August 31, 2011, 5:00 am

2 Terrible Mistakes I Made That Will Haunt You For The Rest of Your Life if You Don’t Wake Up

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Business,Career


 

You probably didn’t notice but I was on vacation for the past 2 weeks and just came back to work this Monday. Those were real vacation as I left with my family for Virginia Beach. I did bring my laptop and BlackBerry but didn’t use them to work on my sites. I rarely do this but for 2 weeks, I barely answered my emails and comments on my blogs. Since I work with my brain all the time, I needed a time where I could shut it down completely and enjoy the small things of life such as a sand castle contest!

 

While I was getting some rest, I got stuck by a lightning: I’m making 2 terrible mistakes this year. I left my day-to-day tasks long enough to look at my online empire differently. I was shocked by the results of my reflexion. I’m sharing those 2 mistakes as you probably do them too. Regardless if you are doing it with your blog, your career, your sideline or simply in general, I’m sure you do at least one of those 2 major mistakes.

 

#1 I’m Getting Lazy

Don’t get me wrong, I work a lot. I work 4 days a week at my day job as a financial planner and 1 full day on my online empire. For the past 3 years, both my career and online are growing exponentially. I’ve managed to reach a 6 figure income at the age of 28 and I am now making 6 figure online too. The problem is exactly where my success is:  it is becoming too easy.

 

If you ever hustle very hard for a long time and you have a great structure in your business or throughout your career, you will eventually be successful. This is exactly where you need to be very careful. Closing new deals at work became easier since many clients trust me now and refer me their good friends. Making money online has become easier too as my blog network is growing and I have a few niche websites earning money too.

 

But when everything is running smoothly and the money is coming in, most human being will tend to surf the wave instead of looking for the next big one. So I just noticed that I have been working on keeping my routine instead of bursting out of my comfort bubble to do some serious creation. I have tons of projects on paper that I didn’t start yet and tons of todo’s that have not been even looked at. I’m getting lazy because I feel that my business can keep growing without me working. Well this ain’t gonna happen! There is a reason why you are standing where you are right now and it is the sum of what you have done to get there. If you only keep doing what you do in your routine, you won’t grow anymore. Even worst, you might slow down and get engulfed by the next wave instead of surfing on it. This is exactly what happened to RIM (manufacturer of the Black Berry) while they ignore Apple and their iPhone to surf their small wave.

 

#2 I’m Getting Cocky

Hum… maybe I should rephrase that: I’m cocky and I’ve always been. But while a bit of cockiness is acceptable, being over-confident creates a feeling of completeness and you don’t see the urge of working harder. Worst; you start overlooking what you do thinking that you are just too good at it.

 

This is what I did when I first created my niche websites and started to hire VA’s and outsource a part of my work. Since I was making a lot of money, I thought that I could run multiple projects with little to not input from myself and everything would run perfectly. While I didn’t do any critical mistakes by overlooking what I did in 2011, I have realized during my vacation that I could have been much further if I had taken the time to sit down and analyzed what need to be done. I used to check and double check my strategies and carefully implement each element myself. More recently, I’ve put everything on the shelf to concentrate on writing my eBook. I thought I could do both writing and managing without looking too much at was is going on. After all, I’m an online genius and I just can’t fail… I was so wrong!

 

This is how I ended-up with running cash flow negative for the very first month of my company’s history. It’s not too bad as I realize my mistakes fast enough but it could have been catastrophic if I didn’t take those vacations at a perfect timing!

 

Look at others to understand what you do wrong

This lightning that enlighten my cavern was provoked by the reading of a blog that I know for a while but I hadn’t had the time to read recently: Budgeting in the fun stuff. Crystal, who runs this blogs among many others, started only 18 months ago and racked-up more than $7,000 in July. So while I was having my worst month, she was having her best one.

