Your Personal Finance Pro http://yourpfpro.com Personal Finance for Young Professionals Sat, 13 Oct 2018 00:14:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 31591919 8 Ways to Make Money Before Summer is Over http://yourpfpro.com/8-ways-to-make-money-before-summer-is-over/ http://yourpfpro.com/8-ways-to-make-money-before-summer-is-over/#comments Mon, 25 Jun 2018 11:00:58 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=8053 Where I live, in the spring we can still get (and usually do!) a big blizzard in April. Of course, for many other areas of the country, April is much too warm for snow. Needless to say, Mother Nature’s last attempt to hold on to winter makes me long for warmer temperatures. But once they […]

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Do you use the summer months to make extra money? If you're panicking because summer is too short there are still ways to make money before summer is over.

Where I live, in the spring we can still get (and usually do!) a big blizzard in April. Of course, for many other areas of the country, April is much too warm for snow.

Needless to say, Mother Nature’s last attempt to hold on to winter makes me long for warmer temperatures. But once they arrive it seems like no time until we are half-way around toward fall again. Yes, summer is just too short for my liking.

Some people agree with me, but perhaps for a different reason. They may use the summer months to make a little extra money.

If you are one of them you may be panicking at the thought that it’s going by so quickly. Fortunately, there are ways to make money before summer is over.

1. Lawn Care

Although summer is well under way that doesn’t mean everyone has taken good care of their lawns. You might be able to cash in on their negligence and make some money. If you like spending time outdoors (and want to work on your tan, too!) start a lawn care service.

You could begin with friends or neighbors and even mow and trim a yard or two for free. Then ask for referrals and do some advertising. You’ll be raking in the green in no time.

2. Pet Sitting/Dog Walking

If you’re an animal lover try pet sitting or dog walking to make money before summer is over. Once again, start with family and friends and build up your client base from there.

To gain momentum, put the word out on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites. You could also post flyers around your community.

3. Baking and Catering

Do you have a love for all things food related? Why not turn that passion into a side business to make money before summer is over?

Try out a few recipes on co-workers and other’s you know. Ask for their honest opinions and help in spreading the word about your side business. Then watch how quickly you start rolling in dough.

4. Sell Unused Stuff

When you’ve got stuff sitting around unused and unwanted at home, you could turn it into cash. Have a garage sale or post it on Craigslist to make money quickly.

You’ll feel better freeing up space and earning some money too.

5. Trade Unwanted Gift Cards

Don’t just leave unwanted gift cards lying around at home unused. Instead, trade them in for cash to an online site such as Gift Card Granny.

You’ll have cash in your pocket to use for other things you need.

6. Pool Care

If you’re the outdoorsy type and have the right experience, you could make money doing pool care. You can do it part time and you don’t need a bunch of equipment to get started.

It’s a great way to go to work wearing shorts and t-shirts without getting fired for it. Just don’t forget the sunscreen!

7. Painting Service

Painting homes is another way to make money before summer is over. If you advertise and have a willingness to work hard, lots of people would pay you well for this service.

You may need a few supplies, but it isn’t too costly to get started. Get your name out there on community bulletin boards and social media. You’ll have money in your pocket in no time.

8. Car Detailing

Do you need another idea on how to make money before summer is over? Try cleaning up cars for other people.

Running a car detailing business doesn’t take too many supplies, although it will take a certain amount of water. Nevertheless, you could be well on your way to extra cash in a hurry.

The truth is, if you need money badly enough, there are lots of ways to make money before summer is over. Some are as easy as going for a walk. All you have to do is decide what your skills are and think about how to make money from them.

What types of odd jobs have you done in the past to make money in the summer?

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How to Be More Productive and Make More Money http://yourpfpro.com/how-to-be-more-productive-and-make-more-money/ http://yourpfpro.com/how-to-be-more-productive-and-make-more-money/#comments Mon, 18 Jun 2018 11:00:36 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=8026 Many people these days are working hard to improve their financial situations. Of course, there’s more than one way you can accomplish that. You can reduce debt, budget wisely, and increase your income. When trying to increase your income, one way to do it is to improve your productivity in your job. Start at Home […]

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Many people these days work hard to improve their financial situations. One way to do it is to improve productivity in your job so you can make more money.

Many people these days are working hard to improve their financial situations. Of course, there’s more than one way you can accomplish that.

You can reduce debt, budget wisely, and increase your income. When trying to increase your income, one way to do it is to improve your productivity in your job.

Start at Home

One of the best ways to be more productive and make more money is to start at home. When your home is a wreck it’s certainly harder to “be at work” all the way when you’re physically at work.

Your mind may wander to what you’ll make for supper or how you’ll have time to get the dishes done. Instead of working you’ll get distracted by all that’s waiting for you when you get off work.

So, to be more productive and make more money at work, use these ideas:

1. Get Organized

Get through any mail, bills, or papers that are lying around at home. Do your laundry, dishes and cleaning.

If you need to, ask a friend, partner, or spouse for help, especially if you have small kids. Once you get organized at home you’ll be fully present at work. That will help you be more productive so you can make more money through raises and promotions.

2. Prepare Each Night

Every evening at home, get into a routine that will help you be more productive at work. Choose and gather clothing for yourself and other family members for the next day.

Do you take lunch with you to work or make lunches for your kids? If so, make them the night before to make your morning so faster and smoother. Then all you’ll have to do the next day is grab them on the way out the door.

3. Get Plenty of Rest

Another way to be more productive so you can make more money at work is to get plenty of rest. When you are well rested you’ll work faster and complete more work throughout the day.

What to Do at Work

There are lots of things you can do to be more productive while at work too.

4. End the Day Preparing

At the close of each day, review your calendar and what you need to do tomorrow. This enables you to prepare for early morning meetings and appointments so you don’t arrive late.

It only takes a moment or two to scan your calendar for the next day. But it can make a world of difference to your whole day tomorrow.

5. Make a Task List

When you make a task list at work it helps you remember to do important projects.  Keeping a running list helps you work faster, be more productive, and in the end, make more money.

You’ll spend less time trying to remember all you need to do and more time doing. It also allows you to add to the list and remove things from the list as they are completed.

6. Establish a Routine

Believe it or not, the simple act of establishing a routine will help you be more productive at work.

Begin by reading emails and texts as well as listening to phone messages in the morning. Check all forms of communication and then move on to other important tasks. If you have trouble getting this done quickly, set a timer to help you get to a stopping point.

Once you get your morning pattern established, move on to other time blocks in your day. The more routines you create the more productive you will become.

7. Don’t Look at Social Media

One of the worst time wasters and bad habits many people have these days is social media. Therefore, to be more productive and make more money at work, stay away from it.

Put your phone in a drawer or across the room. Or, put it in the next room so you aren’t tempted to check it every 5 minutes.

