Monday, September 20, 2021

My summer 2021

Hello! It's been a while. I hope this post finds you well. I had a very productive and fun summer this year, and I hope you did, as well.

Summer School

For starters, I worked my very first summer school. I assisted middle school students in three social studies -related courses: Geography Bee, Let's Plan a Trip, and Latin America. I love social studies. As evidence of that statement, I offer to you my college major, which was political science. I also graduated with minors in sociology and philosophy. I participated in Model United Nations for five out of my six years in college. And now, as a Ph.D. student, I'm studying China's rise to power on the international stage, as well as aspects of the Cold War and Soviet history and economics. Love social studies. Did I make myself clear on that point? If not, let me try again - I LOVE SOCIAL STUDIES!!!

But in all seriousness, and getting back on point here, helping with summer school was a very rewarding experience for me, and I hope to work summer school in my district next year.

What made it so awesome for me was that I got to learn with the students. Sure, some of the countries and topics discussed in these courses I was already familiar with. But there were also so many new things I learned. Let's Plan a Trip, in particular, was a really cool class. Students in this course were tasked with researching countries they would be interested in visiting. Each week, they gave a presentation to the class on their findings. If I remember correctly, summer school was five weeks long, so students in this course gave a total of five presentations, one new country or region each week. These presentations included details like hotels to stay at, attractions to see and experience, local cuisine and culture, interesting trivia and history, costs and budgets, and flight details.

Another wonderful aspect of my summer school experience was simply getting to meet and begin building connections with quite a few new students. Many of these students are incoming 7th graders at the middle/high school I work at (in the district I work for, middle school starts at 7th grade, and the school I work at is a combined middle and high school).

STEM Camp

Immediately after summer school ended, I got a chance to stick around for one more week to work a STEM -themed camp that my district organized. This, too, was very enjoyable, and again, I loved learning right alongside the students. I was in two sessions - one was on rockets, and the other was about coding. Check out the paper airplane I flew in the rockets class. At the end of the week, we flew - you guessed it - rockets. That was a lot of fun, and we were very lucky to have a beautiful, calm, sunny day for it.   

My trip to Key West, Florida

I had the wonderful opportunity to visit Key West for the first time back in August. Over the course of the coming days and weeks, I look forward to sharing with you my trip to Key West through recollections, photos, stories, histories of the island and some of its more well-known residents, reviews, and travel tips. There will be a number of separate blog posts coming out of these adventures, but they'll all be unified through my Key West travel series tag.

How was your summer? Did you get to go on any fun trips? Learn a new skill? Work? I'd love to hear all about your summer, so please feel free to comment below!

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Welcome back, students! - 2021-2022

Hello! It's certainly been a while. I hope you're all doing well and are off to a great start in this new school year!

I'm a little delayed in my usual welcome back to students and my recap of my summer. My apologies. It's been a very busy yet fruitful and rewarding last few weeks for me. You can read all about my summer by clicking here.

Welcome back! I hope you have an awesome year, one that is full of learning, growing, and fun. It's important to have fun, too. And never forget that learning can certainly be fun, and fun can be learning. It's exciting and uplifting when we learn something new that can help us out somehow in life and/or career, and that's why we're in school. That's why we're in sports and clubs and activities. That's why some of us may be receiving tutoring help outside of the school day. That's why some of us may have a part-time job outside of school. It's all about learning and growth, of self-improvement and self-discovery, and of exploring rewarding opportunities in the world - or even creating our own!

Here's to you and to an incredible year!

Mr. Robertson

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

COVID and job prospects for teens

Over the summer, the country witnessed a sudden, explosive need for workers to fill jobs of all kinds, due largely in part to the COVID-19 pandemic. There were, or remain, a number of factors that, when combined, have created a complex labor situation for our economy. 

With many consumers severely limiting their shopping, dining, and tourism/recreation habits - or even outright staying home altogether - during the pandemic, many businesses imposed heavy layoffs or even closed their doors for good due to the lack of demand.

When restrictions started to ease as a result of COVID numbers beginning to drop significantly, combined with a general antsyness to get out of the house more after a year-plus of this, demand naturally began to surge. But the workforce was no longer there to support all the demand, and it still isn't.

Fortunately, many teens stepped up over the summer where many adults chose to - or were forced to, due to economic circumstances or health concerns beyond their control - walk away for a while.      

A brief blurb appearing on the front page of the Business section of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on July 7, 2021, explains the rise of teenage labor during the summer:

EMPLOYMENT: Teens step up as employers struggle to fill jobs

The owners of restaurants, amusement parks and retail shops, many of them desperate for workers, are sounding a note of gratitude this summer: Thank goodness for teenagers. As the U.S. economy bounds back with unexpected speed from the pandemic recession and customer demand intensifies, high-school-age kids are filling jobs that older workers can't - or won't. The result is that teens who are willing to bus restaurant tables or serve as water-park lifeguards are commanding $15, $17 or more an hour, plus bonuses.

The uptick in teen employment has managed to temporarily help a little, but many teens have to return to school. The overall labor situation is going to take more time and effort to fully resolve itself.

In the meantime, where I'm trying to go with this post, is that, if you're a high school student, or even in college, you have an incredible opportunity right now that you can take advantage of. There are so many job vacancies all over the place, in numerous fields and industries - far more vacancies than there typically are under more "normal" economic/labor conditions. Now, more than ever, is the time to really explore what's out there in the world of work and start gaining critical job skills and experience for your resume. Having to return to school after the summer break doesn't have to get in the way of this unique opportunity, either - so many jobs these days require evening, weekend, and holiday hours. Now's the time to break into fields and industries that may otherwise not really be available to you until further down the road. And with wages (along with bonuses, perks, and benefit packages) rising due to demand for workers - that makes this an even sweeter opportunity to earn while you learn.

Monday, August 30, 2021

Fun facts about Key West, Florida

 Some fun and interesting facts about Key West, Florida

Southernmost point buoy Key West Florida
Photo credit: Aaron S. Robertson
 

I visited Key West between August 16-21, 2021, and this blog post is part of my broader Key West travel series. Stay tuned for plenty more material in the series, as I look forward to sharing with you my trip to Key West through recollections, stories, histories of the island and some of its more well-known residents, reviews, travel tips, and of course, more photos!

The wealthiest city in the United States per capita during the 1830s

You read that right - Key West was the wealthiest city per capita in the country during the 1830s. TravelExperta points out that much of the wealth during this time was generated from, "...treasure retrieval from shipwrecks off the coast." Florida-Backroads-Travel.com notes that Key West was the wealthiest and largest city in Florida in the years leading up to the Civil War, and it still remained near the top of the list for the wealthiest cities in the country during this time.

The only Union city south of the Mason-Dixon line during the Civil War

There were definitely Confederate sympathizers in Key West, no doubt, but Union forces were able to retain a tight grip on the city, thanks in large part to their control of Fort Zachary Taylor on the island, as well as Fort Jefferson some 70 miles west. It also certainly helped, as this post from the MilitaryHistoryNow.com blog entitled, "Key West - The Confederate City that Seceded from the Civil War," points out, that good portions of the residential population at the time were originally either from New England or the Bahamas, and therefore had no particular interest in fighting for the South - or for anyone, for that matter. These factors combined to award Key West the unique distinction of being the only Union city in the South.

