Wednesday, December 28, 2016

How And Why To Turn Your New Year's Resolutions Into Goals

Here comes 2017.  Let the countdown begin!  Are you ready to start and fail to achieve your New Year's resolutions once again?  I don't mean to insult your resolve: "I'm going to do it this year for sure!"  Over at they have some sobering stats about New Year's resolutions.  Did you know that for 2015,

Only 8% of people were successful in achieving their resolutions.

24% of people who make resolutions (only 45% of all Americans usually make resolutions) never succeed and fail each time.

I can believe these stats.  After all, before I got a hold of Brian Tracy's, "Goals! How to get everything you want--faster than you ever thought possible," I was a statistic myself...

The year was 2006 and I was going to turn 30 in September.  I was having a mid-life crisis.  Laughable, but true.  I told my ex-wife, wife #1, that I wanted to buy myself a Classic car.  I verbalized my New Year's resolution to her: I will save more money each month until my birthday.

To make a long story short, I saved nothing, nada, zippo, but I still bought an $8000, 1965 Corvair Monza coupe.  I had to ship it from Las Vegas to California.  Filled with false emotion that this car would somehow make me feel like I was accomplishing a bucket list item, and with my ex-wife's permission, I tapped into our emergency fund within our Brokerage account to pay for the car.

Image result for 1965 corvair monza
Not my Monza.  Mine was white.

To this day, it is my dumbest financial move.  I sold the car to raise money for Jessica's, wife numero dos, engagement ring and I only got $3500 as we were dead smack in the middle of the financial crisis.  Lesson learned: never buy a big ticket item high on emotion to fill a void you "think" you have.  But the bigger lesson is that I failed to achieve my New Year's resolution, and it depleted my emergency fund as a result.

Why did I fail my New Year's resolution?  For starters, the resolution was very vague.  This is the one mistake all people make.  When you have a resolution like, "I will enjoy life to the fullest," you are bound NOT to enjoy life to the fullest.  That happened to be 2016's top resolution by the way, according to  What does enjoying life to the fullest look like?  Are you skydiving everyday?  Are you climbing Mt. Everest once a month?  Are you visiting Venice and riding a gondola with your significant other?  What?!

See you don't have to be specific to fail at a resolution, but you do have to be specific to succeed with a goal.  In addition to being specific when re-writing your resolutions, because that's what I want you to do, you'll need to have a timetable of by when to have your resolution completed.  Lastly, make sure your resolution-goal is achievable.  If you want to "save more money," you wouldn't state that you want to save $2000 a month (specific) when your monthly income is just above $3000 (not achievable).

Let me help you out by giving you some examples of resolutions turned into goals.

Resolution: I will save more money.
Goal: I will save $2400 in 2017 by saving an average of $200 every month.

Resolution: I will live life to the fullest.
Goal: By January 31st, I will have gone on a hot air balloon ride with my significant other.

Resolution: I will lose weight.
Goal:  By March 31st, I will have lost 6 pounds (2 pounds a month on average) utilizing a combination of dieting and exercising.

Big difference right?  With goals, you can have benchmarks that let you know if you're being accountable.  Resolutions completely let you off the hook.  This is why you fail to achieve them!  There's no personal accountability in them.

Please don't do resolutions for 2017 unless you convert them into specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely (S.M.A.R.T) goals.  I mean, are you really going to make your resolutions happen this year taking the same approach you took last year, and the year's before?  Chances are that you're not.

Take a deep breath, get a piece of paper and a pencil, and write out your resolutions.  Are they lame?  If so, convert them to goals as I've shown you above.  And just try it out.  You may be surprised by the outcomes and 2017 could in fact be your best year ever!

Thank you for reading.  If you liked this post and want to automate getting them in your inbox, please subscribe to this blog.  See the big, shiny red email widget above on the left?  Don't be lazy, type your email in there!  Until next time.  And...

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!                

Monday, December 26, 2016

10 Easy Financial Moves To Make Before The New Year

December is a month that is stressful, but not because we're still going all out on building a better tomorrow for ourselves.  Rather, December becomes almost a lost month because we have to (if we celebrate Christmas) go shopping for gifts, get online and comparison shop for bargains, book trips and travel, host relatives, and prepare fancy meals.  All of this is daunting.

Image result for pitch perfect

Watching television is all people can think about doing with the little energy they have left.  I don't blame them.  Heck, I had to give in the other day to my wife's request to take a break and watch the movie, Pitch Perfect, in its entirety.  Confession: I loved Pitch Perfect!  I'll give you a right hook in the mouth if you make fun of me.    

Similarly, looking ahead to an imaginative start like that represented by the new year makes it easy for us let go of the gas.  Have you started decelerating?  You think, "In a few days the hew year will begin and I can start my New Year's resolutions.  I can relax for now."  People, January 1st is nothing but a number!  To successful people, the first day of the year is just another Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday...

Image result for christmas shopping

Far be it from me to make you feel guilty about your usual December letdown.  I'd rather inspire you to take part in some easy to do financial moves so you can feel great about starting the new year.  In no particular order, these moves are:

1.  Declutter and donate.  Imagine you have to set up for a yard sale happening tomorrow.  Now go through all of the closets in the house and find clothes that no longer fit, ties that are out of style, and clothes you don't ever want to see on your child/husband again.  Stuff these in a plastic bag and donate them to the Salvation Army.  Get a receipt.  Now you have another deductible item for your 2016 taxes.  Hint: You can also donate toys and knickknacks.