Certainly many of us are trying to improve our financial situations these days. But sometimes to make more money you need to be more productive. Use these tips to help you accomplish both your productivity and money goals.

What do you do to stay productive and make more money?

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5 Ways to Make Money Quickly http://yourpfpro.com/5-ways-to-make-money-quickly/ http://yourpfpro.com/5-ways-to-make-money-quickly/#respond Mon, 30 Oct 2017 11:00:04 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7430 A year or so ago, my husband and I had a talk about how stupid it is to spend so much money on things we don’t necessarily need. Money was tight at the time and we were trying to cut back on our frivolous spending. Trimming our expenses has allowed us to spend more time […]

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Make Money QuicklyA year or so ago, my husband and I had a talk about how stupid it is to spend so much money on things we don’t necessarily need. Money was tight at the time and we were trying to cut back on our frivolous spending.

Trimming our expenses has allowed us to spend more time together instead of constantly working. For example, recently we took a long awaited for vacation which we saved up for.

But with bills to pay and Christmas just around the corner not everyone has the ability to enjoy such a luxury. In fact, some people are struggling so much financially they may not have any presents at all let alone have enough to pay their normal monthly bills.

If your family is having money problems there are answers. Here are 5 ways to make money quickly that can help ease the financial burden.

1. Sign up With Airbnb

When money is tight and you need cash quickly, one solution could be to rent a room in your house. Sometimes, though, there are local laws with restrictions that apply, but signing up is a simple process.

Airbnb is a great way to earn money when you need it fast. Rent a room or two a couple of times and you could get your finances back in the black.

2. Offer Your Labor

Another opportunity to make money quickly when your budget is tight is to offer up your labor. There are tons of odd jobs people may be willing to pay for if they know you are available.

Post that you are available on social media or a local buy and sell web site. Some of the jobs you advertise for might include pet sitting and walking, mowing and trimming, residential or business cleaning, painting, or auto detailing.

You could also be a mover to make extra money on the side. Or, consider other tasks such as cleaning gutters, watering yards, trimming bushes, and washing windows.

Other people may even be willing to pay you to run their errands. Likewise, as cold weather approaches, consider shoveling snow as another service you are willing to do for pay.

Selling your labor is not a regular job with steady hours, but when you need extra money it can still help ease your money woes.

3. Drive for Uber or Lyft

Have you ever thought about driving for Uber or Lyft? To meet all of the requirements to drive it can take as little as two days.

But don’t worry if you don’t own a car. That doesn’t mean you need to rush out and buy one. In fact, an article from USA Today cautions against quitting your regular job in order to buy a car you can’t afford.

An alternative solution is to visit http://hyrecar.com/ to get more information on renting a car for Uber or Lyft.

4. Trade in Old Jewelry

A few years ago, I discovered two old 14K gold necklaces in a corner of my jewelry box. Because they were bent I hadn’t worn them in years. However, I hadn’t parted with them previously because of the high value of gold.

I thought they might be worth something one day so I kept them. It turns out I was right.

One of the jewelry stores in my hometown had advertised on the radio that they would pay for old gold jewelry. So, the next time I drove into town I traded them in for almost $100 cash.

Perhaps you should check to see if you have any old trinkets you no longer need lying forgotten in a drawer. They could turn out to be a gold mine.

5. Sell Stuff You Don’t Need

Decluttering can serve two purposes if you take the time to do it. It can give you cash and eliminate stuff you no longer need.

My daughter and I declutter unused items from our homes at least once a month. After gathering the items we no longer need we sell them on our local online thrift store’s Facebook site.

Generally the people who purchase them pay us cash for what they buy. Some items, like nice clothes, purses, shoes, or coats sell quickly.

Try cashing in on this idea yourself to make money quickly and supplement your income too.

When you’ve got bills to pay or Christmas presents to buy, making money quickly can help. Try one or more of these 5 ways to make money quickly or come up with your own plan to get quick cash for your needs.

Have you ever needed to make money quickly? If so, how did you do it?

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How to Keep Hustling When You Are Wiped Out http://yourpfpro.com/keep-hustling-when-wiped-out/ http://yourpfpro.com/keep-hustling-when-wiped-out/#comments Mon, 21 Aug 2017 11:00:15 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7307 Anybody who works a full time job, like I do, and also has a side hustle too can tell you they know what it’s like to feel tired. In fact, I can personally tell you I am running on fumes a lot of the time. I know I am not alone. There are plenty of […]

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Keep Hustling When Wiped OutAnybody who works a full time job, like I do, and also has a side hustle too can tell you they know what it’s like to feel tired. In fact, I can personally tell you I am running on fumes a lot of the time.

I know I am not alone. There are plenty of other people who also work hard at a side hustle so they can turn their dreams into reality. If you are one of them you likely already know what it is to feel exhaustion.

Having a full time job and a side hustle that rivals it isn’t easy. There are plenty of nights when I don’t get enough rest to feel really good the next day. So how do you keep hustling when you are wiped out?

1. Know Where Your Stopping Point Is

Up until a couple of weeks ago I have been working a full time job that frequently requires overtime in addition to two different side hustles. On top of that my husband and I own and operate a farm with crop ground and cattle.

But I know where my stopping point is. That is one reason why I recently let one of my side hustles go. In addition, it was the one I work the least hours at, therefore making it the lowest paying job I was holding.

It wasn’t necessarily easy to let that job go, however, because I really enjoyed what I did there. The hours were very flexible and that made it easy to work into my crazy schedule.

The deciding factor for me was the fact that sometimes I have had a hard time functioning at the level I need to be at my current 40 plus hour per week job. Something had to give.

If any of this sounds familiar to you, my advice is to know where your stopping point is. Don’t try to push beyond it because you could be working yourself into a state of sickness.

2. Sleep as Much as You Can

Right now I do plan to continue to side hustle. The reason is because my master plan includes turning my side hustle into a full time job so I can leave my other full time job.

However, some of the time I simply don’t get enough sleep. As a result, I sleep as much as I can whenever I can because there really isn’t a good alternative to getting enough sleep.

A constant state of exhaustion and sleep deprivation eventually catches up with you. It can cause your immune system to not function as well leaving you vulnerable to sickness. You may also experience higher blood pressure, weight gain, and other negative effects to your health.

Productivity can be affected too. I notice it at my full time job as I try to stay focused while being very tired. I feel like I am lucky because my full time job keeps my attention.

One other way I combat exhaustion, and you can too, is by finding places in my schedule to take a short nap or rest break. For instance, I may lay my head on my desk for 20 minutes over lunch and shut my eyes. Sometimes it makes all the difference on getting through the day.

Another tactic is to get up early in the morning and work instead of working late at night. When I get so tired in the evening that I start doing the head nod, I stop and go to bed.