Never above 100 degrees 

While walking the streets of downtown Key West, I overheard the tour guide/driver of a tour trolley explaining to his passengers that Key West, as hot and as muggy as the climate is, has never recorded a temperature over 100 degrees. This blog post from June 2017 entitled, "10 Cities in United States That Have Never Been Above 100 Degrees," published on the Joe Dorish Weather blog, confirms this.

Duval Street - the longest street in the world?

At just 1.25 miles long, Duval Street, the heart of the downtown Key West scene, can playfully boast that it's the longest street in the world - it runs from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico.

That's a lot of bridges!

There are 42 bridges connecting the island to the Florida mainland. 

The Conch Republic - Key West secedes from the United States for a brief time in the 1980s!

You read that right, as well. For a very short time in 1982, Key West declared independence from the United States, and the Conch Republic was born. While the secession was largely in good fun and playful in nature, the frustration and annoyance felt by residents and business owners leading up to it was certainly real. The U.S. Border Patrol had set up a roadblock and checkpoint to inspect every car entering or leaving Key West for drugs and anyone here in the country illegally. You can read more about the formation of the Conch Republic on Wikipedia

Famous residents

Key West was home to, among others, Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, and Major League Baseball star John "Boog" Powell. President Harry Truman visited Key West 11 times, for a total of 175 days, during his presidency. He stayed at a house on a U.S. Navy base. That house is now a museum known as the Truman Little White House.

Tips for selling your home

Tips for higher sale price when selling your home
Photo from Pexels

What You Need to Know Before Listing Your Home


Are you faced with putting your home on the market? Consider tackling some minor improvement projects that will help you maximize the sale price of your home but not break the bank. Rearranging furniture or taking the time to declutter your kitchen countertops can go a long way in allowing someone else to envision themselves in your space. Here are a few things to consider when preparing your home for a sale, presented by Mr. Robertson’s Corner.

The Price is Right

When putting your home on the market, it’s important to consider a competitive pricing strategy. What are the average listing prices nearest your neighborhood ($380K is the average here in Muskego, Wisconsin over the past 30 days)? What is the average number of days a home is on the market? “Nothing turns a good buyer off faster than an overpriced listing,” advises HGTV. “Pricing your home right is one of the most important advantages of having a Realtor.”

Curb Appeal

How welcoming is your home? First impressions will make a big difference when potential buyers come to tour your home. If your front door is dingy, you might consider a quick paint refresh to make it more inviting, and you might even add a wreath. Installing new house numbers can add a quick curb appeal and also allow potential buyers to find your house more easily. Try matching your house numbers with the finish on your exterior lights, offers DIY Network. Strategically placed potted plants, or container gardens, can give your front yard some zest, in lieu of higher-priced trees and shrubs. Matching containers to your home’s style will serve to carry the theme of your home through to the street.

Finally, take a good look at the trees in your yard and determine if there are any that detract from your curb appeal. If you spot any that you think your yard could live without, call in a local tree service to handle the removal - this is definitely one job you shouldn’t DIY.

Kitchen and Bath Refresh

Full-on kitchen and bath remodels can break the bank. But, if your kitchen and bathrooms are outdated and in disarray, they will most likely turn buyers off. Look for inexpensive ways to transform those spaces with a little imagination and elbow grease. Cleaning clutter from countertops and removing art projects and school photos from the refrigerator is free. Put anything away that isn’t necessary or complementary to your space. Replacing outdated handles and pulls with something sleeker and more modern will instantly update your rooms.

If your cabinets are dingy and old, then a good old-fashioned scrub with soap and water won’t help. Instead, consider painting your cabinets or removing doors. Something as simple as placing a colorful rug in front of your sink, according to Good Housekeeping, can hide ugly flooring.

Declutter and Depersonalize

One major reason to declutter and depersonalize your home is to give buyers an opportunity to see themselves in your space. There are 11 key spots to focus on, according to Apartment Therapy, and you’ve tackled the kitchen and baths, so the rest is relatively easy. Organize the entry point into your house by carrying on the theme from the front porch and yard right into your foyer. Clean where needed, place a coordinating container plant inside and make sure the rug is clean and welcoming. Clear halls of clutter and too many family photos. You want new buyers to picture themselves in your home. Touch-up play areas by hiding (or donating) unused and unnecessary toys. Don’t forget to tidy up closets, as potential homebuyers will be checking to see if there’s enough room for their belongings.

The process of selling your home can make for stressful times. But by spending a little time and energy to address some smaller DIY projects and tidy up, you can maximize the potential asking price for not a lot of initial monetary investment.

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Roosters in Key West, Florida

Throughout Key West, Florida, chickens can easily be spotted in abundance. They roam parking lots, graze in grassy areas, walk alongside tourists on the busy streets of downtown, and gladly accept meals put out by the locals. There seems to be many more roosters (the male chickens) than hens, as my photos below demonstrate.

According to this blog post on Key West Roosters that I came across in my research: 

Key West Roosters descend from roosters bred in Cuba and the Keys for fighting. For many years a winning fight rooster would be a source of income and, of course, bragging rights. Cockfights are no longer legal in the United States; because of this, a lot of chickens were released and left to their own on the Island. Today these roosters are prized for their gorgeous colored plumes and still have their fighting spirit of their ancestors...At one point, the rooster population grew so big that back in 2004 Key West hired a chicken catcher to reduce the population. The work of the catcher was very controversial so when the contractor quit the post was discontinued. The contractor didn’t even last a year.

I visited Key West between August 16-21, 2021, and this blog post is part of my broader Key West travel series. Stay tuned for plenty more material in the series, as I look forward to sharing with you my trip to Key West through recollections, stories, histories of the island and some of its more well-known residents, reviews, travel tips, and of course, more photos!

All photo credits here in this post: Aaron S. Robertson. All photos appearing in this post were taken between August 16-21, 2021.

Roosters in Key West, Florida

Roosters eating in Key West, Florida

A rooster walking in Key West

Chickens in Key West, Florida

Famous roosters in Key West

World-famous roosters in Key West

Chickens walking the streets of Key West

A rooster in Key West, Florida

Roosters are in abundance throughout Key West

A rooster enjoying a snack in Key West

A rooster eating in Key West, Florida

 

Friday, August 27, 2021

Pictures of sunsets in Key West, Florida

Following are photos of sunsets in Key West, Florida, including several pictures of the moon, which became visible within minutes of the sunsets.

I visited Key West between August 16-21, 2021, and this blog post is part of my broader Key West travel series. Stay tuned for plenty more material in the series, as I look forward to sharing with you my trip to Key West through recollections, stories, histories of the island and some of its more well-known residents, reviews, travel tips, and of course, more photos!

All photo credits here in this post: Aaron S. Robertson.

