Category: finances

Business Relationships Risks

Employees working in a call center

So many people are telling me that they are having complaints, problems, and are unsure as how to smooth out their professional relationships.

The rule is: NEVER mix personal and professional. If you do business with a friend and have any issue at all, keep it on a professional level. DO NOT share with your friends and family. This is totally unprofessional and the start of your problems.

ALWAYS be open, talk it out, and respect what the other person has to offer. Business relationships of any kind have a start point and a finish point. When you close such a relationship, be very clear as to why you chose to do so, and part amicably. Some of my clients have followed my advice and are very thankful for it, because they have saved personal relationships and their professional integrity this way.
It is a disaster when your friends draw their own conclusions, when in fact they are clueless about business or the specific relationship/contract that has ended.

One of the facts of small business owners is that they find someone they like on a personal level, and try to do business with them. They are so eager to solve all their problems at once that they usually don’t “hear” what the other party is offering. They just follow their wishful thinking, even though they are not clear about what they expect from a deal. The deal goes on and they discover mid flight that the services offered are different than their expectations.

There are different approaches to solving that, and you be the judge of which is the correct way:

  1. You sit down and talk, explain in detail your expectations as a client, and if both parties find out that this relationship does not benefit either party, you simply and professionally say goodbye. Chapter closed.
  2. You are unsure of what your exact needs are, you are not satisfied with the services you receive, and you do not share your thoughts exactly, but decide to end this business relationship. You then proceed to talking to others, who in return have their own opinions and the professional who offers his/her services, starts being criticized to no fault of their own. Be very careful about toying with someone’s reputation and integrity.
  3. You sever both personal and professional relationship because you mix personal and professional issues.

In a few words, business is business, and friendship is friendship. Do not make it personal. Do not treat other professionals in a way that you would hate to be treated. These are shark infested waters and guess what? Someone might actually seek legal action against you for slandering, especially if you are dealing with a bigger company.

Changing your Financial’tude


These are some interesting times. All I hear from my clients and acquaintances is that nobody can survive financially. Is there anything to be done?

I say YES. There is a lot we can do.

We can start by changing our attitudes toward money and toward what we think we NEED. We have become so spoiled that we have lost touch with reality. TV and Social Media are filled with posts and ads that tell us how to make more money, how to save money, how to invest or not invest and how to cut expenses. The other half fills our brains with SPEND SPEND SPEND.

Where is the happy medium here? How do we learn how to exist in moderation while at the same time enjoying our lives? Greed has become synonymous to success, to prosperity and to our status in life. How wrong is that?

The first thing we ALL have to realize is that when we leave this earth, we will take NOTHING with us. No expensive clothes, no cars, no homes, no jewelry, NOTHING. Having said that, what are our actual NEEDS in life? Well, it’s simpler than it sounds. We actually NEED to have a roof over our heads, our health and food. The rest we have learned to accept as society’s rules for our status in life.

Do we need a new car every couple of years? NO
Do we need to buy “stuff” for our homes every month? NO
Do we need the newest model of cell phone, tablet, and computer? NO
Do we need to spend on lattes daily? NO
Do we need to have manicures and pedicures every week? NO
Do we need to eat at Restaurants weekly? NO

Can we live with less? DEFINITELY! Can we learn how to prioritize needs vs. wants? DEFINITELY

When you compare your income versus your expenses you MUST have money left, otherwise you are running on empty. You haven’t seen me mention anywhere about a credit card debt payment. I did this on purpose, because you should NOT have credit card debt. If you do, you have to pay it off immediately. Take your credit cards, lock them in a drawer and forget they exist. You never need more than one credit card and that ONLY for emergencies such as doctors, or hospitals.

You have to put aside the money you have left after all is paid every month. Do not splurge on lattes, haircuts pedicures, clothes, shoes, etc unless you can actually put some money in a savings account.

If you have, let’s say 50 dollars left, then this is your “pamper” budget for the entire month.

This is the ONLY way we will all survive and get out of debt. STOP comparing your situation with others. Learn to enjoy your home, invite friends over for a meal, actually friend meals that rotate from home to home is a great way to have fun, pay MUCH LESS for food and drinks and stay connected.

Make the effort to live within your NEEDS and below your means. We have to live within our own truth, take charge of our lives and situations and be HAPPY and GRATEFUL for the little things in life, such as our friends, our homes, our communities.

4 Ways to Conquer the Debt Beast!


Debt, debt, debt! It seems like this word has become our nemesis and we are all looking the other way to make it disappear. I was right there, until I got really mad at myself for feeling defeated.

Debt can feel so big and overwhelming that it almost feels like it is a living breathing creature, a beast. I decided to use the idea of debt as a beast as a tool to help me fight.

