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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! 

A man is sitting on a sofa and writing notes in a notebook

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.

Hosting events can be a great way to monetize your blog.  The beauty of hosting events is that you earn revenue from both the registration fee and sponsors. In addition, events create new opportunities you can offer existing advertisers.

The biggest obstacle in launching an event business is the amount of risk that is involved. You may need to invest a ton of money into securing a venue, catering and marketing materials before any revenue is coming in.

You can often save money by cutting corners and creating strategic partnerships with vendors. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box when launching a new events. 

Here are a few of my favorite examples of how bloggers have built amazing event businesses from scratch: 

1. Founding Moms

Jill is the founder of Founding Moms,  a support network for mom entrepreneurs. I met Jill at TechWeek Chicago, and was blown away with how great she was at cutting corners and building successful businesses from nothing. Jill started hosting meet ups for mom entrepreneurs in her local area, and received so much positive feedback that she spun it into a business. She started partnering with mothers in other cities to host similar events, and using smart blog content and ebooks to reach new entrepreneurs. Today, Jills network hosts meet ups for 8,500 entrepreneurs in more than 42 cities across the country. 

2. Bloggy Boot Camp 

 

Tiffany is the founder of Bloggy Bootcamp, a series of mini-conferences hosted in 6 new cities every year. Tiffany is a powerhouse in the blogging space, and was able to leverage her community to build an amazing series of events.

Large conferences can have huge overhead costs, which is why most of them only happen once or twice a year. Tiffany saw that bloggers in smaller areas were desperate to connect ith other bloggers, but didn’t want to spend thousands of dollars to attend a conference.

She created amazing one-day workshops, which allowed her to launch multiple events all at once. Not only did her events sell out almost immediately, but major sponsors came on board because they were so interested in the opportunity to connect with large groups of regional bloggers.

3. Maria Killam

Maria Killam is a nationally-recognized color expert, and the founder of a popular home design blog.  Maria developed a system that allows you to find the perfect paint color for any room. Maria built a huge following by sharing her techniques and design advice on her blog Colour Me Happy

Today Maria host private workshops to show designers how they can use her methods and business tools to build their businesses. Marias events are so inspirational, because she is giving designers access to everything she has learned building her business.

4. Penelope Trunk 

Last year, Penelope Trunk started hosting live-video courses through her well-known career blog. Her courses were so successful that we spun it into a company. 

The beauty of online events is that you have no overhead.  You no longer have to invest time and energy into developing an event without knowing if you will make money.

 

A year ago, I deleted all of my blog posts and shut the site down.

A month ago, I launched and have focused a ton of energy into building this community. Being a freelancer working from home can be incredibly lonely, and this blog gives me a way to connect with new people around my ideas. Which is pretty much all I ever wanted.

I have been blogging for a month straight now, and thought I would share my results.

Why did I start this blog? (some background) 

I am a big idea person, and I love coaching people on how to grow their business. You can put me next to anyone in the world, and I will come up with some idea for them. Its my special skill.

Once I was sitting next to a man who owned a boring a museum in the Midwest. He was tasked with growing attendance to the museum, but no one cared about the president they featured. I gave him ten new ways to build his business, but I got so excited talking about museums that I spilled my coffee down the front of him. I knew my ideas were good when he continued to talk to me after I spilled the coffee.

I started this blog as a way to share my ideas on business and social marketing. Online publishing has opened up so many new career and business opportunities. I wanted to make this blog a resource for exploring the new career paths the social web has created.

My goal for this blog:

I love teaching and have access to tons of amazing experts that I curate into online courses. My goal for this blog (on the business side) is to build a community that can leverage my courses for their business.

My Strategy:

Drive traffic to site–>engage them in content they love–>Incentivize them to subscribe–> Engage them in more content they love–>Convince them to take a course 

What I did this month:

  • Published 18 original blog posts
  • Each blog post was shared on three-times on Twitter and once on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn.
  • Sent 2 newsletters to my blog subscribers
  • Sent 6 emails to blog business subscribers
  • Published guest post on penelopetrunk.com
  • Published a free ebook to incentivize new subscribers 
  • Created dedicated page for my Blogging Guide

The Results:
2,437 people came to my site–>They viewed a total of 4,989 pages–>371 subscribed to my newsletter–>Average 55% open rate for newsletter content–>Hosted one course earning $220 in  revenue

Goals for next month:

  • Publish 18-20 original posts on cassieboorn.com
  • Publish more guest posts to increase traffic to site
  • Distribute more content to newsletter subscribers
  • Launch 6 new courses

Last week I quietly released my new free ebook, “5 Days to a Better Blog.

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A few years ago, I launched a program on my blog in which I showed bloggers how to land PR coverage for their blog. The program exploded, and we ended up covering a wide array of blogger business related topics.

This ebook is a compilation of the best posts, tools and resources from that program. The book is totally free when you subscribe to my newsletter.

 

After you read this book you will have:  

  • Clear goals for your blog, and a plan for reaching them
  • The secrets for optimizing blog and social posts for traffic
  • An about page that increases your business
  • Tricks and tips for increasing traffic to your site
  • A complete media kit for your blog
  • A list of relevant media contacts and a pitch that will leans your coverage

Subscribe here.