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How to Hack Your Social Media Skills to Make Bank

How to Hack Your Social Media Skills to Make Bank

Ever find yourself helping a neighbor build a Facebook page? Or talking to a friend about how Pinterest could drive potential customers to her website? Or showing a former colleague how to use Twitter to connect with influential people?

I was hiking in the woods with a friend several years ago, helping him brainstorm how to use social media to find clients for his adventure expeditions, when he suggested I start using those smarts to make bank. He suggested I let people hire me to help them the same way I was helping him.

My first reaction was to balk. “I don’t know enough about social media to do that,” I told him.

“Are you kidding?” he responded. “Everything you’ve told me is worth paying for.”

The next month I landed my first client, and my business has snowballed since then.

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That friendly chat — and the success that followed — helped me realize something big: that I do have something to offer that’s worth paying for. Sometimes when your knowledge seems familiar and normal, you don’t recognize it as an asset. You think everyone has those same skills.

But if you’re good at something, there’s probably someone out there who’s not good at it, who needs it, and who’s willing to pay for it. Moreover, there are a whole lot of people, organizations, and companies that need help with social media.

If you have social media skills, that’s where your opportunity comes in.

Now, you don’t want to be one of those gurus or ninjas who claim they’re in-the-know about social media and then haven’t the faintest idea how to grow an online community. But if you’re like most people, you likely have the opposite problem; you probably underestimate yourself and your skills.

If you think you’re almost to the point where you could take on social media freelance work but don’t quite feel comfortable yet, here are a few things you can do to take your confidence and savvy to the next level:

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Work for free to gain experience

By the time I had that conversation with my friend in the woods, I’d already helped an organization spread the word about their cause on Twitter. I did this because I wanted to help the movement, not because I wanted to gain experience. However, in retrospect, that work helped me gain the knowledge — and recommendations — I needed to land paid work.

So who can you lend a hand to? Who can you help? How can you turn that opportunity into a way to learn?

The best part is no one will ever know you didn’t get paid. Experience is experience, and connections are connections. Whether you got paid for that work is irrelevant, so leave out that detail when you interview for your first paid position.

If you can’t find a company or individual to let you work for them — or maybe you don’t even feel comfortable doing that yet — practice with your own accounts. One friend of mine even has a Facebook account for her cat (apparently there’s an underground culture of cats on Facebook?) that she uses to test new ideas on the platform.

Brush up on your skills through a course

In addition to learning by doing, you can master social media through more formal instruction. You’ll find lots of social media courses online, each with its own focus. I often several on my own site, including a guide on how to create a social media strategy and a five-week course that will help you become a Twitter Power User.

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Again, you can learn this stuff for free, so don’t feel like you have to take a course! But some people learn faster and more thoroughly with more structure and guidance.

Mimic the best

One way to teach yourself is to find a handful of Facebook pages or Twitter feeds or Pinterest accounts that are hitting it out of the park, and study their tactics.

Create a Twitter list of companies, non-profits, or individuals who effectively use the platform to grow their following. Alternatively, put together a list of Facebook pages that do a stand-up job of interacting with fans.

By simply watching what successful people do, you’ll learn more than you could imagine.

Push yourself to get started

The timing will never feel right. You’ll always wish you knew more, had more experience, and had more contacts. However, if you wait until every single piece is in place before diving in, you’ll never get started.

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Not sure how much to charge? This post on fees for social media freelance work will help you figure that out.)

Once you do get started, you’ll learn as you go along. You’ll hit an obstacle you haven’t hit before, and you’ll figure it out. A client will request something you don’t know how to do, and you’ll teach yourself that skill out of necessity.

Learning as you go along doesn’t mean you’re a scam, it means you’re smart. Being able to do that is essential, especially in a field like social media that morphs regularly.

Because Facebook will make a tweak that requires you to build a page in a totally different way. Twitter will introduce a feature that changes the game completely. And some new social media tool will pop up (monthly, weekly, even daily) that you’ll have to evaluate — and decide whether it’s worth using. You’ll be forced to learn as you go along no matter how much knowledge you start out with.

So what are you waiting for? Get out here and make some moolah from your skills.

Featured photo credit:  Euro bills in a blue jeans pocket via Shutterstock

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Last Updated on August 15, 2018

30 Fun Things You Can Do This Summer Without Spending Much

30 Fun Things You Can Do This Summer Without Spending Much

Summertime can be a real strain on your wallet. The sun is out, there are people to see, places to be; it’s no wonder you might be short of funds during these sunny months. Not everything has to cost you an arm and a leg.

Take some time to go through this list of 20 cheap summer activities and make some realistic goals to complete as many as you can.

Video Summary

1. Visit a strawberry festival

Summer is prime time for tasting strawberries. More often than not, an area that grows strawberries will have a strawberry festival. Indulge yourself in strawberry pies, jams, cakes and more!

