5 Scary Halloween Spending Facts That May Spook You

Happy Halloween

The unprecedented pandemic has certainly stunted our day-to-day activities and even our dearest holidays like Halloween. Health officials have forecasted a new surge in COVID-19 cases in the fall, as temperatures drop and the flu season approaches — all while celebrations, including Halloween, are due to kick off later this month. Below are 5 scary Halloween spending facts that may spook you.

Year after year, Halloween continues to be a highly anticipated holiday in America. But this year, we may have to proceed with caution with respect to trick-or-treating.

On the bright side, Halloween is usually an outdoor holiday as opposed to most other holidays celebrated inside of a relative’s home.

States across the country have either limited or restricted regulations for standard door-to-door trick-or-treating. That being said, residents have tried their best to lift spirits and continue longstanding house decorating traditions.

This blog has consistently been focused on how to save for early retirement, but often we forget to focus on the present. Of course it is imperative to save for your future, but every present day should not be taken for granted. Thus, give yourself permission to enjoy the holiday.

The National Retail Federation (NRF), in a partnership with Prosper Insights, surveyed 7,013 consumers about their Halloween shopping plans. The following 5 scary Halloween spending facts from previous years give me goosebumps!

Interpreting Spooky Halloween Spending

If you’re ever curious why you rarely receive a Halloween greeting card, it’s because most Americans are spending their October budget on costumes, candy, and decorations.

Spending in the past 3 years has hovered around the $9 Billion [yes, B, as in BILLION] mark. Due to the circumstances, I’d expect spending to be reduced this year.

Take advantage of this situation and your bank account will thank your unintentional frugality.

If there’s one lesson from the infographic, it’s that consumers spend money on things they are passionate about! Who doesn’t love Halloween?

And if Americans are spending $9 billion on Halloween, just imagine how many purchases are made in November and December during the holiday season peak.

Either way, this is no excuse to stop you from completely forgetting about Halloween. Dress up if it’s your favorite tradition. But make sure to enjoy yourself while staying safe.

Watching scary movies with jump scares [that you’re probably expecting] may also be an efficient way to practically quarantine yet still enjoy the spirit of Halloween.

If you’re looking to get ahead on shopping too, the Amazon Halloween Store has a variety of options for costumes, candy, and fun to celebrate the spooky holiday.

Just remember to not overdo it on the candy! This will save your waistline and your dentist unnecessary hassle! Cavities are never fun, no matter what age you may be.

Scary Halloween Spending Facts

May each of you reading this be lucky enough to eat a large candy bar this October 31st.

Let me know your favorite costume or trick-or-treat tactic below in the comments.

September Side Income Report | 2020

September 2020 Side Income FLA

Welcome to the 2020 September Side Income Report.

Let’s start this post with the obligatory caveat:

FLA’s side hustle income reports are not for the purpose of bragging. This side income amount of money is by no means impressive. The sole purpose of this series is to inspire you to create diversified income streams in order to help you achieve your financial goals faster.

I began this tumultuous F.I.R.E. (Financial Independence – Retire Early) journey almost immediately after graduating from college and shortly realizing it is never ideal to work for someone other than yourself.

After withdrawing from the corporate world, I plan to fully indulge in my mission of helping 10 million people with their own path to financial freedom. I’ve discovered a wonderful community of people with shared mindsets. So I’m currently on a journey to see if we can turn FLA into a little business that supports the mission.

The reason I’ve decided to publish these income reports is because I want you to be a part of the journey.

After aggressively saving 70%+ of my annual income year after year, I’m approximately 20% of the way to retirement with 10 years to go. I’m aware that side hustles may never fully support one’s expenses, but I’m willing to try.

At the very minimum of making $1/month (what one may consider failure), I am ecstatic as I realize this can be considered supplemental income that will be able to be reinvested into this blog to enhance your reading experience on FLA.

Through my arduous journey, I’ve learned to focus on the future value of money. One dollar to you may look like a standard George Washington-faced bill, but to me, I see its potential.  Accounting for 3% inflation, investing that dollar could return 5 times its original value in 25 years. Yes, that’s like putting $1 into an ATM and having it return a $5 bill back to you. How amazing is compound interest?! Hypothetically, you can increase that principal amount, and you’ve got yourself some unbelievable returns.

My hope with these income reports is ultimately to present some transparency for you. By showing it doesn’t take much effort to earn and save, I may motivate you to chase one of your biggest dreams. Dreams may originally sound outlandish, but they all need to start somewhere, right? Without further ado, here is FLA’s second ever side income report.

 

SEPTEMBER SIDE INCOME REPORT

The best way to make money is to have various streams of revenue. The best way to protect yourself in the course of ill-fated events stripping you of some of your main sources of income is to diversify.

We have all heard the pragmatic advice of “Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.” Well, put this theory into practice. The following is my best attempt to develop additional sources of income. Below are the six ways I attempted to make money from my side hustles in the month of September.

 

 

Stocks are my absolute favorite money making assets. Your money can make money for you with the click of a ‘buy’ button! Sure, there are ups and downs in the stock market, but if you look historically at the S&P 500 Index or the Dow Jones Industrial Average, your investment generally grows over the long term. Remember, investing and gambling are not the same thing.

“If you aren’t willing to own a stock for ten years, don’t even think about owning it for ten minutes.”

-Warren Buffett, American Investor/Business Tycoon/Philanthropist/Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway

Investors and analysts may contend that conducting research on which stock to buy may be active work, but it is a generally held credence that dividends are passive income.

What are dividends?

Simply, they are distribution of some of a company’s earnings to a class of its shareholders. In this case, you are the shareholder. Yes, I know it’s hard to believe, but the company you invest in will reward you with bonus money!

Let’s take a look at the aftermath of the stocks that paid out dividends this month:

Investment Income September 2020

Which stocks am I invested in? I have a few individual stock picks, but the finance community knows this is often a loser’s game. I mainly hold VTI, the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund, which allows you to be diversified and capture 3,525 different stocks with a minimal expense ratio, or annual fee, of 0.03%. Index funds will often take you to the promise land in the long run.

Typically, you have 2 choices with dividends. You can either accept the dividend as cold hard cash or you can choose to reinvest the money back into the same stock automatically. It’s as simple as clicking ‘yes’ button when prompted with the question on whether or not to re-invest dividends.

