beyond who are battling prostate cancer.

“I am delighted to support the lifesaving work of accelerating promising medical research to serve our nation’s veterans who urgently need better treatments and cures and access to cutting-edge precision oncology,” Smith said. “With these resources, we will do right by those brave veterans who served our country, and we will change the odds for millions of African-American men who should be surviving prostate cancer.”

One in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. It is the most frequently diagnosed cancer among veterans, accounting for a third of all male cancer cases. Black men are 2.3 times more likely to die from the disease. To date, little is known about the biological reasons for the alarming disparities.

For veterans with the late-stage disease who are running out of choices, this gift will enable the Prostate Cancer Foundation to accelerate the work of clinical investigators working to solve some of the most lethal forms of prostate cancer while also advancing the quality of healthcare for black men.

In 2018, PCF will fund a series of precision medicine teams at leading Veterans Administration medical centers and universities across the country through a call for proposals issued in January. Although all highly innovative research proposals will be considered, priority will be given to higher risk-highest potential of impact to maximize the benefits to veterans, with a focus on African-Americans, in the near term.

“We are profoundly grateful to Robert F. Smith for his incredible generosity and his leadership. The Smith Center of Excellence represents a new model of American philanthropy and will pave the way for groundbreaking discoveries that will have a transformative impact on our research enterprise and its role in improving health equity for veterans and their families,” Jonathan W. Simons, MD, PCF’s president and CEO said.These survival disparities represent a real crisis, and this gift – so timely in the spirit of honoring the legacy of Dr. King – has the power to save lives.”

Article by Dominique Huff.


Dominique Magazine Reflects: Business Lessons Gleaned From Victor H. Green

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In honor of the late Victor H. Green, the publisher of the Negro Motorist Green Book, Dominique Magazine reviewed the history and many commentaries written by the staff of the guide including Green himself. The publication served as a tool that provided state by state listings where black motorists could stop for the night. It allowed travelers to have safe places to stop for food, gas and resting. The Negro Motorist Green Book enabled black drivers a mapping tool for a cross-country drive through towns with places to stay while avoiding “sundown towns” where no Blacks were allowed at night.

The book was published from 1937 to 1966 highlighted both black-owned businesses and white establishments that were willing to serve black customers. Green stated he looked forward to the day that printing his book would no longer be needed. He died in 1960 and the book published up until 1966. The Civil Rights Act passed in 1964. The heir of his empire, his wife, continued the operations until that time. She died in 1978. The Greens had no children.

“There will be a day sometime shortly when this guide will not have to be published. That is when we as a race will have equal opportunities and privileges in the United States,” Green wrote in the 1949 edition. “It will be a great day for us to suspend this publication, for then we can go wherever we please, and without embarrassment. But until that time comes, we shall continue to publish this information each year.”

Over the years, we have many black business associations, black chambers of commerce, black networking groups, black business directories, and apps sprouted all over the marketplace to assist black consumers with black-owned firms. The premise of these entities was to encourage companies to market and promote themselves. As with the Green Book, many of these platforms struggle to capture firms who want to use the venues.

Assistant Editor Novera C. Dashiell documented Green’s lament in 1957 on how many black firms refused to advertise.

“He regrets the shortsightedness of most of our businessmen to see the urgent need and value of advertising. If a negro owned business is good, it can be better with advertising,” she wrote. “We can create our own name brands. We should have the patience to build. Build for yourselves and the future of our children.”

Green considered his publication a live example of patience. The outlet started out for Greater New York then expanded nationwide. He also, according to Dashiell, lamented the lack of interest among young people in the field of advertising.

“The need for trained personnel is acute. He urged more youngsters to take advantage of the opportunities offered,” she wrote. “This, in turn, will create greater achievements in our business ventures.”

