What’s Holding You Back from Starting Your Side Hustle?

You decided you want to start your side hustle, but you still have some hesitation. Among the common reasons people give for not getting started, you’ll hear:

I’m not good at anything

I don’t know where to start

I don’t know how to find clients

I don’t have time

While these concerns are valid, we too often tend to paralyze ourselves with them, which results in inaction and ends up costing time and mental energy. As Ramit Sethi of I Will Teach You to Be Rich says, “More is lost from indecision than bad decisions.”

Starting your side hustle

Let’s address each one of these concerns:

I’m not good at anything

Not even your job? Your employer wouldn’t keep you if you weren’t good at it, would they? So if nothing else, people are already paying you for what you do at your job, right? Even if you don’t like it, it’s something you can do well and that you can leverage to craft a side hustle. But because I don’t think anyone is only good at their job, let’s look beyond that.

As side hustle pro Chris Guillebeau told Forbes, finding ideas for a side hustle comes from “the power of observation.” In his Side Hustle School workshops, he encourages people to do so by asking themselves some questions and making lists. As he says, “Learning to spot potential opportunities is one of the most valuable skills you can acquire.”

Think about your hobbies or what you like to do on your free time. Anything you’ve gotten to master after watching 25 YouTube videos? If you pay attention, you’ll find that there’s something you know more than the average person. Could be anything, even something you’re embarrassed to talk about. You’d be surprised to come across people interested in what you can do once you put it out there.

Related read: How to Find What Connects All Your Passions

I don’t know where to start

Once you find what you’re good at, you might feel overwhelmed by the amount of work it takes to set up a successful side hustle. So much so that you might just end up doing nothing because of the many steps involved. Keep things as simple as possible at the beginning and let them build up to the bigger projects. The first thing to do is to articulate and flesh out the details of your WHAT, WHY and HOW. In other words, define your personal brand.

WHAT exactly you’re good at and can help people with?

WHY you want to help people this way?

HOW will you help people?

The third question is the hardest one because the answer is always evolving. Suppose you’re good at dancing and you’d like to help people exercise through dance. The next step is to figure out the HOW. Do you want to rent an event space and host dance parties? Or do you want to become a teacher at an established company and have your own classes? Consider your possibilities and start with the most feasible option. You can always refine your medium as you go.

Related reads: 3 Ways to Build Your Personal Brand

4 Brilliant Ways to Brand Yourself Online

I don’t know how to find clients

The answer lies in the way you decide to put yourself out there and find your people. Will you use social media advertising as part of your strategy or do it through word of mouth?

You can land your first clients in a multitude of ways, but the critical thing is to let people know what you’re doing and document your work (especially your wins). Start with your network and create an online presence to expand your reach. Keep your platforms active and work on constantly improving your craft. With dedication and consistency, people will be knocking on your door in no time.

I don’t have time

Time management becomes an even greater challenge when you add a side hustle to your workload. All of a sudden you have to wake up even earlier or go home to more work. What’s more, your weekends are now split between resting, hanging out with loved ones and (yep) working. But what’s life without a little sweat?

What has worked for me is making a daily list of tasks for my side hustle. When I had a regular 9 to 5, I would make my to-do list while commuting then tackle it during my lunch break or after work. Of course I felt exhausted when I got home from the office, but I made it a priority to work on my goals every day so that I’d have the freedom to not work a regular 9 to 5.

No matter what you do, you’ll have to make sacrifices on your way to success – even if that means saying no to hanging out because you have to send a couple emails and secure new clients.

Related reads: How to Make Time For All Your Gigs

5 Ways You Waste Time That You Might Not Realize

When starting a new endeavor, it’s important to remember that you won’t have all the answers. Mistakes are a natural part of any growth process and you have to be fine with making them and learn from them. It’s better to stumble along the way than not doing anything at all. There’s a reason you can’t stop thinking about your side hustle. Give it a try and you’ll have either gained more experience, made some money and expanded your network along the way. Win win either way right?

More reading: How to Leverage Your Side Hustles and Advance in Your Career

How to Include Your Side Hustles on Your Resume

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How I Got An Article Published on Forbes.

Two weeks ago, I had an article published on Forbes! When I received the email with the link to my piece, I couldn’t contain my excitement. I remember making a list last year of 100 things I want to do before I die and this was one of them. I couldn’t believe it happened before I’d imagined! Needless to say, I shared the post everywhere – my email list, social media networks – and with basically everyone I know.

The news was well received! This was one of the highlights of my writing career. A lot of people asked how I landed the opportunity so I decided to answer it in a post.

