The Savvy Employees Guide to Asking for a Raise

“I know that if I work harder, my boss will notice and give me a raise.”

That’s what you tell yourself as you leave the office at 7 pm five days a week.

But, will your boss notice?

He might, but this will be a slow and painful process.

Most companies won’t go out of their way to notice great employees. It’s up to you to toot your own horn the right way.

I hate to break it to you. But, if you’ve worked at your position for over a year without a raise, you’re doing something wrong. Don’t worry, I’ve failed in the past and still continue to do so. Plus, asking for a raise isn’t easy.

It wasn’t that long ago when I was fresh out of college and clueless to how I’d negotiate my salary. Fortunately, I’d adopted habits that helped me get a raise. And, if these tactics have worked for me, I’m confident they’ll work for you too.

Ready to start making big bucks? If so, here’s your guide on how to ask for the raise you deserve.

Prepare Before Asking for a Raise

You’re feeling pumped. You’ve worked hard for over a year and know that you deserve a raise.

But, before you march into your boss’s office (or cubicle) do your homework. By this, I’m referring to doing some research on what your average salary is for your role.

Don’t overdo this–all you need is a ballpark estimate to what the average salary is in your industry. Go to sites like Glassdoor, Salary, and Payscale to get this information. Then type in your role or company name in their search bar.

Within a few minutes, you’ll have a rough idea for what you should be getting paid.

Take a note for how big the gap is from the average salary and what you’re currently earning. If your salary is on the lower end, don’t worry, use this as your motivation to get paid better.

Be honest with yourself for what skills you’re offering to your employer. If you’re falling behind in any area, read a book or take a course to improve. Another option is to ask your boss for extra work to gain more experience.

Make it your priority to improve, so that you stay sharp with your skills.

Know the Value You Bring

If you’ve never negotiated your salary, I’m betting that it’ll be at the lower end of the industry average.

I know how frustrating this is because I’ve been there. I’d envy others who were getting paid more than I was–especially since I was working hard. But, having this type of mindset won’t do you any good.

If you’re unhappy with your current salary, it’s because you don’t know your worth. So, before you ask your boss for your raise, be clear on what value you bring to your employer.

To know where you stand, write down the relevant skills you bring to your team. For example, as a web designer, a valuable skill can be creating great logos. Write a list of 5 to 10 similar skills that can help you stand out.

Also, research what top skills are in demand for your current job and make improvements here. When you’re valuable, people will take notice. More importantly, knowing you’re valuable will help you negotiate your salary better.

Earn a Meeting with Your Boss

Do you get the “chills” randomly walking to your boss and asking for a raise?

You should because that’s a bad way to ask for something. Would you reach out to someone you’d met at a conference 6 months ago and out of the blue ask for a favor? I hope not.

They’d most likely turn you down. That’s because you haven’t earned the right to ask for a favor. Like this scenario, don’t randomly walk up to your boss asking for a raise.

Instead, work your way up. Ask your boss how he/she thinks you’re performing a few times each month. Then ask what’s needed for you to get a raise.

Repeat this process until you’re confident with how to get a raise. This will put you in your boss’s mind when it’s time to give a raise.

Create Your Perfect Timing

Have you ever watched a movie where the character knew the perfect time to do something?

Take love stories for example, when the man knows the perfect time to ask a woman out. You hear the right music on the background during the perfect night. The reality is that in life, perfect times rarely exist.

This doesn’t mean that you should walk up to your boss tomorrow and ask for raise. Instead, be aware that the only perfect time that’ll exist is when you do your best to prepare.

Do some planning around where you’d ask your boss. If he/she travels a lot during certain months, avoid asking during this time. Pick a day and time that you know your boss will have the most availability.

Add a meeting to the calendar with your boss to discuss your promotion. This way you’ll avoid rushing and increase your odds at getting heard.

Increase Your Odds at Success Thinking like Your Boss

Knowing your customer doesn’t only apply for salespeople. The same concept applies to you–except think of your boss as your customer.

By doing this, you can expect what he/she will say to you. Then you can prepare for possible outcomes.

If your boss were to ask you why you deserve a raise, you wouldn’t fumble. You’d summarize 2 to 3 key points without hesitation.

Think of your top three possible scenarios based on what you know about your boss. Then record yourself discussing your top 3 scenarios.

Figure out Your Company’s Policies

Waiting each year for your raise is a huge mistake.

In case you’re wondering why–not all companies have the same policies for getting a raise. Some do a performance review on an annual basis, while others do so on a quarterly or semi-annual. To familiarize yourself with your company’s policies, check out their HR web portal.

If you can’t find the answers you’re looking for, call your company’s HR department. Your goal should be to determine what’s the required timeframe to ask for a raise. Once you know this timeframe, you can prepare for the ask.

Level-Up Your Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is a skill you need to master.

Why?

The last thing you’d want to do is getting upset if you don’t end up getting the raise you’d hope for. This would only make your situation awkward and less likely to get a future promotion.

Mastering your emotions allows you to collaborate with others better–increasing your odds for success.

Daniel Goleman argues in his book Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ that emotional intelligence is as important as your IQ. Research shows that people who manage their emotions better perform better at school. Emotionally intelligent people are socially skilled, able to empathize with others better.

Improving your emotional intelligence isn’t easy. But, changing the way you perceive failure and manage stress will help you improve.

To take failure less personal, view it as a learning opportunity. This will help you learn from your mistakes and avoid making them twice.

To better manage your stress, start meditating.

I bet that you’re thinking meditation isn’t for you. After all, you’re not a monk who sits quietly in a room for hours. Meditation isn’t only for the selected few–it’s for everyone.

Even if you don’t know how to meditate, you can learn from apps or online videos. By practicing meditation enough you’ll eventually reap its benefits. Here’s a 5-minute Guide to Meditation: Anywhere, Anytime.

Don’t Take Rejection Personally

You can be as prepared as possible and still fail. But, don’t take it personally.

Often it’s because your company doesn’t have the budget to do so. While you can’t expect the unexpected, you can prepare for it. Here are some questions to ask yourself before you run off to your manager asking for a promotion:

  • How long can I hold off if I get rejected for a promotion?
  • How has my company been performing in the past year?
  • Do I deserve a promotion?

If you get rejected for a promotion, ask to revisit your performance within 3 to 6 months. Be sure to get details on what’s required to earn a promotion so that you can work towards it.

