3 Great Reasons to have a Personal Newsletter for Friends and Family

friendsandfamilyI’ve been using Constant Contact to send out a newsletter to my friends and family for the past 5 years. The response has been fantastic and it’s made me a believer in taking the time to send word to your personal network on a regular basis. Here are my three top reasons that I think this makes sense.

1. You have a personal life and telling people that care about you what is going on for you leads to their having a greater understanding of your life, hopes and dreams.  Once friends and family know more about what you’re up to – they can get behind any efforts you’re making.  For instance, I had an idea a couple years ago called Farm My Yard. It’s an effort to match up homeowners and urban farmers who live nearby. I’ve been mentioning this idea and dreaming it into existence for the past couple years, and now that it’s starting to take off (I got word from a woman in Australia yesterday, Houston, we have lift off!) the people I’ve told about it are some of the effort’s greatest boosters.  And, of course, Farm My Yard has a newsletter sign up form on the website :)

2. The feedback. We all want to know how we’re doing. When I send my newsletter out, I always ask for feedback and over the years it almost feels like people are taking turns and writing back with their thoughts, suggestions and mentions of how they might be facing the same challenges and their solutions for making their way through.  Sometimes it’s just an “atta boy”, but some friends have deepened our relationship by sharing their thinking and real offers of help. For example, I have considered running for Portland City Council and used Constant Contact’s survey tool to ask my personal list who would be willing to support me and how. The response was fantastic – offers of money, time, and other types of support filled in my survey and has encouraged me to keep this idea milling rather than forgetting about it.

3. Referrals.  By telling my friends and family some of what I’m up to in my business life, they then know something of how I spend my time making money – teaching email marketing, social media and helping small businesses boost their marketing efforts. I have become known in my personal world as THE guy who does that. This has led to friends introducing me to their friends who need business support. I generally don’t ask my friends and family directly for support, but their knowledge of my business helps me in various ways. For instance, when we come together for various gatherings, the conversations often start at a greater depth because they’ve been following my life and are somewhat caught up with my progress. Instead of “what’s new“, the conversations more often start with “hey, I remember you mentioning that you lead street tree planting efforts” – any idea of how we can get that going in my neck of the woods?”

As with any email newsletter, you want to follow the basic rules of thumb – keeping the newsletter brief; having a great subject line; putting the call to action towards the top (if there is one); and using graphics and links sparingly.  If you invite your friends and family to write back about what has moved them about what you’ve written, they sometimes will – and, I promise, this feedback will often tickle you.

If you ever need encouragement on trying this out, feel free to get in touch and I’ll give you some encouragement. If you’d like to receive my friends & family monthly email (The Eleven), you can sign up for it @ http://albertideation.com

You can do this, and I truly believe it will lead to great things!

New Promotional Video

Thanks to Deb Rodney and Nolan Calisch of Flying Point Moving Pictures for my new promotional video!

Deb is offering a Free, one-hour consultation to anyone who is interested in having a video done for their business.  Contact her @ debrodney@gmail.com for more information.

Getting Started with Email Marketing – A Webinar

I offered a webinar on Monday, 1.27.14 – Getting Started with Email Marketing (and Facebook/LinkedIn tips & tricks). If you’re curious – here’s the link – have a watch!

If you’d like to take advantage of the website/email template offer that I mention in the webinar, start here. Let me know you’ve purchased Constant Contact and I’ll make sure you get your website match.  It’s that easy ($99 offer).

email - albertideation

Your Constant Contact Rep

CC and AK

I would like to be your Constant Contact representative. I am a Constant Contact Authorized Local Expert. If you are using Constant Contact (or : EventSpot, Social Campaigns, SurveyTool, SaveLocal) I can support your efforts in numerous ways. Here are just a few:

