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All small businesses require some form of payment processing. Understanding how to select merchant services can impact your sales revenue and profit. Learn the essential 6 questions of merchant services, and the hidden rules of the merchant account game.

1: What are merchant services?

Merchant services enable you to process credit card payments from your customers. It’s a special account tied to a credit card processor that works with your customer's bank to help route payments into your bank account.

2: Who offers merchant services?

Merchant services are provided by specialized companies called merchant service providers or independent sales organizations that offer payment processing. Another source for setting up merchant accounts are financial institutions.

3: Which type of company is best for a small business owner?

It depends on your business situation. A home-based business owner may be turned down from a bank since their business is less established. Merchant service providers and independent sales organizations can be more flexible. While one person may feel comfortable dealing with their local bank, another might prefer a credit card processor who offers low rates. Choose what is important to your business.

4: Is a merchant account required to accept credit cards?

No. One option is to contract with companies providing payment processing on your behalf. Their prices are higher from taking a larger percentage of the ticket price. All credit card providers charge your small business a percentage of each credit card payment received. If you are considering selling on the Internet, a merchant account provides a better professional image.

If you allow a third party company to process your payments, you have to put your order form on the payment processing site. You may only be able to get your funds two or three times a month, limiting cash flow. With your own merchant account, expect to receive those funds in less than three days from the time of the transaction.

5: What is required to begin payment processing online?

To begin payment processing you need the following:

• Secure Server with Certification: When your customer enters their credit card information, it is sent in unencrypted text form to the server hosting the website. To prevent data interception use SSL encryption ensuring no unauthorized decoding can occur.

• Order Form: Your customers need a place to input personal and banking information. The order form must be on a secure server.

• Gateway: This is the "tunnel" which allows for the authorization, processing, and management of the merchant services. It is the mechanism transferring your customer's vital information to the processor so you can get paid.

• Shopping Cart: A shopping cart is software allowing your small business to have an e-commerce store where purchases are automatically calculated for you. Ensure the gateway is compatible with the shopping cart.

• Merchant Service Account: You can have a secure server with certification, an order form, shopping cart and a gateway, but real-time processing cannot take place without establishing a merchant account. The merchant account provides access to a processor able to authorize, capture, and settle credit card transactions.

6: What are other ways to accept credit card payments?

One method is to outsource merchant service to a third party. The third party collects your customers' data and does all the work to process payments for your small business.

Another way to collect credit card payments on the web is called deferred payment processing. The customer inputs all data and you receive the data manually. With deferred processing, the data does not go through the gateway. One advantage to deferred processing is the ability to inspect all orders and correct them. Deferred payment processing can be time-consuming especially if you have hundreds of orders per day.

Finding the best merchant service option can be overwhelming. Review your options and make the decision based on what your customers would prefer and your small business can afford.
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Before the Internet came into the business world, the only way to process credit card payments was to establish a merchant account at a commercial bank. Today the Internet provides a business owner with a multitude of options in order to accept credit card payments online over the internet. Depending upon your monthly volume of online credit card transactions, fees and rates will vary. Before you start a relationship with any institution, make sure you understand the charges and fee structures.


The quickest and easiest way to start accepting credit card payments (Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover cards), debit cards and bank transfers online is by setting up a standard PayPal1 account. It took me just a few minutes to complete the application and start taking credit card orders. In addition, your customers do not have to have a PayPal account to use their credit card. PayPal does not have any monthly, set-up, or cancellation fees. The bad news is that their transaction fees are high (up to 2.9% of the transaction amount).

Merchant Account Services

If you are looking at hundreds of transactions per month, a merchant account will be your best bet. The transaction fees may be lower but there will be other fees for you to consider. The following fees are common practice among merchant account vendors:
•AVS (Address Verification Service) verifies the billing address that the customer supplied.
•Batch fee is a daily fee to close out all the transactions for the day.
•Chargeback fee is incurred when a customer disputes a charge.
•Monthly Minimum fee is charged if you do not meet or exceed the monthly volume of transaction that you agreed to.
•Reporting fee is charged for you to download your credit card payment detail.
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Can you believe we are already talking about Back to School deals? Yes it’s here!!


