Alternatives to Bad Link Building Strategies

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Over the years, many people are writing about link building strategies both good and bad. It’s no secret the Internet can make you a lot of money and those on the first page of Google generate enormous money through ads and selling products. However, this has led to many people taking part in manipulative link building strategies against Google’s guidelines. It might produce results short term, but long-term, it’s bad link building and can hurt your bottom line. Once you get banned from Google’s SERP’s, you’ve destroyed your online business. With time and the expansion of the Internet comes the ability to try different things. When I first started blogging, we often talked about 3-4 link building strategies but now, I can think of over 15. It’s important to note that some are good but a majority of them will do more harm so it’s important to focus on the ones that matter, producing results. Here’s something else…

Some link building strategies simply need to be tweaked to be effective. In other words, bad link building can be transformed into effective ones by making a few changes along the lines. I’ll like to discuss 3 popular link building techniques and their alternatives that yield huge results. You’ll be surprised how they can boost your rankings within the SERP’s when you make some slight adjustments.

Let’s get started…

Link Exchanges

I can’t stress how ineffective link exchanges are for boosting SERP rankings and much of it has to do with the way people utilize these networks. For example, people start buying irrelevant bulk backlinks, pointing them to their page without doing any research. When you point poor quality backlinks to a page, you’re doing more harm than good. This is why Google introduced the Disavow Tool, so you can control what links point to your page. However, making a few changes to the way you use specific networks can produce the opposite effect. Here’s what I recommend going forward…

First, if you’re starting out, then join only the best link exchange websites and always set the approval to manual so you have complete control. If you leave the interface to automatic, then all requests will be approved, good or bad, and you should try to avoid this from happening. Next, when you get a link request, you should research the URL it’s received from by heading over to or Paste in the URL of the website and skim through the information generated. Here are some of the factors to look for:

  • Domain Authority
  • Page Authority
  • Anchor Text
  • # external links

A clear report on these factors will tell you the value this URL will provide to your website. Compare it to your current DA and PA and if it’s above yours while being relevant, then you can benefit from a link exchange with them.

In short, instead of building bulk links, use this alternative:

  • Join popular link exchange networks
  • Always approve manually
  • Research link exchange requests
  • Spread out your link exchange campaigns

Buying and Selling Links

Google is getting smarter and they know when you’ve bought links to boost your rankings within the SERP’s. There are a few reasons why you should avoid this link building technique. First, it’s very difficult to find high quality links when directly buying them because NO authority bloggers will ever sell links on their page. They know how it will degrade the quality of their blog and hurt their overall bottom line. Google pays close attention to internal and external links on a page so if you’re linking to a low quality page, it’s not good for SEO. Secondly, you’re often getting websites with poor content and irrelevant to your niche and links from these pages add NO value. Third, they are NOT genuine links and will often be removed from the blog owner or when the website is removed by Google. However, there is an alternative to buying and selling links that I recommend everyone should utilize instead.

Focus on writing high quality content and/or guest blogging opportunities. Google has put enormous emphasis on providing quality, rewarding this type of content with higher rankings. Guest blogging is a great way to build links and generate traffic to your blog, leading to more links from niche relevant readers. In the end, there is no substitute for high quality content so focus on this instead of buying links.

Utilizing Keywords Effectively

Always using EXACT match keywords within your content and building links will no longer have the same impact as before. The user search pattern is changing and people are using LSI, long-tail, and related keywords to find what they are looking for. When building links, we tend to focus on stuffing our content with EXACT match keywords and building links to our page using the same strategy. However, we need to start looking at the alternatives available to us in terms of keywords. For example, going forward, you should focus on the following:

First, research and create a list of LSI and long-tail keywords so you can utilize them when building links. Start mixing your anchor text when you build links. A great way to find a combination of keywords is by researching your competition and the anchor text they use. If these competitors are ranking on the first page of Google, then their keyword diversity is a great match for you. The strategy is very simple because all you’re doing is tweaking your anchor text from EXACT to branded, related, URL, and long-tail. You have to do some research so you get the right ratio of each, however, this strategy is very effective when boosting your rankings through natural link building.

Click Here To Download John Chow’s New eBook, The Ultimate Online Profit Model!

Top 10 Content Creation Steps For Bloggers

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When it comes to content creation, writing a blog post and hoping for the best is not an option!

Top quality content takes time, effort, energy, resources, and knowledge.

In this article, we have put together a blueprint for how we like to publish content at IncomeDiary.

It is an approach that has consistently worked for us and it will for you.


The 10 Most Important Steps For Successful Content Creation

Content creation, marketing

1. Choose a Topic To Write About

Obvious I know!


a) Who is your audience?

b) What do they need to know?

c) What can you tell them that no one else can?

d) What is your unique talent? (we all have at least one)

e) In one sentence what is the biggest lesson in life you have learned so far?

f) What was your biggest mistake and what did you learn from it? (Those who succeed the most also tend to fail the most!)

And most importantly of all with Content Creation:

How does your blog post benefit the reader?

Will what you are about to write improve the lives of your readers?

The most successful bloggers succeed because what they write adds value to the lives of their readers

Read the following posts for more inspiration and ideas:

Blog Post Inspiration Is All Around You – Open Your Mind


8 Easy Ways to Generate Blog Post Ideas That Get Attention

2. Deciding On What The Goal Of Your Blog Post Is

You don’t create content just to get traffic.