Here’s the story of how I got an article published on Forbes.

This may surprise you, but it happened in the most unexpected way. I was browsing my LinkedIn feed one day when a notification popped up. I mindlessly clicked on it then jumped out of my seat when I realized what it was about. A friend had recommended me under the status of an editor from Forbes. She was looking for millennial writers to contribute to their website and I was listed as a potential candidate. I immediately thanked my friend and affirmed my interest in the opportunity. Next, the editor reached out to me via email. She had actually checked out my website and found my contact information on there. I was over the moon.

What followed was a mini-interview where I had to craft a pitch and suggest some new posts. I didn’t hear from her until the following two weeks as she had to vet multiple writers. I was starting to get discouraged thinking there was a chance I’d get rejected. She eventually got back to me. They wanted to move forward with my piece.

And there it was! A few emails and a round of edits later, my article went live on Forbes! Although it happened unexpectedly, the steps I had previously taken led me to that moment. If it wasn’t for my work and my habit of showcasing it online, my friend would’ve probably never thought to recommend me. It may seem like no one’s watching when you share your work, but people do notice and this helps you stay top of mind when an opportunity comes up.

Whether you’re looking to take your writing career to the next level or grow your personal brand, you can apply my story to your particular situation. Here are the main takeaways:

Talk about your work online

Let people know what you do. Better yet, show them. Have a blog post, a cool graphic or an app you’ve worked on? Share it online! When people frequently see what you do, they will come to know you as an expert in your particular field.

Take care of your personal brand

Invest in your professional development by building a brand. You can think of it as your footprint. It tells the world the story of what you do and what you stand for. Entertain opportunities that allow you to expand your brand and reach new audiences. This can mean speaking at local events, contributing to different publications or being featured on podcasts. Be sure to always document your process along the way.

Check out

3 Ways to Build Your Personal Brand

4 Brilliant Ways to Brand Yourself Online

Leverage social media to build relationships

Just like you can make friends on Instagram, you can build authentic relationships with potential mentors, employers, business associates and colleagues. You just have to use each platform to its full potential. For example, don’t just passively scroll through your LinkedIn feed. Find new people to connect with and send them a message. Read about the news in your industry and repost relevant articles. Write a blog post that demonstrates your expertise. On Twitter, see what recruiters or people you admire are posting. Interact with them and eventually, ask them out for coffee.

You may not hear from everyone, but if someone takes the time to respond, be sure to follow up. A lot of relationships are left unbuilt from people not following up. So be sure to carry out the plan and take your connections offline. Your network is a crucial factor in your career development. Don’t neglect it.

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3 Ways to Practice Your Negotiation Skills

This post is the first of my Negotiation Series, where I’ll share real-life anecdotes and tips to help you build the confidence to ask (and get) what you want.

For some people, the thought of negotiating is just as scary as public speaking. They’d rather hide under their shell than do it. I know because this used to be me.

Whether you’d like to have a higher salary or enjoy more flexibility, asking for things is awkward. It’s easier to hope the other person will magically meet your needs, but how likely is that to happen? Hoping is passive. Of course, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all strategy that guarantees your desired outcome, but taking matters into your own hands is a more proactive (and promising) approach.

Negotiating may be uncomfortable, but the struggle is just as real as being underpaid or unfulfilled. Put this way, getting through the difficult conversation doesn’t seem like as big a deal. Yet, it doesn’t make it easier.

The hardest part of a negotiation is initiating the conversation. It takes a mix of self-confidence, fearlessness and detachment from the outcome to push yourself to bring it up. So doing that alone is a sort of victory.

So how does one build the courage to negotiate? These 3 strategies will help you develop the mindset and boost your confidence to go after what you want.

Get in the habit of asking for help/things

As humans, we generally tend to try to figure out everything on our own because we often feel too embarrassed to admit we need help. Sooner or later, we realize that there are things we simply cannot do on our own.

Asking for help can be just as awkward as negotiating a new salary. Both scenarios make you feel vulnerable, but you can train yourself to get over it if you start by asking for smaller things or negotiating less important details. Here are some real-life scenarios where you can practice:

  • Email the CEO of a big company and offer your help. Challenge yourself to find what you can contribute to their company. Then follow up. You might never hear from them, but the point is to be bold enough to send the email. This will make you more comfortable engaging people with a big title at networking events.
  • At a street fair, ask a vendor if he’ll give you that bag for $150 instead of $200 because that’s all the cash you have. Pretend to walk away if he says no.
  • Ask for a refill at a restaurant (knowing they’ll say no). You don’t really care for that refill anyway because the point is to drive yourself to initiate the conversation. You’ll also get used to being rejected early on so that you can better craft your argument when you eventually decide to negotiate with an employer.

