If you’re thinking about buying a Class B RV, you’ll be happy to know that there’s a lot to love about traveling small.
It’s easy to drive.
If you’ve ever owned an RV over 22′, you know that it can sometimes be a challenge to drive and park. With a Class B RV under 22′, you can park it nearly anywhere. It’s much like driving a long-bed truck. It’s easy to handle, even for people who minimal experience driving larger vehicles.
It makes it easy to travel.
You can keep all your necessities stocked in the RV. This includes your bed, bath, kitchen and closet. When we want to do a road trip, we load up some food and clothes and we’re ready to head out.
You can go almost anyplace a car can go.
With a Class B RV under 22′, you can park in most parking lots, and parallel park in most streets. In tourist areas or destination spots, you need to check for signs that might restrict vehicles over a certain height, but in general, you can park almost anywhere. It’s much easier to park a Class B RV than larger rigs or trailers.
You can squeeze in at “full” campgrounds.
Because Class B RVs are small compared to other RVs, sometimes you can get a spot even when a campground is “full.” When we learned about this from a fellow Pleasure-Way owner, we put it to the test and sure enough we were able to squeeze into a “full” campground on a 4th of July weekend.
If you drive a van with a side door that slides, you might be happy to learn a simple trick that makes it much easier to close your van sliding door.
We’ve owned our Ram ProMaster® window van for more than a year. During this time, we often had to try multiple times to slam the van sliding door in order to lock it. If it’s not all the way closed, it won’t lock. We never put any thought into it. It’s just the way it was.
When I was by myself, I’d obviously be the one to slam it shut. And it often took me several tries. But anytime my husband was around, I’d yield to him knowing that he’d have a better chance of being able to close and lock it with fewer tries than me.
We love our Pleasure-Way Promaster Lexor Class B RV and its large side door. In fact it was one of the selling points of this RV. When the van sliding door is open, our tiny kitchen has a wide open view. Sometimes this view is the ocean, sometimes it’s a campsite, and sometimes it’s just the next vehicle in the parking lot. But regardless of the view, when this big door is pushed back to expose the kitchen, it makes the whole interior of the van feel more spacious as it opens up to the surroundings.
And so for the past year we went about enjoying our weekend adventures getting in and our of our RV, often trying multiple times to slam-close the van sliding door.
And then one day we were watching a fellow YouTuber with a similar van sliding door. That’s when we learned the secret.
It’s much easier to close the van sliding door when one of the other doors or windows is open. It takes the air pressure off the interior and makes it much easier to close the van sliding door.
That’s it. That’s the secret to making it easy to close the van sliding door!
Duh! As soon as we learned this, it made perfect sense! Check out this 24-second clip within our video to see a demonstration of how to take the pressure off the van sliding door:
Although we had a fairly thorough how-to walk-through when we picked up our new RV at the dealership, we didn’t learn this tip. I haven’t read the owner’s manual for our chassis cab, so I don’t know whether or not it mentions this helpful tip.
It’s common to have so much thought chatter going on that we miss the obvious. Our perception is limited. Our attention is elsewhere. Sometimes we think we’re going about things the right way, and then one day we find out there’s a better way. It’s a good reminder that we need to remain open minded at all times. There might be a better way.
Business reviews are more important than advertising. Customer reviews can have a big impact on your business. Opinions about your business are easy to find and buyers are more informed today than ever. Regardless of whether you’re selling a ten-dollar widget or a ten-thousand-dollar service package, buyers read about your product or service before they ever step foot into your business or try your product. This is equally true if you’re a nonprofit or any other organization who wants to attract people to whatever it is that you have to offer.
Buyers can browse through reviews and read other’s opinions about your business or organization before you have a chance at a first impression.
Decision-makers are armed with smart phones. They can stand at your front door or see your product on a (virtual) shelf and quickly learn what others have to say about it. And even if they don’t have time to read reviews, they can take a quick glance to see how many stars you have compared to other options they’re considering.
Good reviews are helpful because they let you know what customers appreciate. Bad reviews are helpful because they help you learn how to improve your business.