In 2009, a panel of black media experts was featured in Black Enterprise Magazine discussing the issues impacting black media. The problems were Black Americans spend money on things not marketed towards them which can hinder media outlets from generating revenue. It also noted a push by many Fortune 500 companies for large market penetration has made it even more difficult for these outlets. The smaller audiences often are perceived as not a high return on investment.

In 2012, the Small Business Administration reported 2,584,403 black businesses were in operation comprising 9.5 percent of the total number of American companies. Blacks accounted for 12.6 of the population at that time. A black firm that year was reported to average $58,000 yearly in sales. However, Hispanic companies said $143,000 annually in sales, and white companies reported $546,000 in sales. Asians owned 7.1 percent of the operating businesses in 2012, Hispanics held 12.2 percent, and Whites owned 70.9 percent.

For a 1957 commentary, Dashiell’s words and Green’s thoughts apply 60 years later. Many of these black directories struggle to get black companies to advertise, and the lists, for the most part, could use a significant marketing push. Green’s mindset of allowing black people to shop and patronize whatever business they wanted to was an appropriate dream for the time. While some argue that black business leaders are promoting voluntary segregation with the ‘supporting black business’ movement, but I argue otherwise.

Case in point, the data shows that our firms make the least amount of money and granted, many blacks do open business in some of the lowest grossing industries as outlined by the SBA report, it can also be concluded that many of us still rely on ‘word of mouth’ and dated marketing practices. Granted, many firms often don’t have the budget or resources to make such investments whereas others just do not see the value. A goal of a business should extend beyond making a profit but creating a legacy to pass to your children or family. This is how generational wealth is built and distributed.

The Negro Green Book was able to thrive in an era where black motorists needed to be safe in their travels and also promoted businesses and services along the way. The same logic must be applied when addressing local firms and black-owned ones. Some argue they don’t want to be labeled as a black business but want black dollars. Think about how many major corporations study the black demographic and cater their marketing to capture those dollars. While we should have the home court advantage, we must recognize we have many obstacles that we’re competing with such as larger budgets, social media, digital marketing, multiple platforms, brand awareness and more. The climb is not an easy one but one that a company must be willing to take.

It’s time for more business owners to take marketing and advertising seriously and know who their customer is. Other races should not be able to study our marketplace better than us, and in fact, we should study theirs to capture dollars from their communities. Black businesses must recognize that chess is the name of the game and if we want our companies to be major brands, we must start thinking like a major brand. Dominique Magazine has that mindset, and we look at ourselves in being in the same realm of Madam Noire, a publication created for black women (which was founded by a black man named Jamarlin Martin) and other outlets. We don’t want to play it small, and no business that considers themselves a legacy should have this mindset. The tools are here, and it’s time for us to get to work.

So, develop that market strategy. Hire that consultant! Do that research and have a critical analysis of where you want your business to go. While Green and Dashiell cited this problem in 1957, we’re mentioning this issue in 2017, and we hope that by 2077, the business owners of the time would have captured this and excelled. It’s also our hope that Tenth Amendment Media Group, the parent company of Dominique Magazine thrives and prospers when the owner is no longer living so it can take care of his unborn children and future family.

Article by Dominique Magazine

Victor H Green: Pioneer Of The First Black Business Directory

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The Negro Motorist Green Book was a legendary guide to hotels and restaurants that accepted black customers.

“The idea crystallized when not only himself but several friends and acquaintances complained of the difficulties when encountered; often painful embarrassments suffered which ruined a vacation or business trip,” Novera C. Dashiell, Assistant Editor of the Green Book wrote in 1956.

Launched in 1936, the Negro Motorist Green Book was a guide that provided state by state listings where black motorists could stop for the night. It allowed travelers to have safe places to stop for food, gas, and resting. The Negro Motorist Green Book enabled black drivers a mapping tool for a cross-country drive through towns with places to stay while avoiding “sundown towns” where no Blacks were allowed at night. Restaurants, gas stations, and other services are also listed.

