Thursday, September 29, 2016

In Need of a Little Inspiration?

     Sometimes, it’s hard to be inspired when you have a ton of work in front of you. Yes, it’s all good work, and it’s all going to pay off, but we get tired, or bored, or we procrastinate. Well, below is a blog post written by Jon Morrow. What’s amazing about this post is that it didn’t just go viral. It got over a million hits. That’s a lot of hits. So here it is, in its entirety. I can’t force you to read it, but please trust me when I say it’s worth the read. I actually printed it out and read it when I’m in need of a little inspiration via the swift kick in the ass this post provides. So, without further adieu… 

How to Quit Your Job, Move to Paradise 
and Get Paid to Change the World
This post is by Jon Morrow of Smart Blogger (formerly Boost Blog Traffic)

After all, that’s the dream, right? Forget the mansions and limousines and other trappings of Hollywood-style wealth. Sure, it would be nice, but for the most part, we bloggers are simpler souls with much kinder dreams.

We want to quit our jobs, spend more time with our families, and finally have time to write. We want the freedom to work when we want, where we want. We want our writing to help people, to inspire them, to change them from the inside out.

It’s a modest dream, a dream that deserves to come true, and yet a part of you might be wondering… Will it?

Do you really have what it takes to be a professional blogger, or are you just being dumb? Is it realistic to make enough money from this to quit your job, or is that just silly? Can you really expect people to fall in love with what you write, or is that just wishful thinking?

Sure, it’s fun to dream about your blog taking off and changing your life, but sometimes you wonder if it’s just that: a dream. This is the real world, and in the real world, dreams don’t really come true. Right? Well, let me tell you a little story…

How I quit my job 

In April of 2006, I was hit by a car going 85 miles an hour.

I didn’t see him coming, and I don’t remember much about the accident, but I do remember being pulled out of my minivan with my shirt on fire. The front end of the van was torn off, gasoline was everywhere, and my legs were broken in 14 places.

For the next three months, I had nothing to do but endure the pain and think about my life. I thought about my childhood. I thought about my dreams. I thought about my career. And overall, I decided I didn’t like the way things were going. 

So I quit. I sold everything I owned. I stopped paying most of my bills. I turned in my letter of resignation, worked my two weeks, and then disappeared without saying goodbye.

Hearing about my insanity, a friend called and asked me, “Well, what are you going to do now?”

“I don’t know,” I told him. “Maybe start a blog.” And so that’s what I did.

For the next three months, I didn’t just tinker around with blogging. I dedicated myself to it. I started work at 8 AM in the morning, and I kept going until 11 PM at night. I didn’t watch television. I didn’t see my friends. From morning till night, I was writing, reading, and connecting with other bloggers. Nothing else.

Within a month, I had On Moneymaking off the ground, and within two months, it was getting 2,000 visitors a day and Performancing nominated it for the best business/money blog of the year. A couple of months after that, Brian Clark asked me to become the Associate Editor of Copyblogger, and so I sold On Moneymaking for five figures and went to work at one of the most popular blogs at the world. And amazingly, that’s just the beginning of the story.

How I moved to paradise

Have you ever woken up one day and realized you secretly despise everything about where you live? The weather is horrible. Your neighbors are jerks. You don’t like inviting anyone to your home, because it’s always a wreck, and you’re ashamed of how it looks.

Well, that’s exactly what happened to me in January of 2009. I was sitting in my pathetic apartment, wrapped up in blankets to keep warm, trying to get some work done on the computer, when it struck me how monumentally stupid it was. I was a full-time blogger, for God’s sakes. I could do my work from anywhere in the world. Why on Earth was I living in this hellhole? 

The only problem was I had no idea where I wanted to go, but a couple of weeks later, the telephone rang, and it was an old friend who had retired to Mazatlan, Mexico. As usual, he was calling to gloat about the weather and the food and the general superiority of the Mexican lifestyle, but instead of just suffering through it this time, I stopped him and said, “No, don’t tell me any more. I’m moving there.”

“What? When?” he stammered.

“I don’t know exactly when,” I told him, “but I’m starting right now.”

Two months later, I took a one-week trip to scout it out and look for places to live. When I got back, I started selling all of my stuff, packing the rest of it into storage, and saying goodbye to friends. Almost one year to the day after our phone call, I hopped in the car and drove just shy of 3,000 miles to my new beachfront condo in the finest resort in Mazatlan.

As I write this, I’m sitting on my balcony with my laptop, watching (no kidding) dolphins jumping out in the Pacific. It’s a sunny day, there’s a nice breeze, and I’m thinking about ordering a piña colada from the restaurant downstairs. Lucky me, right?

Well, what might surprise you is I left out a piece of the story. It’s the part where I have a fatal disease, I can’t move from the neck down, and yet I essentially get paid to help people. Let’s talk about that part next.

How I get paid to change the world

Yours Truly
You know what’s funny? The worst part about having a disease like SMA isn’t how everyone treats you like a charity case. It’s not the frustration, anger, or depression. It’s not even the inability to reach over and pinch a cute girl’s butt when you want to (although that’s pretty bad).