After reading reviews, buyers approach your business with expectations based on what they’ve already read. Since they’ve chosen your business, it’s likely because all the stars have aligned. You’re positioned at the right time and location when they’re ready to take action.
So what can you do as a business owner to embrace business reviews and attract more customers? Take a look at some of the following ideas to see what might apply to you:
Accept negative reviews as opportunities to learn
Yelp is recognized as one of the most popular business review sites. Lots of small businesses owners have a love-hate relationship with Yelp. The good side of Yelp is that a small hole-in-the wall coffee shop has the opportunity to outrank a big franchise such as Starbucks. It gives small businesses a chance to get noticed and thrive. But lots of small business owners also fear that Yelp can hurt their business. Consider some of these Yelp experiences:
No one likes to be judged. By their very nature, judgments are attacks. Business owners who get bad business reviews can and do get dismayed. And Yelp, no doubt, feels the same about this upcoming Billion Dollar Bully documentary by Prost Films.
The best way to look at Yelp and every other review tool is that these are extra doors to your business. Some turn out to be more welcoming than others.
Release your grievances toward others and you’ll find that they begin to melt all around you.
Learn from your competitors’ business reviews
Amazon reviews can affect your business whether you’re selling through Amazon or not. If your customers are shopping in a brick and mortar store, they can check to see what others think about a product and do a quick price comparison. If it’s cheaper on Amazon, they can add it to their cart with a quick click knowing that it will show up at their front door within a day or two. Amazon has had a big impact on both online and brick and mortar stores. If you’re selling products that are also available on Amazon, or if you’re selling through Amazon, these reviews can affect your business.
This David Horsey cartoon offers insight into Amazon’s company culture. Behind-the-scenes Glassdoor business reviews can influence the talent you attract and the ultimate results you get in your business.
Ask every happy customer to write a business review
Google reviews and ratings conveniently pop up when you’re searching for places on Google maps. Google maps search along route feature is useful when you’re trying to save time and make convenient stops. Whether you have a brick and mortar location or not, Google encourages you to remind customers to leave a review. Learn more about how to get reviews on Google.
Google Maps lets you search for food, gas, and more along your navigation route.
Foursquare brands itself as a “location intelligence company.” It’s also a good contender for finding food, nightlife or shopping business reviews and ratings by location. If your business falls into one of these categories, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your Foursquare business reviews.
Disable ratings and reviews
Facebook allows you to choose whether or not you want to enable business reviews on your business page. Go to the Facebook Help Center to learn how to allow or disable ratings and reviews on your page. If you go to Facebook’s @facebook page, you’ll see that they, ironically, do not have this feature enabled. If every business review system gave you the option to disable the ratings on your business, you could choose to ignore ratings altogether. But going dark online also makes you invisible to potential customers who use online search tools to guide their buying decisions.
Hire bloggers to provide you with business reviews
Bloggers are a terrific resource for business reviews. Bloggers can educate people about your business. They can share reviews that highlight the benefits of your product or service. They can share a customer testimonial telling what it’s like to work with you. You can find bloggers on just about any topic. They can help you come up with creative ways to share your business. Many are willing to barter in exchange for product or service samples, so it’s worth asking. If you’d like to go this route, here are some tips on how to ask bloggers for backlinks and reviews. By the way, if you’d like me to blog about your business, contact me today to discuss the possibilities.
Invite YouTubers to film your product or service
YouTube offers a platform for anyone with a smart phone who wants to share their thoughts about a flight, an electronics product, an RV, or anything else on their mind. YouTube is an ideal way to let people get a glimpse into what you have to offer, especially if it already lends itself well to an audience, such as a church or a school, for example where preachers and teachers are already talking to an audience. Although YouTube is driven by videos, anyone can comment on the content. This, in essence, is a form of a business review to a YouTuber. And if you’re part of the video, you can get feedback as well.
