Hemp has a colorful history in the United States of America. It is a wonder that people view hemp as something akin to evil, despite the fact that it has served the American country for more than a hundred years.
But what is hemp and how did it find itself here?
Hemp is a plant native to the Asian region. Archaeological evidence points to hemp as a plant first cultivated in what we now know as mainland China and Taiwan, and that hemp has been used in these countries as far back as 8,000 years BCE.
Artifacts show that hemp was first used for its fiber, primarily for cords. The seeds were used for oil and food. Over the years, hemp spread throughout the globe, and discoveries show us that ancient religions referred to hemp as sacred grass.
Hemp was part of daily life, until it found its way in America in 1606.
The American hemp industry
By this time, American farmers aggressively cultivated hemp, and it supplied the country with enough materials to manufacture oil, yarn, paper, and ropes
By the 1700s, farmers were required to grow it to ensure there was an adequate supply. The Declaration of Independence was written in hemp paper.
Hemp was a widely accepted crop, and its products were used everywhere. Even Abraham Lincoln used hemp seed oil to light his lamps.
Hemp’s reputation grew over time, and was experimented on for other purposes. By 1916, it was official that hemp produces 4x more paper per acre than trees.
By 1937, the Marijuana Tax Act put a blow on hemp farmers. It made little financial sense to plant hemp. A year later, a magazine called Popular Mechanics published an article enumerating the 25,000 different uses pf hemp.
Even Henry Ford created a car body made with hemp fiber. It proved to be ten times stronger than steel!
But those who were opposed to it, especially oligarchs whose businesses were crippled by the hemp industry, won the battle. The last commercial hemp was planted in 1957, and it was finally banned as a Schedule 1 substance in 1970.
The Awakening of America
After more than 50 years, two licenses were issued to farmers to cultivate hemp again in North Dakota. Seven years later, President Barack Obama signed the farm bill. This bill allowed research institutions to farm hemp and study its uses and effects.
By 2015, the U.S. Congress reviewed the Industrial Hemp Farming Act. This is the first of several attempts of hemp lobbyists to make hemp legal again.
The lobbying was a success, and a year later, a farm in Colorado received the first Organic Certification from the USDA for its hemp variety.
By 2018, after several amendments and failed attempt to legalize hemp, President Donald Trump signed the new bill, which removes hemp and all its derivatives from the list found in the Controlled Substances Act.
What is in it for us?
Today, hemp is a growing industry, and America no longer has to import hemp and its derivatives from Asia and other countries.
As American farmers can now grow hemp, we can also expect more companies to develop products with it. Hemp grows fast and is ready for harvest in as short as four months.
The plant has more than 50,000 uses, and we can manufacture paper and even biodegradable plastic from it. It is a multi-billion dollar industry that can give jobs to many people.
The end result is an America that is once more least dependent on other countries. The hemp industry is going to reduce waste, remove the need to kill trees for paper, and will allow many pharmaceutical companies to create medicines from CBD oil.
I started my rodeo with freelancing sometime back in 2008. Over those years, I have had my fair share of projects that went sour. I realized that the most common source of problems between freelancers and clients is miscommunication.
Or the lack of it.
But what is it that will help you get the most out of your money? How do you ensure that you hire the right freelancer out of the millions out there?
Here are my tips:
Be clear with what you want
Agree on a schedule
Take the time to review the writer’s portfolio
Agree on the payment terms
Set reasonable expectations
Writing is not like baking a cake. There is no cookie cutter formula that you can apply. Clients also sometimes expect a New York Times quality article for $5.
Many times, I received requests to write an article that is not on the internet yet.
And the pay?
Obviously, I rejected these projects. There were also clients who wanted me to write a detailed a review of a software tool—and that I must use the tool. But the client wouldn’t provide me access to it.
The pay proposal from the client?
$15 for 1,000 words.
And the cost of the software tool?
$47 per month, charged annually upon registration.
It does not make business sense.
I need to be blunt and I have to say this: what you pay is what you get. As a client, you are not any different from an employer. Before an employer hires an individual, the applicant goes through an exam, and then an interview.
While you cannot replicate this in the freelancing world, there are some steps you can take as a client so you do not get burned. It is such a horrible experience to pay for an article, only to find out it is not written in the style and voice that you desire.
1. Be clear with what you want
What kind of article do you want? Is it a listicle, an essay, or a how-to?
There are many ways to write on a single subject matter. In some projects that I had, my clients handed over to me some keywords and nothing more. In my early days of freelance writing, I made the mistake of assuming that I knew what the client wanted, so I wrote the article in essay form.
Only, it turned out the client wanted a listicle. He was expecting that I squeeze 10 tips in a 600-word article. I re-did the article, but the client was already not impressed at the first delivery.
This going back and forth is a waste of time, and it all begins because the project was unclear. Both writers and clients have the responsibility to lay down the project in detail.
For example, you can give a writer the keyword “Facebook marketing”. This keyword is too broad. Writers will have many ideas how to work around this topic, but they may also write something you do not like.
A better instruction is to tell the freelancers to write 10 Tips to Make an Effective Facebook Marketing Campaign”. This couldn’t be any clearer, and the writer has the full guidance of the topic itself.
If you are paying for 1,000 words, it makes sense to tell the writer to split the words as evenly possible between the ten tips, the intro, and the summary or conclusion. This way, the freelancer will not write 300 words in the intro, another 300 words for Tip Number 1 and then spread out the remaining word count on the rest.
If he does that, the article will look awkward.
Also, you need to specify if you want bullet points or not. In my 11 years as a freelancer, I am amazed that some clients do not like standard methods of article writing for the internet.
There are some that prefer huge blocks of texts, and there are some who want the articles to be easy on the eye.
Be clear with what you want, and the freelancer will deliver a good job.
2. Agree on a schedule
You cannot expect writers to complete one project for you in one day. Writers are not machines. They have moods, and writing is a mentally draining task. I spend more than eight hours a day writing, and I am too exhausted to continue after that.
Some subjects are also tougher to write. Not all freelancers have an expertise on every niche. And this causes the writers to spend days to produce an articles that is up to par with your specifications.
On a schedule agreement, you need to set a milestone. If you ordered ten articles, do you want the writer to deliver all ten together?
Or would you rather that the writer sends one article, and then you discuss how to move forward with the project?
This option is better, especially if you are working with a freelancer for the first time. At the very least, you can check the first article and provide your feedback.
With a milestone, you can discuss the changes you want, and then allow the writer to revise his work until he gets it right. And then he can move forward with the rest.
3. Take the time to review the writer’s portfolio
Never order an article from somebody whose work you have not reviewed. Why am I saying this?
Every writer is a unique individual. Their tones of voice are different. Their vocabulary and style vary. Take the time to review a writer’s portfolio so you get to feel the writer’s style.
You cannot change a writer’s tone or vocabulary. And if you do not review a freelance writer’s portfolio, you may receive an article that does not fit your website’s voice.
I, for one, am leaning towards a no BS style of writing. I do not write with humor, and I avoid projects when I am forced to be a different person.
While I can write sales materials like as if I am the business owner, it is hard for me to write in a fictional voice, like a mascot or persona who has a specific set of characteristics.
I was once a mascot for McDonalds’—wore Hamburglar and Grimace. All I did was wave my hands, but I did not embody the mascot’s character.
On top of this, the portfolio should reveal the writer’s capacity to write in English. If it is his second-language, does he use it in such a way that passes as a native? What about grammar and syntax?
Does the writer add value or does he fill his articles with fluff? Is the article rich in information or full of useless gunk?
The writer’s portfolio will reveal all this.
Now, how can you be sure that his portfolio is real—that he wrote them?
One way to do this is to ask a writer only for published materials that carry his bylines. Read the published materials, and decide.
If he has none, look for someone else. It does not take money to create an online portfolio. If a writer cannot afford a website, all he has to do is to publish his articles on LinkedIn.
4. Agree on the payment terms
There are writers who would start work without a down payment, and there are those who will not work without it.
You cannot blame writers who ask for a down payment. I for one have been a victim of fraud. I have worked with some clients who promised to pay twice a month. I wrote articles on a daily basis for these clients, only to get conned.
These scammer clients kept on dragging the payment date, until I realized that these were con men who had no plan to pay. I had to demand payment for the articles I already wrote, and they gave me a lot of excuses.
I have ben scammed.
And I learned my lesson.
Agree on the payment terms, revisions, and terms of refund. If you prefer to use an escrow, then by all means use freelance marketplaces like Fiverr. The thing with these marketplaces though, is that they are too saturated with people who have no clue of what they are doing.
They fill their profile pages with fake portfolio samples, and you end up wasting your time. You can get a refund, sure, but a week waiting for a product is still a week.
Freelance marketplaces are also costly because the writers have to pay a 20% fee for each project cost. If a freelance writer is charging $20 for an article, he only gets to keep $16. So, he has to make up for that lost by increasing his price.
And on Fiverr, clients also pay a fee of no less than $2 for their orders.
What I would recommends is a 50-50 split. Pay 50% now so the writer can start, and then have him deliver a milestone. It is during this milestone where you can decide whether to continue with the project or ask for a refund.
Again, these details and expectations must be discussed before you commence on a project.
5. Set reasonable expectations
You get what you pay for. If you are expecting a $15-dollar article that packs a punch like movie reviews in Rotten Tomatoes, you are delusional.
Every writer reaches a level of incompetence, which is commonly known as the Peter Principle. And while we get better at it over time, improving your writing skills does not work out like muscles in the gym.
There are no vitamins that can make you write like Kurt Vonnegut Jr., or Joseph Heller, or Sydney Sheldon, J.K Rowling or J.R.R. Tolkien.
Even if you increase the payment, you cannot squeeze out something more from a writer. What you see is what you get. Writers will improve, but this takes years.
Again, I cannot overemphasize that you check a writer’s portfolio.
As far as expectations are concerned, you have to go back to item number 1. If there is clarity about what you want, your writer is going to deliver.
