What You Should Know About Becoming a Landlord

So, you think you want to be a landlord? With the decline in homeownership over the past few years, the rental market seems to be holding strong; however, before you jump in, you need to know that property ownership is a lot different than being a landlord, so you’ll  want to make sure you’re aware of a few basics, as well as what you’ll be responsible for. Here are a few tips to help get you started.

How to determine returns

While managing a property can potentially be profitable, you’ll want to make sure you do your homework before investing.  If you haven’t already purchased property, you’ll not only want to research the current market, you’ll want to know which areas and locations will have the highest returns. Additionally, you’ll have to factor in how much you’ll need to charge in order to cover the expenses of maintenance, property taxes, the mortgage and the like.

The importance of screening tenants

While you may not have to live with them or see them every day, you don’t want just anyone occupying your property. Poor credit, a history of eviction or criminal offenses, or employment are details you should want to know before handing over the keys to your property. Make sure you run a background and credit check, which should give you a solid idea of the person applying. In addition, why are you moving, why is your monthly employment, how many people will be living on the property and asking if they can provide references from employers or previous landlords are also good questions for landlords to ask potential tenants.

The necessity of being in close proximity to the rental property

It’s best if you live close to your property so you’ll be able to check in from time to time, assess repairs, or show the space to possible renters. If this kind of thing doesn’t sound so interesting to you, than you may want to consider hiring a property management company to take care of the those kinds of day-to-day details. However, if you are planning on being your tenant’s primary contact for any sort of issue, you probably won’t want to have to drive more than an hour to check out the problem or to supervise any sort of maintenance.

Learning the law

Depending on the state you live in, there are specific landlord-tenant laws which cover issues from access level, deposits and anti-discrimination. It’s important that you read the fine print as many new landlords skim housing laws and often miss some very important details that could potentially lead to legal disputes in the future. Make sure you know how much notice you need to give renters before showing up to inspect the property or how many days renters should be given to gather their belongings should you need them to vacate. Fair-housing violations go way beyond just discrimination, so make sure you’re aware of the details that pertain to your state and don’t end up in a trap. 

How to enforce timely rent payment

Make sure you set a good precedence when it comes to paying rent. Tenants should know exactly when rent is due, where it should be delivered, what form of payment is expected and the consequences for not paying on time. It’s usually good practice to require tenants to pay a late fee should they fail to deliver or for checks that bounce. Cultivating healthy relationships with renters doesn’t mean you have to be miserly, you just don’t want to get into a situation where you begin allowing partial payments for someone who lost a job and end up getting in tight financial situation yourself. Be friendly, but be firm.

Featuring Katy Johnson: Actress, Model, Show Host, and World Traveler

Photography courtesy of Eduardo Cellabos.

We’re thrilled to feature Katy Johnson as one of our esteemed contributing writers for our May / June 2017 Issue of InFluential Magazine.  She contributed the intriguing article titled A Southeast Asia Experience to Remember which we invite you to read.  Trust us, after you do, you’ll be anxious to book your trip to Southeast Asia!

Who is Katy Johnson?

As an actress, Katy has worked on a number of film and TV series.  She starred in the South African unscripted drama series, “Clifton Shores,” as well as having appeared in USA Network’s “Monk,” and ABC’s “Greek.”  As model, she has been featured in a variety of national magazines and has modeled for clothing and swimwear brands.

Inspired by her own personal struggles with body image and the demands for ‘ideal perfection’ in the entertainment industry, she is beginning work on her documentary “One Model Mission,” in which she intends to visit 196 countries and document 196 definitions of beauty as defined by each culture.

Her passion for animal rights is why Katy is a member of PETA and the National Humane Society.

You can follow Katy on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.  For the latest on Katy’s documentary, you can follow her Facebook page One Model Mission.

William Jackson’s Exclusive Feature of Julia Faye West

William Jackson, Chief Business Officer of InFluential Magazine, Spanish InFluential, and Teen InFluential.

William Jackson, Chief Business Officer of InFluential Magazine, Spanish InFluential, and Teen InFluential.

There’s something about Julia Faye West that just stands out.  In the flesh, Julia is so much more than beautiful.  She sparkles and is simply breathtaking, yet her beauty is not the only quality which shines. She exudes confidence and a sense of humor which is refreshing and endearing.