I strongly recommend you to reinvest your dividends and capital gains. Why? Well, look at this way: you didn’t have the earned dividend money to begin with. Do you really need it at this moment? Why not let your additional money grow even more? Open up an investment account and enjoy the magic of compounding interest by increasing your principal investment.

September Side Income – Stock Dividends Total: $186.21

 

In my free time, I participate in paid surveys. It’s one of my other sources of income. Most of the time, they are mindless and allow you to temporarily escape from life’s struggles and reality. Often times, you have a chance to play your part in society and provide meaningful feedback on hot topics that may be decided by top companies and government officials.

The 3 survey programs I use daily are:

  1. Prolific
  2. Pinecone Research
  3. YouGov

I strongly recommend any of these three survey websites because of the higher payouts. Our time on this planet is valuable. Always consider how much time you are trading for money.

Prolific

Prolific seems to have the highest quantity of surveys available. Each survey also previews an hourly rate to the user. This significantly helps in determining if the survey is worth your time. I’ve seen them range from $3/hour all the way up to $30/hour, but on average are $8/hour.

Pinecone Research

Pinecone Research surveys always reward you with $3 for every survey. Since each survey is typically around 10 minutes long, the site has a pretty standard hourly rate of $12/hour. However, the frequency of surveys is much less than Prolific.

YouGov

Finally, YouGov’s typical survey lasts for 10 minutes and will pay out $1.50, translating to an hourly rate of $6/hr. Even though it is, the lowest payout, it still helps to have supplemental income. Again, always consider the balance between time and money.

YouGov is an eclectic group of the media, non-profits and companies that congregate to find out what the world thinks. YouGov happens to be one of the most-quoted data sources in the US and across the world.

Prolific, Pinecone Research, and YouGov offer all kinds of rewards, but I normally recommend cash payout via PayPal. The transfer is usually instantaneous. Prolific does pay out in GPB, but the money is translated to USD when conducting a bank transfer in PayPal.

In fact, Prolific does not have a minimum payout, Pinecone’s minimum payout is $5, and YouGov’s minimum cash payout is $50, albeit YouGov offers the option of a $15 Amazon gift card.

DateSurvey CompanyCash Out Reward
10/01/2020Pinecone Research$15.00
10/01/2020Prolific$74.08
September 2020 Survey Earnings

Pinecone Research September 2020 Checkout

Prolific September 2020 Cash Out

Prolific September 2020 Cash Out USD

September Side Income – Surveys Total: $89.08

 

An additional passive income stream is selling your old goods or unused consumer products. Simply list your items with competitive pricing on Amazon and/or eBay, sit back, and let the buyers make you offers.

I notice friends, family, and even co-workers constantly looking to throw out items that are still in perfectly good condition; it drives me nuts! Why not let someone bid on the product? Worst case will be that it doesn’t sell, and then you can throw out the item. No harm, no foul.

At the very least, donate your stuff. I typically enjoy donating old apparel to Salvation Army and other charities. It always feels good to know your treasured clothing is not going to waste.

This month for September Side Income, I did not have any buyers interested in the inventory, but I’m not upset. The eBay account may not generate a consistent profit, but when items do sell, it’s a nice bonus!

September Side Income – Selling Total: $0

 

As a blogger, I would like to keep the user experience as clean as possible. Therefore, I have chosen to keep all Google AdSense ads from my website. I am an avid reader of many other blogs, and I can truthfully admit it retracts from the reading experience. I am very proud of this decision and will continue with this route.

September Side Income – Google AdSense Revenue: $0

 

I published my first eBook titled “How I Launched, Marketed, and Promoted a High-Traffic Blog in Under 15 Days” at the beginning of August. I only promoted the book as part of the launch, but several people found their way to the sales page. Again, this is a learning process to convert the views into actual sales. As Robert Kiyosaki alludes to in his book Rich Dad, Poor Dad, it’s all about being a best-selling author, not a best-writing author. There is a subtle yet significant difference.

September Side Income – eBook Blog Startup Manual Sales: $0

 

Who would’ve ever thought that spending money would actual earn you money? Well, with cash-back credit cards, now it’s certainly possible. With my Capital One Venture Card, I can now make this dream a reality.

Depending on the card you have, you’ll score 1-2 miles with every dollar you spend. Capital One Miles can be used in a variety of ways, and are generally worth between half a cent and one cent apiece.

Earn 50,000 bonus miles (equivalent to $500) once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.

This month I was able to keep my spending down due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic that limits the amount time spent outside the house, thus limiting the amount of opportunities to throw away those hard earned paychecks.

Capital One Credit Cash Rewards Cash Back September 2020

 

After looking at my monthly expense report, I saw that I earned 3,126 miles, which is equivalent to $31.26.

September Side Income – Capital One Credit Card Cash-Back Rewards: $31.26

 

Thank you for taking the time to read through my latest September Side Income Report and thank you for contributing if you have previously purchased something through one of my affiliate links!

If you wish to support this site, but don’t have a need for any of my affiliate products, you could simply do your regular Amazon shopping through any of the links on this site that lead to Amazon.com. You won’t pay any extra and I will receive a small commission. Thanks so much if you do so!

That’s a wrap for this income report! I am looking forward to earning more money on the side in the future. Stay hustlin’, my friends!

Total September Side Income: $306.55

 

Editorial Note – Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

User Generated Content Disclosure – Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

5 Foolproof Steps for Early Retirement

Have A Plan

Many of us would like to build enough capital to prepare for the future and enjoy an early retirement.  However, this can feel impossible at times. What are the 5 foolproof steps for early retirement? How do we develop a solid plan?

Fortunately, there are some easy steps you can start taking today to help you achieve the F.I.R.E. (Financial Independence Early Retirement) you’ve always dreamed of.

There are no secret tricks and tips. It mainly stems from discipline and consistency. You don’t need to be a Wall Street investment banker or a PhD scientist to outsmart the market. Here are 5 simple steps that will put you on the right path.

1. Increase Annual Savings

Everyone has heard the trite advice of forgoing the precious cup of morning coffee at your favorite hip coffeehouse to save money. This simply isn’t going to get you to retirement though.