Try to sell someone something

Negotiating is a lot like selling something. You are marketing a product (in that case, your unique qualifications) and convincing the other party that they need to pay you for it.

Whether it be your used school books or clothes that no longer fit, challenge yourself to achieve a sale! It will teach you how to craft a winning argument and obtain what you want – which will have a direct application to negotiating with a client or an employer.

Sign up for a pitch competition

There’s nothing like a competition to practice building a solid case and defending it in front of a group of people!

I once signed up to be considered for Kevin O’leary’s sales bootcamp for fun. I hesitantly filmed and submitted a video of myself explaining what makes me a good fit for the challenge. I was surprised to find out I was selected for the second round. I was invited to come to ABC’s office in NYC and sell a 30-second elevator pitch on camera. We were literally placed in an elevator and were to say our pitch as soon as the doors opened and before they closed. To make matters worse, the whole thing would air on live TV!

I was extremely nervous and couldn’t hide that in my voice. I didn’t qualify for the third round, but it was a great exercise in articulating myself clearly in front of a lot of people.

Maybe your test doesn’t need to be as extreme as a competition to become Kevin O’Leary’s student or a one-month rejection challenge, but as often as you can, put yourself in these uncomfortable situations because you will gain a lot of self-awareness. You will experience and grow through the awkward feeling that’s been holding you back from asking for that raise.

Your turn! How do you practice your negotiation skills? Let me know in the comments!

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3 Things to Ask Yourself Before Accepting A Job Offer

If you’ve ever gone on a job hunt, you know how frustrating it can be. You have to be prepared to deal with rejection or radio silence if you’re going to continue. Nowadays, getting an interview is a victory in itself because of the fierce competition out there. It is far from easy and there’s no telling how long the process will be.

So when you go through it all and eventually hear the words, “We are pleased to offer you the (insert job/internship/gig etc)…” you might shed a tear or two before you thank your employer. Of course your first thought is to say yes right away – especially if it’s something you’ve worked hard for. It’s normal, but it’s not always the way to go.

When I was looking for my first job here in the States, I jumped on the first opportunity someone was giving me. I was afraid they’d take it away if I took too long to say yes or even tried to negotiate a better offer. So I immediately accepted and started tutoring kids from low-income families in the comfort of their home. They would send me far out in the city, but I didn’t complain by fear of losing the job. It was an interesting experience though. I became better at teaching children and I familiarized myself with different parts of the city. It also jumpstarted my teaching career as I went on to become a class assistant in college.

Nonetheless, if I knew then what I know now, I would’ve probably passed on the opportunity. The long commute combined with the emotionally challenging nature of the work weren’t things I was equipped to deal with at the time. And that didn’t reflect on the pay. I didn’t trust myself enough to know

Moral of the story: Be careful what you wish for because you might (you know how the rest goes).

So the next time someone makes you an offer, ask yourself these four questions to figure out if it’s worth it. That is after you make sure the compensation is worth it of course.

Will it teach me something new?

A lot of people act like their professional development ends once they land their dream job. So they settle in their 9 to 5 and likely stay there for years without making much progress. These people are at risk of being disposable. If you don’t offer something unique to employers and they can replace you with a more cost-friendly solution, they will. It’s up to you to stay ahead of the competition and do what it takes to climb the corporate ladder. You have to go out of your way to absorb as much information as possible both inside and outside the workplace and then execute on what you learned. This will translate into unique skills and concrete results – aka frequent raises and promotions.

Your professional development only continues with each job. Consistent learning is essential to making career moves. How else will you remain competitive in a cutthroat industry? If it doesn’t encourage you to stretch your potential by presenting interesting challenges, your growth will likely stagnate.  A job doesn’t have to be what just pays the bills. It can be part of what I would call, “The school of life”.

Will it allow me to pursue my interests?

As a multipotentialite, it’s crucial for me to be engaged at work because otherwise, I will not last very long in that position. When a job doesn’t offer variety (in the day-to-day tasks as well as the big projects), it tends to force you into a routine that can be hard to get out of.

Say you love writing, photography and graphic design. You’ll probably have a hard time at a job that limits you to doing one thing and one thing only – every day. You’d feel more fulfilled if you got to explore these interests and develop these skills on a regular basis. And guess who would be more inspired to work hard and stand out as an employee?