YouTubers who have lots of subscribers can have a big influence on their followers. And they have the freedom to tell stories on just about anything, including educating people on new products. Consider this “Hands Free Segway thing” review post by YouTuber Casey Neistat:
Snap photos of happy customers
Instagram tends to be a happy place. It’s a terrific app that allows you and your customers to snap, post and share attractive pictures within a few minutes. If your customers are taking the time to mention you in their Instagram feed, it’s probably positive. Smile and welcome the photos.
In addition, Instagram gives you the opportunity set up your business profile on Instagram and self-promote with annotated photos. Be sure to use hashtags to attract your ideal customers.
Connect with your community
Nextdoor offers a feature for recommendations. If you depend on local work or walk-in traffic, this is a great way to connect with people in your neighborhood. If your business isn’t already listed, you can add a business in recommendations for free. This is a great app to spark face-to-face friendships and goodwill referrals within your community. Once you establish your reputation, satisfied customers will naturally want to share brief reviews along with their referrals.
Respond to business reviews
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) touts itself as a tool to help “people find and recommend businesses, brands and charities they can trust.” In practice, however, the BBB tends to be the go-to place where customers log serious complaints against a business because they know this is a place where the business owners might actually take action to resolve a complaint. Click here for an overview of how BBB ratings are calculated.
A BBB rating is not an indicator of the success of a business. Amazon, for example, is one of the biggest businesses in the United States. Although the majority of its customer reviews are negative, Amazon maintains an A+ rating with the BBB.
Make it a high priority to be responsive to complaints not only on the BBB, but anyplace else where they might pop up.
Respond to questions about your business
Quora defines itself as “a place to share knowledge and better understand the world.” It’s a great place to engage with chatty intellects who are willing to answer questions posed by its users. Buyers don’t necessarily go directly to Quora for business reviews, but if you offer a complex product or service that costs a few hundred dollars or more, you might want to take a serious look at Quora. Chances are, people are talking about it. Some brands are so prominent that all their questions are grouped together. If you’re an Evernote user, and I highly recommend it by the way, check out some of the Evernote Q&As posed on Quora.
Review your customers
Uber, Airbnb, OfferUp, OpenTable and more companies are not only giving customers a chance to rate the service provider, but also giving the service provider a chance to rate their customers. When both parties know they’re evaluating each other, it tends to result in a more cordial interaction. And this is reflected the exchange of reviews and ratings. If it makes sense for your business model to offer mutual ratings, consider adding the option.
Join a matchmaking site
Angie’s List is a membership site that “eliminates anonymous reviews giving you trusted, more credible info to make the right choice.” If you’re a contractor, for example, and finding high quality customers is important to you, Angie’s List might be a good fit for you. Be prepared to go through through their background check. If you’re interested in listing your business, check out Angie’s List Business Center to learn more.
Consumer Affairs provides “expert resources and verified reviews” to help customers make smarter buying decisions. Their philosophy is that “everyone deserves to make smart decisions based on unbiased feedback and research-driven information.” They encourage visitors to write business reviews about their experiences with their member brands. Check out their Brands platform to see if it might be right for your business.
Participate in a business review site that makes sense for your niche
If you own a restaurant, you might want to consider Zagat which helps foodies “cut through the clutter of available dining choices” to find the best places wherever they are. Or OpenTable where your customers can “make restaurant reservations the easy way.”
If you manufacture a product, you might set a goal to be a featured product in Consumer Reports or the Environmental Working Group “whose mission is to empower people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment.”
If your business depends on your reputation as an expert, consider writing a book. Goodreads is a terrific place for you as a leader to share your bookshelves and review books. Between Goodreads and Amazon, indie authors have an opportunity for their books to rise to the a bestseller and they have the opportunity to compete with all the big name publishers. Goodreads is a terrific tool for authors and their readers. And it’s also a great place to find, read and review books in your industry. To make the most of your reviews, follow Goodreads Review Guidelines.
Keep Twitter on your watch list
Twitter’s mission is “to give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers.” This means that you can share information about your business while tagging anyone you want. And it means that others can do the same to you. For better or worse, others can also create fan clubs such as Trader Joe’s List or protest groups such as InequalityAtWlmt. Twitter is not a main contender when it comes to business reviews, but depending on the type of business you operate, you might want to keep it on your watch list.