“The white traveler had no difficulty in getting accommodations, but with the Negro, it has been different. He, before the advent of a Negro travel guide, had to depend on word of mouth, and many times accommodations were not available,” he wrote in the intro to the 1955 edition. “The Negro traveler can depend on the Green Book for all the information he wants and has a wide selection to choose from. Hence the guide has made traveling more popular, without encountering embarrassing situations.”

During the era, many businesses often declined services to blacks, and many roads drove through ‘sundown towns’ often putting unsuspecting motorists at risk. Green started the booklet with the intention of going out of business.

“There will be a day sometime shortly when this guide will not have to be published. That is when we as a race will have equal opportunities and privileges in the United States,” Green wrote in the 1949 edition. “It will be a great day for us to suspend this publication, or then we can go wherever we please, and without embarrassment. But until that time comes, we shall continue to publish this information each year.”

This legendary guide to lodgings and restaurants that accepted Black customers has become a vital reminder of life before the Civil Rights Act, but surviving copies are museum items. Now, a small California publisher has reprinted the guide, making it available to those wishing to understand our history.

“Put a Green Book into someone’s hands, and an immediate understanding develops,” About Comics Publisher Nate Gertler explained. “Looking at this efficient guide, they comprehend how stifling segregation was.” Gone for fifty years, the guide now gets media attention – the New York Times called it a “beacon for Black travelers,” the Washington Post said it was “a game changer,” Newsweek called it “practical scripture” that “saved black lives on the road,” and NPR dubbed it “revolutionary.” The scarce original copies go for thousands of dollars.

The 1947 reprint just released ($8.99) joins 1940, 1954, and 1963 editions in the series. They are carried at the gift shops of major museums and historic sites, including the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African-American History and Culture and the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site. All are also available on Amazon.

“They remind us of a past that we still carry with us and warn of what may come again,” he said.

Green was born on November 9, 1892, in Manhattan, New York City. He was the oldest of three siblings. He started his U.S. Postal Service career in 1913, and by 1918, he married Alma (Duke) Green. The era of segregation led Green to create the Green Book starting in 1936. The Green Book printed 15,000 copies yearly. Esso Gas Stations (now ExxonMobil), one of the first companies to franchise gas stations to black business owners, sold the books.

Not much is known about Green’s life. He had no children and died in 1960 on an unknown date. His wife, Alma continued to print the book until 1966. The book ceased publication two years after the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. No details were known about his wife, and it was reported she died in 1978 on an unknown date.

To purchase a reprint of The Green Book, visit

Article by Dominique Huff

The Founder of LinkedIn Says Too Many of Us Are Using the Site All Wrong

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While it could seem natural to decline a Facebook friend request from a stranger, the dynamic on LinkedIn is much different.

If you use LinkedIn, you’ve undoubtedly received invitations to connect with people you’ve never met or may never meet in your life.

The more you stay on the site and the more you gain prominence in your field, the more requests from strangers you’ll get.

And while it could seem natural to decline a Facebook friend request from a stranger because you don’t want to give them access to your personal information and photos, the dynamic on LinkedIn is much different.

You may think that because it’s a social network for professionals, you should accept all invitations and see which of them stick.

It’s the approach that Keith Ferrazzi, the author of Never Eat Alone and a management consultant to Fortune 100 companies, took for years. Not long ago, Ferrazzi wrote in the 2014 updated edition of his best-selling career guide that he had the privilege of meeting LinkedIn’s founder, Reid Hoffman, and discussing the site with him.

“‘You’re doing it all wrong, Keith!’ That is, in essence, what Reid Hoffman told me when I told him how I was using LinkedIn,” Ferrazzi writes.

Here’s the gist of what Hoffman told him, as written in Never Eat Alone (emphasis ours):

“LinkedIn is a closed network, and for a very simple reason: For the network to have value as an introduction tool, the connections need to have meaning. It’s up to you to vet each and every request so that if someone comes to you and says, ‘Would you introduce me?’ you’re in a position to evaluate whether the connection would be of mutual benefit.”

