Making Money is Easier Than Ever

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With a little observation, a little rule bending and a little daring.

I spoke with a friend recently about his job as a fitness instructor. He hated it, the pay, the people at the gym.

What are you going to do about it? 


Making Money is easier than ever.

Decades ago, people needed physical strength to make a living. Now we pay to go to the gym to sweat.

My grandfather used to haul rich people around town in a Chinese carriage under the burning sun. My grandmother would spend the whole day in the field plucking and planting, the repetitive movement put strenuously pressure on her back and shoulders.

You think life is hard right now? It was a lot worst years ago. Consider us lucky that we are actually living in an era where making money is easier than ever.  With a little observation and a thorough understanding about an industry you can make bank. Here’s a little story that illustrate what I meant.

I earned a year worth of college tuition selling Women’s yoga pants.

One time I was visiting a high-end gym and inside they were selling gym clothing, specifically yoga pants. They had little foot traffic because the store was tucked away in the corner of the gym. What I’ve also noticed is that their inventory on Lululemon yoga pants were about two seasons behind. That was when my aha moment kicked in.

You ever heard of saying and I’m paraphrasing here, to break into an industry, it’s best you know the industry in-side-out first?

I knew that those yoga pants would sell very well online because for this particular yoga brand they only produce a limited quality of yoga pants. For that reason, it created a high surge of demand on Ebay. To test out the market, I brought a few pair of yoga pants and set up an online store. As predicted, people loved the it and were willing to pay up to three folds of the price that I paid for those pants.

In a six months time, I brought up the whole inventory and sold it all. I ended up making a year worth of my college tuition (40K USD).


What’re you going to do about it?

Going back to my friend, his problem isn’t unique, it happens to everyone. What’s unique is that what you are going to do about the situation. Some people complain, and head straight back into the infinite loop of complains, whining. Case in point, that was my friend. I think he is very capable of moving out of the rugged. He had trained with the top MMA fighters and has 50K Instagram followers and a growing audience on his Youtube channel. That’s more than enough for him to move his career up a notch.

So when you feel down and small about your pay, ask yourself what’re you going to do about it? Until you come up with a plan or do something about it, you’re just complaining.

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A Hidden Habit of Successful People

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They sit around on their asses and do nothing…

When I was a kid, my dad used to tell me to spend time thinking instead of watching TV all day. I had a puzzled look on my face.

Isolate yourself from the TV and think.

I looked at him blankly, didn’t know what’s this act of thinking is all about?

That doesn’t sound like a fun thing to do? Who on earth does that?

At that time, I secretly wished I had a fun dad (still do) and not a boring old man trying really hard to get me off from watching TV.

It wasn’t until decade later that I finally understand what he was talking about.


Charlie Munger, a top investor of all time, is big on thinking. In fact, he spends 80% of his career reading and thinking.

To put it in his own words.

We (Charlie Munger and Warren Buffett) both insist on a lot of time being available almost every day to just sit and think. That is very uncommon in American business. We read and think. So Warren and I do more reading and thinking and less doing than most people in business.

Other successful people like Jeff Weiner, Tim Armstrong, Bill Gates also share the same habit. They block out time each day to do some serious thinking.

This habit can also be seen with top profession like surgeons. Surgeons would spend time the night before the operation to mentally perform the surgery.

So what’s the big deal with spending time daily to do nothing but think?

Oftentimes, we all try to find things to do, something to occupy our mind. For example, you binge watch Netflix because it can help you pass time on a Sunday afternoon. Spending time thinking on the other hand is not as sexy as watching Game of Thrones, but it’s an important one.

Thinking can improve your life.

For a founder, it could be putting in a few hours a day to reflecting and planning on what will move the company forward. For a student, it could be thinking about the future and the steps she needs to take after graduation.Regardless of where you’re in life, spending time to think can greatly improve your life.


How to create an environment for deep thinking

Thinking is hard because it takes up a whole lot of cognitive load. For this reason you want to create a surrounding that allows you to focus on high level of thinking.

Here’re some tips to create an environment for deep thinking.

  • Block out a time specifically to think.

Start off with 15 minutes before you kick off your day. A mental reassessment of where you’re today, and where you want to be by the end the day is a great way to start the practice of thinking.

  • Isolate yourself from distractions.

Our human brain is not designed to multitask, nor should you try when you’re in the process of thinking. Treat thinking with your undivided attention by turning do not disturb mode on the phone.

I’m a huge fan of whiteboard. When you start off with one big idea, your mind will cascade into series of other ideas. Having a whiteboard allows you to jog down ideas that you don’t want to miss or come back to later in the thinking stage.

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6 Uncommon habits to a productive life

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The good new, some are “bad” habits that you’ve been trying to break away from.

