Saturday, February 28, 2015

This Blog Is Moving to The Couch Potato Entrepreneur!

Over the next few days, the content from this blog will be updated and moved to my new website, The Couch Potato Entrepreneur.

The Couch Potato Entrepreneur is all about helping readers find easy ways to navigate entrepreneurial waters - covering business ethics and all parts of starting & running a new business.

I hope you like the new site, and links will be provided in each article's place as it is moved to the new site.

Thank you for visiting here, now please come on over to The Couch and get comfy!

Just click the link above or the potatoes below to get started!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Voluntourism in Ayacucho, Peru

Ayacucho, Peru voluntourism opportunities give volunteers the chance to learn about local culture and get to know Ayucucha's residents while reaching out a helping hand.

South American Volunteer Opportunities Vacations built around charity work and opportunities to give something back to the world are referred to as voluntourism. Voluntourism is a wonderful opportunity for altruistic vacationers because - in the process of reaching out to help others it is possible to learn about other cultures, appreciate the beauty of those cultures, and see parts of the world that otherwise might only be dreams for many tourists.

Cross-Cultural Solutions offers volunteer opportunity packages to Ayacucho, Peru. Ayacucho packages from CCS focus on basic needs of Ayacucho residents. Care-giving, community development, health care and teaching are the main tasks assigned. Volunteers are assigned to dormitory rooms that house between three and four people per room. The food served is the local Peruvian cuisine and transportation is provided to the work sites. Free time gives Voluntourists the chance to visit local residents and villages, hike in the Andes, and go on llama treks.

Volunteers for Peace has many upcoming volunteer projects coming for those interested in doing charity work in Ayacucho, Peru. Their Ayacucho volunteer packages focus on the areas of the environment, farmland preparation and erosion prevention, children, and social circumstances. Some packages offered by VFP are short term while others are significantly longer. Speaking Spanish appears to be a common prerequisite for the Ayacucho volunteers through VFP. Housing is provided in the local community and meals are also included with VFP packages.

Voluntourism packages are available to other parts of Peru as well as those to Ayacucho. has packages designed around helping children in different areas of Peru. One especially touching project involves orphanage projects to help the street children of Cusco, Urubamba, Trujillo, Chimu, Arequipa, Lima, and Huancayo. Volunteers live with host families or in hostels. Three meals a day are provided as part of the package. Packages can be customized and travel itineraries for off-time can be enhanced by contacting

Nexos Voluntarios (NeVo for short) also offers volunteer packages to Peru. Their trips are related to education, health, environmental issues, business and development, and human rights. Volunteers are given real jobs that include tasks that are truly needed. Accommodations include either rooming with a host family or at the NeVo house. Meals are included Monday through Friday. Six hours a week of conversational Spanish lessons, cultural immersion activities, on site support, coaching, and medical help. Transportation to and from the airport is also included in Nevo Peruvian volunteer packages. The NeVo website also has a link to fundraising ideas in case help is needed to raise the funds to pay for the trip.

Be sure to check for current information on any of these trips you are interested in joining - as this article is approximately two years old -conditions may have changed.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Voluntourism in Dharamsala, India

India voluntourism opportunities offer challenges and bring joy to volunteers who want to spend their vacations giving back instead of just staying in hotels and visiting local attractions.

India Volunteer Opportunities

Vacations built around opportunities to give something back to the world are referred to as voluntourism. Opportunity is the best description because in reaching to help others it is possible to learn about new cultures and to see parts of the world that otherwise might only be visited through pictures or dreams.

Cross-Cultural Solutions offers voluntourism packages to Dharamsala, India. Dharamsala is a favored starting point for hikers in India as well as those who wish to visit the Dalai Lama who lives only a few miles away. The town is found in a forest with the beautiful snow covered Himalayan Mountains in the background. CCS has three home-base areas in Dharamsala. Traditional Indian meals and transportation are provided as part of the packages. Volunteers can spend their free time in Dharamsala communing with nature, visiting temples and monasteries, and learning about Tibetan culture. Opportunities for charitable work in Dharamsala are centered on care-giving, teaching, community development, and health care.

Volunteers for Peace is a reputable organization that has many voluntourism packages to India. They are one of the lower priced voluntourism organizations, offer student credits, and are well worth looking into. Accommodations will be provided in a local guest house. One upcoming Dharamsala, India voluntourism package they offer lasts twenty days with the first two weeks spent in camp will give volunteers the chance to learn about Tibetan culture and history. The third week offers an opportunity to take a four day trek around the mountains of Dharamsala and Triund.
Other packages offering India voluntourism opportunities present many types of experiences for volunteers. is in the process of building a primary school in Tamil Nadu for the children of India's lowest social caste.

I-to-i has around thirty reasonably priced voluntourism packages to different parts of India. Many of i-to-i's packages focus on community work, and teaching children. Trips last from two to twelve weeks. Accommodations are offered in home-stay, guesthouses, and shared volunteer houses. If other accommodations are desired i-to-I welcomes inquiries about more comfortable accommodations. Meals, airport pickup, in-country acculturation, and 24 hour emergency support are included in i-to-i's India packages.

The flights to and from India, insurance, visas, and local transportation are not included in these voluntourism packages.

Helping others while on vacation and at the same time experiencing India travel opportunities can be an experience that brings challenges and joy both to those helping and those being helped.


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Voluntourism in Tanzania

Many organizations have put together exciting and interesting Tanzania voluntourism packages.

(Be sure to check for current prices and details as this article was originally prepared a couple years ago for another site.)

