Saturday, April 25, 2020

5 Reasons Why Black And Latino Content Creators Need To Collaborate More

Fellow content creators, I ask:  Have we hit a wall of our own making?  The idea that a successful content creator targets a specific audience has long been content marketing mantra.  Focus on a niche, be in a specific ecosystem where you can easily find your customers, are all suggestions that I've been following for years.  They make sense, to a certain extent.

A couple days ago I got a LinkedIn notification.  It was time for "Tea with GaryVee."  I don't tune in all the time, but I was done being my kid's teacher for the day, so I thought: let me see what type of good shit GaryV is dishing out today.  I checked my FB stream one last time (I'm a compulsive notification eliminator) and to my surprise, saw that Gary was going live on FB too!  Dude was on both platforms simultaneously.  Probably been done by others, but I hadn't noticed.  Call me a tech square.

I use Emojime and Over to make quotes for my student/teen followers on IG

There was all sorts of wisdom Gary dished out.  Among these, to be human.  Engage with ALL your followers at first so long as they're not simply cutting and pasting comments into your posts.  Now this next part he didn't specifically air out verbally, but it's quite obvious to any critical thinker.  His Zoom guests for that Tea w/GV episode came from all walks of life, represented various social media platforms, and created different types of content.  Well, duh?  You might be thinking: Gary helps anyone!  That's exactly my point.  His end of program offers (his dad's wine club subscription, raffle tickets, etc.) is how he monetizes his sessions with viewers.  And I don't think he cares who's buying what he's selling.

Latino and Black Content Creators Need to Partner Up More

There are a shit ton of great Black and Latino content creators out there.  Bloggers, Podcasters, YouTubers, Instagramers, and Twitch channel streamers.  By the way, Twitch is dope!  Last night I listened to Deftones' Chino Moreno do a live DJ set and it was exactly what I needed on a pandemic Friday night.  But I digress.  But really I don't.  I mean, the younger generation just doesn't seem to care as much who's on their chat.  The era of creative expression and live entertainment embraces a more flexible approach to growth that gives little credence to the "target a specific audience" mantra.

While certain platforms like blogs, podcasts, and recorded videos perhaps require more content specificity, there are still ways we, people of color (and I'm only saying that in the sense of the word cuz I'm one white looking Mexican), can reach wider audiences, and grow our subscriber base.  It doesn't involve trying to out-compete each other!  In fact, it's quite the opposite: collaboration.  As an example of mutually beneficial collaboration, I offer the following two cases.

Last week I was a guest on Minority Money PodcastOn the episode, I talked the state of education, family finances, and how minority families can grow their wealth.  The host, Emlen, was kind enough to have me, and to link to my sites, including to those of my products.  What I liked about Emlen's podcast is that he brings in the perspectives of all people in an attempt to help minorities improve their money mindset and finances.  He never asked me to include this blurb here and link to his podcast, by the way.  I did it because that's how collaboration works.  I help you, you help me.

Before working with Emlen, I collaborated with Tony Elion JrI reached out to him on LinkedIn and proposed we swap book reviews on Amazon.  He agreed, and his review of my stock market book for minority teens is amazing!  As someone with integrity, I specifically told him to read my book and give it an honest feedback, and that I'd do the same for him.  Win-win!

Now here are five reasons why Black and Latino content creators should collaborate more often with each other:

1.  To avoid being typecast.  Okay, if your platform is for Blacks, or for Latinos exclusively because that's your mission in life, to help your peeps, then okay.  I get it.  But if it isn't, and you see your following looking and talking like you, then maybe you're not doing a good job of reaching out to other minorities?

2.  To avoid stalling out your growth.  Growth is everything.  If you see that you're not picking up subs or followers at the same rate as you were before, meaning, you've stalled out, perhaps you need new blood, features, or idea exchanges with other people of color?

3.  To avoid an earnings plateau.  If people aren't buying your merch anymore, or you're not getting sponsorships as you used to, it could be that your value add to your followers has hit a predictable zone.  Time to change things up!