Working in the early morning hours has the advantage of allowing me to work after just having had a few hours of much needed sleep. This allows me to be fresher and finish my work more timely, using my time more productively.

3. Eat the Right Foods

I am the first to admit I am struggling with eating the right foods right now. It can be difficult to take the time to cook and prepare food properly when time is so short.

Avoiding sugary foods and snack that contain a lot of carbohydrates in them can help combat sluggishness. Therefore, I almost never drink soda pop.

Instead I reach for ice water. The coldness helps to keep me alert and focused as I work during the day. Drinking water has many health benefits that make it a better choice than other drinks as well.

When it comes to food, I eat as many fruits and vegetables as I can. I also limit carbohydrates most of the time to prevent the afternoon “blahs”.

Take a page out of my book and eat dried fruit or nuts as an afternoon snack. The extra protein in nuts provides a boost without added sugar. Additionally, my dried fruit is low in added sugar because I dehydrate my own.

These are just a few of the many tactics I use that you can use too in order to keep hustling when you are wiped out. I also try to exercise when I can, ask for help when I need it, and say no to some requests instead of always saying yes. As you get tired from your own side hustle, try some of these ideas to help you keep hustling your way to success.

Are there other things you have tried to help you keep hustling when you are wiped out?

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Using a Side Hustle to Grow Your Net Worth http://yourpfpro.com/using-side-hustle-grow-net-worth/ http://yourpfpro.com/using-side-hustle-grow-net-worth/#respond Wed, 16 Aug 2017 11:00:58 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7291 This is a guest post from Eric Rosenberg, a finance writer at Personal Profitability, InvestmentZen, and other personal finance, technology, and travel publications. When I started my first online side hustle in 2006, I had no idea it would change my life. I was still a college student and began blogging during the summer before […]

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This is a guest post from Eric Rosenberg, a finance writer at Personal Profitability, InvestmentZen, and other personal finance, technology, and travel publications.

When I started my first online side hustle in 2006, I had no idea it would change my life. I was still a college student and began blogging during the summer before my senior year. As a finance major, I intended to get a good job in corporate finance, which I did. But along the way, I built a side hustle that revolutionized both my money and lifestyle ten years later. Thanks to this hustle, I’ve been able to save more, avoid debt, and live a low-stress financial life. Read on to discover the lessons I learned along the way.

A side hustle can help pay off debt

I have taken on debt twice in my life. First, I had a $10,995 car loan shortly after college when my old car broke down. Then I took on about $40,000 in student loans in grad school. It was at the time I was paying off these debts I started to take my side hustles seriously.

I had a good starting salary considering I graduated at the start of The Great Recession, but I wanted to get out of debt as quickly as possible. I kept my living expenses low, but the pay off my debt faster I wanted to attack both sides of the equation. While I started my first blog in 2006, I didn’t start to look at my blogs as a business until a couple of years later. As I began to focus on earning more online, I had more dollars to throw at my loans.

Through a combination of smart budgeting, aggressive payments, and a little help from my side hustles, I was able to pay off that car loan in half of the scheduled five years. I paid off my student loans exactly two years and six days after graduation.

A side hustle can fund your IRA

Over the years, my side hustle income grew to a more significant level. It covered a round of beers, then all of my bar tabs for a month, then it grew to a point where it could cover my rent and later my mortgage. Whoa, I realized I was making some serious cash with this crazy internet side hustle.

Because I kept my expenses low, every extra dollar I made resulted in bigger savings. Once I paid off my loans, I decided it was time to start focusing on my Roth IRA, which has a maximum $5,500 contribution limit every year. I split up the direct deposit from my paycheck at work to directly add $211 to my Roth each payday, resulting in a maximum $5,500 per year. I also increased my 401(k) contributions and added some padding to my emergency fund. Because I had extra income from outside of work, I was able to boost my automatic savings at my day job too.

In fact, my income from the side hustle grew enough that I added my wife’s Roth IRA to the mix. Between my 401(k), our IRAs, and other savings, we were putting about as much as I made from my side hustle into savings. In 2015, that was about $40,000.

A side hustle can revolutionize your finances

The core principle of personal finance is simple: spend less than you earn and use the rest to pay off debt or save and invest. But like most decisions that have the greatest positive impact on our life, that’s easier said than done.

I look at this financial conundrum similarly to how I view weight loss. If you are looking to drop a few pounds, common wisdom says to focus on diet (input) and exercise (output). But if you only focus on the exercise portion, you won’t see much success. You can spend hours on the treadmill every day, but if you only eat pizza, ice cream, and nachos all day, you won’t lose any weight. Why? Because you ignored the inputs. The same is true with your money.

You can budget until you’re blue in the face, but you can only cut your spending so much. You still need a place to live, food to eat, and clothes to wear. Further, you can’t cut your spending infinitely. You can only go as low as zero. And if you are earning only $20,000 per year, you will never be wealthy regardless of how well you budget.

Just as changing your diet has the most dramatic impact on your weight, focusing on your income has the greatest effect on your finances. If you can cut your spending by $5,000 per year, that’s great. But if you can increase your income by $10,000, that’s even better. When I increased my income by $40,000 through side hustles, it made more than a small impact. It completely changed my family’s finances.

Earn more or spend less: I prefer earning more

I’m not suggesting you ignore your budget. Budgeting and understanding where your money goes is vitally important. But if I had the choice between cutting my spending and earning more, I’ll pick earning more every time. Because personal finance isn’t so black and white, it’s most likely you can find a combination of the two.

It might seem like increased earnings are an elusive pipedream, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Adding a small side hustle can have big results on your life. You might just find your side hustle to be a growing success that lets you leave your day job. You never know unless you try!

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How Much Is Your Time Worth? http://yourpfpro.com/how-much-is-your-time-worth/ http://yourpfpro.com/how-much-is-your-time-worth/#comments Thu, 07 Apr 2016 04:59:01 +0000 http://yourPFpro.com/?p=6605 In my last post, I covered the 4 ways to get free moving boxes. I was so pleased with myself, having already asked coworkers (still a great idea!) and having saved boxes throughout the year in anticipation of our move. However, you don’t need boxes just to pack things you’re moving. Oh no… you need […]

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In my last post, I covered the 4 ways to get free moving boxes. I was so pleased with myself, having already asked coworkers (still a great idea!) and having saved boxes throughout the year in anticipation of our move.

However, you don’t need boxes just to pack things you’re moving. Oh no… you need boxes for donations, because not everything goes neatly into bags to take to Goodwill. I didn’t realize this, but thought, it’s okay! I can get boxes for free by following my own tips!
I learned my lesson. Sometimes your time is more valuable than money and, I have to admit, I did end up buying some boxes from Home Depot.
It turns out, there are times when your time is worth more than money. It could be safety reasons, sanity reasons, or making more money reasons. It could be because some things cost you more money doing it yourself, so it doesn’t make financial sense to do it yourself. Here are the times when it makes more sense to value your time over your money.