All photos appearing in this post were taken between August 16-21, 2021 at the Parrot Key Resort.

Sunset in Key West Florida

Sunset at Parrot Key Resort Key West Florida

The moon in Key West Florida

Parrot Key Resort in Key West at sunset

Parrot Key Resort Key West Florida

Key West Florida


Key West Florida travel tips

Key West Florida sky

Monday, August 23, 2021

Strategies for time and task management

Managing time and tasks | time management techniques
Image via Unsplash
 
Five Strategies for Time and Task Management

Organizing and managing your daily round of responsibilities can be challenging for small business owners. If you often find yourself stressed and overworked, learning new task management skills and implementing helpful tools could make a big difference in your ability to manage your time more effectively. Here are five solid strategies for task and time management for small business owners, presented below by Mr. Robertson’s Corner.

Take Advantage of Available Tools

As a small business owner, you have access to a wealth of tools designed to streamline and manage many of your regular tasks. Some of the most useful business apps focus on accounting tasks:

• Apps like QuickBooks Time can provide accurate tracking of employee timesheets, time worked by a specific employee, and time dedicated to a project. Time tracking is a must for managing payroll, timesheets, and personnel management tasks much more easily and effectively.
• TechRadar recommends the free app RescueTime, which offers insights into how you use your personal time. If you've ever wondered exactly how much time you spend browsing websites or talking on the phone, RescueTime can provide you with the actionable information necessary to adjust your behaviors and provide you with more free time at home and on the job.

Choosing apps that work with mobile phones, integrate with your existing systems, and offer real-time reporting for faster response times will help you achieve more on behalf of your company while saving some free time for yourself.

Automate Selectively

Pick and choose which tasks to automate to ensure the most effective use of your time and money. One of the best places to start is with repetitive accounting and administrative tasks. In 2017, CPA Practice Advisor found that, on average, small businesses spend 120 days each year managing bookkeeping and administrative tasks. Software packages that automate some or all of these tasks can be a good investment for your company.

Delegate Tasks Where Appropriate

Many managers and small business owners are afraid to delegate or outsource tasks. Letting go of some responsibilities by delegating them to your staff members or outside firms is essential to avoid burnout and stress. Tasks that can often be delegated to others include:

• Enlisting the help of a formation service can help you to create an LLC for your company more efficiently. These specialty firms have the experience and in-depth knowledge necessary to navigate the legalities quickly and effectively. Just make sure you look up accurate LLC Wisconsin information so you understand the guidelines.
• Jobs that have clear, easy-to-understand parameters or that are repetitive in nature can safely be delegated to staff members.
• Tasks that serve an educational purpose may include seminars, webinars, and online courses. By assigning these opportunities to key staff members, you can build a team of highly qualified individuals.

Plan for Downtime

It's easy to remember to plan for upcoming project deadlines and other work-related tasks. Setting aside time for yourself is also important to stay focused and achieve the best results. Bloomberg touts the Pomodoro Technique, which breaks up time and tasks into manageable segments with breaks in between. Planning for 50 minutes of work punctuated by 10-minute breaks can often allow you to be more productive and focused.

Prioritize Top Tasks

Not all tasks are equally important. Categorizing each activity according to its urgency and profit potential can allow you to put first things first for your small business. This can add up to increased revenues for your company in the competitive marketplace. Learning to manage your time and tasks more effectively isn't an overnight process. Working to implement these strategies can help you do more and achieve more every day.

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Upcoming series on Key West, Florida

I just returned from a five-night trip to Key West, Florida last night. I traveled there with my parents in what was the first major vacation for any of us in quite a few years.

The last time I was to Florida was also with my folks and sister as a kid. We were to Florida three times as kids. We made it down to as far as Key Largo on one of those trips, but never to Key West.

Over the course of the coming days and weeks, I look forward to sharing with you my trip to Key West through recollections, photos, stories, histories of the island and some of its more well-known residents, reviews, and travel tips. There will be a number of separate blog posts coming out of these adventures, but they'll all be unified through my Key West travel series tag.

Stay tuned!

Monday, July 26, 2021

Making paper airplanes

My paper airplane, the “Robertson Express”, came in 1st place and then a respectable 3rd for amount of time in the air this morning during a STEM camp I'm assisting with. As a youngster, we made and launched paper airplanes behind the teacher’s back. Now there’s a class that teaches us how to make them!

If you're interested in learning a variety of folds and designs for making paper airplanes, then you'll definitely want to check out this Web site, Fold 'N Fly.





 


Friday, June 25, 2021

Resume / Curriculum Vitae (CV) of Aaron S. Robertson

Aaron S. Robertson, MSM
P.O. Box 771, Muskego, Wisconsin 53150
therobertsonholdingsco@yahoo.com   414.418.2278
www.linkedin.com/in/aaronsrobertson

Passionate about bringing out the best in students and helping them discover success in life and career. Teamwork, collaborative thinking, and building meaningful relationships are integral to accomplishing this and to all that I do.

Education & Professional Development

 
Currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Leadership with an expected graduation date of 2021
Cardinal Stritch University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin – An interest in China’s artificial intelligence (AI) initiatives, entrepreneurial climate, and Belt and Road Initiative (BRI); classical realism and realpolitik in International Relations (IR); and U.S. – China Cold War theory.

Master of Science in Management (MSM) 2013
Cardinal Stritch University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Minors in Sociology & Philosophy 2007
Cardinal Stritch University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Additional Coursework in International Relations (IR)
All coursework taken through Udemy.com, non-credit 2020
 
• "International Politics Mastery 2020: Think Theoretically" – taught by Kamil Zwolski, Ph.D.
• "International Relations Theory: Realism" – taught by Kamil Zwolski, Ph.D.
• "International Relations and Politics: The Origins of NATO" – taught by Paul F.J. Aranas, Ph.D.
• "The Rise of China" – taught by Kasim Javed, political analyst
• "Understanding of U.S.-Russia Relations in the Asia-Pacific" – taught by Andrei S. Golobokov, Ph.D.

Software & Online Teaching and Learning Tools
  • Microsoft: Word, PowerPoint, Publisher, Excel, Teams
  • Google: Gmail, Docs, Slides, Calendar, Meet, Blogger
  • Kami
  • Canvas
  • Zoom
  • QuickBooks

Advanced Training:
  • CPR certification through the Greenfield, Wisconsin Fire Department / American Heart Association, 2019-2021.
  • Online courses and certifications covering various special education, substitute teaching, online teaching, tutoring, and educational psychology subjects through Vector Solutions/SafeSchools, STEDI.org, Professional Learning Board, Udemy.com, and the National Tutoring Association (NTA). (2019 – Present)
  • Nonviolent Crisis Intervention certification through Crisis Prevention Institute (CPI). Certified from July 24, 2018 – Present.
  • STEP – An intense, two-day workshop for Stericycle supervisors and team leads on effective management and coaching techniques. (May 2015)
  • Certificate in integrated leadership and a non-credit certificate for a course in entrepreneurship. (2006 – 2007)
  • Instructor-led online courses for a variety of professional certifications in areas including supervision and management, leadership, effective communication, and marketing – Waukesha County Federated Library System. (2015 – Present)

 

Professional Work Summary

 
Special Education Assistant – Cross-Categorical 2021 – Present
New Berlin Eisenhower Middle/High School
(School District of New Berlin, New Berlin, Wisconsin)

Provided 1:1 and small group academic support to students in grades 7-12; supported regular education students across all six grade levels and a variety of subjects; significant experience working with medically fragile students, including feeding and toileting assistance, utilizing various assistive technologies and equipment, and monitoring for possible health emergencies; responsible for maintaining my own detailed sub plans; responsible for maintaining worklogs for Medicaid billing through the Accelify platform.