African Volunteer Opportunities in Tanzania

The increasingly popular voluntourism trend is contributing to an increase in interesting volunteer opportunities in Africa. Tanzania is generally considered to be one of the safest countries in Africa for tourists, so it is natural to consider Tanzania voluntourism opportunities. Voluntourism gives people who have been fortunate in life the chance to experience giving back on vacation.

Voluntourists help others or work for ecological preservation while seeing the world. Voluntourism organizations put together packages that reduce the cost that altruistic volunteers have to pay for the experience.

Madventurer has a community building and teaching voluntourism package that takes volunteers to the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. Their packages run from two to six weeks and volunteers stay in local villages and eat local cuisine while helping the Tanzanian community. Upcoming packages are available that help with construction and building schools for the local community.

Volunteers for Peace (or VFP for short) is one of the lower priced voluntourism organizations. VFP has voluntourism packages to Tanzania that last two to three weeks. VFP is upfront with volunteers by describing possible accommodation and living conditions that might not be up to Western standards. Cooperative living arrangements are generally in a school, church, private home or community center. VFP asks that volunteers be prepared to be adaptable. Upcoming charity work packages focus on assisting with construction, renovation, kids, women, and sports.

Cross Cultural Solutions (or CCS for short0 offers voluntourism opportunities in Tanzania. Their Africa programs last a minimum of three weeks. Volunteers participate in the daily lives of Tanzanian residents and offer assistance with care giving, community development, teaching and health care. Home base accommodations are large shared-occupancy rooms that house from 4-6 volunteers. CCS provides transportation from the home base to the volunteer work sites. Free time gives CCS volunteers in Tanzania the chance to explore local safaris as well as the beauty of Mount Kilimanjaro. has upcoming Tanzania voluntourism packages that focus on teaching, wildlife, and other community work. Accommodation is in a dormitory-style room. Breakfast and dinner are included in the packages. Transportation provided is limited to airport pickup upon arrival with volunteers walking about half an hour from the dorm house to the work site. The cost is around $1645 for two weeks - with flights, insurance, Visas, and return airport transfer not included.

Some other organizations that offer Tanzania voluntourism packages are Global Service Corps, Zara Tours, Paragon Travel, and New travel organizations create new packages on a regular basis so be sure to run an Internet search. These Tanzania volunteer opportunities packages vary widely in prices, accommodations provided, and time commitments required. The packages also change from season to season; government regulations also occasionally impose changes so carefully review all information before making the final voluntourism package selection.


Monday, August 4, 2014

The Hardest Part of Finding a Work/Life Balance

It can take a lot of soul-searching and trips down the wrong path to find the right one. Balancing work and life can be one of the hardest tasks we face.
I struggled with the decision of how to balance work and family life after I became a mother. I wanted my family to have the advantages that came with a second income. I also wanted to spend every moment with my little bundle of joy. I think being open to change until one finds a comfortable balance is really important.

I have made a personal study over the course of the last few years of how to create an income while doing what feels right to me as a mother. I first decided I wanted to work from home doing upholstery work. It was a problem. The problem was it was very dirty work tearing old furniture and car seats apart, and there are a lot of sharp, rusty metal pieces involved with that kind of work. It was not so bad when my little one could be in playpen smiling at me while I worked. It got harder as the baby's mobility increased.

I decided to put that dream off for a few years and go back to college. I wanted to learn how to properly manage and market a business plus how to keep the books the right way. That way I could still have my dream of customizing street rod interiors and meeting my personal goals as a mother. I thought by the time I was ready to jump into the business my children would be more independent and they would be able to understand to stay away from the sharp items.

I discovered in college that I love writing. Sometimes when I was between classes I wrote papers on topics that interested me just for the fun of writing them. Now I write during every spare moment I get. If I have an article due - sometimes I offer a cartoon break so I can write for a short time. (I don't offer a lot of TV time so it almost always gets a happy response.) I write when the rest of the family is sleeping at night. Sometimes I get up early so I can write. It doesn't seem like a chore because I love it.

I still sometimes tell people who ask what I do that I am a full-time mother, though I have adapted to my role as a writer and can now comfortably announce my profession to others. Being adaptable and recognizing what I felt I was supposed to be doing was the key to finding a work/life balance for me.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

How Do You Define Businesses With Good Ethics?

Social corporate responsibility is a popular buzzword in today's business marketplace, but it's kind of a subjective term rather than a concrete one - what does it really mean to you?

This is a short list of traits that are commonly associated with businesses with good ethics, feel free to add your own ideas in the comments at the end of the post.
  • Eco-friendly
  • Sustainable material sourcing
  • Good human resources practices
  • Going the extra mile - whether for internal or external stakeholders
  • Community service-oriented
  • Charitable giving
  • Making sure every action supports the corporate social responsibility parameters as set by the company leaders.
What do you think? What ethical practices would you add to our short ethics list if you were preparing it?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Business Ethics News: Registration Is Open for the Compliance Week 2014 Conference for Ethics and Compliance Professionals

A Compliance Week conference can provide a great forum for learning about the latest business ethics news, as well as for networking with other industry professionals and representatives of some major corporations. If you are looking for just such an opportunity, then good news is at hand, because the Compliance Week 2014 conference for ethics and compliance professionals is open for early-bird registrations until January 31, 2014.

The conference runs from May 19-21 at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington DC.

Attending the conference is not cheap, (details available at the link above, as well as the agenda and guest speaker list) unless you think of it as an investment in your career or your business. In THAT sense, the things you have the opportunity to learn become invaluable and worth far more than you will spend to attend.