Your Time is Worth More Than Money Depending on What You Value

Anyone can tell you to take your current hourly salary and value your time accordingly. For example, if you make $30 an hour, then if you can’t find someone to do some task for you for less than $30, you should do it yourself.
However, it’s not that easy. While it may be cheaper to do some things yourself, should you? First of all, seriously, should you? Not everyone should be an electrician in their own home, even if an electrician costs $50 an hour. The electrician is worth it on safety grounds alone.
Also, do you have other priorities? Do you have a family, a dog, friends you occasionally like to hang out with? If doing everything means cutting out family, your place of worship (however you define it), and your hobbies, it’s not really worth sacrificing your time to save a little bit of money.
Other people enjoy cleaning their homes, making their own coffee, running their own errands, maintaining their home and more. If that’s you, go for it! If that’s not you, and it’s not entirely cost-prohibitive, it might make more sense that your time is worth more than your money.

Your Time is Worth More Than Money When You Can Make More Money

After you’ve prioritized your tasks and either eliminated or outsourced what gets in the way of family and/or sanity, consider your side hustle. Can you make more per hour on your own business than you would if you were working other tasks?
If you’ve got a lucrative side hustle or the ability to build it up by spending time on it, it might be more worthwhile to spend your time on that versus other tasks that won’t make you any money. Without sacrificing too much personal time (like time with family or personal hygiene… don’t give up brushing your teeth to spend a few extra minutes on your business!), carefully spend your time dedicated to building your business and turning it into passive income.

Your Time is Worth More Than Money When You’re Wasting Time Driving Around

To go back to the moving boxes, last weekend my husband and I were enthusiastically stalking the Craigslist ‘free’ section for moving boxes. Every 5 minutes, we would refresh my screen to see if any free moving boxes popped up. We had 2 weeks to get everything packed and shoved away in storage before the realtor came to take pictures to put the house up for sale.
The one thing you have to know about Phoenix? It’s huge. It’s 500 square miles, and it can easily take you an hour or longer to drive from the north of Phoenix to the south of Phoenix. So finding free moving boxes within a 20 minute drive was important: driving an hour for boxes wouldn’t make sense.
40 miles and 0 boxes later, we learned our lesson. You can drive 15 minutes to one place only to find the moving boxes already scooped up (as we did), then get a hit on boxes another 15 minutes away, only to find them gone. Then you realize someone was giving away boxes 5 minutes away from your house, only you’re 25 minutes away now, and not 5.
Nearly an hour of driving for nothing. My car gets pretty good gas mileage, but wasting gas even at $2 a gallon is not what I want to do.
Think of it this way: even if it’s an expensive item being offered at a discount, if it’s already gone when you get there (many people won’t hold items for you), you’ve wasted your money and time and you didn’t even get what you came for. That’s not worth it!

When Someone Else Can Get It Done Cheaper

One of the best examples of when your time is worth more than your money is taxes. Unless you love doing your taxes and are good at it, it might be cheaper to have an accountant do it for you.
For example, my taxes have finally become unwieldy enough that I just didn’t want to take the time to do them. Last year I owed money, too, and didn’t feel like watching my money dwindle away on Turbo Tax like I did the previous year.
Hiring an excellent and well-recommended accountant cost me $125 and saved me time, headaches… and I actually got a refund, which more than paid for the accountant fees. I was able to spend time packing up the house and working with our mortgage lender instead of agonizing over every Turbo Tax click, and that’s worth it to me.
Is there something you do right now that you don’t like and could outsource? It doesn’t have to be taxes. Some people loathe cleaning the house, and hire an $150 a month housekeeping service. Some people don’t like running errands and hire TaskRabbit to do it for them.
I’m not saying spend your money just to spend it, but seriously consider the time it takes to do something and if you could be more productive (and possibly make more money) elsewhere.
When have you decided that your time was worth more than your money, and what things do you do yourself to save money?

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5 Ways for New Freelancers to Find Great Clients http://yourpfpro.com/5-ways-for-new-freelancers-to-find-great-clients/ http://yourpfpro.com/5-ways-for-new-freelancers-to-find-great-clients/#respond Wed, 09 Sep 2015 13:30:22 +0000 http://yourPFpro.com/?p=6310 On Your PF Pro, we talk a lot about starting your own side hustle, finding time for your hustle, and possibly turning that side gig into a full-time job. However, if you’ve wanted to start a side hustle but can’t figure out how to get the right clients, this may seem overwhelming. Note I said […]

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On Your PF Pro, we talk a lot about starting your own side hustle, finding time for your hustle, and possibly turning that side gig into a full-time job. However, if you’ve wanted to start a side hustle but can’t figure out how to get the right clients, this may seem overwhelming.

Note I said the right clients. If you want to freelance, you can find clients almost anywhere. Craigslist, job boards, cold-calling or -emailing. While these avenues can be profitable and can yield you good clients occasionally, there’s much more to finding great clients than emailing strangers on Craigslist.
If you’re new to freelancing and want to learn the best ways to find great clients, read on. If you’re a seasoned freelancer and have additional tips for finding the right clients, please share them below!

Create an Online Resume

Especially if you plan on freelancing online (writing, graphic design, virtual assistance), you should create an online resume for yourself. If you’re a freelancer writer, you absolutely should have some sort of online presence to showcase your work. You can create your online resume through WordPress (mostly for blogs), Wix, SquareSpace, and others.
This online resume isn’t just good for freelance writers, but almost every side hustler out there. Do you want to tutor to make extra money? Post an online resume of your qualifications, including any training, degrees, or recommendations you’ve received. Starting your own photography business? Showcase events where you’ve taken photos and list your specialties (weddings, family portraits, etc.) to draw new visitors to your site.
By creating an online resume, you’ll have a place online to showcase your work. You can refer clients to this website, so they can see your style and determine if they want to work with you. Great clients will want to get an impression of you so they can hire a freelancer with the right skills, rather than just the cheapest.

Make Connections in Your Field

One of the best ways to attract great clients is to reach out to people in your field or specialty. If there is someone whose style you like, or who makes a genuine effort to comment on your blog, reach out to them by email. It’s important to make a genuine connection as opposed to a superficial connection. People can generally tell when you’re fishing for leads, so only reach out to people whose writing or work you actually enjoy.
By reaching out and establishing a friendly relationship with people in your field, you’ll be seen as a friendly, professional person – someone other people want to work with. It’s actually very common for freelancers to refer extra work to friends and professional acquaintances. While you don’t have to be a social butterfly, having social skills and establishing friendly relationships will help open your business to great clients.