You need to build habits of saving. Let me let you in on a little secret; successful people do not have greater will power and determination than your average Joe. The high achievers just remove temptation and practice consistent habits.

Save as much as you possibly can now, and I promise you will not be disappointed by the results in 10 to 30 years from today.

2. Decrease Annual Expenses

It may seem like common sense, but so many of us struggle to grasp this basic concept. Expenses add up very easily and very quickly. It’s important you perform monthly audits of your credit card statements to see how your spending has changed month to month.

It is okay to splurge every once in a while, but be sure to not make it a habit. It’s the same idea of eating healthy. You can stop by the fast food drive-through once in a blue moon, but if you continually practice this bad habit, you will gain weight without a doubt.

Furthermore, avoid consumer and other forms debt like it’s the plague. Even if you are indeed in debt, it’s still easier than you think to rid yourself of debt with the power of positive habits. Again, it may be daunting to turn your net worth from negative to positive, but if millions have done it before, so can you.

3. Make Steady, Consistent Investments

Now, there are some factors here that you have little control over.

Investment Growth Rate: How much your investments compound annually.

Investment growth rate is sometimes at the mercy of the stock or housing market, depending on the year. But overall, you can expect a rate of approximately ~6-7% (with inflation accounted for). Your income from your job may not increase much year over year, unless you pester your boss for a raise or a bonus.

Your neighbor, your co-worker, and even your family may argue with you about which stock will provide the best returns, but one thing is for sure:

Time in the market is way more important than timing the market.

Investment and financial analysts will always recommend buying low and selling high, but the truth is, humans simply aren’t robots. We will never be able to flawlessly invest, but we can get the best bang for our buck by letting our investments grow for as long as possible. Let your money do the heavy lifting for you.

Raven Monkey Money Manager Foolproof
Source: Guinness World Records

Even our cute friend, Raven, can predict stocks better than some money managers that possibly bring home a larger annual salary than both you and I.

4. Diversify Income Streams

The wealthy often have multiple streams of income. Whether this is from stocks, real estate, I.O.U.’s, or even intellectual property, the rich know how to maximize cash flow going into their bank accounts.

The book Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki is a great fundamental novel that goes into detail regarding assets (things that make you money) and liabilities (things that lose you money).

Early Retirement Assets Liabilities
Source: Rich Dad Poor Dad Book by Robert Kiyosaki

Although we will not get involved in judging Kiyosaki’s character and other ventures, the financial community can agree the book is a vital tool to launch your net worth in the right direction.

Feel free to check out Fresh Life Advice’s Monthly Side Income Reports to see the current ways F.L.A. creatively supplementing a corporate paycheck. Again, there is no one-size-fits-all formula to follow, but hopefully this can supply you with myriad ideas to implement in your own life.

5. Use Money to Save Time

Ask yourself, “Self, what is truly the point of early retirement?” To most of us, the purpose of early retirement is to use our time for the things we truly care about. There is no doubt about it; we all have limited time on this Earth. That is the limiting factor that puts the rich and the poor on the same level playing field. What is the difference between the rich and the poor?

Well, the rich are using their hard earned money (or lucky inheritance) to buy back time for the things that truly matter in life: family, friends, hobbies, etc.

The poor, along with a great deal of the middle class, misleadingly think that spending their money on impractical status symbols, such as fancy watches, luxurious cars, and excessive wardrobes will make other people admire them more, and thus increase their happiness. This is, of course, a fallacy as we know that most people only really care about themselves and are often too busy with their own problems to be concerned with what car you drive.

For example, the modern wealthy folks now spend money on nannies, gardeners, maids, and other services that allow them to focus less on daily household chores and more on the mysteries and life experiences that awaits them.

 

Why Should You Have a Plan?

“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

-Mike Tyson, Former Heavyweight Boxing Champion

Knocked Out
Ouch…

To the contrary, Fresh Life Advice has a formidable rebuttal to this famous opposing quote. F.L.A. would like to emphasize the importance of planning – specifically the right kind of planning. Everybody does have a plan until they get punched in the mouth — the key is planning for what you are going to do AFTER that happens.

One of the biggest reasons why I created a blog was to organize my thoughts coherently and offer advice to the general public. Again, I don’t claim to know more than you. I just hope you learn at least one new thing from me. Moving to different states and taking several different jobs, I’ve run into eclectic groups of people. Oddly enough, I observed that there was a constant underlying accepted corporate dogma.

People in the public and private sector both seemed to accept the standard way of life was to work until you’re 65 and then retire. This antiquated way of thought was hardwired into their brains either via their parents, boss, coworkers, etc. At times, I often felt like I was alone until I reached out to the finance blogging community. FIRE is becoming a modern mantra.

The first law in the United States that called for an eight-hour work day was passed in Illinois in 1867. In 1926, as many history lovers know, Henry Ford — possibly influenced by US labor unions — instituted an eight-hour work day for his employees.

Now, we can see this divergent fork in the road caused by the Covid-19 global pandemic. The world’s workforce is now being split up into employees who can work from home and essential employees who must physically be present in the office, warehouse, hospital, etc.

Many predict that in the future, the office will function as a 3rd space (similar to your favorite coffeehouse): a hub, a town square, a neighborhood. Workers will decide when, how and where to work. People will flow in and out. Employees will be connected by social networks, cloud computing.

Which side of the spectrum will you end up as technology and artificial intelligence develop at an aggressively rapid pace?

If there’s anything that life and Darwin have taught me, the answer is simple: you must not only survive but also adapt.

So what does this all have to do with money?

Well, my point is that the world is a scary and unpredictable place. Most people enjoy their 9-5 jobs because it gives them the comfort and security they long for to help them sleep at night. I’m here to tell you it’s possible for a normal human, just like you and me, to leave the workforce way before age 65. In fact, I’m on pace to retire by age 38. Even if I miss that mark by a full 10 years, I’m still on pace to retire a full 27 years earlier than the average American! That’s an incredible amount of time of freedom.

 

Is This ‘5 Foolproof Steps Early Retirement’ Plan Actually Foolproof?

Of course not. No plan ever is. But I can assure you it’s pragmatically close to flawless.

