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I had an intervention last week.

Actually a couple of them.

The best part of having mentors who are further along in their career is that they can see your obstacles much more clearly than you can see them yourself.

Last week, I got into a debate over one of my blog posts with a mentor-friend of mine. She texted me late that night, “I have been reading your blog, and I can tell you are stressed the f**k out.” 

 

She was right.

Here is the thing. Self employment is hard y’all.

I want to tell everyone to quit their job, stick it to the man and build a career that makes their life great. We are living amidst the gig economy where freelancing has never been more possible. 

But I know why you don’t make the leap.

Steady paychecks are nice. A luxury, even. 

Living in an “eat what you kill” mindset is HARD.

At any given time I’m thinking about…

  • Drumming up new business
  • Keeping up with current projects 
  • Drafting invoices to send out 
  • Connecting with new people on social media 
  • Paying this week’s bills
  • Paying last week’s bills
  • How are those going to get paid?
  • Remembering the boys start soccer camp next month.
  • Thinking that it’s time to put new tires on the car, isn’t it? 
  • Trying to put aside enough money to pay rent on the first 

The idea of “balance” is nice. But the fear of failing, going bankrupt and living on the side of the road is REAL. 

So I took the weekend off, and started thinking about how I could manage my career in a way that didn’t push me over the edge. 

Here is what I learned: 

1.  Assess your income from  the past few months. 

I took a step back and looked at my earnings from the past few months. 

I consistently hit all of my sales goals for the past three months. But then I got bored and changed my focus and my sales reflected that.

Instead of realizing what was happening, I freaked out and spent a week totally stressed and completely unfocused. I did all of this without even realizing it was happening.

Once I recognized the changes in my income, I pinpointed where I needed to focus more of my time and put the plan in action. 

Look at your earning. Identify the trends and learn from your mistakes.

2. Optimize your side projects 

After assessing my income, I realized I have been focusing a ton of effort into building a portfolio of courses, writing consistently and building relationships online.

The problem is that all of these things take a ton of time and make me very little money. They mostly just make me happy. Instead of giving them up, I found ways to optimize these projects so they took me less time and made me more money. 

I killed all of my existing courses, and started focusing on creating larger more effective programs that include experts that span way beyond just me. 

My first course is all about building a career that works for your life, and includes some of my favorite career experts online.  (you can get all of the details here

This new format makes the courses more interesting for participants, and gives me more time to line up amazing presenters.  

Win win for everyone.

3. Give yourself a break. 

It’s really hard to take time off when you are self-employed. 

You spend all day measuring your time in relation to money, which easily translates to your personal life. Suddenly, you find yourself coming up with sneaky plans to do work while you are supposed to be doing family/life stuff. 

Just stop.

You are going to burn out.

Assessing your income and killing the project that aren’t working is best way to increase your earnings. Giving up your life for work is not. 

Take a step back. Asses where you are and refocus your efforts.

Over the past few years, we have seen a number of platforms and apps pop up that allows bloggers to monetize their influence. If you are an active blogger, you have most likely been pitched by two-dozen startups wanting to help you make more money. 

It can feel impossible to sift through all of the pitches, so I have pulled together five of the best apps for monetizing your blog. 

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1. Course Craft
Course craft is a simple platform that allows you to create and sell courses from any site. I use this platform for some of my own courses, and love the simple interface they have created. Course Craft allows you to launch new courses and sell them instantly in exchange for a small percentage of revenue. You can get more details here.

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2. Rafflecopter

Rafflecopter is an amazing tool for bloggers that host regular giveaways. They allow you to create a simple widget that manages all of the details involved in hosting giveaways. Test it out the next time you are hosting a giveaway, and let us know your thoughts! 

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3. Soldsie 

Soldsie allows you to sell products directly on Facebook and instagram. I have noticed a huge trend in bloggers hosting “closet sales” online, and it seems they have had some amazing results. Soldsie allows you to create a closet sale and start making money in seconds. 

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4. Sellfy 

There are a billion articles across the web giving you tricks for formatting and selling your ebooks. Sellfy has made the process simple by allowing you to instantly publish and being selling PDF ebooks. Sellfy is a great solution for publishing that brilliant ebook you have been working on, or want to create a downloadble workbook for your readers. 

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5. Guides.co 

Writing an ebook can feel like a never ending project. How are you supposed to find time to write a book when you spend your days writing content online? Guides.co allows you to sell digital guides that take less time to create and are more interactive than traditional ebooks. 

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1. Nobody wants to hire a remote worker 

A couple of month ago I had an interview with a recruiter at a huge email marketing company. I have so many connections in the business and career blogging space that I KNEW I could bring more value to the position than any of their local candidates. 

