Author Archives: Jason

Your typical adventurous entrepreneurial philanthropist. I have the passion to live life and the compassion for others to live theirs.
Entrepreneurship

How to Start a Blog in 2 Easy Steps

How You Can Make Money Blogging

Most bloggers can make money through advertisements (banners or Google Adsense), through paid sponsored posts, getting writing gigs with other websites, potential speaking gigs, and affiliate income (partnerships with companies that sell products online and you get money for a completed referral). For instance, I’ve started making some income sending referrals to the web hosting service I use, Bluehost and SiteGround.

How I Make Money Blogging

My first three months blogging I made zero because I really didn’t know what I was doing. I spent a lot of time creating great blog posts as opposed to trying to make money through blogging. This actually served me well in the long run.

I met some bloggers who shared their secrets and within four months I made my first $8.24 from ads (you know those ads that appear on websites and if you click on them I get a penny or two).I, now average $100+ dollars on Google Adsense per month which doesn’t seem much but it’s all passive income. I haven’t gotten to the point where I feel it necessary to share my online income, but that can change.

As my blog traffic grew, companies asked me to guest post on my blog paying $50-$100 (these are called sponsored posts). When my expertise grew, I was hired by online brands and financial companies to write for their blogs and create content for their websites. I began writing articles for their websites at $25 for 500 words. Now, I command between $0.75 to $1.25 per word (got to love the power of expertise and having bestselling author status).

Financial institutions and technology startups find my blogs and I’ve done some marketing strategy and financial education work for them. At times, I’ll take on coaching clients too who wants more a hands one approach.

So, it all goes back to blogging.

Who can start a blog?

You can.

Anyone can really start blogging and you can use existing platforms like wordpress.com, medium.com and Linkedin to post your thoughts on various topics. But, to make money from blogging you need your own website and hosting.

You can blog on your free time, during lunch breaks, on the weekend, and even while on vacation when you just have to get an idea or thought out into the world.

How to Get Started

Starting a blog isn’t complicated but it isn’t easy either. It just takes time and following the information below can help you get started. The following is my two-step process to get started right now.

Step 1: Get Web Hosting

I think most people (and I felt this way too) feel it daunting to start because of the technology side of blogging. How do I get a domain name? How do I get the blog online?

I started blogging (and own a few blogs now) using BlueHost. For a beginner to moderate blogger this is a good place to start because it’s cheap…affordable…um…phroogal (it sounds like frugal). I’ve had BlueHost since 2011 when I was travel blogging.

I’m very transparent and want you to know that the links on this post help me earn affiliate income. When you click on a link and make a purchase the companies send me referral dollars that help me continue to serve. I’m not just recommending these services. I use them as well.

Use my link and get started right here with Bluehost

Bluehost Landing Page

 

I also use and love SiteGround too which is a little more than BlueHost but a great web host to use. I recommend you check both. I’m about options and these two are sound web host starting points.

Choose length of hosting service

Once you’re signed up, you’ll need to choose your terms. How long do you think you’ll be blogging for?

I initially chose one year in the event that blogging was just a passing interest. However, a three-year hosting plan is still affordable. To determine what you need, answer that question again. If you chose a one year plan, you’ll get a notice to renew before the contract is up. Also, you pay for the entire year.

Choose your hosting term (1 year or 3 years) and opt-in for privacy protection (additional cost) because it’s good to keep where you’re living private. Your name and address is needed and published online to comply with regulations, but you can hide sensitive information. My information is all private to keep some anonymity.

Get your domain name

With BlueHost, you can get a free domain name url for a year using this link. The domain you get belongs to you and if you decide, for instance, to move over to SiteGround you can bring your domain name and url over, just don’t let the domain registration expire.

Below you can search for a domain name with Bluehost and it will take you to hosting options making it easy to get started in one sitting.

Step 2: Start Blogging Using WordPress

At this point you have a registered domain name and purchased a web hosting plan. The next step is installing WordPress which is my favorite platform to use for all my blogs. You’ll also find a lot of online support and free resources to help you master this easy to use blogging platform.

When you’re logged onto your Bluehost dashboard (called cPanel) look for Install WordPress and follow the instructions. It’s very easy to do this yourself, but you can pay a few dollars to have the web host or someone do it for you too. I think you can figure out how to install WordPress though.