Life almost never goes according to plan. And that’s totally okay. We will adjust and adapt.

Many fear an economic downturn or recession. Well, I’m here to shed some light on this fear.

Economic recessions [bear markets] generally do not last as long as expansions [bull markets] do. Since 1900, the average recession has lasted 15 months while the average expansion has lasted 48 months. The Great Recession of 2008 and 2009, which lasted for 18 months, was the longest period of economic decline since World War II. If this happens, buy stocks or bonds at the cheaper price and retire a year later. There is nothing to fret!

The most important thing is to have a plan though. Be intentional with your thoughts and actions. It’s time to stop being reactive and start being proactive. Where’s a great place to start?

Well, think about your own retirement age. What age are you aiming for?

If you can control these 3 factors, you will be in GREAT shape:

Income: How much money you are making

Expenses: How much money you are spending

Savings: How much money you are saving

When people mention Savings Rate, they are simply referring to your Savings divided by Income. Don’t let terms like these confuse you.

Sounds obvious, right? It’s not rocket science, but Wall Street often makes it sound like it. There are only two ways to do increase your savings rate: earn more or spend less. That’s the basic rule of personal finance. Still, Americans significantly struggle with these aspects. F.L.A. will show you specific action plans to increase your savings rate.

 

Caveat:

Be ready for backlash when revealing your early retirement plan to friends, family, and loved ones. Even the people closest to you and the ones that you trust the most may project some negative feelings onto you. It’s completely normal.

“Don’t ever let someone tell you, you can’t do something. Not even me. You got a dream, you got to protect it. People can’t do something themselves, they want to tell you you can’t do it. You want something, go get it. Period.”

― Pursuit of Happyness

 

Will Early Retirement Guarantee Happiness?

Humans are terrible at predicting future happiness. In fact, there was actually a scientific study conducted by three established psychology university professors to prove this “end of history illusion.” No matter what age, humans underestimate how much they will change. Two different studies were conducted:

  1. A group of 18-year-olds was asked to predict what their lives will be like in 10 years. The 28-year-olds group reported significantly more changes than expected.
  2. This exact experiment was then conducted with 58-year-olds and the same result occurred when the subjects turned 68.

Conclusion:

Even with plenty of life experience, you have no idea what will happen to you in 10 years!

As a result, it is imperative that you have a plan in place to at least guide you in the direction you would like to follow. But more importantly, remember to practice gratitude and count your blessings every single day, because you never know what your future holds.

How To Start A Blog In 8 Easy Steps

How To Start A Blog

So you’ve discovered why you want to start a blog. But what about now? How does one start a blog?

The good news is that you are on the right path. The first step in the process is making the decision to move forward with your intent.

Some of the top bloggers have turned their passions into full time blogs that support their hopes and dreams. Why can’t that be you? What’s stopping you? Lack of information?

Well, this guide will break everything down into simple, easy steps to help you start your blogging career.

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, FLA will earn a commission. When you purchase hosting using the Bluehost or SiteGround affiliate links, they compensate Fresh Life Advice, which helps make this comprehensive guide free of charge to you. Know that I only recommend products and services I’ve personally used and stand behind.

Let us start with the basics:

What Is A Blog?

Some of us may not know what a blog even is. Well, guess what? You’re reading a blog right now! The word blog is actually short for the term weblog.

A blog is known to represent digitized information, an online magazine, a diary, a portfolio of art, a teaching platform, and really anything that you can imagine.

The most popular modern blogs use not only text, but also a combination of images, GIFs, videos, journals, and other references. This conglomeration is ideal to convey the message, information, or propaganda the author is attempting to present.

Blogs are often interactive, where readers can comment on posts in real-time. This is facet alone is a massive advantage over outdated televised news outlets and physical newspapers and magazines.

Now, we are aware of what elements make blogs so popular and successful. But how do we build our own? Here are 8 easy steps for you to follow and start a blog:

1. Choose Your Niche

Before you come up with a website name, it’s smart to target a specific niche you would like pursue. The Internet is a vast place. Choosing a niche will allow the people who are searching for your content find you with relative ease. If you have a general blog with no direction, your work will most likely end up in the graveyard of unfinished blogs after you’ve seen the lack of traffic to your site.

I recommend focusing on 1-2 niches on your blog, but no more. If you write about too many topics, then your SEO potential will be limited.

The search engine Google typically likes to establish themes around your blog. From that point of establishment, then you will be able to rank for a myriad of subcategories around that theme (i.e. personal finance).

If you want your blog to be about all areas of your life, that’s awesome; however, to be blunt, your posts likely won’t rank as highly as a blog focused on 1-2 topics.

The following list includes some of the top profitable niche categories, some that even encompass billion dollar industry opportunities:

  1. Fitness / Diet / Weight Loss
  2. Sports
  3. Dating / Relationships
  4. Pets
  5. Self-Improvement
  6. Wealth / Investing / Personal Finance
  7. Make Money Online / Passive Income
  8. Beauty / Anti-Aging / Makeup
  9. Gadgets / Technology
  10. Gaming
  11. Prepping (i.e. Meal Prepping to Doomsday Prepping)

If you are looking into selling your own niche products whether via e-commerce or whatever it may be, then here are some inventive ideas to sell online:

  1. Handcrafted Beaded Necklaces.
  2. Home-made Frozen Yogurt.
  3. Leather iPad Cases.
  4. Bluetooth Wireless Speakers.
  5. Baby Clothes.
  6. Mason Jar Pour Caps.
  7. Fidget Spinners.
  8. Organic Beard Oil.
  9. Bow Ties.
  10. Wood Apparel.

Reviewing the previous list, you’ll notice a pattern that these odd items grouped together are profitable because there is little competition. Therefore, if you enter the market, you will have a greater chance of succeeding. Never forget to do your thorough market research before diving into your chosen niche.

Action Item:  Jot down a list on a piece of paper, on the computer, or on your phone of your 5 passions, 5 problems and 5 fears. Once you have a list of 15 items, pick your 5 favorite ones. From this point, enter these 5 key terms into a keyword research tool and look for related keywords that branch from your selected original term that you can utilize to build a site fully function website.

