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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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Published on November 20, 2018

The Best Ways to Save Money Even Impulsive Spenders Can Get Behind

The Best Ways to Save Money Even Impulsive Spenders Can Get Behind

The truth is, there are many “money saving guides” online, but most don’t cover the root issue for not saving.

Once I’d discovered a few key factors that allowed me to save 10k in one year, I realized why most articles couldn’t help me. The problem is that even with the right strategies you can still fail to save money. You need to have the right systems in place and the right mindset.

In this guide, I’ll cover the best ways to save money — practical yet powerful steps you can take to start saving more. It won’t be easy but with hard work, I’m confident you’ll be able to save more money–even if you’re an impulsive spender.

Why Your Past Prevents You from Saving Money

Are you constantly thinking about your financial mistakes?

If so, these thoughts are holding you back from saving.

I get it, you wish you could go back in time to avoid your financial downfalls. But dwelling over your past will only rob you from your future. Instead, reflect on your mistakes and ask yourself what lessons you can learn from them.

It wasn’t easy for me to accept that I had accumulated thousands of dollars in credit card debt. Once I did, I started heading in the right direction. Embrace your past failures and use them as an opportunity to set new financial goals.

For example, after accepting that you’re thousands of dollars in debt create a plan to be debt free in a year or two. This way when you’ll be at peace even when you get negative thoughts about your finances. Now you can focus more time on saving and less on your past financial mistakes.

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How to Effortlessly Track Your Spending

Stop manually tracking your spending.

Leverage powerful analytic tools such as Personal Capital and these money management apps to do the work for you. This tool has worked for me and has kept me motivated to why I’m saving in the first place. Once you login to your Personal Capital dashboard, you’re able to view your net worth.

When I’d first signed up with Personal Capital, I had a negative net worth, but this motivated me to save more. With this tool, you can also view your spending patterns, expenses, and how much money you’re saving.

Use your net worth as your north star to saving more. Whenever you experience financial setbacks, view how far you’ve come along. Saving money is only half the battle, being consistent is the other half.

The Truth on Why You Keep Failing

Saving money isn’t sexy. If it was, wouldn’t everyone be doing it?

Some people are natural savers, but most are impulsive spenders. Instead of denying that you’re an impulsive spender, embrace it.

Don’t try to save 60 to 70% of your income if this means you’ll live a miserable life. Saving money isn’t a race but a marathon. You’re saving for retirement and for large purchases.

If you’re currently having a hard time saving, start spending more money on nice things. This may sound counterintuitive but hear me out. Wouldn’t it be better to save $200 each month for 12 months instead of $500 for 3 months?

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Most people run into trouble because they create budgets that set them up for failure. This system won’t work for those who are frugal, but chances are they don’t need help saving. This system is for those who can’t save money and need to be rewarded for their hard work.

Only because you’re buying nice things doesn’t mean that you’ll save less. Here are some rules you should have in place:

  1. Save more than 50% of your available money (after expenses)
  2. Only buy nice things after saving
  3. Automate your savings with automatic bank transfers

These are the same rules that helped me save thousands each year while buying the latest iPhone. Focus only on items that are important to you. Remember, you can afford anything but not everything.

How to Foolproof Yourself out of Debt

Personal finance is a game. On one end, you’re earning money; and on the to other, you’re saving. But what ends up counting in the end isn’t how much you earn but how much you save. Research shows that about 60% of Americans spend more than they save.[1]

So how can you separate yourself from the 60%?

By not accumulating more debt. This way you’ll have more money to save and avoid having more financial obligations. A great way to stop accumulating debt is using cash to pay for all your transactions.

This will be challenging, depending on how reliant you are with your credit card, but it’s worth the effort. Not only will you stop accruing debt, but you’ll also be more conscious with what you buy.

For example, you’ll think twice about purchasing a new $200 headphone despite having the cash to buy them. According to a poll conducted by The CreditCards.com, 5 out of 6 Americans are impulsive spenders.[2]

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Telling yourself that you’ll have the discipline to not buy things won’t cut it. This is equal to having junk food in your fridge while trying to eat healthy–it’s only a matter of time before you slip. By using cash to make your purchases, you’ll spend less and save more.

A Proven Formula to Skyrocket Your Savings

Having proven systems in place to help you save more is important, but they’re not the best way to save money.

You can search for dozens of ways to save money, but there’ll always be a limit. Instead of spending the majority of your effort saving, look for ways to increase your income. The truth is that once you have the right systems in place, saving is easy.

What’s challenging is earning more money. There are many routes you can take to achieve this. For example, you can work long and hard at your current job to earn a raise. But there’s one problem–you’re depending on someone else to give you a raise.

Your company will have to have the budget, and you’ll have to know how to toot your own horn to get this raise. This isn’t to say that earning a raise is impossible, but things are better when you’re in control right? That’s why building a side-hustle is the best way to increase your income.

Think of your side-hustle as a part-time job doing something you enjoy. You can sell items on eBay for a profit, or design websites for small businesses. Building a side-hustle will be on the hardest things you’ll do, be too stubborn to quit.

During the early stages, you won’t be making money and that’s okay. Since you already have a source of income, you won’t be dependent on your side-hustle to pay for your expenses. Depending on how much time you invest in your side-hustle, it can one day replace your current income.

Whatever route you take, focus more on earning and save as much as possible. You have more control than you give yourself credit for.

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Transform Yourself into a Saving Money Machine

Saving money isn’t complicated but it’s one of the hardest things you’ll do.

By learning from your mistakes and rewarding yourself after saving you’ll save more. What would you do with an extra $200 or $500 each month? To some, this is life-changing money that can improve the quality of their lives.

The truth is saving money is an art. Save too much and you’ll quit, but save too little and you’ll pay for the consequences in the future. Saving money takes effort and having the right systems in place.

Imagine if you’d started saving an extra $100 this next month? Or, saved $20K in one year? Although it’s hard to imagine, this can be your reality if you follow the principles covered in this guide.

Take a moment to brainstorm which goals you’d be able to reach if you had extra money each month. Use these goals as motivation to help you stay on track on your journey to saving more. If I was able to save thousands of dollars with little guidance, imagine what you’ll be able to do.

What are you waiting for? Go and start saving money, the sky is your limit.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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