Get a FREE Backpack and Lunch Tote at Office Depot beginning  Sunday (7/31) with a minimum $15 purchase. Here is a sneak peek  at some of the other great deals that will be available.

Five Cent Items:

·        Paper pocket folders

·        Pencil pouch

·        Protractor


For a list of great Back to School deals please visit here: 


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images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQ3UO2982gs1VUUhWe-oDT5Pl9LmZxZbmgaZxcCVeubR2RU369B&__SQUARESPACE_CACHEVERSION=1311970493448Let's be real, no matter the mindset shift, strategies you create and implement or how successful you may be, being a business owner is a tough job! It has it's ups and downs. I don't have to tell you the number of snafu I've averted or how much my prayers and faith have evolved and strengthen through perseverance. At each new level I achieve as an entrepreneur comes the same challenges just dressed up a little fancier. Sure I've learned to master many things so that I can continue to build exponentially, but there are things in which I cannot control that throw a nasty little wrench in the operations! 

There have been times when I wanted to not just throw in the towel but cut that sucker up in tiny little pieces then burn it to ashes, then take the ashes and place it in the grill under  lip-smacking ribs, burgers in my backyard of "Normal" life with a 9 to 5 job and predictability. Of course those thoughts are fleeting as I'm passionate about what I do, but there are times when you wonder about a life of predictability.

Real matter where you are, at each new level, comes new set of mindset shifts that you will need to master to move on to the next level. Therefore we all need a little dose of Affirmation, Confirmations, and inspiration to remind us why this journey is all worth the fight.

SO! This list of my 77, compiled while I was cleaning my bathroom, making the kids lunch, trying to figure out where the heck these fruit flies came from, AND responding to client emails, checking on book orders, confirming speaking engagements (WHEW!), is for all the women entrepreneurs, regardless of your level. This is for those who have embraced a lifestyle that you wouldn't trade for the world! but recognize that we all need a little pick me up every now and then.  ENJOY ;-)

77 Affirmations, Confirmations & Reminders why You're AWESOME!

1. You Rock! Yes you do! Why? Just because you rock ;-)

2. You were made for this! Everything in you tells you are, you got a strategy (if not get one) so WORK it!!

3. Your Time is NOW! Not tomorrow, not yesterday, just NOW (see#2)

4. Let it all go! Whatever is hurting you, bothering you, holding you back, just... let it go! You can't bring carry-on on this Success journey you're on!

5. Remember what counts! You deserve a break today! Go for a walk, have a bowl of (low fat) ice cream, don't forget about you!

6. Keep on dreaming! Even when others think you're crazy or simply don't notice you...keep on doing what you do! Blaze your trail and let other's catch up to you!

7. You are beautiful! You were made uniquely and out of love. Your eyes, your smile, you skin, your curves, whatever, celebrate your awesome beauty!

8.You are a natural leader! Women by design are natural leaders! You have the ability to lead nations with your power and influence.

9. Remember to smile! You know the song! Even when you feel like you can't, find a reason to smile.

10. Let the dishes go! And go indulge in a hot bath! Take time for you!

11. You know what? Stuff happens! It's bound to happen and it will. So, go with the flow, roll with it and keep on pressing!

12. You are gifted and talented! And you can use those gifts to make as much money as you can and create the lifestyle you desire.

13. You're skillful and genius. Use those skills and gifts to build your generational wealth! 

14. You DO know what you're doing! You may not have all the tools yet but that's part of the process, keep pushing you will find your chord.

15. You are not your past! Your past is just that, keep it there. Learn what you MUST learn from it accept it and use it as fuel to ignite your future!

16. You are worthy of love! Simply because you exist. There is nothing else you need to do to earn it.

17. You are an incredible multitasker! Even though at times you shouldn't, the fact that you CAN and HAVE makes you genius at building an awesome business.

18. Your business is wealthy! You have the ability to create a foundation in your business that will leave a legacy to your family, children, and other women (and men) throughout the world.