2.  Update Your Beneficiaries.  2017 may be the year you die.  As a cyclist, I'm always only a few feet from getting walloped by a car.  This is why I make sure I check who's getting my retirement, bank account, and annuity money, life insurance payoff, and investment homes.  I had a divorce in 2007 and I needed to get my ex-wife off my assets like pronto, yo!  Did you get a divorce?  Did you have kids in 2016?  Better check who's gettin' your money!

3.  Create a budget for January.  Why should your budget, if you have one, be any different in January?  Well, did you overspend on your gifts this year?  Chances are you did.  In fact, most people go over their Christmas gift budget by 20%.  You have to make up this shortfall.  You can do it all in January or you can adjust February's budget as well so you make it easier on yourself to tighten the belt.

4.  Make a quick will.  Google: "will template, (insert your state)."  You'll get a template that you can download, and fill-in blanks within a short amount of time for free.  It's not a long-term solution until you can have it reviewed by an estate attorney, but it will do for now.  It's better than nothing.

5.  Shred files with your social, credit card info, etc.  If you're like me, you probably have a shoe box full of envelopes with letters from your bank, investment houses, credit card companies, and so on.  What if someone were to break into your home?  Is this info you want accessible to an intruder, or even someone you think is trustworthy that happens to be staying in your home?  Shred those documents.  Keep only electronic versions of your tax returns, password protected.  If you have hard copies, shred them if they're more than 3 years old and go electronic from now on.

6.  Change your passwords.  I know this sounds like a lot of work, but you have to do it.  Yahoo had a breach and didn't even know it for years.  Don't go more than 3 months without changing your passwords.  Use a password manager like, LastPass.  It's free for your desktop/laptop.  If one of your passwords is, 123456 or 1234567 or're a moron!  Change it now. 

7.  Check your credit report.  Request a free credit report from  There's no catch if you use their site.  You'll want to make sure there are no mistakes or suspicious activity.

8.  Eat up that FSA balance.  Do you have a Flexible Spending Account?  I hate forgetting to use the dollars I've put into mine.  Some employers allow a $500 roll-over.  Some don't.  So check with your employer and if they don't...refill all your anxiety and depression meds, get new glasses, or go to the dentist.  That reminds me, I have to fill up my Citalopram bottle.  Gotta love drugs in the USA!

9.  Check your investment fees.  You may have bought into an investment like a mutual fund or an annuity without much thought to fees, especially if you had the power to do this within your 401k.  Now's the time to review any pertinent paperwork and check what you're being charged.  Fees will kill your returns over time.

10.  Sell your losers.  If you're in the green so far this year within your stock portfolio and have done some short-term selling, you'll need to offset those gains with some losses to lower your tax bill.  If you sucked and didn't have any gains, you can offset up to $3,000 of your regular income.  Any losses beyond $3K can be deducted from your future regular taxable income.  Sorry to disappoint but these investment losses deductions can only be taken from taxable accounts so forget about claiming them if they occurred in your IRAs or 401k.

There are still a few days before the year ends.  You can sit around waiting for January 1st to get going again (if you're not hung over), or you can make some easy financial moves right now.  What's it gonna be?

Thanks for reading.  Until next time. 
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Saturday, December 24, 2016

7 Ways To Make This Christmas The Most Memorable Ever

It's Christmas yet again.  No doubt you have already taken part in a number of pre-Christmas rituals like buying gifts, a honey baked ham, and a tree.  You've gotten the eggnog and dark rum from the store, had a few helpings of it leading up to Christmas eve, watched a classic Christmas flick on television while munching on gingerbread cookies, and maybe even listened to tunes to get you in the spirit.

How is this Christmas any different from last year's?  Or for that matter, how is this Christmas any different from those of years before?  Now if someone important to you has died, my condolences.  If your children aren't going to be in town, again, my apologies.  Let's factor out all of the things that can make Christmas one of the most suicidal times of the year.  Let's say that everything points to another routine Christmas day.

How can you make Christmas 2016 be more memorable?  Well, it's not going to be a highlight reel on its own.  You're going to have to completely change things up!  I have seven ideas for you that will undoubtedly make this Christmas the most epic one you've ever had.

Image result for Mannequin challenge Christmas

1.  Do a Mannequin Challenge opening presents.  This is all the rave right now.  So have someone video people in mid-stride while opening gifts, making happy or sad faces with their gifts in hand, and so on.  Then upload the video to Facebook and let your friends and family see you killin' the best poses.

2.  Go Facebook (or Instagram) live.  Now you can share the enjoyment and love that happens every Christmas morning in your home with relatives and friends on Facebook.  This is such a cool feature.  Your extended family will feel like they are there with you.  Imagine your parents being able to see their grandchildren as they open presents.

3.  Hide the presents.  C'mon, presents under the Christmas tree is so cliche.  Why not make finding presents into an activity your children will enjoy.  Tell your children there are at least X number of presents hidden inside of the house.  They have to find all of them and bring them to the Christmas tree before they can start opening them.  Fun and exercise!

4.  Go out for lunch as a family.  Hey, this works great for Jewish families on Christmas day.  Why can't it work for your family?  No fighting over the television, slaving over the usual cooked lunch, or even clean up.

5.  Have a Karaoke contest.  Put on some jammies, some karaoke jams, and see who can sing it best.  Fun for the entire family.  Everyone must take a turn!

6.  Make dad into a Christmas present.  With the torn leftover paper, have dad lay on the carpet and let your kids go to town on wrapping him up.  You'll need clear tape.

7.  Sit with the homeless.  Now if you search, "how to have the best Christmas ever," on Google, you'll find the recommendation of going to a soup kitchen and serving the homeless as one way to remind yourself of what Christmas is all about.  I agree with this.  Go ahead and serve, for some time.  But more rewarding is actually sitting down with homeless people and having a conversation with them.  This humanizes them.  So join them at their table and spark up a conversation.