Mojo Marketplace WordPress

WordPress is free platform and used by millions of people and companies to blog. When you install WordPress, you have the option to choose a theme. There are many free themes available. The look and feel can be customized, but again I’m probably getting way ahead (you may want to customize the look and feel of your website as you build web traffic, but focus on writing great blog posts first).

If you’re adamant about a look and feel to your blog and none of the free themes will do, I’ve used ThemeForest to find a custom theme for my blogs. Typically, I search for one I like and hire an expert to make modifications to fit what I need. You can browse through their marketplace to find one (again I caution you on trying to complicate things and starting simple).

Top 3 Frequently Asked Questions About Blogging and Web Hosting

Shouldn’t I start by getting my domain name first?

Hold off on getting a domain name first and choose a web host provider because Bluehost, for instance, gives you free domain name with a 12-month hosting service.

Do I need to start using social media?

Social media networks like twitter, facebook and pinterest are helpful in getting you traffic. You can share your new posts with followers, family, and friends. If you already have social accounts, then you’re set. But, if you don’t, then you may want to set these up.

How can I add designs and artwork to my blog post?

I use canva.com to create images for my blogs and social media channels. It’s free to use and I find very easy platform to get started. You can design to your hearts content for free, but an upgrade is also available if you’re looking to do more. Oh, and you can use photos you take with your smartphone to keep it personal and upload them to canva.com and spruce them up and add texts.

 

5 Blogging Tips to Increase Your Likelihood to Make Money with a Blog

  • Focus on a specific topic to talk about and write stuff that people will enjoy reading.
  • Make sure you’ve read your writing before it’s posted so people aren’t distracted with bad grammar.
  • Promote your blog and tell those in your inner circle about it.
  • Engage with others in that niche. I did this with personal finance bloggers and have made some good friends and exposed my new blog to established ones.
  • Learn how to use social media (twitter, facebook, pinterest) to connect, discover, and tell others about your work.

Get into the habit of writing great posts that add value to the conversation of that topic and promote. Eventually, you’ll want to learn how to increase your traffic but that’s not where you are right now.

In the future as your readers grow, start collecting email addresses so you can email them when new blogs are posted. This is an important part of growing your audience. We’ll address that topic in another post.

What are you waiting for? Get started blogging with BlueHost or SiteGround.

It will take you 15-20 minutes to complete this entire process and you’re off to a great start. If you need technical help, customer service support from both hosting providers can sort it all out for you too.

Thanks for reading this entire post. I hope you find it helpful. Feel free to leave your comments and I will do my best to answer your questions and refer you to resources. Again, because I adhere to transparency, when you click on some of the links on my website, including on this post, and you buy a product or service from a partner, I will be paid a referral. These referral payments help keep the lights on and give me time to create great stuff for you to enjoy.

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Entrepreneurism

Passion, Happiness and Serving Your Purpose

I was asked to speak on the topic of purpose and happiness on the radio. I got my talking points ready and alas we focused our 4 minute airtime discussion on financial wellness.

Mission: You can feel more happiness and life satisfaction when you’re serving a purpose.

Passion and purpose are two distinct things. It’s important to clarify the differences. Passions are personal interests that you invest time and resources. Passions can come and go as your interests in people, things and projects may wane. You may decide your time and resources are better spent elsewhere hence why you’ve lost passion for whatever interest you were focused on.

Purpose is serving something greater than yourself. Purpose can serve your family, your community, and various projects. In a Time article, the act of giving back to others scientists are discovering “activates the same areas of the brain as food and sex.”

Purpose gives us connections. We’re social beings and need human connections. When you spend time with others whose purpose is aligned with yours, you feel connected, and thus the feeling of happiness follows.

Example: You may be passionate about your pets and when you decide to contribute your time and resources into preventing animal abuse you’ve found a purpose.

Obstacles and Methods

Not enough time. Be honest with yourself on how much time you can invest in your purpose. Time is finite and we all have other obligations that require our time. Manage your time. Manage your time by understanding how much of it is allocated on work, projects, interests and your passions.

Not enough money or resources. When your basic needs are met, serving your purpose becomes a much easier task. Finances impact our overall wellbeing and ability to serve our purpose. You cannot think of helping others when you’re struggling to keep yourself afloat. Focus on helping yourself first and find stability before adding more on your plate that requires use of your money and resources.