You can read the rest of the article here.

Richard Feloni is a strategy reporter at Business Insider. Richard joined BI in Oct. 2013 and covered the ad industry up through the Super Bowl. He previously reported in Brooklyn and wrote for alt-weeklys and newspapers in Boston, his home… Read more.

FINANCIAL FOCUS – Time for Some Financial Spring Cleaning


Spring is in the air, even if it’s not quite there on the calendar. This year, as you shake off the cobwebs from winter and start tidying up around your home and yard, why not also do some financial spring cleaning?

Actually, you can apply several traditional spring cleaning techniques to your financial situation. Here are a few ideas:

  • Look for damage. Damage to your home’s siding, shingles and foundation can eventually degrade the structure of your home. Your investment portfolio is also a structure of a sort, and it, too, can be damaged. Specifically, you may have deliberately constructed your portfolio with an investment mix – stocks, fixed-income vehicles, cash instruments, etc. – that’s appropriate for your goals and risk tolerance. But over time, your portfolio can evolve in unexpected ways. For example, your stocks may have grown so much in value that they now take up a larger percentage of your holdings than you had intended, possibly subjecting you to a higher degree of risk. If this happens, you may need to rebalance your portfolio.
  • Get rid of “clutter.” As you look around your home, do you see three mops or four nonfunctional televisions or a stack of magazines from the 1990s? If these items no longer have value, you could get rid of them and clear up some living space. As an investor, you also might have “clutter” – in the form of investments that no longer meet your needs. If you sold these investments, you could use the proceeds to fill gaps in your portfolio.
  • Consolidate. Do you keep your lawnmower in a shed, a rake in your garage, and your gardening tools in the basement? When working on your outdoor tasks, you might find it more efficient to have all these items in one location. You could also have your investments scattered about – an IRA here, a new 401(k) there, and an older 401(k) someplace else. But if you consolidated all your investments in one place, you might cut down on paperwork and fees, and you wouldn’t risk losing track of an asset (which actually happens more than you might think). Even more importantly, when you have all your investments with one provider, you’ll be better positioned to follow a single, centralized investment strategy.
  • Prepare for a rainy day. As part of your outdoor spring cleaning, you may want to look at your gutters and downspouts to make sure they are clear and in good repair, so that they can move rainwater away from your home. Your financial goals need protection, too, so you’ll want to ensure you have adequate life and disability insurance.
  • Seal leaks. In your home inspection this spring, you may want to investigate doors and windows for leaks and drafts. Your investment portfolio might have some “leaks” also. Are investment-related taxes siphoning off more of your earnings than you realize? A financial professional can offer you recommendations for appropriate tax-advantaged investments.

This spring, when you’re cleaning your physical surroundings, take some time to also tidy up your financial environment. You may be pleased with the results.

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor.

Marques Young
Edward Jones Investments
8001 Centerview Parkway, Suite 112
Cordova, TN 38018
Office: (901) 751-0634
Member SIPC



6 Ways That Small Businesses Can Use Snapchat to Increase Sales


Most small business owners know about the power of social media – and it’s rare to find an entrepreneur who doesn’t have a Twitter account, and Instagram presence, or a Facebook page. However, there is one huge social media platform that’s often entirely overlooked by small businesses and their marketing teams – Snapchat.

Snapchat is a red-hot social marketing platform – there’s no denying it – and companies are beginning to capitalize on the audience provided by this fun photo-messaging app. More than 100 million users use Snapchat daily watching a staggering 10 billion videos on a typical day.

Clearly, marketing on Snapchat should be one of your priorities when it comes to promoting your business through social media platforms. But how should you use Snapchat to promote your business? We’re glad you asked! In this article, we’ll take a look at six simple ways that small businesses can use Snapchat to boost their brand awareness – and increase sales.