Writing projects go awry because of so many reasons. Even in professional environments, writers and directors quit because they have creative differences against their colleagues. As a result, the project goes into development hell.
If this can happen to them, this can happen to you and me.
But there is a solution: communication and reasonable expectations.
11 years of copywriting. I know what I’m doing. Review my portfolio and if you like my style, we can work together in building our online business.
At one point or another, you may have Googled “finding a car wash near me.” Understandably, a professional car wash company can really do a better job than doing it yourself.
But what different car wash companies are out there, and how should you make the right decision to choose the best ones?
Today, you will learn about the different types of car wash services, including washing your own car at home, how to find the nearest car wash, the pros and cons for each type, and how to spot red flags when shopping for a car wash service online.
The Hand Car Wash
This is usually done by your neighbors, like teenagers who want to earn money, or in locations where all the services are manual. There are many car wash companies that do not invest in machinery, and they employ individuals paid by the hour to wash cars.
This, of course, is labor-intensive and also more costly than machine-wash services. Typically, you only do this if you have no time to wash your car yourself.
The thing with a hand car wash is that you can either get amazing results or terrible results. It all depends on the experience and expertise of the service provider.
Hand car wash requires manual labor and the skill of a human being, unlike a robot that is programmed jet water out of nozzles while brushes swirl.
To find the nearest hand car wash, you also have to drive around the city.
If you ever find a service provider who has a proven traction of giving great results, then by all means go for it. If you do it on your own, you would have to spend roughly two hours or more just to get the same squeaky clean results.
Here are the pros and cons of manual car wash services:
Does not waste your own time
High-quality results if done by professionals
Little to no damage to your car paint
High cost of labor
Takes a while to get done as humans are not faster than machines
Again, the cost of this service is premium because you are paying the laborers by the hour.
In exchange, you get the right value for your money because the cleaning is done manually. All nooks and crevices of your car will be checked, and you run little to no risk of damaging your car paint.
The DIY Car Wash
This is pretty much what a lot of car owners do. They wash their cars in their garage on a weekend. This is by far the cheapest of all car washes, if taken at face value. After all, you just have to buy soap and wax, and then you are good to go.
What many people do not realize is that this has an indirect cost, most especially so if you are the kind of person who is paid according to his time, like a freelancer.
Instead of you working, you spend time washing your car, and that time spent means you are not earning money when you could have completed one project already.
On another hand, you may have just the weekend to spend with your family. And if you spend two to four hours washing and waxing your car, that time is lost. Instead of enjoying a great weekend with your kinds, you end up using half of your day with your car.
What materials are needed to wash your car? Take a look below at the list:
Car soap – you can buy this in general and DIY stores. You buy these things by the bottle, and you can chose the one you like at the cost you feel comfortable with.
Wash Mitts – you cannot use the same cloth you use to wipe your dishes; car paints are fragile, and can easily get scratched if you use the wrong cloth. Use a sponge to apply the soap, but use microfiber cloth to wipe the car dry.
Pressurized hose – while you can do away with buckets, good luck to the amount of time you would spend washing and rinsing your car. You need to buy a hose with adequate pressure to rinse your car. The pressure will also push away the soot and grime. Without a hose, you will have to scrub the dirt yourself.
If you think about it, the process is fairly simple. The steps are as follows:
Rinse the car
Wash the soot and grime
Apply car wash soap
Rinse it again
Dry it with a non-scratch cloth
All these steps take time. A car may look small, but if you start working on it, you begin to realize that it has a massive size. After all, it can fit at least five people, right?
Now, here is the problem: most car owners do not know how to wash their cars properly. For one, did you know that you should not leave your car to dry under the sun? If you do, you will get what we call sun spots.
Sun spots are dried circles of water on the car paint. And if you have these, prepare to shell out some money to have a professional remove them. Your other option is to wash it again, but this time under a shaded area so the water does not form mineral deposits and dry up quickly.
The same thing goes with waxing a car. There are many techniques in wax application that the product manual will not tell you.
Let us take a look at the pros and cons of DIY car wash.
Low-cost solution to car washing
You are in control; any damage is your liability
You may not be an expert and you can damage your car
You have to buy equipment; again, you need time to go to the car store to buy them
Labor-intensive, especially if you do not have a pressurized hose
So, is doing DIY car wash a great idea? It is entirely up to you. There are car owners who have done this their whole life. But of course, one cannot expect the same quality with a car wash that is done by a professional.
The Drive-Through Car Wash
This is a car wash system where you stay inside your car. You drive through a tunnel where machines and robots jet water and soap your vehicle. In the process, big cylinders rotate to brush your car to get rid of debris.
As you get out, your car gets rinsed, and you are good to go.
Now, the drive-through car wash is probably the biggest robot you will ever see in your day-to-day life. It is a complex system that is capable of washing big and small cars.
But how does it work? Let us see the components of a drive-through car wash. While it has thousands of parts, let us only take a look at the big ones.
Conveyor belt – this is located at the plate where your car sits. It is the thing that moves your car forward as the washing procedure goes. The conveyor belt can hold up to 30 tons.
Brushes – these are the giant brushes that rotate 90 times a minute; these are the things responsible for soaping your car and removing the soot and grime.
Rinsing Jets – there are 40 of these in a typical drive-through car wash; these nozzles have controlled pressure and jet about 25 gallons of water ever minute
Dryers – these are the things that make your car dry before you complete the process; these dyers blast air at about 90 miles per hour. Typically, there are eight of these in a drive-through car wash
By the time all these components are done with their work, the car is dry, and you are ready to leave.
And did you know that all of these processes get completed in as little as three minutes?
Now, what should you do if you decide to opt for this type of car wash? Here is a simple tutorial:
Pay at the station
Select the service you want; pay for wax if you want
Get your car in the tunnel
Line up the front wheels as directed by the system
Go on neutral or park
Do not step on the brake; do not activate the hand brake
Close all the windows and lock your doors
Let the conveyor take you forward
Stay in your car at all times
A drive-through car wash is a tornado of hot water and soap. You should never step out of your car or you will scald yourself.
Here are the pros and cons of a drive-through car wash:
Really fast; you get in and out within three minutes
Low-cost compared to hiring a laborer to wash your car
Highly accessible and convenient; most gas stations have car wash facilities
Cleaning is superficial; the nooks and crannies are not clean
The inside of your car and its engines are not cleaned
Some brushes can damage your car paint
If you are not looking for through cleaning and you are really short of time, then the drive-through car wash is the best option or you. It is affordable, does a decent job, and it is really fast.
The Self-Serve Car Wash
A self-service car wash system is a station where you do the washing yourself. The company provides you with the equipment and an area to wash your car.
You pay for the soap and wax, or you can bring your own, and you use the company’s equipment to wash your car.
This is ideal for individuals who have no garage where they can wash a car. Or those who do not want to buy a pressurized water system.
Well, how come some people have no garage? There are car owners who live in condominium units. They have a parking space, but they are not allowed to wash their cars in that space.
Here are the pros and cons of using a self-service car wash system.
You get to clean the car yourself
Expect quality based on your skill
You can buy the materials you need at the station only as needed
You need to travel to a self-service station
Car may not be as clean as it should be
This is also much more affordable than hiring a laborer, but more costly than a drive-through.
A self-service car wash company gives you the opportunity to clean your car if you live in an area where washing it is not possible.
As far the results are concerned, there is really no telling because it is completely up to you.
The Mobile Car Wash
Finally, we have arrived at the best option—a mobile car wash system.
What is it?
As the name implies, a mobile car wash system is a provider where they roam around the streets, or you can call them so they can come to your area and clean your car.
A mobile car wash is a combination of manual and robotic services. Typically, the service comes in a large van.
In it are the water tank and the equipment like the pressure washer. A professional cleaning team comes with the service, and they will clean the car for you.
Basically, it is a combination of a hand car wash and the DIY car wash options. You call the services of a mobile car wash company to your home, and they do it in your garage.
How does it work?
Depending on your location, you can have your car washed in your garage or on the street, provided that your neighbors will not complain. If doing it under the sun, you should not worry because these experts know what to do with water or sun spots.
They have the right solutions for removing stains without damaging your car paint. Also, these experts will also clean the inside of your car. Your upholstery will smell and look new.
Mobile car wash companies also offer auto detailing, which is good because you no longer have to visit another car garage to get this done for you.
What are the pros and cons of a mobile car wash?
High-quality car wash service
Your car is clean inside and outside
No need to watch over them; save time
No need to visit a gas station or a manual car wash service station
You have to wait until they arrive so you better schedule it ahead
Can cost a lot of money since you are paying for gas, equipment, and labor
A mobile car wash is the best option for you if you are not short on budget. You will get premium car wash service with very little risk of damaging your car paint or upholstery.
It is a great choice if you want to spend the weekend with your family, or while you have to work while someone is washing your car.
Why should you choose a mobile car wash provider?
Let us go into detail why a mobile car wash provider is your best option.
Customized services – mobile car wash companies know that it is not only car wash that you are after. Sometimes, you also need auto-detailing, and they are prepared to that for you. Even if you did not mention this service over the phone, and you just changed your mind, they have the tools and skills to get this done.
Cost-effective – choose a mobile car wash company that offers a reasonable price for its services. If you your drive-through car wash companies, the prices are fixed. With a mobile car wash, you have an opportunity to make a deal and settle on a price that you are comfortable with.
Advanced Scheduling – don’t you just hate it when you go to a car wash station only to find out that it is full? With a mobile car wash company, you do not have to wait in line and waste time. Just pick a spot on your calendar and the mobile car wash company will come.
Get it done regularly – since the mobile car wash company will go to your house, you can expect your car to be cleaned regularly. One issue with car maintenance is that we are just too tired to drive or to wash our cars. With a mobile car wash company, just have a regular schedule and they will do the work.
A mobile car wash company offers flexibility not just in terms of price, but also in terms of time. They have a van that is complete with equipment, and they will come you instead of you coming to them.
If you think about it in terms of food, you do not have to slice meat and vegetables, cook and clean the stove. Just make a phone call and the food should at your door in a matter of hours.