It could be to:

  • Make more money
  • Get more subscribers
  • To get more back-links
  • To entertain
  • To build your brand

Or it could be to simply improve a part of your business.

Using this post as an example, we get dozens of writers contact us every week, asking to publish guest posts.

We want content but it has to be amazing if we are going to accept it.

Writing this article means that we can better help guest posters write better content so that we can accept more posts and get more traffic.

3. Research Keywords For Blog Post

Once you have decided on your topic, you next have to figure out what you want to rank in Google for.

If you guess, often you will over estimate how popular the search term is.

We recommend you use Ahrefs for keyword research.

I will write in several different keywords until I find one that both fits my topic, but also provides plenty of traffic.

Example keywords for this post:

  • How to write a blog post (4000 visitors)
  • Blog Post Layout (90 visitors)
  • Blog Format (600 visitors)
  • Content Creation (5000 visitors)
  • Creating Content (230 visitors)

Based on this information, I chose to go with content creation as my keyword. Not only does it get more traffic than the others but it’s more targeted than “How to write a blog post”.

Content Creation

In the screenshot above, you can see that the global search volume is 5000 and that I will need in the region of 26 back-links from other websites to rank in the top 10.

The Ahrefs app will show you a lot more than that though – and if you are serious about online marketing and SEO this is the one to use. (Their Lite Plan starts from $99 per month!)

It displays the top 10 websites that rank for a search term, plus how much traffic they get and what other keywords that page ranks for.

The keyword you decide to go with, should be what you name your blog post URL, so for example,

Of course $99 per month is not an insignificant sum and will be a stretch for some.

In this case have a look at

Just type in your URL or a competitors URL and they will provide a lot of useful SEO information free of charge.

A Back-links Counter is not included in the free options but they have plans starting from $10 per month.

4. Creating Your Blog Post

OK, you know your topic and you know the keyword/s you wish to focus on – how long should your blog post be?

The average blog post on the first page of Google is over 2000 words.

For this reason, I would suggest, always aiming to hit this number. It is not a hard and fast rule – sometimes I go well over and sometimes it is closer to 1500 words. But it is a fact in blogging that the highest ranking posts are often some of the longest.

Choosing a category for your post should be simple enough, as for tags, I usually choose two tags per post. It’s important that no post, category or tag should be named the same. So for example, if my keyword for this post is content creation, I shouldn’t have a category or tag called content creation. Only one page on your site can rank for a keyword and you don’t want pages completing.

As for writing your article, check out: 17 Writing Tips For Bloggers Who Think They Can’t Write!

5. How to Display Content For Readability

Two blog posts can have the same content, but one gets read and the other is closed within seconds. This is often down to how easy it is to skim read.

Here is how we layout our content:

Headline (h1)
Headline (h2)
Headline (h3)
Headline (h3)
Headline (h3)

And so on…

Of course, you may also add images in, but as a general outline, this is what we go with. You can see an example of it in this very post.

Other suggestions include:

Mistakes to avoid:

  • Repeating headlines.
  • Starting three sentences in a row with the same word.

6. Adding Images To Your Blog Post

content creation for bloggers

Images are very important.

We like to use three different styles of images:

The screenshot, the photo and the illustration.

Personally, I think all post images should be the same width, centered and shouldn’t link to anywhere.

7. Optimize Text For SEO

Using Yoast SEO Tool, you can figure out quickly what you need to do:

  • Keyword should be in post title
  • Keyword should be in at least 1 other headline
  • Keyword should be in first 100 words.

8. Optimize Images For SEO

Well optimized images tell Google what your blog post is about and helps rank the page higher.

  • Name one image the same as your target keyword.
  • Name all other images related to keyword.
  • Add alt tags.
  • Compress images.

We have written a lot about SEO in the past – check out 10 SEO Blog Post Publishing Steps that Most Bloggers Forget

SEO, content creation

9. Add Internal And External Links

Linking in your post is important. It’s another way of telling Google what your blog post is about.

You should add a few links to external authority websites talking about a similar subject.

You should add a few links to internal pages on your site about similar subjects. (Like we have done here)

10. Marketing Blog Post For SEO and Social Media

One of the main ways Google decides where your page should rank in their search engine, is by counting links going to it.

The better your post, the more links you will get.

To get links, you need to get people to read your post.

To get people to visit your post, you need to name your post something people want to click.

Marketing a blog post is a lot more than getting as many links to your post as possible. It’s also about presenting your content in a way that people want to click.

This comes down to headline, description and featured images.


Part of your marketing strategy should be deciding on a post headline that people will click on social media sites and in search engines. But at the same time, it has to be targeting your keyword.

If you were to focus on SEO, you might name your post, Blog Post Content Creation Guide.

If you were to name it for readers, you may write, Best Article Ever Written About Content Creation

What I recommend is you meet in the middle and write for both, Blog Content Creation Guidelines For High Traffic Websites.


Search engine traffic isn’t just about getting number 1 rankings, it’s about getting as many people as you can to click through to your website.

Your blog post meta description should again be written for SEO and for readers.

Featured Image

When you see a featured image on social media, a blog homepage or in the related posts section, you either notice it and want to click, or you scroll right past it.

Final Thoughts on Content Creation…

Still struggling to know what to write about?

Try this:

a) Look at the ‘long tail’ of website search activity on your website. What questions are real people using to find your website?