 

Crystal and I have 2 very different business models and we don’t always agree on the method of making money online (mind you, we are still friends 😉 ). However, I can tell you that we share many things in common such as a strong spirit, a taste for entrepreneurship, good writing skills combined with an unlimited creativity. So I was surprised but very proud of Crystal when I noticed how far she went since she started her online venture. This is when I read a few posts on her blogs about her recent success that I have realized that I was getting both lazy and cocky at the same time.

 

What’s next

The good news is that I am in a perfect timing to take everything back under control: I’m back from vacation and I’m on fire. I’m about to launch my first eBook from a series of 4 books about escaping the rat race and I have a complete plan to hire another VA (my main VA is on maternity leave). This fall will be a huge turning point for my company and I will share each of my steps with you in this crazy adventure!

 

I wonder if you ever been lazy or getting cocky after being successful at work, online or with your company? How did you wake up? Do you think that you are currently in this situation?

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August 29, 2011, 5:00 am

Why People Fail At Making Money Online

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Make Money Online

broken computerThis is a guest post by Mike Collins.  Mike writes about all things money at SavingMoneyToday.net and MoneyMattersGuy.com

As the economy continues to go up and down like some never-ending rollercoaster, more and more people are looking to the internet as a way to earn a living.  They hear tales of bloggers who earn enough to quit their day jobs and work from home in their pajamas and figure they can do the same.  But most of them will fall flat on their face and never even make a penny on the internet.

I built my first website way back in 2004, so I’ve been around long enough to see many would-be entrepreneurs call it quits.  In my experience there are 4 major factors that keep them from being a success.

They’re lazy.  Most people think making online is easy.  They assume they can just write a couple of articles, click a few links, and the money will come pouring in.  But if that was true, don’t you think everyone would be doing it?

Sorry to break it to you but an online business is like any other business.  It takes a lot of work to get off the ground and build a steady flow of income.  If you think you can get rich overnight…you will fail.

They never take action.  I can’t tell you how many people I’ve met online who suffer from “analysis paralysis.”  They spend countless hours in forums looking for the perfect money-making formula.  They download every how-to ebook they can find and obsess over the smallest of details.  They spend all their time analyzing and in the end they never actually do a thing.

Now I’m not saying you should just run off without a plan.  That won’t get you very far either.  But at some point you’ve got to actually get started.  You’ll never get anywhere if you don’t take that first step.

They lack focus.  I fell under this category for a very long time…several years in fact.  You see, there are so many different ways to make money online, and I always had a million different ideas running through my head.  I’d start working on one project and then before I even finished I’d be getting sidetracked and start working on something else.  What I ended up with was about a dozen or so unfinished sites.  Some were earning a few bucks here and there but none were anywhere near their potential.

It wasn’t until I started to focus on one thing at a time that my income began to grow consistently.  If that sounds familiar to you try scaling back a little.  Identify which direction you really want to go in and start focusing all of your energy there.  You can always branch out in other directions later.

They give up too soon.  This is the one that really drives me nuts because I’ve seen it happen so many times.  When they first launch their site they are full of enthusiasm, but it quickly fades away when the traffic and revenue isn’t there right out of the gate.  Within a few months they are gone.

But what they don’t realize is that success may have been just around the corner.  It takes time for a new site to be found and get ranked by the search engines.   If they had just stuck with it a little longer they might have gotten a boost in traffic and income, and that would have encouraged them to keep building and growing their business.

 

Comments From TFB:

After reading

this post from the “other” Mike I can only highlight that it takes a lot of time to make some serious money online. To be honest, several bloggers will be able to make a few hundreds per month through selling links within a few months of existence. Then, they think they have become some sort of dot com mogul. However, this business model can’t scale and it is very limited in term of income potential (unless you have tons of sites!).

Therefore, if you really want to success with your online business, you need to be patient and to hustle for several years. Money comes with traffic and traffic comes with hard work, quality content and time! as I’ve mentioned in my 7 things people don’t tell you before writing a ebook, succeeding in the blogging world is not that easy. This is why lazy people, people won’t don’t focus on the right things or even worst, don’t take any action will eventually quit their great project that was not executed the right way.