How do You Choose a Car Wash Provider?
Now that you know the different types of service providers, it is time to give you a tutorial on how to choose the right provider.
Below are some tips that will help you make wise decisions about your car and your money.
Materials Used Before you even get the services of a car wash provider, you need to call in and ask what types of chemicals are used.
There are many chemical-heavy supplies out there that really do wonders in cleaning, but what you do not know is that they also erode your car paint over time.
These chemicals are also bad for the environment. They end up in sewers and the ocean where fish eat them.
Go for car wash providers that use organic materials. They are safe for your car pain and coat, and they are also safe for the environment.
Pricing and Services If possible, choose a car wash company that provides a balance between the price and the services. It is best to only choose those who offer a complete package.
Once in a while, you need to clean the inside of your car, which is something that drive-through car wash systems cannot do, but mobile car wash providers can.
Ask carefully about what you are paying for. Does it include wax, do they blow dry the car or do they wipe it?
Here are some the questions you should ask to help you decide:
Are the solutions organic?
Do they use different solutions on different parts of the car such as tires, mags, body, and upholstery?
D they apply coat protector; if not, do they apply wax?
Do they offer rust protection?
Do they offer auto detailing?
Do not be afraid to ask. As a customer, you need to know what you are paying for.
Water Management There are car wash companies that recycle water. The water goes back to the tank and the same water is used to wash other cars.
Surely, you do not want this. That water is already tainted with soot and grime, and can damage your car.
This is not completely illegal, as laws dictate that reused water must go through standard water treatment. This is done to help conserve water.
The thing is, does the car wash company comply with these laws?
Fresh water is still the best for your car. It is not like you are contributing to the water shortage, but if you are ok with recycled water, just make sure that the company has a license and that you can verify that it is compliant.
Your car is one of the most expensive things you will buy. As such, proper care is required. With proper care comes a cost.
You do not have to spend a fortune to clean your car, but make sure you choose the right company to do it for you. If you think you are skilled to do it yourself, then by all means wash your car.
But if you think a professional can do better, then choose a mobile car wash company. The services are great, the costs are reasonable, and you do not have to leave your house.
If you have seen someone immersed in his laptop in Starbucks, then it is very likely that you have seen a digital nomad. They are called so because they do not have a single and permanent area to do their work.
Barcelona is one of the fastest growing hubs for these freelancers. It currently holds the third spot in Europe as a city with the highest number of freelancers.
But why work here?
Digital Nomads Origins
For centuries, we had to work in brick-and-mortar businesses. An accountant needs to go to an office, file his documents in a cabinet, and repeat this cycle every day for the rest of his life.
But the internet changed all this. Today, the digital highway is everyone’s playground. Anyone who has a skill can peddle his wares online. Employers also realized that they would significantly save on labor costs if they hired freelancers, as opposed to hiring full-time employees.
An employer is obligated by law to pay an employee’s minimum salary, health benefits, taxes, and other statutory financial obligations. Add to that the cost of the office space and you’ve got an employer who is probably close to just breaking even.
With freelancers, the employer only has to pay for the work done. And because there are millions of freelancers around the world, there is never going to be a shortage of workers, and the employer is not bound to select from talents in his area only.
A guy from Hong Kong can hire someone from Barcelona. And the freelancer from Barcelona can service people from the top economies in the world and get paid better rates.
The Rise of the Digital Nomads
Because of the internet, freelancers realized that they can cut the costs of their services and yet enjoy a lifestyle similar or even better than that of an office-wage earner.
Freelancers in Barcelona do not have to pay for transportation. They do not have to buy new clothes just to keep up with the trend. They do not have to eat out in fast food chains or make do with the horrible food in the office pantry.
They can work from home, from Starbucks, or even under a shed. For as long as there is WIFI, they can get something done. If these places are not conducive for work, then the only reasonable solution is coworking.
Fewer Dependencies from Employers
Coworking is a situation where several freelancers team up to rent a space. Typically, they have an equal share on the rent and the bills. Nobody occupies more space than the others because the only thing a person needs is a table and a chair.
In Barcelona, there are at least 100 coworking spaces available for rent to any freelancer. Those who are single can even rent an apartment together and work from there. Nothing is more convenient than a lifestyle where your home is your workspace, too.
You can work before you even brush your teeth. Storm? No problem. Come hell and come high water, you can get your job done.
Cost Effective Lifestyle
And because Barcelona is cost-friendly, many start-up companies choose this city to put up their companies. At €350 per month, one can rent an office space inclusive of utilities. If you want an apartment with toilet and bath, look for a partner and split €600 per month between the two of you.
In fact, most families in Barcelona can live decently at €1,200 per month. The minimum salary in Barcelona is €707. But keep in mind that this salary is based on the city’s economic conditions.
This salary factors in the expenses of an employer. But with the whole world at your fingertips, €1,200 shouldn’t be that difficult to earn, especially if you are offering high-level skills like digital marketing, coding, and app development.
Fast and Reliable Internet
Barcelona is a thriving city with millions of tourists every year. The government and business establishments know this. As a response to its tourism industry requirements, the city put up the right infrastructure to support its connectivity.
In Barcelona, you can expect free WIFI almost everywhere—from bars to beaches, hotels, and restaurants. On average, you can enjoy speeds up to 300MBPS.
This makes it one of the best places to be in a world of freelancing where you need to participate in Skype calls and get your online work done.
Unlimited Work Options
As a digital nomad, your only limitation is your skill. For as long as the job required can be done on a computer, then you have an opportunity to get that work and do it remotely.
App Development – if you are great at coding, you can find clients who want to develop mobile applications but have no skill or considerable resources to put up a team.
Copywriting – look for clients who need to sell their products online. Write their sales material for them.
e-Commerce Store Management – there are at least 500,000 online stores out there. Find one that you can manage daily, including the company’s social media presence and advertising efforts.
Bookkeeping – people all over the world have to pay their taxes and file it annually. Look for clients who need this kind of service and help them manage their legal obligations.
Virtual Assistant – take phone calls, sales orders, and answer customer inquiries, all at the comfort of your personal workspace.
Digital Nomads: Living in Future’s Past
What is the future of being an autonomo—a digital nomad—in Barcelona?
It is bright and promising.
The city has a great climate that can accommodate even the most sensitive person. The weather makes it conducive to work outside the house, right on the street, where you enjoy your morning coffee.
The cost of renting a decent coworking space is cheap if you just spend the time to find a good deal.
Getting around the world for physical travel is also easy. The airport is just 20 minutes from downtown. It is also close to neighboring areas where you can enjoy outdoor activities if you want to unwind.
The internet opened a floodgate. Freelancers came rushing in the online workspace like water and employers welcomed this opportunity with open arms. The freelancing industry is not going away.
If at all, it will become the standard. So, are you ready to live your life here?
Your work. Your rate. Your lifestyle.
Need affordable web content like this? Visit my services page or contact me.
A showflat is newly-built housing unit that is dressed up for selling purposes. As expected, it is aesthetically grandeur because it is packed with furniture, décor, and lighting, all of which are most pleasing to the eye.
But you have to be warned. Not everything you see on display is exactly the same with what you will get. Here are five things you need to consider before visiting one.
Investigate the Developer
A house is a serious investment. But too many times, people make purchases without investigating about the background of the real estate developer. In a show gallery, everything will look fantastic.
Sadly, you are not likely to get the same quality of unit once the developers hand you the keys. The worst that can happen is for the project to come to a standstill because of lack of funding.
Know as much as you can about the developer’s background, its leaders, past projects, legal compliance, and whether the clients who bought the properties are happy.
Find the Exact Location of the Units
Not all show suites are located where the actual units are. This makes sense because it is too dangerous for people to visit a gallery while the construction is ongoing.
Most shows are placed in the heart of the city. One would think that this is where the unit is also being built.
Find out the exact address of the house or condominium unit. Visit the neighborhood and determine how close you are to life’s necessities.
Things you may want to look for are the unit’s proximity to the following:
Market or grocery
Police, fire, and hospitals
Determine Your Buying Power
It will not make sense to visit a showflat if you have no idea how much money you have to make a purchase. You are not even in a position to negotiate.
One of the things you need to do before a visit is to identify how much money you can loan from a bank if you are financing the purchase.
You also need to know how much down payment is expected of you. Determine the annual interest charges and do the math.
This is important so you can make a smart decision about your money and not be carried away with your impulses.
Get the Floor Layout
A show gallery is often misleading, not because the real estate agent and developers are lying but because the interior designs are done well.
Get the floor lay out from your broker before you even visit the house. This should tell you the measurement of each room and their respective locations.
You must know that the layout always makes the house look big. Get one that has measurements and mimic these measurements in your own backyard. If you do, you will have a tangible idea how big the rooms are going to be.
Ask Yourself If It Is the Right Kind of Unit
Not everyone is made to live in a condo. And some love nothing more than to be in it. All real estate brokers have a reason to complement your desires. But at the end of the day, the kind of house you are buying must match your intents.
Before you even visit a showflat, determine if that unit will serve your purposes. If you are merely purchasing the unit as an investment, then it may be worth your while to go and visit, provided you have done a good investigation about your possible financial returns.
If your dream is to buy a grounded property, then it does not make sense going to a show gallery that is dedicated to condominium units.
Purchasing a house requires more than money and desire. You need to be smart about your decisions. And the only way to do this is by being prepared before you even visit the show. Do your due diligence and it will pay off.
Let us discuss each one and help you decide if this is the right bed for you.
Comfort Equals Uninterrupted Sleep
Contrary to what many people believe, a short sleep time is never healthy. Some people claim that as long as you slept deep enough, you should be alright.
The truth is that you need long hours of uninterrupted sleep to get your body fully rested. While you are asleep, your cells repair themselves, and they multiply.
With a memory foam mattress in India, you achieve long hours of uninterrupted sleep because of the comfort it has to offer. You will no longer toss and turn or wake up at night with a sweat.
