Euro Improvements

Does anyone else find it irritating when an interviewee on the television or wireless prefixes their response to a question with “So,”? It works alright in thrillers when the hero is in peril; “So, Mr Bond, we meet again…” Too often, though, is it used as a misplaced conjunction by people desperate not to say “Er,”.

Worse, in the wrong hands it is the verbal equivalent of a patronizing sigh: “In your estimation, professor, how will this thermonuclear war in Haywards Heath affect ordinary in the immediate vicinity?” “So, they’ll be vaporized within the first nanosecond (do you know nothing about physics?).”

Applying the same critique to the subject at hand: “How will Ben Bernanke’s comments to Congress yesterday alter investors expectations of an end to quantitative easing?” “So, he made clear he would wind down the asset purchase program if the economy improved and that he wouldn’t if it didn’t (and investors are therefore no wiser than they were previously).”

With his two-handed economists’ phraseology the Federal Reserve chairman brought nothing new to the debate. In May he had said he would wind down the asset purchase program if the US economy improved and in June he had said he would not wind it down if it didn’t. Yesterday he lumped the two observations together, leaving investors right where they started. The US dollar starts today mostly a little firmer than it began Wednesday but the process was a gradual one, with no sudden leap attached to Mr Bernanke’s congressional testimony.

It is no firmer against the proud pound though. Sterling was Wednesday’s runaway winner, having shot higher when the minutes of July’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting showed an unexpected nine-nil vote in favour of the monetary status quo. Governor Carney didn’t vote for another round of asset purchases and M/s Fisher and Miles, who together had been holding out since February for more QE, either deferred to their new boss or decided the UK economy is recovering sufficiently not to need their help.

The effect on sterling was electric. As with the Spanish Inquisition, nobody ever expected a 9-0 demolition of the case for more QE. Investors expressed their surprise by taking the pound an immediate cent higher against the US dollar and the euro (for more information on interest rates visit Moneycorp). On the day it is stronger by an average of 0.7% against a basket of ten of the world’s most actively-traded currencies. In practical terms sterling is up by one and three quarter yen, half a US cent and nearly one Swiss and euro cent.

Slightly better-than-expected UK employment data helped the pound’s case but paled into insignificance alongside the MPC vote. Other ecostats yesterday included improved Swiss business sentiment, falls in US housing starts and building permits and an unchanged 1% benchmark interest rate in Canada. Overnight, Australian business confidence deteriorated from +2 to -1 and Switzerland announce  wider trade surplus as imports fell more quickly than exports.

On today’s agenda there is nothing of any importance from Euroland or North America to anyone who doesn’t take an unhealthy interest in Euroland’s current account, Canadian wholesale sales or US weekly jobless claims. It will therefore be left to UK retail sales to make the running. Monthly and annual increases of 0.2% and 1.7% would vindicate the forecasters. Bigger numbers would almost certainly mean another good day for the pound.

Technical Levels

EUR/USD

GBP/USD

GBP/EUR

Resistance: 1.3350 1.5475 1.1825
Support: 1.2750 1.4825 1.1300

Major economic releases due today

LAST

EXPECT

UK Retail Sales 2.1% 0.1%
US Initial Jobless Claims 360,000 344,000
US Philadelphia Fed. Manufacturing Index 12.5 8.0

Sterling Today

Euro 1.1577
US Dollar 1.5169
Australia Dollar 1.6544
Canadian Dollar 1.5812
New Zealand Dollar 1.9264
UAE Dirham 5.5719
Swiss Franc 1.4326
Rand 14.9191
Yen 151.97
Egypt 10.6227

Date (e.g. 24/2/11)

Time (e.g. 16:27)

Indicative rates as of

18/07/13

07.53

For more updates check out international money transfer experts, Moneycorp.

 

Delivery vanGetting goods from point A to point B is a vital part of almost every business, anywhere in the world. Transportation is a vital part of how business operates and without it things can very quickly grind to a stop.

I know from personal experience from running my own business and shipping my own products. It is important to know that when goods need transporting they will get to where they need to go as quickly and as efficiently as possible, keeping customer expectations high and your cash flow coming in.

Most businesses will have a commercial van vehicle at their disposal for precisely this reason. Because of the importance attached to this, it is always worth looking very carefully at the operational needs of the organisation and ensuring that any vehicles purchased meet these needs. A building supply company will have very different needs in terms of commercial vehicles, than a cake company or florist for instance, but one is just as important as the other.

Quick Tips: When it comes to running your business all vehicles serve different purposes.  So make sure make the insurance you carry on those vehicles reflects that.

Having analysed these needs, you might find that you are in need of specialized vehicles which might include having in-vehicle refrigeration, an extra wide wheel base, extra headroom or tail-lift for loading heavy equipment. These additions can come at an extra financial cost in terms of insurance, but this could be a worthy investment if they’re important features.

Matching Insurance To The Vehicle

With specialized needs come specialized insurance; cheap van insurance from The Co-operative Insurance might well make the difference in cost, meaning you won’t feel like you have to scrimp on the type of vehicle that your business actually needs. When looking at purchasing vehicles, you should always take insurance costs into account; not just so that you don’t get a nasty surprise when you do get around to insuring your vehicle, but so any saved cash can be put towards the price of the vehicle itself.

That might mean you’re able to afford a more environmentally-friendly vehicle with better fuel economy, or a newer vehicle with less mechanical wear hiding beneath the chassis.