  • I will encourage you to send out your newsletter regularly – when I see that you haven’t sent in a while, I will send you a kind reminder
  • I will review your email campaign and provide useful feedback – I have many ideas of what works and what doesn’t
  • I can recommend that you pay for a full year of service to save you money – see the pricing chart on how much you can save!
  • If you’re a non-profit or an organization that works with children you may be entitled to a discounted or free Constant Contact account – let me know if you’d like me to look into that.
  • I pay close attention to what is happening in the email marketing and social media worlds. I inform my clients via a newsletter when I think a change in behavior is recommended. For instance, recently I tried sending a client’s email campaign at 8pm at night on a Friday – she had the best open rates ever – I learned to try that time out vie my research :)
  • I’m very well connected – if you are looking for anyone to do anything – there’s a good chance that I’ll have a recommendation for you!
  • I am happy to answer any questions you may have about your account and give you my honest feedback – email is best albertkaufman@gmail.com.
  • I make videos from time to time about a feature that I think important to understand. I’ll let you know when new ones ome on-line.
  • Let me help you get a website/email template match (for new customers, only).  More about this in the video below.

Please get in touch with me if you’d like me to serve as your Constant Contact Representative.


Albert Kaufman

Albert Kaufman 300X300

Past Newsletters – The Eleven

Thank goodness for the way back machine! If you’re curious what I was thinking in the past, here’s a pretty good collection of my newsletters. Thanks, readers!

March 2012 - 3.11.12 March 2012
February 2012 - 2.11.12 Val Day 2012
January 2012 - 1.11.12 Happy New Year!
December 2011 - 12.11.11 Year in Review
November 2011 - 11.11.11
October 2011 - My friend Amira and approaching 11.11.11
September 2011 – Back from the Burn, 2011 - 9/11/2011 
August 2011 – Do something big, NOW!- 8/11/2011 
July 2011 – Do something big, NOW! - 7/11/2011 
June 2011 – Birthday re-cap, revolutionary articles - 6/11/2011 
April 2011 - 4/27/2011 – Life through the facebook fan page
3/11/2011 - 3/11/2011 – March Forth, March 2011′s 11!
2/11/2011 - 2/11/2011 – Valentine’s 11!
1/11/2011 - 1/11/2011 – Prospero Ano Nuevo!
12/11/2010 - 12/11/2010 – End of 2010 – Happy Hannukah!
11/11/2010 - 11/11/2010 – Kaufman’s 50th
Oct 2010 - Oct 2010 – Register to Vote, Voting Party, Election 2010
Sept 2010 - Sept 2010 – back from the Burn
August 2010 - August 2010 – Variety Pack and Beloved write-up
July 2010 - July 2010
June 2010 - June 2010
May 2010 - May 2010 Birthday Email
April 2010 - April 2010: DC Visit Re-cap
March 2010 - March 2010 – Tulips and Dafodils edition
February 2010 - February 2010 – Smoothie Recipe
December 2009 December 2009
November 2009 - November 2009
October 2009 - October 2009
August 2009 - August 2009
Summer 2009 e-letter - Summer from Albertideation
Happy Earth Day e-letter for April 09 - Happy Earth Day 09
The Eleven for March 09, - The Eleven
The Eleven for January 09, - The Eleven
The Eleven for December 08, - The Eleven
The Eleven for November 08, - The Eleven


Marijuana Mutual Fund?

After reading this article I got the idea that it might be interesting to have a Marijuana Mutual Fund. My understanding is that it would be 20 or so firms that have anything to do with the marijuana trade. Do you know of such a fund?

Happy Valentine’s Day to pot growers – you can now do business legally with banks – Obama Administration, thank you!

Today’s humor and other articles (1.31.14) from the WWeek in Portlandia. 

According to this article, High Times is creating such a fund. (but it doesn’t look like this will be for the small investor).


1.15.14 – What I’ve come up with so far…



and, in the news:

1.21.14 – Perhaps I was on the right track :) Article - reprinted below…

14 Cannabis Stocks To Watch In 2014

January 21, 2014 3:27 PM
The green rush is here.