Then you answer those questions in your content!

b) Check your social media (Twitter and Facebook in particular) and see if people are asking questions or making comments you can use for content creation. Another option is to check publishing tools on your business Facebook page – to see which subjects have the greatest reach, get the most clicks and write a followup to that.

Author Bio:
“BarryBarry Dunlop – lifelong Entrepreneur, Investor, Mastermind Facilitator and Sales Coach. Barry launched his first Internet Business in 1998. Follow Barry on Twitter

The post Top 10 Content Creation Steps For Bloggers appeared first on How To Make Money Online.

Hacking the 52 Week Money Challenge the Smart Way

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The financial savings picture in America (and the world) isn’t a good one, at multiple income levels. For example: across people with incomes less than $25,000, 38% have $0 saved. For those with incomes from $100,000 to $149,999, it’s not much better: 18% have $0 saved, and 26% have less than $1,000.[1]

This obviously can create problems in the future. Nearly half of American adults can’t cover an emergency expense of $400 without selling something or borrowing money, and 31% of non-retired adults have no retirement savings or pension at all.[2]

Is there a way to get better at saving money? Yes, here’s a challenge you can take to turn around the situation.

The 52 Week Money Challenge

The 52 Week Money Challenge is fairly simple.

  • On Week 1, you deposit $1 in savings. Now your total is $1.
  • On Week 2, you deposit $2, for a new total of $3.

If you follow this for 52 weeks, your eventual total for the year will be $1,378.

Here’s a table showcasing it visually:

The 52-Week Money Challenge works because of habitual momentum. You have a commitment now to do something every single week, and if you achieve it, it will better your financial situation. Charles Duhigg, a leading researcher on habits, has explained that most habit formation takes place as cue, routine, and reward.[3] The 52-Week Money Challenge is the same way:

  • Cue: Every week, you remember you need to do this.
  • Routine: You keep doing it!
  • Reward: Now you have more savings.

Hacking the Money Challenge

How do you make the conscious decision not to spend dollars on fun things?

For example, you know there’s a good chance you’ll spend more money during the holidays— flights to see family members, gifts for family and co-workers, maybe even New Year’s Eve plans. You might spend more in the summer too: vacations and summer sales.

How do you make sure you don’t do that and stay on track with your 52-Week Money Challenge? There are three main hacks if you want to get the most out of the 52-Week Money Challenge:

Automate Money Storing and Transferring

The whole point of automation is making things simpler, and that can work in the 52-Week Money Challenge too. Just automate out the payments beforehand and you’ll never even think about it. It will just not be there—it’ll be savings. Your bank can help you with this, as can apps like Qapital.

Combine the Challenge with Another Goal

Consider merging the 52-Week Money Challenge with a weight loss challenge— lose 1 pound per week, for example— or a spending challenge. You could reduce the number of times you eat out each week in a given month (8, 6, 4, 2) and start from a smaller number each month (7, 5, 3, 1 the next month; then 6, 4, 2, 0).

If you’re tying a money-saving challenge (the 52-Week Money Challenge) with another challenge that will directly impacting savings (eating out less or trying to lose weight— or both!), there will be increased motivation to save money.

Go Beyond the 52 Weeks

Each year you’d save $1,378. In five years, you’d have $6,890. In 10 years, $13,780. It could lead to some pretty nice vacations, if nothing else.

Just don’t stop. The 52-Week Money Challenge is a low impact way to save money.

Challenge Accepted

Go do it. Do the 52-Week Money Challenge. And think on some of the hacks, or create your own— for example, if Week 1 is $2 and then Week 2 is $4, you’d double your savings ($2,756) for the year. In 10 years, you’d have over $27,000 in savings.

That would be impressive given the numbers we initially discussed. Most Americans have less than $1,000 in savings, so even if you just do the basic 52-Week Money Challenge with the hacks discussed, you’ll end the year with more than most people.

Saving is important, whether the savings leads to leisure pursuits or solving emergencies. Start with the 52-Week Money Challenge and see how easy it can be.

Featured photo credit: via


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Don't Overlook Your Workstation, It Might Be The Reason Why You Are Unproductive

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As a personal coach with over 100 employees, one of the most common questions I receive from time to time is “how can I be more productive?” The only way to really get ahead is by increasing your productivity. It’s a pretty straight forward concept. When we get more done, we reach our goal more quickly. We all have the same amount of time in the day, but some people just manage to get more done. Surely, there must be some secrets to this super-human level of efficiency. But what?

Throughout the years, I have passed down different techniques and hacks to boost productivity to my collegaues with reasonable success. But one day it dawned on me. I had been overlooking the most important element of a productive work space; the work space itself.

Don’t just organize, organize with purpose

As I observed the Lifehack office, I noticed that there was one distinctive variable. All of my colleauges had been integrating the same productivity techniques that I had taught them, but still for some reason some had more success than others.

I noticed that there was definitely a direct connection between those who had organized work stations and their level of productivity. I asked each individual what the thought process what behind their desk set-ups. Not at all to my surprise, those who admitted to organizing their workstations with purpose were more productive than those who didn’t.

Why? Because not only do they take the time to organize, but they organize tactfully to increase productivity. (I am even de-cluttering my desk as I write this!) This makes a whole lot of sense because your environment contributes largely to your success.

Think about it like this: if you were on a diet, you wouldn’t surround yourself with junk-food, right? Well, if you want to think clearly, you shouldn’t surround yourself with distractions.