If you’re a multi-dimensional person, take your time to assess what a job has to offer both on a short-term and a long-term basis. Will you get to take initiative and take on new areas of learning? Will it sponsor offsite classes or provide an online library for you to constantly learn from? Will the tasks be so varied that you’ll be able to stay true to your multipotentiality? It may not seem important in the first few weeks, but it will affect your overall engagement with the position.

Will it help me reach my long-term career goals?

Yes, every job adds to your experience by default and that’s usually where most people stop at in questioning whether or not it’s worth it. But it can also hone your skills, pay for your continued education, expand your network and propel you into the next phase of professional growth.Every job you accept can play a pivotal role in your professional development. They will each provide an experience that will uniquely shape your trajectory. Remember that you can get it all! It might take longer to come, but it’s there waiting for your hustle.

When answering this question, think outside of the box because some benefits aren’t immediately obvious. For example, non-profit organizations usually expose their employees to an exclusive and diverse network of executives at their fundraising events. If you accept a job at one of them, you might not know this right away because these happenings could be few and far between, yet totally worth it. One good conversation at an annual gala can open doors to opportunities you only imagined.

 

If you answer yes to all these questions when considering an offer then it is worth your time and energy. So often people settle by fear that they won’t find something better. One way to avoid this is to keep going after more. Chances are, if you’ve landed one offer, you can land multiple. It might take more work, but it will be worth it because you will have options. Work hard and keep pushing the boundaries of what you think you deserve and do not stop until you reach a point of contentment.

Your turn! What do you look for in a job? What do you ask yourself when considering an offer? Let me know in the comments!

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3 Steps You Can Take to Achieve Financial Freedom

I knew financial freedom was the goal when I grew frustrated with having only one source of income last year. I had a decent-paying job, but it wasn’t enough for me to live the life I envisioned. I was tired of living paycheck to paycheck so I knew something had to change.

I started reading personal finance blogs and listening to podcasts to teach myself how to make money work for me. Reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad and The 4-Hour Workweek was a pivotal moment. Here are some key takeaways from each book:

Rich Dad, Poor Dad

by Robert Kiyosaki

a. You’ll never become financially independent from a 9 to 5.

b. The way to wealth is through diversifying your income

c. Invest. Invest. Invest.

The 4-Hour Workweek

by Tim Ferriss

a. You can do more in less time (working remotely, outsourcing, delegating etc.)

b. Time is the ultimate money-making machine

Tim and Robert helped me figure out what to do to change my situation. In short, I had to become efficient at work and I had to diversify my income. Following these authors’ advice, I made a plan.

Most people say they want to be financially free, but they aren’t willing to commit to making it happen. Financial freedom isn’t something that just happens. It starts with a plan and requires determination.

Disclaimer: I haven’t arrived at complete financial freedom YET, but in the past few months, I followed a course of action that’s progressively taking me there. So I know a thing or two about what it takes. To help you get started or keep going, here are the steps you can take. We can group them within broad categories.

Living within your means

If you’re earning less than you’re spending, you’re bound to be living paycheck to paycheck. Take a close look at your bank statements. Are you always stuck with credit card debt? Do you spend a check before you actually get it? Do you make exceptions for stuff because the discount was so good you couldn’t pass?

Track your spending. Have a budget. Stick to it. You’ve heard it all before and it’s not rocket science, but it’s hard. The ideal would be to not even look at the price tag before we get something! But until we get there, we will have to adjust our spending.

If you’re really struggling with this, take these baby steps every day:

Go 2-3 months without Netflix

Can you do that? Use a friend’s account info.

Pay more than the minimum on your credit card each month

Trade a week’s worth of coffee for that extra $10 if you have to. You minimize your interest fee that way.

Put $5-10 aside every week

Make some of your disposable income disappear (in a piggybank never to be found).

To live within your means is to make sacrifices when you can’t yet afford everything you want. This means saying no to using your credit card when you don’t have that sum on your debit card. Forget that extra pair of shoes or eating out when there’s food at home. It’s skipping Uber and taking the train. It’s buying groceries for the whole week and bringing lunch to work instead of dropping $12 on a salad or a sandwich + soda combo. It’s…you get the idea!

Diversifying your income

And well, if you’re not willing to make sacrifices, but can’t afford to live the life you want, you just need to make more money. It starts with diversifying your income – which basically means making money from different sources.

If you’ve been reading my posts for a while, you know I’ll encourage you to develop a few income streams. I’m a huge side hustle advocate and I’ve been able to acquire the most skills from having them.

When you make money from just a 9 to 5, you’re putting your eggs in one basket – which is risky. You can lose your job at any moment (because business is business and life happens). Even a generous compensation can’t always cover your random splurges or unexpected bills. Instead of waiting to increase your salary by a percentage every six months or so, find other ways to make money. It’s easier and it’ll make you less dependent on your primary gig.