Highlight customer testimonials on your website
Nearly every business can benefit by having a website. It’s the one place online where you can define your brand and the intent of what you have to offer. It’s a great place to highlight a variety of customer testimonials that give insight into the benefits of what you have to offer.
If you have a content rich and attractive website, buyers are more likely to check it out to see what you have to offer. This is the one place where you have complete control of your customer testimonials.
Provide great customer service to everyone
Your best line of defense is to treat all your customers and employees with love and respect. Encourage everyone in your business to read and discuss books that help to develop their people skills such as: How to Win Friends and Influence People.
If you need a writer to help with responses to your business reviews, or assist with content marketing on your website, let me know. I’d love to help. Contact me today.
Dr. Lorraine Haataia has expertise in several industries including education, construction and transportation. She believes that our thoughts create our reality. She’s passionate about writing because it gives readers the opportunity to learn on demand, expand their minds, and benefit by seeing the world in a new way.
Once upon a time, clean water was free. But this is rarely the case anymore. You can still get air for free, but like water, the quality can vary tremendously from one city to another.
Oxygen is one of the most essential elements you need to live. Without it, you’d die within a few minutes. The quality of the air you breathe affects your health and possibly your longevity. Most people take air for granted, but those who have contracted lung cancer from living in highly polluted areas understand more than most, the value of fresh air. FoxNews
Fresh air is in jeopardy for all of us. That’s why each one of us needs to act now before it’s too late.
Fresh air is one of the few life-sustaining things that companies haven’t figured out how to charge for . . . at least not yet. But they’re indirectly causing us to move in that direction anyway. One of the most important aspects of your health, air quality, is highly dependent on your local environment.
Some of the most highly polluted cities in the US are in California. Bakersfield, Merced, Fresno, Hanford, Los Angeles, Modesto, Visalia and El Centro are all among the top 10 most polluted cities in the US. TIME.
Pay attention to the pollution index in your community. Go to AirNow.gov to check the air quality for more than 300 cities across the US. Or if you want to check the weather and air quality at the same time, use WeatherBug when you’re planning your daily activities. On days when the particulates are high in your area, you may want to cut back on physical exertion in order to minimize the toxins your lungs absorb.
Some of the main sources of air pollution include transportation fumes, power plants and industrial and agricultural emissions.
If clean air is one of your top priorities, you’ll achieve this quickest by moving to a location known for its fresh air. This may be a solution for some people, but it’s not a realistic solution for most. Although you may not be able to stop air pollution in your community, there are several things you can do to help protect the air in your community.
Get around by biking or walking as often as possible. Not only is this good for your community, living an active lifestyle is good for your health. When you’re out and about, do what you can to avoid breathing in exhaust fumes, especially in traffic jams or at red lights.
Avoid vehicles, parking garages and drop off areas. Parking garages tend to concentrate exhaust fumes, especially those that are underground. Above ground parking garages generally have better ventilation, but even they can be troublesome when there are a lot of cars coming and going, or in any areas where cars queue to enter or exit the garage. Drop off areas at airports can also be particularly toxic since people often leave their cars running while loading or unloading their luggage.
Eat whole foods grown as close to home as possible. When you buy local, you cut back on the pollution caused by the transportation and distribution of those goods. Buy whole foods such as fruits, vegetables and bulk foods with little to no packaging. Not only are processed foods less nutritious, they also create a tremendous amount of waste. Cut back on the amount of meat you eat and you’ll help to cut back on factory farm emissions.
Take time to walk among trees. When was the last time you were in a deep forest where the air was so fresh you could smell the life of the dirt and plants? Trees help to purify the surrounding air. Since 1982 the Japanese government has been promoting shinrin yoku (forest therapy). Although it does your body good to walk in general, walking in a forest has added benefits. It can lift your mood, lower your blood pressure and help to calm anxiety. Mother Earth News. If you don’t live near the woods, become active in local organizations working toward creating more green spaces in your community.
