How Skillshare Can Grow A Blog

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.

Skillshare is a platform wherein solopreneurs can learn skills taught by other like-minded folk. Fellow bloggers are teaching courses on the site, as well as learning from each other. I, myself, have a Skillshare account and have written about how it can help one stay productive during times of quarantine. I have been able to grow my blog tremendously since enrolling in their membership program, which gives unlimited access to all the classes available on their platform. As you can see from my monthly income reports, I have made more than a few thousand since we first shut-down for COVID-19 in March! I attribute my blogging income to this course for Affiliate Marketing by Making Sense of Cents and Skillshare. Today, I will be sharing with you guys a few classes that bloggers can take in order to help them grow.

Classes on Skillshare That Will Grow Your Blog

There are many classes you can take on Skillshare that will grow the blog. Skillshare is divided into the categories “Create”, “Build”, and “Thrive”. All three categories have something to offer to solopreneurs, but bloggers especially.

Create

Bloggers are creatives by nature. Our work requires the making of something-out-of-nothing, balanced with making something-worth-reading. For the written aspect of blogging, there is a sub-section for Creative Writing which bloggers may find useful. For example, courses on how to write your own personal story can help one start to find their voice for a blog or book. Speaking of books, there’s a course on how to format eBooks in Adobe, as well as courses on how to self-publish. There are even courses to get one out of writer’s block, wherein prompts and topics are suggested to get the juices flowing. Sometimes, we need that, too.

However, we do more than write. We create imagery for our posts as well. The sub-section Photography will contain tips on Still-Life Photography, How to Get Paid Doing Travel Photography, and even How to Take Photos for Instagram. Capturing visual stories is important if Instagram is your line of work. Likewise, it is important if your blog is photo-driven. And if you’re like me, capturing everyday objects of the mundane nature, such as coffee mugs and nail color, then these courses may help you elevate the imagery from boring to something that draws someone in.

In the Creative section, you will also find courses for Web Development. I personally use WordPress, which allows me to design this blog in a simple way, but if you wish to make a blog from scratch, this section may be for you! There are courses on CSS, Javascript, Python and more.

Build

The Build section, in my opinion, is the most useful for bloggers. This is where I’ve spent a majority of my previous month. Business Analytics is a fairly new concept for me, but I am obsessed with it! I never realized before that all this work I was putting into the blog space was unfocused and gave less return than it can. It is still far from optimized but I am learning. I took courses on Google Analytics and have learned how to use Google Webtools to see if what I was writing was leading to engagement with my audience. I started this space to write for my own sake, but over time, a community of readers has been created through this space and I want to start writing for my audience, too. By using analytics, I am able to better cater to my readers as well as grow my blog.

Another sub-section is Freelance and Entrepreneurship. This area is a more general section where bloggers and non-bloggers can learn how to price their products, make a living as a creative, and start a successful business. This goes hand-in-hand with the Marketing sub-section, where the focus is more on growing an audience rather than improving content, although I have found that the latter can drive the former.

Thrive

Viewed by some as the least useful section, I would consider Thrive to be my favorite one. In here, you will find ways to organize life for increased productivity as well as meaningful work. I have met many entrepreneurs who can’t seem to get anywhere, not because of a lack of creativity but because of a lack of structure and focus. Creating a business requires both. It can be difficult especially after being trained for many years by the school system to follow structure. As you know from this space, I am all about creating an intentional lifestyle. It may not surprise you to find out that I am even more arduous in creating the ideal work life. I utilize a combination of creating monthly goals, planning my day, and maintaining a peaceful WFH environment to drive productivity. Without it, I would be helpless.

Skillshare really is a great platform for new bloggers and beginning entrepreneurs. It also serves as a starting place for those who want to become a creative without having the experience. If you find that your current 9-5 job isn’t giving you meaning, then this is a way to dabble in a side project that could turn into a line of work.

If you are unsure, you can always try Skillshare for FREE for 14 days. If you really like it, receive a 40% OFF discount from an annual membership using my affiliate link and the coupon code ANNUAL40AFF. This code is available until March 31, 2021. I highly recommend signing up if you are serious about growing your own business and don’t know how. There are many avenues to take, and you can learn about the topics that interest you.

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

Robinhood: An Introduction to Stocks for Beginners

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.