More than 20 states have approved marijuana use for medicinal purposes and Colorado and Washington are opening up the plant for recreational use. Marijuana companies rose more than 50 percent in 2013 and opened 2014 with a bang, rising almost 150 percent in just three weeks.

This list gives an overview of publicly traded marijuana stocks worth over 50 million, including hydroponic companies, vaporizer producers, and research houses for medicinal purposes.


Medbox (OTC: MDBX [FREE Stock Trend Analysis]) rose from $23 to $93 in a matter of five trading sessions, with the peak on January 8th. This is a great example of uninformed investors pouring their money into a hot name. The company makes automated dispensing solutions for medications, including marijuana. Medbox has the largest market capitalization of cannabis focused stocks, close to 1.2 billion. It also does not file with the SEC.

AVT Inc.

Started in 2001, AVT (OTC: AVTC) began producing vending machines, but recently transitioned to automated retail machines. Marijuana investors took interest in the stock when Medbox announced a purchasing agreement. Medbox spends about half a million dollars a year buying dispensary units from AVT. The company has a market cap of 119 million.

Advanced Cannabis Solutions

Currently focused on Colorado, Advanced Cannabis Solutions (OTC: CANN) buys growing facilities and leases them to growers. The company looks for an ROI over 25 percent and ten year deal for contracts. With an experienced management team, Advanced Cannabis Solutions is looking to build a consulting and other marijuana related businesses. CEO Robert Frichtel stated, “Every new state that legalizes MMJ creates hundreds of new opportunities, so we’re looking to evolve with the industry’s needs.” Advanced Cannabis Solutions does file with the SEC.


CannaVest is one of the bigger players in the industry with a market cap near one billion. The company produces Cannabidiol (CBD), a marijuana concentrate, from hemp. CannaVest hopes to grow a test crop of industrial hemp in 2014. The company does file with the SEC.

Cannabis Sciences

This is one of the most followed marijuana stocks although it has one of the smallest market caps (70 million). Cannabis Sciences (OTC: CBIS) is staffed with PhDs, the company is a leader in THC product research for medicinal markets. Two preclinical drugs focus on HIV and cancer. A key concern for the company is a huge amount of share dilution, with the amount of common stock 24 times greater than it was three years ago. The company does file with the SEC.

Fusion Pharm

Fusion Pharm’s (OTC: FSPM) PharmPod product is a “plug-and-grow” hydroponics solution. The company looks to capitalize on commercial growers and small operations with its scaleable product. The company emphasises that the PharmPod only requires 20 percent of the water of a more traditional growing solution and is very customizable. The company does not file with the SEC.

GW Pharma

GW Pharma (OTC: GWPRF) is one of the few cannabis stocks that trades on a major exchange (Nasdaq), meaning its financial information is much more closely regulated. The company is a biotech, however, meaning it has its own set of risks. Based in the UK, GW Pharma is developing cannabinoid medications, primarily for multiple sclerosis and cancer. The company has one of the largest market caps at 930 million.

Hemp Inc.

With several nutrition products on the market, Hemp (OTC: HEMP) cannot seem to sell any of them. Using hemp as a key ingredient, its supplements seem to fall in three key categories: protein, sexual performance and general nutrition. Hemp does not file with the SEC.


mCig (OTC: MCIG) has an interesting product: a ten dollar mini vaporizer for bud and wax. Just over five inches long, mCig is very portable and even offers three different heat settings. The company launched the first generation of its product at the end of October and sold out in several days. The second generation began selling at the start of the year. mCig does file with the SEC.

Medical Marijuana

Medical Marijuana (OTC: MJNA) produces a series of cannabinoid oil products, advertising the health benefits of consuming CBD. These include, a chewing gum, shampoo and lotion, and liquid CBD oil. CannaVest, mentioned above, was spun out from Medical Marijuana, which is now a minority shareholder. The company recently had a lawsuit filed against it, which suggests potential fraud; the company does not file with the SEC.