Adjusts to Body Heat and Temperature
The technology of the memory foam makes it possible to adjust to your body’s temperature. Because of this, it has the capability to change its shape according to your body. As your body temperature rises, the mattress become softer.
So what happens?
The bed cradles you like a baby, like it was designed for you and you only. With that said, you can say goodbye to a stiff neck in the morning. You can also forget about the back pains you get every waking day.
REM stands for rapid eye movement. It is an indicator that a person is in deep slumber, which is the ideal state when you are sleeping.
During REM, your eyes move rapidly in different directions, and dreams happen in this state. Sleep specialists know that this phase of sleep has something to do with the development of your memory, your mood, and learning.
Without comfort, it would be difficult to achieve this. But with memory foam, you will wake up rejuvenated, full of energy, and ready to face a bright new day.
Keeps You Free of Allergy
A mattress that has been used for a few years accumulate dirt, grime, and bacteria. This will sound gross, but you need to know that old beds harbor between 100,000 to 1 million dust mites.
This is the reason you wake up with sores, and you would never know where these sores came from.
If you buy mattress online in India, get the memory foam because they are made of polyurethane. It is a material that prevents dust mites from making your bed a home. As such, there will be no allergens that would accumulate in the bed.
Invest in a memory foam mattress in India today. It is one of the best things you can buy with your money, and it is completely worth it. Sleep is crucial to your well-being, and it all starts with a good bed.
Your core competency as a marketer is to find the right niche of people who share the same interest with the product or service you sell.
The caveat is that these people need valuable insights and content from you. As a result, you work with freelance writers who, supposedly, have the competencies to deliver great content for your readers.
The nagging issue is that marketers face horrific results from freelance writers. Choosing the wrong freelancer causes you to lose valuable time since you either have to pick another one to redo the work, or you ask the freelance writer to edit what he has submitted.
Below are some of the most common headaches that a marketer typically has to deal with when doing business with a freelance writer.
The Inability to Follow Deadlines
Freelance writers do not work a nine-hour job, and thus they will hoard as many orders as they could. The flipside is that they do not meet these deadlines because they get swamped with work.
As a marketer, you should learn early on that you must provide yourself with an allowance as far as deadlines are concerned.
For example, you need to tell the writer that your deadline is Friday even if the actual day you need the article is Tuesday the following week.
This strategy gives you ample time to recover should the writer backs out or fails to meet the deadline.
The Inability to Follow Instructions
We need web content not only because we provide great and meaningful articles to viewers but also because we want search engines to index these articles.
Search Engine Optimization and Latent Semantic Indexing are two critical techniques in making websites appear on the top pages of search engines. The rules that govern these must be followed by the writer to make the articles search friendly.
But not all freelance writers are created equal. Some freelance writers perform poorly on following instructions, and this failure can result in an article that does not meet your SEO requirements.
The Inability to Create Valuable Content
Some writers are new to the industry. Some do not have what it takes to be a writer. As a marketer, you will meet writers whose idea of writing is to put as much fluff and nonsense in the articles.
Writers like these are those whose only goal is to meet word count requirement without taking into consideration the value that a reader and a client get out of the finished product.
As a marketer, it makes sense that you test out every writer you will partner with. And do not pay a dime if the articles submitted to you do not meet your standards.
The Inability to Use the English Language
These writers had their success with clients whose only goal was to produce an article that typical writing mills provide. They have also experienced success from clients who only care about keyword placement and not value.
Some examples of their English sentence structure are as follows:
“Your instant message ought to be laser engaged and brief. There’s no space for lightening in portable advertising. Know who your intended interest group is and talk specifically about it. Forget superfluous subtle elements and just depict how to exploit your offer and its advantages.”
Here is another one.
“Nobody needs to get writings from an organization unless the messages offer something of quick esteem. Since content informing is a prompt medium, you ought to incorporate continuous offers. Regardless of whether you’re giving data about a deal or another item, the message ought to depict the advantages of acting at this point.”
English is a second language for many writers, including me, which isn’t so bad except that many writers from some countries tend to translate English directly from their tongue. Worse, they use software spinners that regurgitate useless content.
The result is a terrible concoction of words that have no value whatsoever.
If you are purchasing your blog posts from freelancers, do not be afraid to ask for samples. Get the freelancer to go through a test, and pay for that test if you like what the writer did. If not, then you have nothing to lose.
Do you have investing beliefs and an ultimate purpose?
Many investors have not asked themselves this question and the lack of answer has clouded their judgement.
Several times over the last hundreds years, we have seen market crashes, declines in interest rates, lower oil prices, and staggering precious metal prices.
When these things happened, investors panicked and started looking for gurus.
When all things are going wrong, many investors believe that there is someone out there who can predict when businesses will be good, when stock markets will fall, when interest rates will rise, and so on.
They end up following the herd or taking advice from people who have very little credibility and it is not unusual that they lose all of their lifetime’s savings.
So far, many people have not learned from the stock market crash of 1978, the dot com bubble in 1999, and the real estate bubble in 2008.
If there is really such a person who can make the right decision for your money, it is you and no one else. In this book, we will share basic principles about investing, why it is important to invest, and tips how you, the individual investor, can make sound decisions about your money.
The Miracle of Compound Interest
You may have heard or read what Sir Albert Einstein said about compounding: “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it … he who doesn’t … pays it.”
Too many people do not realize how compound interest adds to their burden of debt. This is especially so for those who purchase on credit and fail to pay their bills on time. But what exactly is compounding and how is it calculated?
Compounding is a type of calculation in which the accumulated interests are added to the principal to calculate the current increase in interest. In a simple interest arrangement, you only pay the interest plus the principal.
In addition, the number of years that a principal and its interests are compounded substantially affects the end value.
Supposed you borrow $100 with a 10% interest on a simple interest arrangement, you only owe $110 in total. This you will divide by the number of years you have to pay, say 10 years, which results to $11 per year amortization.
In compound interest, you add the 10% on top of the $110 for the following year, which results to an additional of $11. This totals to $121. The next year, take 10% of $121 and add that to $121 and that is the total you owe.
This usually happens when you pay late on your bills. Your remaining balance, including interests accumulated, will be multiplied to the current interest rate and will be summed up to get the final amount of what you owe.
If you reverse this situation and you are on the receiving end of the equation, you will financially prosper provided you have enough patience to wait.
This is the power of compounded interest that one earns when investing long term. The longer you allow your money to compound, the greater the return.
If you save $10,000 today and it earns 10% interest per year, your total money would be $11,000 by the end of year one.
By the end of year two, your money will earn another $1100 ($11,000 x 10%). This gives you a total of $12,100 in only two years. By the end of the tenth year, your money will be worth $25,937!
To further understand its power, please see the table below demonstrating the difference between simple and compound interest investments.
As you can see, a simple interest only doubled your money in ten years. But the compounding increased your money by more than 150%
How to Determine Your Risk Tolerance
Peter Lynch, one of the most renowned investors and fund managers in the world, once said that you should never invest money that you cannot afford to lose for at least 10 years.
This is based on the reality that all investments have the likelihood to default or be lost. All investments have accompanying risks, albeit they vary in gravity.
Some are low risk like deposit accounts and government treasury bonds; some are medium risk like corporate bonds, and some are high risk like stocks and futures.
Identifying your risk tolerance will allow you to make an informed decision on which type of investment vehicle to take. It allows you to view worst-case scenarios and prepares you how you would react to them.
Determine Your Time Frame
The first question to answer is how much time do you have to invest? Better yet, how long is your horizon to invest?
Younger individuals have longer periods ahead of them and can take high risk investments. People who are nearing retirement do not have a decade to invest and are much better off in low to medium risk investment platforms.
To answer this better, determine how soon you will need the money. If the money you have now is something you need to use within five years, your risk tolerance is relatively short and you are best suited for conservative investment portfolios.
If you do not need the money for at least ten years, an aggressive portfolio will fit you nicely.
Determine Your Risk Capital
Before you can answer this, you need to understand your net worth. Simply put, this is your personal equity. Your equity is calculated as your total assets minus your total liabilities.
Risk capital, on the other hand, is the amount of money you are initially investing. This money is something you do not need at the moment.
Think of it as money that will not be available in the near future. Consider it gone, if you will. This means that you should never invest emergency funds and money you need to pay for the rent or education.
If you have a high net worth, then it is also safe to assume that you can increase your risk capital and vice versa.
The problem is that those who have low risk capital and low net worth are usually lured into riskier investment programs because they want to earn bigger and quicker. It is unfortunate that it is the same people who usually lose.
Determine Your Financial Objectives
Although many think that the obvious answer is to earn money, there is much to be said than this. You need to have a specific purpose other than earning.
Are you saving for your children’s college education, a house, a car, or for retirement? Having a conclusive response to this will help you gain insight on your investment horizon and risk capital.
The assumption is that the money you are investing now is supposedly the money you are saving for the purpose mentioned above.
For example, let us assume you are trying to save $200,000 for a house and you want to reach this in 10 years. Ask yourself, how much of that money are you willing to risk now? Ten thousand? Twenty thousand?
The key here is to fully understand that the money you invest is what you should consider as disposable income. It may disappear. So if you cannot bear to imagine losing ten grand, your risk tolerance is low and this will guide you in deciding whether to take low, medium, or high risk investment portfolios.
How and Why Automate Investment Contributions
It has always been said that successful savers are those who pay themselves first. This is easier said than done.
The common mindset of many people is to pay bills first, enjoy second, and whatever is left is the savings, which usually is none.
To invest successfully, you need a shift in your mindset. You need to start believing that every payday, the first thing you need to chuck off your check is your investment requirement. Then you live off if whatever is left. Below are the benefits of an automated investment contribution.
Dollar Cost Averaging Defined
It is the mindful and meticulous method of studying stocks and bonds and other investment vehicles that puts investors at high risk.
Time and time again, professionals have proven that there is no way you can time the market. In addition, changing decisions every so often is very likely to distract you from your original goals.
Dollar cost averaging can save you this agony by setting up an automatic payment arrangement with the financial institution who facilitates your investment.
