Keep knocking it out until you’re successful

Affiliate disclosure: I do not have any affiliate arrangements with any of the products created by those mentioned in this blog post. If you buy one of their products, they will receive all of the profit. I will not receive a commission.

Do you feel like a fake, an imposter? Are you wondering what you’re doing putting yourself out there like that?

In “Steal Like an Artist: 10 things Nobody Told you About Being Creative,” Austin Kleon lays out the unspoken dilemma of people who are entering a creative or start-up phase: “nothing new is under the sun.” With the exception of actual inventors, nearly every one with a product wants you to believe they have an original idea or that they offer a special sauce to the established formula. What they offer is consistency of effort. The more times someone gets their message out there, the greater the chances that someone looking for that service or product will find it.

Look at Dave Ramsey. He didn’t invent either the envelope strategy or the concept of snowball effect for Financial Peace University. Those terms and strategies have been around for a long time. What he did, though, was organize a curriculum around a need he and others had for financial peace and, since then, has been sharing it with everyone he comes in contact with. His need has helped many others.

Lots of people will show you a formula on how to develop a successful blog. They may even have a course. They tried a number of things and kept doing the things that worked. So, if you are set on building a profitable blog, do what the successful bloggers tell you they did and yours will grow, too. Polish native Cristian Mihai began blogging in 2012. I started reading his blog, then. He did not have many followers. Now, over 132,000 people follow him. If I had done what he did beginning in 2012, I could be where he is now. But I didn’t. I started a blog and then stopped it. I started another blog and then stopped it. Remember, 90 percent complete to you, is 0 percent complete to your potential reader or customer.

Don’t stop. Keep going.

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A journey of a 1,000 miles, begins with one step. Lao Tzu

Just about anyone who makes an excellent living boosts their income when they present what they know to others. To do this, they sit down and organize their thoughts and strategies into a cohesive, sequential manner. People who sell courses on-line or offer public speaking services are teachers in disguise.

But marketing is the secret sauce to success. And at its most basic definition, all marketing is, is telling everyone you come across what you’re doing. Don’t be shy: just blurt it out. When I started out as a journalist, I applied to work at newspapers and kept applying until a newspaper hired me. Then another one did, and then another one. Then, I decided to become a counselor. I had to complete additional educational requirements to be in this field, but not all fields require that. Now, my private practice is growing because I tell everyone I know I’m a counselor.

Some people never finish high school and can become billionaire business owners. Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Airlines, David Karp who invented the popular Tumblr social media platform, and singer extraordinaire Aretha Franklin are among people who were exceptions to the statistical outcomes of dropping out of high school. But the common denominator between them and people who became successful with Ph.Ds, is that they kept working at what they wanted to do and told everyone about it.

When you’re starting out, what you’re doing may feel like a version of the real thing. It takes a lot of practice and repetition for the stars to get to be stars and they all started as beginners. Even the prodigy piano player had to sit down at the piano for the first time to discover that s/he had the talent. Then s/he kept playing the piano over and over until enough people looked at him/her, young as s/he is, and noted s/he’s got talent.

It is the same for you. Whatever you pick to do for your living, keep telling other people about it and keep doing the work. Eventually, you will be known for your unique version of “nothing new under the sun.”

 

 

 

Save $300 without even thinking about it

Affiliate disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning at no cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase of a product or service.

Do you find it challenging to set aside money for an emergency fund or to pay for luxuries such as vacations, new furniture or other items that you know you really shouldn’t put on your credit card?

If your employer offers a retirement savings plan, maybe you put aside money in there as an automatic deduction. You don’t even miss it and to encourage you to go to work one more day, you check it to see how wealthy you’re going to be 30 years from now.

Save your pennies

Take your loose change at the end of the day and place it in an “in-home” savings account.

Using the same principle, you can set up a savings habit and before long have a stash of cash which you can access anytime you need it. A simple, at-home, savings account can be taking your loose change from your pockets and billfold and placing it in a piggy bank. Within a couple of months, you may have added up $60 or more.