Where to start, you ask? I detailed the first steps to diversify your income here. Next, use these ideas to make a plan.

Get a part-time job

Bartend on weekends. Teach a class. Become a lifeguard in the summer. There are many part-time jobs that can work with your full-time schedule. Having a second steady gig might throw off your work-life balance, but it is another way to make money.

Sell a product

If you have a knack for making things (jewelry, furniture, illustrations etc.), you can earn a few extra bucks from them each month. If not, you can resell thrifted items on Amazon or buy things in bulk and offer a higher price per unit. The possibilities are endless.

Start a side business

Become an Uber or Lyft driver. Rent your apartment through Craiglist or AirBnB. Create an app that helps parents find local tutors or babysitters. Take people’s engagement photos. Start an Etsy store. Sell thrift finds on Amazon or eBay. Promote brands on Instagram. Walk dogs or house sit.

When people think about starting a business, they tend to picture themselves building the next Facebook or Tesla. It’s cool if you have an idea that can change the world, but entrepreneurship doesn’t stop there if you don’t.

Related: 75+ Ways to Make Extra Money

Freelance

Become really good at something then get people to pay you to do it for them. Whether you write for magazines, shoot weddings, direct editorial photoshoots, build people’s websites or design company’s logos, freelancing is a great way to monetize a skill. It’s more flexible than a regular job as it gives you control over your schedule.

Save

Saving as an extra income stream? Who would’ve thought?! Put your savings in a high yield savings account and watch your money grow passively!

Investing

Buy stocks. Purchase properties and rent them out. Collect antiques. Fund a company. It doesn’t matter how you invest, but that you do. You’re basically saying “See you later” to your money. These investments will generate more cash for you in the future. A lot of people don’t invest because they don’t think long-term and they’re afraid to lose their money. Investing is risky, but money comes and goes. To learn more about it, visit Investopedia.

Your turn! What have you done/are you doing to achieve financial freedom? Let me know in the comments!

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3 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Graduated College

College was fun! I got good grades, did a few internships and had a social life outside of studying. You probably heard that your experience is what you make of it and let me tell you – it’s true. I wasn’t the “come to class then go home” kind of student, so learned a lot beyond the classroom. I attended career workshops, networking events and pretty much did my best to make the most out of it.

Still, college didn’t prepare me for the real world. My introduction to the real world was brutal. I was scrambling to land a job after the company I thought I’d work for withdrew their offer. And I had to figure out ways to make money while waiting to hear from employers. I vividly remember this stage. It was a rough rite of passage.

Eventually, I realized what made this transition so stressful. There are things I know now that would have made it easier, had I known that then. I wish someone would have pulled me aside and told me everything I needed to know before graduating. Since that’s not how life works, I can only reflect on these lessons and share them with you.

There’s no better time to start something

Especially at the beginning, when things aren’t too intense yet. Most people spend their freshman and sophomore years figuring out what they want and taking general ed classes. It’s the best time to pursue a passion alongside doing schoolwork!

Some students have to juggle homework, internships and odd jobs throughout their undergrad years, which gives them less time to pursue other interests. If you happen to not NEED to work when you’re in college, you’re in the best position to start something – anything. A business, a side hustle; any outlet to express your curiosity. Chances are, you don’t have a lot of responsibilities (mortgage, children, student loans) to worry about then, so you can take risks and not face dire consequences. It’s a unique opportunity to test some ideas and see how that pans out. If it’s successful, it will also create a job for you when you graduate.

I wish I started my freelance writing business in college. I regret not launching my blog sooner or offering to do pro bono work until I built a portfolio. So if you have time (actually, make time), invest in the pursuit of a passion and you’d be surprised where it can take you.

Grades aren’t everything

I used to stress every exam because I didn’t want anything less than an A. I put so much pressure on myself to achieve the very best that I became very familiar with sleepless nights and coffee-fueled cramming sessions. It’s not a bad attitude, but it can take a toll on your health if you don’t watch out for that. I’m not saying you should get by with minimal effort and procrastinate until the last minute, but remember not to kill yourself over an imperfect GPA. You should always strive for excellence, but only when it doesn’t come to the expense of your health (physical, mental and emotional).

In reality, grades only matter if you plan on going to grad school and have to live up to your target university’s standard. Otherwise, you just need to do your best! Had I known this, I wouldn’t have stressed so much like I did over a B in organic chem and even a C+ in microeconomics (yeah, not my forte). Your GPA doesn’t in any way indicate the levels of success you’ll achieve. There’s a growing trend of not including it in resumes because employers don’t care so much about it anymore. So just remember that next time you feel like the world is falling apart because of an exam.