Every payday, a fixed amount is taken off your salary and this is added to your portfolio, regardless of the condition of the economy, the market, or the interest rates of bonds.
The benefit of dollar cost averaging is that it disciplines you to contribute regularly, thus removing self-sabotage from the picture. It also reduces your risk by allowing your money to buy shares of mutual funds at a lower cost when the market is down.
How to Automate Your Investments
If your employer offers 401K, this is a good start. Money is taken off your paycheck on a regular basis. If there is none, you can choose to open a Roth IRA and contribute every payday.
Another set-up is to enrol in mutual funds. There are many companies that offer low capital funds with low monthly subscription rates.
These companies will invest money on your behalf and as the time progresses, the value of your investment will also grow. Some banks can set-up an auto-debit process tied up to your checking or savings account.
You can also use digital products like eTORO. The wonderful thing about this account is that you can actually copy the trades of people who are successful in the stock market.
With eTORO, can see how much these people have earned, and you can create a portfolio that is based on their choices.
Essentially, they will do the thinking for you. All you have to do is to invest money. Now, if they lose, you lose. If they make huge amounts of money, you will also do.
The Most Popular Investment Options
Investment is probably one of those terms that is overused and misused. Today, people refer to their luxuries as investments, such as cars and expensive home theatre systems.
Investments are those that appreciate in value. These are things that generate money and anything that does not produce both is considered an asset but not an investments. Below we will discuss the most popular form of investments available to retail investors.
The first type of an ownership investment is stocks. A stock is tangible certificate that you own a portion of a company. When a corporation or a business needs money basically splits its ownership into shares.
Let us say that a business needs $1000 in capital, it may split its shares into 1000 pieces, each costing $1. You as an investor buy these stocks in the premise that the company will do well and become profitable.
If you buy 100 shares in the previous example, you own 10% of the company and this entitles you to 10% for every penny earned, also called dividend.
You can own stocks or shares in a private or public company but it is a lot easier to acquire stocks in publicly listed companies.
These companies are those who needed to raise billions of dollars to either expand, fund research, or pay off debt. Publicly listed companies are found in the stock market and purchasing their shares is done through registered brokers.
The benefit of buying publicly traded stocks is its liquidity. You can buy these shares today and sell them tomorrow. Private stocks are less liquid because you need to find somebody who is interested to buy your shares. The stock market, however, has millions of potential buyers and potential sellers at any given time.
The way you earn through stock is through capital appreciation or dividends. Dividends are usually paid annually when the company had a good year.
The downside in this is if the company incurred losses, you will not be paid anything. Capital appreciation happens when people are interested to buy shares from you at a higher price than what you bought it for.
This happens when the company has performed significantly well and is financially strong. Stocks have outperformed many investment portfolios in the history of time. This is also the riskiest of all investments because prices fluctuate every second.
A bond is a debt. Bonds are issued by investors either to the government or private entities who need money but do not want to borrow from the bank due to high interests.
In essence, you are acting as the lender. Since you are not likely to have $500 million to lend, you issue bonds in denominations along with retail investors.
All the money is pooled until enough is accumulated to lend to a specific entity. In return, companies pay an annual interest to you until such time that the date of bond maturity is reached and you are paid in full.
There is still a risk involved here because some companies may go bankrupt and default on their debts. It is widely believed that government bonds are the safest because the government is not likely to go bankrupt.
All it has to do is to print more money. Compared to stocks, bonds are less risky because corporations are graded based on their credit worthiness.
This means that you have full confidence in lending a corporation based on its history of paying its debts.
Bonds are ideal for individuals nearing retirement so the individual can live off a fixed income—through interest of the bond. This is also an ideal investment vehicle for those who do not have a long-term horizon for investing. Typically, bonds are issued with maturity dates of up to five years.
The counterpart of bonds in stocks is mutual funds in which investor money is pooled to buy large blocks of stocks in the market.
Certificate of Deposits
Pretty much, this is your regular savings accounts with a twist. Also called as CD or time deposit, you cannot withdraw your money for a specific period of time. In return, the bank will pay you a higher interest rate.
Gold, Precious Metals
Gold is one of those metals that the earth cannot produce. Whatever gold we have on earth right now is the only gold we will ever have. This rarity is what makes it so expensive. Add to that the costs of labor and processing. In the same lines with gold are silver and copper.
REITS or Real Investment Trust Funds
This is a combination of stocks and real estate. In this form of investment, you do not buy your own real estate property.
What you buy are shares of companies who have real estate properties that they are renting out. So essentially, you are buying a part of the property which will appreciate in value overtime.
Venture Capital and Lending
Being a venture capitalist simply means being a financier. You are funding projects or businesses and in return, you get a share of the profit. In most cases, venture capitalists become partners of the business they funded.
Lending, on the other hand, is giving your money to people on credit and interest. This is different from bonds because in most cases, you do not really assess the borrower’s capacity to pay.
In bonds, the companies borrowing money are rated by third party credit rating agencies. Today, there are peer to peer organizations like Lending Club and Prosper who accept money for lending on behalf of investors.
These organizations pool investors’ money to lend to people and interests are paid out once the borrowers pay their obligation.
How to Determine the Right Investment Options
By this time, we would assume that you are done assessing your risk tolerance and you understand the different risks associated with each type of investment.
To sum up the previous two chapters, if your risk tolerance is higher and your investing horizon is longer, you are best suited for stocks and equities.
On the other hand, if your risk tolerance is lower and you have a short time horizon for investing, you are better off with bonds.
The next step is to determine whether you are a conservative or an aggressive investor. Look at the high level definitions below and determine where you belong. It is possible to be in between.
Has shorter time horizon Has longer time horizon
Has lower risk tolerance Has higher risk tolerance
Financially unstable Financially stable
Now that you have indentified which bracket you belong to, look at the recommendations below on how you will allocate your funds.
If you rated yourself as very conservative, the recommended portfolio for you is to allocate:
20% in domestic stocks
30% short term investments
This type of mix allows you to enjoy stable and steadier performance of your investment with a little room for growth.
This is ideal if you are not very conservative but somehow on the way to aggressive. This balanced portfolio is perfect if you are looking for opportunities for growth and you can tolerate minor fluctuations in your investment.
45% domestic stocks
5% foreign stocks
10% short term investments
This is a type of portfolio recommended for individuals who are not that aggressive but as not as conservative either. These are individual who have a minimum of 10 years to invest and have moderate risk capital.
They are financially stable and the money they invest now are not needed near term. This is appropriate if you prefer growth and if you can tolerate significant volatility in your portfolio.
60% domestic stocks
10% foreign stocks
5% short term investments
Aggressive Growth Mix
This is most appropriate if you have a long term horizon and a huge amount of money to risk. An aggressive portfolio is designed for those who have very strong inclination for growth and can tolerate huge and sudden movements in their portfolio.
70% domestic stocks
15% foreign stocks
Remember, you need to assess yourself carefully, most especially your time horizon and risk capital, before picking the type of portfolio for you. A mistake in your self-assessment can prove to be very financially devastating move.
How to Take Advantage of P2P Lending
In the previous chapters, we touched on peer to peer lending as a type of investment. Here we will dabble a little bit into it to understand how it works and we will compare two of the leading peer to peer lending companies in existence today.
Peer-to-peer lending or P2P lending is basically a crowd funding activity, supported by unrelated people, called peers, the aim of which is to lend money to those in need without going through the traditional lending companies or banks. The lending typically takes place online after applicants have passed credit checks.
The main advantage to the borrower is lower interest rates. Banks and financial institutions typically charge 10% while P2Ps charge below that.
From a lender’s perspective, the returns are higher than bonds but this is also riskier because the borrowers also have a likelihood of defaulting.
Today, there are two leading P2P Lending companies: LENDINGCLUB.COM and PROSPERITY.COM.
As an investor, you can utilize these companies to grow you money by lending your funds to them at an interest and allowing their fund managers to allocate the money to approved borrowers. Below is a comparison of the two.
Investment automation refers to investors’ capability to allow either P2P companies to invest on their behalf.
The investors will deposit money and the company will take care of distributing it to borrowers. Manual investing, on the other hand, refers to the investors’ capability to select a specific borrower based on his profile, credit rating, and interest rate.
TWO PASSIVE INCOME STREAMS
The last chapter of this book will provide two simple yet ignored ideas to generate passive income on top of your investments.
Many people believe that investing is a great way to earn passive income upon retirement. However, you have to realize that to raise $1000 in per month, you should have at least invested $250,000, assuming that it generates 5% annual return on a regular basis.
This is a feat to achieve so we are listing other ways for you to earn without any heavy involvement.
Perhaps this is the most profitable of all and the easiest to understand. All you have to do is to buy a property and rent it out. Just like any business, investing in real estate has its complications. You need to carefully assess and do the math if you can make a profit.
Calculate your mortgage and tax liabilities annually and check if the property can be rented higher than that amount. Add to this the expenses you will incur for repairs. The difference between this and what the tenant will pay annually is your take.
This is a type of marketing that requires a lot of hard work before it flies. You need to build a website and post contents that people will be reading and coming back to.
Later on, once you have built an audience, you can enrol in affiliate marketing services and add their links or banners to your site.
Whenever a person clicks on the link and makes a purchase, you are entitled to a commission. Average in the industry is 20% of the product cost.
You can learn more about affiliate marketing from my other posts as shown below:
While affiliate marketing is simple, it is not easy. Many people fail because they have false expectations. But if you just work hard enough, you can earn as much as $100,000 per month with little to no investment.
The truth is, many who have tried this failed because they did it without the guidance of a mentor. You will succeed if you invest in your affiliate marketing knowledge. Pay for a course and get support from the experts.
As you can see, there are many ways that you can invest money. A vast majority of these are passive, but they still require hard work. As far as I am concerned, affiliate marketing is the one that has the least risk.
Affiliate marketing requires very little capital, not more than $100, but it can yield more than $100,000 over time.