Our Chief Business Officer, William Jackson, had the pleasure of experiencing these qualities first hand when interviewing and learning about the dynamic person who is Julia Faye West.

May / June 2017 Issues of InFluential Magazine Starring Julia Faye West.

May / June 2017 Issues of InFluential Magazine Starring Julia Faye West.

William was compelled to write the riveting Exclusive about Julia titled Julia Faye West ~ There’s Something About Her That Just Stand Out! which we invite you to read in our May / June Issue of InFluential Magazine.  

Visit InFluential Magazine, Spanish InFluential, and Teen InFluential at www.influential-magazine.com.

Welcome Words from Ingrid Garner ~ It’s So Easy Being “Green”

Ingrid Garner, Health & Wellness Editor for InFluential Magazine.

Ingrid Garner, Health & Wellness Editor for InFluential Magazine.

Greetings and salutations to you, our loyal readers, and welcome to the “Green” edition of InFluential Magazine. Having sprung forward into a glorious spring and preparing to rock a red hot summer, we’re excited to share with you some incredible ideas for living a green and healthy lifestyle.

Warmer months prove to be a challenge when it comes to green and clean living with so many temptations like outdoor barbeques, amusement parks and tubing adventures. Thanks to our contributing writers, you’ll see how to make delicious summer snacks (check out the Shaved Brussels Sprouts and Kale Salad recipe by Ayesha Curry – awesome!), ways to live green at home, beauty tips to keep you energized and refreshed, and fashion ideas to keep you cool and comfortable when the temperature spikes. Most notably, we’re excited to have Certified Wellness Coach Alexandra Paul provide guidance on how to break some bad habits when it comes to getting healthy.

With much gratitude, I’d like to thank our amazing team of writers, photographers, and graphic designers for another outstanding edition of InFluential Magazine. We’re super excited to welcome Esteban Casas to the InFluential family. He will serve as Jr. Beauty Editor and will be working closely with our Business Consultant Leonardo D’Almagro to make Spanish InFluential more spectacular than ever.

We hope you enjoy our latest publication and will have an outrageous and green summer!

With warm and joyous blessings,

Ingrid Garner

Health & Wellness Editor for InFluential Magazine


Leonardo D’Almagro Receives 2017 Best of Georgetown Award

Georgetown Award Program Honors the Achievement

We are elated to announce our Business Consultant and Jewelry Designer, Leonardo D’Almagro, has been selected for the 2017 Best of Georgetown Award in the Jewelry Designer category by the Georgetown Award Program.

Each year, the Georgetown Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Georgetown area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2017 Georgetown Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Georgetown Award Program and data provided by third parties.

About Georgetown Award Program

The Georgetown Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Georgetown area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

The Georgetown Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community’s contributions to the U.S. economy.

Congratulations Leonardo this is OUTSTANDING NEWS!  We wish you continued success!

Leonardo D'Almagro

Leonardo D’Almagro

About Leonardo D’Almagro

Leonardo D’Almagro is a new face in the jewelry world, but he has hit the ground running.  He has already received several major accolades.

In 2016 he was the only U.S. Hispanic jewelry designer selected to present a line at Vicenzaoro and Vincenza Dubai. Held in Italy, they are the most important international jewelry trade shows in the world. His collection marked the first time that a Hispanic designer from the U.S. was invited to present a jewelry line at these prestigious events.

Leonardo did not skip Paris Fashion Week 2016 where his line was used to accessorize Binzario Couture.

The Miss Mexico Organization has chosen him as an official designer. His jewelry will be used by the official Miss Mexico and Mr. Mexico in all of their pageants at all international events. Miss Mexico, Ana Girault, who represented her country recently at Miss Universe very often, wears Leonardo’s designs.

Leonardo received recognition by the 2015-2016 Daytime Emmy Awards as a Fashion Editor for his contributions to “Superlatina with Gabriela Natale.” Many celebrities have accessorized their elegant styles with the Leonardo D’Almagro Jewelry Line. These well-known figures include the aforementioned Gabriela Natale, who wore his jewelry when she received her first Emmy.

Reality TV celebrities LeeAnne Locken and Tiffany Hendra from “The Real Housewives of Dallas” frequently wear Leonardo’s jewelry. Two other fans of Leonardo’s jewelry are American TV host Hillary Kennedy and celebrity fashion stylist and TV host Jeannette Chivvis.