4.  To get fresh ideas.  Content creation is not easy.  It can feel like a burden sometimes.  Trust me, I know!  When you collaborate with other people, especially other people of color, you get invigorated because you see yourself as part of a greater cause.  The energy you get leads to new ideas that can end up helping your followers even more!

5.  To network.  When you collaborate with a person of color outside your race, you are officially family.  This means the homie here is gonna hook you up with the homegirl there.  Or the brotha here will connect you with sistah over there.  We fam afterwards!

Look, we can't come up in this society if we behave like crabs in a bucket.  Not saying we are all doing this.  But, we can certainly do more to lend each other a hand.  We're all minority people here in this country, and when one of us helps to lift another, we all benefit!  Believe that.

Before I go, I want to talk about a worthy cause.  One of my homies from high school, Lloyd Pierce, coach of the NBA's Atlanta Hawks, and his wife, Melissa, have started an organization, The Atlanta Pledge, to support communities in Atlanta.  The ATL Pledge has chosen to help two Atlanta-based non-profits, Hope Thru Soap, and Atlanta Community Food Bank.  I realize that at this time there are many non-profits throughout the country that can use donations.  All I ask is that you check out the website linked in this paragraph, and read.  If you find that you can get behind the mission of either non-profit, that you consider making a donation. You can donate any monetary amount, and your donation is secure.

Thank-you and take care amigos!         

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Why Buy Now Pay Later Transaction Platforms Like Afterpay And Klarna Do More Harm Than Good

First, wtf are buy now, pay later transaction platforms?  They remind me of 1980's layaway programs for poor folk.  That's how my parents were able to get me a Nintendo Entertainment System for Christmas, using layaway at K-mart.  But seriously, now you can pay for shit you don't need in installments.  Wait?  Can't we do that now with credit cards?  Well, yes.  What's different about BNPL services like Afterpay and Klarna is that you can pay for a purchase in a set number of installments INTEREST FREE!

Say you can't afford something you really want.  Okay, you CAN afford it, if you paid for it a little at a time.  So does this count as being able to afford it?  Not in my book, but people have a whole host of ways of rationalizing big purchases.  Afterplay and Klarna are taking Australia and now the US, by storm.  Consumers, fed up with having to pay interest to a credit card company any time they don't pay off their entire balance, are flocking to these two point-of-sale disruptors.  It makes sense in some ways.  Like if you're young or stupid, or both!

Anything To Keep You From Having To Grow Up

First, here's a great article on the traps you should avoid if you sign up for Afterpay and use their services at eCommerce sites worldwide.  The article mentions having to pay fees if you don't have enough money in your checking account to cover the installment.  Fees may as well be an interest payment, had you used a credit card instead.  Linking your Afterpay to a credit card account defeats the entire purpose!  So, if you are using an Afterpay to credit card scheme, you're awfully foolish.

Don't compare Afterpay or Klarna to Apple Pay.  While all three eliminate the need to swipe or insert a debit or credit card, only Apple Pay use makes you a grown up.  Afterpay and Klarna are worse than starting with a prepaid credit card!  At least with a prepaid credit card, you can feel the impact of every purchase.  Afterplay and Klarna normalize debt.  They may as well be offering you a 9% alcohol by volume bottle of stout, and telling you, "shop forth my child."

These apps and services include algorithms to keep you from making one too many purchases.  How nice!  And you fell for that, didn't you?  Those algorithms are meant to protect each company from class-action lawsuits!  They're not coding in a way to stop your shopping spree because they care about you.  If they don't install these circuit breakers, their business model couldn't exist.  Use your heads young people.

Probably the worst part of using Afterpay and Klarna are that you sidestep credit altogether.  You don't build credit history.  The good type.  Your credit score stays dormant.  If you're young, like in your 20s, your timing is impeccably bad.  These are your formative years!  You're supposed to be building great credit, by using your credit cards responsibly.  Make a purchase using your credit card, stay below the 30% utilization ratio, payoff your balances as quickly as possible, and repeat.  It's that simple.  Why, young people, I ask, do you insist on making things harder than they have to be?

