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March 06 2013

Education Vs Financial Freedom

In the “About Me” section of my blog (which I wrote 5 years ago), I spoke about how “if you want to get rich, don’t go to school”. I think this point is worth bringing up again. Especially at a time when US Student Loans has exceeded the US$1 trillion mark!

Its quite worrying that such large numbers of young adults are barking up the wrong tree when trying the make their way in the world. I assume that most rational young adults go to school and choose careers because they eventually want to achieve financial freedom. If that is their true objective, then a key strategy is to spend less than you earn and to invest the difference over time.  So it alarms me that the majority of young people are doing the complete opposite. I can’t think of anything worse than starting a working career in debt.

I was watching this Ted Talk below by Sugata Mitra over the weekend. Its a fascinating story about how to design the school of the future and how children have the ability to spontaneously learn if given the opportunity and encouragement.

But the most memorable part of the talk for me was in the introduction when Mr Mitra explained the origins of the modern education system. It was a designed about 300 years ago during the time of the British Empire. In order to control the vast empire without computers, telephones with hand written notes and ships, the British Empire required large scores of people who could read, write and do simple mathematics. This education system was designed to create identical graduates so that they could be integrated into the “bureaucratic administrative machine” that keeps the British Empire running.

Mr Mitra goes on to say that that this education system is still working fantastically well today, except its completely obsolete. We’re not going to school thinking “hey, I want to be part of the bureaucratic administrative system”. But that is exactly what we’re doing – learning to be a rat in the rat race.  Somewhere along the way, we have programmed into our collective thinking that more education means more income. I think this myth is easily debunked when you look at the chart below:

student loan Education Vs Financial Freedom

The chart shows that despite massive growth in student loans, the rate of growth in household income is actually declining. Also, most people by now, can see that the riches people on the planet today are mostly college dropouts. The usual examples include Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson ..etc

Today, people are paying top dollar to schools, colleges and universities that teach a lot of “stuff” but does not specifically teach a person how to make money or live a successful life. Most school programs teaches you the “stuff” you need to get a job. And sadly, a job where you trade time for money is not how you get rich or achieve financial freedom. Is that really what you want to get into debt for??

Getting a “Proper” Education

So what’s the best way to get a “proper” education? I don’t profess to have the ideal answer but I have 2 young kids of my own (5 and 3 years old) and the answer to this question is extremely important to me. So here’s what I think…

I think the best education starts at home where we teach our kids that they can do ANYTHING they want to. Not just things that make money but anything that helps other people and makes them happy at the same time. If you didn’t get this nurturing belief instilled in your childhood, get over it and teach it to yourself! Don’t blame anyone or anything and take responsibility to change it now.

Here’s a video that expresses this idea very well:

jd bookeeping 224x300 Education Vs Financial Freedom

My son doing his own personal book-keeping at age 4.

I also believe in apprenticeship. As an entrepreneur and information marketer, I do want to expose my kids to all that I do every day. So I hope that by the time they are 13 or 15 years old, they would be at a higher level of proficiency in what I do currently.

I have them play in the office while I work. I introduce them to my clients whenever the opportunity arises and have them talk to them too to learn communication skills. I teach them about the value that we provide to our clients and why they happily pay us some money back in return. I’ve already taught my elder son keep a ledger of his income and expenses and teach him how to always set aside a of his income (mostly gifts and payment for chores) as long term savings. I feel that all of this IS their life education. And so, whether they go to college or university, is entirely optional.

So I think that if you are doing well at something, teach it to your kids. If they do display a keen interest (quite likely), then encourage the to learn that skill that they would then use for life.

If you are not already an entrepreneur or have already achieved financial freedom, then find a growth area to expose them to. A very obvious one is in creating a business in the information age.  Whether you have young kids or even if YOU want to learn something new, learning to code or making a business in digital information marketing is a great area to start. Here’s another great video explaining the opportunities in the Information Age:

 Conclusion

If you’re a young adult or if you have kids, please teach them the principles to achieve financial freedom. Teach them how to become investors and business owners. Please do not rack up student loans thinking that a job will make you financially free. Spend less than you earn and invest the difference. Start by monitoring your income and expenses.

If you’re already a product of the education system (like me), you need to “unlearn” the “stuff” that does not bring you life success and start focussing on learning new things that do. I went back to school to study nutrition to start a wellness centre and I taught myself to create ecommerce websites and build apps to market digital products (among many other things).