“Hey Debt! Can you hear me?? Are you playing David and Goliath with me? Do you know who won in the end? I will beat you!”

You may be laughing at my childish outburst, but this really gave me the power to start my war to conquer this beast. Here are the four keys to my success in fighting the debt beast, maybe they will work for you….

  1. The first thing I did, was sit and write down what I spend and why. Then, I started deleting all the “extra stuff” like new shoes, clothes, music, restaurants and did not stop until I was satisfied from the outcome of the first battle. NOTHING is more important in life than ourselves. No clothes, no jewelry, no restaurant. NOTHING.
  2. The next step was to ask for help. Me, ask for help? Well, yes I did and it feels wonderful, because the feeling of receiving actual help is lifting a ton of weight from our shoulders. You have to look at this in a very cool fashion. It isn’t personal; it’s just part of life. Be honest with yourself, and you’ll see that nothing can hold you back once you get in the mindset to live a debt free life.
  3. Be happy and live within your means. It feels so good to look the debt beast in the eye every month and say: “Ah I just cut another limb from your ugly body!” This mental game made me feel so empowered, so happy every month that I could sleep at night knowing that I was doing the right thing.
  4. Another tip is that you can pay a little extra when you have it, and you will be out of debt in no time. But be careful. Do not pay more when you don’t have enough money left to pay for food, rent/mortgage, or utilities. Paying off debt and being responsible for your day-to-day bills is the key to final and absolute success. I usually pay a little more here and there during the Holidays. I see this as a small gift of freedom to myself, instead of hitting the Malls and buying gifts. A little radical some may say, but it works for me.

So, let’s go and face the battle together! We can slay the debt beast, and live FREE at last!

The Measure of Success


Success is a word used for just about everything. Success in life, in love, in business, in education, in careers . . . and the list goes on.

I decided to look at the word success as a label, given by society, parents, family, friends, and colleagues. The measurement of success should be our own. In other words, we have to own it. If we are happy with what we do, it’s a success. If we are healthy, it’s a success. If we make ends meet in this drab economy, it’s a success. Well, even if we find parking in a super busy mall parking lot, it’s a success.

So, I learned to measure my successes in small doses, and guess what? I feel pretty successful. Nobody can rain on my parade; nobody can tell me if I’m successful or not by their measurement of the word. It’s a word! That’s what it is.

Words are words. What you make of them is another story.

We like to take everything personally, because we were brought up this way, because we were trained to strive for something others have and we don’t. We measure everything by what someone else is doing or not doing. How about we stop for a moment and start pondering about life? When is good, good enough? When is a paycheck that pays the bills enough? Why are we in this frenzy of more, more, and more?

Keep thinking about this for a moment. You are a success, because you’re alive, here, now. The rest is the “sauce” of life. If you are happy with what and who you really are, you’re a success. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.

Don’t be a Grinch. So many people complain every single day of their lives: “Oh I don’t have enough money.” “Oh s/he said this or did that.” “Oh I’m fed up.” “Oh I wish things were different.”

S T O P.

If you’re in this self-pity game, you will receive only negativity and more problems. The more you FEEL and think and talk about your problems, your misery, your inadequacy, your this and your that, the more likely the universe will give you a truckload of just that. WHY? Because you become the magnet of summoning EVERYTHING that you think and spend your energy on.

So, believe and FEEL that you’re a success; feel that sentiment of gratitude for your loved ones, for the roof over your head, for the life that YOU have chosen to live. NOBODY tells you what decisions to make in life-NOBODY but YOU is responsible for your actions, your thoughts, your decisions, and your feelings.

Cheer up! We have A LOT to be thankful for, and YES, we’re all a success, in a small or big way. It just depends on how we look at it.

Turn the lights on in your heart and mind, and KEEP THEM ON!

What I Have Learned From my Mistakes

When we make mistakes, or rather while we are making them, we often don’t realize that they are mistakes. My excuse was always, “Oh, I’ll find a way around this,” or “Just this one time.”

I found out though that the more slack I gave myself, the more I repeated the behaviors, and then I beat myself up for not learning from my mistakes.

It is a big thing for me personally to be able to say that I have learned from my mistakes. It took time, effort, and a lot of tears.

Here is my personal list of lessons learned. I have a copy on my fridge so I never forget.