The only catch? I work remotely.

The recruiter asked me why they would hire me when they have candidates that actually want to come to work everyday. No company in the world would choose to hire a remote worker if they had the talent available locally.

Which brings me to my next point…

2. Negotiating a raise will be significantly harder   Working at home is viewed as the ultimate perk. In theory, everyone in the world wishes they could sit home everyday.  In reality, working from home can mean twelve-hour workdays, and bribing your kids with fruit snack to be quiet during a conference call.

This doesn’t matter.

Landing a job that allows you to work from home is really hard. And everyone at a company that allows you to work from home will think you are getting the best deal in the world. This will make it harder to convince them you need a raise or promotion or more perks regardless of how hard you work.

3. Your will have absolutely no career stability It is almost always cheaper and more efficient to have someone locally do your job. The only way to compete with local talent is to become the master of a very specific specialty that is in high-demand.  

Still, this will only land you the gig. It will not guarantee that the company will keep you on-board long-term.

If you work remotely, you have to constantly be thinking about your next step. There is absolutely no stability in your career, but acknowledging that allows you to build a plan around it.  

4. Your manager will have absolutely no idea how to manage you 

Managers are trained to lead a staff of people who work side-by-side to them every single day. Very few managers have experience with remote workers, which creates a huge learning curve for every new gig you take on.

The key to success is learning the art of managing up, and mastering your ability to keep yourself on track.

Next week, I am hosting a three day live-video course about how to build a career working from home.

 I will be sharing the detailed story of how I built a career working remotely, and what I learned along the way.

You can get all of the details here. 

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The first things do when I start pitching a new program is create a list of criteria I can use to identify potential leads.

For example, I am getting ready to launch a huge new project featuring leading home design influencers. I have been pitching relevant brands to try and find sponsors for the event.

Here is the list of criteria I created for identifying prospects:

  1. They had to be home design related and/or interested in reaching an audience of home design enthusiasts
  2. They had to have access to at least a $3K marketing budget to pay for the sponsorship
  3. They should already be actively advertising online

How did I come up with this list?   

I started with the one thing I knew about the people I needed to pitch. They needed to have some interest in reaching the consumers who will attending the program. (home design enthusiasts) 

Next, I thought through what those contacts would need to make a sponsorship happen. In this case, they would need at least $3K in their marketing budget to pay for the sponsorship. 

Lastly, I thought about the obstacle most likely to stop me from closing the sale. It is incredibly hard to convince someone to spend money on digital advertising if they are not already actively doing so. I didn’t want to find myself investing a ton of time into a sale that would never happen. 

Once I had a list of criteria, I began identifying companies and startups that fit criteria #1. Then I started looking for contacts at those companies that fit criteria #2 and #3.

Creating a list of criteria takes fifteen minutes, and saves you from investing time talking to someone who has no ability to buy a sponsorship from you. 

 

Lets talk about student loans, shall we?

I have spent a billion hours researching the student loan market, and have decided that there is absolutely no reason for a college graduate to pay their loans.

I have resisted writing this post because everyone is going to say it’s your obligation to pay your student loans and tell me I am a horrible person.

The biggest reason you will tell me to pay my student loan debt is the trillion-dollar deficit currently hanging over the US economy, but hear me out. 

1. The reality is that the system is broken.

Student loans are forcing young adults to move back in with their parents. We are officially calling it, “The boomerang generation.” Of course, this trend is going to totally deplete Gen X’s retirement funds, which means nobody is going to have money for a very long time. 

 2. Your loans will be forgiven in 25 years.  

The government has created absolutely no incentive for paying your student loan debt off.

When you graduate from college, you can choose to have your student loan payments based on income.

If you make twenty thousand or less a year, you are not required to make a monthly payment. (The average new grad makes less than $20K a year)

Don’t forget that your student loans are forgiven after 25 years. This means a portion of all of this debt will be added to the deficit at the end of 25 years.

In fact, Professors are investing the majority of their retirement funds into Sallie Mae loans. Professors are making money off of the students who cant pay their loans back. And it is backed by the government!

3.Paying your loans will ruin your career

In the past, “young adults with student debt made more money, had better credit scores and had more car loans than young adults who had not attended college.

Now the opposite is true, students will student loan debt have worse credit scores, do not take out car loans and are most likely living with their parents.

This could be the reason that student loans are more likely to default than any other type of loan.

Now young adults are getting creative in how they pay their loans back.

 One dentist stopped paying his student loans off, so he could start his own practice. Student loans are the last bill you should pay.

