Quick post today, here’s an awesome guide on how to manage your email inbox. I’ve been using it for a few months and it’s really boosted my productivity enormously. Try it out and take me later.
Today I’ve spent some time researching the topic of rechargeable vs single-use batteries. Mostly just for fun but also to see if I could save some money and use better products than I’ve used till now. I usually use rechargeable batteries at home for my electronic devices, and had a cheap charger that always seemed to do the job.
Most of what I’ve learnt today is neatly summarised in this PDF, however these are the main points:
- The best choice of rechargeable batteries on the market is the Sanyo Eneloop brand, they lose very little charge over time
- It’s important to have an intelligent charger to properly take care of your batteries, the best one is the AccuCell BC-700
- Rechargeable batteries are better for the environment
- Know where you should use rechargeable and where to use single use
Lets talk a bit more about that last point. Single use batteries are ideal for low-drain devices such as that clock on your wall, safety devices (best to change them yearly as part of a maintenance plan). For anything else (wireless keyboards/mice, cameras, flashes, bike lights etc.) it makes sense to use rechargeable batteries.
Airbnb is a “global community marketplace that connects travelers seeking authentic, high-quality accommodations with hosts who offer unique places to stay”.
This year I’ve used Airbnb countless times as I traveled from country to country within Europe and the US. Some experiences, as to be expected, were better than others, although since I had researched every apartment very well we had no mishaps. Being a long time user of Airbnb however I cannot help but notice that things have changed from the early days.
When Airbnb first took off many of the apartments I visited were either the actual place where the owners lived, or decorated in a very homely fashion. The owners would personally meet us, give us the lowdown on the city and even prepare some food for breakfast and nice things to have (salt, pepper, oil etc). I still get to enjoy such experiences nowadays, but they are becoming increasingly rare.
There seems to be a drive by many people to purely take advantage of the Airbnb opportunity to make some extra cash, or even a full-time income. Thus we are starting to see many newly renovated apartments with only the bare essentials and cheapest furniture. Airbnb places strict rules on photographers and forces them to enhance their photos, many times making the apartment look better than it actually is. The owners don’t even meet you sometimes but leave the key in a deposit box. Many times you can forget about finding even a free city map on the coffee table, let alone some goodies in the kitchen.
While there’s nothing wrong per se in all this, the Airbnb experience was so much better in the early days through the interaction with the owners of the apartment, and the genuine feeling we used to get of people sharing their experiences and knowledge with each other. Like I said, it is still possible to get these experiences, but they’re getting lost in a sea of purely commercially minded people putting apartments for rent on Airbnb.
So what’s the solution? Airbnb itself cannot do much, the changes have to come from the people putting up their apartments for rent. My suggestion is to take the time to meet your guests, spend 15 minutes with them explaining how things work in your city, some good restaurants you recommend etc. Buy some food ($10 won’t break the bank) and give them a nice surprise. Make them feel genuinely welcome into a home away from home, and this will ensure their experience will be awesome. It’s a good investment really, if you treat guests in this way they’re much more likely to leave glowing feedback and get you more high quality bookings.
I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with most Internet marketing blogs. I’m referring in a special way to those blogs that promote the idea that you can easily make money online and live the life of your dreams.
After about 10 years of working online and never having a 9-5 job, I am in the privileged position of being able to live a comfortable life while working less than four hours a week.
When I first started out designing websites, doing affiliate marketing and a myriad other little enterprises one can do online, I was overjoyed to see some money pouring in. Soon enough instead of pocket money I was making a full-time living from my online work, and I was euphoric about the whole thing.
Coming from a tiny island where working online was unheard of (and thus a very risky thing for me to try out) I was so happy to have my ideas and dreams validated.
Prior to embarking on my online journey I had followed the path that all parents in my country want their children to follow; study hard and obtain a university degree. In fact, I had not only one but 3 University degrees by the age of 23. At that point however, after having spent thousands of dollars on my education, I flew off on a tangent and instead of getting a job at a local company, I decided that I’d rather do my own thing.
For a long time my parents and friends thought I was crazy for doing so. In the end however it all paid off and I am where I am today only because I had the courage to take that decision back then.
Having given you some perspective about my experience, lets get back to the original idea of this post, my love/hate relationship with internet marketing blogs.
As soon as I started seeing some success with my online ventures, I wanted everyone around me to do the same, I couldn’t believe why my friends complained about their low salaries, terrible bosses etc, but then wouldn’t even consider putting in some effort to try and earn some money online with the hope of leaving that dreaded job they complained so much about. Heck, they didn’t even seem one bit interested in how I made money online.