I love you little homies, but u gots to grow the "f" up.  There is absolutely zero need to use Afterpay and Klarna.  And don't you dare make this about poverty.  You don't need to buy expensive cosmetics, clothing, or trendy shit.  This is your shopping addiction getting the best of you.  Rule of thumb for any purchase using a credit card: if you can't pay off the balance in 1-2 payments, then you can't afford it.  Period.  End of story.  Save until you can or don't buy it at all.

*Note to Afterpay and Klarna:  Please don't sue me.  This post won't stop people from downloading your app and using your services.  I'm just keepin' it real.  Oh, as a token of my lack of appreciation, I made the links to your site dofollow.  You're welcome!  

Monday, April 20, 2020

The Best Personal Finance Blogs & Podcasts by Latinas

Quick!  Think of a successful Latina.

I bet you didn't envision The Honorable Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice of the SCOTUS.  Or Dolores Huerta, one of our country's most notable labor leaders and civil rights activists, and co-founder of the United Farm Workers.

I have a strong suspicion that many of you imagined those two booty-shakin' mamacitas from Super Bowl LIV.  That's right, I'm referring to Jennifer Lopez and Shakira.  Yes, these two Latinas are incredibly successful, but their fame, though well-deserved, often helps paint a stereotypical image of the "successful Latina."

Success isn't measured in number of Instagram followers.  Or in millions or billions of dollars one has earned.  Don't let the Kardashian sisters fool you!  Success is based on how far you've risen in life, your personal accomplishments, and the positive impact you've made on the lives of other people.  Most successful people find that their calling in life involves helping others in more than one way.  Let's consider the Finance industry.   

Finance is a (white) male dominated industry.  But it's the women who are creating the future of finance in the 21st Century.  I'm going to go out on a limb here and make a bold prediction.  Latinas will make the biggest impact in the world of finance this century.  And underestimating them will be a huge mistake some companies will make.  Mark my words!  The personal finance and content/brand marketing spaces are where we are currently seeing the greatest contribution by Latinas in the finance world.

Why should companies take note?  Yes, Latinas are vibrant, beautiful, and talented.  But most importantly, they're smart and empathetic, qualities that endear them to a wide audience.

The following successful Latinas are utilizing various platforms, (websites, blogs, podcasts, social media) to uplift communities nationwide.  I highlight them below in no particular order because to me, they're all hermanas or sisters, equally deserving of praise.

1.  Athena Valentine is one MoneySmartLatina.  Formerly homeless, Athena is now a nationally recognized youth development expert.  Her other loves (aside from blogging PF and money sense) include her cat, Harrison, and helping the underprivileged, low-income, students at the Title 1 school where she works.  What I love about her blog is that she openly shares how her life challenges impact her money decisions.  Her posts are like daily journals meet Suze Orman.

Twitter: @accordingathena
IG: @moneysmartlatina

moneysmartlatina hashtag on Twitter

2.  Daniella Flores Likes To Dabble for Dollars.  A self-proclaimed serial side-hustler, this software-engineer (Nerd alert! j/k!), is on a quick path to financial freedom.  The "dabble" (in her site's name) is due to her having multiple irons in the fire, and her willingness to try many new ventures with her wife as a business partner.  What I love about her blog is that she shares great insights from her own money-making experiences, including her failures!  Her writing is polished and witty.

Twitter: @iliketodabble
IG: @iliketodabbleblog  

About - I Like To Dabble

3.  Natalie Torres-Haddad can make you Financially Savvy in 20 Minutes.  This Latina has a slew of accolades and accomplishments!  Dios mío, she has the immigrant hustle fever bad!  Her podcasts are short (hence the name), but packed with financial wisdom.  And she does them in both English and Spanish formats so if you want your mamí to get her financial literacy on, Natalie is your gal!  Her voice, as a Podcast host, has incredible poise and authority.