It should be clear by now that the best way to have a memorable Christmas is to change things up.  I honestly don't remember very many Christmas days and that's because they were ordinary.  For something to stick in your mind, it has to have a strong emotional component to it or it has to be unique.  Use this formula and these seven tips to make your Christmas the best one yet!  Merry X-mas, Feliz Navidad, Joyeux Noel, счастливого Рождества!

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Thursday, December 22, 2016

Are You Saving Enough Money For Making Memories With Your Kids?

I have two children, Rehani (5) and Ajani (3.5).  As someone who didn't have the best childhood experiences with his father, I can tell you that being the best father I can be with my children is a top priority.  But like all adults with kids, I often struggle.  The biggest challenge I have with my children is being patient with them and giving them more of my time.  Does this sound familiar?

I used to believe that being a great father consisted of me providing.  If my kids have clothes, a roof over their head, care, and security, then I'm doing my job.  But this just puts me one level above a deadbeat dad.  Loving your children makes you a great parent, especially if your kids are constantly reminded of your love with your affection, concern, and understanding.

My kids are growing so fast.  If you have adult children, you probably wish right now you could've spent more "quality" time with them before they got so big.  Your concerns, however, may have focused on making sure you saved enough money for your children to go to college, as you yourself, saved for retirement.  I don't know if saving for my kids' college education is going to make me a better father.

I'm pretty sure my kids will appreciate having a college fund to tap into.  At the same time, I don't want to sacrifice the time I have to spend with my children by working more to save for their college fund.  What's the fondest memory you have of your father or mother?  Were the two of you alone, on a trip perhaps?  In my case, I remember going fishing with my dad.  He usually went with some of his buddies, and drank beer while waiting for the fish to bite, but at least we were together.

Are you saving money for making memories with your children?

Let me guess, the number one thing on your mind when it comes to saving money is your retirement.  Number two is the college fund.  And this leaves you just about tapped out.

Well the "Cats in the Cradle" my friend!  You need to consider saving money for epic trips with your sons or daughters.  Yes, there are inexpensive things you can do with your children, but how about a camping trip?  Or how about you fly to San Francisco or a great tourist destination with them?  Remember these are one to one adventures.  Don't take all your kids at the same time or the moments won't be as special.

There's a lot of pressure to be good with our money.  I've allowed myself to fall for the trap that saving for retirement is paramount to any other type of saving.  Obviously saving for retirement is important.  But try to squeeze in saving for making great memories with your children if you can.  Before it's too late.

Balance your roles my friends.  You'll lead a happier life if you do.  Thanks for reading!  Until next time.  If you liked this post, and want to automate receiving more like them, please subscribe below.  No spam, just me providing sound advice on various topics.
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Monday, December 19, 2016

Not Understanding This One Thing Could Be Fatal To Your Personal Brand

Have you struggled trying to find which you to market to the world?  I have.  Am I going to be in the business of helping people with their writing, blogging, personal growth, or parenting?  This has been the hardest question for me to answer as an entrepreneur.  I almost wish I wasn't good at so many things.  If I was simply good at doing one thing, then the decision to commit wouldn't be so difficult.

To be successful, Internet entrepreneurs must first ascertain which niche they want to enter.  It's not as easy as it sounds.  Again, it's because most people can be an expert in more than one space.  But focus you must.  Now here is where it gets even more confusing.  Say you are a wine connoisseur and want to be the authority on everything wine.  You decide to be an affiliate marketer and make your money selling wine to a growing email list.  Great.  Because you're the wine guru, you believe your focus should be on knowing everything about the industry.  There's a problem with this.

Is McDonald's in the burger business?  Many people would say, of course!  Is Starbucks in the coffee business?  Same answer most likely, "yes!"  But...

Neither answer is correct.  Both McDonald's and Starbucks are in the same business.  Distribution.  Without thousands of locations, McDonald's couldn't distribute their tasty fast food and Starbucks wouldn't be able to please their coffee junkies with their awesome java.  One may think from this that distribution has to do with real estate.  It does partly.  Having the best location to distribute your product is a competitive advantage.
Image result for distribution

As an Internet entrepreneur, you won't be needing to worry about competing with the likes of McDonald's or Starbucks for brick and mortar distribution.  But you will need to compete with everyone else for the type of distribution that matters most to people like you: virtual distribution.  If you don't by now realize that your social media channels also happen to be your primary distribution centers, you're in deep shit.

Think about it like this.  Say you have an email list of 10,000, but only 500 Twitter followers.  Your distribution is 10,500.  Someone who has a list consisting of 10,000 emails and 10,000 Twitter followers has you beat.  All of your social media accounts are part of your distribution business, which is what you're really in as an Internet entrepreneur.  What you actually sell is secondary.

This means of course that you will have to put in more of an effort to growing your distribution business.  You will have to mind your numbers, tell a great personal story, engage more with people who like your posts or Tweets, and pay to advertise.  That's one of the biggest mistakes I made (not advertising).  Amateurs try to grow their distribution business organically.  They write blog posts that few people read and maybe get one or two subscribers a week.  Meanwhile, the pros know that their bread and butter consists of expanding their distribution as much as possible, so they pay for it!

You will have to decide how much you want to invest to growing your social media.  Whatever you do, don't buy followers.  Random people who come to you by way of a paid service won't stay.  Eventually they stop following you.  You need to do targeted ads that reach your specific audience.  Facebook is great for this.  If you can create a great ad (this too is a skill) you can expand your tribe and sell product at the same time.