The worst case scenario is that your company isn’t willing to give you a promotion. If this is your scenario, find a way to escape this environment.

Get Paid the Money You Deserve

Imagine waking up each morning excited to perform your best at your job.

Your role didn’t change but for the first time, you felt heard by your manager. After 6 months of working hard, you got the raise you’d hoped for. The best part is that you didn’t have to stay in the office till 7 pm to earn it.

I know you wish that this scenario was your reality. It wasn’t that long ago when I was earning a low salary and afraid to ask for what I deserved. But, after trial and error, I managed to get many raises and switch careers.

Why am I telling you this? Because if I was able to get my raise, so can you. You’ll need to work harder than most people and make sacrifices along the way, but it’ll be worth the effort.

Except for this time, you’ll be working hard in the right areas. Think of this post as your mini-blueprint to getting the raise you deserve. Be honest with yourself and focus on improving in the areas you’re weakest. Before you know it, one day you’ll wake up working in a job you love getting paid what you deserve.

Bonus Resources

If you’re looking for extra tips to ask for a raise, this is a nice infographic to go through:((Resume.io: How to Ask for a Raise without Coming off as Entitled))

More Recommended Articles:

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How to Use Debt Snowball to Get out from a Financial Avalanche

Today was a great day. You were productive, spent time with your family, and went to bed on time. You close your eyes ready for tomorrow, only to find yourself awake 4 hours later… This is the time that your brain ruminates your revolving debt as you desperately try to get some rest.

If your financial situation doesn’t change, you know you won’t be able to retire with enough money. You then start to wonder if you’d ever be debt free.

Being in debt is one of the worst places you can be, but you’re not alone.

I and thousands of others have been there. Those who were lucky managed to pay off their entire balances.

You can too. But, you need to take action fast.

The good news is that there are clever ways to be debt free — the debt snowball method. It’s not easy, but if you’re ready for change–here’s how you can get your financial future back in order:

Kickstarting to Get out of Debt

First and foremost, you need to get yourself mentally prepared to before you start your debt-free plan.

1. Commit for a Worthy Cause

There are stories of people having a “magical moment” when they’d decided to become debt free.

The reality is that you don’t need this magical moment. What you need is commitment.

Instead of telling yourself that you want to be debt free, find a reason worth fighting for. Think of what having zero debt would bring to your life.

Would you be able to travel more? Would you be able to sleep better at night?

Despite most Americans carrying some type of debt, having debt isn’t normal.((comet: The Details of Debt)) You’ll put yourself in the never-ending “rat race”–living an unfulfilled life. One where you’ll be dependent on a job you hate to sustain a lifestyle you can’t afford.

By having a clear purpose, you’ll focus on reaching your goal despite the obstacles that come your way.

I’d hit rock bottom when I realized that I was living paycheck-to-paycheck. It was at this moment that I became determined to pay off $6,000 of credit card debt. Because I had a purpose I was able to make an extra $500 principle payment each month–paying off my entire balance off in 18 months.

The same can happen to you, but find a reason worth chasing.

2. Create Your Financial Blueprint

Even after committing, you can still fail at paying down debt.

Why?

Because once you do pay it off, you’d be likely to go back into debt if there’s no direction. It’s easy to stay motivated when you’re first starting off. But, when the going gets tough, it’s here where you’ll need something to keep you motivated.

So how do you stay motivated?

Write down your financial goals. For example, if you want to pay down $3,000 of credit card debt, set a due date.

Bad goal: I want to pay off all my credit card debt

Good goal: I want to pay off my $5,000 credit card balance in 18 months

The second goal is better than the first because you can break it down. You’d need to pay $278 each month to pay off your entire $5,000 balance.

But, you don’t break down a specific goal and forget about it. You need to check on it daily to be sure that you’re on track. A great tool to help you do this is a journal.

After setting your specific goal, break it down into daily tasks. This could mean bringing your lunch to work so that you have extra money to pay down your debt. Then at the end of each day, check to see if you’ve hit your daily target.

Learning the Debt Snowball Method

Committing to becoming debt free is great, but you need a plan. The debt snowball method is a great place to start.

This strategy boils down to paying your smallest balance first, disregarding interest rate. This is an effective approach because you’ll get momentum going.

For example, if you had $1,000 of debt to pay off: credit card 1: $300 credit card 2: $500 credit card 3: $200

You’d make the smallest payment to credit cards 1 & 2. Then pay as much as possible to pay off credit card 3. In this scenario, it can be tempting to pay the highest balance first.

The problem with paying off your highest balance first is that it’ll take longer. This will increase your odds at giving up because it’ll feel like you’re making no progress at times.

By paying the smallest balance first you’ll get a quick win and stay committed.

So how to use the snowball method?

List all your debts on a spreadsheet. Then figure out how cash you’ll have available at the end of each month using Personal Capital. Get your total expenses and subtract this amount from your monthly income.

Use as much of this extra money as possible to pay down your debt.

Unless you have a large debt, don’t worry about accruing interest in your other balances. Pay down your smallest debt, then work towards the next smallest.

More important, stop using your credit cards and don’t make unnecessary purchases. Doing this will only prolong the time it’ll take for you to pay down all your debt.

Should You Use the Snowball Method?

Many debates whether the snowball method is the best way to pay off debt.

The answers is–it depends.

Whatever will help you be debt free is the right choice for you. Using the snowball method carries a cost. Since this method doesn’t take into account interest rates, you may end up paying more in the long run.

First, calculate how much interest you’d pay to make the smallest payment. If you don’t carry large balances, then it won’t matter how you pay off your debt.

Another important factor to consider is what will help you be consistent. For example, if you’re someone who needs to get motivation, pay down your smallest debt first. But, if you’re one who likes to be efficient, pay your highest interest credit card first.

There’s no right way to do this since everyone is different. Paying interest is never a good idea, but if this means that you’d be debt free, go for it.

Exponentially Eliminate Debt Using an Extra Income

An issue that most people face when paying down debt is the rate at which they do so.

The only way to change this rate is by decreasing your expenses or increasing your income. The problem with decreasing your expenses is that you can only do it to a certain point. But, increasing your income is limitless.

Still cut your expenses as much as possible using tools like Trimm and BillCutterz. Once you do you’re ready to increase your income. Starting a side-hustle is the best way to do this.