Think of creative ways you could use that money to increase your income.  (Like the girl who used $17K of her student loans on plastic surgery)

4. You don’t need credit

The only reason left that you would pay your student loans is that you need credit. But the reality is that the whole “credit score” industry is falling to pieces, and startups are finding new ways to measure whom will pay them back.

5. The industry is broken

The student loan industry is broken. The next generation will be left with an insane amount of debt, and an economy that is falling to pieces.  You submitting your three-hundred dollar payment each month wont change that.

Instead, focus on finding the career path that is going to work for your life. Learn how to earn money in the gig economy, and make a plan that is sustainable. Student loans are not sustainable. 

I have spent the past seven years working remotely. My first position was a freelance gig I landed on eLance. Some shady couple paid me $10 an hour to collect email addresses they could market to.

I had no idea I was simply a low-paid spam bot. I wouldn’t have cared. The only thing that mattered was that I could earn money from my own home.

Since that day I have held positions at major PR firms, traveled around the country, and learned the hard facts about what it means to be a remote worker in todays economy. My last position was working remotely for Disney Interactive.

Today, I run a freelance consultancy where I build online marketing programs for leading consumer brands.

Next week, I am launching a brand-new course that will show you how to build a career working from home. (details here

This course wont show you how to get paid to take surveys or make a billion dollars from your coach. Instead, it will give you a wide lense view of the career opportunities for remote workers, and help you find the path that is right for you.

The reality is that most remote working opportunities are not meant to build sustainable careers. We wont show you any “get rich quick” schemes.  We will explore sustainable remote career opportunities, and help you create a career path that works for you.

I will show you the exact tactics I used to land full-time remote working positions, and everything I learned along the way.

Here are some of the topics we will cover:

  • The future of remote workers and the career paths available to them 
  • How to identify legitimate remote job opportunities 
  • The secret to landing a job working remotely and tips for managing your workload
  • Real-life examples of sustainable careers you can build from home 
  • A break-down of how much income you can make working remotely 
  • How to land insurance, retirement and other benefits you get with traditional jobs 

We will have three live-streamed video sessions, and daily emails packed with resources. The course begins next Monday June 30th, but don’t worry if you cant make the live sessions. Everything is recorded so you can watch on your own time.

The cost of the course is $25, but you can get access for $10 if you use the code “BLOGVIP.”

Register here! 

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Most people think pitching is something only publicists and startup founders do. The reality is that professionals in every industry can use pitching to further their career.

What is pitching?

Pitching is simply the art of introducing an opportunity that offers the other party something of value in exchange for something that is valuable to you. 

For example:

  • PR professionals are offering media something of value in exchange for coverage on their client.
  • Startup founders are offering investors a great opportunity in exchange for money to launch it
  • Event organizers are offering sponsors the chance to connect with their community in exchange for a fee

In all of these examples you will notice that both parties get something they want out of the opportunity presented.

How can you use this for your career?

Everywhere you look people are telling professionals how valuable their network is. The key to success is having a great network. Your network is your net worth. The problem is that no one tells you what to DO with that network. What is the point of having an amazing network if you cant tap into it?

Here is an exercise you can do to help better tap into your network:

  • Choose 5 interesting people in your network that you would love to work with
  • Identify what they could do for your career or business, and what you have to offer them
  • Send them a pitch outlining how you can work together (free template below!)

Here is your free template:  

Hi, X.

I am working on (insert interesting/relevant project you are working on), and wanted to see if there might be a way to work together.

(Write 2-3 lines describing the opportunity, and why you thought it would be particularly interesting to them)

Let me know if this sounds like something you might be interested in, and we can set up a quick call to discuss further.

Happy to answer any questions you might have.

Thanks!

(Your Name)  

You can use this pitch to land new consulting clients, land media coverage, get an introduction to someone who could be influential in your career.

 Test it out, and let me know the results in the comments!

Every year we take the boys to a local baseball game.

Adrienne thinks it’s a great family memory, and I think its fun to have pictures at the same place every year. I tell myself it will make a good slideshow for the boys graduation.

I spend the entire ride to the stadium making a plan for how I will keep busy. I have the shortest attention span ever, so the idea of sitting outside for two hours and watching some men play ball makes me want to die.

We spend forty dollars at the concession stand before settling in our chairs.

This is the part that is the hardest for me.

The time when everyone is happy and there are no problems to solve. I literally do not know how to quiet my mind.

I take an instagram photo of the field, but it is kind of dark so no filter looks quite right.

I take a few more shots and test about five filters before I finally hit publish.