Never forget...we're all in the distribution business.  Disregard this fact and your personal brand will not be alive very long.  Thanks for reading.  If you liked this post, and want to automate getting more like them, subscribe before you leave.  No spam, just great content.
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Friday, December 16, 2016

6 Personal Branding Must Haves and To-Do's

My wife and I have been on a webinar tear lately, learning from network marketing experts, sales funnel and lead generating coaches, and personal branding consultants.  There have been some consistent messages being delivered by these people that I must share with all of you.  The 21st century has made it both easy and difficult for entrepreneurs to expand their sales footprint across the world.  Distinguishing your brand from those of others is easier said than done and even harder when you don't know where to begin.

Personal Branding: More Than an Elevator Speech - Business 2 Community

Some obvious must haves if you want to build a foundation of credibility and trust for your personal brand:

1.  A website with your name as the domain
2.  Client testimonials
3.  Contact information that is professional, ex,
4.  A professionally designed website
5.  An About Me page
6.  Your services or products presented preferably with a video
7.  An email opt-in form

The challenge for most personal brand entrepreneurs is threefold: getting traffic to their site, keeping traffic at their site (a strong intro and engaging content), and getting visitors to take the bait from the "Call to Action" outro.  Having a clear idea of what you want from each of your visitors is paramount to success.  Some entrepreneurs don't want a sale to take place until further up in the funnel pipeline, preferring engagement and email harvesting.  Other entrepreneurs want nothing more than a sale to take place before the visitor clicks away.  It's ultimately your responsibility to figure out what strategy will work best for you and your business.

Webinars are an example of a tool entrepreneurs can use to accomplish several objectives, e.g., harvesting both emails and sales.  They are a money maker, especially for coaches and consultants.  But they work equally well for email marketers.  An excellent webinar ad can provide email marketers with hundreds of emails.  Now I want to share with you some common threads among the best authority figures on the Internet.  These are must haves and to-do's for all would-be experts in any space.

1.  The effective presentation of your personal story.  I have a great personal story, but I've done a crappy job of presenting it to all of you.  I need to figure what portions of my personal story resonate better with all of my visitors.  So do you.  And then you have to present it on your website in a way that evokes an emotional connection.

2.  The (golden) eggs come first, not the chicken.  What are your golden eggs?  These golden eggs represent your claim to fame, i.e., the things you've done to be worthy of someone's attention.  It will be very hard for you to convince people to buy, become your client, and so on, if you've done little in your niche.  So you may have to "put in work," before you get to rise to shot-caller status.

3.  A professional image (video is even better) of you delivering wisdom to other people on your homepage.  You should be dressed nicely and look the part of an authority.  Leave the relaxed look to the top dogs in your space.  They can get away with it.  You have to look sharp consistently.

4.  Lifestyle shots.  You can't be a someone without some flash.  Sadly, privacy has no place in the personal branding arena.  If you can get selfies with people more influential than you, do so.  If you can get pictures of you enjoying life in beautiful spots, looking fantastic, then you best upload them.  You don't have to be fake, but you should look happy.

5.  Create an excellent first ad.  First of all, you need to spend money advertising your offer.  This could be via a great site like or through Facebook.  You will never get the traffic you need to go personal brand viral without spending a good amount of money.  Even the great, Tai Lopez paid for his exposure in the mid-2000's.  In fact, one of his ads went viral and the rest is history.

6.  Website plus Social Media equals liftoff.  You are killing your personal brand if you're not on ALL of the social media channels in some way.  Be on Twitter, FB, Instagram, Snapchat, and have a YT channel!  It's a lot of work but if you want to build personal brand recognition, you need to be where your audience is.  Also remember that doing what others are doing is not the right recipe.  You must be inimitable and unique in your Tweets, videos, etc.  If someone can copy you, then you have no distinction worth exploring.

Don't give up.  I've had my share of bad days and have wanted to quit this blog many times.  But I keep coming back to it because I love to blog and help people!  The secret to my success has been resiliency.  What's yours?

Thanks for reading.  If you liked this post, please comment or share.  If you want to get these posts in your inbox, don't leave without subscribing.  No spam, just me dropping wisdom.  Peace!

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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Building A Personal Brand: It's Not Who You Think You Are That Matters

What was it like the first time you heard your own voice from a recording?  Weird, right?  The first time I heard myself from a voice recording, you know way back when kids carried ghetto blasters around, I was like..."Wait, that's not me!  I don't sound like that."  Well I did sound like others.  If you sound a certain way speaking to others, is it also possible that perhaps you come off differently to others?  Of course!

Image result for gary vaynerchuk

I've learned from entrepreneur extraordinaire, Gary Vaynerchuk, whose course on Udemy right now is selling for a mere $15 through the next two days, that the key to building a personal brand and becoming a leading authority on anything, begins with self-awareness.  You have to know your strengths and your weaknesses.  And you cannot go off what you believe you're great at.  He calls this, the romantic version of yourself.  Instead, you have to get help from acquaintances and close friends.  They have to be the ones that give it to you straight.

Not everyone has it to become a celebrity authority making millions of dollars spreading their gospel on "pillows or wine," says Gary.  It takes a great deal of work figuring out what you can talk endlessly about, crafting the best story of you, and have unlimited amount of content on.  If you sort of like something, you can't go all in.  So determining what you're best at is the key to loving what you do daily.

Next, you'll want to put forth a ton of content.  Daily is best.  You also need to discover which method you're best at.  Do you write well?  Perhaps a blog would suit you best.  Do you listen well?  Perhaps a podcast where you can interview others and chime in once in a while with thought provoking questions is the way to go.  Video is number one, however.  Make great videos sharing your story and awesome content, and you have a shot at being an influencer.