Create the ideal environment to enhance your productivity

I decided to pick the brains of the more productive individuals in the office. This way I could harness some of their wisdom for helpful tips for organization and increased efficiency. I found that they all had these habits in common:

1. Keep distractions on your unfamiliar side

By your unfamiliar side, I mean your less dominant hand. If you are right handed, keep your phone on the left side of the desk so are less likely to reach for it. Understandably, you want to keep your phone around in case of emergencies. But checking your phone is probably so habitual that it’s become muscle memory at this point. Sometimes you grab your phone without even realizing it. Constantly doing this will break your focus and disrupt your workflow. To avoid this, make it inconvenient to reach.

2. The larger your trashcan, the better

This may seem slightly trivial, but it’s actually imperative for improving efficiency. The goal here is clarity. So you want to have a nearby receptacle to dump all of your unwanted and unneeded clutter before it takes over your life.

Let’s say that you’ve just finished brainstorming and have utilized all of the ideas you had written down. Now you have no need for that pile of papers holding your old ideas. But your small trash can is full. Instead of walking across the office to dump the papers, you just set them off to the side. It starts out with just one pile of papers, but the it turns into a habit of, “I’ll take care of this later.” And the next thing you know, you’re buried with outdated and unneeded items. Is that a used tissue? Gross!

Now the items you actually need are mixed up with unnecessary items, which will get frustrating after a while. Save yourself the trouble. Clean as you go.

3. Have a designated “deal with later” area

As your work days drag on, you’ll start to realize that you’re not getting as much done as you’d like. As tasks and projects pile up, you find yourself battling distractions and losing your focus, not to mention becoming overwhelmed by your workload.

Lighten the load a bit. Create a “deal with later” area. This could be a folder or shelf where you store your tasks. By doing this, your brain will register that you have received the project, but then you can file it away so it does not deter you from your current task. Each time you get distracted, it takes twice and long to refocus. Set aside a time to clear out your “deal with later” area, and get to it when you can.

4. Keep only the essentials on your desk

The presence of organizational tools may make you feel like you are being more productive, but remember less is more. You only need one pen to write with, one highlighter to highlight with, one notebook to write on and one stack of post-its until you run out. Anything else is unnecessary, and will just make your work space a mess. Besides, you want to spend your precious time working, not deciding on which pen to use.

Keep these items to your dominant side, on your otherwise clutter-free desk. That way you have all that you need right on hand.

5. Have an organized drawer for the almost- essentials

I know you love that polka dot stapler and matching tape dispenser. But they’re not vital items for your productivity, are they? You want to keep them close, but not out in the open where they might distract you. Instead, keep almost-essential items like these that you use on a daily basis in a well-organized drawer.

Keeping items like these out of sight gives your brain less of an opportunity to wander, helping to keep you on track. You might not think that a stapler is going to hinder your workflow, but you’d be surprised where your mind will drift to when you’re stuck on a task.

6. Always have water on hand

And lots of it. It is the elixir of life and productivity. I noticed during my observations that the most productive people always have a large container of water on their desk at all times. This is because when they become focused and throw themselves into their work, they often forget to drink water.

Having water on hand saves them less trips of getting up to get it, therefore they have less distractions throughout the day. Not to mention, staying hydrated helps them to think clearly and therefore be more productive. Remember, clarity corresponds with efficiency.

The post Don’t Overlook Your Workstation, It Might Be The Reason Why You Are Unproductive appeared first on Lifehack.

How to Turn Your Blog into a Digital Store

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The best way to create a steady stream of passive income from your blog is to start selling digital products.

Unlike other blog monetization methods such as advertisements, you don’t have to have a huge traffic base to succeed.

You just need to attract the right audience to your blog, so you can qualify them and nurture them through your sales funnel, and eventually turn them into paying customers.

On top of that, the best thing about digital products is that the creation process is easy. All you need to do is to do what you’re good at–writing, podcasting, video casting, etc. You can even repurpose your existing blog posts and turn them into an e-book.

Selling products on your site is not a quick rich scheme. However, with tenacity and perseverance, it’s possible to build a reliable passive income from your blog by creating and selling digital products.

In this article, let’s discuss everything you need to know about creating a digital storefront on your blog.

What to Sell?

Before jumping in, the first question you probably ask yourself is what to sell.

When you’re just getting started and brainstorming product ideas, everything might seem like as it’s been done by someone else already.

Below are a few tips that will help you find perfect product lines that sell.

  1. Know your target audience:

There are many ways to find what your target audience finds most valuable.

For instance, you can look at marketplaces like Kindle marketplace to see what the hot trend in your niche is. You can use the brainstorming session as inspiration to create things differently from what’s being there already in the market.

Similarly, if you’re looking to create a premium course, you can browse through websites like Udemy to see courses that people are already interested in

  1. Choose a format:

You can sell your digital products in many different formats, including e-book, newsletter course, video course, podcasts and more. Make sure to pick the right format that best suits your needs.

  1. Validate your market:

Before creating a product, you can survey your audience to see if it helps to solve their problem. You can also use niche based forums or a site like to figure out if your product can make people’s life easier.

How to Create a Digital Store

Now that you’ve decided the product lines, the next step is to figure out how to roll out your storefront.

Do you want to create a dedicated storefront or integrate it with your existing blog? Let’s take a detailed look at both the scenarios:

Creating a dedicated storefront:

If you want to brand your storefront separately from your existing brand, you might want to consider creating a dedicated digital store. The main drawback of this approach is that you need to grow traffic and customer base from scratch which can be a hassle especially if you are already running another blog or website and don’t have resources and time to promote a new brand.