19. Your Business IS successful! Whether you wanted to earn $100,000 but you've only earned $10,000 or you earned $1,000,000 but you are still at $500,000 girl you EARNED those dollars using your OWN genius, skills, influence and talent. You better celebrate that! And keep moving forward

20.  You are a QUEEN! And you deserve to be treated as such! Don't except anything less!

21. You got this! Trust your instinct and gut!

22. You are a master communicator! 

23. Your Emotional IQ is high

24. You Survived! Whatever happened, if you're reading this that means you survived it and you have the ability to conquer anything.

25. You are open minded and willing to try new things.

26. You embrace your haters. They aren't really haters, but all the naysayers or those who doubted you, love them anyway!

Click here for the rest! I promise they won't disappoint!!


Copyright 2011 Katrina M. Harrell (Please include FULL author credit if you repost or share!)

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...Start it! It's time for you to stop coming up with excuses as to "why you can't". It's time to stop talking about it and BE about it. There are so many people I know that have such GREAT business ideas that will give them flexibility, freedom, and the joy of FIRING their boss and yet they haven't done anything! Unfortunately, it's because of FEAR which if I read correctly "... God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." (2 Timothy 1:7)

Fear is a state of mind which means you CAN get over it! It's natural to be fearful of the "unknowns". It's natural for some people to be fearful when starting something new. BUT don't let that stop you. If you have a well written business plan, a success coach to hold you accountable (make sure it's not a family member or spouse, we don't always like to listen to what they have to say, especially if it's the truth. Just saying...), then you're on your way!

Now, there are people with great business ideas that actually love their job and are not looking to get rid of it. So, if that's you, consider doing it part time! Start it and see how you can manage it on a part time basis. It might be a great 'additional income' option for you. 

So, what do you need to start a business? NO FEAR! Once you're past the fear and lame excuses, get a great Success Coach (I happen to know one), together create a thorough business plan and START YOUR BUSINESS!

To your success!

If you need help staying focused and motivated to be the best you and gain a profitable business to increase your finances let me help you. Subscribe to my blog today and receive a FREE 30 minute consultation and 1 follow up appointment. ONLY FOR A LIMITED TIME, SUBSCRIBE TODAY!
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Here is a current list of all the states offering tax free days this year! Don’t miss out on some extra Savings!

Mark your calendars because this is the best time to shop for school related items.Tax free dollar amounts and tax free items may vary from state to state.

The sales tax exemption is limited to and may vary from state to state:
  • Clothing – any article having a taxable value of $100 or less
  • School supplies – not to exceed $50 per purchase
  • Computer software – taxable value of $350 or less
  • Personal computers – not to exceed $3,500
  • Computer peripheral devices – not to exceed $3,500
States Tax Free dates and links:
Never miss another deal again! Get free updates from Sistas Lovin Freebies when you subscribe by email or via RSS Feed.
**Don't forget to download the Sistas Lovin Freebies Toolbar!
Enjoy Your Freebie Journey,
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My workshop "Boost your Business with a book" has been extended to August 18th.

During this workshop I plan to help you get on the right track with writing a book that surrounds your business.


It's a six week workshop through email that gives advice and tips on writing a book surrounding your business.


Read the flyer here and sign up:


**Sign up date has been extended**




Author/Writer Mentor & Consultant

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Author Johnny B Truant, recently published an article on 'How to NOT Get Paid to Write Online (And Make Money Doing It).' This article was insightful and thought provoking. Often times as writers, the primary focus is on "Getting paid?" and if so, "How much?" Rarely, is the focus directed towards working for free on purpose.

Read more:

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Update from Rickey and It is Full of Good News

Update from Rickey and It is Full of Good News

Sunday 24 July 2011

Hello and May this note find you well.

The world events definitely has the world's attention.

May the USA has its financial act together real soon, we are
all effected by these events.

This week has been very busy.

Was in communication with Willie Crawford, very successful internet

businessperson, who has made substantial income, from his internet

activities. Willie shared with me some business building information
I have to pass on. You may want to use this information to attract new

customer/clients, keep current customers/clients, and share with

customers/client.  go to
Put this information to use today. It is producting great results for me!!