Great side-hustles to start are:

  1. Freelance writing((Smartblogger: How to Become a Freelance Writer and Get Paid $200 – $1K per Post))
  2. Affiliate marketing
  3. Start a blog((RYOB: 10 Steps: How to Start a Blog on the Side and Make Money in 2019 The Ultimate Guide))

None of these side-hustles are easy to create. But, once you earn income from a side-hustle your finances will improve.

Whether you love your job or not, having a side-hustle is a great way to pay down your debt faster. You’ll also feel confident knowing that you’re not dependent one income.

Bonus Strategies to Crush Debt

The debt snowball method is only one of the many ways you can pay down your debt.

If you carry a large amount of debt, then you need to explore your other options. Other options include consolidating your debt for a lower interest rate.((Discover: what is debt consolidation)) For example, if you carry balances on many credit cards, you can combine your debt into one single balance.

Be sure to review your financial goals before making this decision. Credit card companies will offer a 12 to 18 zero interest promotion. Afterward, the interest rate will spike. This can do more harm than good if you’re still carrying a large balance after the promotion is over.

Like balance transfers for your credit cards, you can apply for a personal loan. Here you’d combine other types of debt you carry into one single loan. This helps you save money on interest and makes your monthly payments easier to make. Crunch your numbers to be sure that you’d be saving money.

Final Thoughts

“The best time to plant a tree ”is or was“ was twenty years ago. The second best time is today.” – anonymous

Imagine going to bed and not worrying about money. You’d have zero debt and better money habits. You’d sleep and feel happier.

Wouldn’t you want this to be your reality?

The truth is that such a reality can be yours, but you have to be willing to pay the price. It will take hard work and sacrifice to pay down all your debt. And, despite being on track setbacks are inevitable.

You already know about a few debt strategies you can use to crush your debt. But, you first need to commit. Then, set clear financial goals and take action.

Social pressure and other factors led you to accumulate a lot of debt. Although you’re not where you’d like to be today, you can still change your financial future for the better.

Life is too short to let financial setbacks stop you from being happy. Now go crush your debt. A happier life, one with better sleep awaits.

More Resources About Financial Management

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Most Effective Time Management Techniques to Succeed in 2019

When was the last time you’ve heard someone mention that they were too busy to do something?

It wasn’t long ago when I’d wake only with enough time to get ready for work and had little time to do anything when I’d get out. Today, I write 1000 words, read at least one hour, listen to Podcasts, go to the gym, while managing a full-time job. This isn’t to brag because there are people who do much more than I do.

That’s what’s possible when you use the most effective time management techniques.

Time management isn’t complicated. It comes down to having the discipline to execute what’s required each day–when no one is looking. It means being productive on days when you’re not in the mood. Time management is challenging, but having control of your day is worth the sacrifice.

Here are some effective time management techniques you can use to take back control of your days.

1. Let Your Burning Desire Fuel You

Have you ever wondered how some people are able to go to the gym 5 to 7 days per week for years? Or how some entrepreneurs are able to sacrifice their weekends to be successful?

They’re able to achieve so much because they’re committed, avoiding distractions daily.

Take Kobe Bryant, for example, who woke up hours before training to practice his shooting.

Some call it finding your passion, others finding your life meaning. Don’t overthink it – just picture how your ideal life would be.

What type of work would you be doing? What type of lifestyle would you have? Odds are that there’s some gap between your current life and where you want to be.

Use these answers to set meaningful goals towards living your ideal life. You’ll be able to push through tough times and be laser-focused on managing your time.

This article will help you find the fuel:

How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up

2. Track How You’re Using Your Time

If you don’t know how you’re spending your days, you’re wasting your time.

Don’t believe me?

Data shows that the average person spends 3 hours on their phone daily.((comscore: Mobile Matures as the Cross-Platform Era Emerges)) And this is only time on your smartphone, not including your “breaks” and other parts of your day. That’s why tracking your time is key to understanding how you’re spending your time and how to optimize it.

A great app to help you track time is Atracker. When you first use this app to track your time, you’ll feel “weird.” Imagine logging in your time during and after your break, when you’re reading and watching TV.

The truth is tracking your time isn’t sexy and can make you feel like a robot. At least this was the case for me after tracking my time for close to a year.

Instead, focus only on tracking your most important tasks. For example, if your goal for the day is to write 1000 words, track this. Tracking all your tasks for an entire day can cause you to burn out. A good rule of thumb to follow is making 2–5 hours available for your productive tasks each day.

It’s better to complete 4 tasks feeling motivated than 8, feeling stressed.

3. Master Adjusting to Unexpected Events

Imagine setting your goals for the next day:

You write what you’ll do and estimate how long it would take you to complete each task. Because it’s a Monday, you know how your day will play out. Then, out of nowhere, your boss asks you to complete a demanding task that pushes to work until 7 pm. You come tired but your kids and wife are demanding attention – so you spend time with them. Before you know it, it’s 10 pm and time for you to go to bed.

The scenario above is different for everyone, but the outcome is the same – nothing gets done.

Many times, I’ve experienced days like this and remained disappointed going to bed. But, the reality is you need to get great at adapting to the unexpected.

How?

By securing as much time during your day as possible. This means waking up 2 to 3 hours earlier to complete your most important tasks. It also means evaluating your current environment to take full advantage of it.

In your commute to and from work, listen to an educational Podcast instead of music, carry a book with you at all times so you can read during your idle time.

Now, think about which areas in your day you’re not taking full advantage of.

4. Use This Word for Effective Time Management

“One can’t have something for nothing. Happiness has got to be paid for…” –Aldous Huxley,

I get it, you hate saying “no.” I don’t like to say this word either. But, the reality is you’ve been saying “no” without knowing. For each time you’ve said “yes” to something, you’ve said “no” somewhere else.

There’s no such thing as getting something for nothing. When a friend asks you out to go for drinks and say “yes”, you’ve said “no” to writing 500 words, or you’ve said “no” to spending time with your family.

Throughout your day, you’ll get bombarded with different requests — from taking out the trash to spending time with friends. It’s up to you to focus on what’s important and how you’ll spend your time.

Saying “no” isn’t always the answer but learning when to do so will help you free up more time throughout your day.

Learn the Gentle Art of Saying No with Leo Babauta.

5. Add Important Tasks to Your Schedule

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax.” –Abraham Lincoln

You can spend 5 hours being productive each day and still be wasting your time.

How?