Have you ever wondered how to make your money grow? Do you want money to work for you instead of the other way around? Have you heard about stock investing but have no clue where to start? Do you want to practice investing to reach a better understanding of the market? Look no further than Robinhood, a financial services company that has revolutionized the way millennials invest.

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Robinhood is a fairly new platform that has introduced young people to the stock market. It has allowed for next gen investing with ease. The world does not prepare young people to invest in stocks. For the regular new-kid-on-the-block, stock investing may seem complicated. Setting up brokerage accounts, keeping track of management and additional fees, and researching stock options can be quite over-whelming. I would know. When I first started out, I felt like I was drowning in information and uncertainty at the same time. Even learning the terms was difficult!

Robinhood, however, makes investing simple. Signing up for an account is very easy thanks to the form they use. Management of the account has also been a breeze. Unlike other brokerage accounts, Robinhood provides FREE trades on stock, options, ETF, and cryptocurrency. They were one of the pioneers in offering free trades, although many big-name companies have started doing the same in recent years. They also have no required minimum amount for their accounts, meaning the account can be at $0. This makes it an attainable platform for college students and new grads earning very little money or just starting out on their career journey. Plus, they welcome newcomers with a gift: a FREE stock (find out how here!)

When you open your Robinhood brokerage account, you are asked to link it to your bank account. After the connection is made, funding Robinhood is as quick as pressing a button. Unlike other brokerage accounts, Robinhood gives you the credit once you begin the transfer, instead of waiting a few days for the transfer to go through. The immediacy of your funds allows you to invest right away, without losing out on an opportunity or wasting precious time.

Investment on the go has never been easier with Robinhood’s mobile app. Both the website and the app are minimalist and easy to maneuver. There isn’t much to do or choose from, something that more experienced investors find lacking, However, this is a great introductory way for the younger generations to enter the stock scene. It comes as no surprise that the average age of Robinhood users is 31 years old (same age as me!).

Another strength of Robinhood’s is the purchase of fractional shares. Some companies only allow entire quantities of a stock to be purchased. What does this mean? This means that if Apple costs $140, you need to have at least $140 in your brokerage account. Not in Robinhood. If all you have to work with is $50, you can still buy a portion of Apple.

There are, however, a few cons. Mutual funds and bonds are not offered. Also, only taxable investment accounts are available and there is limited customer support. But still. If you are looking to dip your toes in elementary stock investing, this is a great way to limit your costs or start trading cryptocurrency.

One word of caution. If you are new to investing, it is easy to get sucked into the potential growth stocks have to offer. Robinhood makes trading so accessible to millennials that it could almost act like a casino for those with a higher-risk personality. If this is your first experience with stock investing, here is some good advice.

  • Research the stocks that you are choosing to buy. Make sure you believe in what that company is doing. That makes it easier to…
  • Hold onto stocks especially when the market dips. Do not panic and sell your stocks when they tank. If you do, you are taking a hypothetical situation (that being that you lost money) and making it a reality. The market will fluctuate often, but in general, the trend goes up. Have faith and hang on.
  • Treat a brokerage account as your fun money account. I have a fun money envelope in my budget (read about the importance of having fun money in this post) and I will invest the money from this envelope in stocks. Your brokerage account is NOT where your emergency fund goes. The High Yield Savings Account is a better place for that. If you are saving for a home, car, or student loans, place it in a high yield savings account to avoid the risk of losing it all. This affiliate link of mine with Marcus will give you an extra 0.2% APY boost! I would also like to dissuade my readers to Robinhood as a means for their retirement savings. Open a 401K elsewhere or with your company and choose an end-date target fund instead. We shouldn’t be playing games with our retirement savings.
  • Speaking of games, be prepared to lose it all. It is hard to separate emotion from stock trading at first, but perhaps entering with the mindset that you can lose all of your money tomorrow will help. You can think of stock investing as a game. If the market goes down, well you began playing knowing you could lose. Don’t let that dishearten you. Try to think of it as being fun. The stock market is too volatile for it to be your main mode of gaining wealth. I prefer to get rich by doing the small, responsible things such as maxing out a 401K, maxing out a ROTH IRA, contributing to an HSA, travel hacking with credit cards, living a frugal lifestyle through minimalism, paying down my debts, putting my savings in a high yield savings account and reading up as much as I can about finance. I consider the stock market a game, which is why I use fun money a.k.a. extra money that I don’t need for my necessary spending. Other people spend their fun money on things, dining out, travelling, and experiences. But if I spend my fun money on stocks because I don’t need to spend money on all that other stuff, then there is an opportunity for my money to grow. I can lose it all, but hey, everyone else loses all of their fun money by just buying THINGS and they never give money the opportunity to grow. With that being said, don’t place money that you need to access soon in these accounts. That could lead your investing story to a very sad ending.