National - ARIZONA
Making great strides with Arizona Power Networking organization.
Power Networking is establishing chapters around the globe.
This is B2B networking organization and attracting "in it to win it"

business owners
go to
If you are interested in the requirement to open a chapter just email me

Global -Product Launch - Matcha Tea
Well, one week to go before we open the USA doors to

MatchamagicUSA. Our German partner is expanding in additional
countries in the European theater. To have USA included in this
product and company expansion is really cool.
I will admit, we have picked an very interesting time to "rollout".
However, we business owners know, "the show must go on".
go to

I encourage you to keep me updated about your activities

Networking only works when you Net Work. There are thousand of
positive opportunities awaiting us, if we effectively communicate in a

timely manner. The world is spinning fast and not waiting on anyone to
figure it out. Our resources are vast if we apply them. One of my key
resources is YOU!!

Networkingly Yours and
At your service,
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Getting on a List Generates Publicity

Are you aware that countless opportunities to send out press releases and receive valuable, free publicity get missed everyday?  There are literally dozens of newsworthy opportunities for getting positive media exposure.  Being recognized on a List of some kind or receiving an award is a great way to generate publicity for yourself.

It also becomes a win-win situation for you and the person (or business) honoring you because they get publicity too!


Here's the one I created after being named one of the Top 50 Fabulous Women Entrepreneurs:


(Durham, NC-July 22, 2011) Beverly Mahone of Durham has been named one of the top Fabulous Women Entrepreneurs by SistaSense Magazine and Black Business Women Online.  Mahone is one of 10 women selected in the category of print and digital media.  After leaving the television news business in 2006, Mahone created BAMedia which caters to fellow baby boomers who want to learn how to self-promote themselves and their businesses. 

In making the recent announcement, SistaSense Editor-in-Chief LaShandra Henry says “I see thousands of black women whose deeds go unnoticed. I wanted to recognize the BBWO50 for their hard work and diligence and show Sistasense readers these are our women to support, promote, and aspire to be like.  Henry says she chose women who have built established businesses with visible growth over time both online and offline. She also focused on up and coming women entrepreneurs whose innovative online business ventures are publicly recognized. “In short, these women are widely respected for the businesses they have established and their social influence both online and offline is undeniable,” she added.

Mahone says, “I am honored to have been included on this list.  LaShandra Henry is right.  Many times Black Female Entrepreneurs are overlooked in spite of how hard they work and the expertise they bring to the table--especially those of us who are baby boomers.” 

You can find complete list here:


**If you want to learn more about how to self-promote, contact me**

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Relax Its' Natural

Twists, Plats & Braid Outs

 Relax Its' Natural is all about pampering your hair.  We want to bring out the natural beauty of your natural hair.  Giving your hair the best natural ingredients; ingredients that your hair can actually use.  Nothing to smother the hair and clog the pores or sit on top of the hair to be washed away.  Because you are a natural person, your natural hair will utilize all natural ingredients. 
Hair Aroma Therapy: with steam for your hair WOW!!  Hair steaming will allow the nutrients, and trace elements to penetrate the hair and repair split ends from within the hair (despite what you may have heard you can repair split ends...I have done it).  While the natural aroma gives the hair a nice refreshing fragrance and will aide the in growth and natural relaxation.  Absolutely Beautiful!!!!!!  Because our hair has been damaged from using chemicals on our hair; our hair needs and deserves a breath of fresh air.  Jojoba oil and peppermint oil will be the base for most aromatherapy treatments.  Peppermint is essential for scalp repair and jojoba is essential for promoting hair growth and shine.
Jojoba oils
has healing properties for damaged and breaking hair. This truly is one of the best carrier oils for hair loss due to breakage.
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What's your breakthrough story?!

Everybody has a story to tell!

I want to hear your breakthrough story to be featured in my upcoming book.  Did you almost lose your home to foreclosure but at the last minute God stepped in and turned the situation around?  Did you or someone close to you fall ill and the doctors said you wouldn’t recuperate but you’ve never felt better and you’re back to work?  Did you lose your job and while on the brink of giving up hope land your dream position?  Did your spouse walk out on you leaving you to fend for yourself with the kids but God stepped in as you were about to throw in the towel, he brought the person back?  I want to hear all about how your faith has helped you get through some of the most difficult times in your life to take you to triumph.Everyone is going through something and your story may help someone else make it through their storm.