By working on the wrong tasks.

This is something I’ve struggled with in the past and something you need to avoid if you want to maximize your time.

Spend a good amount of time planning for how you’ll reach your goals. For example, if you hope to build a successful business study those who’re already where you want to be. Then, set one or two goals that you believe will help you get there. Make your goals SMART.

SMART goals are specific and relevant. This way you can track them and ensure that they’re attainable. Setting SMART goals guarantees that you’ll be productive, working on your important tasks.

A few years back, I’d wanted to create an SEO (search engine optimization) business. The problem was that I didn’t know any better and spent months building my website.

The result?

After finishing my website, I’d realized that I wasn’t as interested in SEO as I’d thought before. So, I started from scratch–wasting dozens of hours building a website I’d never used.

Having SMART goals would’ve avoided me this fate.

6. Only Complete What’s Important

Filling your calendar with productive tasks isn’t the only goal with time management. It’s about accomplishing only your most important tasks. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself in a race to the bottom–having unfinished to-do items each day.

First, figure out what you’re trying to do — Are you looking to get a new promotion? Are you wanting to start earning money through freelance writing?

Once you’ve set your SMART goals, break them down into daily actionable goals. Focus on your most important tasks and complete them first. Spend no more than 3 to 4 hours daily completing these goals. This is assuming you have a full-time job, or else you’ll burn out.

Many successful entrepreneurs like Gary Vaynerchuk work an enormous amount of hours daily. But, this isn’t sustainable for most people.

Not too long ago, I’d filled my schedule with over 5 hours of work on top of my full-time job. When I focused only on being productive, my relationships suffered. I also wasn’t getting the results I’d wanted.

However, having less time forced me to find shortcuts and focus only on my most productive tasks.

7. Limit Your Time on Each Task

Parkinson’s law states that work will expand until it fills the time available.((Harvard Business Review: Why We Procrastinate When We Have Long Deadlines)) So give yourself 4 hours to complete something and you’ll spend that amount of time to do so.

Think back when you were in school and had a paper to write, if you were like most, you’d procrastinate until the last moment – and somehow complete the paper in a few hours.

That’s Parkinson’s law in motion.

To be efficient with your time, you’ll need to set a cap for every task you work on. It’ll be challenging in the beginning but you’ll soon learn to maximize your time.

For example, if you have to write a 1500 post give yourself 4 hours to complete it. This factors in 2 hours to write 1500 words, and 2 hours to edit. If you find yourself short in time, add an extra hour next time.

This is a never-ending process. But, you’ll become more efficient the more you practice it.

8. Recharge Your Mind Daily

You can have all the drive int he world; but without a clear mind, you’ll burn out.

Meditating isn’t hype, it works. Despite the research backing up its positive claims, meditating helps you be present.((National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: Meditation: In Depth))

If you’ve come home, tired from work, wondering where your day went, you know what not being present is like. Imagine showing up to class half asleep. Then, imagine feeling energized in class and asking questions.

The second example is how being present can affect the quality of your work. Instead of completing your tasks half engaged, your work quality will improve.

So, how do you meditate?

By starting.

When I first started meditating, I had no idea what I was doing. Eventually, I’d started using a guided meditating app and have enjoyed meditation since.

Learn from the many great resources who expound on this topic and experience the life-changing benefits:

9. Use This Strategy to Stay Laser-Focused

Are you a great multi-tasker?

If you’d answered yes, then you’re sacrificing efficiency.

In today’s time, most people pride themselves with being a great “multitaskers.” Even managers at big corporations pride themselves on juggling many tasks.

Despite corporate America’s pressure to do more, multitasking isn’t the solution.

Why?

Because you’ll take longer to complete tasks and make more errors. It’s a lose-lose situation.

Instead, focus on completing one task with efficiency. Doing so will help you avoid burning out and make fewer mistakes. But, focusing on one task is easier said than done.

As a previous multitasker, I needed to look at my phone while I was writing, and watch TV while I was reading. Despite me wanting to focus, it was one of the most challenging things to do and for a good reason. In today’s Western society there are thousands of distractions daily.

Research shows that an average person sees 5000+ ads per day.((SJ Insights: Part Art or Part Science?)) Factor in work commitments, family obligations and it’s clear on why we have a hard time focusing.

A solution that’s worked for me has been meditating and working in Pomodoro sprints. The Pomodoro technique involves working in 20 to 45 minute intervals– with a 5 to 10 minute break in-between. For example, you’d work non-stop for 25 minutes, have a 5-minute break, then repeat.

Using the Pomodoro technique will help you stay focused without burning out.

10. Constantly Seek to Improve

Time management isn’t a skill you practice once and slap into your resume. It’s a skill that requires a huge time investment and patience. You’re not going to be an expert at managing your time only by reading this article.

You also don’t need to learn a dozen strategies. Chances are you know some techniques on how to better manage your time but aren’t applying them. Your solution is to create a productive environment.

Follow productive people, and listen to experts who share tips on productivity. Soon their good habits will begin to stick for you.

As you track your time, journal your progress; so that you can keep track of how well you’re managing your time and where you’re falling short.

As you become better, you’ll know how long a certain task will take you to complete and be able to plan ahead.

The Bottom Line

Imagine setting a goal and feeling confident that you’d achieve it.

Even if you didn’t achieve it, you’d know that you’d at least make significant progress. All because you became a master at managing your time.

Managing my time better has allowed me to be in control of my days. It has given me the strength to say “no” and improve the quality of my work. You too can achieve great things if you’re willing to put in the work!

Now that you know some of some the most effective time management techniques, choose one to work on. Once you’ve mastered one move on to the next one.

Soon you’ll be a productivity machine–accomplishing more by 10 am than most of the world does in their entire day.

More Resources About Time Management

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Should You Quit Your Job Without Another Job?

I bet you feel like you can’t afford to leave your job.

Maybe you’re right. But then again, maybe you aren’t.

Regardless of what you believe right now, your current job just doesn’t cut it. Your boss is stressing you out or you’ve outgrown your role. The next logical step is to quit but you don’t know how to go about this. You cringe about the idea of sending your resignation letter to your boss. On the other end, you’re worried about how you’d cover your bills.

So what happens?

You let these thoughts roam your head each day without taking action – hoping that one day you’ll find the answer. I hate to break it to you but you’re playing the wrong game.