1.

Learn to say no

Say no more and say it often.

Only say yes to things that we value, want and protect. If you were to put a hefty price tag on every yes you give out, would you have said that many yes to your friends, family, and boss?

Saying no to other means more time for yourself to work on the things that you care the most for and not someone else’s errands and to-do list.

2.

Procrastination

You’re probably scratching your head? Yes procrastination can give you a more productive life. Let me explain.

When you are under time constraint, the shortest path to complete will become clear to you without compromises. On the flip side, when you have an unlimited time to work on a project, you are prone derail from your goal and focus on things that doesn’t even matter to the project.

Use procrastination to give you a clear view on what’s important and what’s the shortest path to get to your end goal without any compromises.

*use with caution.

3.

Nappy Time

Feeling that food coma after lunch? Try taking a power nap to restore your bounce for the rest of the work day. It is shown that a 20 minutes naps can increase alertness at work, which translates to an increase in productivity.

Here’s an interesting fact, President Franklin D. Roosevelt was know for taking power naps before giving public speeches.

4.

Declutter

The environment you set up rather it’s at the office or at home can effect your productivity. A messy desk can lead to distracted thinking which spirals down to sub-optimal productivity.

Tidying and decluttering your work space means throwing away things that you no longer need. Here’s a sound advice on decluttering from Marie Kondo, the author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up: The Japanese Art of Declutter and Organizing.

Ask yourself if it sparks joy, and if it doesn’t, thank it for its service and get rid of it.

5.

 Turn off your spell checker

Learning how to be your own spell-checker can not only reduce embarrassment but also cut down your proofreading time.

Strengthen your spelling muscle so you can spot the blind spots that even spell checkers can’t pick up.

Here’s an example from How to Not Write Bad:

“The [pengellem] is swinging fully against finance reform,” Vogel said.

It should be pendulum. 

6.

Eating without distraction

Eating without distraction gives your brain a reset. When you are eating without distraction (on your phone reading witty reddit’s comments), your brain is subconsciously recharging. So if your job is mentally demanding, use this hour break to recharge and regain the energy so you can power through the rest of the day.

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Fight or Flight, You Choose.

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You have a decision to make.

Fight or flight, you choose.

Fight for it, and no matter where you wind up, you’re going to look back and find valuable lessons and skill sets that you snagged up along the journey.

You’re maybe upset thinking about what happened, but it’s a story that you’re going to share dozens of times with others who never have the courage to take a fight.

You’ll be the hero in their eyes.

Flight: if you run away from it, you’ll spend nights wondering and replaying the scenarios in your mind how it would play out. You’ll never find out because you didn’t fight for it.

For months, I’ve been on a flight. The truth is I’m tired of running. I thought it’s about time to flip the situation around, grab the bull by its horn.

I can’t always be running after all as that will lead up to nowhere. I would end up nowhere as a nobody. Deep down, I have a place that I want to be, someone whom I want to have a family with.

If I run, nothing will be fall out of the sky, maybe bird poo. The point is, you can only fight to get what you want, taking a flight will only make your goal further away from where you started.

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Life is filled with Chocolate Chips

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Back in elementary school, Mr. Summer would reward everyone in class with treats whenever we performed well on a test.

One time, she brought over a cookie jar filled with chocolate chips cookies.

“Okay class, take one cookie and pass it around.”

I kept my eyes on the jar as it was being passed around, and when it was finally my turn, I put my hand in and grabbed a handful of cookies– totally disregarding the teacher’s instruction of take one only.

As I redrew my hand away from the jar, my hand made a sudden stop at the neck of the jar.

Flustered, I wiggled some more, but no matter how I twisted and turned my hand, it was stuck in the jar.

Then came a wise advice from Mrs. Summer,

“Dear, maybe try letting go some cookies and grab only one cookie at a time.”


Having Too Many Cookies on Your Plate.

We all have a lot we want to complete at work or life in general.

Particularly, in a startup, the tasks piled up to my height.

A great place to look at is the to-dos list, the last time I looked at mine; it was scrollable. So I freak out, and deleted it, never did I saw the to-do’s again, out of sight out of mind kind of thing.

What could we have done different so that we can get more things done?

The cookie jar method.

Instead of putting fifteen heavy tasks on your list, put only one thing on your to-dos.

Take one cookie only as Mrs. Summer would say it.

That way your hand isn’t stuck, and get that delicious cookie in the end.

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Build A Brand For Yourself

To be great in your industry, it takes more than skills. You also need self-branding.

Building a brand for yourself has to do with accounting, you earn a +1 when you talk on a podcast. On the flip side, you can also get yourself a -1 when you say something totally not cool online. So it’s a whole lot of balancing act.