Work with People You Respect

One of the best lessons I’ve learned since freelancing is to work with people you respect, because you’ll receive similar respect in return. When you’re getting started in your freelancing side hustle, you’ll often have to pitch to people in your field. This requires a lot of work on your side, as you have to determine your client’s needs and how best to serve them.
If you’re reading a client’s website and are considering pitching to them, ask yourself a few questions:
  • Do I really like this person’s work and their message, or am I pitching just to pitch?
  • Could I work with this person long term?
  • What is your overall opinion of this potential client?

 

Many clients put a lot of information about themselves online, and you can learn about a client from their blog or About page. I’ve found out the hard way, twice, to only work with people I respect. Both times, I had a feeling going in that these clients would not end up working out, but I went against my gut because I thought I needed the work.

 

It’s not worth it! Clients who give you a bad feeling will almost always drain your time and not respect your product. If you can’t get enough information about a potential client from their website, call them and have an introductory chat. While it may take 30 minutes of your time upfront, you could save yourself hours of (usually uncompensated) work later by only taking on great clients who you respect.

Stand By Your Work

Much like working only with people you respect, stand by your work. If someone is demanding something you can’t do (because you don’t have the time, ability, or they’re not willing to pay for it), stick to your principles.

When you’re starting out, you often don’t have a frame of reference for how much you should charge for your work. In addition, your portfolio will be very small, and you may not feel like you’re able to charge more. Unscrupulous clients will recognize you’re a new freelancer and will try to take advantage of that.

In the past, I’ve had clients threaten to withhold recommendations they originally promised until I completed additional (read: free) work for them. In some cases, it was work I simply could not do, like the client that wanted a web designer when all I was doing for them was social media. While I could have tried to design their website, my skills are not comparable to a professional, and the client wanted the majority of this work done in exchange for a recommendation… so, free.

If you’re getting positive feedback about your work from connections in your field or other clients, stand by your work. Don’t allow someone to demand more work, uncompensated, if you didn’t originally agree to it. Great clients will recognize good work, and great clients won’t try to take advantage of your status as a new freelancer.

Once you have a few great clients, you may feel like the luckiest person in the freelancing world, and you’re right! Many freelancers would be happy to get a good client, let alone a great client. Once you have clients like this, go above and beyond to make them happy (within reason for you).

That said, great clients will respect you and your time. Great clients will encourage you to take vacation time, not expect you to immediately return their calls/emails, and generally show you the same respect you give to them. By following these guidelines, you’ll eventually find great clients that help propel your freelancing side hustle even farther!

 

For seasoned freelancers, how did you find your ideal client, and did you have any criteria when taking on new clients? What recommendations do you have for new freelancers? New freelancers, do you have any additional questions for finding great clients?

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Find Time for Your Side Hustle with These 6 Simple Tips http://yourpfpro.com/find-time-for-your-side-hustle-with-these-6-simple-tips/ http://yourpfpro.com/find-time-for-your-side-hustle-with-these-6-simple-tips/#respond Wed, 02 Sep 2015 13:30:22 +0000 http://yourPFpro.com/?p=6302 Side hustlers with full time jobs know the struggle: the early mornings, late nights, and fervent email checks at work. Side hustling with a full time job can definitely be challenging. If your business is in growth mode, it can be hard to say no to more work, especially if you want to turn your […]

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Side hustlers with full time jobs know the struggle: the early mornings, late nights, and fervent email checks at work. Side hustling with a full time job can definitely be challenging. If your business is in growth mode, it can be hard to say no to more work, especially if you want to turn your side hustle into your full time job.

All side hustlers in growth mode eventually run in a problem: how to continue growing and nurturing your side business while still focusing on your full time work. If you’re a side hustler currently experiencing growing pains, check out these tips on how to find time for your side business.

Is your side hustle growing and beginning to take up more of your time? If you're a side hustler with a full-time job, it can be hard to find extra time to work on your business. Here's how - without losing your mind!

Only Do What You Love

You may have started your side business by being a jack of all trades. This may have worked out great in the beginning, as you likely learned new skills, worked with a variety of people, and side hustled your way into more income. Unfortunately, being available for everything can siphon precious time from doing what you love.

If you love website design, but you work as a designer, freelance writer, and website manager and find yourself running out of time for your passion, you may want to step back from one or more other jobs. Think about why you started side hustling, and what you want your business to look like as it grows. Few people are successful being good at everything, so find your niche and devote your time to it.

By dropping the side hustle jobs you don’t love as much, you’ll be able to spend your time doing what you love and improving your skills. As you continue to improve your skills and showcase your talents, you’ll also be able to steadily raise your rates.

If You Don’t Love it, Delegate it

If you can’t break away from doing everything, or if additional services are integral to your side business, consider delegating those tasks to someone else. We’ve covered how to find the right virtual assistant, which should help you determine which tasks you can outsource.

As a side hustler in growth mode, you have to evaluate your current rates and the time spent doing things you don’t love. If you can outsource the tasks you don’t like and devote your time improving your business and raising your rates, it may make sense to outsource.

A side hustler with a full time job has to carefully assess the time spent on certain side hustles relative to their per hour worth. After a while, certain tasks are just diminishing returns, and your time could be spent generating new revenue.

Automate Everything

If you’re like many side hustlers, you have to be on social media. Whether or not you’re on all channels (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Periscope, Google+, etc.), you likely use some type of platform to get your services out there and connect with your community.

Social media scheduling can take a long time and, if you don’t enjoy it, can be tedious. Save yourself time and continue making connections with potential customers by automating your posts ahead of time. You can use any of the following scheduling tools:

  • Buffer – one of the most comprehensive schedulers out there. Connects to Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
  • Hootsuite – scheduler for Twitter and Instagram. Can also help you follow your @ mentions and group chats.
  • Tailwind – one of the best schedulers for Pinterest. Provides weekly updates on the growth of your Pinterest account.

When I say automate everything, I mean everything. In addition to automating certain social media tasks, think about automating things in your life. As the only person in our house who thinks about household essentials (cleaning supplies, toothpaste), I automate all of those non-perishables with Amazon Subscribe and Save. No more running out to Target for things we’ve forgotten. With Subscribe and Save, we order enough to get us through the whole month, if not longer.

If you’re brave, and it’s offered in your area, you could also automate grocery delivery. If you’re not picky about produce like I am, this could save you a lot of time. Sure, it might seem lazy to some people, but if you don’t like shopping anyway and could put your time to better use, it makes sense.

Create a Routine

If you don’t already have a daily routine down, it’s time to get one. When you’re in growth mode, you may have to devote more time to your side hustle than before. This is why it’s important to create morning and nighttime routines, to streamline your regular life, full-time job tasks and give you extra time to work on your side hustle.