You don’t need to have it all figured out

A lot of us dread the, “What’s next?” question that comes with the prospect of graduation. It’s probably because we feel like we need to have an answer. If you have a plan and things are going your way, more power to ya! But if like most recent grads you don’t have a clear idea, don’t you worry. I can tell you for a fact that you’ll learn the most from not over-planning and being open to detours. I didn’t know what I would do after the company withdrew their offer. I figured I’d just find another job and work. Had that not happened, I wouldn’t have learned how to brand myself professionally and hustle. These are skills that will serve me throughout the rest of my life.

Post-grad life can be intimidating. You have all this free time and you might feel overwhelmed at times. But you will figure it out. Embrace the changes and welcome the lessons! It won’t be easy, but you will look back and want to do it all over again. It’s a worthy part of the growth process.

Your turn! What do you wish you knew before graduating college? Share them with me in the comments!

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How to Leverage Your Side Hustles and Advance in Your Career

Your side hustles – At best, they give you the chance to explore an interest, develop a skill and earn some additional income. At best (that’s right, I can’t think of a single downside to having one), they make you more marketable and help you score more gigs.
You’ll hear that nowadays everyone has a blog or some sort of passion project. Someone once told me it doesn’t make you competitive anymore since everyone else does it. While it’s true that most millennials have some sort of side project, that doesn’t mean they can’t set you apart from others. The question is, how can you use them to get ahead?
 
Most people tend to keep their side hustles secret. They’ll never make it on their resume or LinkedIn profile. It’s a mistake. Your personal projects are just as relevant to your career as your primary job. Here’s how you can leverage them to achieve your professional goals:

If you want to land more gigs

Perfect your craft then sell your services
 
Consider your existing skill set and think about ways to upgrade it. You can monetize everything you know these days. You just need to make yourself an expert first. If you write poems, maybe you can learn how to write copy for websites and products as well? If you play guitar, perhaps you can learn how to write songs and perform your pieces at open mics? Perfect your already existing talents then figure out how to take them to the next step. Tackle a new area of knowledge and apply yourself to learning. Wouldn’t a marketer be more competitive if they knew how to design websites too?
Once you turn yourself into an expert, create something. Build an app or a website if you learned how to code. Launch a blog to showcase your writing, YouTube channel for your shooting and editing skills. Let your online portfolio speak for itself. Once you reach a certain level of success, you can make more money from your project itself or by selling your services (usually the easiest way to go). Include our side hustles on your resume, post ads on Craigslist, promote your work to your network and send cold emails.

If you want to get a promotion and/or a raise

Prove your value with numbers
If your side hustle aligns with your job, it makes sense to documents the milestones you reach from doing it. I once worked for a food brand doing community management. After reaching the goals my boss and I had set when I was first hired, I tried to position myself to ask for a promotion. Since I have a side hustle (fashion storytelling) that was directly related to my job, I documented the growth of my personal pages and put down the numbers in paper. I turned them into an easy-to-read file and presented them to my boss when I was making my case. It not only helped that I had exceeded the goals and delivered a great performance, but my boss was also impressed that I was able to do the same thing on my own. Doing this won’t necessarily guaranteed you’ll get a raise (as that depends on many factors that are sometimes outside of our control), but it will definitely put you on their radar when the opportunity arises.
Make a new proposal
As part of my argument to get the raise, I drafted a proposal detailing the things I could accomplish for the brand within a time frame. Since I had increased my Instagram engagement in a few weeks for my personal brand, I suggested doing the same thing for the company. One of the bullet points read, “Gain over 100 followers per week and double the engagement in a month”. I was confident in my ability to deliver and since that matched their expectations, I was given the benefit of the doubt.

To continue your education and move up the ladder 

Seek every opportunity to learn 
“I’m done learning now” – said no one ever (or should no one ever say). No matter where you are in life, your education should never end. It’s part of what keeps you competitive and helps you make better decisions. If you’re employed, try to get your company to sponsor some classes or provide tuition reimbursement. Even if you can’t get these benefits, make that investment in yourself. It can be the difference between you becoming a manager in a short amount of time as opposed to 4-5 years.
If you’re still hesitant to start a side hustle, ask yourself What is there to lose? Don’t miss out on a great opportunity to pursue a passion, make money, advance in your career and become more fulfilled.
Your turn! Do you already have side hustles? What are they and how have they helped you in your life and career?