Find something you love to do and that adds value to others and get really good at doing that. Then monetize it. If you have the propensity for it, learn to code or create a business in information marketing. This is a very obvious growth area in the Digital Information age. Heck, I know people making a lot of money selling ebooks on knitting! You could turn almost any interest into a great digital product if you really had the passion for it (e.g. apps, ebooks, software..etc).

Above all, take responsibility for your life. Choose to unlearn disempowering beliefs and adopt new beliefs that empower you towards your life goals.

March 12 2012

My Top Internet Marketing Tools In 2012

If you’re a “solo” Internet marketer like me who works from home (without an army of helpers), you’re going to need to leverage a lot of essential tools, software and services to get what you need to do done. Over the years, I’ve tried and tested hundreds of web services, software and tools.

There were many that were just a waste of money or over-hyped. Some were good and over time just became redundant or have been replaced by better tools. To save you some time, I decided to make a list of what I still love and use for my online business.

I will be keeping this list updated and refreshed every time there’s material changes. So make sure you subscribe or check back regularly to get the latest updates.

Now allow me to present to you,  my top work-from-home online business tools for 2012.

1. Domain Name Registration

Namecheap My Top Internet Marketing Tools In 2012

[Go to: Namecheap Domain Registration]

As far as domain registration goes, I like to keep them all in once place. Over time, you will end up with hundreds of domains and having them consolidated makes them easier to manage.

I like Namecheap because their domain registration prices are quite cheap to start with. If you do a search for “Nameheap Coupons March 2012″ (replace the date with current month) – you will find coupons codes that will further reduce the price of new domains by another 2o%. Also, all their domains comes with a 1-year free “Whois” Guard service that will hide your admin email and address and protect you from a ton of spam.

2. Premium Domain Registration

Sadly, its getting harder and harder to find good domain names due to competition. Over the last 2 years, I found myself having to pay for premium domains that are already owned by someone else. If you search on Google for “premium domains” you’ll find a lot of sites that re-sell used domains.

The ones that I’ve used are as follows:

 My Top Internet Marketing Tools In 2012

[Go to: GoDaddy Auctions]

GoDaddy Auctions is free to browse but when you find a domain you wish to bid on, there’s a nominal fee.  I use GoDaddy Auctions because there’s quite a large marketplace for the domains there. Also, the process of transferring from the buyer to you is secured via an escrow service so you’re not worried about getting ripped off.

 My Top Internet Marketing Tools In 2012

[Go to: Flippa.com]

Flippa.com is a site for buying and selling domains or websites. This service is great because aside from domains, you may even find existing businesses. I also like using Flippa for market research to see if there are any websites in a market niche that I am exploring that is profitable. What I like about Flippa is that you get quite detailed information for each domain including verified traffic and/or income figures from the sellers.

3. Web Hosting

hostgator logo My Top Internet Marketing Tools In 2012

[Go to: Hostgator Webhosting]

Almost all my sites are hosted exclusively by Hostgator.com. Their plans are very reasonable and their customer service is perfect in my opinion. I’ve always gotten a 24 hour response or less whenever I have any issues with my account. My only gripe with them is that their payment system is still a little in the stone ages. The invoices are hard to trace back to the proper account (if you have many) but I’ve not had any major problems with it.

bluehost logo My Top Internet Marketing Tools In 2012

[Go to: Bluehost Webhosting]

Another highly rated hosting service is BlueHost. The prices are just a few cents higher than Hostgator  a month and their account management system is a little better than Hostgator.com. Again, I keep it simple to host all my sites on Hostgator.com but if you were starting from scratch, either of these two services would be acceptable.

4. Email List Management

aweber logo1 My Top Internet Marketing Tools In 2012

[Go to: Aweber Email Software]

Aweber is the longest web service that I’ve been using since 2006. Its really the market leader for building an email list as well as sending email messages to the list.

What I like about Aweber? The number 1 reason is deliverability. Every email has over 98% deliverability rate.

They also have a great “blog broadcast” service that allows me to automatically send very nice newsletters to my subscribers once a week with a summary of all my latest blog posts. You will also find that many websites and software have built in compatibility to work well with the Aweber system.

5. Keyword Research

 My Top Internet Marketing Tools In 2012

[Go to: Market Samurai Free Trial]

Almost any Internet marketing strategy I can think of should begin with keyword and market research. This is a mistake that a lot of marketers make. If the foundation of your online business is flawed, you will always be in an uphill battle to create a successful site.