The truth is that you quit your job without another one lined up isn’t easy. But by planning ahead, you’ll be better prepared to make the choice that’s best for you. If you’re done waiting for an answer–here’s how to know if quitting your job without another one lined up is the right choice for you.

1. Remember, You Only Need One Person’s Permission

I get it, leaving a secure job isn’t easy–especially when you’re earning a high income.

When I was going through this phase, like most, I’d seek out validation from others. The problem was that I’d end up with mixed answers.

My family worked for a single company most of their lives. So when I’d mention wanting to switch careers, I was being stared at as if I had a third eye. On the other end, some of my friends were supportive but questioned if my approach was the best option.

The truth is that most of the world seeks certainty in everything they do. To some extent, this is smart but it comes at a price. That’s settling for good when you could have something greater.

You want to quit your job due to reasons that have been roaming your mind for some time. So why should you seek permission from anyone else that’s not you? Instead, take everyone’s opinion with a grain of salt and decide on your own.

To stay focused, make quitting your job as your goal to reach in the next 3–6 months. Data shows that you greatly increase your odds at achieving your goal writing it down.((Dominican Edu: Goals Research Summary)) Once you’re committed to quitting your job, you’ll be less dependent on other’s opinions.

2. Knock Fear by Changing Your View

Embrace your fear of the unknown.

It’s crazy to know that some people are afraid more of public speaking than [death]. Let’s face it, leaving your job is scary. But this shouldn’t prevent you from taking action.

Instead, change your perspective about leaving your job. For example, do a checklist comparison for staying and leaving your job. When you discover that you have more negatives on one end your fear becomes less relevant.

Take my case, for example, a few months ago, I was afraid to launch my own Podcast. After months of shooting this idea down, I’d realized that fear of the unknown was what held me back. So, I started slow and eventually worked my way up to launching my own Podcast to the world.

So why am I sharing this?

To prove that fear is most likely holding you back from making a choice. Instead of ignoring your fear, embrace it. Start by creating a plan and work your way up from there.

Take a look at this article if you want to learn how to conquer the fear of the unknown:

7 Ways to Overcome Your Fear of the Unknown And Get More Out of Life

3. Don’t Wait to Have a Complete Exit Strategy

Most people believe that they need a thorough plan to quit their job. But this is far from the truth.

Do you know what’s more valuable than your job or money? Your health.

Research shows that stressful jobs trigger your fight or flight response frequently.((Center for Disease Control and Prevention: STRESS…At Work)) Because this response is response triggers your body takes a toll – leading to long-term health issues. While a sustainable income is important, working at a stressful job is bad for your well being.

But if you’re healthy, use this knowledge to create an exit strategy to leave your toxic job as fast as possible. Good enough is better than perfect.

Besides your health, there are other reasons why you may need to quit as fast as possible:

You don’t have full control of your schedule.

There are jobs that are too demanding, especially if you’re in a senior level position. I’m a firm believer that we can always make time for anything, but a demanding job may be the exception. The problem with a demanding job is that on most days you have back-to-back meetings.

Sure, you can cancel some meetings but you can’t predict this– making it challenging to set specific interview dates.

If this is you, explore quitting to focus your attention on the job hunting process.

You can’t keep your job search confidential.

Although there are thousands of companies to choose from, you may work in a niche industry. Because of this, it would be difficult applying to new jobs without your boss finding out.

If you have a great relationship with your boss, this won’t be an issue. But if your boss micromanages you, it may be better to leave your current role before applying to new ones.

4. Answer These Questions to Create a Plan

So how’s an un-detailed game plan different from a thorough one?

It doesn’t take long to make. It’s a simple checklist of questions that will help you transition out of your current job.

First, decide if leaving your job is a definite decision. Mingling with this idea will only prolong the process from taking action. Instead, be decisive to start creating a plan.

If you know that you have skills that are in demand, estimate how long it would take you to find a new job. For most people, this would take anywhere from 3 to 6 months. Knowing this you could predict how much you’d need to save and the number of job applications you’d need to send.

If you’re a stay at home spouse who can afford to quit without saving money you have an advantage, for most this isn’t the case. Here are some questions you need to answer before quitting:

  • How long can you cover your expenses?
  • What will you do in the next 3 to 6 months if you quit today?
  • What type of job do you want to transition to?
  • How have you invested in yourself these past 3 months?

These questions will prepare you to be productive for when you do leave your job. More importantly, these questions will help you find a job you love. Often times, people quit their jobs only to jump back into a similar one and put themselves in the same scenario.

5. Risk Everything to Find Your Zen

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”–Annie Dillard

It might seem trivial to dedicate a lot of your energy transitioning out of a job you hate, but it’s time well spent.

Aside from health issues, working in a job you’re miserable in is a waste of your time. You won’t grow to your full potential and won’t live a happy life.

Data shows that on average that you’ll spend 4,805 days working and 368 days socializing.((Huff Post: We’ve Broken Down Your Entire Life Into Years Spent Doing Tasks)) If this doesn’t scare you to not procrastinate in leaving a career you hate, nothing will.

That’s why it’s important to surround yourself with amazing people who’ll push you to grow. Listen to podcasts, read books, and network with people at higher levels than you. Doing all these activities will help you put your life in perspective.

The more you invest in growing, the more confident you’ll become. Once you’re confident you’ll value yourself more and tolerate less a job you hate.

Have the Courage to Improve Your Career

Should you quit your job without having another lined up?

That’s a question that only you can answer. But I bet that deep down you already know what’s the best choice.

The good news is that you now have a mini blueprint for how to transition out of career your hate.

Don’t wait to have another job lined up if you don’t need to, but plan accordingly. Remember, you don’t need anyone’s permission nor a complete strategy to take this leap of faith. Leaving a job even with another one lined up is never easy but worth doing.

Imagine waking up each morning and feeling excited to start your day–the crazy part is that it’s Monday. While most need coffee to get them through the day you’re energized without it. You’re working in an interesting job and couldn’t be happier.

Is this a Utopian dream? Of course not. You simply created an effective strategy and took action.

The world is yours for the taking, now go get your dream job.

More Resources to Inspire You for a Fulfilling Career

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How to Solve Any Problem Efficiently with 5 Whys (Step-By-Step Guide)

Do you take long to solve career or business problems?

Maybe you believe that you need to know 1000 techniques to solve problems faster. The truth is that there isn’t a single technique that can solve all your problems. But despite this reality, you can still solve most of your problems in an effective way.