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5 Important Career Lessons Most People Learn Too Late In Life

Study hard and get good grades. Everything else will fall into place. That’s what we were taught to believe about our professional life. A lot of us have internalized this advice and probably realized that that’s not really how things work.

You can achieve a stellar GPA and graduate from one the best universities and still find yourself unprepared for the real world. That’s because some lessons aren’t taught in classrooms and knowing them early on can make a huge difference in our careers.

If you’re reading this, it’s not too late. Here are some important career lessons you can benefit from now.

a. Success is not linear. Most of us have an idea of the path to follow in order to reach our career goals. The traditional view of success looks like this:

1. Go to a good school

2. Graduate with a stellar GPA

3. Get a good job and do well

4. Get promoted

5. Go back to school

6. Climb up the ladder

7. Live happily ever after

Sounds simple right? In reality, we don’t arrive at our goals by following a straight path. More often than not, we take detours (in the form of breaks, setbacks, moments of regression etc.) and figure out how to get back on track.

Take Chris Sacca, American venture investor for example. He turned down the opportunity to invest in Airbnb and Dropbox, thinking they wouldn’t be successful in the long run. Seeing how these companies went big, many would consider these moves to be a failure. Yet, Chris is now a billionaire with investments in Twitter, Uber, Instagram, Kickstarter etc. He’s the perfect reminder that you shouldn’t let your mistakes define you. You don’t need to have it all figured out from the start. There are external forces that will often interfere with your trajectory. Fret not. You can always recover from a setback. What is important is developing an attitude that embraced change and knows how to turn “failures” into learning opportunities.

b. Your career is what you make of it. No one is going to give you anything unless you earn it. As an intern, you may get hired if you show you’re a team player and hard worker. Want that promotion or raise? Make sure you’ve exceeded your supervisor’s expectations and continue to align yourself with the company’s goals. Some things may be outside your control, but you have a say over your performance and the amount of work you do – which ultimately will bring you closer to your goals.

It’s important to remember not to get comfortable and let your growth become stagnant. If you hit a wall at your job, find a better opportunity (only after attempting to fix that, though). Want to make a  career transition? Start doing your research and network with industry insiders. Hate the thought of working for someone and dream of starting a business? Do it while you don’t have a mortgage or a family to feed. Or, spend all your free time on executing your idea until you make enough money to be able to quit.

c. You can create your own opportunities. When it comes to making moves in our career, we tend to wait for permission. We wait for a job to get experience instead of acquiring that experience on our own. We wait to get a raise instead of diversifying our income and becoming less dependent on that in the first place. We wait until “the universe gives us a sign” to  after the very things that make our heart beat.

It’s a trap we so easily fall into when in reality, we are the only ones who can give ourselves permission to do something. You can go make videos on your own and hone your editing skills. You can take a photography class and start shooting your friend’s engagement. You can enroll in a coding course to move to the next phase of your career. Be proactive when it comes to your personal and professional development. You can accomplish much more in a team than by yourself of course, but do not let the absence of help handicap you.

d. You don’t get what you don’t ask for. I was at an event a few weeks ago and wrote down a very powerful piece of advice. One of the panelists said, “The answer to the questions you never ask is always no.”

A lot of us don’t get what we want because we don’t know how to ask. Or rather, we’re too afraid of rejection. It’s cliche, but the worst case-scenario is hearing no, then you just find someone else to say yes. Allow yourself to be vulnerable enough to go to people and express what you need help with. Together is better than alone. Of course don’t be one of those people who only know how to take. Make sure you’re contributing to them just as much as they are contributing to you. But do not let your pride get in the way of your progress. You’d be surprised how people are open to sharing their experience and giving advice.

e. You should always update your skills. Whether you’re an intern or a senior executive, your education never stops. Your dedication to learning will be the difference between you staying stagnant and you moving up the corporate ladder.Think of yourself like a smartphone. Upgrades maximize your performance. Don’t get comfortable with a job that you forget to make yourself marketable. Nowadays, job security is obsolete. Technology is disrupting the workplace, replacing jobs and creating careers. I wouldn’t be surprised if robots eventually replace bank tellers just like self-driving cars will replace bus or taxi drivers. You can’t afford to be left behind. Always think about learning new skills and adapting to current times. Like Robert Kiyosaki from Rich Dad Poor Dad would advise, invest in yourself so that you stay ahead of the market.

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4 Brilliant Ways to Brand Yourself Online

As a consumer, I prefer buying from brands I personally feel connected to. Even if their products or services cost more, I’d rather invest in them. This is also true for the majority of millennials. In fact, a study by Elite Daily showed that we are the most brand-loyal generation.