Twitter: @finsavvylatina
IG: @financiallysavvylatina

Financially Savvy in 20 minutes                

4.  Amanda Abella wants you to Make Money Your Honey.  If you want an example of how to leverage your personal brand (name, image, voice, social media, accomplishments) into a finely tuned online business, look no further.  Although she's all for helping Millennials get "their money right," you can tell that her passion is coaching: providing small-business support, and creating the next generation of entrepreneurs.  Her podcast episode on Getting Rejected 60 Times to Earning $60K demonstrates a mantra I share in my success book for teens: Rejections Don't Break You, They Make You!  Obviously Amanda has got it down!

Twitter: @amandaabella
IG: @amandaabella

 Amanda Abella - RKA ink    

5.  Janet Cruz Padrón is a Latina Money and Wealth Creation powerhouse.  Her site is all about women's financial empowerment and you can tell she lives by her values.  An authentic equity champion, she founded a non-profit, The Latina Money Institute, to research and study the Latina wealth gap.  So that there's no confusion, Janet writes for women, i.e., this is her target audience.  Insecure men, machos, fuera!  Season 2 of her podcast premiered this month.  Check it out!

FB: /latinamoney
IG: @latina_money

Latina Money | Listen via Stitcher for Podcasts

Bonus (A Latina YouTuber/Vlogger)!

I would be remiss if I didn't throw in a Latina making some serious waves on YouTube.

6.  Yanely Espinal is a vlogger at MissBeHelpful.  This Brooklyn born Dominicana knows money and personal finance inside and out.  A self-proclaimed nerd, she broke all sorts of barriers for young Latinas by talking money openly with family, friends, and strangers, AND using YouTube as her platform!  Courage, smarts, charisma...Yanely has it all.  She just started a podcast too!

Twitter: @missbehelpful
IG: @missbehelpful

MissBeHelpful - YouTube

Alright everybody!  I appreciate you being here.  Support these lovely Latinas by visiting their sites, subscribing to their podcasts, and following them on their social media.  ¡Gracias!

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Class of 2024, Time to Reconsider Your Major

The Covid19 pandemic has forced itself onto the student schedules of every incoming and current college student.  The new "Undeclared" major is: Shit Happens, and the dreaded freshman 15 is now second fiddle to Survival 101.  While HS senior teens sit at home, boringly taking care of whatever busy work their short-timer teachers assign, it may be time to ponder something else: Will college majors ever be the same?

Coronavirus outbreak piles short-term costs and long-term ...

If the pundits online claim that life will never be the same after coronavirus, then it stands to reason that neither should the act of selecting a college major.  I don't expect too many teens to be paying attention deeply to the pandemic induced recession patterns, like who's employed and who's not.  But they should be!  And if not, well...that's what parents are for.

Trying to sway a kid's college major decision is nothing new to parents.  Some parents are so far up their kid's life that they're willing to risk career and liberty to get their kid(s) into a "good school."  You don't have to take it this far, folks.  But I do recommend you bring up the topic of college major selection, in light of Covid19, with your college-accepted child.

As a parent, you want your kid to do something they love, of course.  Deep down, however, many parents hope that what their future college kid wants to major in falls within the latest best major's listBut some of these majors are no longer pandemic proof!  We're not going to have a pandemic forever, obviously.  Still, it makes sense to understand some fundamental ideas about careers in the times of the plague.

If you can't take your work home

The best question to ask yourself before deciding on a college major is:  Can I take my work home?  If your chosen profession isn't fully transportable, then maybe you should reconsider choosing one that is via the right type of major.  Similarly, if you are aiming to work for an employer, meaning, not start your own business, you should consider whether or not your potential employer is at the mercy of a business model that depends on a physically present customer.

During a normal recession, businesses may contract.  Some more severely than others.  This means that even middle-managers or top executives can be furloughed or fired.  Cutbacks are a bitch!  In a pandemic induced recession, businesses are exposed to the fire even more, resulting in an inordinate amount of cash being burned.