2. Choose a Blog / Domain Name

Ultimately, the name of your blog is everything. It’s your brand. People have such short attention spans these days that you need to IMMEDIATELY hook them in with your name.

Many choose to use their domain name as their full name (i.e. www.FirstNameLastName.com), especially if they are the only person running the blog.

However, if you would like to remain anonymous, use a company name or brand instead. In that case, the possibilities are endless.

Try to keep your domain name to fewer than 4 words or 20 characters. Anything too long may make it difficult for your audience to remember. Think about the most iconic companies, such as Apple, Nike, etc. They are short, concise, and easy to recall.

Keeping a short, punchy name will lead to higher direct traffic as users will be able to directly type your business name into their browser HTML bars.

More importantly, experts highly recommend securing the .com domain since it has the largest global ranking potential. Even if the price is higher, you will see a higher return on your purchase.

Action Item:  Jot down a list on paper or on your phone of your 10 different possible domain names. Be sure to use an online thesaurus to aid with the process. This is still preliminary since you’ll need to check with the next step for finalization.

3. Check the Name Availability

You may have gone through the mentally taxing brainstorming process. However, all of that work may be for not if someone else has thought of the idea before you.

Action Item:  Use the free tool below to see if someone else has already come up with your concept.

If you want to start your own blog, feel free to start with hosting your very own site!

4. Buy and Reserve the Domain

After you’ve ensured that no one has stolen your ingenious name, it’s time to put the petal to the metal. Go ahead and purchase that domain name to ensure you are the sole owner of the website domain.

SiteGround Domain Purchase
How to Start Blog Domain

Bluehost Domain Purchase
Start Building

Action Item:  Lock that dream business name in stone by purchasing an available domain.

5. Choose Your Hosting

One of the first mistakes I made was proceeding with a free blog. I did not want to spend money as it was common sense that saving money rather than spending money would result in a profit. However, it took experience to learn that it wasn’t so much foolishly spending money as it was rather investing in the business. Some of the most profitable blogs on the Internet spend millions of dollar in advertisements and other marketing techniques. But for new bloggers, the best advice I can give you is to not skimp on hosting. You want your site to be fully functional without the servers crashing.

Using Bluehost or SiteGround will help you get an edge up on your competition as they offer:

  • Customer Service Support – to answer any of your questions. Trust me, making a blog is not easy. You will have questions and they will not rest until they solve it.
  • Fast and Responsive Loading Times –if your site goes down, you may lose valuable traffic opportunities. A fully functional site will also decrease your bounce rate, ensuring readers stay on your site for long periods of time.
  • Unlimited Advertising Opportunities – you are free to monetize your site with this hosting option. This is how you will make your money in the long run. Don’t skimp out on hosting.

Bluehost Hosting Plans
Bluehost Pricing

SiteGround Hosting Plans
SiteGround Hosting Plans

 

Action Item:  To be clear, buying domains and buying hosting are totally separate and different transactions. However, Bluehost and SiteGround  are the hosting companies that make it really easy for you by combining both steps into one. Go ahead get your site running smoothly with hosting!

6. Design your Website Theme

Moreover, before you jump into writing your blog posts, you should take time to lay out your ideal website theme. You may not be a trained web graphic designer with front end software engineering experience, but I can promise you WordPress has made this a cinch.

Bluehost WordPress Theme

WordPress is the most popular platform for content management. It is an application programming interface that allows you to stay organized.

Notable WordPress Users

As you can imagine, WordPress is used by some of the top Fortune 500 companies, most popular news stations, music record labels, and celebrity influencers. In fact, WordPress is used by

WordPress.com is actually free while you have to pay for WordPress.org. Make sure you are aware of the differences between signing up.

WordPress .com vs .org

WordPress Bluehost Recommendation
Wordpress.org Recommends Bluehost

Action Item:  Familiar yourself with WordPress, themes, plugins, tools, and settings. Once you watch a few tutorials, you should be ready to select the theme that most appeals to the look and feel of your website design.

7. Write A Blog Post

This is one of the least technical aspects of the process. College English majors and professional writers dream of this step. Put the pen to paper or fingers to the keyboard. In order for a website to thrive, you simply need content. There is no circumnavigating this step. Writers block is often the toughest obstacle in this case.

“Writer’s block is a phony, made up, BS excuse for not doing your work.”

-Jerry Seinfeld

According to a Backlinko study, the average word count of a Google Top 10 Result is 1,447 words. Does this mean you need to write a 1,447 exact word count post every day? No, of course not.

You can still succeed with plenty of posts under 1,000 words, but it is generally suggested to write at least one post per month of at least 1,500 words. This will convey experience, authority, and quality when user traffic searches for their inquiries.

The best thing you can do is begin to write. No one writes a perfect draft because it’s called a draft for a reason. Continue to proofread and edit until you are finally satisfied to press the ‘Post’ button for the first time.

Action Item:  Remember, there are never perfect conditions to start. Just begin, take action, and the momentum will run in your favor. Write that first blog post!

8. Promote Your Blog

You may have written the best blog post ever, but there is a possibility no one will read it.

Build an audience before you launch. Once you’ve got that audience, promoting your blog via social media becomes significantly easier to manage.

The biggest hurdle in social media, at least in my experience, is the initial push. Taking your blog from a no-show to a small success is difficult, but scaling that small success into a much larger traffic source isn’t as difficult as many social media marketers make it out to be.

The age old belief that building an audience after you launch your product is, simply put, entirely wrong.

From Bloomberg writers to one of the world’s most well-known marketers, the majority of successful business people will tell you that building your product after identifying its ideal market is the way to go. For bloggers, despite lacking a product per se, the rule still stands fairly true.

Building an audience before launching your blog allows you to quickly and easily make changes to it based on their reaction. It’s the same line of thinking that’s behind successful product advertising campaigns and focus groups – gaining data as quickly as possible. Treat your blog as an experiment in its early days and you’ll quickly discover what works, what doesn’t, and what’s worth doing right.

 

Not all of the following launch techniques are appropriate for every blog, and not all of them have the potential to build you a sizable audience before your launch. However, they all can help you build a promotional asset before your blog launches, which can come in very handy for initial promotion and word of mouth marketing.

‘Coming soon’ opt-in pages

Do you already have a following on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or another leading social media site? Use it to create pre-launch opt-in subscribers to your blog.