Whether you’re a business owner, freelancer or regular employee, your personal brand is what sets you apart from others. It is what keeps people engaged and consuming from you. It is then crucial that it speaks for itself.

Over the past few months, I’ve worked on growing my personal brand and it’s led to major opportunities such as speaking engagements, consulting gigs, freelance work etc.

Here’s how to build a strong digital presence:

Be clear about what you do – This is especially hard when you’re a multipotentialite. By nature, we love to do many things. Be ready to articulate each one of them. Better yet, find what connects all your passions and speak to that. Are you a writer who can also produce videos and take great photos? Then you are a content creator who can effectively amplify voices. Figure out all the things you can do really well, but be specific about the core of your personal brand. What do you want people to know you as? What should they come to you for?

Pick a niche market – In a world where almost every market is saturated, choosing a niche is recommended. This doesn’t mean you will reach less people. Au contrary, you will reach more of the people you’re targeting. For example, a freelancer doesn’t need to do work for everyone. They would be spreading themselves too thin. They don’t need to have thirty clients either. They only have so much time! Choosing a subset of the market will help them effectively market themselves and score gigs.

Do you want to help small business owners build authority with blogging? Can you provide training and professional development for corporations? Narrowing down the audience who could use your expertise will give you a better sense of direction as you’ll know exactly where to look and who to approach.

Add value – Before you share anything online, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Is it aligned with what I stand for? Will it strengthen my brand?
  2. Is it valuable? Can someone use it to learn something and make a decision?
  3. Does it demonstrate my expertise?

The more you provide value, the more people are likely to engage with you. It will show a genuine commitment to helping others. You can add value in different ways (status updates, live webinars, courses, ebooks etc.) Be creative with the way you share your content and stay abreast of the platforms your audience will likely adopt.

Document your wins – Use social media to showcase your expertise and highlight your accomplishments. You need to show people what you can do. It’s the only way they will buy into it! Recorded one of your speaking engagements? Post the video everywhere! Have something interesting to say about a recent trend in your industry? Whether it’s on LinkedIn or Medium, blog away! Offer to guest post for publications to expand your audience!

A common misconception is that personal branding only matters when you plan to be or already are in the spotlight. You don’t need to achieve stardom to have a personal brand. We’re all in the business of managing ourselves and as such, we could leverage a strong personal brand to reach our goals.

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10 Motivational Quotes to Conquer Fear and Do What You Love

Like me, you’ve probably stayed at a job you hated for too long or put off doing something you cared about because of fear. Like Robert Kiyosaki said, “Fear is the biggest detractor to human genius.” It literally paralyzes us into inaction.

How many times have you delayed something you really wanted to do because you were scared? I used to waste time reading a bunch of blogging-related articles because I was just too afraid to launch my blog. I’d let my lack of coding knowledge intimidate me instead of building the courage to just figure things out. And when I finally did it, the world didn’t fall apart like I imagined.

If you often hesitate to take action because of fear, these inspirational career quotes will push you to take the leap.

“There are funerals held every day for the opportunities we allow to die out.” – Shirazi

“The tragedy is that society (your school, your boss, your government, your family) keeps drumming the genius part out. The problem is that our culture has engaged in a Faustian bargain, in which we trade our genius and artistry for apparent stability.” – Seth Godin

“What stands in the way becomes the way.” – Lewis Howes

“When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” – Henry Ford

“For all of the most important things, the timing always sucks. Waiting for a good time to quit your job? The stars will never align and the traffic lights of life will never all be green at the same time. The universe doesn’t conspire against you, but it doesn’t go out of its way to line up the pins either. Conditions are never perfect. “Someday” is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you. Pro and con lists are just as bad. If it’s important to you and you want to do it “eventually,” just do it and correct course along the way.” – Tim Ferriss

 

“To escape fear, you have to go through it, not around.” ― Richie Norton

“What we can or cannot do, what we consider possible or impossible, is rarely a function of our true capability. It is more likely a function of our beliefs about who we are.” – Tony Robbins 

“When it comes down to it, nothing trumps execution.” Gary Vaynerchuk

“You will find there are times you must grasp your life with both hands and forcefully steer it in a new direction and then strain to hold your course until the storms of fear, weakness, and doubt abate.” – Richelle E. Goodrich

“Don’t count the days. Make the days count.” – Muhammad Ali

Your turn to share! Do you have any favorite quotes? Please let me know in the comments.

Related: 10 Quotes that Will Inspire You to Do What You Love

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