Take the case of the cruise line industry.  During the Great Recession, companies like Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian, experienced a drop in bookings, resulting in loss of jobs for people in this travel and hospitality career.  Today it's worse!  These companies can't even operate.

Business administration and political science are popular majors.  In a pandemic, some careers or jobs that sprout from these degrees may not be viable.  Opening a small business without an online marketplace is suicide!  In looking at the top ten jobs for political science majors, at least two are threatened during a pandemic: 1) Political campaign staffer, and 2) College-Student Leadership and Activities Director.  Both fail the ultimate test, depending on a physically present "customer."

The Bottom Line

Both pandemics and recessions are common.  We've been here before!  So it should be natural to consider the repercussions of declaring a major not pandemic or recession proof.  Class of 2024, this is the new normal.  Choose wisely.

Thanks for reading!                         

Monday, April 6, 2020

Small Business Survival: Why Now Is The Best Time To Hire A Digital Marketing Agency

The Coronavirus pandemic, small business stimulus package, has had a hard time rolling out.  I can't imagine how horrible the wait must be right now for the many small business owners out there who are depending on this funding to stay afloat.  I sincerely hope that the application process is streamlined and that many SB owners with less than 500 employees qualify for loans.  Local economies depend on these small businesses since they employ tens or obviously, hundreds of people!

5 Things to Look for in a Digital Marketing Agency - Skipper Nico ...

SB owners will earmark whatever loan monies they get to cover their payrolls, and other Cap Ex (capital expenditures).  If you're a SB owner, don't forget to allocate some of your funding to improving your online market presence.  If this pandemic has shown us anything, it's that companies who had been transitioning to or dominating online commerce, are fairing much better than those that didn't work to improve their digital sales platforms, marketing, etc.  Also, keep in mind that there are more people online because they're cooped up at home!  

This is why this may be the perfect time, if you're a SB owner, to invest some of your stimulus capital in digital marketing via a great agency.  Digital marketing agencies provide a whole host of services.  They can for example, work with a client to analyze the look of their website, i.e., website development, how their site is ranking on Google or other search engines, i.e., SEO, and on digital campaigns.  If you're struggling to get visitors to your site(s), if visits aren't converting to sales, if you're not getting enough leads or prospects, your mobile traffic sucks, etc., you may need a digital marketing agency.

A digital marketing agency can also help you develop your brand.  They can help you coalesce everything you've always wanted your business to be, but have had difficulty conveying to the world.  They can help you improve your efficiency and productivity, define your goals and objectives, and learn how to better target your buyers.  Messaging and forming connections with your customers are everything these days!

Some of you SB owners may have already tried to use social media, buying sponsored ads.  If you weren't successful at writing the right script or call-to-action (as evidenced by the lack of sales your ad produced) or if you had a hard time simply defining your target audience, also resulting in few sales, then a digital marketing agency may be your next best bet.  Maybe you chose the wrong platform, a Facebook instead of an Instagram, for example?  A digital marketing agency can analyze your business and determine which online platform is best suited for your business and consumer.  It's hard for a business owner, who has their hands full already, to spend time continually testing strategies.

In sum, digital marketing agencies can help your business boost sales, grow, and increase your ROI (return on investment).  If you're thinking of hiring one, be sure you look at their reviews online.  I can't stress this enough.  As they say, shop around!  They have to be a match for your needs.  Also, make sure they offer a free strategy session.  Most will.  Good luck to all of you in these difficult times!  Keep your heads up my peeps!   

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

11 Tips To Survive A Recession If You've Lost Your Job & Have No Savings

Have you recently lost your job?  If you have, you are one of millions who did last month.  Sadly enough, we've not yet reached the level of unemployment that this pandemic will ultimately produce.  The $1,200 you may get this month will help more people than others.  In CA, that $1,200 won't go very far.  So it goes without saying that many people are going to be in a world of hurt come late April, and for the rest of Spring.