I’ve tried a host of different keyword research software and some expensive hosted services in the past. In the end, the one that I still use over and over again is Market Samurai. I use it mostly to plan the structure of my niche blogs and to kind keywords for creating SEO targeted blog posts. I also use it to track my SEO ranking for keywords that I am targeting.

What do I like about it? First, its a one-time only payment. And the team at Market Samurai has updated the software constantly over the years. This is very important as Google is constantly updating their API and ranking data.

The software also has many modules that allow you to do much more than just keyword research. Aside from my main use above, I also use it to find affiliate products to monetize my pages. Its also handy for finding article ideas and research to find what type of content web users are interested in.

The other modules include finding domain names, publishing and syndicating content and getting backlinks to your site. Honestly, I don’t use a lot of these modules but its nice to know they are there when if I ever need to use it.

6. Analytics and Tracking

google analytics logo My Top Internet Marketing Tools In 2012

[Go to: Google Analytics]

Without measurement, you can’t improve. The best website analytics tool out there is the free Google Analytics service. Why is it the best? Well its easy to install, the reports are great and its fully integrated with other essential Google services like Adwords and the Google Webmaster tools.

What I like about it? I love the fact that you can create goals for your website and their funnel visualization report gives you a great view of how your site is performing to drive visitors to the intended outcome on your site.

It also has a ton of other features like tracking search behavior on your site and also ecommerce tracking to match revenue and cost data for your website traffic. To me, any website that expects to be successful needs to have Google Analytics installed and have at least 1 goal being tracked.

7. Social Media Marketing

tweetadder logo My Top Internet Marketing Tools In 2012

[Go to: TweetAdder Automation Software]

 

Getting traffic from social media websites is an awesome way to accelerate the syndication of your content and website. Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter is also a great way to build a subscriber base.

However, one of the challenges with social media marketing is that its time consuming and repetitive. That’s why I love the TweetAdder software. It allows me to find relevant users to follow and hopefully add to my follower list. It can generate multiple auto-reply messages and allows you to reply in a way that does not seem automated. It allows you to schedule your tweets and posts and drive traffic to your site.

I wrote a case study on how I use this software to automate my Twitter marketing and how it makes me a very nice passive income on my niche blogs. You can read about it here: How to Automate Your Twitter Account and Earn Passive Income

8. Outsourcing

I am an accountant by training so when it comes to graphic design and coding, I leave it to the experts. I’ve outsourced quite a few projects to coders from “RentaCoder.com which has since changed its name to vworker.com. I’ve also outsourced some content writing jobs to freelancers at eLance.com. The rates here are a little more expensive than vWorker but the site is more user friendly an easier to work with.

Why I like these services? Well, its great to post a job and have a list of people bid for it. Through the selection process, you can fine tune your requirements and get the best deal out of all the proposals. The other important thing is that these services act as a clearing house to make sure you do not get cheated. I’ve had a few cases where the service provider does not deliver and the arbitration process is quite efficient especially when every email is documented via their system.

elance logo My Top Internet Marketing Tools In 2012

[Go to: Elance Outsourcing]

 My Top Internet Marketing Tools In 2012

[Go to: Vworker Outsourcing]

I just wanted to add one other place where you can get quick and cheap outsource help. Its called “Fiverr.com” and its a directly of people willing to do work for as little as $5. Some people here can write content, submit your site to directories or even create simple graphics or fix CSS problems on your site.

 My Top Internet Marketing Tools In 2012

[Go to: Fiverr.com]

9. Working With Video

Video for the web is an essential requirement for online success. Whether its for your sales letter or your content pages, video helps to drive the message through better than just words alone.

One of the best tools to create great web video is Screenflow. This software is for Mac only and for Windows users, I would recommend using “Camtasia”.