 

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August 26, 2011, 6:00 am

Yakezie Challenge

by: MD    Category: Financial Rambling

The other day this information-packed piece went live: 4 Things I Would Do With My Blog If I Could Go Back 4 Years and That You Must Do TODAY to Be a Successful Blogger. I think it’s a must read for any new blogger that wants to see some serious growth. It’s always better to learn from others.

Time for the Yakezie best-of:

1. Warren Buffett Buys Bank Of America @ Buy Like Buffet.

2. Dividend Yielding Stocks – I Learn Something New Every Day @ BITFS.

3. What Is Piercing The Corporate Veil? @ Financial Samurai.

4. Dividend Portfolio Update @ Retire by 40.

5. Alternative College Housing Options to Save Money @ Free From Broke.

6. Don’t Let Time Pass You By @ Invest It Wisely.

7. Bank of America Paid Warren Buffett $1.4 Billion for a $5 Billion Investment @ Consumerism Commentary.

8. Lottery: Is It Really A Stupid Tax? @ Buck Inspire.

9. 10 Reasons Why The Rich Hate Warren Buffett @ Money Cone.

10. The major risks of buy and hold index investing @ ERE.

11. You Realize Books Are Free, Right? @ Canadian Finance Blog.

12. Are You Frugal at the Expense of Enjoying Life? @ Mom’s Plans.

13. 100 Words On: Why It’s So Hard to Beat a Homegrown Tomato @ Len Penzo.

14. Preparing for Emergencies- Earthquake in Virginia; Hurricane Irene in North Carolina @ Couple Money.

15. How I Paid for 12 Years of Continuous Travel @ Todd’s Wanderings.

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August 25, 2011, 6:00 am

It’s Okay to Ask For Help

by: MD    Category: Other Financial Articles

Asking For Help

“There are only two kinds of people who are really fascinating – people who know absolutely everything, and people who know absolutely nothing. ” – Oscar Wilde.

Two weeks ago I wrote about how we all need a kick in the butt sometimes. The thing is that it’s easy to fall behind and to justify our poor habits to friends in hopes that they’ll agree with us. Well, sometimes a wake up call is needed. Now that we had our wake up call, this week we can get into some real tactics.

What if you want to make some changes, but just aren’t sure what to do next? Simple. You need to ask for help. You need to reach out and find others that are willing to help you improve your current situation.

I found that lots of young people are simply afraid to ask for help. Today we can move away from this fear and reach out for help. I’m here to let you know that it’s okay to ask for help.

I wanted to start off with some general tips on asking for help…

Swallow your pride.

We’re often too proud to ask for help. If you want to get anywhere in life, you’re going to have to swallow your pride once in a while and accept the fact that you don’t know everything. You’re likely excellent in one area of life and horrible in another. That’s perfectly normal. You need to swallow your pride and learn to accept tips from others in the areas that you suck at.

Be open minded.

Maybe it’s your attitude that has prevented you from moving forward. Many times our attitude holds us back. It can be self-limiting beliefs or the inability to learn from others. When you open your mind you’ll learn of many new things.

Don’t criticize the person.

A friend once asked me for advice on how to plan a trip. In the middle of the discussion he started to call me out on some things and to criticize my strategy. I got  frustrated at first and then I realized that it wasn’t worth my energy to argue with someone that clearly didn’t want to be helped. It’s important that you don’t judge anyone that helps you.

Now that we went over some general tips, let’s get into the actual process of getting help. What are a few ways that you can ask for help if you feel that you’re stuck on something?

Offer your assistance first.

For someone to truly care about helping you it helps that you show that you’re not a selfish person. We can always help others out in one way or another. It doesn’t have to be with expertise. It could be with time or with feedback. By proving that you’re a helpful person yourself, it will build a stronger rapport.

Ask for feedback on your progress.