Never lose sight of the reasons why your business needs its own vehicle in a foolish attempt to save money by cutting corners. An ineffective van will ultimately let the business down and only need replacing further down the line. There is a time to compromise with things and a time when compromise is ill-advised. Putting your business’ reputation at risk, for the sake of a few pennies on a van or van insurance, certainly falls into the latter bracket.

Birthday candles showing Nr. 5Yup that’s right, Stumble Forward has turned the ripe old age of  5 and it was on this very day that I wrote my first article and posted it on my site.  So today I thought I would share with you all the things I’ve done along the way and what I learned.

Specifically I’ll be sharing things like my traffic stats, earnings, some of my top articles, and even a few pictures of what Stumble Forward actually looked like back in the early years.  So let’s jump right in.

The Early Years

In the last weekend of August 2008 I finally put my foot down and said I would start my first website. I had no idea if things would work out or even if I’d be blogging a year from now.  All I knew was that I needed stop wasting time and just do it.

I can also say things have changed a lot since I’ve started.  When I started in 2008 I felt like I was getting in the blogging game a little late but looking back realized now is always the best time to start and I’m glad I did.

Quick Tip: Don’t talk yourself out of doing something just because you feel you are getting in the game late, because now is always the best time to take advantage of an opportunity.

My whole goal for starting my site was to share the financial mistakes I’ve made and give insight into how I got past those mistakes.  What’s great about this is that I’ve helped a lot of people along the way with tips and advice and to me this is the greatest reward my site has given me.

Pictures From The Past

Now that you have the WHY behind my story let’s look at some of the alterations Stumble Forward has gone through in that time.  Below is a picture what my site first looked like when it first launched in 2008.

Stumble_Forward_2008

As you can tell Stumble Forward didn’t look all that great when it first started but I had a site up and running and that’s all I cared about at that point.  A few months after that I changed the theme to something a little more desirable.

SF_2008_Late

In 2009 I also made another theme change as well.

SF_2009_A SF_2009_B

In 2010 I made yet another change but this time I switched to Thesis theme and this version of Stumble Forward stayed there until the spring of 2012 as which time I switched to the Genesis Framework.

SF_2009Traffic Stats

As far as traffic goes there has been a ton of traffic that has come and gone over those 5 years.Traffic_Stats

First off, I’ve had almost 300,000 unique visitors to my site in that time which is pretty cool considering I never thought I would ever bring that much traffic to my site in that time.

Secondly, the average visitor has stayed around 1 minute on my site but I plan to increase this over time.  I also plan to work on lowering my bounce rate as well.  For those of you who don’t understand bounce rate it’s a basic measure that tells you how many people engage and click on at least one link on my site when they land on it.  As you can tell around 80% of the people that come to my site tend to bounce and leave.

I think the main reason for this is because my site is nothing more than a content site which basically means most people will skim my content and not truly read the article from beginning to end.

To fix this I’m working to make my content easier to read and make it more engaging.  If you have any tips make your content more engaging I’d love to hear them in the comments below.

Top 10 Articles

Over the last 5 years there have definitely been a few articles that have stood the test of time and continuously drive in traffic through their popularity.  One common characteristic that I seem find with all of these articles is that they are almost all based on some type of experience I’ve had.

Earnings

Now we make it to the part everyone wants to know, income.  Honestly, the income has been very rewarding for this site, more than I could ever imagine.  I’ve been able to do a lot of things from attending conferences, vacations, to building my my new house.

Below is what I’ve managed to earn since starting my blog.

  • Adsense Income – $25,342.68
  • Affiliate Earnings –  $2730.50
  • Other Earnings –  $1500.00

In total I’ve earned around $29,573.18 since starting Stumble Forward.  That’s nearly $6000 a year on average.

Future Plans

With all the things I’ve done over the last 5 years I thought I would also include a section on what I plan to accomplish going forward.  Doing this would allow me to look back on this in 5 years and see exactly what I did accomplish and determine exactly how well I did in that time.

Here is a short list of things I plan to do.

  • Publish 1 Article A Day –  One thing I’ve lacked over the last 5 years is keeping a consistent content schedule going and at some point I plan to start publishing anywhere from 5 to 7 articles a week.
  • Start A Mailing List- Next I plan to start a more formal mailing list along with a free giveaway.  I’ve been building up a mailing list on Feedburner over the last 5 years but I plan to go more all in and ramp things up to build a bigger list.  This would also give me insights to my subscribers and help me make better decisions as to what my true readers are looking for.
  • Create More Videos – Third, I plan to create more videos for my site.  While blog post are still good, video is another way for people to engage with my site and learn more about me and my brand.
  • Start A Podcast – Starting a podcast has been on my mind for the last few years and I’ve been seriously considering the idea of starting one soon.
  • Create A Product- Finally the last thing I want to accomplish is to build my own product.  I have no idea what I want to build yet but I know it’s going to be something big.  Of all the things on this list this one may take the longest to do since it involves find a need and developing a something that people want.

Final Thoughts

As final thought I’d like to talk about achieving success.  If you would have told me five years ago that I was going to have everything that I have right now and I would have thought you were kidding.  In fact, I nearly gave up after the first year but I stuck with it and think of all the things I wouldn’t have today if I did quit.

Quick Tip: Do the right things long enough and success is inevitable.  You just need to figure out what those right things are and do them until you succeed.

This tip has probably been the guiding principle in my current success.  Now I’m not saying I’ve achieved much but I know as long as I create a plan and do the right things success will always follow.

What Big Things Have You Achieved With Your Blog?