In You Only Live Once: The Roadmap to Financial Wellness and a Purposeful Life, I addressed the importance of achieving financial wellbeing that will lead to more time and resources to invest in your passions guiding you live a more purposeful one.

In order to thrive, you must survive and this means you must take care of yourself before you are able to take care of anyone or any project. The reason we don’t feel as satisfied while serving our purpose because we’re stressed about our situation. You can feel happiness by escaping your situation by focusing on your purpose, but avoidance won’t provide long term satisfaction.

Solutions

To serve your purpose you must take care of yourself first. You must be physically and financially sound. You cannot serve your purpose if you’re tired and ill. You cannot serve your purpose if you’re stressing about your finances.

Identify Your Purpose by Broadening Your Interests

List all your interests and determine how much time and resources you’re devoting to them. This helps you discover things you’re passionate about (more time and resources devoted to an interest shows your passions). Don’t have any interests that compel you into action? Broaden your experiences by trying new things, meeting new people, and having different conversations.

Now, look at the list and identify the passions that impact the wellbeing of others. You’re now going through the process of identifying your purpose. When you decide to devote more time, energy and resources to a specific purpose you’re living a purposeful life.

When you’ve made this conscious choice it impacts your wellbeing. You feel happier in your ability to give back and help others because you can and able to.

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Money

Financial Wellness Score: An Important Tool on The Road to Financial Wellness

Financial Wellness Score

Financial wellness is about your health and wealth. It’s about the overall quality of the life you’re living. Financial wellness takes into account how you think and feel about money. It’s not just about measuring your financial numbers and achieving financial goals but how those numbers impact your wellbeing and how those goals relate to improving your living situation.

As an executive, I’ve spent years championing the importance of financial education as part of my company’s workplace wellness program. After founding Phroogal, I’ve taken that purpose on the road and with a broader mission to get people to understand how financial knowledge is life changing. I’ve met thousands of people all across the country and our community has continued to grow to over 65,000 people who believe as we do about health and wealth.

After my road trip last year, I was wondering how we can help organizations and people get a bird’s eye view on how they are doing with their finances that took into account objective (numbers) and subjective (feelings) factors. When you take into account how people feel about their financial numbers, we find the areas to improve and then create a plan that will work.

This thought has been on my mind and wondered if we’d ever get to the point of developing a methodology.

Well about two weeks ago I was invited by Fidelity to learn about some new products and tools they developed. I flew to San Francisco and spent half a day with the Fidelity team. For transparency Fidelity paid for my flight and accommodations. Fidelity Investments created the Fidelity Wellness Score for “for people to measure their financial health, identify the areas where they need help and how they can improve.”

“To enhance our Financial Wellness program, Fidelity developed a way to measure Financial Wellness and offer a clear way to assess if a person is financially well. The score is based on what we believe are the four key domains of Financial Wellness: budget, debt, savings and protection, all of which are equally significant,” said Jeanne Thompson, senior vice president of Thought Leadership, Fidelity Investments. “The score is unique in that it accounts for objective criteria, such as how much savings a person has and how they manage expenses, and subjective criteria, like how they feel about their finances. We believe Financial Wellness means being well and feeling well.”

Financial Wellness Score

Fidelity’s Financial Wellness Score is based on a scale from 0 to 100, where 0 represents extreme financial distress and 100 indicates the maximum level of financial wellness.[iii]

I was fortunate to get a first hand and behind the scene look at the program. They conducted a survey of more than 6,000 people that looked at their retirement but also asked questions pertaining to daily financial activity. I think this is important because we all know the importance of planning for retirement but our daily financial situation may prevent us from doing so. When Fidelity came up with their methodology I applauded their effort in understanding people can’t think of the future if they are trying to figure out how to pay for rent or put food on the table.

Financial Wellness Score

Here are some additional interesting facts:

 

Applying the Fidelity Financial Wellness Score, the results reveal 14 percent of those surveyed are financially “excellent” (a score between 81 and 100), 37 percent are “good” (a score between 61 and 80), 33 percent “fair” (a score between 41 and 60) and 16 percent “need attention” (a score between 0 and 40). Here are the observed attributes of respondents in each category.