For example, I have my morning and night routines down to military precision. I might do almost the same thing every single day, but by doing that, I have an extra 2 hours a day to work on my side hustle.

It’s important to try to stick to this schedule for 5-6 days of the week, too. While all side hustlers should take a break from their business (at least for their families’ sakes!), it’s important to remain in a groove so you’re consistently accomplishing goals for your business.

Take Advantage of Time Pockets

Time pockets are those times throughout the day when you don’t have a lot going on and can spend a little time on your business. This could be while you’re waiting for someone to call you back, respond to an email, or get a meeting started. During this time, you could respond to a client email, send out some Tweets, or read a blog post in your niche.

I’m not saying you spend 20% of your time at your full-time job working on your side hustle. That’s not fair to your employer or your coworkers. However, we all know there is down time throughout the day. There’s no reason not to take advantage of this time by checking in on your business, as long as you’re mentally back to work when it’s time.

Work Ahead

When you find yourself looking at a vast expanse of free time, like a weekend where you only have two client projects due, don’t squander it. Work ahead on weekends when you have extra time, schedule out your social media posts weeks in advance, or catch up on reaching out to potential clients.

By working ahead when you can, you’ll find yourself much less stressed on weeks when you have something to do every single day. On days when you have extra time, spend some time working on your business, improving your site or teaching yourself something new. Invest some time in your side business to reap rewards throughout the year.

All side hustlers eventually have to contend with time and competing priorities. If you’re currently trying to grow your side business but also give 100% at your full-time job, it can be difficult to identify extra time. This doesn’t mean it’s impossible! By following the 6 tips outlined above, you can continue to grow your side hustle while working a full-time job.
What tips do you have for side hustlers trying to grow their businesses and work full-time jobs? How do you balance a full-time job with a side business?

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The 7 Perfect Jobs for College Students http://yourpfpro.com/the-7-perfect-jobs-for-college-students/ http://yourpfpro.com/the-7-perfect-jobs-for-college-students/#comments Wed, 22 Jul 2015 13:30:52 +0000 http://yourPFpro.com/?p=6239 As we get back into college season, it’s time to start thinking about how you’re going to make money while in school. Whether you’re going back to school after time off, starting graduate school, or simply beginning college for the first time, it’s a good idea to have a part-time job. Part-time college jobs will […]

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As we get back into college season, it’s time to start thinking about how you’re going to make money while in school. Whether you’re going back to school after time off, starting graduate school, or simply beginning college for the first time, it’s a good idea to have a part-time job.

Part-time college jobs will help you gain experience, earn extra money, and quite possibly pay off some of your tuition during school. You’ll also make valuable connections in the form of coworkers and supervisors who can serve as references for you in the future.

Receiving work-study through the Federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) is one way to gain access to work-study jobs, but there by no means the only way to work on campus. If you don’t qualify for work-study jobs at college, don’t worry! There are still many job opportunities available to college students.

Here’s a list of the perfect jobs for college students trying to make ends meet (or have a little bit of savings!) Looking for a job in college? Here are 7 jobs perfect for college students because of flexibility and/or pay.

Resident Advisor

If you can get this, you’re doing better than your peers. RAs typically receive free room and board, although your meal plan options may be limited. Given the high cost of room and board at many colleges, this is one of the most lucrative jobs you can get as a student.

Becoming an RA is a competitive process, and many applications require several rounds of interviews, including the resume and cover letter process. It’s not an easy job, either, requiring you to give up nights to babysit freshmen or wrangle tired juniors from their beds during a fire drill. However, the money you save on living costs is well worth the nights you give up for many people!

Who this job is good for – Resident Advisor jobs are perfect for outgoing people who are problem-solvers, available during the day and night, and willing to enforce rules.

Tutor

Working as a tutor for your fellow classmates or underclassmen is a great way to refresh your skills, meet new people, and make some extra money. The hours are much more forgiving than being a resident advisor, although if you’re tutoring athletes at your school, you may be required to tutor in the afternoon and early nighttime hours after practice.

You’ll get a tutoring jobs by approaching professors you’ve had before and asking about tutoring positions. Sometimes professors arrange the tutoring sessions themselves, and sometimes the colleges have specific rules about how to apply to become a tutor. You may have to pass a skills test to determine if you will be an effective tutor.

Who this job is good for – Tutoring jobs are good for people who have a firm grasp of the subject they’re teaching. If you’re the go-to person for teaching Spanish grammar, you may be a great tutor for freshmen learning Spanish.

Most Library Jobs

Library jobs are great because there is usually some downtime for you to study. If you can pick up an early morning or late night shift, you’re usually able to study for at least an hour or 2 during your shift. Being a library assistant also allows you the opportunity to pick up library books for research papers – and you have no excuse for accruing late fines!

Applying to work at the library is as simple as showing up before the beginning of the school year and asking if they have positions available. Don’t just visit your underclassmen library either: if your school has a law school on campus, visit the Law Library and inquire about open positions. Some colleges allow underclassmen to work at various libraries on campus without being a student in that college.

Who this job is good for – A library assistant position is good for people who like books, can study intermittently, and are combination intro/extroverts. You’ll hopefully be a combination of introvert and extrovert because the library can be very quiet (go figure!) and you’ll want to use that time to study and not chat. You’ll also need to be extroverted when it’s time to help students and the public with questions and finding the appropriate materials.

Bookstore

Working in the on-campus bookstore (or an off-campus bookstore) is an awesome way to check out new books, meet people, and possibly get a discount on books and other supplies. Bookstore hours are fairly regular too, meaning you won’t have to work any late night or early morning shifts, like you would as an RA or library assistant.

Similar to work at a library, you should visit your local bookstore before the beginning of the school year and inquire about open positions. With regular turn over (graduating seniors), most bookstores should have positions open on a regular basis. If you’ve had any retail experience, particularly working a cash register, highlight this while applying.

Who this job is good for – Working at a bookstore is good for sociable, organized people who don’t mind occasionally moving heavy boxes of books.

Nanny

Being a nanny is an excellent job for many college students, particularly if you’re able to schedule your classes during the day. By the time it’s time to pick up your charge from school, you’ll be done with classes and you both can do homework.

Beyond the fairly flexible schedule, working as a nanny will allow you to potentially earn more money than you would working on campus. Any activities you do with your charge(s) should also be paid for by the parents, allowing you to do the fun kid stuff (go cart racing! Children’s museum!) you miss from your childhood.

Become a nanny by signing up Care.com, asking friends who’ve been nannies in the past, or by asking professors if they know of anyone looking for nannies. While the professors themselves may not have young children, many parents ask professors for recommendations.

Who this job is good for – Being a nanny is best for people who like kids, for obvious reasons. This job is particularly good for early-education majors as well.

