Business & Economy
Recession Prompts Businesses to Shed Taboos PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Wednesday, 09 May 2012 12:24
Nudity Has Long Offered Lucrative Edge, Historian Says

As the economic recovery slogs from the worst recession since the Great Depression, businesses struggle to innovate, or else risk bankruptcy. Case in point: The Fawlty Towers Motel in Cocoa Beach, Fla. is allowing guests to take it all as of May 1.

After years of declining revenues, owner Paul Hodge was in a “make-or-break situation,” he told Florida Today. Rather than lose his motel, he was able to convince his wife that going nude was the best option.

Hodge hired a lawyer and consulted the American Association of Nude Recreation. He found nothing prohibitive in his state’s laws. In Texas, however, a nudist maid service had to reclassify the business as “sexually oriented,” which requires a permit.

“Nudity offers a potentially lucrative edge for several types of businesses trying to tough out the anemic market,” says historian Mike Foster, co-author with his wife, Barbara, of the biography, A Dangerous Woman: The Life, Loves, and Scandals of Adah Isaacs Menken ( “Recession has people rethinking some of their long-held prejudices.”

Nudity is not the only issue being reconsidered, he says. To ease government spending and increase tax revenue, some conservative pundits, including broadcaster Pat Robinson, are reconsidering their stance on marijuana’s illegality.

Whether in recent or not-so-recent history, nudity can make people rich. Foster gives the following examples:

• Hugh Hefner: The founder and chief creative officer of Playboy Enterprises was worth $43 million in 2009, according to divorce papers filed that year.

• Lindsay Lohan: She earned $1 million for a nude spread in Playboy.

• Janet Jackson: Now synonymous with terms like “wardrobe malfunction” and “nipplegate,” Jackson’s flashed breast earned her an incalculable amount of free press.

• Sandro Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus: Although often valued as priceless, some estimate the most iconographic nude portrait to be worth half a billion dollars.

• Adah Menken: dubbed “The Great Bare” by writer/admirer Mark Twain, Foster says Menken single-handedly created the first celebrity bombshell in the Civil War era, earning her fame and money.

Menken was a singer and actress who became famous as “The Naked Lady” for her starring role in “Mazeppa.” In this drama she rode a stallion up a four-story stage mountain, apparently in the buff. She actually wore a flesh-colored body stocking, but audiences were shocked, horrified and intrigued by this blend of danger and sex appeal, Foster says.

“If you were a young woman and didn’t have a father or a husband to take care of your cost of living, then times were always rough back then,” Foster says. “She used her body for independence, ambition and money.”

To this day, part of the appeal of nudity is the fact that it’s still a salient taboo in our society – a relic from the Victorian era, Foster says.

“For the business owner struggling to keep his or her business afloat, going nude can be among the most cost-effective rebranding that comes to mind,” he says. “Besides a possible need for permitting, a nudist business simply needs some patrons to go semi-nude or nude, which is after all our most natural state.”

About Michael & Barbara Foster

Michael Foster is a historian, novelist and biographer who graduated from Cornell University with honors in philosophy. He earned his master of fine arts from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. “A Dangerous Woman” is his fifth book. Barbara Foster, an associate professor of women’s studies at City University of New York, has published poetry and travel articles extensively, and is the co-author of three books.

Boomers Stand to Inherit Trillions PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Tuesday, 08 May 2012 13:54
Closed-End Funds a Good Investment Option

Baby boomers stand to inherit $10 trillion in the next few years and women will get the bulk of it, according to a Cornell University study, because they outlive men an average of seven years.

“Women already control 60 percent of the nation’s personal wealth – they outnumber men and they are traditionally the shoppers,” says financial expert Scott T. Schultz, author of Scott Schultz’s Guide to Closed-End Funds (

“It’s sad that, despite the fact that nearly a third make more money than their husbands and they’re starting businesses at twice the rate men are, 38 percent of women ages 30 to 55 worry they’ll eventually live in poverty because they can’t adequately save for retirement,” he says.

With the first of the boomers hitting 65 this year, the nation will see an even greater number of retirement-aged women holding the country’s purse strings.

“Many will inherit money and property from their parents and/or their husbands, and many will live another 30 to 40 years,” Schultz says, citing the Cornell study. “They’ll need to invest their money to ensure they have enough to avoid that impoverished retirement they fear, but they – and the nation – have lost confidence in the stock market; April 2011 saw the lowest number of investors since 1999.”

What brokers don’t tell clients about, he says, is closed-end funds. Schultz, ranked the No. 1 Separate Account Money Manager for three consecutive years by USA Today, says he earned that national honor by relying almost solely on these limited-issue stocks. Because they’re available only in finite numbers and because watchful brokers can find them “on sale,” they’re a better bet as an investment for those who are willing to sit on them awhile.

