Category Archives: Ways to Make Money

Defying Life’s Challenges Through Hard Work #MotivationMonday

Love this. So often I feel like I'm being fed "easy" ways to pull in thousands every month or ways to hustle my way to financial independence. It's possible, but not without hard work and a good work ethic.

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about where I am in my life.

Some areas I’m happy with. Others I’m not.

I’ve been through some good times. And some bad times. Of course, there were the terrible times, too.

But through it all, one thing has kept me going: a strong work ethic.

I say this not to brag. I’ve made as many mistakes in my life as the next person, and I’m certainly not sitting upon a mountain of cash that would make me financially independent.

But for all the times when things could have gone much worse, I’ve remained determined to make things work. Some of this has been born out of living in survival mode, and some of it has been a refusal to fail. Well, maybe not to fail, but rather a refusal to give up.

Knock on the Door of Opportunity

When I was newly married and very young, I had a hard time finding a job. Even ones I was overly qualified for.

I was looking at going back to school, but there were very few degree programs for my field. I didn’t know which ones to enter, so I looked up a chapter of a national networking/certification group. I wanted to go to ask them what educational opportunities were available.

Lo and behold, there was one meeting that very week right across the street. I went, and while I learned that unfortunately there weren’t very many good educational opportunities in the region, there was an agency that was hiring. And we immediately clicked.

That led to one of the most fulfilling jobs of my life. I loved getting up to go to work everyday, and I gave my all to be the best I could be in that position. I went to all the trainings that came through town. I practiced a ridiculous degree of professionalism. When I had to move, there were so many tears all around.

I never would have had that experience, though, if I had just given up on making things better. If I hadn’t looked up that networking group to find educational opportunities, I would have never met my bosses. If I hadn’t continued to pursue education through professional trainings, they may not have been as apt to give me challenging and exciting assignments.

Part of work ethic isn’t just doing the job that’s in front of you. It’s about actively pursuing all the paths to potential opportunity.

Some say opportunity knocks. In my life, I’ve found it to be the exact opposite. I knock. Sometimes no one answers. Sometimes the door gets slammed in my face. But sometimes, the door opens and you’re welcomed into a new realm of possibilities.

Finding Solutions Over Frustration

Life can suck. For all of us.

But how we react to that reality impacts the trajectories of our lives. All too often, it’s easy to see a problem and view it as an insurmountable road block. These do exist, but that doesn’t mean we should acquiesce to them.

Always try to find a way over. Around. Through. It can be rough, but if we allow ourselves to sit there in frustration, we’re essentially stalling out our potential. I’ve done this a few times in my life, and I always regret it later.

When I have my head on right, I try to look the problem in the face and find solutions. There was another period in my life when I had a hard time finding employment. It took me four months, actually, and I was very grateful to my past self for saving up a nice emergency fund to get me through that time. Even with that, I got a part-time gig at the local grocery store to pad things about three months in.

But during those months, I didn’t give up. I applied to jobs up to two hours away from my new rural home. I told everyone I knew I was looking for something. I once again went to the places where people were networking, and did volunteer work to showcase my skill set.

This eventually ended up leading to two job offers in one week. One was full-time. One was extremely part-time and sporadic.

I took them both.

Had I bemoaned my situation and resigned myself to continuing my part-time gig at the grocery store, I would have ended up working for a low wage at the grocery store until it was time to move again.

Instead, I looked everywhere to find a solution, and it eventually paid off. Again, I had a rewarding job I looked forward to going to everyday.

Doing the Work

Doing what I’m doing right now full-time was never a goal of mine. I loved my career, but a regional work shift/shortage revealed to me that it was going to be unstable–at least for a few years.

I needed an income today, though. Not in a few years. I had been side hustling a bit with the online writing thing, but when I found out I wouldn’t have regular work anymore, I started putting in the hours. I actively hunted for writing jobs and worked to build up this site a little more.

It worked and has been supporting me and my family for years now. I had to do the work, though. I couldn’t do it half-heartedly. I had to put everything into it.