Special Education Assistant – Foundations program 2019 – 2021
New Berlin Eisenhower Middle/High School
(School District of New Berlin, New Berlin, Wisconsin)

Provided 1:1 academic and behavioral support to students in grades 7-12 with significant disabilities; in some cases, provided feeding and toileting assistance, along with the dispensing of medication; responsible for maintaining my own detailed sub plans; responsible for maintaining worklogs for Medicaid billing through the Accelify platform; supported regular education students across all six grade levels and a variety of subjects; proctored practice ACT tests and supported an ACT science strategy session; volunteered for practice sessions to support the school’s academic decathlon team; served as a chaperone for the 2021 senior dance; assisted with the 2021 commencement ceremony; provided 1:1 academic and behavioral support for students enrolled in the 2021 summer school program and summer STEM camp.

Substitute Teacher and Paraprofessional Aide 2020 – Present
EDUStaff
(A company based in Grand Rapids, Michigan)

Served as a substitute teacher and paraprofessional aide in an on-call capacity in several area school districts. Experience at the elementary, middle, and high school levels, and in both regular education and special education environments. Primary focus at the high school level.

Private Tutor 2019 – Present
Working with middle school, high school, and college undergraduate students
(Greater Milwaukee area)

General subjects available, in no particular order:

ACT and SAT test prep - Research Skills - Study Skills - Self-Advocacy - Writing and Essays - AP courses: English Language and Composition, Comparative Government and Politics, Macroeconomics, Psychology, United States Government and Politics, United States History - Career Readiness & Workforce Development (mock job interviews, resume help, soft skills, career assessments, field trips, networking opportunities, help identifying majors and education tracks) - Business and Management - Marketing - Online marketing and social media for business - Entrepreneurship - Leadership - Personal Finance, Investing, and Economics - Organizational Culture - U.S. History - American Government - Political parties and movements in the U.S. (present and historical) - Soviet Union: general history, government, politics - China: general history, government, its current artificial intelligence (AI) initiatives, its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), its entrepreneurial climate, & U.S. - China Cold War theory - International Relations (IR) - Realism in International Relations (IR) - Political Theory - Economic Theory - Sociological Theory - Philosophy - Psychology - Test Prep - Advice on scholarship application essays

Publisher 2018 – Present
Mr. Robertson’s Corner blog
(MrRobertsonsCorner.com)

Meaningful reflections, stories, ideas, advice, resources, and homework help for high school and college undergraduate students. We explore history, philosophy, critical thinking, the trades, business, careers, entrepreneurship, college majors, financial literacy, the arts, the social sciences, test prep, and more.

Special Education / Instructional Aide 2018 – 2019
Whitnall High School
(Whitnall School District, Greenfield, Wisconsin)

Supported both special education and regular education students across all four grade levels and a variety of subjects; co-taught English 11; co-advised Film Club; authorized driver of district vehicles; prom chaperone; led marketing efforts for a golf outing to raise funds for the athletics/activities department; utilized my background in marketing and event planning to advise the booster club of various challenges and opportunities in a changing donor and volunteer landscape; served, on occasion, as an internal substitute teacher.

Substitute Teacher and Paraprofessional Aide 2018 – Present
Teachers On Call
(A Kelly Company, based in Bloomington, Minnesota)

Served as a substitute teacher and paraprofessional aide in an on-call capacity in several area school districts. Experience at the elementary, middle, and high school levels, and in both regular education and special education environments. Primary focus at the high school level.

Head of Marketing and Public Relations 2018 – 2019
DandiLion Daze, formerly known as Muskego Community Festival / Muskego Fest

Responsible for developing and implementing a robust marketing and PR strategy that included social media messaging, signage, radio, and press coverage for an annual festival supporting nine local community service clubs and organizations; crafted a donation request letter for potential event sponsors; assisted with booking music acts.

Business Manager 2017 – 2018
Reidy, Inc., DBA Estate Services
(A Muskego, Wisconsin-based remodeling and construction contractor)

Leveraged expertise to perform in a broad scope of areas, including general bookkeeping, preparing written reports, office management including the paying of invoices and the billing of clients, negotiations with vendors, strategic planning, customer service, marketing, lead generation, and sales support.

Strategies included:
  • Performing the duties of a social media manager, guiding the company’s social media strategy and online presence.
  • Providing advice, guidance, and research on a broad scope of business and financial areas.
  • Producing creative and engaging copy for printed marketing materials.
  • Utilizing QuickBooks for general bookkeeping, payroll, and tax prep for the company’s accounting team.
Specific projects included:
  • Procured a $50,000 line of credit for the business.
  • Procured a legally-binding contract and a more detailed lien waiver form for use between the company and its clients.
  • Worked with a design team at GoDaddy to replace the firm’s existing Web site from before my arrival – I personally provided the site’s copy and engineered its search engine optimization (SEO).
  • Researched and hired a collection agency to pursue uncooperative clients.
  • Researched and hired a credit card processing firm to accept credit cards as a form of payment from clients.
  • Revived the company’s Facebook page after remaining dormant for some time before my arrival, building an engaged following and a viable lead source.
  • Redesigned the firm’s client invoice and estimate paperwork to better represent and showcase the company and, in effect, provide another viable marketing opportunity for the business.
 
President 2015 – Present
The Robertson Holdings Co., Inc.
(Founded a successful online media publishing company specializing in delivering business and career development advice through an extensive network of blogs and Web sites)

Strategies included:
  • Undertaking the responsibilities for executing traditional, digital and social media marketing strategies.
  • Serving as a consensus builder on the importance of having multiple customer touch points across all digital platforms to drive sales and generate company profits.
  • Leveraging expertise to move the needle and push the boundaries of career and business engagement endeavors to drive customer value proposition.
 
Customer Experience Team Lead 2012 – 2017
Head of Online Marketing
Trainer
Spectrum Communications
(A telephone answering service and call center in Brookfield, Wisconsin acquired by Stericycle, Inc. in 2014, becoming part of the established portfolio of Communications Solutions)
 
As Customer Experience Team Lead, a position held from March 2015, I was charged with spearheading and overseeing a broad scope of staff development, coaching, and mentorship initiatives. Additionally, my responsibilities included staff scheduling, attendance, conflict resolution, disciplinary action, client relationship management, and submitting direct reports to senior leadership.