1. Use Snapchat for Flash Sales and Special Promotions

One of the best reasons to use Snapchat is how immediate it is. Snaps go away after you view them when you send them directly to another user – and even if you use the “My Story” functionality of the app, your story will disappear within 24 hours.

This means that people who use Snapchat a lot, check it every single day. Think about it – if they fail to check their snaps and Snapchat Stories at least once a day, they’ll totally miss out on whatever their friends – and followed brands – posted!

Because of this, Snapchat is a fantastic way to promote flash sales and special promotions that are time-sensitive. Your followers will be checking your story just about every day – so you can get a massive, immediate reach even for a sale that only lasts a day or less.

2. Promote Your Events with GeoFilters

Geofilters are an excellent way to promote events. Are you having a huge sale? Partner with a graphic designer to create a unique Geofilter that your loyal customers can use while shopping – by doing so, you provide your customers with the tools they need, to spread the word about your business.

If you do use Geofilters, make sure your customers know about them! They’re a fantastic word-of-mouth promotional tool, and if you provide them with a high-quality, memorable design, customers will be happy to use them.

So next time you have a sale, volunteer at a charitable event or are running a weekly special, consider buying a Geofilter for the occasion.

3. Give People an Inside Look at Your Business

People like feeling authentic connections with companies – and this is especially true with small businesses. That’s the primary benefit of a small business. You’re not a corporate conglomerate if you’re a small business owner – you’re a real, actual and authentic person.

Snapchat offers you an excellent way to express authenticity. You can show your true personality to customers, and give them an inside look at your business.

For example, if you run a small microbrewery, you could dedicate a Saturday to providing your followers with an inside look at your brewing facilities and your process. If you run a bike repair shop, you can show followers what the process is like to replace a bent wheel. If you run a bakery, you can show the process you use to bake cakes – the opportunities are endless.

Providing this kind of authentic, value-added content is an exceptional way to connect with your customers, drive brand loyalty, and increase sales.

For the rest of this great article please click here.

Be sure to attend our next workshop at the South Fulton Branch Library, 4055 Flat Shoals Road, Union City on How To Turn Your Contacts Into Contracts with Jacqueline H. Waller.


Featured Articles for March 2017

Featured Articles for March 2017 by Vaas Professionals

IRS Dirty Dozen Tax Scams for 2017
Compiled annually by the IRS, the “Dirty Dozen” is a list of common scams taxpayers may encounter in the coming months. While many of these scams peak during the tax filing season, they may be encountered at any time during the year.

Six Overlooked Tax Breaks for Individuals
Confused about which credits and deductions you can claim on your 2016 tax return? You’re not alone. Here are six tax breaks you won’t want to overlook.

Are your Social Security Benefits Taxable?
Some people must pay taxes on part of their Social Security benefits while others find that their benefits aren’t taxable at all. If you receive Social Security, a tax professional can help you determine if some–or all–of your benefits are taxable.

Small Business Financing: Securing a Loan
At some point, most small businesses owners will visit a bank or other lending institution to borrow money. Whether it’s for startup costs or business expansion, understanding what your bank wants, and how to properly approach them, can mean the difference between getting your money for expansion and having to scrape through finding cash from other sources. Here’s what you need to know.

What Income is Taxable?
Are you wondering if there’s a hard and fast rule about what income is taxable and what income is not taxable? The quick (and easy) answer is that all income is taxable unless the law specifically excludes it. But as you might have guessed, there’s more to it than that. Keep reading to learn more.

Tax Tips

Choosing the Correct Filing Status
It’s Not Too Late to Make a 2016 IRA Contribution
Eight Tax Facts about Exemptions and Dependents 
IRS Releases Updated Form 990-EZ
What You Should Know about the AMT

QuickBooks Tips

Establishing Preferences in QuickBooks

Tax Due Dates

March 1

Farmers and Fishermen – File your 2016 income tax return (Form 1040) and pay any tax due. However, you have until April 18 to file if you paid your 2016 estimated tax by January 17, 2017.