No, the worst part is the freakin’ bills.  The doctors. The medication. The nurses. I added it all up, and the total cost of keeping me alive in the US was $127,000 a year. That’s not rent. That’s not food. That’s just medical expenses.

Granted, I didn’t actually have to pay all that. I had private insurance, Medicaid, other government aid programs, but all that support comes at a price: they control you. The government allotted me only $700 a month to live on, and I had to spend every single cent above that on medical expenses, or they would cut me off.

So for years, that’s what I did. If I made $5,000 one month, I set aside $700 for living expenses, and I spent the other $4,300 on medical bills. Nothing was left. Ever.
And eventually, I got sick of it.

I wanted to make money without having to worry about losing my healthcare. I wanted to take care of my family, instead of them always having to take care of me. I wanted to actually live somewhere nice, not some ratty little apartment built for folks below the poverty line. The only problem was, it just wasn’t possible for me in US. No matter how I played with the numbers, I couldn’t make it work. So, I did something crazy: I quit Medicaid. I moved to Mexico. I stopped worrying about myself at all and started a business based on one simple idea: Helping people.

I found up-and-coming writers who wanted a mentor, and I trained them. I found businesses who wanted to cash in on social media, and I developed their strategy. I found bloggers who wanted more traffic, and I created a course on how to get it.

In exchange, they paid me what they could. Some folks gave me $50 an hour and others $300 an hour, but I treated them all the same, and I dedicated myself to making their dreams a reality.
The results? Within two months, I was making so much money so fast PayPal shut down my account under suspicions of fraudulent activity. Today, not only am I making more than enough to take care of myself, but a couple of months ago, I got uppity and bought my father a car. Do you understand how precious that is? For a guy who can’t move from the neck down to buy his father a car?

And the best part is, I’m not making money blogging doing mindless drudgery. I’m changing people’s lives. Every day, I get emails from readers who say my posts have changed their thinking. Every day, I get emails from students who say my advice has changed their writing. Every day, I get emails from clients who say my strategies have changed the way they do business. I can’t really believe it. Normally, a guy like me would be wasting away in a nursing home somewhere, watching television and waiting to die, but here I am speaking into a microphone and essentially getting paid to change the world. If my fingers worked, I’d pinch myself.

And here’s the thing: I don’t want it for just me. I want it for you too. The reason I told you this whole story wasn’t just to brag but also to convince you of one incontrovertible point:


You want to quit your job and become a professional blogger?     
You can.
You want to travel around the world, living life to its fullest?        
You can.
You want to dedicate your every hour to helping people and making the world a better place?
You can.

Because listen … I know it’s horribly cliché, but if I can quit my job, risk the government carting me off to a nursing home because I can’t afford my own healthcare, convince my poor mother to abandon her career and drive my crippled butt 3,000 miles to a foreign country, and then make enough money to support myself, my mother, my father, and an entire nursing staff using nothing but my voice, then what can you accomplish if you really set your mind to it? My guess: pretty much anything.

No, it won’t be easy. At some point, I guarantee you’ll want to quit. I guarantee people will treat you like you’re insane. I guarantee you’ll cry yourself to sleep, wondering if you made a horrible mistake. But never stop believing in yourself. The world is full of naysayers, all of them eager to shout you down at the slightest indication you might transcend mediocrity, but the greatest sin you can commit is to yourself become one of them. Our job isn’t to join that group, but to silence it, to accomplish things so great and unimaginable that its members are too awed to speak.

You can do it.
I believe in you.
So get started.
Right freaking now.

Jon Morrow is Associate Editor of Copyblogger. If you’d like to learn more about what it really takes to become a popular blogger, check out his free videos on guest blogging.

Enough said...

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Three Elements Of Sunk Costs You Need To Review For Better Business Decisions.