Be an advocate for clean air. Become familiar with the biggest perpetrators of air pollution in your community and support local agencies helping to reduce it. The more people who speak up, the more likely you are to instigate change. Particle Pollution and Your Health
Be conscious of indoor air you breath. This is especially important if you spend a lot of time indoors. Here are several things you can do to help reduce your exposure to indoor airborne pollutants.
Grow plants indoors. Plants produce oxygen and purify air at the same time. One study conducted in Norway revealed that simply having a plant within view of a workstation can help reduce employee sick leave. Mother Earth News. If you can’t add plants, freshen your indoor air with essential oils. Never use products like Febreeze, Glade or other plugins and car air fresheners. They don’t freshen the air at all. They mask odors, but most of them also add toxins to the air. Dr Ben Kim
Open the windows. Whenever possible, avoid buildings with fixed windows, ones that don’t open. This is especially important in newer buildings where glues, carpeting and all the new construction materials are release toxins. It can take years for some of these toxins to air out. Older buildings may have other issues with indoor air such as mold. Before you book a hotel, check to see if they offer operable windows or balconies. Choose open air restaurants, preferably ones where there’s little or no traffic nearby.
Choose smoke-free environments. Don’t smoke. If you do, you take 5-10 years off your life expectancy. Although it’s especially important to avoid restaurants, bars and other places where you may be exposed to second-hand smoke indoors, it’s important to do so outdoors as well. Keep your distance from smokers. As more places ban smoking in public areas, this is becoming easier. The World Health Organization (WHO) urges countries to make all indoor spaces 100% smoke-free. “The evidence is clear. There is no safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke.” WHO
Wear a mask. Wear a mask anytime you’re around auto body shops, construction zones, paints or other areas where fumes may be toxic. Masks are commonly used in Asia for many reasons, not only for allergies or asthma, but also to prevent passing colds onto others in highly populated areas. Some also use them to protect themselves from pollution or airborne viruses or bacteria. If you choose to buy one, be sure to check the quality and recommended uses. There are many different types.
Buy an air filter as a last resort. No company has quite figured out how to charge people for air yet, but in some of the world’s most highly polluted cities like Ahwaz, Iran, people have to pay for air filtration if they want to minimize their exposure to air pollution. Some filters only remove pollen from the air, but others also remove chemicals. If you’re concerned about your indoor air quality, you may want to purchase a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) air filtration unit which helps to purify the indoor air you breathe. This is a way to protect your own air, but unless it’s running on solar power, it just adds more pollution back into the environment anyway.
Do you wake up every day ready to dive into your work knowing that you’re fulfilling your sense of purpose? If so, you’re one of the fortunate few. If you’re like most people, there’s something getting in your way. You know you have free will, but you have lots of reasons for not exercising it. Your culture, family and the media invest in you so that you’ll act a certain way that makes cents for them. The reasons may make cents for them, but do they make sense for you?
It’s easy to get tied up in a job that’s hard to quit. And it’s easy to get tied up in a relationship that’s hard to break up.
If you aren’t sure about whether or not you’re being sensible about things, ask the people who know you well. They’ll give you a answers. But their answer won’t make sense to you.
It’s normal for us to think that our activities are important. The repetition grounds us, comforts us in a world of knowing what to expect. The drive for predictability motivates us to stick with it despite the inevitable failures and challenges we face with these choices as we carry them out day after day.
How many senses do you have?
Comedians say there’s only one sense that we all have in common. Everyone has a sense of humor. If you don’t laugh at jokes, you laugh at opinions. Chris Jami
A musician will tell you that there’s only one sense that really matters, the sense of rhythm. It allows you to walk without falling and to make music that people can enjoy regardless of whether or not they understand the lyrics. Music is the universal language. You don’t just hear music through your ears. It goes straight to your soul.
Rednecks say we have two senses: good sense and stupidity. What makes sense for you today might not make sense tomorrow. Are you paying attention to the whisper inside? Your good sense will always guide you back to what makes most sense for you.