Strategies included:
  • Training a performance-driven team of customer experience agents (CEAs) on delivering enhanced account management services to best help bolster client relations.
  • Attracting, retaining and coaching a team of diverse professionals that span all aspects of Spectrum Communications/Stericycle with a common vision and mission.
  • Functioning in a myriad of areas pertaining to Web marketing and customer engagement strategies, personnel training and team development processes.
  • Influencing and handling customer inquiries for a variety of products and services by way of a prepared script and on-going professional training.
  • Managing the company’s Web site, blog, social media campaigns, and search engine optimization (SEO) initiatives, resulting in significant increase with online traffic and client engagement.
  • Providing exceptional customer service and value-added services to callers while maintaining strict adherence to corporate policies and government regulations.
  • Initiated, coordinated, and authored, The Spectrum Scoop, which became the firm’s most widely-read internal employee newsletter.

Correspondent 2011
Muskego Patch

Strategies included:
  • Developing highly-successful techniques for aggregating information and performing a variety of functions by way of key interviews, thorough research and analytical reporting.
  • Wrote on a broad scope of topics ranging from features and human-interest stories, municipal government, political, and business news, and opinion pieces.
  • Establishing exceptional, collaborative relationships and motivating coworkers to meet and exceed company goals.

Publisher 2010 – Present
MilwaukeeBusinessOpportunities.com

Strategies included
:
  • Writing, editing, organizing, researching and aggregating content for a well-trafficked blog.
  • Facilitating in a range of functions; performing exclusive interviews, gathering information on various metro-area business news, networking groups and events, festivals, attractions, and polls.

President & Shareholder 2007 – 2013
Intrepid Innovations, Inc.
(An Internet marketing firm specializing in strategic marketing solutions for businesses looking to generate online traffic, increase sales, and maximize Web growth)

Strategies included:
  • Developing a range of effective search engine optimization (SEO) strategies aimed largely at small to mid-sized businesses.
  • Establishing online social media profiles and providing continual maintenance with updates and relevant activities.
  • Performing all content management functions including, but not limited to, press releases and editorial writing, advertising/copy editing, and promotional releases and distribution.
  • Cultivating strong client relations with full responsibility for networking, contract negotiations, client meetings, general bookkeeping, and operational management.

Additional Experience
Correspondent 2007 – 2010
Muskego Chronicle

Professional Licenses & Certifications

 
Level 2 Intelligence Analyst certification
Udemy.com – taught by Lt. Col. Robert Folker, USAF (Ret.)
Obtained August 2020. No expiration date.

Level 1 Intelligence Analyst certification
Udemy.com – taught by Lt. Col. Robert Folker, USAF (Ret.)
Obtained August 2020. No expiration date.

Special Education Program Aide License – 5 Year
State of Wisconsin, License 4070061674 – Valid July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2026.

Teaching – Short-Term Substitute License – 3 Year
State of Wisconsin, License 1910046232 – Valid July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2024.

Notary Public
State of Wisconsin, License 204996 – My commission expires July 19, 2022.

Business Community Leadership Roles

 
Founder & Facilitator 2014 – 2018
Genesis Networking Group
(Business networking group that met over breakfast twice per month at Genesis Restaurant in Greenfield, Wisconsin to discuss relevant business and professional development topics of interest and assist members with referrals)

Secretary 2009 – 2019
Hales Corners Chamber of Commerce

Board Member, Ambassador 2008 – 2018
Muskego Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism

Memberships & Affiliations


National Tutoring Association 2021 – Present
Member

Whitnall Park Rotary Club 2018 – 2019
Muskego satellite club

Past President 2014 – Present
Muskego Lions Club

Library Board President 2010 – Present
City of Muskego

Zoning Board of Appeals 2008 – Present
City of Muskego

Past 2nd Term President 2008 – Present
Kiwanis Club of Muskego

Public Service Campaigns


Candidate 2009
Muskego-Norway School Board

Candidate 2008 & 2010
Wisconsin state Assembly ▪ District 83

Elected Student Government Roles


Senator 2018 – Present
Representing graduate students
Cardinal Stritch University

Vice President of Legislative Assembly 2006 – 2007
Cardinal Stritch University

President 2005 – 2006
Cardinal Stritch University

Publications

 
Competing in the Call Center Industry: The Case of Spectrum Communications 2013
Capstone Research Product Title
Advisor: Thomas A. Lifvendahl, Ed. D.
Available at https://digitalcommons.stritch.edu/etd/114

Beyond Majors and G.P.A.: A Real Philosophy for College and the World Ahead 2007
Second Edition. Lincoln NE: iUniverse
ISBN: 0-595-46517-X (pbk), 0-595-90815-2 (ebk)

Media Appearances


Simandan, V. M. (2014, June 24). “You have to embrace innovation”: Interview with Aaron S. Robertson from Spectrum Communications.
Retrieved from http://www.simandan.com/?p=11535

Laughtland, A. (2014, April 5). Meet Aaron S. Robertson, freelance journalist. With Five Questions. Retrieved from http://www.withfivequestions.blogspot.com/2014/04/meet-aaron-s-robertson-freelance.html

Shea, J. (2014, April 3). Interview with Aaron S. Robertson, head of online marketing at Spectrum Communications. Voices of Marketing.
Retrieved from http://www.voicesofmarketing.com/written-interviews/interview-aaron-s-robertson- head-online-marketing-spectrum-communications

Johnson-Elie, T. (2009, February 3). Networking club has youthful focus. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Lawrence, J. (2009, January 10). A new networking site for students and recent grads. OnMilwaukee.com. Retrieved from
http://www.onmilwaukee.com/buzz/articles/intrepidnetworking.html

Catholic Knight. (2008, Fall issue). Book smart: Young author offers his philosophy on college and the world ahead, pp. 14-15.

Paulsen, D. (2008, March 6). Muskego man part of new business that taps the power of the Internet. Muskego Chronicle, Business, p. 1.

Interviews & Writing Credits


1. Branscombe Richmond, Hollywood television and film actor; stuntman. September 2011.
2. Dr. Terence Roehrig, professor, U.S. Naval War College; Korea expert. December 2011.
3. Carl Giammarese, lead singer, The Buckinghams; singer and songwriter. December 2011.
4. Alyssa Bolsey, filmmaker; director, The Jacques Bolsey Project. December 2011.
5. Godfrey Townsend, New York-based guitarist and singer. January 2012.
6. Carl Bonafede, legendary Chicago radio personality, band manager, music promoter, record producer, and booking agent. January 2012.
7. Doug “Cosmo” Clifford, drummer, Creedence Clearwater Revival and Creedence Clearwater Revisited (CCR). June 2012.
8. Mark Dawson, lead vocals and bassist, The Grass Roots. September 2012.
9. Chris Szebeni, lead singer, Boxkar. November 2012.
10. Rebecca Romney, rare books expert and occasional guest on the show, Pawn Stars. February 2013.
11. David White, founder, Danny & The Juniors; singer and songwriter. April 2013.
12. Stu Cook, bassist, Creedence Clearwater Revival and Creedence Clearwater Revisited (CCR). July 2013.
13. Mark Hall-Patton, administrator of the Clark County Museum and occasional guest on the show, Pawn Stars. May 2014.
14. Jefferson Grizzard, guitarist and singer. June 2014.
15. Samantha Lukens, designer and MFA candidate. September 2014.
16. Paul Spiegelman, best-selling author and culture executive. January 2015.
17. Bill Turner, former lead guitarist for Bill Haley in the 1970s; Front man, Blue Smoke. March 2015.