Another secure way to add up a savings or emergency fund is to take advantage of round-up programs. Those work by your buying things and the program automatically rounds up your purchase. For example, if you buy $8.75 in gasoline at the 7-11, a round-up program, such as Acorns, will charge $9. The gas merchant will get their $8.75 and the quarter will go into a savings account. Within a few weeks or couple of months, you realistically could save over $300.

Since it launched in 2014, Acorns has added beneficial features for participants, such as debit cards and partnerships with other merchants who will contribute to your account if you buy their products. The best added feature, though, is Acorns is sensitive to your accounts. So, if your funds get low in your checking, Acorns will automatically pause withdrawals until you get your next paycheck. That is a huge benefit, so you don’t have to worry about pausing the program yourself and risk overdraft fees from your bank.

Your bank may offer this round up program, too, and if you can resist frequent transfers of money from the savings back into checking, then this may be more convenient for you.

If your employer has the technological sophistication, you can ask your human resources department to split your paycheck into two separate accounts of your choosing. Some people have a bank or credit union account only for monthly expenses that are on automatic payment. This can be helpful if you need to have strict boundaries around your spending.

Should you need help tracking your money, Mint is a free program for the consumer which can help you monitor your credit score and give you updates on the latest interest rates. How it’s free for the consumer is that the Intuit-owned program makes its money through referral fees to companies they promote.

Unexpected events happen all the time. When my mother went into a nursing home,  I was able to make more frequent trips to visit her because of saving money through Acorns, rather than charging it to my credit card.  Maybe you will have some unexpected necessary trips or have a desire to take a vacation. Wouldn’t it be nice to do that and have it paid free and clear all by saving money without even thinking about it?

 

Set a smart goal and be vague about it

SMART GOALS

Be
S pecific
M easurable
A ttainable
R elevant
T ime bound

not vague when you are establishing goals for yourself. “I want to lose weight,” is a vague goal. “I plan to lose 10 pounds by my high school reunion in May” is a SMART-oriented goal.

An outline on paper will allow you to reflect on what a SMART goal looks like. Questions to help you think through the five areas of a SMART goal include:

Specific: Be a journalist and ask the five “w” questions. Who is this for and who needs to be involved? What do we want to accomplish? Why are we doing this? Where will the goal be achieved? Which resources will we need?

Measurable: How often will you  measure success. For example, if you want to lose 10 pounds, will you weigh myself daily or once a week? If you want to complete a training module, how may sessions should you complete in a day or a week?

Attainable: Most of us want to be millionaires and that may be a goal that can be attained eventually. But if you need a million dollars by 2 p.m. tomorrow, then you may be setting yourself up for disappointment.  Also, be careful about setting goals that other people have power to approve or deny. If you plan to borrow a million dollars from the bank, then be prepared for them to tell you no if you don’t meet their good credit criteria.

Relevant: You have a higher chance of achieving your goal if it’s a goal you want to achieve. So, ask yourself if this is the right time and if you’ve got the energy and motivation to achieve it.

Time-bound: The brain focuses more when a deadline is set for achieving a goal. So take out the calendar and manually circle the date you want to have your goal completed by. For example, if you want to earn a master’s degree, then find out what all the required courses are plus any required practicums and internships and write down your graduation date. This will give you a realistic view of what your time investment will be to achieve your goal.

One final thing about a goal, though. When you’ve decided on your goal, don’t talk about it. Be vague. In research about this phenomenon, a study documented that people who were praised for working on a goal lost motivation to achieve it because their identity was then tied to the goal. Others often mistakenly praise an individual on personal qualities, rather than process approaches. So, if a person is praised for how smart they are and then they don’t do well on a test, then that sets up a negative feedback loop and prompts a person to be less motivated to try harder on the next test.

So, identify your goals and be vague in sharing them with others but SMART in achieving them.