Social Media is the next medium you'll want to conquer.  Be a king of one or two social apps.  If you're doing videos on YT, you'll want to combo this on Facebook.  Better yet, to have as less "friction" as possible, post video from your phone straight to Facebook, meaning not linking YT on a post, especially when you're starting out and want to grow your audience.  

Basically, wherever your audience is, Twitter, Snapchat, etc., that's where you need to be.  Understand the "nuances" of each of these channels.  But also get on the ground floor of any new social sites.  There is so much saturation in the established social sites that carving your space out will not be easy.   

Lastly, don't forget to evaluate your efforts.  You gotta know your numbers.  Is your audience engaged?  Are they clicking and posting comments?  Are they buying.  Are people sharing your post, link, etc.?  Keep an eye on your traffic.

Becoming your own social media empire or online personality is not easy.  It takes learning details from experts, reading constantly, lots of trial and effort, and a thick skin when your numbers fall flat.  If building a personal brand is what you want to do, I strongly suggest you buy this Udemy course by Gary Vaynerchuk.  By the way, I am not getting paid to promote this course.  Wish I were.  I just want you to have the best information possible and achieve your goals.

Thanks for reading.  If you want more helpful articles like this, please subscribe before you leave.  No spam.  Just me.
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Sunday, December 11, 2016

10 Mind Hacks to Trick Yourself Into Being Productive

There are days when all I want to do is watch sports.  Not write, read, or think about how to further the reach and engagement of my blog, increase my CCM & Homie G YT Channel subscribers, or likes on my FB Fan Page.  Whatever you need to do on a daily basis to further your own brand or business will always have the laws of physics standing in the way.  In particular, Newton's first law, the law of inertia.

Basically, this law states that everything in the universe is lazy; things want to keep doing what they're already doing.  If you're in bed at rest, you want to remain in bed at rest.  But if you're in motion, you also want to remain in motion.  And that is the key to productivity, just getting into motion.  The following 10 mind hacks will trick you into being productive and defeating inertia.

Image result for law of inertia

1.  Pretend a million dollars are at stake if you can be productive for the day.  A productivity auditor will follow you around noting the things you get done and at the end of the day, will hand you a check if you were productive.  I learned this trick from the great Brian Tracy.

2.  If I do one thing I can go back to being lazy.  This is where you commit to doing just one thing on your priority list.  Sometimes what happens is you feel great about that accomplishment and decide to keep going.  Or you simply get in a groove and move to item 2 or 3 on your priority list without being conscious of your permission to quit after getting number one done.

3.  Read the most inspirational book you have in your personal library for 20 minutes, even if you've already read this book several times.  Go to the section that was the most emotive for you and pretend you're reading it for the very first time.  This should charge your productivity battery by inspiring you.

4.  Get up and clean.  Sometimes to get myself into productive mood, I get on a 20-30 minute cleaning spree.  The activity is light enough where you won't be sweating profusely, but brisk enough to warm-up your muscles and get the blood circulating, especially to your brain.

5.  Eat a protein heavy breakfast.  We all know the effects of sugar.  Your blood glucose spikes up and down like a roller coaster, affecting your body's rhythm.  Protein keeps you blood sugar nice and level, meaning you won't feel that euphoria or subsequent crash.  Simple carbohydrates, likes fruits and vegetables, are oaky to eat.  Who know's, after changing your breakfast routine to this on the day you feel lethargic, you may just get in the mood to work.

6.  Do something fun first.  Let's face it, sometimes being productive means doing boring things.  Treat yourself to a fun activity like playing a game on your phone.  A challenge game where your competitive spirit is brought out may get you in a killer mood to conquer the world.  You obviously can't conquer the world without being productive so put the game down and get busy.

7.  Get your laptop, put it in a bag, and drive to a local coffee shop.  You'll not only get a jolt from the great coffee, and the aroma, but you'll also see other people working around you.  This will inspire you to open you bag and bust out your laptop...but don't just surf the!

8.  Listen to a kick-ass tune.  My personal favorites: Bon Jovi's, Livin' On A Prayer, Journey's, Don't Stop Believin', and Survivor's, Eye of the Tiger.  C'mon, how can you not get off your behind and start being productive after listening to these classics?

9.  Meditate.  Sit cross-legged (if you can), close your eyes, slow your breathing and try to think about nothing.  A good half-hour of meditation will be enough nuisance on your mind to make you beg to do something productive.

10.  Make a date or an appointment for a meal with someone you like hanging out with.  Tell them that you first must get something done (insert your top priority item here) and that you will pay for the entire meal if you don't get this thing done.  Otherwise you'll split the bill as usual.

Well, there is no guarantee that any of these mind hacks will work on you.  Like all people, you must be open to trying new things and seeing if they work or not.  Being productive on an otherwise "lazy day" may result in an unexpected breakthrough and fast-forward your journey to success.  You never know, right?

Thanks for reading.  If you want to get more articles like this, and my personal email to ask me financial or success questions, please subscribe below.
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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Why You Don't Need A Website To Become A Millionaire These Days

Well...just when you think you've figured out the Internet...Bam!  You know nothing, Jon Snow!  I don't know about you, but I'm getting pretty tired of getting made a fool of by savvy Internet entrepreneurs.  (In a good way).  These types of entrepreneurs discover an unexploited Internet opportunity, sometimes on accident, and become the first to market.  Everyone else who finally catches on is left picking up the scraps, and by default becomes a consumer of their system.
Image result for website building

What am I talking about?  Well, most of us have caught onto making sure we have a great website for our business.  You, business owner, understand the value of having repeat and returning customers.  That's why you have made sure to include an "Opt-In" pop-up to get visitors to subscribe to a newsletter, deals and coupons, etc.  For those of you selling information products, eBooks, video courses, books, and so on, you know that the money is in the email list.  Every single email you can capture has value.