Miss Venezuela International, Amal Nemer, wore his jewelry during the Miss International contest, where she won the title of Miss South America International 2016.

For more information about Leonardo and his stunning jewelry collection, visit his official website at www.leonardodalmagro.com.

Sandra Cimbricz, Ph.D. is Someone You Should Know

We’re honored to feature Sandra Cimbricz, Ph.D. in our InNetwork Feature of our May / June Issue.

Sandra Cimbricz, Ph.D.

Sandra Cimbricz, Ph.D.

Dr. Cimbricz, is the Director of Research and Learning Design at Second Avenue Learning in Rochester, New York.

Learn more about Dr. Cimbricz and what makes inspiring and InFluential.

How to Use Social Media to Build Your Career

Photography courtesy of Alicia Hessinger Dias.

Avon representative, Alicia Hessinger Dias uses social media as a sales tool.

Avon representative, Alicia Hessinger Dias uses social media as a sales tool.

Seventy-seven percent of American women want to be their own boss, a new survey from Avon finds. While their reasons vary — from scheduling flexibility to more control to less office politics — now it’s easier than ever to start living like a boss or simply to advance in your career.

In the digital age, getting ahead begins with your social media accounts, which are literally at the fingertips of the people and companies with whom you would like to work. Experts say that having an engaging presence on sites like LinkedIn and Instagram can help you make connections, spread your expertise, and show potential employers and partners that you’re a good fit.

Indeed, 78 percent of salespeople engaged in social selling are outselling their peers who are not using social selling. Whatever your professional goals are, take steps to hone your online presence.

Avon, a company with a 130-year track record empowering women to be their own bosses, points out that today, social media plays a big role in the direct selling model. They are sharing proven practices to build your brand sales opportunities through social media.

Go in with a strategy. How would you like to be perceived? Make sure the reality of your online presence matches this vision, as well as your professional field. You may also consider strategically using privacy settings on certain channels to ensure your public-facing persona remains professional and on-message.

Be genuine. It’s important to be genuine, so use social media to be yourself and celebrate what you love. “I blog about the things I am actually wearing and doing, not what I think other people want me to say. Your readers want to hear your authentic voice and that is what they will respond to best,” says Alicia Hessinger Dias, an Avon representative and entrepreneur. She started her blog about a year into her Avon business and uses it as an opportunity to share deals, steals and tips that let her express her artistic and fashion-forward side.

To learn more about becoming your own boss at Avon, visit Avon Insider at avon.com/blog or sign up at sellavon.com.

Play into your strengths. Spend the bulk of your energy using the online platform that works most naturally for you. For example, if you agree that “brevity is the soul of wit,” spend your time on Twitter. If you’re a visual storyteller, focus on Instagram.

Be consistent. Stick to the topics you are passionate about, and remember to post regularly. Consider using a hashtag that speaks to your personal brand. Lastly, don’t just post content and then disappear. Remember to engage with followers in positive ways.

Give shout-outs. Connections come more easily when you give shout-outs. Use the event hashtag while live tweeting an industry conference. Add those you admire to your blogroll. These actions will help you earn high-quality followers.

These days, having a savvy digital strategy can be the most crucial step you take professionally.

“From the start of my blog, it has been an essential sales tool,” says Hessinger Dias. “The soft sell of showcasing product is much more effective than a direct sales pitch.” (StatePoint)

Bike to Work Day Announces Full Program Details – Friday, May 19

– Bicycling Advocacy Organization Releases Full List of Fueling Stations, Return of Passport Program and After-Party Details for National Bike to Work Day event – 

Austin’s largest bicycling advocacy and education organization, is gearing up to host its annual Bike to Work Day (B2WD) on Friday, May 19. Austin is just one of the many cities that will be participating in this nationwide event. The event is meant to encourage residents to bike to work throughout the year, as well as celebrate bicycle safety and advocacy in the Austin community. Interested riders are strongly encouraged to pledge their support and participation before the event at biketoworkaustin.org.

In celebration of the 2017 event, Bike Austin has partnered with over 45 local businesses to participate as official “fueling stations” for participants to visit during their morning commute to work. These partners will offer various gifts to participating riders, including free coffee, small snacks, merch and swag, from 7:00 to 9:30 a.m during the day of the event. Fueling stations will be located throughout the city of Austin, allowing locals to participate no matter their location.