How? By leveraging Sakichi’s 5 Whys technique. Sakichi used this technique for Toyota’s assembly line, but you can apply it to most of your problems.((Harvard Business Review: The Unimportance of Practically Everything))

So, stop trying to memorize dozens of techniques and get ready to work smarter. Here’s how to adopt the 5 Whys technique to solve problems:

Uncovering 5 Questions to Most Problems

With the 5 Why’s technique, you have to ask 5 questions.

Simple, right? Whenever you’re facing a problem ask what may have contributed to the current results. Then, continue asking 5 times or until you’ve found a root cause.

How do you know that this technique works? Well, Toyota has successfully implemented this technique to improve their assembly line. Now imagine what it can do to help you solve common problems.((Harvard Business Review: The Five Whys for Start-Ups))

The 5 Whys technique isn’t complex but it’ll take time to get used to. If you’re like most, you tend to jump at finding solutions when solving problems. Instead, start by asking one question each time you’re facing a problem.

It can be for anything minor such as being stuck in traffic. In this case, your first question would be why you didn’t avoid traffic. Ask a single question for all your problems, and continue adding more until you ask 5 by default.

Eventually, you’ll know when to ask the 5 Whys and find a root cause to most of your problems. But, you don’t have to always work alone. When you work with unfamiliar topics, work with a team to brainstorms answers.

For example, if you’re troubleshooting a bad marketing campaign for your business–work with your marketing team to find a solution. As a business owner, you’ll wear many hats but won’t be able to find a root cause to most of your problems alone.

How to Ask These 5 Questions Efficiently

Before you start asking the 5 Why’s, you need to prepare to get the best results. Here’s the flow process for solving a real-world problem:

1. Get the Right Resources

You don’t know what you don’t know. So, gather information through books and online resources before solving a problem. You’ll find yourself researching more often for topics you’ re not familiar with.

If you don’t prepare you’ll limit yourself to an ineffective root cause.

You can also surround yourself with people who specialize in certain areas. This way you can work together with your group to find the best root cause of a problem.

Your goal here is to feel comfortable with the questions you’re working with. Avoid answering questions you’re unsure of because you’ll most likely end up with a bad root cause.

2. Understand the Problem

Before you solve any problem, it’s important to know which problem you’re solving. This will help you avoid finding an irrelevant root cause.

By understanding your problem, you’d also avoid confusion when working with teams. For example, when working in teams, often it’s easy to assume that everyone is working on the same problem. But this isn’t always the case and can cause teams working to solve two different problems.

3. Ask Your First 5 Questions

Once you’ve spent enough time preparing, ask your first question. Instead of giving quick answers–brainstorm which answers will bring the most value. Each question depends on its predecessor, so give meaningful answers.

The rule of thumb here is to keep asking until you’ve found a potential root cause. Typically, 5 questions or less is enough to solve the most common problems. But, don’t limit yourself to 5 questions.

Instead, keep asking questions until you can’t anymore.

4. Find Your Root Cause

The main goal for using the 5 Why’s framework is to end up with a root cause for the issue you’re experiencing.

It’s also used to address high-level issues so that you can track your progress afterward. By addressing high-level issues, you’ll solve problems quicker before addressing the root cause.

The Proven Strategy in Action

Learning about the 5 Why’s framework is great but having real-world examples is better. Here’s an example you can use as a template for when you’re solving real-world problems:

Problem: Employers haven’t called me back for an interview for the past 3 months

  • Question 1: Why is my resume not getting noticed by employers?
    Because it’s too generic and not showing any special skills for the roles you’re applying to?
  • Question 2: Why is my resume too generic?
    Because I want it to appeal to many professions.
  • Question 3: Why do I want to apply to many professions?
    Because I want to increase my chances of getting hired.
  • Question4: Why would applying to several professions increase my odds at getting hired?
    Because I wouldn’t limit myself to available job openings at one specific profession.
  • Question 5: Why would I limit myself to job openings available?
    Because there is a high demand for my profession.

In this scenario, you’d stop at question 5 because you’ve found a potential root cause.

Since there’s a lot of competition for your industry, your resume needs to stand out. Who do you think an employer will hire, a jack of all trades or an expert in their profession?

Whenever you’re working with a problem, take time to brainstorm the best questions. That’s because it’ll impact the quality of the root cause you’ll end up with.

Potential Drawbacks to Using This Technique

Besides only solving simple problems, there are other areas where the 5 Whys falls short:

1. Unreplicable Results

You won’t be able to replicate the same results. Think about it, you’re creating your own questions and answering them in a unique way. No one else would be able to replicate your results for the most part.

This means that even two teams working in the same environment will come up with 2 separate answers.

2. Limited by the Knowledge Available

As mentioned before, gather enough information when solving an unknown problem. The problem is that you won’t always have the best resources available. Because of this, you’ll limit yourself to the quality of your answers.

If you’re ever facing an unknown topic, try a different problem-solving technique.

3. Focusing on a Single Root Cause

The main goal behind using the 5 Whys is to come up with a single root cause. But all problems don’t always have a single solution. For example, a marketing campaign can have a best, good, and worst case scenario.

These limitations don’t make the 5 Whys a bad technique to use. Instead, they let you know how to use this technique more effectively.

Don’t Rely on One Method to Solve Problems

As you’ve seen the 5 Whys isn’t complicated, but it takes a lot of effort to execute correctly. When done right, it can help you find the culprit to most of your common problems. The problem is that this technique isn’t suited for every situation.

The 5 Whys works best for improving processes and solving simple problems. But it falls short when working with complex problems. That’s why you’ll need to know other alternatives.

For example, a company’s low customer response rate may be due to several factors. In this case, you’d choose a technique that’s better suited to solve complex problems. Determine which problems you face the most to know which techniques will help you the most.

The good news is that the 5 Whys works with most simple problems everyone faces. So, be sure to master this technique before adopting others ones.

Be a Problem-Solving Machine

Imagine conquering issues most people give up on.

People would look at you and assume that you know 1000 ways to solve a problem. The truth is not much has changed since you’d struggled with solving problems.

But you’re now using a proven system that’s made your life easier.

You’re a problem-solving machine.

If you don’t believe this can be your reality, you’re wrong. You have what it takes to solve your problems, but you’ll need to practice. Start by asking one question today as you face a problem.