March 10

Employees who work for tips – If you received $20 or more in tips during February, report them to your employer. You can use Form 4070.

March 15

Employers – Nonpayroll withholding. If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in February.

Employers – Social Security, Medicare, and withheld income tax. If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in February.

Partnerships – File a 2016 calendar year income tax return (Form 1065). Provide each partner with a copy of their Schedule K-1 (form 1065-B) or substitute Schedule K-1. To request an automatic 6-month extension of time to file the return, file Form 7004. Then file the return and provide each partner with a copy of their final or amended (if required) Schedule K-1 (Form 1065) by September 15.

S Corporations – File a 2016 calendar year income tax return (Form 1120S) and pay any tax due. Provide each shareholder with a copy of Schedule K-1 (Form 1120S), Shareholder’s Share of Income, Credits, Deductions, etc., or a substitute Schedule K-1. If you want an automatic 6-month extension of time to file the return, file Form 7004 and deposit what you estimate you owe.

Electing large partnerships – File a 2016 calendar year return (Form 1065-B). Provide each partner with a copy of Schedule K-1 (Form 1065-B), Partner’s Share of Income (Loss) From an Electing Large Partnership. This due date applies even if the partnership requests an extension of time to file the Form 7004.

S Corporation Election – File Form 2553, Election by a Small Business Corporation, to choose to be treated as an S corporation beginning with calendar year 2017. If Form 2553 is filed late, S treatment will begin with calendar year 2018.

March 31

Electronic filing of Forms 1097, 1098, 1099, 3921, and 3922 – File Forms 1097, 1098, 1099, 3921, and 3922 with the IRS (except a Form 1099-MISC reporting nonemployee compensation). This due date applies only if you file electronically. Otherwise, see February 28. The due date for giving the recipient these forms generally remains January 31.

Electronic Filing of Form W-2G – File copies of all the Form W-2G (Certain Gambling Winnings) you issued for 2016. This due date applies only if you electronically file. Otherwise, see February 28. The due date for giving the recipient these forms remains January 31.

Electronic Filing of Forms 8027 – File copies of all the Forms 8027 you issued for 2016. This due date applies only if you electronically file. Otherwise, see February 28.

Electronic Filing of Forms 1094-C and 1095-C and Forms 1094-B and 1094-B – If you’re an applicable Large Employer, file electronic forms 1094-C and 1095-C with the IRS. For all other providers of essential minimum coverage, file electronic Forms 1094-B and 1095-B with the IRS. Otherwise, see February 28.

Click here to read the rest of the newsletter.

Please call us at (404)223-1058 if you have any questions.


VAAS Professionals, LLC
325 Edgewood Avenue, S.E
Atlanta, GA 30312

Changing Careers? Know Your Options


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What to do with your retirement funds when you change jobs or go into business full-time

There are many new challenges to face if you happen to be changing jobs or retiring – not the least of which is the decision of what to do with the retirement funds that have accumulated in your 401(k) and other retirement plans over the years of service with your employers. These decisions may have a significant impact on your future financial security in retirement.

Option 1) Your employer hands you a check for the amount in your retirement plan.
This may look like a bonanza, but selecting this option could be a mistake. First, your employer is required to withhold 20% from your lump sum distribution, so you will only receive 80%. Second, if you are younger than 59 1/2, you may be subject to a 10% additional federal income tax penalty for early withdrawal. Third, you are liable for paying income taxes on the full amount—if you fail to rollover the full amount of your funds, including the 20% that was withheld, into an IRA within 60 days.