My second best recommendation is for people to copy what other successful traders are doing. With this approach, you can choose traders who have a long history of success in investing. To be able to do this, you need a free social media trading software, like eTORO.
Choose how you want to invest, and decide if you want an active participation or a passive one.
The internet has opened limitless possibilities for employment. Today, many people no longer have to work in an office. They can work comfortably at home and they are not limited with only one or two types of work.
Better yet, students who are in high school or even college can help their parents make ends meet by freelancing.
There are hundreds of things you can do after your classes to make money. While the road to success may be bumpy at first, a bright person like you can certainly adjust and make it through.
Depending on your skill level, you can earn hundreds or thousands of dollars per month.
Although online jobs for students cannot fully match an office or a day job salary, what you will earn is significant enough to contribute to your daily needs while you are in school.
And who knows, maybe you can turn this into a full-time source of income if you are really good at it.
I will not talk to you about affiliate marketing or dropshipping. Neither will I talk about creating apps or building an online business.
But if you are interested, here is my suggested reading:
What I want to focus on are jobs where you do not have to spend a lot of money or time to get paid. I will focus on jobs where you get paid because of your effort and output.
Certainly, you need laptops and tools like software, which you may already have in your computer. If you cannot invest in these, I really have to tell you that there is no such thing as free lunch.
No, you cannot make a lot money with only a smartphone. Any person who tells you otherwise is either a lying nut job, or someone who wants you to enroll in a course.
But you do need a laptop or a desktop. You cannot perform online work without this.
So, shall we begin?
1. Graphic Design
Graphic arts come in all sorts of expertise level. Even if you are not at a god-like level, yet you have to ability to create calling cards, logos, and simple infographics, you can earn money on the side.
How much will you earn?
On average, graphic artists are paid $30 per hour. You can earn more money if you try to bill for the entire project. What happens is regardless of the length of time you worked for it, you will be paid a fixed amount.
While professional freelancers can charge anywhere from $150 to $1,000 for one logo, you are just starting out so you cannot complete with these prices. You are better off pricing your skills at a reasonable rate.
For graphic arts and all succeeding jobs, your best bet is to find competitors, and then view their samples. All online freelancers have a portfolio, so check these out and ask yourself if you can do that, or if you can do better.
Then, investigate how much your competitors are charging, and then find yourself a middle ground. Price your service the right way, and clients will come your way.
2. Video Creation or Video Editing
This is the craze now. There are millions of people who want to build an online channel, yet they do not know how to create videos.
There are those who record videos, then pay freelancers to record an audio, mostly a script. Now, these guys do not know how to put that video and the audio together to create a coherent show.
If you know how to do this, then you can make money. There are also many clients out there who are looking for 3D animation, white board animation, and so much more.
Now, there are many free software out there, like Active Presenter. The thing with free software, however, is that they have a watermark on the video, which your clients will not want.
If you are already a skilled video editor, I would recommend that you upgrade and start using a professional tool like Camtasia, as this is one of the most used video editors that YouTubers use.
Another option you have is ViddyOze. It is a 3D animation tool that allows you to create cool videos for your clients.
3. Web Developer
No, you no longer need to learn how to code to be able to build a website, yet there are people who either have no time or simply have no technical skills to build one.
And this is where you come in. You can build dropshipping stores for your clients with Shopify, or build them a blog using WordPress.
To start this kind of business, you should of course know how to operate the web builder tools. You can charge $500 for a single project, or even $1,000, and it is up to you if you want to charge extra for the web content, like the content of About Us, Privacy, Terms & Conditions, and other pages.
If you do not know how to write, you can work with other freelancers who are in the writing niche. Order the required content from them, without your client knowing, and just charge everything from your client.
The trick here is that you should charge not just your fee, but also the money that it takes for the website subscription to happen.
For example, Shopify or WordPress may charge $120 per year. You should let the client pay for that, and only hand you over the credentials for Shopify or WordPress so you can build the website.
4. SEO Expert
There are many free SEO tools out there, like the ones from Neil Patel. In this service, it is completely up to you to choose what specific area of SEO you want to focus on.
You can help clients choose the right keywords to use to rank their articles, or you can do a complete website overhaul with SEO.
Know that you cannot offer this service without the right tools. The thing is, these tools have a cost. You do not have to buy them up front, but it all depends on the level of your SEO skills and what services you want to offer.
For a simple SEO keyword research, you can charge as much as $10 and not spend a dime. There are free SEO tools out there, like Google Trends and Google Ads, that can provide you with keyword suggestions, inclusive of monthly search volume and price competition.
What I personally use is Answer the Public. It is a keyword research tool that tells you what people in the internet are asking about a particular keyword. These key phrases are actual search words and terms used by people all over the world.
If you are ready to move to a higher level of service, you need a powerful tool. These tools require monthly subscription, but you can easily get a return on your investment.
If a client needs SEO, he will not buy an SEO tool. After all, that is just an added cost for his business. Instead, he will look for a person with that SEO tool, and then pay that person for the SEO service.
Think of your tool as a bus or a car. A person may not be able to afford a bus, but you can. This person is riding your bus as needed, and then pay you the fare, only as needed. You, however, will get paid regularly by passengers, and the bus you bought will pay for itself.
My two favorite tools are SEM Rush and Answer the Public. SEM Rush has a complete SEO tool. You can do keyword search, website check, SERP, rankings, and so much more.
It also has content marketing platform, which you can use for added services, plus PPC and SMM tools to know how your competitors are performing.
Answer the Public is free, but the service is limited. The free version works great only for amateur bloggers, but not for pros. The software, however, can be upgraded, and I prefer the upgraded one for my SEO needs.
5. Virtual Assistant
There are dozens of work you can do as a virtual assistant. You can do data entry, product descriptions, calendar management, and so much more.
The rate that you can charge depends on the how hard the job is, but it is usually paid per hour. The least amount you can receive here is $5, but as you grow and improve your skill, you can charge up to $20 per hour.
Usually, the clients here look for people who can commit specific hours per day. So, if you found a client who pays $20 per hour at four hours per day, you would roughly receive $1,600 for 20 days of work.
6. Audio Transcription
In audio transcription, you will listen to a sound recording and write what was said. Many people think that in this job, the only thing you do is to transcribe audio from doctors and lawyers. This is not true.
If you watch movies with sub-titles, the person who created that sub-title is a transcriptionist. Many You Tubers also use the service of a transcriptionist so they can put a sub-title option in their videos.
This job is in demand so video creators can provide content to dead audiences. The smallest amount of money you can charge is $5 for each minute of audio. What this means is that for a 15 minute audio, you can make as much as $5 X 15 = $75!
7. Freelance Content Writer
Writing has many facets. You can write for bloggers who do not have the time to write for their websites. A vast majority of your clients here will be affiliate marketers who want to provide content to their audiences.
All websites need content. And content is something that you can provide. Websites will need fresh articles every now so often and you will never run out of clients who will need your writing expertise.
Millions of people read these articles and they are voracious for more information.
In addition, website owners are in a race to rank high on search engines. And what makes them rank high in these search engines in the relevance of their website’s content to the keywords that an online surfer typed in the search box.
Writing for the web is not limited to articles and web content. Some clients need eBooks, resource materials, technical instructions, and many more.
And speaking of eBooks, there is a tool you can use to create eBooks, without you actually having to write something. This tool is called Sqribble.
Sqribble lets you create an eBook from its own library. All you need to do is to choose a cover page, change the name of the author, and then sell it. You can choose from many niches to serve different clientele.
You can also put a URL of the text, and this will be converted into an eBook.
This, of course, is not a free tool. It is a serious investment that will pay off in two ways:
Write eBooks for clients
Write ebooks and sell them on book stores online
If you choose to go this path, your work is pretty much cut out for you.
To start looking for clients to write for, look for websites that act as a mediator between clients and workers.
What these websites do is to allow employers to post what they need to get done. Freelancers place a bid and the winning bidder gets the job. All you have to do after you have been paid is to pay the website a small fee for its services.
Copywriting is the art of selling in written form. Any kind of advertisement you have seen is a copy. This includes words written on brochures, landing pages, white papers, and so much more.
The main goal of copywriting is to convince the reader to buy. And you will need a different skill set for this. Once you develop your skills in content writing, you can now branch out to copywriting.
Copywriting can fetch you a lot more money than content writing, as writers can charge $100 per piece. Besides, your clients in this niche are businesses and companies that have a huge budget for advertising, not bloggers.
It can take years for you to be a copy writer, but you can speed up your learning if you take a course. Start by looking for free copywriting materials and courses, and then upgrade later on to the paid courses.
If you have been a content writer for a while, it is best that your arm yourself with the right skills set and take the course now. Once the course is over, you can start offering this service online, and product amazing results for your clients.
9. Voiceover Work
In this job, you will read scripts that clients give you. The way you charge is by the number of words. Most professional voiceover specialists charge $150 for 100 words, and beginners charge anywhere between $10 and $50 per 100 words.
To do this, you need a good recorder, a microphone and a room that will serve as your studio. You can start with your phone, but make sure you have a good microphone.
The clients you are looking for here are those who release videos. They will attach your voiceover to the video. The end product is something like a TV show that has a narrator.
This gig is best coupled with video editing service. You can create a package for both service, and charge a smaller fee that will make a client happy, without necessarily undercutting your prices.
If you ever combine these two services, you do not need a separate recorder if you are already using Camtasia or ViddyOze. But again, these two software are not free.
10. English Tutor
If you speak English, there are many clients out there who need your help. Find clients from China, Japan, and other countries where English is not their second language.
You can do this in two ways.
The first one is to submit bids in freelance sites like Fiverr, and the second one is to design an English tutorial course.
English is such a big subject matter that you can cover a lot in it. You can focus on grammar, pronunciation, written English, and a whole lot more.
If you are going to tutor somebody, you can charge as much as $20 per hour of work. But of course, you need to prepare a course curriculum after you have discussed with your client what he needs.
In this case, the only thing you need is a stable internet connection and Skype, or any chat app that allows video calls.