For many years I thought that everyone could make money online, that it’s simple and so much better than working a 9-5 job for someone else. I’ve always had the desire to start my own internet marketing blog and show the world why they should waste no time and start building their own website today, and live happily ever after.
In retrospect though, and after having met many other successful online workers and entrepreneurs, I’ve realized that making money online is not for everyone. It’s just as difficult (if not more so) then getting any other skilled job.
There are so many factors that come into play and affect whether you are successful or not in making money online. I estimate that more than 90% of those who actually try to make a living through any type of online venture actually fail. Of those who do manage to earn some money, not all of them earn enough to justify doing that full time instead of having a 9-5 job.
You see, making money online isn’t easy, the vast majority of successful online workers I know, far from the average Joe, are highly talented people. Building an online business requires an entrepreneurial spirit, lots of patience, an incredible amount of motivation, support from the people closest to you, and a fair amount of luck to boot. That’s only mentioning the few first factors that come to mind. There are many more.
Most people don’t and won’t ever have the right combination that enables them to go down this route in life. Clearly for many people their job is their vocation, and although they complain about their workplace, salary or colleagues, in the end that’s what they are most suitable for and that’s how they can best give service to the rest of society.
So I’ve stopped trying to persuade everyone and their dog to start an online business and live the life of their dreams. Of course, if someone I know is really motivated to do so and asks me for help and advice, I’d more than gladly share all I know about it, but it’s not for everyone.
Back to the Internet marketing blogs. I love them because through them I learnt and continue to learn new marketing techniques and keep updated on what’s working and what’s not. However the way most of them make money is by promoting a dream lifestyle that many will pursue, but only a few can and will obtain. Hence we end up having this sort of pyramid scheme whose members only make money through showing others how to make money online. In other words, the only source of income is those thousands of people (many of whom don’t have the right prerequisites) who buy the products they promote in the hope of learning what they need to know to make money online.
At the start of this post, I said that I am lucky enough to have to work very little to make a living. I am by no means rich and don’t own any real estate, but I can live anywhere I want in the world and have the liberty of doing what I want with my time while having enough income to support myself and my family from month to month.
The truth however is that I work way more than 4 hours a week. I do that because I love what I do, I don’t consider it to be work but play.
Think about your typical kid, what would he like to do on a perfect day. Play video games, soccer with friends?
That’s the way I feel about working online most days. I wake up with a lot of energy to chase a new idea, or fine-tune an existing business. And all the successful online workers I know have that same feeling about the work they do. They’re definitely not lazing about on a beach for the rest of their lives while their websites deposit money into their accounts as they sleep.
So that doubt in me remains, are these Internet marketing blogs promoting a big lie? Are they making a ton of money off people who can never really make a living online? Are we online workers really being truthful when we say that anyone can earn money on the web? Is it time for a more mature breed of Internet marketing blog, targeted at people who already have established online businesses? What do you think?
Here are some blogs that speak the truth about making money online and don’t try to sell dreams:
- The Truth About Making Money Blogging – TrafficGenerationCafe.com
- A Reality Check about Blogging for Money – Problogger.net
- Is Blogging a Good Way to Make Money? – ChrisG.com
- The Truth About Making Money While You Sleep – Copyblogger.com
- Reality check: You’re not going to make money from your blog – PenelopeTrunk.com
- The History of My First Online Business – SmartPassiveIncome.com
- Harsh Truths To Why You Won’t Make Money Blogging – JohnPaulAguiar.com
What any serious online marketer or blogger will tell you, is that it takes a lot of work and commitment to succeed online. No one can give you a shortcut to earning thousands or millions without any knowledge, simply because there is no shortcut to online success.
Online success = Hard work and commitment + Constant learning + Right timing + Networking
That success is the result of hard work and commitment is probably common knowledge, but I also like to add in the other three less-mentioned factors. Dedicating a lot of hours to something does not equal success unless you know what you are doing, are doing it at the right time and you’re making the effort to network with your peers.
AccountKiller is an online service that makes it very easy to delete accounts that are no longer wanted. Some websites make it notoriously difficult to find the ‘Cancel account’ button, and in those cases AccountKiller is a time and sanity saver.
If a website does not allow you to cancel an account (surprisingly there are many famous one which do this), AccountKiller gives you tips on how to anonymize those accounts.