Integrate a storefront with your existing blog:

Instead of starting out everything from scratch, you can piggyback your existing user base and start selling to them. is a perfect example of integrating a storefront with an established blog.

Their blog attracts lots of potential customers because they create great content on a regular basis. Nautilus attracts the same visitors to the store to purchase merchandise that mirrors the type of content they love.

The main benefit of such integration is that your storefront can be easily branded to blend into your website. This way you can promote the store to your existing user base with ease.

Choose a Platform

Hundreds of different eCommerce platforms let you easily integrate a digital store with your site. With all the different options available in the market, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one that fits your needs.

If you’re on WordPress, WooCommerce is one of the best solutions.

According to Datanyze, 22% of eCommerce websites in the Alexa Top 1 million sites uses WooCommerce. If you’re already familiar with the user interface of WordPress, then you may find it easier to set up a WooCommerce store.

WooCommerce is a comprehensive solution that lets you sell both physical and digital products. There are also extensions available that will even let you power a full membership site using WooCommerce. You can read this article on how to setup an online store in WordPress with WooCommerce.

Start Selling to Your Existing Audience

The main benefit of integrating a store into your existing blog is that you don’t have to build a customer base from scratch. Rather, you can promote the store to your existing visitors, and eventually convert them into customers.

Now, nearly 96 percent of your first-time visitors are not ready to purchase from your website right away. With email marketing, you can build a relationship with your visitors over time and convert them into customers when they’re ready.

Grow your list

To exponentially grow your email list, you can use a lead generation tool like OptinMonster that allows you to create high conversion optin forms to convert your visitors into leads. Using its exit intent technology, you can even convert your abandoning visitors into leads by prompting them with a targeted campaign at the precise moment they are about to leave your site.

Nurture your leads:

The success of your eCommerce business relies on how well you qualify your leads and nurture them through different phases of the sales funnel.

Email segmentation is the first step to nurture your leads. With segmentation, you can classify your leads into a distinct group based on various demographics such as user preferences, geographical location, on-site behaviors, etc.

Segmentation helps you to personalize the emails you sent to each distinct group. Personalizing emails on the basis of segmentation are proven to bring in more sales and revenue.

I hope this article gives you some insights on turning your blog into a digital store. By following the best practices, you can create a steady stream of passive income from your blog.

Do you sell digital products on your site? Share your thoughts and experience with us by dropping a line below.

Click Here To Download John Chow’s New eBook, The Ultimate Online Profit Model!

Four Percent Guide – How to operate and Promote ANY Business

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Four Percent Guide – How to operate Four Percent and Promote ANY BusinessThis is a guide for Four Percent – however you can apply the principles, ideas and blueprint to ANY online OR off-Line business.If you came directly to this site and want to learn more about Four Percent – I will suggest you visit…

Read more here …

The post Four Percent Guide – How to operate and Promote ANY Business appeared first on Learn Web Traffic.

The Letter I Wrote To A Broken Man

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Every day I get lots of emails from readers asking me how to solve a major life issue.

I got one last week and realized that my advice is often the same. I thought that it might be easier to write my advice about how to stop being so broken. That way, every time I get one of these emails I can point people to it.

Here’s the advice I gave this broken man that wrote to me:


1. Find someone who is going to change your thinking

This man had a whole list of problems that he tried to tell me were impossible to solve. He listed them in such detail and made each one sound beyond impossible to solve. He was hoping that he would bamboozle me and that I’d reply and say “Mate you’re right, those problems are impossible to solve and I can’t help you.”

The first step I always tell these so called “broken people” is that they need to get out of their head. They’ve become obsessed with their challenges and they need to interrupt their thinking. The easiest and quickest way to do this is to find someone to change your thinking.

To make this broken man’s life easy, I gave him the answer of who to start with. He needed a rapid change of thinking and the best person I know to do this is Tony Robbins. Now I could have let him find his own person to assist, but it would have ended up becoming another excuse.

What he needed to hear was something radically different to the story that he’d memorized and become an expert narrator in. Tony sure knows how to change the way you think and slap you in the face when you need it. This is always the beginning.


2. Quit your job

This broken man blamed a lot of his problems on his job. This is common in all the letters I get from people who think they’re broken. They all have an issue that stems from what they do for a living.

What’s crazy is that your job or business is your decision. If you don’t like the result, then quit. It’s not rocket science; it’s just the reality.

“Quitting something you hate is the best decision you’ll ever make”

You can always find another source of income. The best thing about quitting is that you’ll be forced to find a new way to make a living pretty quickly so you can pay your bills.

Make it a slow transition if you need to, but just know that you must quit. Don’t let anything piss you off anymore. Stop doing what you don’t love. If your work doesn’t light you up, then quit!


3. Failing a lot is good. Stop being afraid.

My friend, the broken man, tried to tell me that he was failing a lot. I stood up in my seat and gave him a metaphorical round of applause (he obviously couldn’t see me do this). If you’re failing a lot, then that’s the best bloody news I’ve ever heard! Don’t be down about it; be excited about it.

This means your giving it a go and taking action. That’s better than 99% of other people who are doing nothing and sitting on the couch hoping to get lucky. You’ll eventually find a way if you keep failing. It’s inevitable.