What do I like about Screenflow? The software is dead easy to use. It allows you to capture your computer screen together with audio of your voice. Thus is great for tutorials and demos. But my favorite part about Screenflow is the editing tools. You can add titles, texts and effects to your videos very easily.

screenflow My Top Internet Marketing Tools In 2012

[Go to: Screenflow Product Page]

camtasia My Top Internet Marketing Tools In 2012

[Go to: Camtasia Product Page]

The other important thing about video is how to embed them to your website or blog. For the most part, I upload my videos to YouTube and use the embed code generated by YouTube to add the video to my pages. Another great free service is Vimeo who can host longer HD videos instead of the 15min limit on YouTube.

youtube logo My Top Internet Marketing Tools In 2012

[Go to: YouTube]

vimeo logo1 My Top Internet Marketing Tools In 2012

[Go to: Vimeo]

10. Image Editing

If you can afford it, the Adobe Photoshop software will be the tool to handle all your graphic design work. However, the learning curve to use Photoshop effectively can be quite steep. For simple image editing (especially for blogs), I prefer to use a very light tool called Image Well 4. This tools allows me to resize, crop, add captions and text as well as upload directly to my webhost after I’m done editing.

I use this tool to create the images in a lot of my blog posts.

imagewell logo My Top Internet Marketing Tools In 2012

[Go to: ImageWell 4 Product Page]

10. Teleseminar/ Webinar

In my experience, one of methods to get the highest conversions to sales, is the telesminar. Whether its live or recorded. In the past, I used to use the webinar service by GotoMeeting.com. Don’t get me wrong – this tool is great but its also quite pricey. Also, users will need to download a special software before they can join your webinar.

I found a simple service called Instant Telesiminar which also gets the job done. Although you are not able to show your desktop live to your users using Instant Teleseminar, it has all the other features you need. You can answer questions, show slides and allow your visitors to call in to ask questions.

Why I like it? Well, I love the fact that you do not require your users to download any additional software. So all they have to do is turn up at a webpage you send them and they can listen in, see your slides and ask questions. Its also a lot more affordable compared to GotoMeeting and its very easy to embed the whole event into any of your websites so that you maintain branding as well as call to action buttons or links you may have on your webpage.

 My Top Internet Marketing Tools In 2012

[Go to: InstantTeleseminar Trial]

Conclusion

Ok, I know I am missing quite a few other items on this list. It would be too long if I added them all here so I only listed the key items. If you wanted to know how I do certain things, just ask in the comments below and I’ll add it to the list.

Also, if you have recommendations of some awesome tools to checkout – please also add it in the comments below. Thanks!


June 16 2011

How To Automate Your Twitter Account to Drive Traffic and Earn Passive Income

I made a promise to some friends on my Facebook page that I would make some tutorial videos on how I make money online. I finally blocked off some time to make a short video here.

This blueprint below shows how I use Twitter to drive traffic to one of my niche websites that produces about $300 to $500 of spare cash each month. This particular site has been producing consistent income for me for more than 8 months and its one of several such sites that I have*.

I tried to keep the video to under 15 minutes so that it will fit on Youtube and there are a couple of other useful tools I would have liked to discuss. In any case, these are the tools that I use to create this income stream:

Finding Niche Markets:
Market Samurai (Free Trial Available)

WP Theme for Creating Niche Blogs Fast:
Socrates Theme

Automating Twitter Traffic:
Tweet Adder Software
20% Discount Code: BRI20

Lastly, if you have questions or if you would like to give me some tips to do this better or if you just wanna say “hi” then please leave a comment on below.

*Earnings Disclaimer: I’ve been actively learning and applying Internet marketing strategies since 2006. There are many factors that affect income potential such as the market you select, copywriting, conversion of affiliate products you promote and many more. So your income results may be below or above my own experience.


May 06 2011

Top 10 Ways to Profit from Mobile Marketing + Infographic

A couple of days ago, I put up a post about the emerging Mobile Marketing Gold Rush. I really think there’s a lot of opportunity here to say the least. In fact, I have not been this excited about a trend since social media marketing...

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May 04 2011

The Coming Mobile Marketing Gold Rush

This is one of the best tips I can give you as a golden opportunity to profit from a rapidly growing industry for the next 5 years. You see, success has a lot to do with positioning yourself in front of the wave so you can ride it instead...

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August 09 2010

[Vid] The Google Job Experiment

Have you ever Googled yourself? Come on. Admit it. In this interesting Google experiment, Alec Brownstein got a job at a top ad agency by relying on the fact that people do “Google” themselves. He placed a personalized Google...

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April 16 2010

Personal Branding 2.0: Why Now Is the Time To Build & Monetize Your Personal Brand Online

I’ve recently completed my new book called “Personal Branding 2.0 – Why Now is The Time to Build & Monetize Your Personal Brand Online With Social Media”. This is a 63 page ebook where I cover: Why Online...

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