Selected Thought Leadership Writing Samples


Robertson, A. S. (2019, September 21). The importance of reflection. Posted to https://www.mrrobertsonscorner.com/2019/09/the-importance-of-reflection.html

Robertson, A. S. (2019, March 9). I was a slacker in high school. Posted to https://www.mrrobertsonscorner.com/2019/03/i-was-slacker-in-high-school.html

Robertson, A. S. (2019, January 31). The many benefits of volunteer work. Posted to https://www.mrrobertsonscorner.com/2019/01/the-many-benefits-of-volunteer-work.html

Robertson, A. S. (2019, January 26). The double-edged sword of technology. Posted to https://www.mrrobertsonscorner.com/2019/01/the-double-edged-sword-of-technology.html

Robertson, A. S. (2018, December 8). Creating a resume and applying for work. Posted to https://www.mrrobertsonscorner.com/2018/12/creating-resume-and-applying-for-work.html

Robertson, A. S. (2018, July 26). It’s time to think inside the box: The education moment delivered to the BNI Boundless Business networking group on July 26, 2018. Posted to https://www.milwaukeebusinessopportunities.com/2018/07/its-time-to-think-inside-box.html

Robertson, A. S. (2018, July 15). The value proposition in your business. Posted to https://www.milwaukeebusinessopportunities.com/2018/07/the-value-proposition-in-your-business.html

Robertson, A. S. (2018, June 27). How to generate more and better business ideas: The education moment delivered to the BNI Boundless Business networking group on June 28, 2018. Posted to https://www.milwaukeebusinessopportunities.com/2018/06/how-to-generate-more-and-better.html

References & Recommendations Furnished Upon Request
therobertsonholdingsco@yahoo.com   414.418.2278

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Wisconsin Apprenticeship System

Are you looking to enter the trades or technical fields through an apprenticeship program in Wisconsin? Here's your brief guide to accessing the Wisconsin Apprenticeship System.

This past Sunday (6/13/21), an article appearing in the Business section of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel written by Ricardo Torres focused on Wisconsin's system of apprenticeships. In short, the state Department of Workforce Development (DWD) has obtained grant funding to support the hiring of five "apprenticeship navigators," whose sole job is to match those who are interested with various apprenticeship opportunities across the state.

You can read the full article by Torres appearing in the Journal Sentinel on 6/13/21 by clicking here. The article does a great job of getting answers from the DWD based on a list of key questions posed by Journal Sentinel staff.

Below are the names and contact information for these navigators, taken from the article. Four of the five are serving residents in specific counties, while the remaining one is serving former inmates anywhere in the state. 

 

Jessica Gitter

Counties served: Buffalo, Crawford, Jackson, Juneau, Kenosha, La Crosse, Milwaukee, Monroe, Racine, Trempealeau, Walworth, Vernon. 

Contact info: jessica.gitter@dwd.wisconsin.gov; 262-894-5624.

 

Dawn Pratt

Counties served: Barron, Chippewa, Clark, Dunn, Eau Claire, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Ozaukee, Pepin, Pierce, Polk, Sheboygan, St. Croix, Washington, Waukesha, Waushara, Winnebago.

Contact info: dawn.pratt@dwd.wisconsin.gov; 414-216-4926.

 

Jessica Williams

Counties served: Adams, Ashland, Bayfield, Brown, Burnett, Calumet, Door, Douglas, Florence, Forest, Iron, Kewaunee, Langlade, Lincoln, Manitowoc, Marathon, Marinette, Menomonee, Oconto, Oneida, Outagamie, Portage, Price, Rusk, Sawyer, Shawano, Taylor, Vilas, Washburn, Waupaca, Wood.

Contact info: jessicae.williams@dwd.wisconsin.gov; 920-404-6877.


Jeff Kennedy

Counties served: Columbia, Dane, Dodge, Grant, Green, Iowa, Jefferson, Lafayette, Marquette, Richland, Rock, Sauk.

Contact info: jkennedy@wdbscw.org; 608-249-9001 x. 230.

 

Milton Rogers

Counties served: Works with former Department of Corrections (DOC) inmates statewide.

Contact info: miltonj.rogers@wisconsin.gov.

 

If you found this post helpful, you may also enjoy the following posts from this blog:


The real purpose of K-12 education 

Description: "We have to realize that K-12 education should be about preparing students for life, not university, and that some of the greatest, most rewarding career opportunities out there can be found in the vast vocational/trades/technical college realm."

Technical college scholarships

Exploring careers in the trades

Manufacturing and the trades in schools

Description: "A look at the return of manufacturing and the trades in schools and in conversations."

Milwaukee Brewers Happy music video

A co-worker of mine, who also works for the Milwaukee Brewers, recently shared this with me, and it's too fun not to share it with you. Here's a fun tribute to the Brewers done to Pharrell Williams' hit song, "Happy". Enjoy!


Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Great music playlist for working

Howdy! It feels like it's been a while. I hope you're doing well and about to embark on a fun, restful, and well-deserved summer break after one hell of a school year! I'm looking forward to catching a few car shows, Milwaukee Brewers games, church festivals, and the Wisconsin State Fair, among other things.

For those of you who have graduated high school or college, congratulations! Wishing you all the best as you prepare to head out on the next part of your journey.

I'm busy today working on some ideas and planning for this blog, and I thought I'd share the music that I'm working to. Here's my playlist today, along with a few brief notes and memories to go along with each song. For more great music from a variety of genres and generations, check out my occasional, ongoing series, "Exploring the world of music".

Here's to you and your success!

Mr. Robertson

"Rockin' All Over The World": John Fogerty

Forever linked to his role as frontman for the iconic 60s band Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR), John Fogerty has managed to build quite an impressive solo career since CCR's breakup in 1972. Here he is performing "Rockin' All Over The World" live. I always enjoyed this tune. It's fun and upbeat. Check out my exclusive interviews with CCR drummer Doug "Cosmo" Clifford and bassist Stu Cook from June 2012 and July 2013, respectively.



"Killer Joe": Quincy Jones

I first came across this 1969 jazz hit by Quincy Jones as a freshman in high school in 1997. My band teacher was a big jazz fan, and he played the recording for us one day in class. I rediscovered it recently. I love it. The definition of "cool".