Euro-Americans have been taught that the right answer to this question is five. Everyone knows that our noses detect odors, our tongues distinguish among tastes, our bodies recognize various forms of touch, our eyes define visual objects, and our ears interpret meanings among many different sounds.
If you were brought up in an educational system that taught you to ask for scientifically proven facts, you probably learned to suppress your illogical or silly feelings.
The next time you have a hunch about something, don’t dismiss it or try to justify it by surrounding it with the facts you know to be true. Accept the notion to be as real as the taste of a lemon, and act accordingly.
Follow it through to the end to see how it turns out. If it’s something you expect to happen within a short time, you’ll know quickly whether your intuition was accurate. If it’s more likely to happen after several months or years, you may want to write down a few notes so that you can remember when you initially had the premonition.
Hunches can also be about things that happened in the past. You may meet someone and have a sudden sense of one of their childhood scars, for example. Everyone has them. If you notice that a friend hates dogs. By the way they act around dogs, you may be able to sense that they were bit by a dog or that they were forced, against their will, to take on responsibility for a dog.
Some people utilize a six sense. Millions, or perhaps even billions, of people believe that we have additional perceptions, beyond these basic five. Your sixth sense may be a “gut feeling.” You might express it by saying, “I have a feeling that . . . ,” or “I bet you . . .,” or “I know in my heart . . .” You can’t confirm these types of insights with others as easily as agreeing that a tree is a tree. But you often get to see your foresights played out in the near or far future as things unfold.
Buddhists and other Indian faiths believe that the brain is an equally important organ which gives us access to feelings, perceptions and more. It’s sometimes referred to as “the Mind’s Eye.” Others believe that the sixth sense is our link to the Universal Mind or to God himself. Christians look for guidance from the Holy Spirit, and some may even say that God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit opened a door for them or told them to do something. Regardless of whether people believe their gut feelings come from their own subconscious or from another source, few deny their existence.
Count again. How many senses do you have now?
Exercise your senses. If you’ve been extinguishing them for years, you’ll need to reawaken your perceptive abilities. When you do, you’ll be able to experience many more joys of life in the present moment.
When your sense of purpose is fully realized daily through sensational experiences, you have more reasons to live a long and happy life.
Your sense of purpose may be grounded in your family. It may have to do with raising your children or being involved in the lives of your grandchildren.
According to the Chinese Zodiac, it takes 60 years to go through one full cycle. In Japan, families honor their relatives on their 60th birthday. Sixty-year olds wear read to symbolize their rebirth, or second life. Family members offer gifts, rejoice with them for their good health, giving them good wishes for longevity. They have additional celebrations at age 77, 88, 99 and beyond. Both the young and old have a purpose in their family and the elders respected for their experience and knowledge.
Maybe your purpose lies in a cause. Perhaps you know someone works at the local animal shelter and takes in stray animals. Or someone who spends weekends picking up garbage at the beach or planting trees? If you’re passionate about animals, the environment, or any other nonprofit cause, this probably gives you some good insight into your purpose.
Some occupations require you to use certain senses much more than others. Throughout your lifetime, your purpose is evolving, expanding or being strangled as your responsibilities and life circumstances change.
Some people’s purpose is grounded in their beliefs. Many centenarians have strong spiritual beliefs.
Perhaps you find purpose by contributing to your community. If you enjoy talking with and helping your neighbors, friends, and people who work in local shops, your sense of purpose might be grounded in your neighborhood.
If you have found a way to make your passion your daily work and source of income, you’re one of the fortunate few. You have good cents! We spend about a third of our lives sleeping, another third working, and the rest of it doing everything else.
Many people who live long lives have been enjoying their livelihood for many decades. Some continue working well into their 80s, 90s, and even beyond. If you’ve made a big investment in your education and career, perhaps your sense of purpose comes primarily from your work.
If you’re living to make cents, you’ll get by. But if you’re living in such a way that makes good sense, you’ll thrive and prosper. When people ask you how you do it, they’ll listen, but it won’t make sense to them.