The same has been true for me in pursuing many of my other goals, too. Most of them are tied to language. I learned the Cyrillic alphabet through hours of practice. I got really good at French by reading French books and watching French movies on top of my academic studies. And now, I’m working on doing the same for Japanese.

Opportunity may present itself. Or it may not. But if you aren’t ready to do the work, opportunity will move on to the next candidate–no matter how smart or well-qualified you are.

Semi-Charmed Kind of Life

I am privileged in so many ways as a white woman. Assuredly, many of my successes have been made easier because of this fact.

But if I had relied of that fact alone, I would have floundered. Without hard work, life would have drowned me a long time ago.

If you’re feeling like life is getting you down, become defiant. Do not let hardship win out. Be proactive and knock on the door of opportunity. If that door gets slammed in your face, focus on solutions rather than bitterness or despair. Then, once you find a solution and an open door, do the work. Put your head down and make things happen.

Life and money still won’t work out the way you planned. But it’s going to be a heck of a lot easier.

Besides that, every once in a while life will surprise us and give us something better than what we were planning for, anyways.

 

 

7 Reasons Why You Can’t Find a Job

Today’s author–Bernz JP-–is a blogger and owner of Moneylogue.com. He is passionate about personal finance, the stock market, and is a digital marketing addict. He also loves to read books on entrepreneurship and technology, and is always on the lookout for new opportunities.

Oh, wow, am I glad I read this one. With the employment rate so low, I was getting really frustrated that I couldn't find a job. This delves into some reasons why in our current economy and gave me some new ideas.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate is 4.1% currently. This is extremely low considering the rate was almost 10% back in 2010. If this is the case, why is it still so difficult to find a job?

Usually, if there is low unemployment it is easier to find a job because there is not as much competition. So why are some workers being left on the sidelines?

1. Not industry specific

The unemployment rate is not specific to your industry. According to Statista, the industry with the highest unemployment is Agriculture with 10% unemployment, meanwhile, financial activities have a rate of only 2.2%. This means depending on your industry it is either going to be easier or more difficult to find work.

If you work in the Agriculture, Construction, Leisure and Hospitality, Wholesale and Retail Trade, Information, or Professional and Business Services industries, the unemployment rate is higher than the total unemployment rate. This will make it more difficult to get a job because there are more people competing.

Meanwhile, in the Mining, Quarrying, and Oil & Gas Extraction, Transportation and Utilities, Manufacturing, Education and Health Services, Government, and Financial Activities industries the unemployment rate is lower than the total, meaning there is less competition for each job.

Depending on your industry specifications, this could be a driving force of the difficulty to find a position.

2. Not experience driven

Maybe you only have two years of job experience, maybe you have 20. The unemployment rate is not considering your experience level.  If you are the person with two years experience and you are competing with the person who has 20 years for the same position, chances are you aren’t going to be the one who gets hired.

This shouldn’t discourage you; this just means you are going to work harder to show your strengths and show why you are more deserving of the role for which you are applying. The same can go the opposite way. If you have 20 years of experience and you are applying for an entry-level type position, you may not be hired because you are considered overqualified. They may skip interviewing you entirely because of this.

If you do get the interview, you are going to have to do a really good job explaining why you would want the position.

3. Electronic systems

Did you know your application or resume is most likely running through an electronic system? The first step in submitting your application is that it is run through an automated screening system, there isn’t a real person looking at it yet.

This automated screening system will throw out your application if it is missing keywords. Before submitting your resume or your application, review the job description and make sure you have keywords in the description.  This will help to ensure that a real live person actually looks at your application.

4. The unemployment rate leaves people out

Did you know that many who are unemployed are not included in the unemployment rate? The unemployment rate doesn’t include those people who took a part-time job when they really want full-time work, just so they had something.

It doesn’t include the people who are working a job they are overqualified for because they needed the income. It doesn’t include those people who are discouraged and not as actively looking for jobs.

This means that the competition is higher than you may have thought based on the unemployment rate.