The survey also reveals:

  • Generation X is the most financially stressed: More than half of GenXers[v] (52 percent) feel neutral or negative about their debt situation. By comparison, nearly two-thirds of Boomers[vi] (65 percent) feel like their debt is manageable.
  • For many, money brings happiness: 57 percent of those surveyed said they could not be happy unless they are financially secure. Surprisingly, Millennials[vii] are more likely to feel this way than other generations with 66 percent agreeing with the statement.
  • People are most concerned about debt: 30 percent agree strongly that their household has too much debt and 11 percent say they think about debt “all the time.”
  • Financial stress hits home for women: Women are twice as likely to report feeling worried or sick about their financial situation as men.

Financial Wellness Score

“When the Financial Wellness Score is made available this summer as part of Fidelity’s Money Checkup, it will be a wake-up call for some employees and for others it will bring peace of mind. The score will bring clarity to where they stand financially and put a spotlight on next steps,” added Thompson. “We’ll be working with employers on how they can incorporate this Financial Wellness measure as part of their strategy to give employees the financial confidence and control they need.”

I can’t wait to continue to dive deeper into their score matrix and share this tool with others. I think this is a big step on the Road to Financial Wellness.

 

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Uncategorized

How to Spring Forward Your Finances

Daylight Savings Time begins on March 12 this year and as we move into the Spring season this day has always reminded me to take a moment to spring forward our finances. There are many things that can distract us in our daily lives so it’s important to use days like these to remind us to take time to evaluate our financial situations and set goals.

I’ve always found springtime to be an easier period to reevaluating financial relationships and assessing financial goals. I feel this way because the sun is out a little longer and the warm weather brings with it a better mood.

Today, I am the guest for #CashChat a weekly Twitter chat hosted by the amazing Tarra “Ms. Madam Money” Jackson, a good friend and colleague.

I’m challenging you all to a 238 day of Daylight Savings. The prize? Your savings account after the challenge is over.

The goal of course is ingraining the habit of savings well before the holiday spending season begins which coincidently is when DST ends on November 2nd.

4 Ways to Save During Daylight Savings Time

(originally appeared on phroogal.com)

1. Set a savings goal. Set a savings goal that you’d like to achieve by November 1st. It might be funds for the holiday gift list, a winter vacation or simply challenge yourself to see if you can set a financial goal and achieve it.

2. Transfer a dollar a day. If saving is something you haven’t done, start by depositing or transferring $1 each day into a savings account. Don’t cheat by depositing $7 for an entire week. The idea is for you to become aware of your savings account and ingrain a habit of depositing into it. One dollar doesn’t seem a lot but think of it as an exercise. The small amounts lead to larger weights…er…um…dollar amounts.

This exercise is great for children too. Give your child a dollar and have them place it in a savings jar. If you’re tech savvy, show your child how money is transferred from your account into their savings account online.

3. Save $5 a day by cutting out a daily treat. If you’re like me you might be spending $5 on coffee at your favorite cafe. During DST, goal yourself to save $5 per day and place that amount into a savings account. By the end of Daylight Savings Time, you’ll see a savings account with $1190.

4. Lower monthly expenses. Spring into action and cut out unnecessary monthly payments. Call up your cellular company, cable, gas and oil providers and ask for a discount or learn about new deals that can save you money. Any dollars you save on bills is then transferred into a savings account.

We all know the importance of savings and there are many ways to save. The motivation to save is just a latent one so we do need clever ideas to get the savings mojo going.

What are some of your ideas to save during Daylight Savings Time?

Thank you all so much for joining us and stay in touch. Make sure you subscribe to the newsletter and check out my bestselling and The New York Times reviewed book, You Only Live Once: The Roadmap to Financial Wellness and a Purposeful Life

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Money

6 Money Mindset Lessons for Millennials

6 Money Mindset Lessons

As a millennial, I dream big and everything I do is intentional and serves a purpose. I wasn’t always this way. It took years of professional success, financial distress and low personal satisfaction to get to where I am today. I am more mindful of the decisions I make and understand the implications my financial knowledge has had in my ability to live my dream lifestyle.

We are a purposeful bunch and we care a lot about social impact. We also understand the importance of financial freedom in order to do things of significant importance. However, many millennials are straddled with student loan debt, low wages compared to cost of living in the cities they reside, and difficulty in finding affordable housing.

Here are six money mindset lessons that truly resonated with the millennials we met around the country:

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Money

What is financial wellness?

Financial wellness is about your health and wealth. It’s about the overall quality of the life you’re living. Financial wellness takes into account your financial and life goals.

What is financial wellness

Financial wellness makes you aware of your values and then allocate your time and resources to what matters most.

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