"Sometimes When I'm All Alone" and "Pony Express": Danny & The Juniors

From the legendary late 50s - early 60s Doo Wop group out of Philadelphia comes these two classics that are perhaps somewhat undervalued. Assuming you ever heard of Danny & The Juniors in the first place, you probably only know of them by their two smash hits, "At The Hop" and "Rock And Roll Is Here To Stay". I had the pleasure of interviewing the group's founder, David White, in April 2013. I was saddened to hear of his passing a couple years ago.





"Gimme Some Lovin'": Steve Winwood, Eric Clapton, and other guests - Live in London, 1983

I absolutely love this live 1983 version of this summer anthem first recorded in 1966. It brings the song's original vocalist and organist, Steve Winwood, (who recorded it as a member of The Spencer Davis Group) together with an all-star lineup of guests that includes Eric Clapton and Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts.



"We're An American Band": Grand Funk Railroad

Not much to say about this 1973 hit. The music and lyrics speak for themselves. This song is a must for any decent rock playlist. Fun and lively.



"Done Somebody Wrong": The Allman Brothers Band

Recorded live in March 1971 as a part of the band's Live at the Fillmore East album, this is an old blues tune first recorded by Elmore James, a master of the slide guitar. Check out this previous post I dedicated to Elmore James. In it, I included his original version of another hit covered by the Allman Brothers Band, "One Way Out".



"1965 Belgium TV Appearance (Complete)": Chuck Berry

Growing up as a kid, I fell in love with a lot of 50s and early 60s Rock 'n' Roll, fueled largely by the music played at family parties, company picnics, weddings, and during car rides while listening to the local oldies radio station here in Milwaukee. Buddy Holly. Bill Haley. Little Richard. Ritchie Valens. Danny & The Juniors. Jerry Lee Lewis. Del Shannon. Gene Vincent. Early Beach Boys and Beatles. I can go on and on. And one of my all-time favorites from that era is Chuck Berry. I recently came across this show he did for Belgium TV in 1965. It's just under 30 minutes long, and he goes through a good number of his hits, including "Johnny B. Goode" at the end.



"Can't You See": The Marshall Tucker Band

This version of this Southern Rock anthem was recorded live in September 1973 at the Grand Opera House. I never really got into The Marshall Tucker Band, but like many others who never did, we at least know this hit of theirs. Beautiful and brilliant.



"Honeydripper": Big Joe Turner and Count Basie

Recorded in 1974, this tune brings together two legends - blues shouter Big Joe Turner and jazz pianist & big band leader Count Basie, both of whom enjoyed 60+ year careers that spanned from the 1920s-80s.



"Stormy Monday": B.B. King and Albert Collins - Live in Memphis, TN, 1993 as part of B.B. King's Blues Summit concert and album

I've heard so many takes of "Stormy Monday" in my life from countless blues musicians and rock bands. I love it. I love this version, in particular. It's a combination of King's singing, the organ in the background, and Collins' guitar work that does it for me. I had the pleasure of seeing King perform live in downtown Milwaukee back in 1998. I was a sophomore in high school. Went with my dad, and we had seats in the very front row. I was fortunate to score King's autograph on the CD jacket for the Blues Summit album that I brought along with me. While traveling to Missouri in the summer of 2015 to see family, we made a brief stop in Memphis, where we explored Beale Street, including B.B. King's club, where this was recorded.


Wednesday, May 19, 2021

1-833-664-3312

Did you receive a call from 1-833-664-3312? If so, it's a scam.

Yesterday, 5/18/21, I received a call from a Renee Bennett, who claimed in a voicemail to be with the mediation department of a law firm called Jacobson and Wright. Renee, who knew my name, claimed that I was in a breach of contract, and that there were allegations against my Social Security number, including allegations that I may not be aware of. She said it was important I call her back at 1-833-664-3312, ext. 105.

I'm posting this here as a sort of public service announcement. Sadly, many people fall victim to calls like this, and I seek to do what I can to educate others about these types of calls. Two major clues that quickly stood out in my mind that this was a scam call - I know I haven't entered into any contracts lately, and it's safe to assume that a legitimate concern or dispute would have prompted a letter to be sent to me. I've received no letters in the mail. Furthermore, Renee mentioned "allegations" against my Social Security number, which immediately smells fishy. I didn't call Renee back, but if I did, I most likely would have been prompted to "confirm" my Social Security number, and/or "verify" other personal information.

Be on the lookout for calls like these, and do not respond.

For more tips, check out this previous post, Protection from hackers and scammers.  

Friday, May 14, 2021

The benefits of a community garden

Get to know your neighbors by creating a community garden

Creating a community garden is a great way to get to know your neighbors. After all, the seeds of friendship are often planted as people work together toward a single goal. Even valuable networking opportunities can grow out of a community garden project.

So, what's the first step in creating a community garden? Deciding when and where to hold a community garden meeting. Ideally, aim for a date in early spring before planting season arrives. Once you've decided on a place and time for the meeting, post the meeting details on a community notice board or spread the information between neighbors through word of mouth and/or social media. Many neighborhoods and subdivisions now have their own social media pages and groups where news, information, and recommendations are shared by neighbors and local businesses.

On the day of the meeting, have the group decide the specifics of the garden. Will it be a visual garden, a vegetable garden, or both? Also, decide who from the group will obtain any needed gardening supplies and take up a collection to cover the expected expenses.

Once it's time to create the actual garden, seek out the experienced gardeners in the group and pair them off with the group's novice gardeners. Such pairings can create instant connections among group members and will allow those of all skill levels to contribute to the project with greater ease.

Please note that certain locations require residents to obtain a permit or other permissions before implementing a community garden project. If this is the case in your area, then be sure to get the proper permissions before undertaking such a project.

End-of-season clothing sales

Save money on clothes by shopping at end-of-season sales

If you don't mind not having the very latest fashions, you can save plenty of money by shopping at end-of-season sales. Moreover, if you can wait for an item to reach the most discounted rack in the store, then you can expect to save up to 80 percent on your purchase.

To give you a better idea about when to shop for your different wardrobes, here is a general timeline for end-of-season clothing sales:

Spring clothes: April through June
Summer clothes: July through September
Fall clothes: October through December
Winter clothes: January through March

It should also be noted that certain specialized items tend to go on sale around the same time each year. These items include formal party wear in January, bridal gowns in April, athletic clothes in May, and bathing suits in August.

Also, keep in mind that while the larger discounts do tend to occur near the end of a sales cycle, the longer you wait, the less of a selection you'll likely find. If you wait too long before buying an item, it may sell out at your local retailer. If there's a particular piece of clothing that you have your heart set on owning, consider purchasing it at a mid-range discount to lower your odds of it selling out in your preferred size, color, or style.

Save money on non-essential spending

Save money by tracking your non-essential purchases

It's easy to lose track of your spending if you don't pay attention to your purchasing habits. Inexpensive non-essential purchases, in particular, can be especially harmful to your overall budget because minor splurges tend to fly under the radar more often than larger, more substantial purchases. To get a better handle on your finances so you can find areas of potential savings, consider using a spreadsheet or notebook to track your non-essential purchases.