Notable fueling stations include Flyrite Chicken, who will offer a free tall-boy Lonestar Beer to cyclists (21+) that bike through its drive-thru at either the East 7th or the new Burnet locations; Bikealot, who in partnership with Austin Massage Company will be offering quick “body tune-ups” throughout the morning; Bouldin Creek Cafe, will be serving up tasty breakfast tacos, muffins, house-made granola and fresh fruit; and Houndstooth Coffee, who are offering free 12oz iced coffees on the patio at their Downtown location. Other key stations include JuicelandWhole Foods MarketBicycle Sport ShopLivestrong Foundation; and as well as Jugo, who are set to offer riders complimentary fresh-pressed juice; and City Hall, the largest fueling station each year hosting over 10 booths onsite including TacoDeli, who will also be offering some of their beloved tacos to participating riders.

The full list of participating 2017 “fueling stations” is included below:

●      Alliance Transportation

●      Austin Cake Ball

●      B Cycle

●      Baby Greens

●      Bennu Coffee

●      Bicycle Sport Shop

●      Bikealot/Austin Massage Company

●      Birds Barbershop/Torchy’s Tacos

●      Bouldin Creek Cafe/Please Be Kind to Cyclists

●      City Hall

●      Cuvee Coffee

●      Cycleast

●      Dia’s Market

●      Easy Rider Pedicab

●      Easy Street & Monkey Wrench Bikes

●      Flyrite Chicken

●      Foreflight

●      Ghisallo Cycling Initiative

●      Hops and Grain Brewing

●      Houndstooth

●      Jugo

●      Juiceland

●      Kramer Station/Alliance Transportation Group

●      Livestrong Foundation

●      Mellow Johnny’s

●      Michael F. Adams Station @ Mueller

●      Quack’s Bakery

●      Rhythm Superfoods

●      South Austin Medical Center

●      Thunderbird Coffee

●      TownLake YMCA

●      Upper Crust Bakery

●      Volunteer (Randy Greenberg)

●      Wheatsville Coop

●      Whole Foods Market

Bike Austin will also proudly reintroduce its newly implemented B2WD Passport Program, which was a great success with its launch at last year’s event. To participate, 2017 riders will receive a specially created passport to collect unique stamps from each fueling station. Each stamp will enter cyclists into a raffle for numerous door prize drawings at the after-party, such as goodie bags and gift cards from Birds BarbershopRhythm SuperfoodsBennu Coffee, and more.

Bike Austin has also finalized additional details for the 2017 B2WD After-Party, which will be held at the Google Fiber Space that Friday evening starting at 5:00 p.m. At the after-party, participants will be offered complimentary beverages including beer from Hops & Grain Brewing, along with bites from Verts. All Austin cyclists are encouraged to stop by and partake in the community-wide event – RSVP is not required.

“Not only are we excited to give Austinites an opportunity to ride their bikes to work through hosting Bike to Work Day, but this is also a chance for the community to come together and unite in our movement to encourage bicycling as a source of transportation,” said Bike Austin’s Executive Director, Mercedes Feris. “We appreciate all of the participating businesses and riders that help make this event possible every year and we can’t wait to see how this year turns out. Hope to see all of Austin biking to work come May 19!”

The mission of Bike To Work Day is to attract new cyclists to commute while rewarding those who already do so. Not only do commuters improve the community by decreasing traffic congestion and reducing air pollution, but cycling commuters are proven to arrive at work more alert and in better health. 2017 marks the sixth annual year that B2WD will be held with more than 2,500 riders having participated in last year’s event.

For all 2017 event details and more information on B2WD, please visit biketoworkaustin.

Featuring Ms. Sandra Rascon, Contributing Writer and Co-Founder of InFluential Magazine

Sandra Rascon, Co-Founder of InFluential Magazine

Sandra Rascon, Contributing Writer and Co-Founder of InFluential Magazine

We’re always pleased to feature as a Contributing Writer, Sandra Rascon, Co-Founder of InFluential Magazine.

Sandra is a long standing member of the Screen Actors Guild and a veteran of the entertainment industry both in front and behind the camera. She was a specialist in intellectual property and licensing rights for Universal Studios Television and Networks Group, Universal Music Group, Dreamworks and went on to work with MTV and American’s Next Top Model. She has served as a copyright specialist for Pearson North America in educational publishing. She holds a Master’s in Education and served as an educational consultant in Central Texas. She currently uses her specialization to coach and creates dynamic Professional Development trainings for bilingual, ESL, Dual Language and Sheltered educators K-12.