Many clients who need an English tutor buy this service for their children, as they know that these kids will move to an English-speaking country one day.
For e-courses, you do not have to teach English live. You can pre-record your materials, and then upload them. The next thing to do is to either promote your course via paid ads, or wait until somebody finds the course online and enrolls.
You can use a tool like Teachable as your online course platform. For as littles $29, you can up-upload a course and have unlimited number of students.
With Teachable, you can even offer people a commission if they successfully referred students to your course. The site will also take care of charging your clients, and then pay out your funds into your account.
The e-course is a great passive income, and you are in the position to price the course the way you want. Many short courses today sell for $20. Just imagine of you have sold 1,000 of that in one year, you have $20,000 for only a little investment of your time and recording tools.
For e-courses, they have to be professional, so the free video editors and recorders will not do it. Again, my recommendation is Camtasia for screencast recording, and ViddyOze for animations.
11. Social Media Marketing
The last one on our list is social media marketing, a job where your duty is to engage people in different social media platforms.
You can only do this if you know a little about graphic design. Your main duty is to post on your client’s social media account, and make sure that your posts are so good that they will have more followers.
You can charge by the hour or by the project. Social media marketing can cost anywhere between $45 and $2,000 per project.
Again, your duty is to manage your client’s social media accounts. You have to respond to the comments, engage followers, look for other social media groups where you can promote the brad, and many more.
A Last Piece of Advice
These 11 jobs that we mentioned do not require that you wait too long to see the results of your work.
The thing is, you have to invest on your tools to be able to make money.
Can you imagine how a photographer will make money if he has no camera? This is how freelancing works. Whatever you choose, you need a laptop and another tool so you can deliver high-quality products and services
Also, another mistake that many freelancers make is that they go to freelance marketplaces and offer their services without knowing who their competitors are.
If you are decided to do an online job, my recommendation is that you buy a service from a freelancer who offers a similar service as yours.
After doing your research and putting a price for your service, find someone like you. Buy his service, and then check the quality of this work.
If that freelancer has great feedback, then you know that you can deliver the same kind of quality and earn a good reputation, too.
And better yet? You can offer something more, or something better, and crush that competition.
As far as where to find jobs is concerned, my recommendation is Fiverr if you are starting out. It is not true that you can only charge $5 here. You are free to price your services.
I like it because it is not overpopulated like Freelancer, a place where everybody is driving down their prices just to get clients. Also, it has no stupid rules like UpWork does.
In UpWork, you get charged a currency for every bid you make. Once this currency is out, you have to buy more so you can bid more.
In Fiverr, membership is free, and bidding is free. You only pay 20% of the project cost once you are paid.
Again, choose one or a few services that you can combine. Invest in the right tools, find clients, deliver top-notch service, and you will earn more money that you can imagine.
Many freelancers who succeeded left their day jobs over time, like me. However, I will not advocate that you leave school. Finish a degree if you can, as this serves as a great backup if the gig economy becomes bad.
I have been interviewed a dozen times in the 14 years that I worked innt eh corporate world.
And I have interviewed hundreds of applicants, too.
I have to admit that I asked the same asinine questions when I was starting out to hire and promote employees.
Over the years, I realized that these questions have no relevance whatsoever as far as my profession is concerned.
Here are the three foolish questions that most of use have been asked at one time in our careers.
What is your greatest weakness?
This is so cliché. I do not ask this question during interviews anymore. I know fully well that candidates prepare answers for this and I will only hear any of these three:
A completely irrelevant answer—candidate says “I am not an expert in MS Excel…” but the job he is applying for does not involve MS Excel.
A sugarcoated answer—candidate says “I take a lot of effort to determine what to prioritize. As a result, some tasks may be compromised…” This means the applicant does not get the job done on time.
A weakness that is spun into something positive—candidate says “I am very detail-oriented and this causes me to work long hours…”
If you are asked this question, then you are in a tight spot. Perhaps the interviewer wants to see how you react under pressure. As far as I am concerned, my weaknesses are not your business. I came to the interview to sell my service, not to destroy my reputation.
To the Interviewer:
A better way to find out about a person’s weakness is to ask straightforward questions.
Have you done a report like this?
Can you describe this specific task in detail?
To the Interviewee:
Answers like “I do not have a weakness” or “I cannot think of one” will only diss your Interviewer. Your best option is to choose an answer from the three examples above. You can also tell the interviewer that your weakness is chocolate or Starbucks. Perhaps it is her weakness, too.
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Wait, my crystal ball is cloudy at the moment. Whenever I hire a plumber or a carpenter to do some repairs at home, I do not ask him, “Mr. Plumber, where do you see yourself in five years?”
I say: “The toilet is clogged. That is my problem. Can you fix it? What is your plan? What tools do you need—wire, pump, or straw?”
To the Interviewer:
Answers to questions like this will give you nothing more than superficial visions of the applicant’s future. Sometimes, you get a glimpse of the applicant’s dreams or ambitions but nonetheless, I do not think there is any answer to this question that will relate to the applicant’s ability to perform his duties.
To the Interviewee:
This question is a trap. Do not say things like “I will go abroad in two years” or “my petition for the US is due in six months.” You will not get hired. Say that you want to stay in the same company or industry for many years and you will work hard to advance the company’s business interests.
I am a cheetah. See how fast I can run? Bolt to the door and do not come back. Seriously, this question should only be asked if the basic requirements for the job are creativity and imagination. Or perhaps you are looking for people who have specific characteristics—fun-loving, adventurous, etc… Otherwise, this should be banned from the corporate world.
Other variants of this dumb question:
Why is a manhole round and not square?
How many cell towers are there from your house to the office?
If you were a tree, how tall would you be?
What pet are you?
If you were a singer, who would you be?
Is the glass half-full or half-empty?
If you were a superhero, who would you be?
To the Interviewer:
Do not ask this question. Please.
To the Interviewee:
Oh yes. You will be asked this question and you are expected to provide a professional and smart answer. Say something like, “I am a horse. I am strong; I can carry heavy loads and travel great distances to achieve business goals.”
There are many more dum-dum interview questions like these and it is not likely that you can prepare for all of them.
Just make sure that your answers are not offensive and that that you try to relate your answers to the job.
If you are not sure, just say “I haven’t really thought about that.” It is better to say you are not sure than provide answers that may hurt your interview assessment.
Be a copywriter. No interviews. No dumb questions. Just write for a living.
In the age of technology, we are all subjected to mental stress every day and sometimes, we cannot help but lose our concentration.
And then we feel terrible.
We become unproductive, we get lost in our priorities, and we accomplish nothing.
If you have been like this for a while, you can lose your job. You can damage your relationships, and worse, you can lose your self-esteem.
Do not let this happen to you!
Let me show you six things I do to keep me productive!
1. Proper Nutrition
Proper nutrition is never negotiable. With this said, I am not talking about the number of times you eat every day. You can eat as much as you want but make sure that the foods you eat provide you with proper nutrition.
Stay away from fastfood.
Brown bag it if you must. Cook your own meals at home and take it to the office.
Take a lot of fruits and vegetables, as they are rich in natural sugar that will give you a quick boost of energy. Fish is also a great brain food because it is rich in Omega oils.
You also need to watch the contents of the food you eat. To improve the mind, you need to eat foods rich in zinc, Vitamin E, C and A.
2. Eat Less
If you eat less, you will experience lesser of this thing called “brain fog” or “sugar blues”.
You see, the brain sometimes get so clouded with sugar and other nutrients that it starts concentrating on the distribution of these chemicals instead of focusing on what you are actually doing. This makes you sluggish and mentally weak.
Eat several times a day, but control the portions. Eating less is much better as you are giving your body the opportunity to metabolize that food, and this will prevent your brain from getting your brain all too foggy.
3. Increase Oxygen in the Brain
The brain needs oxygen to work properly. People suffer from stroke or cardiac arrest if the blood flow to the brain is limited.
You can improve blood or oxygen flow to the brain if you take time to relax and simply breathe in and breathe out. You can also do this by taking food supplements rich in Ginko Biloba.
A weird thing to do, but is equally effective, is to invert your body. If your head is on the floor and your feet are up in the air, the blood will flow to your brain quickly. Do this only for a few seconds or minutes as this can cause you to feel nauseous.
4. Avoid Harmful Substances
Drugs, alcohol, and tobacco kill brain cells. Taking these substances damages your brains and the cells eventually die.
Keep in mind that once a brain cell is dead, it cannot be replicated. For every dead cell, you lost a memory. You lose that connection that once made you great at something.
You may not notice it now but soon, you will see that you have a poor memory and that your brain has lost its ability to think fast.
5. Take Food Supplements
There are food supplements designed specifically to help the brain function well. These supplements may contain drugs like Phophotidyl Serine and Vinpocetine.
These drugs are known to speed up learning and reverse memory decline. Keep in mind that supplements should be taken at a doctor’s advice because each person has a different tolerance level and reaction to drugs.
One highly recommend food supplement is Organifi Green Juice.
Packs 11 of the world’s most powerful super foods
Designed to kick-start your body’s important processes such as detoxification, energy production, and stress management
Great for people in weight loss programs and those who have health issues
A 30-second solution to get your daily dose of veggies
6. Relax and Meditate
Meditation can take the brain on another subconscious state. This allows the brain to fully optimize its potential. Meditation helps you relax, improve blood flow to the brain, and increase oxygen distribution to the head.
With meditation, your brain can rest. You can shut yourself out from the daily nuances of life, thus giving yourself, and your brain, more opportunity to focus.
After meditation, you will feel relaxed, in control, and highly-motivated.
Help your body achieve its full potential by being active, eating the right kind of food, and avoiding harmful substances. You can also do this by taking food supplements that will supply what your body needs. These food supplements are designed to give you what your daily food intake fails to provide.
Just because you saw a video how to make $1,000 per day doesn’t mean you should jump into it right away. Most likely you have seen a video about affiliate marketing, and you thought it was easy.
True enough, the affiliate marketing industry has taken the world by storm. It is one of the few businesses that have used the information highway to its full advantage.