  1. Be honest about what you need and what you think you need.
  2. Ignorance is not bliss. Not knowing where you stand financially, can ruin you.
  3. Don’t buy unless you pay off your debts. No shoes, clothes, jewelry, spas, lattes.
  4. Stay on top of your bills every month. Pick a date and go through your bank accounts, bills, and payments.
  5. Run your home like you are the CEO of a huge corporation.
  6. Don’t “invest” in get-rich-quick schemes. You will only wind up spending more money. When something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is just that: Too good to be true.
  7. Be happy with every small victory. Every payment that you make toward your debt brings you closer to freedom.
  8. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You are not alone in this journey.
  9. Don’t be ashamed of your situation. MOST of us have been exactly where you are at some point in our lives.
  10. And last but not least, SMILE. Life is going by too fast. Smile; you’re doing the right thing. Every small step is a step closer toward achieving your goals.

Debate: Finance or Customer Support?

Chargebacks – Fraud – Claims – Disputes – Refunds
Here is the deal: A lot of Customer success directors want to own the Risk/Chargeback manager of the company they work for.

Not so fast. Do you know the difference between a refund and a chargeback?
Do you know the difference between a dispute and a claim?
Does your back end translate the difference?

1. Disputes should be under Customer Success, since the customer needs some help for a purchase that was either never received, or received and has an issue.
There is where the Customer success department sets the policy for such transactions to make a customer happy.

2. Claims and chargebacks fall 100% under Finance department, since it involves money/revenue at risk to be lost.
This is where your Risk Manager fights back against all those transactions and with a few clever steps wins them for the Company.

3. Fraud: Also under Finance Department. Here is where the Risk Manager sets up and adds fraud filters to all your online transaction channels.

If your company is selling only digital goods, take a look at FASTSPRING
They do everything for you and they are the best at becoming your shopping cart, payment processor and everything you need without the headaches.



Know your Geography to succeed in Sales!

Geography? YES Geography has everything to do with returns, loss of revenue, chargebacks, fraud and lost inventory.

Whether you sell tangible or intangible goods online, you MUST know your global Geography.
If you sell anything that has to do with technology, it’s better to exclude some countries, rather than just targeting revenue to prove that your company is successful.

Experience has taught me that sales to under developed countries, or countries that do not have technology readiness, will result in loss of revenue and inventory.

Let’s say you sell to Albania as an example.

First and foremost, you need to know that their postal services are iffy at best, especially if an order comes from any town other than Tirana, which is their capital.

Second, if you are lucky enough and your item arrives, 8 out of 10 sales will become claims, returns and chargebacks because your product will not work at this country.

The same applies for downloadable products (intangible goods and services). Your back end MUST be able to disable any service as soon as it becomes a refund or chargeback because it is not as described. This is the most common reason for chargebacks and claims from such countries. Your sales and marketing teams are promising something that customers will take your word for it, believe in it and buy it.

So do your company a favor and learn your Geography, and also eliminate sale to some countries. It is a thousand times better to have solid sales in fewer countries, than global sales with problems, returns, cancellations and chargebacks.

Automation is not your panacea!

Automating your procedures, is not a panacea. You cannot automate everything when you sell online and depend on your customers to succeed as a brand, product, or company.

You can add filters, subscribe to companies to do your reporting and sales, but you cannot automate everything, no matter what you think you know….

Once upon a time I had a manager who thought that my then job as chargeback specialist would become obsolete, due to automation implementations…
Well, you cannot automate fraud, chargebacks and claims.


You still need human interaction with your buyers, their issues, and try to solve any claim to the customer’s satisfaction. Fraudsters out there are and always will be 3 steps ahead of you.

No machine can weed out unauthorized re-sellers, fraudulent transactions, and chargebacks or claims. It may be able to add some reporting filters on your back end to help your risk manager or chargeback specialist, but automation will never replace human interaction, strategy and customer support.

Do not fall in the trap of managers or VP’s of any kind who want to impress you by telling you that you can cut down on overhead by not hiring a fraud/risk employee, because customer support and automated procedures will solve your issues.


Organizing your online sales

Check out this questionnaire below.
We have all the plans and answers to help you succeed and protect your revenue.

1. Have you setup all your payment portals?

2. Is your back end “talking” to all your payment portals?

3. Does your back end put in place filters to alert your finance department?

4. Does your back end provide analytics and reports that you can filter to seek out possible fraud?

5. Do you know how easy it is to stay on top of chargebacks and disputes?

6. Would it be worth to your company to learn all that, pay once  for training and be done, instead of paying companies just to fight chargebacks and pay them if they win for you, but also lose revenue if you lose a chargeback or claim?

Get in touch with me and I will set you up.

Low Risk Merchant Account

Understand the Low Risk merchant Low Risk Category before you apply it at the bank for a merchant Account because merchants in our payment processing world are categorized under low-risk, medium-risk, and high-risk categories. There are a number of points or reasons concerning which any business can be classified as Low Risk or high risk or medium risk […]

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