Fitness Instructor

Are you a yoga pro, or have you wanted to teach your classmates about self-defense? You’d be surprised what college gyms are looking for in instructors, so if you have a talent at teaching fitness classes, see if you can get paid for it!

See if your school is hiring by going to the gym or fitness studio on campus before school starts and ask what classes they’re hiring for or if they’re open to new classes. Your gym may not have availability that semester, but they may be open to you teaching a class or two the following semester or during the summer term.

Who this job is good for – Working as a fitness instructor is best for people who can teach a class without getting distracted, people with loud voices, and people with a passion for the subject. This is likely not a job you will earn a great deal of money from (you may earn an hourly rate or a percent based on number of people in the class), but it’s a good way to stay in shape and get paid for it.

Teaching Assistant

Are you an introvert who’d rather get paid to grade? You may want to be a teaching assistant. Usually only offered at big universities with large class sizes, you’ll likely have to be a junior, senior, or graduate student to be a teaching assistant. Your workload varies and could consist primarily of grading assignments, but you could also be asked to hold small study seminars in addition to grading.

The best way to get a teaching assistant position is to approach a favorite professor, preferably someone in whose class you excelled. If you’re planning on majoring in the subject your professor teaches, even better. Ask the professor if they have any teaching assistant opportunities in the future. You may only be a teaching assistant for a semester, but some professors keep excellent teaching assistants on until they graduate.

Who this job is good for – Someone who doesn’t mind grading mind-numbingly terrible underclassmen essays. All jokes aside, teaching assistants should be diligent, willing to work alone, but also willing to potentially manage a small group of underclassmen. It helps to be a major in the subject, as knowing the subject will help you be a more efficient grader.

 

These are just seven of the best jobs for college students, in terms of flexibility and, potentially, pay. This is by no means an exhaustive list of great jobs for college students, so if you have any suggestions, share them in the comments!

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4 Benefits of Diversifying Your Income http://yourpfpro.com/4-benefits-of-diversifying-your-income/ http://yourpfpro.com/4-benefits-of-diversifying-your-income/#comments Fri, 03 Jul 2015 15:00:08 +0000 http://yourPFpro.com/?p=6200 This post is part of the Get Paid to Write for Blogs Course Launch. Get Paid to Write for Blogs is a brand new course created by Cat Alford of Budget Blonde. Cat makes a full time income from writing for blogs, and this course will teach you how to do the same. I am a […]

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This post is part of the Get Paid to Write for Blogs Course Launch. Get Paid to Write for Blogs is a brand new course created by Cat Alford of Budget Blonde. Cat makes a full time income from writing for blogs, and this course will teach you how to do the same.

I am a huge fan of diversifying your income. I believe strongly in having multiple streams of income that you build via side hustles.

Side hustles are for everyone, and let me tell you, I’ve had a million different side hustles: babysitting, catering, selling clothes, fitness coaching…the list is practically endless.

I value the security, the challenges, and the engagement that comes from having multiple responsibilities. The fact that they all pay isn’t so bad either!

I started freelance writing for blogs just this year as another method of diversifying my income. Becoming a freelance writer has been a fantastic way to diversify my income. It combines a passion (writing) with the benefit of a job (money). It’s one of the best choices I ever made for myself!

As a low-income earner, this second stream of income has really helped my income grow and has sharpened a lot of my professional skills. If I am benefiting from this freelance work, I guarantee that you will as well.

Here are 4 of the benefits I’ve seen since I started diversifying my income by getting paid to write for blogs.

Diverse Income is Safer Income

When you rely on only one stream of income, you’re putting all your eggs in one basket. If you lose your job, you lose your only source of income. As someone who graduated into the Great Recession and had a heck of a time finding one full time job, I can tell you that job insecurity sucks. Even now that I have a ‘real’ job, I still continue to earn money by freelance writing on the side. It not only boosts my overall income but it ensures that if I lost my 9-5, I would still be making some kind of money each month. I wouldn’t be left stranded. That kind of security is comforting.

You Control How Much Work You Do

Being able to diversify my income with a side hustle like freelance writing is unique from some of the other side hustles out there, like taking on a part-time job. When you’re a freelancer writer, and you want to write one freelance article a month, you can do that! If you want to write fifty articles a month, you can do that too! In the freelance world, you control your output. How many of us can say that in the more traditional work force? Freelance writing can be whatever you make of it. You can pick the employer you write for, the topic you write on and how often you write for them. The freedom is truly incredible!

You Set Your Price

One of my favorite benefits of freelance writing for blogs over other forms of diversifying your income is that you can set your own price. While potential employers may negotiate with you, ultimately you decide what your own value is. This price setting also ties back into how much you work. When you set your own price you are setting your own timeline and schedule.

Diverse Work Means More Skills

When you start to branch out into freelance writing, you’ll learn quickly it’s not just about the writing itself. You’ll learn how to use different web platforms, different SEO optimizers, how to write an invoice, and how to file your taxes differently. It’s a veritable feast of new skills! These skills benefit you and not just in the freelance arena. Your new skills can be applied to other jobs you have. I found that freelancing helped me become more organized, more comfortable speaking to new people, and more assertive in determining my work’s value. These are definitely all skills I can use at my other job and in my future. Freelance writing is about the writing at its heart, but it also offers other tangible benefits.

There’s an incredible array of opportunities out there for you to experiment with diversifying your income. It can be a bit daunting though. When I decided to try freelancing to diversify my income, I looked to established freelancers for examples of how to get my foot in the door. If you’re looking for something more substantial (and I would recommend going that route) you can try taking a course to help you get started.

What are some other benefits of diversifying your income that you can think of?

Author: Kara P.

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DEAL ALERT: $1,000 Sign-Up Bonus For New Lyft Drivers http://yourpfpro.com/deal-alert-1000-sign-up-bonus-for-new-lyft-drivers/ http://yourpfpro.com/deal-alert-1000-sign-up-bonus-for-new-lyft-drivers/#respond Fri, 27 Feb 2015 02:00:08 +0000 http://yourPFpro.com/?p=5965 (Update 2/27/15): Congratulations to all the drivers who were able to take advantage of Lyft’s $1,000 double sided referral bonus over the past couple days.  The deal is now dead but there are a few select cities still paying $1,000 to new drivers (but you have to complete 30 rides by 3/8). Lyft just announced their biggest sign-up bonus ever […]

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(Update 2/27/15): Congratulations to all the drivers who were able to take advantage of Lyft’s $1,000 double sided referral bonus over the past couple days.  The deal is now dead but there are a few select cities still paying $1,000 to new drivers (but you have to complete 30 rides by 3/8).

Lyft just announced their biggest sign-up bonus ever for new drivers: $1,000.  Yes, you read that right people.  And the best thing is there aren’t many strings attached either.