I've read somewhere that each email subscriber is worth about $40 in revenue per year.  This is a big reason why each day we have around 2700 new millionaires.  Regular people without college degrees, and some who have college degrees and have wised up to their foolishness, have embarked on being part of the Internet Wild West.  This is where you compete with everyone else for email addresses and traffic.

I've seen some creative marketing gimmicks to get you to click, especially on Facebook.  Those targeted ads are just so delicious.  Who can resist a free (insert your information product here), especially with a count-down clock daring you to pass the offer up.  This is how I discovered, perhaps late, that you don't even need a website anymore to make a butt-load of money selling either your own products or as an affiliate marketer.  In fact, nowadays, all you need is a web page...a capture page to be more exact.

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Have you caught on?  Listen, if not, you are probably paying way too much for many services, hosting, backup, auto-responder, and so on.  Today, you can go on Facebook, create a Fan Page, and give something away, for example, money or a paid vacation, to get people to not only like your page in droves, but also click on the FB "Sign-up" button, leading them to your capture page.  It is there that you collect emails and even make a little money via Google Adsense if you've embedded ads.  An expert on this is Anthony Morrison.  Look him up on FB. can use FB fan pages as funnels to later up-sell your visitors.  You want to check out the work of Jesse Doubek.

Perhaps one of the best explanatory videos online that will make you feel foolhardy for having a website is on the website.  Everything you need is integrated on their platform.  It'll cost you $97 a month.

I'm not entirely convinced, however, that you can do without a website.  I think websites add a credibility factor.  If I can't find a website on a person or company online, then I don't trust them or it.  Even if rudimentary but elegant, authorities and celebrities need websites.  So do established brick and mortar companies that need an online presence.  Not having a go-to website, even with a sales funnel, is suicide in my mind.  Though I would agree that many entrepreneurs no longer need a website these days to become very rich.

For the record, I'm not being paid to promote any person or site.  I just find these Internet pioneers to be very inspirational and worthy of you knowing who they are and what they're doing.  So you too can benefit.  Thanks for reading! 

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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Why Most Teens Will Not Graduate College-Ready

Most teens are doomed to have to take some sort of summer preparation class as a condition of their full acceptance to a university.  When I say, "some sort," I'm really talking about two main subjects universities assess as part of their placement process: math and English.  Being able to start freshman year of college in English 101 as well as Math 101, meaning Calculus A, is a big deal.  It means not having to take extra pre-requisites and pay more money for an already costly college education.

Every parent reading needs to understand this: High schools are not college readiness factories.  They are college acceptance factories.  Yes, there is a difference.  You are being sold by every high school Principal a product that does less than 50% of what it claims to do.  Go to a meeting at your kid's future high school and count the number of times you hear the words, "college-prep," linked together.  How could courses be college prep, yet according to the latest Nation's Report Card, only about a third of all high school graduates score at or above Proficient on college readiness examinations in English and Math.  These may even include kids with outstanding grades!

In California, almost all high school juniors take the Smarter Balanced Assessment (formerly EAP) to have their English Language Arts (ELA) and Math skills gauged by the Cal State University system, and now as many as 80 community colleges.  In 2015, only 56% of juniors tested "met or exceeded" the standard in ELA.  Only 29% "met or exceeded" the standard in Math.  That means a ton of kids will have to take remedial courses next summer, especially if they didn't address their deficiencies as seniors this year.

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Who Doesn't Have To Take These College Readiness/Placement Assessments?

Students who kick butt on the Scholastic Aptitude Test are automatically deemed ready for college.  You can see the required SAT scores here (for Cal State enrollment--they may be different in other states): Cal State exemptions.  If students take Advanced Placement classes in English and Math, they too are exempt from taking the college readiness exams.

Why aren't students graduating high school college ready even when they take tough classes and do well?

Well, this may sound offensive but...teens these days are illiterate.  And I don't mean they don't know how to read.  I mean they don't read enough.  And what they read is usually something they are being forced to read by their teachers at school.  Yet, even though some teens read for pleasure, they are still not reading what they need to read.  They're reading useless fiction.

What good can come of your teenager reading tales about talking animals, wizards, vampires fighting werewolves, fantasy worlds, and so on?  Do they plan on writing genre fiction books for a living?  If not, then they're wasting their time.

Teens need to be reading a lot more.  I've worked in schools long enough to see how behind they are in their reading.  But not just any type of reading.  They don't read enough non-fiction!  People, we are living in the Information/Knowledge Worker era, and your teen is reading what?--Chronicles of this or that, love novels, and wizardry school adventures.  Really?  No wonder high school graduates aren't college-ready.  Teens are getting blown out of the water by these assessments that have them analyze expository, mostly non-fiction text.  Get your teen reading non-fiction like yesterday.

Here is a list of some non-fiction texts your teens can read:

1.  Wisdom from Rich Dad, Poor Dad for Teens: The secret about money that you don't learn in school! by Robert Kiyosaki

2.  Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations by Alex and Brett Harris.
3.  The Teen Girl's Survival Guide: Ten Tips for Making Friends, Avoiding Drama, and Coping with Social Stress by Lucie Hemmen, PhD.

4.  Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky.