5. Employment Gaps

Many people lost jobs during the recession and have since been out of work.  When employers are looking to hire someone and they see an employment gap, they don’t always consider the person further.

They need a good explanation for any gap in employment that is over a month long. This gap in your employment could be the reason you aren’t being hired. This gap could also be found by that electronic system which again may ensure your application never gets to a real person.

If this happens, you won’t even get an opportunity to explain to them why you have a gap in your employment.

6. Salary Gaps

When you apply for a job, you most likely have a set pay rate in mind. Part of the reason you may not be getting hired might be that your set pay rate is too high compared to what the company wants to offer.

This is not just a problem for you; it is a problem for many people. According to a Washington Post article in August 2017, there is approximately one job per job seeker. You would think that this means that we should all be able to find jobs and life is good, right?

The problem is that employers are still offering wages as if they have a multitude of people to choose from. We as the job applicant want more than the employer is willing to offer.

7. Location

A few months ago, I happened to talk to an HR manager at a bank nearby. She said to me that the problem she sees the most in her company is their location. She can find workers, but they don’t want to come to their location, which is not a big metropolitan area. They want to work in a metropolitan area, or they want to telecommute, or they want more money to make up for it.

All of which makes finding someone to fill a position more difficult and it makes finding a position that fits your demands more difficult as well.

 

All in all, yes unemployment is down. But this does not mean that it is easy to find a job. The unemployment rate leaves out numerous factors!

 

The Best Business to Start From Home When You Don’t Have a Lot of Money

Today I’d like to welcome Kayla Sloan, who was my amazing virtual assistant back when I had one. I’ve watched Kayla through her entire VA career, and have been so impressed by her drive and ability to get things done. Her business is explosive, and I’m happy to have her here talking about how others can follow in her footsteps to build their own VA business–even if you don’t have a lot of startup money.

I've been looking for remote work, and it's kind of amazing that you don't have to have upfront startup money to start your own virtual assistant business...

Not everyone in the workforce loves what they do each day. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 11.7 is the average number of jobs held in a lifetime.

Those results indicate that it takes a few, or several, tries to find the right job for some of us. It may even mean becoming self-employed instead of working for another individual or business.

However, starting your own business from home isn’t easy if you don’t have a lot of money. Lack of funds can rule out many start-up opportunities you would otherwise try.

Still, there are options, such as becoming a virtual assistant like me. I love what I do and I consider it the best business to start from home when you don’t have a lot of money.

What a Virtual Assistant Does

A virtual assistant, or VA, gives administrative and professional support to other individuals or businesses. The VA must have good grammar, computer skills, and communications skills.

Job duties of a virtual assistant vary widely. The services you could offer depend partly on your own comfort level, education, and skill set. For instance, I provide technical assistance, social media management, blog management, and many other services.

Why it’s the Best Business to Start

There are a lot of great benefits to becoming a VA like I did. Here are some of them:

  • Flexible Hours – When you work as a virtual assistant you get to set your own hours. You can work in the early morning hours, late at night, or on the weekends if you choose to. You can also work a regular 8 to 5 shift if that is easier.
  • Full-Time or Part-Time – I started out working part time as a VA for a side hustle in the evenings and on weekends. It fit nicely into my schedule and allowed me to continue working at my normal day job during the first year. After I built up my client base, I left my full time job and became a full-time virtual assistant. You can choose what works the best for your own schedule.
  • Low Start-Up Costs – To set up your workspace as a VA, you will need a desk or table, chair, computer, internet connection, printer, website, and a phone. Most people already have the majority of these things which makes the initial investment low.
  • Income Potential – There is no limit to the income you can make as a virtual assistant. I left a well-paying job and now I earn six times what I made there.

Where to Get Training

Specific education and training isn’t actually a requirement to become a virtual assistant. That’s just one more reason it’s the best business to start from home when you don’t have a lot of money to invest. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on training before you can get started!

You do need to have a basic understanding of how to use social media, social media tools, and be internet savvy. Most things can be learned along the way and some clients will even pay you to learn or take training if they want you help with specific tasks.