Drivers in the following cities are eligible for the $1,000 bonus:

  • Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Denver, Seattle, Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, San Diego, San Jose, Miami, Nashville, San Francisco, Los Angeles

This offer is available to brand new Lyft drivers who apply and give their first ride by 3/5!  So if you are someone who is a brand new driver you can sign up right now and you’ll get $1,000 after you give your first ride – it’s as simple as that.

Sign Up Here Using My Referral Link

I know that probably sounds too good to be true but I just got confirmation from Lyft headquarters that this promotion is legit and there are no requirements to drive after your first ride or anything like that.

Here’s a screenshot from Lyft’s website detailing the promotion:

FAQ’s About Signing Up To Drive For Lyft

What’s the application process like?

In order to get signed up with Lyft, you will need to provide your name, address, date of birth, social security number, driver’s license and auto information.  Your social security number will only be used to perform the background check (there is no credit check).

You can sign up here to start the application.

What’s a mentor ride?

Once you submit your application, you will need to do a mentor ride.  Lyft may assign a mentor to you but you are free to do the ride as soon as you’re available.  If you’re trying to get the $1,000 bonus by 3/5, the sooner the better.

In order to do your mentor ride, log on to the app and go into driver mode by tapping the steering wheel in the upper right corner.  Then you can request a mentor (just like you’re requesting a Lyft driver).  Once the mentor is confirmed, you will follow the navigation and drive to the mentor.  You may also want to call the mentor at this point to confirm that you’re on the way.  Make sure you bring all pertinent information (driver’s license, insurance, registration, etc).

The mentor ride should last about 15-30 mins and the mentor (an experienced Lyft driver) will take a look at your car and you’ll go for a quick test drive.  Think of it as a very casual mini-interview 🙂

Mentors are available daily from 7 am – 5 pm.

When will I get approved?

You should know within 15 minutes of your mentor ride whether you’ve been approved or not and once you are, your background check will begin processing.  Once you’ve passed your background check (2-3 days), you’ll be able to give your first ride and earn that $1,000!

Sign Up Here Using My Referral Link

Have any questions or need any clarifications?  Leave a comment below and enjoy the $1,000!

This article originally appeared on The Rideshare Guy Blog & Podcast

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Money Goals to Set for 2015 http://yourpfpro.com/money-goals-for-2015/ http://yourpfpro.com/money-goals-for-2015/#comments Wed, 10 Dec 2014 17:15:40 +0000 http://yourPFpro.com/?p=5739 I’m big on setting goals that are achievable.  I don’t try to tackle too much and sometimes it’s as simple as just doing 1 thing better over the next year.  Today, PF Pro contributor, Kali Hawlk takes a look at some money goals that you can set for 2015.  This is also Kali’s last post […]

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I’m big on setting goals that are achievable.  I don’t try to tackle too much and sometimes it’s as simple as just doing 1 thing better over the next year.  Today, PF Pro contributor, Kali Hawlk takes a look at some money goals that you can set for 2015.  This is also Kali’s last post for the blog so I wanted to say thanks for all her hard work over the past year!

We’ve only got a little more than two weeks left in 2014, which means it’s time to start thinking about the New Year. If you’re eager to set some resolutions you can actually work toward and keep to make 2015 even better than this year, consider setting a few goals with your money.

Creating a better financial situation is something you can work toward every week, every month — and you don’t need to make drastic changes. Baby steps, taken consistently over time, will get you there.

And don’t forget: there are countless ways to improve your personal finances. Not sure where to start? Consider these money goals to set for 2015:

Establish Financial Security

Did you experience a money scare or two in 2014? Make 2015 better by working to build up your financial security. There are two main ways to achieve this: pay down debt and build up savings.

Have you established an emergency fund? If not, make that your money goal for 2015. Set aside $10, $20, $50, or $100 per week until you have at least $1,000 secured in an easily-accessible (and liquid) account.

It’s okay if progress is slow. You have 12 months to meet these goals, right? It’s more important that you just get started.

If you already have an emergency fund, consider adding to it. Ideally, you’ll have 3 to 6 months’ worth of living expenses or net pay saved up. But adding to that provides additional financial security — especially if you’re self-employed or have heavy financial responsibilities (i.e., you have multiple dependents that rely on the income you produce).

If you have debt, it’s time to make a plan to start paying it down aggressively. Get mean! Do what you can to free up as much money as possible each month to put toward your debt, so you’re paying way more than the minimum and crushing that debt fast.

Already paying down debt? Consider ways to accelerate your progress. (My favorite method: side hustle!)

And there’s one more way to set money goals for 2015 that can help you build financial security. Consider getting the right protection for your assets and yourself if you don’t have it already. That means, depending on your situation, getting:

Not everyone will need insurance out the wazoo, but it’s important to consider. Look at your own situation, do your research, and determine what your personal needs are.

Build Your Wealth

Everyone should have this money goal on their list for 2015. Let’s all make a New Year’s resolution to build wealth!

We can do this by:

  • Making sure we’re contributing to employer-sponsored retirement accounts and securing the match, if that’s available
  • Also establishing a traditional or Roth IRA — this is a must of an employer-sponsored account isn’t available to you
  • Using a SEP IRA if you are self-employed full-time or part-time (if you have a side hustle, you can contribute!)

That’s the easiest way to get started. Work to contribute at least 15% to 20% of your gross income to your retirement accounts. If you want to get serious about wealth-building, aim for 30% to 50% — or more.

When it comes to investing in these accounts, I prefer passively managed index funds.

You can also invest outside of retirement accounts, but take advantage of those first because they’re tax advantaged. (An invested savings account, for example, won’t be tax advantaged, at all.) If you qualify, you might also want to look into an HSA.

And you can invest in yourself, too! Continue your education. Pick up a new skill or ability. Add to your experience that can pay off in a tangible way in your career or money-earning ability.

Use Your Money Goals to Live the Life You Want!

Your 2015 money goals can be a little more intangible, or at least different than what someone else might be working toward. Your money goals might revolve around gaining access to the life you want.

Make your goal to save up for a home down payment if you’re ready to have a place to call your own.

Educate yourself on the trip you want to take and look intro travel hacking to make the most of your money (then save up for the rest, too!).

Work to be in the financial position where you can take time off to volunteer is important to you.

Aim to earn more in 2015 by negotiating a raise or starting your own side hustle — or even side business.

The possibilities here are endless. Take a moment to think about what the life you want to live looks like — then start drawing up a plan to meet some of the money goals you’ll need to get there in 2015.

Finally, take action. A new year is a good excuse to start something, to establish new goals to work at. Just make sure that you finish them, too.

What money goals will you work toward in 2015? What are you hoping to accomplish in the new year?

The post Money Goals to Set for 2015 appeared first on Your Personal Finance Pro.

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