5.  For Boys Only: The Biggest, Baddest Book Ever by Marc Aronson.

6.  What Do You Stand For? For Teens: A Guide to Building Character by Barbara A. Lewis.

7.  The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey.

8.  The 6 Most Important Decisions You'll Ever Make: A Guide for Teens by Sean Covey.

9.  The Success Principles for Teens: How to get from where you are to where you want to be by Jack Canfield.

10.  Go Teen Writers: How To Turn Your First Draft Into a Published book by Stephanie Morril and Jill Williamson.

Alright, there are ten great teen non-fiction books to begin with.  But there are so many more and in case these don't interest your teen, then have them pick a non-fiction book related to a hobby they're into right now.  

Main Points of this Post:

1) Your kids aren't reading enough.
2) If your kids are reading, they're mostly reading fiction.
3) Kids will need to be able to analyze non-fiction in college a whole lot more than fiction.
4) The real world in the 21st century demands that people read non-fiction quickly and vastly.  Unless of course you want to be replaced at your job by a robot.

Okay, thanks for being here.
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Sunday, November 27, 2016

Why Monday Is The Most Important Day of The Week

If ever a day was misunderstood by people it is Monday.  Monday is dreaded by most Americans.  On Sunday nights you can expect like a gazillion Facebook posts, especially memes, garnering groupthink sympathies about the end of the weekend.  Monday has inspired songs like The Bangles, Manic Monday.  Monday is the first day of the week, a winner, but treated like the worst day of the week, a total loser.

Image result for Manic Monday

Americans need an attitude adjustment about Monday.  But just simply telling someone to have a positive mental attitude at the start of the week won't work.  You have to look inward, or approach the attitude from the inside-out, as Stephen R. Covey in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, suggests to do with any established paradigm.  Why do you lack the appreciation that a new day, one that happens to start your work week, gives you?  For most people, it's because they hate having to go back to work.

If this is you, then why do you go to a job that you hate?  Find yourself another job.  If you can't do that, then you must have a deeper understanding of how your perceptions about your job deeply ruin a perfectly good day like Monday.  Monday gives every employee or worker in this country the biggest of opportunities.  Consider the following:

1.  Monday, every one of your coworkers will be "tired" from the weekend.  Despite the weekend being the time when one is supposed to get recharged, everyone seems to be tired on Monday.  What if you showed up full of energy instead?  At first, you'll be considered weird, but in due time, everyone will want whatever it is you are on.  (Life!)

2.  Similarly, Monday is when your customers will be feeling being back in the grind.  Use your energy to make more sales or connections than any one of your co-workers.  This is when you can distinguish yourself from all other people, and get more market share.  Simply by being more effective on Monday morning you'll gain a leg up on the competition.

3.  Monday is the first day of service.  For many professionals, Monday is the day they get to go back to helping people.  That's enough motivation for a teacher like me.  I realize many of my counterparts wish they had another day or two, but not me.  I don't feel like I've had a complete day without helping someone in some way.

This is where many people go wrong with Monday.  They see it as a loss of freedom, rather than another chance to gain financial freedom.  If you're constantly counting down the days until Friday, it is a sign that you have nothing going for yourself.  You're passionless, and have no projects of your own that excite you.  You're not working toward anything in other words.

When someone has goals, every day is just as valuable as the next one.  Monday becomes Friday.  You are so engrossed in your work outside of work, that the days are seamless.  The solution, therefore, to a Monday full of possibilities is having an agenda.  Not a to-do list.  A real agenda, like what you're trying to accomplish.  Want a promotion?  Use Monday better than anyone else at work, and the days after too, of course.

Be pleasant to talk to on Mondays

Be happy on Mondays

Be willing to do whatever it takes on Monday

Say "No" to nothing on Monday

Be grateful and compliment at least five people on Monday

Listen to people on Monday, avoid excessive talking on Monday

Be glad you're alive on Monday because someone else died on Sunday...that's a fact!

I'm gearing to make tomorrow, my Monday, the best one yet!  Until next time. 
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Thursday, November 24, 2016

An Immigrant's Thanksgiving Message to All Americans

This is my Thanksgiving story of success.  Successfully reaching America from Europe is one of the things the pilgrims had to be thankful for.  Well, successfully reaching America from Mexico is one thing I have to be thankful for this and every Thanksgiving.  My first Thanksgiving dinner happened sometime in the mid '80s.  I was perhaps 7 or 8 years old.  It didn't take place in the 1-bedroom apartment my family lived in San Jose, CA.  Like most immigrants who come to this country, we were invited to a Thanksgiving dinner by more Americanized friends.  My father's new Mexican-American friends to be exact.

My wife, Jessica, making apple pie.

What I remember the most about my first Thanksgiving is the food I got to eat for the very first time.  You have to realize, the significance of Thanksgiving was beyond me at this point in my life.  Plus I was a kid, and eating was my second favorite thing to do with playing coming in first.  Back to the food.  I fell in love with two things that first Thanksgiving: oven toasted rolls and pumpkin pie.  The rolls with melted butter were so delicious and the pumpkin pie with whipped cream was out of this world.  Mexicans don't make rolls or pies.  That's pure Americana.

Rolls! Thank-you state of Hawaii.

An abundance of opportunities is also something uniquely American.  Sure, there are other countries on this planet where anyone can make it big.  None like, "The Land of Opportunity," however.  I was given a huge opportunity by INS (Immigration and Naturalization Services) when they approved my "green card" way back in the mid '90s.  I didn't squander it.  (I became a naturalized citizen in 2004).  How often people squander opportunities in this country amazes me.  How do they do this?  They don't take advantage of the available freedoms.

For example, so long as it isn't illegal, you can practically start and open up any small business.  Seed money, a customer, and an idea is all you need.  Try doing this in Cuba.