And this success can be yours, too.
But what exactly is affiliate marketing and how does it work? A lot of people claim that you can rake in money with very little effort. But how true is it and what are the risks?
The Business Model
Let us start by defining the concept of affiliate marketing. In a nutshell, affiliate marketing is all about referring the products or services of another company to people.
For every product or service that your referral pays for, you earn a commission. It is similar to selling but you are not actually selling–you are promoting, which is easier said than done.
All you have to do is find a way for a person to click on a company’s advertisement from your website. And if he buys, the company whose product you sell will trace that the customer came from you.
Then you get paid a commission.
The only thing that you need is your own website, blog, or YouTube channel. Many affiliate marketers use social media, but we will talk about this on another post.
On your platform, your goal is to make sure that people are visiting your site. As you build your credibility, your followers grow, too.
One day, these followers will click on the products you are prmoting and buy. After that, you get paid a commission.
Before you can do this, you just have to be a member of the company’s affiliate program, receive your own affiliate ID and link to put to your website.
In summary: it is like advertising but you only get paid when a purchase is made.
The Business Benefits
Since this is an online business and you practically do not have to create or manufacture your own product, there is very minimal cost.
You only need a computer and an internet connection. Being your own boss, you do not need to rent an office and you do not have to stock your own products, much less do the hard work of inventory and all sorts of analyses that businessmen do.
All you have to do, at the comfort of your own home, is to fill your website with valuable content–things that will benefit people.
You can use SEO copywriting techniques to drive traffic or visitors. You can earn while sleeping since people from around the world may come across your site at any time of the day.
The payment scheme is also very convenient since you have options to get paid via check, PayPal, bank transfer, and many other means. It all depends with the company whose products you promote.
And most importantly, many affiliate companies offer membership for free. After all, you are making them rich, so why bother charging you for any membership fee?
The Business Risks
Now, this is the part that many people forget, that there are busines risks.
You cannot be an effective affiliate marketer without spending money. While there are free methods to do it, like posting your links on forums and social media sites, nothing beats a real business.
Many people who claim that they earn money via free posting do not really have anything to show for it. and I have never seen an affiliate marketing guru who will tell you that the free method is the only technique they use.
In a real business, you need a blog a YouTube channel, and software tools to execute your marketing campaign. You need writers, autoresponders, automation software, screen cast software, web hosting, and whole gamut of products to run your business.
And when you give up, you fail, and you lose everything you have invested.
And add to that the courses that do not make sense. I have heard about affiliate marketing in 2008. I took a course only after I have exhausted free resources online–from blogs and YouTube.
I have no regrets taking the course, as it came from a person I trust.
It is very important that you understand the threats in the online world. There are unscrupulous people who will make offers that are seemingly ridiculous.
Some may offer a guaranteed earning of $3000 a day. Any person who promises to make you rich quickly is likely a scammer.
Several people will also recruit you to pay for “secrets” which usually is something that you can easily find in the internet for free.
Always remember that if it is too good to be true, then it likely is. In addition, try to avoid joining affiliate memberships that charge fees. Keep in mind that you are trying to earn money, not give it away.
Before you start with affiliate marketing, you need a notebook, and turn this into a place where you can create a checklist. Create a plan, search for winning products that you can promote easily, and make sure you only attempt selling those that have high commissions.
Assess what you need, and check how much you will pay on the software tools on a monthly basis. Find a copywriter that you can afford with no compromise to quality.
The problem with this exercise is it focuses on the fat in the stomach area but not on the sides. The oblique crunch is facilitated in a way that focuses on the muscles and fat on the sides of your belly.
First, lie down on the floor and bend your knees a little bit. Make sure the soles of your feet are on the floor.
Put your hands behind your head for protection and balance. A variation is to put your hands on your chest.
As you lift your upper body, twist it so your right shoulder meets your left knee.
Lie back down and lift yourself up again but this time, your left shoulder should meet your right knee.
Complete several reps and you should be good to go.
Exercises work if they are done right, and regularly. Results happen differently to different people, and the positive outcome is also best supported by appropriate diet.
Coupled with fat-burning foods, you will definitely be astounded at the results! Remember: discipline + consistency plus the right program = success!
I spent 14 years in the corporate environment, and now that I am reflecting back on success, and as I embark on a new journey, I want to share the three most common mistakes about promotion that I have observed from people I have worked with and how they were doing it wrong.
There are employees who expect a promotion to happen simply because they worked hard and have been consistent all throughout. When an internal position is made open to everybody, some employees do not submit their application, believing that they should be promoted based solely on the merits of their performance.
In some companies, career promotions happen without the need for formal applications, usually after the annual performance review.
From a hiring manager’s perspective, all employees deserve an equal chance to apply. If a department, including your own, released a career advertisement, you have to apply.
You may be the strongest contender but if you do not demonstrate willingness to get promoted—by making your intent known—chances are you won’t. You need to tell your supervisor or manager what your career aspirations are. If you don’t, your bosses may never know.
This expectation is tantamount to hoping. We hope because something makes us afraid and uncertain. We hope because we are afraid of rejection—it is painful.
I applied four times before bagging my first promotion; twice for the second one; once for the third; twice for the fourth; three times for the fifth, and five times for the sixth. I have been rejected many times and at one point I thought of disappointment as my best friend.
But I have to tell you, you can never beat somebody who never gives up.
Not Looking for an Alternative
Don’t you think you should have moved somewhere else? I have advocated to several of my colleagues not to be afraid to move out. If you are ready for a promotion and your company cannot give it to you, ask yourself seriously what you value more—your career or loyalty.
This choice is yours and yours alone. You may stay in a company for a long time for various reasons: friends, comfort level, location or proximity, benefits, and more. All these are good reasons to stay. However, if your career values are driven towards advancing, then by all means, explore what is out there.
Moving out of your current company is a very tough decision to make. One way or another, you will lose many things that you currently enjoy—friends, mostly. You will be out of your comfort zone.
You will be facing a new challenge—jumping into a void of uncertainty. You will meet new people, several of whom may reject you. I’m telling you, moving out is going to be tough. Your new job may be too difficult for you. Anyway, sometimes it is good to bite more than you chew.
Just make sure you keep on chewing.
Working Smart But Never Working Hard
This is a good subject for debate. For me, there is no way you can succeed if you do not work hard enough. It’s just not going to happen. Even CEOs, rich businessmen, and geniuses worked like a cow. Plow the field yourself before telling someone else how it is done.
Working smart is great but there are only two ways you can achieve this: you either work hard or have somebody mentor you. Working hard allows you to experience things. It allows you to be sandwiched between problems and find solutions on your own. It involves dealing with people, using your time wisely, planning, organizing, and finally executing.
The forerunner of working smart is working hard. After years of working hard, you would have had enough experiences that will allow you to work smart—you will not repeat the same mistakes, you will find ways to be efficient, you will create action plans that will solve two problems at a time, you will make decisions that will prevent future problems, and so on.
A mentor, on the other hand, shares what he already knows. He allows you to learn faster than what it would take if you go at it on your own. But how often does one find a mentor who will share what he knows?
Before you attempt to work smart, you have to work hard. If you can do both at the same time when you are just starting out in your career, good for you.
Always remember, people who are on top of the mountain did not fall there: they climbed.
When was the last time you had a heart-to-heart talk with your team member? When things go bad at work, do you take the time to sit down with an employee and listen to his concerns? Or do you swiftly pass judgment and brush off the issue?
Many managers are led to believe that courage is equated to speaking and dominating a conversation. They just delegate with no regard when delegation can be done effectively. This leads to disgruntled employees.
However, let us not forget what Sir Winston Churchill said—that courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.
This happens because many managers never went through training. They did well in their job as an individual contributor, and when they got a promotion, they expect their subordinates to do well as they did.
This can be corrected, of course, given the proper guidance.
The Definition of Listening
In the office, we deal with dozens of issues everyday. On top of our deliverables, we have a lot of administrative work to do and things to manage. Managers have their plates full most of the time that they forget to listen to what their employees need.
In many round tables or brainstorming sessions, it is not uncommon for bosses to shoot down people’s ideas because they want to get things done their way. Little do they realize that listening as a manager is the first step to wisdom and it is also a sign of effective leadership, which has subtle differences from management. But how does one manager effectively listen and understand?
Listening is an art. It is an art when it is done well with the aim of achieving a win-win situation between all parties involved. Listening is a part of good communication skills; this is the best way to develop mutual trust and respect and it fosters an atmosphere of affirmation and interest. To be effective leaders, we must learn to communicate two-way—one of which talking and the other is through listening.
The Process of Listening
When talking to an employee, it is necessary that you take down notes. This is not for the purpose of show but to ensure that you remember. You do not want to miss the important details of what your employee is telling you. You need to repeat the information you heard and validate. Confirm if your understanding of the issue is correct.
If the employee says otherwise, it will not hurt if you ask him to repeat what he said. Only then will the two of you come to the same page. If there is something vague, do not assume that you understood what the person is trying to say. Always remain curious and ask for clarification.
If you have a question, do not interrupt. Ask the speaker if you may say something or write it down and ask your question later on. Your team member will definitely give you a chance to speak. If the discussion is about something sensitive and your employee is being emotional, do not match his anger or frustration with yours.
Keep in mind that you need to be both mentally and physically present. Your eyes should meet the speaker’s and you need to nod to from time to time to show interest.
The Benefits of Listening
As a leader, you can benefit a lot from sitting down with your employee and listening to his issues. First off, you discover things. You have to realize that you are always away from the front lines and you may have little understanding of the daily goings-on in the workplace.
Listening to your employees will enlighten you and will make you reconsider some decisions you made in the past. You will be able to make better decisions because you are armed with information. The things that you heard will give you a different perspective of what you need to get done. It will show things to you in a new light and will clear your head in case you are confused.
Your employees will appreciate you if you listen. They will be thankful to you for finding time to listen to them amidst your busy schedule. At the end of the day, it is always going to be a win-win situation for you.