When tracking your non-essential purchases, take note of the categories in which your purchases fall. For instance, if you grab a drink at your local coffee shop each morning, consider labeling such purchases as "morning coffee" so you can better track the true cost of your morning ritual. Regardless of the specific labels you choose, just remember that the more categories you track, the easier it will be for you to spot areas of potential savings.

After a month or so of tracking your non-essential purchases, you should have a decent idea about where most of your discretionary money is going. This information is key and if used correctly, can help you save money. After all, once you know where most of your discretionary money is going, you can cut back on your spending in the worst offending categories. Armed with this knowledge, the rest is up to you. So long as you commit to making a serious effort, savings should be noted almost immediately.

Best season to buy a house

Real estate buying tips: When is the best season to buy a house?

Many eager home buyers are quick to create a list of must-haves and preferred neighborhoods. Most of these same buyers, however, end up overlooking the benefits and drawbacks of going house shopping in a particular season. That said, do seasons really matter when buying a house and if so, is there a "best season" for prospective buyers to make a purchase? Well, the answer will depend on your personal circumstances. Below are some of the benefits and drawbacks of buying a house in the spring, summer, fall, and winter, so you can better decide if you'd benefit from purchasing a home in a particular season.

Spring:

Spring is typically the season when the highest number of real estate listings hit the market. That's why it is the perfect shopping season for home buyers wanting the largest selection of homes to choose from. Unfortunately, spring is also the busiest season for buyers, so you are likely to face heightened competition if you choose to buy a home during the spring.

Summer:

Summer is the preferred buying season for most families with school-aged children as moving over the summer won't interrupt the school year. Unfortunately, the convenience of moving over the summer often drives up home prices as many families enter desperate bidding wars in hopes of securing a deal before the new school year begins.

Fall:

Fall often coincides with better home prices due to the decreased interest among families with school-aged children. While the inventory of available homes does tend to decrease as fall arrives, you may find that many sellers become quite motivated to make a deal at this time of the year so they can avoid a winter move.

Winter:

Winter is usually the slowest time of the year for real estate sales and as such, house prices are generally at their lowest point during the winter months. If you are looking for the cheapest home prices of the year, then you should probably buy a house in the winter. Unfortunately, winter moving does present certain challenges like having to deal with adverse weather conditions and colder temperatures. Another downfall is the further into winter you get, the less inventory you'll likely have to choose from.

There are various benefits and drawbacks to buying a house during a particular season. While it's entirely possible to find the perfect home in any season, you may find that shopping during a specific season better compliments your personal circumstances. Hopefully, now that you know some of the benefits and drawbacks of buying a home in the spring, summer, fall, or winter, you have a better idea about which season's benefits fall more in line with your personal circumstances.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Christmas trivia

Did you know? Christmas trivia edition

With Christmas just around the corner, there's no better time than now to expand your Christmas knowledge. To get you started, here are three interesting facts about the December holiday.

1. If you were to gift your true love with all of the gifts mentioned in the song, "The Twelve Days of Christmas", you'd be gifting them a total of 364 gifts.

This includes 12 partridges (each in their own pear tree), 22 turtle doves, 30 French hens, 36 calling birds, 40 gold rings, 42 geese a-laying, 42 swans a-swimming, 40 maids a-milking, 36 ladies dancing, 30 lords a-leaping, 22 pipers piping, and 12 drummers drumming.

2. The Statue of Liberty is quite possibly the world's largest Christmas gift ever given.

The French gifted the United States with the Statue of Liberty on Christmas Day in 1886 to commemorate the two countries' allegiance during the American Revolution. The statue stands 151 feet tall from the base to the torch.

3. The first and last American states to give Christmas Day legal holiday status were Alabama and Oklahoma.

Alabama became the first American state to give Christmas Day legal holiday status in 1836. The last American state to do so was Oklahoma in 1907 when the state joined the Union. While Alaska and Hawaii were not yet part of the Union in 1907, both territories had already made Christmas Day a legal holiday in years prior.

If you enjoyed this post, you may be interested in our previous post, "How to save money on Christmas gifts".

How to save money on Christmas gifts

Five ways to save money while Christmas shopping

It's far too easy to overspend while shopping for Christmas gifts - especially if you don't know what you want to buy and if you leave your shopping until the last minute. So, to help keep you from overspending this holiday season, here are five ways to save money while Christmas shopping. After these five tips, we also discuss the Four Gift Rule, another easy strategy you can implement to save money on your Christmas gift list.

1. Start early.

Your gift options will be limited if you wait too long. This means, you'll probably end up buying anything that grabs your interest, regardless of how much the items cost. By starting your Christmas shopping early, you can take advantage of additional sales cycles and be more selective about what you buy.

2. Make a list.

Before you go shopping, make a list of people you need to buy for with ideas about what you'd like to get each person. Bringing a thorough list of the items you'd like to buy can help keep you from accidentally buying too much for certain people. Overspending on certain people often leads to overspending on others to maintain a sense of balance.

3. Shop online.

Online shopping allows for easier price comparisons, so shop around online to find each item's best price before spending any money. Do be sure to factor in the cost of shipping when comparing prices, however, and look for free shipping options whenever possible to further increase your savings.

4. Get couponing.

There are various couponing apps and websites that provide coupon codes and printable coupons for many of the more popular stores. You can often save fifteen percent or more by simply typing in the right coupon code or handing over the right printed coupon during the checkout process.

5. Use moneyback apps and credit cards.

Moneyback apps and certain credit cards will give you back a percentage of your total spend amount from every qualified purchase you make. By simply clicking through an app or paying with the right credit card, you can receive a little money back each time you purchase a gift.

Saving money while Christmas shopping doesn't have to be an impossible task. By starting early, making a list, shopping online, couponing, and using moneyback apps and credit cards, you'll be able to avoid overspending this holiday season and maybe even get a little money back in return.

Christmas on a budget: The Four Gift Rule

If you're strapped for cash this Christmas, you might be looking for new ways to cut back on your spending. One way to do this is to enact the Four Gift Rule. So, just what is the Four Gift Rule? It's exactly what it sounds like, but with a small twist. While the main idea is that you only give four gifts to each participating person, the small twist is that you must prepare a gift for each category of want, need, wear, and read.

By following the Four Gift Rule this Christmas, you can drastically cut back on your overall gift spending, while ensuring that each recipient receives a gift they want, a gift they need, a gift they'll wear, and a gift they can read. Be sure to consider each gift carefully because the key here is quality, not quantity.

Another benefit of having a four gift Christmas is that you'll also save money on wrapping supplies, which too can be quite expensive. Plus, you'll spend less time picking up piles of wrapping paper after the gift exchange, so you can spend more time enjoying the rest of your day with family and friends.

It can be hard to find ways to cut back on Christmas spending, especially if you have a large list of people to buy for. That is why ideas like the Four Gift Rule can be quite useful during the holiday season. So, if the Four Gift Rule sounds like something you'd like to try this Christmas, then don't hesitate to suggest the idea to any family members or friends that you tend to go a little overboard on. If all goes well, then the Four Gift Rule might even become your newest Christmas tradition!