They don't take advantage of the freedom of expression.  So long as you don't threaten anything or anyone, or infringe on copyrights or trademarks, you can impart information or ideas, regardless of the medium used.  Most Americans see this as the right to constantly complain about the laws, their politicians and leaders.  They obsess about this right and blame the President, the Republicans, the liberals, the Democrats, basically everyone except themselves for the misfortunes of their own making.  I see this freedom as the opportunity to grow my following, potential customers, and brand using everything at my disposal, including this blog and social media.  If you want an example of an American squeezing everything out of his freedom of expression, check out the work of Grant Cardone.

I've enjoyed great success in my life.  Willing to put myself out there, not playing by the rules, being unreasonable with my determination, not caring what relatives or friends think about my inner drive, working harder than others, and not settling for nada, are my key attributes.  These are the things anyone can do!  You just have to start.  The type of success you've always wanted can be yours, but it may take you giving up what you've come to know as American--the average American mind-set.

Rum cake in progress.

I know our country has really struggled as of late to live up to the spirit of brotherhood, "From sea to shining sea!"  How divided we've become.  But if this immigrant from Mexico can tell you something to uplift you today it is this: America is still a place where anyone can succeed.  That hasn't changed.  There is enough success available for everyone, despite how limiting your beliefs can be.

Today is a day to be thankful for what we have.  But it's also a day to be thankful for the things you can have.  Tomorrow is Black Friday.  Heck, some of you won't even wait for Black Friday; you'll be out of the house tonight, ready to go spend your hard earned money on products you don't really need.  That's being an American in your mind.  Trying doing something unconventional to you instead.  You can buy gifts for the needy.  You can tithe the money to your church.  You can buy yourself two to three books on the principles of success or financial education.  You can buy yourself an audio book on the previous topics.  You can buy something for your personal business (and write off the expense next year).

Appreciate what you have, a great country, like I do.  Don't take it for granted.  Be the best you can be because it's your duty to give all you have for your family and for your country.  In other words, hustle like an immigrant!  Happy Thanksgiving! Until next time.  
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Monday, November 21, 2016

How Becoming A TeacherPreneur Can Rejuvenate Your Teaching Career

Teachers that simply teach have careers that eventually stagnate.  It doesn't matter if they keep themselves on top of their game, reading the latest education articles, or participating in the newest professional development offered by their district office.  Similarly, tweaking lessons and even taking on a new subject to teach, gets old.  You teach long enough and you come to lose that zeal you once had as a beginning teacher.

I discovered the secret to teaching every single day with joy, enthusiasm, and passion to inspire students.  It doesn't involve drinking two to three cups of Starbucks coffee a day, taking that "sick" day once a month, or even getting everything you know you need to be effective, i.e., a smaller class size, students willing to work.  The solution to the drag you currently feel or will one day experience isn't about lacking drive to be the best teacher you can be.

The day I stopped being a mere investor, investing and saving for my retirement outside of my monthly teacher contributions, and became an entrepreneur, changed me forever.  Despite the added work outside of the school day, learning the dimensions of being an entrepreneur online, from books, and from problems I faced while taking action, I never felt tired or overworked.  I still don't!  I come to school every Monday smiling and I end Friday the same way.  Other teachers notice my energy and wonder if I'm on something.

The benefits of being a part-time entrepreneur are immense.  Let me share some of them:

1.  You learn to see your students as customers you need to service with the utmost integrity and respect.

2.  You begin to see your craft as a continuous sales pitch.  You "sell" the concepts you must teach, and the lessons you must deliver with conviction or lose a "sale."

3.  Your self-confidence grows two or three times fold as you pick up ideas and understandings from the business world that you can relate to your own career.

4.  You get to share your learning experiences with your students, especially how you failed and did something new to overcome the challenge.

5.  You get to help other people with your small, side business.  Working with adults can be as rewarding as working with kids and teens.

6.  You get to make extra money, as much as you want, and not worry as often about your finances.

7.  You feel like you're part of something big that can escalate at any minute.  This gives you constant excitement.

8.  You have a frame of reference for success that doesn't involve the traditional pathway of going to college.  That's a huge plus these days!  You get to appreciate the hustle and ingenuity of your low-performers.

 So what's a teacherpreneur?  A teacherpreneur is a teacher by day, and entrepreneur after school and on the weekends.  A teacherpreneur lives in the 21st Century with every other employee in America who realizes that although they may work for someone else, ultimately, they are the bosses of their own corporation, as the great Brian Tracy puts it.

Teacherpreneurs sponsor entrepreneurship clubs at school and if they have the option, do like me and teach an entrepreneurship elective.  They encourage students to start businesses instead of simply complaining about a lack of money.  They become mentors of kidpreneurs and guide these young entrepreneurs even when the education system discourages non-academic endeavors.  Teacherpreneurs ask students questions like:

How can you turn that idea into a real business?

How can you turn your hobby into a something you get paid for?

What would you want to do after high school if going to college isn't for you?

As much as I've tried to stay fresh and energized about the teaching profession, nothing has had as much success as becoming a teacherpreneur.  My teacherpreneur persona in the classroom, something you must have to inspire students, is named, "Homie G."  Why?  Because I do more than teach science.  I demonstrate first hand to students what life is about, constantly improving yourself, and living to the fullest.

In truth, having your students see you only as their teacher means you've done very little to share your life with them.  The stuff you can share, of course.  You lost moments to gain their trust, and build on the rapport you have with them.  This is the currency you need to inspire greatness from them, beyond grades.  I know the power of transformation that can occur within teachers once they become entrepreneurial.  It will make all the difference in the world and perhaps even keep many great teachers from leaving the teaching profession.  So if you're a teacher reading this, find a niche you can get into business in and go for it.  The outcome need not be about getting rich, or even leaving the teaching profession for good.

Thanks for reading.
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