I look up and realize that most of the stadium seats are empty.

These people spend a ton of money on advertising.  I literally can’t leave my house without seeing an ad for the Peoria Chiefs.

Tonight they are having a huge fundraiser, bounce houses for the kids, one-dollar hotdogs and fireworks after the game. And still, half the seats are empty.

I start thinking about their business model.

There are advertisements all over the stadium.

Every single announcement and activity is sponsored by a different brand.

I realize they have a sponsorship business model, except its like the worst sponsorship business model in the world.

Between the players, the stadium and general staff they have huge overhead.

And because they are in a small area, they have to sell tons of really small sponsorships. Securing and executing all of those sponsorships has to be a complete nightmare.

I wonder how much they have to pay their baseball players.

I start researching baseball career paths.

Here is what I learn:

1. If you make it to the major leagues you will make a ton of money.

2. If you don’t make it to the major leagues, you can play for one of these smaller leagues for a ripe salary of $13K a year. Yes, you will live below poverty level.

3. Some players are amazing and end up getting drafted from a regional league to a major league team, but the chances of this are like almost nothing.

Who gets better at baseball with age? Almost no one.

I decide this is a terrible business model. It is completely unsustainable.

I start trying to predict how long it will take for the entire industry to combust when Adrienne tells me its time to go.

We head over to collect the boys from the bounce houses. They come over holding plastic cups of neon colored slushie.   

I check our bank account on the way to the car. We somehow managed to spent over one-hundred dollars at the game.

And suddenly I start to understand the business model of baseball. 

Last month, I hosted a course teaching bloggers how to make $2K from their sites. The course was 3 days of live-video sessions, and I had SO MUCH FUN doing it! I had the chance to connect with some amazing new bloggers, and discovered that I really love teaching people how to grow their businesses.

I loved teaching so much that I have decided to launch a series of new courses. Each course includes 3-days of live video sessions, and daily email lessons packed with resources. Don’t worry if you can’t make the live sessions, they are all recorded and available for you to watch on your own schedule.

Below is a full-list of my upcoming courses. Use the code “BLOGVIP” at registration and receive access for only $10. Hope to see you there!

 You can find my full course catalog here. 

 

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HOW TO FIND A JOB RIGHT AFTER COLLEGE

Begins June 11th

Register here! 

 

 

 

 

 

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CAREER PATHS FOR WRITERS

Begins June 16th

Register here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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BUILD A CAREER WORKING FROM HOME

Begins June 23rd

Register here! 

 

 

 

 

 

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INTRO TO ONLINE MARKETING

Begins June 30th

Register here!

 

 

 

 

 

Social media design

 

 

LAUNCH AN ONLINE BUSINESS

Begins July 7th

Register here! 

 

 

 

 

 You can find my full course catalog here. 

We are coming to a point in history, where almost everyone has terrible credit. If you managed to not get sucked into bad credit card deals,  or the home loan crash you probably at least have a few insane student loans you forgot to pay.

Almost no one in America has a good credit score. Banks have more regulations than ever before on how they can approve loans. And the entire system is about to come crashing down.

We need a new system for assessing who is likely to pay a loan back.

I have like the worst credit in history, so I have become obsessed with all of the startups trying to fix the system. I have been doing tons of research, and found the most interesting startups in the lending space.

1. Earnest

Earnest was created to give financially responsible people access to short-term loans for big life changes. I love this company because they give you a super-low interest rate, and only allow you to borrow the money for up to 2 years. This is perfect for those unexpected things like….relocating to a new city, buying a house, etc. Earnest has created a merit-based system, which takes many different pieces of your financial history in account. This is perfect for people who have a regular income, but a terrible credit score.

2. Fundbox

Fundbox is a lifesaver for freelancers and independent contractors. The hardest part of being self-employed is mastering the art of cash flow. Fundbox allows you to get paid for outstanding invoices faster than ever before. You can sync your invoicing software to Fundbox, and get payment advances anytime you need them.

3. Kabbage

Kabbage was created to help entreprenuers borrow money to build their business. Most entrepreneurs have terrible credit, and not having access to extra cash can totally hault the growth of your business. Kabbage allows you to take small business loans based on your paypal and stripe payment history. They assess the financial history of yoru business to decide what they should lend you. Such a smart way to approve loans.

4. Raise works

Raiseworks makes it easier for small business owners to get loans. They have created a system that allows you to get access to funding faster than traditional loans.

5. Lend Up
Lend Up helps you build your credit score by giving you access to small installment loans. The interest is relatively high, but this can be a great way for people with terrible credit to start building it up.