Being afraid is unnecessary and it’s delusional. You’re not supposed to know exactly what to do and no one who is successful does.

“You’re supposed to take action, and then learn from the outcomes and adjust the sails of your ship as you go”


4. Go and volunteer at a homeless shelter

I’ve said this one a lot because I’ve personally found it very effective – In fact, I was just at the homeless shelter again last week. It’s the idea that you need to see problems far bigger than your own. I’ve never seen anyone walk into a homeless shelter and spend a day there, who hasn’t come out the other side with a new way of looking at life.

You’re forced into helping others and you do whatever you can because many of the people you’ll meet are beyond desperate. In reality, your problems are not desperate where as there’s is. Once you’ve seen the worst there is to see, then you’ll be able to break your pattern of misery.


5. Your problems are the same

This broken man was so stuck in his circumstances that he couldn’t see the rest of the world. He stopped seeing the hardships that others are going through and he somehow believed the lie that he was the only one facing these problems. I told him something he didn’t expect: “Your problems are the same as every other email I get.”

This was true. Every email I get with these so-called “impossible challenges” is the same. It’s the same issue with a different character playing the lead role of the story. Your problems are not unique or special. Your problems yesterday were vanilla and my problems today are strawberry. They’re all flavors of the same milkshake.


6. You’re being selfish

The last very blunt thing I said to this broken man (out of love and respect) was: “You’re being selfish.” I told him that his entire story was about him and his own selfish desires.

Nowhere in the story was there room for anybody else. Nowhere in the story was there a purpose to unite people, or serve people or give something to someone. It was all just about him and how important he was and how he must have all the answers.

“The way you become broken in the first place is when you’re 100% focused on yourself”

Selfishness is at the heart of so many life problems. It’s not all about you, you know. I’d go as far as saying that you should make your life about much more than you.

Once you move away from being entirely selfish, new opportunities start to find their way to you. These opportunities are not luck; these opportunities are the result of you moving beyond just caring about yourself. Until you give a damn about other people, you’re going to continue to be broken.

You started to become broken in the first place when you forgot about everyone else and became obsessed with yourself. Kill the obsession and you’ll find the answer to your dreams.

These are the things I told this young man. These are the same tools you can use if you feel broken.

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on

10 Cool Office Gadgets That Will Make Your Work Desk Organized And Boost Your Productivity

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You spend the majority of your waking hours at work. In fact, 80% of your time is spent in front of your work desk!

So, what can you do to make that time more enjoyable? Get comfortable! Having a comfortable working environment has a huge impact on your happiness. “Who can be comfortable at work?”, you ask. Anybody can! It just takes a little organization.

An added benefit of being organized is that you increase your productivity as well. You see, your brain has to work overtime just to ignore the disorganization surrounding you. Get rid of that clutter and your brain can focus on other things, like work! Read more about How Clutter Drains Your Brain, And What You Can Do About It.

Not sure where to start? Don’t worry. Lifehack has handpicked 10 cool office gadgets to help you freshen up your work desk and boost your productivity.

1. Base Magnetized Wood Cable Tidy

Most computer cables fall off the desktop and onto the floor easily, or you may find yourself crawling under your desk more than once a week to retrieve your charger. All that is over with one of many cool office gadgets, the Base Magnetized Wood Cable Tidy. This visually appealing accessory has a magnet inside to hold your cables in place, keeping them off the floor.

The Base Magnetized Wood Cable Tidy is a stylish addition to your desktop. The product is made of beautiful walnut wood and offers you a choice of shapes: circle, triangle, pentagon, or square.

Base Magnetized Wood Cable Tidy, $35

2. Flat Panel Monitor Riser with 3 Drawers

You may find a lot of loose paperclips, post-its, pens, and highlighters around your work desk. Hide that clutter away in the Flat Panel Monitor Riser Stand Space Saving Workstation. These cool office gadgets raise your computer monitor to a comfortable height, preventing you from hunching forward to see the screen correctly.

The Flat Panel Monitor Riser has a minimalist, modern design that makes your desk look sleeker. Its 3 drawers are the perfect place to store the bits and ends that make their way onto your desktop everyday. This accessory is also stackable if you need more than 3 drawers.

Flat Panel Monitor Riser Stand Space Saving Workstation & Multi-Purpose Organizer with 3 Drawers, $45.99

3. DeskView Lightweight Standing Desk

The unique design of the DeskView Lightweight Standing Desk allows you to set up your workstation along any window in your office. If you’re tired of sitting at the computer all day with a boring office view, move your workstation with this lightweight standing desk. Just carry the standing desk to the window and attach it to the glass with suction cups. Voila!

The desk surface is small and lightweight, making it perfect for travel. Its surface is large enough for a laptop, a few pens, and a notepad.

Deskview Lightweight Standing Desk, $170

4. Satechi F3 Smart Monitor Stand with Four USB 3.0 Ports and Headphone / Microphone Extension Ports

The tekbotic USB 3.0 Monitor Stand Hub lifts your computer monitor up off your desktop, freeing space underneath to store your keyboard. Raising your monitor up to eye level provides you with a more ergonomic workstation, reducing neck strain and back pain.

This gadget is also equipped with a por for 4 USB connections and microphone ports.