We’ve all done it, invested so deeply into something that we didn’t walk away even when all the signs were there. Instead, we dwelled on everything we sank into that business, job, relationship, home, health, finances, etc. and kept on truckin’ as if everything was fine. The problem with sunk costs is that once we’ve accepted them in one aspect of our life, they can easily slip into others. And the really annoying part is that when we’re finally able to view those situations in hindsight, we almost always wish we’d taken action sooner.
Sunk costs can often be divided into 3 general categories:
Time:  We’ve sunk an enormous amount of our time into something—time we’re never going to get back.
Energy:  It’s very hard to walk away from people, things, and situations we’ve sunk our honest and sincere energy and effort into.
Money:  Too many people cross over financial boundaries by sinking money that should have never been used as capital into their ventures.
The reality is that anytime we invest our time, energy, and/or money into one or more aspects of our life, failure is a risk. If you find yourself in a situation where you’ve been investing your time, energy, and/or money, but there aren’t any signs of your investment paying off in the near future, maybe it’s time to take a serious look at why you’re still plugging away at it.
You have proof it’s going to get better. If this is the case, it’s time to sit down and make sure you’re not trying to avoid reality. Believing in what you’re doing is important, but you still need to do a reality check every now and again to make sure you’re focusing your efforts and resources appropriately. Dale Carnegie has a few good thoughts about this:
·       What is the worst that can possibly happen?
·       Prepare to accept the worst.
·       Try to improve on the worst.
Planning for the worst may sound negative, but it’s a reminder that having a cut-off point, or an exit strategy, is always a good idea. Knowing how and when to get out can definitely reduce the stress of getting in.
Hoping things are going to get better.  Hope can be a funny emotion. We use it to stay positive, but it’s also evidence of doubts or fears, or that we’re struggling with clarity. If hope is keeping you from acknowledging the extent of your sunk costs, find someone you respect and have a conversation. Having an objective set of eyes on the situation can definitely be eye opening.
We’d rather fail than be found out. Sometimes we don’t walk away when we should because we don’t want our failures to be exposed. Here’s the thing: Everybody fails, and that means you’re going to fail sometimes too. Suck it up. Give yourself an appropriate amount of time to feel like crap, and then get over it. When you do, there will come a morning when you’ll wake up feeling refreshed and ready to move on.

Here’s the best tip of all for avoiding sunk costs. Before you enter into a sale, investment, job, or some other business arrangement, think hard about what you’re about to invest in. Put some time and effort into examining the true ramifications of your decision. Do your due diligence. It’s your best friend because every business situation comes with some degree of risk. The better job you do up front of proactively identifying and addressing those risks, the less likely you are to find yourself sinking under their weight.

Alan Luoma: I am a Sales Coach with extensive experience in industrial sales, sales management, new

product development, sales and product training. I work with a great national sustainable packaging company and their exceptional distributors to increase sales. My success has been and is in utilizing the Pareto 80/20 principal in business and life. I have become an expert in seeking out and eliminating behaviors that prevent business people from being successful. I am a member of The National Speakers Association and New England Speakers Association. You can view my profile on LinkedIn, or contact me at 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Some Days Count More Than Others

Which is more important – the day you receive a diagnosis or the days of treatment that follow? The surgery or the recovery? Does a short-lived healthcare incident matter more or less than the many days that follow it?

A comment I’ve heard many times over the years as a consumer advocate for pregnant women is, “Why do people spend so much time worrying about the day of the birth, but they don’t invest the same energy into learning how to parent after the child is born?” While I understand the thought process at play, I disagree with the implication that the birth, which is only one day, is less important than the ongoing tasks of raising a child.  Similarly, the treatment of an illness can be a lengthy process, while the diagnosis stands out as a pronouncement, and the recovery from surgery happens over weeks and months, while the surgery itself only takes a few hours. Yet the diagnosis, the surgery, and the birth, while shorter in duration, lay the foundation for what follows. They act as ‘pivot points,’ which affect the way everything that follows unfolds. Because of this, it is worth investing the time and energy to make sure you are preparing for those important moments properly.

People make the mistake of believing that healthcare providers all practice the same way, hospitals all provide services equally, that care providers will tell them everything they need to know, and that our advanced healthcare system almost guarantees a good outcome. But evidence shows that there are big differences in quality of care between providers and facilities, and patients have to be proactive in learning about their healthcare needs and advocating for themselves. Just trusting “the experts” without checking to make sure that trust is warranted for your case can lead to serious and lengthy consequences.

If you aren’t seeing a truly skilled doctor or getting the right diagnostic tests, the diagnosis may be incorrect and all the treatment that follows will be less effective or not effective at all. A surgery that is botched can make recovery longer, more painful, or even cause greater damage than it was meant to correct. People clearly remember the birth of a child for their whole life, including how they were treated, what was said to them while they were in labor, and whether they felt fear or joy. Those memories form the basis for their feelings towards their baby and their sense of competence and as they do all those feedings and diaper changings for their newborn. Clearly, getting things right from the very start of a healthcare journey has an effect on how rocky or smooth the road is and where the journey ends up.

The secret to an easier journey is in the preparation. Those ‘pivot points;’ those days that stand out because they set a new life course, rarely stand alone. Instead they are the result of the work you did, or didn’t do, to get you to that point in the journey. So is it worth it to get that second or third opinion on a diagnosis? Is it worth it to interview surgeons and find healthcare centers of excellence for surgeries and procedures? Is it worth the time and energy to prepare for birth?


What happens in the long-term needs planning and attention too. Having knowledge, making informed decisions, and being prepared for the treatment process, the post-surgical recovery, or parenting shouldn’t be ignored. It’s all important. Don’t make the mistake, though, of downplaying the ‘pivot point’ because it’s only one day. Some days count more than others.

Michal Klau-Stevens is a professional speaker and healthcare consumer advocate. She is a maternity consultant, pregnancy coach, and expert on consumer healthcare care issues, Past President of BirthNetwork National, a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, and mother.  Her website is TheBirthLady.INFO. Find her on LinkedIn and on Facebook at The Birth Lady page!