People are extremely busy. Instead of asking pointless questions, it can benefit you both much more by asking for feedback on how you’re doing something.

Maybe you just need to tweak something or you’re doing the wrong things. Getting feedback on your progress will allow the person helping you to share what you’re doing the right way and what can be improved on– and believe me we all have something that needs improving.

Ask someone to be a mentor.

A mentor can help you get much further than you ever could on your own. A mentor is something that’s done something that you want to do. This is the person that you go to for advice, feedback, help, and friendship. If you can find yourself a mentor in your field, I’ve been told that you can get much further than those that try to go at it alone.

At the end of the day you can never go wrong by looking for help. We need to understand that there’s nothing wrong with reaching out. You’ll actually be surprised by how many people want to help you out.

Have you helped anyone out lately? Have you reached out for help?

(photo credit: bkabak)

 

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August 24, 2011, 5:00 am

How To Know When To Borrow

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Leveraging Strategies


borrow moneySome people will think that I’m crazy but I did it again! I took out another loan. But don’t worry, I’m not taking a real loan and it’s not to finance my lifestyle. I’m taking a $10,000 RRSP loan (loan used to contribute to my retirement plan) to benefit from the dip in the markets. I was a bit slow to get it so I only started investing on August 12th. However, there was some damage done on the market and since I was going to invest $10K from my bonus in January for my RRSP contribution, I’m just doing it 5 months in advance as I think it’s good timing!

 

Since maximizing my RRSP is one of my financial priorities, the first thing I always do with my year-end bonus is to maximize my retirement account. Since I’m allowed, I know that my first 10K of bonus will go towards my investment account. The only difference is that, right now, I have a great chance of making a better return. I’ll be detailing my trading moves on The Dividend Guy Blog but I wanted to discuss the leverage strategy here. Why? Because leveraging is one of the most powerful tools used to reach financial independence.

 

I recently discussed how Uncle Sam is helping us make money. This is why I have decided to put my money where my mouth is and to benefit from the situation. The stock market has gone down on government debt concerns. This is why successful companies with strong balance sheets are declining in price for no sound reason. This looks like the perfect time to jump into some dividend investing!

 

How to know when to borrow?

I’m a big fan of leveraging, you know that. However, there is always a good time to borrow. And this is quite easy to know when you should make the move:

a)      Interest rates must be low with a reasonable perspective that it will stay low

b)      There must be an opportunity in a market that you understand

c)       You must have a repayment plan before borrowing

If you can combine these 3 factors, you have a winning situation to borrow. As the interest rates in both Canada and United States will likely remain at a low level for a year or two, you already have the first factor as a given.

 

Then, you must find opportunities in something that you understand. If you have no clue how the stock market works, it might not be a good idea to jump in blindfolded… it may hurt! However, you can also check out the real estate side. The fact that interest rates are low makes investing in real estate easier. The key here is to know what you are talking about so you can really determine if there is an opportunity or not!

 

Finally, you must know how you will reimburse your leverage. Many people borrow money expecting their investments to repay the loan. This is always a poor strategy. Why? Because even if you know what you are talking about, there is always a chance that you could be wrong. For example, right now, I think we are in the middle of a small dip in the market. However, I could be wrong and the market could continue to go down for several months. If I was expecting to make a quick buck from the market and payback my loan in 6 months, I would be in trouble. Yet in my actual situation, I know that I will have a bonus of around $30-40K. Therefore, borrowing 10K upfront is not such a big deal.

 

Don’t look back

Once you have planned your leveraging strategy, don’t look at your debt and investments all the time. Stop doing the match up of what you owe with what you have made. Most opportunities come with fluctuation and volatility. You don’t want to second guess your moves. Just wait a few months before you take any actions. In fact, once your leverage strategy is in place, you should be able to hold onto it for several years. If you invest aiming to make a quick buck, think again; leverage is not for you!

 

Are you going to borrow to invest in the market?

What do you think of this strategy? Are you looking to leverage the market?

 

 

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