Despite all of these warning signs, I still suggest young people at least dip their toes in the stock market, if only to experience it and to learn from it. For all new account owners who sign up using my affiliate link, you will receive one random FREE stock. Once signed up, you can spread the word amongst all your friends and family and receive free stocks yourself! Just make sure to refer them using your own specific referral link like I did in this post. Both you and your acquaintance get a new stock with each referral and account set-up (limited to $500 of FREE stock per person per year). This is a great way to start a conversation around investing and to create a community around growing wealth.

How To Use Affirm to Grow Your Wealth

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.

In general, I am not a big fan of financing companies because I believe that they enable people to buy more than they can afford, with disregard to social responsibility and actual value. We live in a consumerist society focused on bombarding its constituents with more reasons to buy. The endless cycle of consumption is a rabbit hole that many fall into and never get out of. Because of this, I am generally hesitant to promote financing to my readers … unless it has potential to grow their wealth.

Before reading on, I do want to make the following statements.

I am assuming that the person reading this post is financially educated and savvy, does not live paycheck to paycheck, wishes to grow their wealth, has mastered their budgeting basics, and has an aversion to spending on frivolous things that don’t add value to their life. I would like to say that if you are not all of these things, we need to start elsewhere on growing wealth, and this FREE Mastering a Budget course is a great place to start.

This advice is not for those who are privvy to emotional spending, stress shopping, or just mindless consumption, that which pervades much of our American society. If you feel you have the aptitude and wherewithal to use the information I have yet to divulge about taking advantage of financing in order to grow your wealth, then I welcome you to the rest of the post. But if you have even the slightest uncertainty, I recommend you start with beginner posts such as any of the following:

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With that said, let’s continue on to how we can use financing companies such as Affirm to our advantage.

What is Affirm?

Affirm is a financing company that has recently experienced an increased exposure due to financing partnerships with multiple companies. In January 2021, they went public with the ticker symbol $AFRM and have seen an increase in stock value since their IPO at $45. I have personally seen Affirm used in a few of my favorite companies such as East Fork Pottery, La Marzocco, Nisolo, Dyson and Leesa. While this post was not written in sponsorship with Affirm, the eureka moment for utilizing its financing options came to me at a time when I was mulling over alternative wealth growing strategies.

Given that someone has good credit and can secure a 0% interest rate with Affirm when buying big purchases, they can extend their payments over a short number of months (because long-term financing leads to increased rates) which may allow for investment opportunities.

We aren’t talking big bucks here, of course. But what if everyone who is financially stable approaches all forms of consumption with a mindset of, “pay myself first.” If they embrace this mindset, then they would likely prefer to pay for their new Leesa mattress in three payments over the course of three months with 0% interest rather than upfront. If a new mattress costs $1,200, then divvying up payments into thirds allows for $800 to be invested over the course of one month and $400 to continue being invested for an additional month. You are still able to obtain the product at $0 additional cost to you via Affirm financing while Affirm gives you the time to grow your money. Of course, this is assuming that you were already going to buy this product that adds value to yourself. It is not an excuse to buy, just because.

This concept of pay yourself first is not the mentality that many people take. However, I view it as a great strategy for growing wealth – one that simply requires the reframing of our approach to paying for stuff.

It seems quite silly. Small, even, for some people. It can be especially controversial for finance people who promote paying everything upfront in cash. Some people may view Affirm financing as debt. I would like to argue that we can reframe this perceived debt as a calculated decision made to grow your own wealth before growing someone else’s.

Finance gurus who dissuade the use of credit cards may be cringing at my suggestion, but I guess I’m not exactly conventional in that regard. I mean, I use the opening of credit cards in order to fly globally for free by travel hacking! So yeah, I love credit cards (as long as it is used in a controlled manner to further yourself along your life path). And I like the flexibility Affirm gives people, who may take advantage of the opportunity to grow wealth.

As I said at the beginning of this post, if you are someone who hasn’t yet mastered your spending and your budget, I recommend not trying this tactic. But if you are ready to go next level with the way you pay for your stuff on a day-to-day, it’s something worth considering.