Option 2) Leave the money with your old employer.
If you have more than $5000 in your former employer’s retirement plan, you can usually leave the money where it is. (Check with your employer.) The advantage of doing this is that it relieves you of making a decision for the time being while maintaining the tax deferral of your assets. The downside is that you are limited to the investment choices offered by your ex-employer—or even fewer choices, since some companies have additional restrictions for non-active employees. Additional disadvantages are that you cannot make new contributions to your account.

Option 3) Move your retirement money to your new employer.
This option only works if you are moving to another job. Even then, your new employer may not accept rollovers from a previous plan or may impose a waiting period. Also, the investment options offered by your new employer may not be as extensive as you want. The benefit is that you maintain your assets’ tax deferral and benefit from the convenience of having your assets in one place.

Option 4) Put the money into a traditional IRA Rollover.
By having your former employer’s retirement plan pay the IRA custodian directly, you avoid the 20% withholding or any penalties. There are numerous benefits to your own IRA Rollover: A potentially wider choice of investment opportunities—you can select the stocks, bonds, mutual funds or other investments that are right for you.

The ability to withdraw without penalty for some purposes. Withdrawals can be made without penalty by taking a series of substantially equal periodic payments for at least five years or until after you reach age 59 1/2. Withdrawals are subject to normal income tax treatment and may be subject to an additional 10% federal income tax penalty.  Thus, if you are planning to retire before you reach age 59 1/2, this method can enable you to dip into your IRA Rollover without penalty. Please note, there may be other eligible retirement plans which can accept funds.

Please be advised that this document is not intended as legal or tax advice. Accordingly, any tax information provided in this document is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by any taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed on the taxpayer. The tax information was written to support the promotion or the marketing of the transaction(s) or matter(s) addressed and you should seek advice based on your particular circumstances from an independent tax advisor. AXA Advisors, LLC and AXA Network, LLC do not provide tax advice or legal advice. This article is provided by Antan Wilson. Antan Wilson offers securities through AXA Advisors, LLC (member FINRA, SIPC), 780 JOHNSON FERRY ROAD SUITE 600 ATLANTA, GA 30342 and offers investment advisory products and services through AXA Advisors, LLC, an investment advisor registered with the SEC, and offers annuity and insurance products through an insurance brokerage affiliate, AXA Network, LLC and its subsidiaries. This individual is licensed to transact insurance business in the following states: GA, DC, NJ, LA, NC; and is registered to offer securities in the following states: GA, NJ.

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Antan R. Wilson
780 Johnson Ferry Road
Suite 600
Atlanta, GA 30342
Tel: (404) 760-2418

28 Types of Content Upgrades You Can Easily Create

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1. A cheat sheet
Depending on what your blog post is about, a cheat sheet can be a simple content upgrade. For example, if I write a blog post explaining the different tags in HTML, I can create a one-pager of all the available HTML tags and how they’re used.

2. Checklist
A long, 4,000-word blog post can likely be converted into an easier-to-digest checklist. It can be an itemized step-by-step for a how-to blog post, a list of materials for a do-it-yourself project, or a list of best practices.

For example, if you’re sharing a process you have for promoting a blog post, you can create a checklist of everything the reader should do to promote the blog post.

Tools to easily create checklists: ForgettSweetProcess, and Checkli

3. List of resources
Do you mention a bunch tools or resources in your blog post? Create a master list linking to each of them for readers so they don’t have to search for each tool on their own. Then make that list available as a PDF download.

4. Transcripts for your podcast or video show
If you host interviews, have a podcast, or have a video show, transcribe your recording and make it into a downloadable PDF file. It takes less than 10 minutes of work for you to hire a transcriber and host the file.

Transcription services: Rev and Fiverr.

5. Video or audio recording
If you’ve previously hosted and recorded an interview, a webinar, or any informational video that’s relevant to the blog post, you can make the recording available as a bonus. You can create a how-to video of a blog post or record yourself reading your blog post out loud. It might sound like a strange idea, but some readers digest information differently.