Before launching a blog on any topic, you need to make use of the biggest social media outlets to build a base level of subscribers. While these subscribers aren’t enough to spread word of your blog far and wide, they’re very helpful for launching smoothly.

Provided you have a reasonably large audience and a trust level that’s fairly high with them, you’ll have very little trouble converting followers into subscribers.

I should clarify this, since given the marketing antics that are often pulled on Twitter it’s important to weed out the potential for misinterpretation. If you have a Twitter account that’s loaded up with spam messages, endless self-promotion, and mindless marketing, you’re going to have difficulties converting your followers into opt-in subscribers or blog readers.

There’s a trust that needs to be maintained over social media, and every time you send out a link that’s forwarded to an affiliate offer or a mindless sales page, you lose some of that.

This runs somewhat against the ‘quantity is everything’ Twitter credo that many marketers believe in, but it’s essential to maintain authority if you plan to build a high-traffic blog.

Short-term tricks just don’t work in the blogging world, and an account that’s loaded with direct marketing tactics is likely to cause more damage to your blog before it launches than it could possibly cause in benefits.

Your core audience

Here’s an interesting phenomenon that I, and I’m sure most other marketers have noticed: regardless of where you’re publishing or what you’re writing about, a small (although not always) few will find it and market it for you.

Even if it’s an insignificant batch of ten to twenty people, almost every blog or guest post writer is going to find themselves attracting some kind of audience over time.

In the case of bigger bloggers, this audience eventually grows to the point where it acts as a buoy for their other content.

An interview or guest post on an unrelated site attracts comments that will turn attention in another direction, often towards your main blog or website. When combined with your new blog’s launch, this can eventually prove to be quite a valuable promotional asset.

Just like marketers are familiar with the landing page – a pre-sales page that convinces consumers of a product’s value – bloggers need to be familiar with their core audience, as they effectively do the same thing for their blog, albeit in an organic manner.

Avoiding ‘pushy’ emails

Effective mailing lists, particularly lists that have been generated over several years, are incredibly valuable for marketing a new blog, product, or service. While I didn’t have a large mailing list that could be used for the Fresh Life Advice launch, I can understand how valuable they are from past mail and subscription-based projects I’ve been involved in.

There’s one golden rule for sending email, particularly email that has a non-sale goal attached to it: don’t be pushy.

Andrew Warner, the founder of Mixergy and several other high-value websites, put things fairly well in his interview. When he founded his business in the late 1990s, receiving email was a monumental occasion for one of his subscribers.

Today, it’s something most of us don’t want to see, particularly in a niche as crowded with messages and technology as web design. While pushy email marketing can work in some fields, those with an urgent need for solutions especially, it’s not the best way to market a blog to tech-savvy readers and high-value customers.

Be persuasive when email marketing, but never be needlessly pushy.

Offer an incentive to join

Incentivizing your blog is a fairly risky move. On one hand, it’s incredibly effective at grabbing the attention of potential readers and contributors, yet on the other it can become quite a costly process, both in the amount of time required for a good promotion and the cost of running one.

If you’re completely new to the blogging world and lack any form of audience, running a promotion or competition is a fairly good way to generate subscribers and long-term readers.

The standard ‘buy a product for opt-in’ readers is fairly overblown and dull. Instead, it’s worth offering a service that’s related to your blog’s content, or providing some sort of professional value for your readers.

Instead of the standard prize, try to come up with something unique to your audience as an incentive to join your community or subscribe to your blog.

Action Item:  Create the social media pages for your website, build an email list, and start interacting with other bloggers and users via responses to comments, emails, and other forms of social media. Set aside an hour per day as this is arguably one of the most important steps of launching a successful blog.

Final Thoughts on How To Start A Blog:

It isn’t hard to launch your blog, but it is quite hard to avoid making simple mistakes and minor errors.

More than anything, consistency and regular posting builds authenticity. There’s an endless amount of empty marketing on the internet, particularly on thin blogs purporting to be impartial. When you have a huge archive of content behind you, it becomes significantly less likely for people to think of your blog as a marketing shill, ultra-commercial sales resource, or inauthentic scam.

Simply put, with a large content archive behind you and a reputation that’s stemmed from it, you’re insulated from the risk of being labeled a sell-out. I think that blogs are a fantastic tool for sales and marketing, but new blogs rarely are. It takes a certain amount of authenticity and reliability to sell to regular readers – much more so than it takes to sell to a search-based website visitor.

All in all, running a high-traffic blog has confirmed the immense value that I thought they could provide to both bloggers, readers, and advertisers. There’s really no excuse not to have your own blog, whether as an outlet or a commercial asset. If you’re on the fence about starting a journal or information blog, don’t fret – get out there, get writing, and start your own blog today.

 

Today, more than ever, there seems to be endless advice and information, but there is only one place that will provide you with Fresh Life Advice. Welcome.

 

Thank You!

I would like to thank you for reading, existing, and supporting Fresh Life Advice. This would not be possible without you.

Please also share this guide with any of the people in your circle who may benefit from it. My goal is to help as many people as possible on their financial journey.

Just think. If millions of others can successfully launch blogs, then so can you! Go out there and take action!

 

Are you thinking of starting your own blog? Grab FLA’s COMPLETE Step-By-Step Guide To Starting a Successful Blog and take complete control of your finances today!

August Side Income Report | 2020

Here, we are. Welcome to the 2020 August Side Income Report.

Let’s start this post with the obligatory caveat:

FLA’s side hustle income reports are not for the purpose of bragging. This side income amount of money is by no means impressive. The sole purpose of this series is to inspire you to create diversified income streams in order to help you achieve your financial goals faster.

I began this tumultuous F.I.R.E. (Financial Independence – Retire Early) journey almost immediately after graduating from college and shortly realizing it is never ideal to work for someone other than yourself.

After withdrawing from the corporate world, I plan to fully indulge in my mission of helping 10 million people with their own path to financial freedom. I’ve discovered a wonderful community of people with shared mindsets. So I’m currently on a journey to see if we can turn FLA into a little business that supports the mission.

The reason I’ve decided to publish these income reports is because I want you to be a part of the journey.