Similar to building a skill set, branding takes times to build up. If you aren’t already self-promoting, do so now, because it takes the time to reap in return.

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Hack Your Bad Habit With This

My daily activities are a collection of habits that are crystallized over time. It’s ingrain in me that it takes little effort to tell myself to brush our teeth right after I jump out of bed, or take a shower after going to the gym.

Those are the good habits that I’d like to keep and maintain. But what about the habits that intertwined between the good habits daily.

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Invest In Yourself

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In stock, we were told to diversify our portfolio. It makes sense, don’t to put all eggs in one basket.

But what about our personal skill sets? Do we solely focus one portfolio, that one specific skill or do we invest in an array of portfolios, skillsets?

I picked the latter.

Beyond the financial stability, continuous investments can affect the way we live life.

You feel more fulfill about life

When you step into the working force, everything seems to be an infinite loop – wake up, traffic, work, sleep, repeat.

You know you’re caught into this cycle when you are asked what you’re up to and you can only mumble to yourself, the same old. The sort of emptiness becomes more apparent as the months and years pass by.

If you’re happy about your life, then how do you explain that emptiness?

Take a class or pick up  a new skill on your own. That alone can greatly improve the way you live life. You feel more driven to move forward each day, spring up energetically each day because you have something that you look forward to.

You will never be bored.

You are bored only when you stop creating something great.This isn’t to say that you should go find a cure for cancer or stop poverty. It’s about taking small steps that direct towards something that you want to do for a long time but haven’t gotten around to it.

All those nonsense talk about how you want to start an online business are all weasel words. Once you stop at the idea stage, you find yourself bored about your life again, nothing new is happening.

Nothing exciting will happen unless you’re actually start working toward it and anticipating results.

You Are No Longer Limit To One Job

As a full stack marketer, I’ve picked up a dozen of skill sets that I wouldn’t have in a large company. Having a set of skillsets in my treasure trove doesn’t’ make me a jack of all trade, master of none, I looked it as a form of diversifying my portfolio.

The ROI? I’m more likely to land on a job that is totally different than my current job. I’m not tie to one position because there’re other areas that I’m good at, but not great.

As employers, they would rather have someone that is good at a skill but has the willingness to hone that skill as she goes than someone who is great at one skill but lack the willingness to invest more into that skillset.

Investing in youself is a lifetime process. Put a premium on your investment by diversifying your portfolio. You will soon find that you’re more fulfill by your monolithic lifestyle, conversations can be sparked to strangers because you know more things. If you can even affect the people around you to start investing in themselves then you’ve done a great deed in the community.

My Current Investments

I started iamkatechan with the goal to build an authority around the online marketing space,  job opportunities and connections with other authorities in the marketing world.

I joined ToastMaster hoping my ROI as a better communicator at work and outside of work, reducing unnecessary fictions.

I am an avid weight lifter, that so far has reaped in return on my confidence.

I am a partitioner of clean eating. The ROI, more energetic at work, which leads to feeling good about myself.

What’s your investment profile looks like. Share below I’d love to see if I need to invest in one of those too.

 

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Want to be Happy? Ditch Your Designer Bags.

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There’s no better way to put this. The possession that I own controls me in ways that ways that I have never thought of until I sold them—they disrupt my emotional well-being, increase my cognitive load and most importantly they didn’t make me happy.

Yep, I’m talking about the designer bags. Something that I had chased after every season.

Designer bags are viewed as an extension of the cultural fit, the status quos that many of us seek for. I certainly get the merit for holding a Chole Merci bag than carrying a Coach or preferrablely ones that have the same initals as Las Vegas, or ones that rhythms with pochi.

I fell into the trap of what brand name bags had promised to give me, and it was only a temporary gratifications.

In fact, they became a building block to my unhappiness.

I recall treating them with tentative care — making sure they’re stowed away in the closet, inside a dust bag with paper stuffed inside to maintain its shape.

Want to hear something even more ridiculously, there was one time where I gave up my plush chair for my purse — so she didn’t need to sit on the ground.

The last thing I want is to keep myself busy with a possession that I was promised to bring me a meaning about life. Putting myself before an inanimate is pretty pathetic. Beyond that, I rarely carry these bags around because I worked from home.

So I decided to sell my purse away. One after another, and you know what, I felt light and certainly didn’t miss them. They were just some bags that happen to have a hug price tag on it. That’s all.

Getting that buyer’s rush of adrenaline certainly feels amazing, but that feeling will not last, instead it will become burden. You will need to constantly glance over at your purse to make sure it’s alright at a friend’s hangout. You won’t be able to enjoy the moment when you have something else on your mind.

If you are a busy person, this just adds another task on your mental list of to-dos.

What’s one thing procession that you have that takes up your happiness of being in the moment?

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