Then, keep doing the same until you’re asking several questions for each of your problems. You won’t master the 5 Whys technique overnight. But, with enough practice, this technique will feel more natural.

So, what’s stopping you now?

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How to Brand Yourself and Make Your Business Stand Out

You’ve been in business for years and have finally hit your plateau.

The tactics you’d implemented for your customers aren’t working as they’ve used to. You feel like your business has fallen out of the spotlight and now you’d have to settle for any business you get. It’s how businesses work, right?

The truth is that some brands will fade off the business world–while others will adapt well and continue to grow. You shouldn’t be too hard on yourself for where your business currently stands. After all, you’d kept applying tactics that provided predictable results.

Instead, decide to not settle for average results and spend more time building your brand. To make your business stand out from your competition, you need to be unforgettable. But how can you?

In this article, I’ll cover timeless tactics that have worked for other businesses. If you apply these tactics correctly your competition won’t be able to copy them. Here’s how to brand yourself and make your business stand out:

1. Win Your Audience’s Hearts with Authenticity

The truth has always shined.

Even without the technology we have today, people always had a way of finding out if someone was lying. And, with everyone engaging in social media today, it’s hard to hide from the truth. Yet, this seems to be what many businesses fail to do.

For example, companies like Listerine have been fined for lying.((NBC News: Listerine no replacement for flossing)) A quick buck today won’t be worth it in the long run. Instead, practice being authentic to your customers and they’ll eventually rely on you.

Allow your customers to buy your products with a money-back guarantee – then deliver on your promise. Be consistent with the content you provide and stay true to your brand.

For example, if you provide coaching services for entrepreneurs, don’t sponsor irrelevant brands. If you stop caring about your brand’s mission, your audience will notice. They’ll question your integrity with your business and stop trusting your brand.

But if you gain your customer’s trust, you’ll start standing out from your competition. Your customers will feel safe purchasing from you since they’ll know you’re honest.

2. Share a Story No One Will Be Able to Copy

A few decades ago, a brand would’ve gotten away without being unique. That’s because back then starting a business was not accessible to most people. You’d either need enough money to launch your business or have the credentials. And even if you had all these qualifications, you needed to get past the gatekeepers.

Today, technology has disrupted many of the barriers that were present a few decades ago. For example, today a college student can launch a Podcast within a week. He can create a website in a few hours and record a few Podcast episodes. If he’s persistent, he can build a large following overtime and get paid by sponsors.

This is great news for aspiring entrepreneurs but there’s more competition than ever. You can only do so much before other businesses begin to copy you. But what no business can copy is your story.

That’s why you need to share your story with your audience.

For example, if you have a money blog, share how you’ve overcome your financial struggles. If you run a freelance writing business, share how you’ve overcome writer’s block. The more your audience can relate to you the better.

Without a story, your business won’t stand out. And if you copy what’s working for other businesses, you’ll experience short-term success.

Take some time to share your story with the world, your audience will love you more for it.

3. Stop Reinventing Every Single Thing

“Don’t reinvent the wheel, just realign it.” – Anthony J.D’angelo

You may have heard that being original is the way to stand out. While this is true to an extent, you also shouldn’t be original when something is already working.

For example, if your competition has a successful Podcast in your field, then so can you. Don’t search for better alternatives to a Podcast if it’s already working.

Why?

Because this is a waste of time. Instead, copy what’s already working and make it your own.((SmartPassiveIncome: SPI 161: How to Stand Out of the Crowd with Dorie Clark)) If your competition has a Podcast, figure out which areas you can improve and tailor it around your brand.

Knowing this you can now spy on your competition and determine which areas you can improve. But, know that it also works the other way around. Others will view your business and copy what’s working for you.

That’s why it’s important to stay true to your brand and be authentic with your audience. When you do, your competition won’t be able to copy your unique traits. Have an abundant mindset and feel confident for what your business has to offer.

4. Shine Because of Your Uniqueness

Stop trying to help the entire world and focus on helping a specific group of people instead.

I get it, you’re willing to help almost everyone because you want to bring in more business. But the truth is that if you resonate with everyone, you resonate with no one.

Take, for example, a marketing agency that helps businesses promote their product. This business doesn’t speak to anyone but gets occasional sales throughout the year.

But what if there was a similar marketing agency dedicated to helping real estate agents? If there was a real estate agent looking for help in marketing–who do you think they’ll choose? That’s why niching down is necessary if you hope to stand out from your competition.

Determine which customers you enjoy working with the most and determine which customers bring in the most revenue. Once you’ve gathered enough data, focus on servicing your ideal customer.

Don’t expect immediate results since this won’t be an easy transition. If you’re currently helping a narrow audience, slowly transition into a niche audience. Niching down is crucial to building raving fans.

5. Be the Brand Everyone Can Depend On

Being the brand your customers can depend on is important. How many times have you bought a product that’s failed on its promise? Or have settled for an average service?

Exceeding your customer’s expectations is a sure way to make your brand stand out. In the book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, studies on human psychology prove that when you give to others, they’ll reciprocate. Offer your customers free consulting, a free ebook, or free quality content. Eventually, they’ll be happy to reciprocate after receiving value from you.

View what your competition is doing and surpass their offers. For example, if your competition offers a free 15-minute consulting call, offer 30 minutes. When you focus on helping others more, your customers will notice.

Make it your mission to serve your customers first and then worry about making a profit. Other ways for your business to be reliable is by inspiring your customers. That’s right, a business isn’t only about selling, it’s also helping customers achieve their goals.

For example, you can write content that will inspire your audience to take action. You can interview guests that will push your audience to break bad habits. Get creative and look for more ways in which your audience can depend on you with.

The Bottom Line

Imagine serving fewer customers and getting paid more than ever.

Despite the fierce competition, you’ve got fans wanting to buy your products and services. Although this may seem impossible right now, it’s not. If other brands have been able to stand out in a crowded industries, why can’t yours?

The truth is that standing out from your competition isn’t easy. There’s no secret formula that’s available to the rest of the world. The trick is to do what most brands are unwilling to do.

Many businesses don’t want to niche down because this will mean a loss in sales. But that’s sacrificing short-term gains for long-term success. Niching down is necessary to build a brand your customers will love.

Many businesses will spend a lot of money looking for ways to innovate, but won’t apply what’s working. But, not you.