Nuvilex (OTC: NVLX) was a big winner in 2013, with shares gaining 258 percent. Nuvilex is a biotech company with research focused on “live-cell encapsulation,” a process to protect healthy cells from disease. The company hopes to use its research primarily to fight breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, and diabetes. Although its market cap is just 78 million, the company does file with the SEC.


GrowLife (OTC: PHOT) is a favorite amongst marijuana investors in a recent survey: 48 percent expect GrowLife to gain the most value in 2014. The company makes equipment for growing cannabis, selling 150,000 units over 25 years. The Phototron system, which includes a pod for each stage of growth, is advertised to speed up harvesting by three to four times. Growlife does file with the SEC.

Vape Holdings

Vape Holdings is currently trading under the ticker PLPED (OTC: PLPED), but will change to VAPE on February 2. Investors are very interested in a ceramic nail the company is producing for dabbing. The ceramic nail is expected to be superior to the glass or titanium because it is easier to clean, more durable, and lasts longer. The company is expected to sell 10,000 units in January, the majority of which have been preordered. Vape does file financial statements with the SEC.

Terra Tech

Terra Tech (OTC: TRTC) is another investor favorite with 17 percent of 420 Investor members expecting shares to gain the most value in 2014. The company currently uses hydroponics to grow vegetables and herbs, but plans to focus on marijuana or hemp when legally feasible. The company’s produce is currently available in Fairway markets in New Jersey, Connecticut, and New York.

Updated Watch list – 1.21.14

1.22.14 – Updated GWPRF (was wrong industry, I believe) and added a few from the Daily Dab. Up to 20 now.
Daily Dab’s picks for 1.31.14 – shows you a good collection of the players in this field. Seems to be a growing list..
Dab 1.31.14 List of Picks

11 Years of Activism in Portland

bunsnotguns from little t american bakerI’ve been living in Portland for 11 years now. 11 years of activism. I noticed last night as I was updating this blog (for better SEO and righting some images) that I was putting out a lot more activism over the last couple years than I am now.  Issues like billboards, getting rid of the yellow pages, chearing on the first Obama administration, holding voting parties, idling, population growth and saving the Tillamook State Forest – all were big issues for me in 2009.

These issues all still persist, but I haven’t been focusing on them as much. I’ve started fan pages for a few, and I continue to put a shout out for an issue when I see something about it in the media, but my own activism has definitely shifted some. I’ve also been working hard to develop my business and I hope that eventually that will pay me enough to devote more time to the activist areas that I care about. Actually, one area, Farm My Yard, I have been dedicating a bunch of time to – keeping the website up, updating the FB fan page, and I’m meeting with someone today to discuss building an app for the project. So, I guess I’m not done saving the world.

And, some issues come back around – like my current project regarding the Oregonian’s slide to the Tea Party Right on BlueOregon. They’ve been lying to us more and more about their tea party agenda, and I want to do what I can to call them out on it.

So, I guess I just want to say – don’t worry, I’m still at it. And perhaps I’m partially writing this to myself to remind myself that I’m still busy trying to change the world, I’m just mixing it up more with my effort with people and small businesses to help them with their marketing and getting the word out.

Yesterday, as I was heading to a client meeting I was thinking about being 52 and wondering who I could find to take on the various efforts I’ve started or care about. I was thinking about asking in the dance community to see about training some folks who are 20 or 30 years younger than I am, but noone came immediately to mind. And, I suppose activism is not for the feint at heart. You have to have support in your life – people who really are there to back you – and a process to keep you from falling down when things get hard. I’ve been using Co-counseling for that for many years to good effect, but many people don’t have a process to discharge their fears when they come up against things that are hard – government agencies; industries fighting back; a right-wing media.

All good things for me to think about – succession – who are the next group of activists? Who cares enough about the issues that I do to take them on? And, how do I reignite some of the causes that I cared about and still do but which I have let come off of the table?  Perhaps I’ll do a little spreadsheet and see where things are and put that up for myself and others.  and for now, happy new year 2014 – let’s see what we can accomplish!