Why is the American public so in the dark about closed-end funds? Noting his book is the first written on the topic in more than 20 years, Schultz says there are a few reasons:

• Brokers can’t generate a lot of commissions from them. Brokers move open-ended funds quickly because they earn a commission with each transaction. It’s easy money for them, Schultz says. Closed-end funds require a longer term investment strategy, so brokers who want to get rich quick won’t use them.

• They require more effort from the broker, who has to work to find the “sales.” One advantage of closed-end funds is that they can sometimes be purchased at a discount, so the investor starts off ahead of open-end investors who are paying full price for stocks, Schultz says. Even if the fund never gets back up to its full value, any increase at all is a gain. But the broker has to be willing to work to find the good investments with good discounts. And then he or she has to be willing to sit on them.

• Closed-end funds are boring! For a lot of brokers, it’s just plain fun to trade stocks in products and initiatives with an exciting ring to them, whether it’s Facebook or a treasure-hunting ship. These brokers are constantly trading stocks – and generating transaction feeds, lawyer fees and underwriting fees every time – because that’s what they like to do. Closed-end funds require thoughtful, sometimes tedious research before buying, and then the patience of a saint as both the broker and the investor wait for the bid price to increase.

About Scott T. Schultz

Scott T. Schultz began his career in 1983 at E.F. Hutton and was ranked the nation’s No. 1 Separate Account Money Manager by USA Today for three consecutive years using GIPS verified/audited performance numbers supplied by Morningstar, Inc. Schultz was a GOP nominee for U.S. Congress in 1988, and met with Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush at the White House. He graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in journalism.

Loebsack Statement on Department of Labor’s April Jobs Report PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Joe Hand   
Tuesday, 08 May 2012 13:54

Washington, D.C. - Congressman Dave Loebsack today issued the following statement in response to the Department of Labor’s announcement that the unemployment rate dropped slightly to 8.1 percent in April and 115,000 jobs were added.

“Unfortunately, the economy is nowhere near where it needs to be for Iowans who are out of work and still looking for a job.  To truly address this problem, Congress must put aside the games that have continually plagued any progress, and work together.

“It is frustrating when even legislation such as the Highway Bill, which has traditionally been done in a bipartisan fashion, has fallen to the Republican’s political games.  This legislation would not only make our roads safer for families and more efficient for businesses and farmers, it is also an issue central to job creation and economic development in Iowa and across the country.  I have crossed party lines to try and pass this bill and I personally urged the President to become more engaged on a bipartisan basis to move forward a long-term transportation plan.

“It is critical to Iowa families, business and farmers that we move forward on both the Highway bill and a real jobs bill.  The games must end.”


Want the Best Business Card Ever? Write a Book PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Thursday, 03 May 2012 14:26

Nearly every day, someone asks my advice on the best way to promote their business or themselves. I get the question at speaking engagements, at the office and, yes, sometimes at home. I don’t mind at all, because I’ve always got a good answer:

Write a book.

“A book?” some say -- with obvious horror. “I’ve never written a book!”

Precisely my point. But let me back up a bit.

When I started EMSI 22 years ago, I soon realized the clients who got the attention of the media most quickly were those who’d written a book. Not just any book, mind you, but one that aligned with what they were promoting. The apple salesmen who wrote about apples were far more successful getting media coverage than those who wrote about oranges – and those who hadn’t written anything at all.

Why? Because yesterday’s business cards are today’s books. They give their authors immediate credibility, establishing them as experts in their fields. Credibility opens the door to journalists, talk show hosts, bloggers and anyone else creating content for hungry audiences. Who will they turn to as an expert source of information when a mysterious apple worm is destroying orchards? Johnny Appleseed, author of Red All Over – The Core of the Apple Industry.

There are some caveats. A poorly conceived, poorly designed, poorly written or poorly promoted book is worse than no book at all. Your book must capably and professionally represent your unique message – and you.

Not a writer? Not a problem. There are thousands of talented freelance writers and editors out there – especially in the wake of all the newspaper layoffs in recent years – who can help. So don’t worry about that just yet. The first step is planning, and that’s up to you whether or not you will actually do the writing.

• Decide on your book’s main idea. The central focus will be what drives the entire project, so it must match the message you want to convey and it must excite you. If you’re bored from the get-go, you’ll likely never see your project through to the end. A great way to test ideas is by running them through these five questions:

1. What message am I enthusiastic about that I want to convey?
2. Who can benefit from it?
3. How will it help them?
4. Why am I the one bringing this idea to them?
5. How can I make my points unique and different from what has already been said on the topic?