Satechi F3 Smart Monitor Stand with Four USB 3.0 Ports and Headphone / Microphone Extension Ports, $47.99

5. Standing Desktop Converter with Monitor Shelf

It could be tiring when you’re sitting all day in front of the work desk. When you feel the need to get up and stretch your legs while you’re at work, this Standing Desktop Converter with Monitor Shelf helps you do just that. This accessory can be assembled in less than 5 minutes. Just set it on top of your current workstation, lose the chair, and get to work.

The Standing desktop Converter with Monitor Shelf lifts your workspace surface and comes with an additional tier for computer monitor placement. It’s a sturdy, yet lightweight, addition to your office.

Standing Desktop Converter with Monitor Shelf, $84.99

6. Surpahs Natural Bamboo Monitor Raiser Stand

Having good posture at the office is one of the biggest battles you have to face. Fortunately, the Surpahs Natural Bamboo Monitor Raiser helps you do just that. This product lifts your monitor up off your desktop, making room for keyboard storage underneath.

The Surpahs Natural Bamboo Monitor Raiser helps bring a little bit of the outside in, giving your desk an outdoorsy and relaxing feel. Made of strong bamboo board, this accessory can support up to 100 pounds.

Surpahs Natural Bamboo Monitor Raiser Stand, $19.98

7. Logitech Rechargeable Trackpad for Mac

The Logitech Rechargeable Trackpad works up to a range of 30 feet from your workstation. It is compatible with Mac devices and has a comfortable glass top that makes multi-touch control easy. Its low-profile design brings a modern look to your desk and blends perfectly with your Mac computer.

If you prefer using the trackpad at your desk, just connect it to your computer so it can charge while you work!

Logitech Rechargeable Trackpad for Mac, $90

9. YOUMI Multi-Function Stereo Bluetooth Wooded Environmental Speaker Wireless Charger

If you prefer the look of wood in your office, the YOUMI Multi-Function Stereo is the perfect gadget. This bluetooth wireless speaker has the latest Bluetooth 4.0 technology, giving you a range of 33 feet.

The YOUMI offers several functions, including: a thermometer, clock, alarm, and Qi wireless charger. Additionally, it has built-in sensory touch buttons that let it maintain a clean line to keep your office looking modern and organized.

YOUMI Multi-Function Stereo Bluetooth Wooded Environmental Speaker Wireless Charger, $65.99

9. Wood Headphones Stand – Genuine Walnut Finish

If your headphones just sit on the side of your desk in a disorganized heap of cables and earpieces, your problem is solved with the Wood Headphones Stand.

This gadget has a beautiful, genuine walnut finish and adds a little style to your desk, while keeping your headphones neatly organized. Its design is complete with a rubber base that prevents it from slipping all over your desktop.

Wood Headphones Stand/Hanger/Holder Genuine Walnut Finish, $19.99

10. Multi-Use Everyday Dusting Brush

One of the best ways to achieve an organized look is by keeping everything in and around your desk clean. The Multi-Use Everyday Dusting Brush is the perfect gadget to help you achieve a dust-free workstation.

The Multi-Use Everyday Dusting Brush has 2 sides to serve multiple purposes. On one side of the brush are loops of microfiber that make cleaning vents and window blinds easy. On the other side is a small brush, perfect for brushing the crumbs out of your keyboard.

Multi-Use Everyday Dusting Brush, $17.31

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What the Most Successful People Do in the Evening

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If you Google “morning routine”, you will receive around 20 million results in less than 62 seconds. Morning routines create productive days and happier people. They allow the busy mom to meet her deadlines or the CEO to prepare for the day filled with meetings, yet they both make it home for dinner.

But having a strong morning routine is only half the equation. A strong morning routine starts with having a strong evening routine.

A Powerful Evening Blasts off Your Morning

Benjamin Franklin has famously asked himself each evening,

“What good have I done today? What good shall I do this day?”

By asking himself these two questions, Benjamin Franklin could reflect on what worked and what did not work. He could reflect in gratitude and saw his accomplishments and then set himself up for success the first thing in the morning.

In fact, these are the two characteristics of having a strong evening routine:

  • Reflecting and winding down for the day.
  • Creating a follow-up plan for tomorrow.

An evening routine like this helps you focus on the positive outcomes and it also helps you wind down from the day. You are able to shut your electronics and your mind off.

You know exactly what you are working on tomorrow and you can let your subconscious mind take over to problem solve for you while you sleep.

The Evening Routine of Successful People

When we look at successful people like Benjamin Franklin, Arianna Huffington and even Ludwig Van Beethoven we can see that going to bed early and waking up earlier was key to their success.

They were up and working on their careers before the world started around them. This freed up their minds to focus on what truly matters and they could take action each and everyday toward their goals.

It is with this consistency in routine that they were able to reach success.

Arianna Huffington sips tea, takes a bath and doesn’t allow electronics in the room at night. She is very methodical in her routine. This routine allows her body to shut down and focus on what matters—sleep. She discusses this in depth in her book The Sleep Revolution.

Ludwig Van Beethoven was in bed by 10pm each night allowing himself to wake up and get right to work on his art.

An Unnoticeable Change with a Significant Result

Creating an evening routine is about changing habits.

When I started an evening routine, I went from staying up late (11 pm) and eating pints of ice cream because my kids were finally asleep, to going to bed at 9pm and not eating past 6:30pm. It was a drastic change but it didn’t happen overnight. In fact, I started with one simple shift and added more over time.

Often, we want to bite off more than we can chew and will never reach our goals. I knew that by changing my habits I could build an evening routine for myself that would allow me to reach my definition of success.