You’ve got what it takes to stand out from your competition. Start slowly and master each principle covered here. Now go and make your business stand out like never before.

More Resources About Entrepreneurship

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The Best Ways to Save Money Even Impulsive Spenders Can Get Behind

The truth is, there are many “money saving guides” online, but most don’t cover the root issue for not saving.

Once I’d discovered a few key factors that allowed me to save 10k in one year, I realized why most articles couldn’t help me. The problem is that even with the right strategies you can still fail to save money. You need to have the right systems in place and the right mindset.

In this guide, I’ll cover the best ways to save money — practical yet powerful steps you can take to start saving more. It won’t be easy but with hard work, I’m confident you’ll be able to save more money–even if you’re an impulsive spender.

Why Your Past Prevents You from Saving Money

Are you constantly thinking about your financial mistakes?

If so, these thoughts are holding you back from saving.

I get it, you wish you could go back in time to avoid your financial downfalls. But dwelling over your past will only rob you from your future. Instead, reflect on your mistakes and ask yourself what lessons you can learn from them.

It wasn’t easy for me to accept that I had accumulated thousands of dollars in credit card debt. Once I did, I started heading in the right direction. Embrace your past failures and use them as an opportunity to set new financial goals.

For example, after accepting that you’re thousands of dollars in debt create a plan to be debt free in a year or two. This way when you’ll be at peace even when you get negative thoughts about your finances. Now you can focus more time on saving and less on your past financial mistakes.

How to Effortlessly Track Your Spending

Stop manually tracking your spending.

Leverage powerful analytic tools such as Personal Capital and these money management apps to do the work for you. This tool has worked for me and has kept me motivated to why I’m saving in the first place. Once you login to your Personal Capital dashboard, you’re able to view your net worth.

When I’d first signed up with Personal Capital, I had a negative net worth, but this motivated me to save more. With this tool, you can also view your spending patterns, expenses, and how much money you’re saving.

Use your net worth as your north star to saving more. Whenever you experience financial setbacks, view how far you’ve come along. Saving money is only half the battle, being consistent is the other half.

The Truth on Why You Keep Failing

Saving money isn’t sexy. If it was, wouldn’t everyone be doing it?

Some people are natural savers, but most are impulsive spenders. Instead of denying that you’re an impulsive spender, embrace it.

Don’t try to save 60 to 70% of your income if this means you’ll live a miserable life. Saving money isn’t a race but a marathon. You’re saving for retirement and for large purchases.

If you’re currently having a hard time saving, start spending more money on nice things. This may sound counterintuitive but hear me out. Wouldn’t it be better to save $200 each month for 12 months instead of $500 for 3 months?

Most people run into trouble because they create budgets that set them up for failure. This system won’t work for those who are frugal, but chances are they don’t need help saving. This system is for those who can’t save money and need to be rewarded for their hard work.

Only because you’re buying nice things doesn’t mean that you’ll save less. Here are some rules you should have in place:

  1. Save more than 50% of your available money (after expenses)
  2. Only buy nice things after saving
  3. Automate your savings with automatic bank transfers

These are the same rules that helped me save thousands each year while buying the latest iPhone. Focus only on items that are important to you. Remember, you can afford anything but not everything.

How to Foolproof Yourself out of Debt

Personal finance is a game. On one end, you’re earning money; and on the to other, you’re saving. But what ends up counting in the end isn’t how much you earn but how much you save. Research shows that about 60% of Americans spend more than they save.((FINRA: Financial Capability in the United States 2016))

So how can you separate yourself from the 60%?

By not accumulating more debt. This way you’ll have more money to save and avoid having more financial obligations. A great way to stop accumulating debt is using cash to pay for all your transactions.

This will be challenging, depending on how reliant you are with your credit card, but it’s worth the effort. Not only will you stop accruing debt, but you’ll also be more conscious with what you buy.

For example, you’ll think twice about purchasing a new $200 headphone despite having the cash to buy them. According to a poll conducted by The CreditCards.com, 5 out of 6 Americans are impulsive spenders.((The CreditCards.com: Survey: 5 in 6 Americans admit to impulse buys))

Telling yourself that you’ll have the discipline to not buy things won’t cut it. This is equal to having junk food in your fridge while trying to eat healthy–it’s only a matter of time before you slip. By using cash to make your purchases, you’ll spend less and save more.

A Proven Formula to Skyrocket Your Savings

Having proven systems in place to help you save more is important, but they’re not the best way to save money.

You can search for dozens of ways to save money, but there’ll always be a limit. Instead of spending the majority of your effort saving, look for ways to increase your income. The truth is that once you have the right systems in place, saving is easy.

What’s challenging is earning more money. There are many routes you can take to achieve this. For example, you can work long and hard at your current job to earn a raise. But there’s one problem–you’re depending on someone else to give you a raise.

Your company will have to have the budget, and you’ll have to know how to toot your own horn to get this raise. This isn’t to say that earning a raise is impossible, but things are better when you’re in control right? That’s why building a side-hustle is the best way to increase your income.

Think of your side-hustle as a part-time job doing something you enjoy. You can sell items on eBay for a profit, or design websites for small businesses. Building a side-hustle will be on the hardest things you’ll do, be too stubborn to quit.

During the early stages, you won’t be making money and that’s okay. Since you already have a source of income, you won’t be dependent on your side-hustle to pay for your expenses. Depending on how much time you invest in your side-hustle, it can one day replace your current income.

Whatever route you take, focus more on earning and save as much as possible. You have more control than you give yourself credit for.

Transform Yourself into a Saving Money Machine

Saving money isn’t complicated but it’s one of the hardest things you’ll do.

By learning from your mistakes and rewarding yourself after saving you’ll save more. What would you do with an extra $200 or $500 each month? To some, this is life-changing money that can improve the quality of their lives.

The truth is saving money is an art. Save too much and you’ll quit, but save too little and you’ll pay for the consequences in the future. Saving money takes effort and having the right systems in place.

Imagine if you’d started saving an extra $100 this next month? Or, saved $20K in one year? Although it’s hard to imagine, this can be your reality if you follow the principles covered in this guide.

Take a moment to brainstorm which goals you’d be able to reach if you had extra money each month. Use these goals as motivation to help you stay on track on your journey to saving more. If I was able to save thousands of dollars with little guidance, imagine what you’ll be able to do.

What are you waiting for? Go and start saving money, the sky is your limit.

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