However, if you want to grow your business fast, taking a course can help. My new course, $10K VA, walks you through everything you need to know to get started and build your business to earn up to $10,000 per month consistently! It more than makes up for the cost within a couple of weeks of landing your first client.

Plus, if you use Femme’s link and the code FEMME50 you can save $50 on any level of the course!

How to Market Your Business

Marketing your business can be fun and inexpensive. There are also tons of ways to do it. If you aren’t sure which one to pick, choosing one or two ways to use regularly is a good place to start.

Here are some choices for you to consider:

  • Social media
  • Blogging
  • Guest blogging
  • Facebook groups (like the one for Pro level $10K VA students!)
  • Cold pitching

Once you make the initial contact with a client or potential client, you should follow up a few days later. Call or email a second time in case the message was not received the first time. This simple follow up has resulted in me getting many clients I might have otherwise missed out on.

Pitching can seem difficult at first, but just start small. Set a goal to email, call, or reach out to 5 or 6 new people or businesses each week. Before long, you’ll have more work than you know what to do with!

Also, don’t be afraid to ask for referrals. Asking current clients or contacts to pass on your name to others will help you build your business faster!

Your job takes up a significant portion of your day which is why it’s important that you enjoy it. If you want to find the best business to start from home when you don’t have a lot of money, look no further. Becoming a virtual assistant might be just what you are looking for.

 

 

Have you ever considered becoming a virtual assistant?

Philosophy of Passive Income

A few weeks ago, I woke up to this pleasant email in my inbox:

pleasant email to receive unexpectedly

It took me a minute to figure out what I was looking at. It was money I wasn’t expecting, and I was really hoping it wasn’t a mistake or phishing tactic.

Then I remembered that years and years ago, I opened up a shop on Zazzle. I designed t-shirts which very few people bought. The payout threshold was either $50 or $100, and I didn’t think I’d ever meet it.

I guess they got sick of holding onto my money, or–more likely–there’s some type of rule about how long they can hold onto payouts.

My income situation is a heck of a lot better than it was back then, but I’m in no way, shape or form above getting excited about an unexpected $24.43!

It’s the opposite of the sunk cost fallacy. The original fallacy is that you feel like you’ve already invested too much in something to give up–even when you’re clearly not going to come out ahead.

In my inverse fallacy, I had already given up on getting ahead–so much so that my current self is grateful to my past self for spending hours designing t-shirts so I could have $24.43 six years later.

It doesn’t make sense. Twenty-four forty-three isn’t a good return on my time investment. But because I’m so far removed from the experience temporally, I’m totally cool with that return. Because I had given up on ever receiving anything for it.

On Passive Income

This post was originally going to be titled, My First Passive Income. But then I realized this was not, in fact, my first experience with passive income.

I pull in a decent amount of money with this blog. It’s nothing to retire on, but it does help support my family. Some of that money comes from advertising. And some of it comes from affiliate sales.

I generate affiliate sales when a reader clicks on one of my affiliate’s links and makes a purchase. It doesn’t cost them anything extra to use my link. The affiliate has just arranged to pay me a commission when I refer a customer their way. I only do this with companies I like and trust.

I’ve had a mixed bag of experiences with affiliate sales. I’ve spent hours on a post, only to have it generate nothing.

I’ve had others perform ridiculously well, but they have to be updated at least once a year. I spend about the same amount of time updating these posts as I did writing them. The return is great and worth it, but I’m putting in a decent amount of maintenance hours in order to achieve that result.

I’ve had others perform pseudo decently without having to touch them after the first writing. The sales–and therefore commissions–aren’t as explosive, but they are steady and it’s almost zero maintenance. These are the posts on my blog that I consider truly passive income.

That’s probably why so few pursue passive income.

All of this got me to thinking about my philosophy on work. I grew up with the notion that you always spent your time at your labor, and were compensated commensurately.