After aggressively saving 50%+ of my annual income year after year, I’m approximately 20% of the way to retirement with 10 years to go. I’m aware that side hustles may never fully support one’s expenses, but I’m willing to try.

At the very minimum of making $1/month (what one may consider failure), I am ecstatic as I realize this can be considered supplemental income that will be able to be reinvested into this blog to enhance your reading experience on FLA.

Through my arduous journey, I’ve learned to focus on the future value of money. One dollar to you may look like a standard George Washington-faced bill, but to me, I see its potential.  Accounting for 3% inflation, investing that dollar could return 5 times its original value in 25 years. Yes, that’s like putting $1 into an ATM and having it return a $5 bill back to you. How amazing is compound interest?! Hypothetically, you can increase that principal amount, and you’ve got yourself some unbelievable returns.

My hope with these income reports is ultimately to present some transparency for you. By showing it doesn’t take much effort to earn and save, I may motivate you to chase one of your biggest dreams. Dreams may originally sound outlandish, but they all need to start somewhere, right? Without further ado, here is FLA’s first ever side income report.

 

AUGUST SIDE INCOME REPORT

The best way to make money is to have various streams of revenue. The best way to protect yourself in the course of ill-fated events stripping you of some of your main sources of income is to diversify.

We have all heard the pragmatic advice of “Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.” Well, put this theory into practice. The following is my best attempt to develop additional sources of income. Below are the six ways I attempted to make money from my side hustles in the month of August.

 

 

Stocks are my absolute favorite money making assets. Your money can make money for you with the click of a ‘buy’ button! Sure, there are ups and downs in the stock market, but if you look historically at the S&P 500 Index or the Dow Jones Industrial Average, your investment generally grows over the long term. Remember, investing and gambling are not the same thing.

Investors and analysts may contend that conducting research on which stock to buy may be active work, but it is a generally held credence that dividends are passive income.

What are dividends?

Simply, they are distribution of some of a company’s earnings to a class of its shareholders. In this case, you are the shareholder. Yes, I know it’s hard to believe, but the company you invest in will reward you with bonus money!

Let’s take a look at which stocks paid out dividends this month:

AAPL – $58.38

ABBV – $20.45

Typically, you have 2 choices with dividends. You can either accept the dividend as cold hard cash or you can choose to reinvest the money back into the same stock automatically. It’s as simple as clicking ‘yes’ button when prompted with the question on whether or not to re-invest dividends.

I strongly recommend you to reinvest your dividends and capital gains. Why? Well, look at this way: you didn’t have the earned dividend money to begin with. Do you really need it at this moment? Why not let your additional money grow even more? Enjoy the magic of compounding interest by increasing your principal investment.

August Side Income – Stock Dividends Total: $78.83

 

In my free time, I participate in paid surveys. It’s one of my other sources of income. Most of the time, they are mindless and allow you to temporarily escape from life’s struggles and reality. Often times, you have a chance to play your part in society and provide meaningful feedback on hot topics that may be decided by top companies and government officials.

The 3 survey programs I use daily are:

  1. Prolific
  2. Pinecone Research
  3. YouGov

I strongly recommend any of these three survey websites because of the higher payouts. Our time on this planet is valuable. Always consider how much time you are trading for money.

Prolific

Prolific seems to have the highest quantity of surveys available. Each survey also previews an hourly rate to the user. This significantly helps in determining if the survey is worth your time. I’ve seen them range from $3/hour all the way up to $30/hour, but on average are $8/hour.

Pinecone Research

Pinecone Research surveys always reward you with $3 for every survey. Since each survey is typically around 10 minutes long, the site has a pretty standard hourly rate of $12/hour. However, the frequency of surveys is much less than Prolific.

YouGov

Finally, YouGov’s typical survey lasts for 10 minutes and will pay out $1.50, translating to an hourly rate of $6/hr. Even though it is, the lowest payout, it still helps to have supplemental income. Again, always consider the balance between time and money.

YouGov is an eclectic group of the media, non-profits and companies that congregate to find out what the world thinks. YouGov happens to be one of the most-quoted data sources in the US and across the world.

Prolific, Pinecone Research, and YouGov offer all kinds of rewards, but I normally recommend cash payout via PayPal. The transfer is usually instantaneous. Prolific does pay out in GPB, but the money is translated to USD when conducting a bank transfer in PayPal.

In fact, Prolific does not have a minimum payout, Pinecone’s minimum payout is $5, and YouGov’s minimum cash payout is $50, albeit YouGov offers the option of a $15 Amazon gift card.

DateSurvey CompanyCash Out Reward
08/06/2020Prolific$27.02
08/07/2020Prolific$12.97
08/21/2020Pinecone Research$15.00
08/24/2020Prolific$29.12
August 2020 Survey Earnings

August Side Income –  Surveys Total: $84.11

 

An additional passive income stream is selling your old goods or unused consumer products. Simply list your items with competitive pricing on Amazon and/or eBay, sit back, and let the buyers make you offers.

I notice friends, family, and even co-workers constantly looking to throw out items that are still in perfectly good condition; it drives me nuts! Why not let someone bid on the product? Worst case will be that it doesn’t sell, and then you can throw out the item. No harm, no foul.

At the very least, donate your stuff. I typically enjoy donating old apparel to Salvation Army and other charities. It always feels good to know your treasured clothing is not going to waste.

This month, I was fortunate enough for a couple of strangers to bite on some higher priced inventory I was looking to discard. After fees and small shipping costs, I still walk away with a hefty profit:

DateSelling PlatformItem DescriptionBuyer PriceFees & ShippingNet Profit
08/10/2020eBaySelmer Clarinet$206.68$12.57$194.11
08/17/2020eBayBiaggi Hangeroo Garment Bag$78.66$8.30$70.36
August 2020 Seller Earnings

August Side Income – Selling Total: $264.47

 

As a blogger, I would like to keep the user experience as clean as possible. Therefore, I have chosen to keep all Google AdSense ads from my website. I am an avid reader of many other blogs, and I can truthfully admit it retracts from the reading experience. I am very proud of this decision and will continue with this route.