Ms. Rascon contributed Where the Arts and Glamous Glittered in our March / April 2017 Issue.

Happy Reading!

5 Steps to Creating Happiness in Your Workplace

Each workday, the average American spends 8.8 hours at work or on work-related activities, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s even more time than people spend sleeping. And because we spend so much time at work, it’s in your and your employer’s best interest to make workplaces the happiest environment it can be. Workplace comfort and happiness is highly impactful in retention and recruitment, as well as an individual’s productivity, satisfaction and ultimately, a company’s or business’s ROI. It’s not just free snacks, pizza or bagel Fridays, big windows or colorful conference rooms and ping pong tables. In fact, there’s a science behind what drives happiness in the workplace and what can be done to achieve it, through light, furniture, ergonomics and movement.

To ensure both employers and employees can create and maintain an ideal workplace environment, Dr. Mike O’Neill, lead global researcher of workplace strategy and market analytics at Haworth, a leading furniture company based in Holland, MI, shares five tips to improve the happiness of your work environment:

* Bring order to the chaos. If you have an important meeting coming up or you’re under a lot of stress, cleaning your workspace can help. A clean workspace allows you to arrive and immediately get to your most important task without wasting time. Plugging devices in to charge, color coding your files, even filling or cleaning your water bottle the night before can help. The more organized your workstation, the more organized you’ll be to start your day. For employers, ensure your employees have streamlined and legible space. Workstations tailored to individual and group tasks help to promote legibility in the workplace, with clear indications of space designed to promote certain activities.

* Adjust your workspace to fit you. Whether it’s a height-adjustable work surface, an ergonomic chair or even a wrist base for your keyboard, simple comforts can have a monumental impact on your productivity. Take the time to adjust your workspace and posture to fit your needs instead of “making do” month after month. And don’t be afraid to ask your employer for solutions to help. The tools you need may already exist, you simply need to raise the question. For employers, be cognizant of employee needs in seating and the functionality of their space. Not all employees or tasks require the same template. Consider seating options that promote ergonomic health, desks and stands that compliment required privacy or sharing, and structure that encourages movement and healthy habits.

* Let in the light. Everyone values the corner office or space closest to the window — and that’s not coincidence, as natural light is proven to provide renewed energy and vitamin intake. If your workstation leaves you lacking some sunlight, take a little time each day to find some natural light. A quick 15-minute trip to the office atrium or even a simple walk outside can leave you feeling rejuvenated. Make a quick coffee run or take your computer outside to catch up on emails — you won’t regret it. As an employer, it can be challenging to ensure daylight options depending on real estate availability. If there is minimal natural light in the office, consider expanding to incorporate outdoor workstations, or simply encourage remote work or brief breaks to increase sunlight exposure.

* Master your technology. We all recognize and understand the frustrations faulty technology can bring. And while you may have little input regarding the types of printers or computers your office uses or in who the conference call provider is, improving your technical knowledge will lower your frustration and your anxiety. Take any training sessions offered by your IT department and/or watch available videos to learn how to use any given technology more efficiently. Run that system upgrade you’ve been putting off — provided you have IT approval. Your machine will run more smoothly and so will you. For employers, it’s critical to understand the day-to-day technologies that impact employee productivity and happiness, for both individual and group tasks. Ensure costs have been allocated to optimize technology and training in areas that are most impactful, and cut costs in areas of least impact (or perhaps frivolous add-ons that can be eliminated). Ensure employees understand training and troubleshooting that is available to them.

* Stand up for storage. Adding storage solutions to your workspace is about more than simply clearing the clutter; it’s about taking ownership of the area where you spend so much time. A natural place to put your personal belongings or hang your coat makes your workspace feel more like home. As an employer, it’s important to empower employees with the control over their workspaces. Oftentimes, organizational tools and tactics can provide this — from designated compartments, shelving, cabinets and drawers. Customizable organization and storage can be critical to feeling control over the workspace and happiness in the workplace.

Until the day you retire, your workplace will be an integral part of your life, so as a reminder, make it the happiest it can be. For more whitepapers, case studies, infographics and shareable ideas on improving workplace happiness for yourself and your co-workers, visit www.atworkhappiness.com. (BPT)