How to Prepare For a Recession (And Thrive Once It Hits)

I'm optimistic about summer being the start of the end of our Stay-At-Home orders.  And with that, more people will likely be able to return to work.  Unfortunately, there will be enough damage to the economy that will result in the highly competitive employment demand we saw during the Great Recession of 2009.  Remember how people needed to stand on streets with signs begging to be interviewed?  That sucked!  But employers will not be able to flip a switch and get up and running as they were before the pandemic.  Employers will watch their sales and revenue numbers like hawks, only hiring when absolutely necessary.  Can't blame them.  This is what recessions are all about.

What can people do in light of this terrible situation?  Again, best case is for President Trump to announce that the economy is "open" once again, by the start of summer.  But there are no guarantees that he will.  The virus determines the circumstances, as Dr. Anthony Fauci put it best.  This pandemic is a double-edged sword for people.

On the one hand, being out and working can cause you to get ill.  If you aren't one of the lucky ones that gets a mild case of Covid-19, you could land in a hospital.  If you don't have insurance (because you lost your job), you may be indebted beyond your financial means with medical bills.  Or worse, you could die from the disease.  If you don't work, to stay safe, you could run out of money, and end up homeless and hungry.  It's a total Catch-22!

Below are my tips for living through this pandemic (if you got no savings, or a job) while keeping your financial boat afloat.  Unfortunately, you'll need to expose yourself to the risk of being infected by Coronavirus.  I wish there was some other way.

1.  Only consume your perishables while at home.  Save your canned foods for emergencies.  And instead of grocery shopping as you did before, do number 2 below:

2.  Find Your Local Food Bank or Food Pantry.  Now is not the time to be proud.  There are plenty of non-profits around to help you feed your family.

3.  Apply for unemployment benefits.  This is a big one, of course.  You'll have to tighten your spending budget while receiving unemployment checks.

4.  If you don't qualify for unemployment benefits, find temporary work as an "essential worker."  Supermarkets are hiring.  They need delivery drivers, people to stock the shelves, disinfect, etc.  Find companies who have a strong online shopping presence.  Walmart, Target, and Amazon, for example.  Or try pizza delivery.  Tips plus free pizza!  This may not be the type of work you're used to, but you gotta do what you gotta do for the time being.

5.  While you're working as an "essential worker," to make sure you put food on the table, figure out how to reinvent yourself.  Work on an action plan that details what other things you can do to improve your current situation.  In other words, make yourself stronger in every way.  This includes maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  Fight hard to not turn to drugs or alcohol. 

6.  Buy health insurance.  I know this doesn't sound like an option to some of you, but not having health coverage is a recipe for disaster!  This article was posted at CNN just today.  Even if you don't watch CNN, it tells you where you can get health insurance if you've lost your job.

7.  Reach out, reach out, reach out!  This is your time to reconnect with your contacts.  Use FB messenger for private messages and FB posts to ask for what you need.  If you don't ask, you'll never know!  Don't be ashamed to put yourself out there on LinkedIn, Instagram, FB, wherever.  You never know who will come to bat for you and send you a job lead.

8.  Cancel all your non-essential subscriptions.  Yes, this means Netflix!  If you had a bunch of streaming channels on your smart TV, it's time to cancel them all.  You don't need them.  Kids?  Have them go onto YouTube on their computer or phone.  If your gym didn't close, (it should have due to Coronavirus), cancel your subscription or ask that they not bill you for the next 2-3 months.

9.  Call your landlord or management company and ask if they have a renter assistance program.  They may allow you to pay less in rent for a set amount of time.  If you own a home, call your mortgage company and ask that they participate in programs other major banks have now for people in need.  Mortgage relief!

10.  Try not to use your retirement savings to get through the hard times.  But if you've exhausted all other options, you can tap into your 401k.  Here are 6 ways to do so according to Forbes.

11.  Sell items that people are buying during the pandemic.  Use OfferUp or other apps to do so.  If you have exercise equipment or outside games, bicycles, etc., sell them now!  Abide by social distance orders, of course.

If you have other tips for people who've lost their job and have little to no savings, by all means comment below.  If you want to ask me for financial advice, email me at  Good luck everyone and God bless!