August Side Income – Google AdSense Revenue: $0

 

I published my first eBook titled “How I Launched, Marketed, and Promoted a High-Traffic Blog in Under 15 Days” at the beginning of August. I only promoted the book as part of the launch, but several people found their way to the sales page. Again, this is a learning process to convert the views into actual sales. As Robert Kiyosaki alludes to in his book Rich Dad, Poor Dad, it’s all about being a best-selling author, not a best-writing author. There is a subtle yet significant difference.

August Side Income – eBook Blog Startup Manual Sales: $0

 

Who would’ve ever thought that spending money would actual earn you money? Well, with cash-back credit cards, now it’s certainly possible. With my Capital One Venture Card, I can now make this dream a reality.

Depending on the card you have, you’ll score 1-2 miles with every dollar you spend. Capital One Miles can be used in a variety of ways, and are generally worth between half a cent and one cent apiece.

Earn 50,000 bonus miles (equivalent to $500) once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.

This month I was able to keep my spending down due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic that limits the amount time spent outside the house, thus limiting the amount of opportunities to throw away those hard earned paychecks.

After looking at my monthly expense report, I saw that I earned 999 miles, which is equivalent to $9.99.

August Side Income – Capital One Credit Card Cash-Back Rewards – $9.99

 

Thank you for taking the time to read through my latest income report and thank you for contributing if you have previously purchased something through one of my affiliate links!

If you wish to support this site, but don’t have a need for any of my affiliate products, you could simply do your regular Amazon shopping through any of the links on this site that lead to Amazon.com. You won’t pay any extra and I will receive a small commission. Thanks so much if you do so!

That’s a wrap for this income report! I am looking forward to earning more money on the side in the future. Stay hustlin’, my friends!

Total August Side Income: $437.40

 

Editorial Note – Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

User Generated Content Disclosure – Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Why Start A Blog | The Most Important 3 Reasons

Why Start a Blog

Why start a blog?

Welcome to my small sliver of the World Wide Web.

I don’t claim to know more about money than you do. In fact, you may have more knowledge than me in over 99% of the field of economics, but if I can at least teach you one single new thing (i.e. The motto on the first US coin was “Mind Your Business”), then I feel I’ve accomplished my goal.

Money is taboo. Nobody wants to tell other people what they make, and even worse is that most people don’t even know how much they spend. Everyone around me just seems resigned to working until 65.

Jason Bateman’s opening monologue from the pilot episode of the hit Netflix TV Series Ozark absolutely shocked me:

“Half of all American adults have more credit card debt than savings. Twenty-five percent have no savings at all. And only 15 percent of the population is on track to fund even 1 year of retirement… Money is, at its essence… The measure of a man’s choices.”

The Internet is vast place filled with tons and tons of endless information – yet, somehow, the humans you talk with every day don’t seem to reflect this phenomenon.

We all know that one person who loves to talk, but has nothing of substance to say:

“Shallow brooks babble loudest, but still waters run deep.”

A United States President said another variation of this when he originated the phrase,

“Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.”

-Theodore Roosevelt, 26th U.S. President

My friends and family may know me as that quiet guy, but this is only because I enjoy listening more than speaking. This is my time to use my countless years and years of absorbing new concepts and formulating them into coherent thoughts for you to practically implement in your day-to-day life.

Do More Bloggin

Why Start A Blog? – The 3 Most Important Reasons

There are about 1,000 different reasons to create a blog, and each reason has varying importance depending on each person. Personally, these are my 3 paramount motives:

1. Legacy

No one lives forever. At least, for now… Last time I checked, humanity has yet to solve the mortality problem. This simple idea is the main driving motivation behind this steam engine of a blog, chugging along the uphill railroad tracks. The goal of Fresh Life Advice is to assist you with taking control of your money by increasing your savings and reducing your spending. FLA will encourage you and help you along your journey to financial independence. I plan to give readers a better understanding of his or her personal finances. FLA is here to show that the big world of Wall Street and intricate investing terms aren’t that complicated after all. This brings me to my next reason to start a blog…

2. Help Others

Again, what is the point of all of this money earned if you can’t enjoy it with others? Everyone may have his or her own internal purpose in life, but many believe the overarching theme is compassion towards others.

“At some point, you recognize the reason we are all here is to help someone else. That is the sole reason we are here. Once you get that in your head, life gets so much simpler. It gets so much simpler.”

-Tim Cook, Chief Executive Officer of Apple

3. Creative Outlet

As an engineer by day, I find my 9 to 5 filled with stringent guidelines, methodical calculations, and analysis that must free from errors.  As enjoyable as it is to know that I’m designing new real-world applications and ensuring the world is a safer place, it can often be mentally taxing. That is why we all need some sort of creative outlet.

Starting a blog seems to be the perfect solution to this conundrum. Not only do I receive a channel for the left side of my brain but I also am in a position to explore other hobbies, such as personal finance.

 

And of course, there is the undeniable financial motivation. You can’t avoid how tempting the additional income may seem. Not only is additional income, but at its very core, blogging is passive income.

Money is everywhere, and those who are willing to get a little creative and find new sources of income will reap the rewards. Everyone has some skill or motivation that makes them valuable. Find yours to figure out why you should start a blog.

Together, you and I will take the road less traveled, pioneer our way to retire early, and attain financial independence.

Today, more than ever, there seems to be endless advice and information, but there is only one place that will provide you with Fresh Life Advice. Welcome.

 

Thank You!

As the first blog post on this website, I would like to thank you for reading, existing, and supporting Fresh Life Advice. This would not be possible without you.

Please also share this guide with any of the people in your circle who may benefit from it. My goal is to help as many people as possible on their financial journey.

Just think. If millions of others can successfully launch blogs, then so can you! Go out there and take action!

 

Are you thinking of starting your own blog? Grab FLA’s COMPLETE Step-By-Step Guide To Starting a Successful Blog and take complete control of your finances today!

Fresh Life Advice | New Perspective on Personal Finance

Welcome to the Personal Finance space of the World Wide Web.

This is Fresh Life Advice.

An easy (and free) way to support this site is by clicking this link to do your Amazon shopping. Prices are the same for you and this blog receives a small commission.

I’ll be blogging and bringing you new quality content you can’t find anywhere else on the web right here.

If you want to start your own blog, feel free to start with hosting your very own site!