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!

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

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I love finding new apps that actually make life easier.

Here are my 5 latest must-have career apps:

Workfolio is the perfect platform for the professionals that want an online presence, but aren’t interested in blogging. This site allows you to create a simple one-page website highlighting your skills. Setting up your site is totally free.   

Blinkist is the app that makes you appear well-read, without having to actually read. The app turns books into easy-to-digest  outlines that you can quickly scan through. The app is totally free, but you will quickly need to upgrade to the paid version. ($6.99 a month)

Good.co identifies your personality type, and then shows you the companies you would be a great fit for. They have a ton of features, and an amazing blog. When you log-in they give you surveys on your past positions, and allow you to not only grade individual organizations but direct managers.  

Photofeeler–Have you ever wondered what people think when they see your profile picture? This site allows you to test different images and crowdsources opinions on whether you look: likable and competent. The site is totally free to use.

Easily.Do--The best to-do app I have found to date. They sync your email, calendar and social profiles into an easy to scan to-do list. My favorite feature is that they notify you of special announcements your friends make. The app is free, with paid upgrades available.

twitter

Last night someone on Twitter asked if it was better to focus on building a huge base of followers, or to focus on a building a quality community to connect with. 

My answer? Both. 

I have spent more than five years on Twitter, and helped dozens of influencers implement strategies for increasing their following. The truth is that there are simple steps you can take to building up a twitter following, but it is a total waste of time if you don’t know what you are going to use them for.

Are you building a twitter following to increase traffic to your site? Are you trying to attract new leads for your business? Connect with like-minded professionals? 

Before you decide how to build up your twitter following, you need to understand why you are doing so. 

Once you know why you are trying to increase your following, you will have a clear picture of the type of people you want following you. 

Below is a step-by-step strategy to building a large quality twitter following in six-weeks flat. 

  1. Make sure you have a profile picture that represents you in the best way. You can use PhotoFeeler to find out which picture makes you look the most likable and competent. Fill out your bio, include a link to your site. (aka make sure you look pulled together)
  2. Every night for a month, follow 50 new people who are relevant to your goals. (A great way to find new followers is to find influencers in your niche, and see who they follow) 
  3. Each day, watch your twitter stream and unfollow anyone who doesn’t interest you, spams your feed or looks irrelevant to what you are building. 
  4. Tweet 6-8 links to interesting articles each day. (schedule them ahead of time with Tweetdeck
  5. Engage 4-5 followers each day via re-tweets & @ replies 
  6. Once you have a solid base of twitter followers, start focusing on getting top industry influencers in your niche to follow you. (A few ways to get big influencers to follow you–comment on their blog regularly, retweet/@reply them often, tweet links to their articles and include their twitter handle. Just don’t go overboard, or you will look like a creepster) 

If you follow this plan for six-weeks you will have a large base of highly-engaged followers whom you can leverage to meet your business goals. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over the past few days, I have had a number of new readers coming through the site. If you are new here, this post is for you.

I have spent the past six years writing online, which can make it hard for new readers to find some of the content I love best.

Here is a quick guide to help you through the site:

If you are here for career advice…

How to survive the gig economy. 

College are failing their students (and what they can do about it) 

How to find a job using Twitter 

How to find a mentor (part one) 

If you are interested in the business side of blogging….

Three things you need to know about monetizing your blog. 

Find your blogging career path. 

Or check out our complete blogger guide 

If you are a PR professional….

Why bloggers think your pitch sucks.

5 Major shifts happening in the PR industry 

While you are here, make sure to subscribe my newsletter and you will receive a copy of my new ebook, “5 Days to a Better Blog.”

Subscribe here. 

Enjoy!

Cassie

 

There are a billion guides on how to use affiliate marketing for your blog. I have (tried) to read a lot of them and was overwhelmed with all of the details involved in making money with affiliate marketing

If you love affiliate marketing or find joy in studying data and systems, this post isn’t for you. If you are looking for easy ways to monetize your blog posts with affiliate links, this post is everything you will need.

For purposes of this experiment, I am going to cover two types of affiliate programs:

Open affiliate programs, High-dollar affiliate programs and referral programs. 

Open Affiliate Programs: 

  • Low-margin affiliate programs include companies that offer a small commission for any sales you send to their site.
  • These programs offer a small percentage of sales, but have a huge inventory of product you can promote.
  • Most of these networks are easy to get into, and can be a great way to earn extra money from products you would write about organically. 
  • It can take alot of time to learn a new affiliate network, so I recommend doing some research and finding the network that makes the most sense of your blog. 
  • If you rarely cover products on your blog, you probably wont earn substantial revenue from affiliate networks. 

A few of the most popular open-affiliate programs:

Amazon Affiliates
Share a Sale
Skimlinks 
Reward Style 

High-Dollar Referral Programs:

  • High-dollar affiliate programs are companies that focus on selling one or two products, and offer a high-paying incentive for referrals you send to the site. 
  • These programs are great for bloggers at every level, because you can earn such a high commission for each referral. One post featuring the product could earn you significant revenue.
  • The key to earning revenue from these programs is to pick a couple of select products that make total sense for your audience, and promote the heck out of them. 

A few of the most popular high-dollar referral programs:
Shopify
Workfolio
Danielle Laporte
Quistic 

Product Credit Referral Programs: 

  • Referral programs allow you to earn free product for every new customer you refer to the site. 
  • While these programs don’t allow you to earn money directly, they allow you to earn free products. This is a great way to promote companies you already love, and earn rewards for doing some.

A few of the most popular high-dollar referral programs: 

Gilt Group 
ePantry
Stitch Fix

What affiliate programs do you recommend?