Tool for audio editing: Audacity Tool for video editing: Camtasia

6. Quick start guide
You might be teaching something complicated. Simplify it. People want to get started quickly without worrying about the difficulties later on (those difficulties often prevent them from taking the first steps). Take the first three steps and simplify them to help the reader get over the initial barrier.

7. Full guide
Instead of a simple quick start guide, create a comprehensive guide that walks the reader step-by-step through the entire process. While it may be lengthier, it’ll target readers who are looking for in-depth guidance.

8. Report / whitepaper
Have you hosted a survey or done extensive research into a topic? Make it into a report that’ll educate readers about their industry or interest. Reports and whitepapers will also help you become recognized as an expert in your area of interest.

9. Printable
This could be a relevant diagram, motivational quote, or images the reader can print out and pin up on their wall. It’s a great reminder for readers to stay organized or focused.

10. Assignments or worksheets
If you’re teaching something, go beyond explaining the concept. Create homework assignments that your readers can download and immediately apply the knowledge.

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28 Ideas for Content Upgrades To Grow Your Email List. How to make them, where to use them, providing the upgrade, and more

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You’ve written blog posts and you’ve gotten some traffic, and even though you have beautiful visitor numbers, your email list is another story.

You know that building an email list is important and you’ve started doing that, but your conversion rate is stagnant at around 1% … 2% on a great day.

What if you can get 10% of your website visitors to subscribe via email? How about 20%?

Sound too good to be true? It’s not. In fact it has already been done by other bloggers. It’s a proven method that’s possible for you to do too.

All it takes is creating tactical content upgrades to give visitors irresistible value. We’re going to give you the tools and knowledge to do just that.

In this guide, we’re going to cover:

  1. What are content upgrades
  2. Why you should create them (people have seen conversion rates improve by over 300%)
  3. 28 different types of content upgrades
  4. The simple 5-step framework to get started with content upgrades
  5. 4 questions to help you come up with irresistible content upgrades
  6. How to easily host your content upgrade in under 5 minutes
  7. 9 tips to make your content upgrades into list building machines

What Are Content Upgrades
A content upgrade is bonus piece of information that elaborates on or complements a piece of content the reader is already interested in. The bonus is both highly valuable and in context with the page’s content so we gate the bonus by asking for an email address, a Facebook share, a tweet, or an email to a friend.

In other words, a content upgrade is a valuable offer created to get a visitor’s email address or get them to promote you.

For example, if you were reading about how to fix a broken toilet, reading might not be enough. You might be interested in watching a bonus video that shows you how to fix your toilet because you can follow along with the video.

Boom. It’s a perfect content upgrade because the video showing you how to fix a toilet is both valuable and specific to the article you’re reading.

Why Content Upgrades
Successful content upgrades have helped people grow their email list exponentially.

If you’re unsure whether content upgrades will work for you, look below at the results from Backlinko by Brian Dean, an internationally-recognized entrepreneur and SEO expert.


Yep. That’s a 785% improvement. Not too shabby.

But Brian isn’t the only one who has seen lucrative results from implementing content upgrades.

Devesh Khanal increased one blog post’s conversion rate for Growth Everywhere by 492% by implementing a content upgrade. Imagine doing that for ten blog posts.

Conversion rates are high for content upgrades because they provide an immediate reward instead of presenting a generic “subscribe for free updates” call-to-action. The reader is primed to give you their email for something useful and relevant to what they’re already invested in reading about in that exact moment in time.

It can be difficult to set up content upgrades. Keyword is can. However, using tools like Welcome MatList Builder, or Scroll Box, you can be set up in less than five minutes.

When it comes down to it, the time it takes to create a content upgrade should be thought of as an investment. As you saw above, the effects of implementing even one content upgrade can be exponential.

In fact, depending on what type of content upgrade you want to create, the whole process of ideation, creation, and implementation can take less than 30 minutes.

Before I tell you how to quickly create a content upgrade, here are 28 different types of content upgrades you can create.

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