• Pay attention to your own reactions as you test-drive your ideas. Which idea makes you smile? Which excites you creatively? Which hits the essence of what you’re about – what you enjoy, think about and create every day? It may be an idea you never even realized inspired such passion in you.

• Consider what you really want to achieve by promoting yourself or your business. Business owners obviously want to grow their business and see it flourish; some people want to build careers as speakers. But often, there’s something deeper driving us and we may not even be aware of it. Taking the time to do some soul-searching to identify your real motivation can help you clarify your message and find your book’s focus.

A real-life example: When I sat down to write Celebritize Yourself, I planned a how-to book on commonly asked publicity questions.  But, when I ran that idea through the five-question test, I had trouble with No. 5.  So, I asked myself, “What do I most enjoy about my professional life?” The answer was easy: helping people identify and value what’s unique about them and their message.  In writing a book about how to get publicity, I realized I needed to explain why everyone has an expertise that should be shared.

It’s never too late to write your book. I know it seems daunting, but remember, the first time you do anything, it’s often a challenge. Remember how hard it was wobbling down the sidewalk on your first bicycle? You may have crashed a few times, skinned your knees and bumped your head, but you got back on and kept trying.

Call on that brave 6-year-old you and start planning your book!

About Marsha Friedman

Marsha Friedman is a 22-year veteran of the public relations industry. She is the CEO of EMSI Public Relations (, a national firm that provides PR strategy and publicity services to corporations, entertainers, authors and professional firms. She also co-hosts "The News and Experts Radio Show with Alex and Marsha" on Sirius/XM Channel 131 on Saturdays at 5:00 PM EST.

Reclaiming the American Dream PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Thursday, 03 May 2012 13:38
Expert Calls for ‘Economic Disobedience’

The national mood remains anxious, worried.  We have millions of Americans out of work, many of them Baby Boomers who’ve seen what they worked for these past 30 years disappear:  a predictable career, financial security, home equity, retirement savings. The foundation they’ve worked so hard to build seems to have collapsed before their very eyes.

“They feel lost. They see hedge-funders and investment bankers as having hijacked the American Dream from the middle class,” says Peter Weddle, former CEO of Job Bank USA, Inc., and author of A Multitude of Hope: A Novel About Rediscovering the American Dream (

“Boomers – and all working Americans, for that matter – feel as if all of the opportunity has been sucked out of the land of opportunity, and they don’t know how or even if they can succeed in this changed world.”

But America is still the leader of the global economy and its future is as bright as it ever was, Weddle says. Why? Because Americans are individually prone to innovation and creativity, and collectively, the most diverse pool of workers in the world, he says.

“For all the unresolved immigration issues we have in the United States, we still have the best workforce on the planet.  Our diversity gives us a huge advantage over the competition in the global economy,” Weddle says. “We have every kind of talent the world has to offer, while other countries such as China, India and Japan have very homogenous cultures so everyone basically brings the same talent to the table.”

That talent, however, is being wasted.  The U.S. workplace has become an investor-driven market, a place where workers are treated as disposable cogs who are costs to be minimized rather than capabilities to be maximized on-the-job, Weddle says. The only way out, therefore, is something he calls “economic disobedience.”  If every American stands up and demands their right to be employed as a person of talent – and if they then elevate that talent and bring it to work with them – they can reclaim the American Dream, Weddle says.

He sees Baby Boomers already beginning to do this. The number of 50- to 64-year-olds enrolled in college jumped 17 percent from 2007 to 2009, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

“These are the people who see this time as a moment of liberation – a chance to reinvigorate their talent so they can perform at their peak on-the-job,” Weddle says. “And that self-reliance and individual determination is how our country will recapture its mojo.”

A national human resources expert, Weddle says people don’t necessarily have to go back to school or reinvent themselves. But they do need to identify their talent – their innate capacity for excellence – and take a proactive approach to integrating it into their career.

“It may be a gift for getting things organized, for resolving conflicts, for explaining complex topics in simple terms,” he says. “Every single one of us has a talent and when we apply it at work, our job satisfaction – and our pay – goes up.

“Instead of work being a four-letter word, it becomes something to get excited about and to feel good about. We rekindle our self-confidence, self-respect and determination and we produce an economic revolution that restores democratic capitalism.”

About Peter Weddle

Peter Weddle, a former recruiter and human resource consultant, is the CEO of the International Association of Employment Web Sites, a trade organization. He has written or edited more than two dozen non-fiction books regarding careers and employment; “A Multitude of Hope” is his first work of fiction. Weddle is the founder and former CEO of Job Bank USA, Inc., one of the largest electronic employment services companies in the United States.

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