I started with going to bed earlier, this required me to shut off electronics sooner and pick up a book. I then shifted my meals naturally and even stopped drinking caffeine at 11am each day.

This became a natural domino effect. Having an evening routine can change the structure of your day. It opens up a lot of space for you to take action instead of sitting back and letting life pass you by.

Anytime I wanted to fall back on old habits, I would connect to the benefits of change and would look at the success of others and remind myself that it was their routines that gave them the space to change the world. If you look for tricks to prevent yourself from falling back on bad habits, read this: How to Program Your Mind to Kick the Bad Habit

Start Small and Start Simple

Your evening routine doesn’t have to be complicated and extreme. Each step in the right direction gets you closer to success.

There is something romantic about being a night owl but studies have shown that the success comes from going to bed early.[1] Yet, it isn’t just about going to bed early, it is what you do in the evenings that also matter. For example, reading a book and shutting down electronics, or spending time with family and in gratitude.

If you are ready to get more done and see success start with your evening routine, follow these steps:

  1. Go to bed and wake up early (and at the same time) every day.
  2. Shut down the electronics at least an hour before bed, and read or spend time with family.
  3. Reflect on what worked and what did not work every night.
  4. Create your plan for the next morning.
  5. Hit the pillow.

These five steps will help you wind down and allow your mind to make the shift to bedtime. You can let your subconscious mind work on the plans the next morning while you get a good night’s sleep.

Evening routines gives you the structure to build better habits and better habits create success.


[1] Forbes: Benefits of Early Risers

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How I Pick the Right Books to Read to Learn 10X Faster

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According to a study conducted in 2016 [1], it was found that most people read around 12 books a year. This may or may not sound like a lot to you depending on how much you like to read.

To the average person one book a month is pretty impressive. But unfortunately, many of these books aren’t exactly intellectually stimulating. Fan-fiction books such as 50 Shades of Grey might be entertaining, but they’re not going to improve your life or make you smarter.

To get the most out of books, you’ll need to choose them carefully

There are around 134,021,533 books in the world[2], and the number is only growing. So many genres, so many writing styles. It’s like any other external element that represents you. The clothes you wear, the car you drive, it’s all a matter of preference and taste.

With all of this nearly overwhelming choice, it makes sense that choosing the right book for you could be difficult.

Best-sellers are not necessarily the best for you

Many people refer to the best sellers list to get an idea of what they should be reading. Or sometimes they’ll just choose something at random, pick up a book and hope for the best. That’s fine for entertainment purposes, but not so much for your development.

It would better benefit us if we took the time to consciously choose what to read based on the skills we want to improve, or the mindset that we want to hone. If we don’t make that choice for ourselves, then the best sellers list will make the choice for us.

The real issue here is that while we’re wasting our time reading mediocre books, we’re missing out on ones that could really benefit us or even change our lives.

Never judge a book by its cover

The book cover and the content hiding inside are two separate entities. An author could have created great content, but their book will get overlooked if the title & cover are not eye catching. On the other hand, a book might have a great cover, but the contents are just full of fillers and empty statements. The plot is weak and you might even feel drained from reading such an atrocious piece of garbage.

I’ve read so many books that aren’t necessarily attractive at first glance, but have resonated with me and benefited me greatly such as Good Strategy, Bad Strategy by Richard Rumelt [3].

Make use of tools to help you decide what to read next

Your Next Read is a little bit like Pandora in a sense. You enter the title of a book that you enjoy and the generator will supply you with a list of relevant suggestions.

Bookbub is very similar in the sense that it matches your profile to books that appeal to your interests. They will also alert you when books on your list are available free or at a discounted price.

Check out the three-star reviews on Amazon

There are two types of people in this world who choose to leave reviews. Those who truly loved the product and those who loathed it. Some people have incredibly high standards and can never be pleased, so you should never take their word for it; their opinions aren’t objective enough.

Like I said before, it’s all just a matter of taste. What may come across as nasty to one person might be barely mild to you. A book that is revered by your peers may come across to you as boring and poorly written. When you look at the medium reviews (three stars) they typically will give you an overview of the good and the bad, giving you a more objective opinion.

Ask for recommendations from like-minded people and your role models

Since they have similar taste, you can trust their review of a book without having to do much research yourself. They won’t try to sell you like the marketers who promote the books on the best sellers list. They have your best interests in mind and know your personality, so they’d have a good idea of what you like.

Know when to switch it up

The issue with asking for recommendations from like-minded people, is that you end up falling into a cycle of reading the same material. We tend to read a lot of similar books with a recurring theme, because we as humans are drawn to what feels familiar. But complacency will never lead to progress.

The more you continue to read on a subject, the less information your brain retains. To always keep your mind fresh, try to switch it up a bit and take your reading in a different direction.

Ask yourself before reading: will I be able to apply the skills in the book soon?

I always try to read books that I know will contribute to my growth. When I read the book Good Strategy, Bad Strategy, I was double checking my organizational habits to see if there was room for improvement.

As a writer, it is imperative that I read books on or above the level that I want to write at. The books that I read dictate the frame of mind in which I function and give me the inspiration I need to continue writing engaging material. If I feel that a book doesn’t match or inspire my writing style, I will move on to the next one.

So the next time you go to pick up a book, consider how it will benefit you in the future. Don’t just pick up whatever is on the best sellers list. Find the authors that speak to you and help to shape you into who you want to be.


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