Even after I started blogging and meeting a bunch of people who had great financial success with passive income endeavors, it all felt a little pie in the sky to me. Duplicating that success seemed less like a model and more like striking a vein of gold.

I don’t think my knee jerk reaction was wrong. Yes, there is a science you can apply to some passive income tactics, but there is always a chance you will fail.

There is always a chance you will bring in a boat load of money, but to maintain that income you’ll have to work your tail off. Which means you haven’t created passive income; you’ve created a job.

But still, there is that enticing chance that you’ll hit that vein. That steady stream of income that requires zero maintenance.

There’s a relatively high amount of risk involved when compared to traditional, time-for-money work. You can invest a lot of time into something that turns up nothing for you. If this happens, you run the risk of falling into the original sunk cost fallacy. You might wait too long to give up.

If you had just traded your time for money in the first place, you would be way further ahead.

Hm good food for thought in here. My personal economy is probably mixed, too, when it comes to passive income.

My Current Philosophy on Passive Income

I’m not against building passive income streams. I know people who have achieved success in this manner, and believe others can do it, too.

But I’m keeping my personal economy mixed. I might not strike that illusive vein of gold. Or, after I do, there may be an algorithm change that robs me of traffic and therefore that income. I’m more than pleased with and grateful for the moderate amount of success I’ve found with passive income through this site.

But I’m not putting all of my eggs into one basket. I’m simultaneously supplementing and hedging that income with time-for-money work. At the end of the day, while I like those surprise PayPal messages, I’m not comfortable enough to expect them.

 

How to Get Paid to Save Money

Wow! This nonprofit matches your savings! Definitely checking out their tax refund challenge, too.

Do you all remember my post from way back in June last year, when I talked about why financial health matters to me? That post won me a free trip to FinCon in Dallas last October. It was a great opportunity for me to reconnect with lots of other financial bloggers, meet new members of the financial media, and connect with an amazing nonprofit, EARN.

Here we are six months later in the new year. This time of year presents a great opportunity for us to revisit the topic of financial health and savings.

Matched Savings Accounts

EARN–the nonprofit I met at FinCon–is all about savings. For the past 15 years, EARN has been the largest national provider of matched savings.

What is matched savings, you ask?

It means that EARN pays you to save money. Believe it or not, there isn’t a catch. EARN is a nonprofit dedicated to helping working Americans build a strong financial future and financial stability.

Here is the story of just one of the many people they have helped:

SaverLife

Since I met them in October, I’ve been exploring all the different paths to savings EARN offers. My favorite is a FREE online program called SaverLife, which rewards you for setting aside money in your own savings account. Even if you’ve never saved before, or have only ever set aside a few dollars here and there, SaverLife is a great way to kick-start and grow your savings in just six months.

All you have to do is commit to saving $20 or more in your own savings account a month and SaverLife will reward you with a $10/month match for six months. Save for your children’s education, your emergency fund, your next vacation—the sky’s the limit. You choose whatever goal you want. EARN’s matched incentives help you build a savings habit as you watch your bank account grow.

To participate, you will need:

  • An email address
  • An account at a bank or credit union you use for savings
  • Access to your savings account online

There are no income limits. There are no fees to get started. Getting set up with SaverLife is 100% free, and gives you a financial incentive to get those dollars into your savings account.

Committing to Saving Your Tax Refund is Winning

With the massive identity theft that has happened in the past year, it’s incredibly important to file your 2017 tax return as quickly as possible so that no one else gets your refund or files a fraudulent return in your name.

Also important is using your tax refund dollars wisely. Rather than spending every last one of them, I’d encourage you to set at least a portion of your refund aside to put in savings.

EARN encourages you to do the same thing. Simply take the pledge and save at least $50 of your tax refund and you’ll automatically be entered to win one of fifty weekly $100 prizes via their Savers Win campaign. If you’re willing to tell your financial story, you’ll be entered to win a $5,000 grand prize, too.

It’s the new year. Let’s get it started on the right financial foot. Save some of your tax refund. And get paid for saving your own money by signing up with SaverLife.