2. Have a picnic

Take your partner or your family to the local park and enjoy a relaxing picnic. Designate each person to bring one food item of their choice to add to the fun.

3. Camp in your back yard

    The summer heat can sometimes make it hard to sleep. Why not enjoy the heat outside in the yard? Pitch a tent or gaze into the night sky.

    4. Take long walks

    Discover something new where you live. Take the afternoon off from your chores and go for a long walk. You may be surprised by what you discover.

    5. Break a world record

    Breaking a world record doesn’t have to be time-consuming. You could even break one on your lunch hour. Give it a go!

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    6. Go on a bike ride

    The number of bike paths on roads in big cities has increased dramatically over the years. Take advantage, and enjoy the summer breeze.

    7. Join a gym class

      The gym is not everyone’s idea of a good time, but why not go with a friend a join a class? Spinning, yoga and step classes are always more fun with friends, and a lot of gyms allow you to pay-as-you-go.

      8. Find a new hobby

      The summer is the perfect time to find a new hobby. Serotonin (our body’s natural “happy” hormone) is produced by the sunshine and will be at a yearly high, which is great for when we want to tackle something new.

      9. Join a sports team

      Not all sports teams are competitive and require huge amounts of your time. Join in the fun with like-minded people, get fit, stay healthy and make some friends along the way.

      10. Make a slip ‘n slide

        Gather your friends, some plastic sheeting, a hose, washing up liquid if desired, and make a huge slip ‘n slide just like these guys. Granted, yours won’t be as big, but you get the idea… it’s fun!

        11. Make a treasure hunt for your kids

        Today’s digital world sees our children more often than not playing inside than outside. Why not create a sense of adventure by making a treasure hunt? Only rule? It has to be outside.

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        12. Visit a free festival

        Towns and cities are awash with free festivals, with themes from film to science. Scout your local area and discover something new.

        13. Visit the zoo

          Let’s face it: we love animals. While browsing news websites and social media networks you’re bound to come across a few pictures of cats. Take a trip to your local zoo for a better experience.

          14. Take a road trip

          Enjoy the open road with a few friends and take a road trip somewhere–anywhere. Just go out and enjoy the sunshine!

          15. Play ultimate frisbee in the park

            Frisbee is always great fun down the park, but why not turn it into more of a competitive sport by playing ultimate frisbee?

            16. Make your own ice cream

            Ice cream is a very versatile dessert. Make a sandwich, enjoy a cone, or simply just enjoy a bowl full. Better yet, making your own ice cream allows you to create any flavor you want.

            17. Invite your neighbors over for a BBQ

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              When was the last time you invited your neighbors over? Do you even know them? Now’s your chance. Just ask each person to bring a food item so costs don’t mount up for you.

              18. Get a summer job

              For many students, summer is the time for relaxation and fun. But who said earning money and being productive isn’t fun? You only get out what you put into a situation.

              19. Attend a charity event

              Attending a charity event is a great way to raise funds and awareness for a cause, meet new people, and generally have a good time. Search for your local charity event today.

              20. Visit a national park

              National parks are a great way to explore nature and learn something new. You could even volunteer and make a difference in helping restore natural habitats.

              21. Visit your local comedy club

                Local comedy clubs are extremely underrated. They are cheap to attend and no doubt you’ll have a barrel of laughs.

                22. Make your own hammock

                  Hammocks are very relaxing, are perfect for summer afternoons and are surprisingly easy to make.

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                  23. Read in your new hammock

                  Now you have your very own hammock, the only thing left to do is enjoy it. Grab your favorite book and read to your heart’s content.

                  24. Watch a movie outside

                  Movies are great. Relaxing outside in the evening is great. Put them together and you’ve got a perfect combination. In D.C, Maryland and Virginia this summer, for example, you can enjoy a huge number of movies outside.

                  25. Take a hike

                    Hikes are a great way to keep fit and see more of Mother Nature. There are countless trails available for you to explore. Why not try some this summer?

                    26. Learn how to fly a kite

                    As a child, you probably had a kite and haven’t touched it since. Why not dust it off and attempt to fly it? It’s tricky, but well worth the challenge.

                    27. Work out at the park

                    American cities are full of parks with ample space for a work out session. No doubt you’ll be happier to work out in the sun rather than a crowded gym.

                    28. Take your dog to the beach

                      One of the many joys of owning a dog is taking him or her for long walks during the summertime. This joy is enhanced when visiting the beach, for both you and your dog.

                      29. Make a summer smoothie

                      Healthy, delicious and perfect for the summer. Not only that, there are countless recipes ready for you to try.

                      30. Attend a free yoga session at the beach

                      No experience needed and all skill levels are welcome. Take yourself and a buddy down to the beach and try some yoga. You’ve got nothing to lose!

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