I’m looking for 20 stories to feature in my upcoming book, The Breakthrough. This is your chance to become a published author.


If you’re interested please email me at for further details and to get started on your book.



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What is Your Motivation?

So you've decided to take the plunge, create your "American dream" and own a business! At this point you've either decided to start a direct marketing company, a network marketing company, invest in a franchise or have decided to just start your own. Well, CONGRATULATIONS!!! You have made the first step, which can be the easiest or hardest decision we make. But after you've paid the money, created the business plan, received the business starter kit with training and had a chance to sit down and let the smoke clear, you may start to think, NOW WHAT? How do you market yourself? How do you get products on the shelves? How do you get employees? Better yet, how do you get CUSTOMERS???

Well do not fear! This is a common reaction after starting a business. There are so many transitions you will go through as you try to build your business and make it a SUCCESS! The key is to continue to TRY! DON'T GIVE UP! Remember, 'There's no gain without pain'. You have to have those empty bank account, broke days. You have to have those, "what's an upline and where do I find it?" days. You have to have those empty store days (no customers/prospects). You have to have those clients that make EVERYTHING difficult. You have to have those constant budget revisions in order to appreciate the abundance of success you're about to receive!

So make sure you have a thought-provoking quote, favorite song, or something that motivates you EVERY TIME, so you can always refer to it when you have those 'give up' moments. Because 'Quitters never prosper'! (I know, a lot if idioms, but hey, they apply and sometimes we just need to be reminded)

I’m a music teacher by day so I’m inspired by a lot of songs, but ONE that really motivates me is a song called "Encourage Yourself” by Donald Lawrence. What song or quote or motivational activity do you have? (and it doesn’t have to be religious, that’s just me. What do YOU do?)

If you need help staying focused and motivated to be the best you and gain a profitable business to increase your finances let me help you. Subscribe to my blog today and receive a FREE 30 minute consultation and 1 follow up- check up.

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by Rickey Johnson

ASA Instructor (


First an explanation ( now this is the simple version)

Ping is technical term used to describe how computer "speak" to each other.

To determine if a website is working (connected). A person "pings" that web address and translate the data received back to establish if a website is connecting.

OK enough techie talk.



I read this explanation for pinging on a blog ( interesting huh?)


The first question should be, WHY to ping a website?

Well, pinging is a way for search engines to update themselves quickly when you change your website content.

You want to ping a website after any big changes so that you can get that information to the search engines ASAP.

The quicker you ping, the quicker you get higher search engine slots and such.

Bloggers especially, should take heed, as they update frequently.


OK, now I will add my two cents ( and you might get change back)

People are using every "tool" they can to get people to pay attention to their information.

Blogging, ( writing an article in putting that information in a blog. LIKE RIGHT NOW) is one way to get people attention.

Yes, you are a BLOGGER, as soon as you write an article, and post it to your group site or blog site)


But, how do you get the blog websites  to pay attention to your blog?

You got it  PING!!!

Inexpensive, ( how about free?!) and requires no technical knowledge

ASA recommends, the ping service,,  as part of ASA member's promotion strategy. This service has been used by many and you know what websites you are "contacting"

There are other ping service available.

Some service do not show what site you are updating with your PING. You have to check for yourself. Most service will show which sites they are sending the ping to.

Check for yourself, which one(s), you think are more effective or even useful at all!!  Remember PINGING is just a tool.

Like any tool, it must be used correctly.

When post a article to your blog page ( you automatically are creating a blog page url ( web address) when you post). you should go ahead and use your ping service.

You are "telling" the search engines, " Hey over here!! I just added some fantastic information to my blog page and I want the world to know it!!".


You can wait until a search engine search happens and finds your update.


Notice , this article ( BLOG) can be located at

this address

Now, that is a long address ( most ping services will shorten that address when you submit).

Now, if I want someone to read this blog, I can send that address to them manually (email) or post to other blog sites, or social groups ( suggest you use a link shortening service  should you do that), or  a ping service,  and PING it!!!


I can do all of the above or none.


Again, you must determine what works best for you!

The great news is you have ASA members and membership benefits that can help you in your education and research.


Pretty cool, huh?

Ok, may this information been of benefit to you and business growth
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