Day 14-30: Money challenge completed

Earnings: $5.53     |      Total Earned: $55.56 out of $100      

My challenge is over. Unfortunately, I did not earn the $100 like I planned. I made it just over halfway to $55.56.

I started the challenge off really strong but grew increasingly frustrated by how long it took to earn a few dollars here and there through transcriptions and surveys.

This challenge taught me that refining an existing skill is a more viable way to earn extra money. For this reason, I am now working on my drawing skills, which have gone unused for several years.

Expect to see some drawings in the near future.

Happy Halloween! 🎃

Today, I took a break from my money-making challenge to enjoy Halloween. I hope to make significant progress Thursday through Sunday.

I hope you had a wonderful evening with your family and friends.

Day 10-13: Half Way There!

Today’s Earnings: $2.72     |      Total Earned: $50.03      |      Remaining: $49.97

Over the weekend, I took a break from the challenge to spend time with family. To get back on track, I spent two hours this evening doing Survey Junkie surveys.

While watching TV, I started and/or completed 16 surveys and made $2.72. For many of the surveys, I did not meet the criteria and was given two to three points for trying. After about two hours, the site did not have any surveys left to access.

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Survey Junkie is often recommended by bloggers which surprises me. My guess is that the bloggers are being sponsored by Survey Junkie to attract participants or the users qualify for more surveys resulting in higher earnings.

Once this monthly challenge is over, it is very unlikely that I will continue doing surveys. They don’t seem to be worth the time or effort. Granted, I have only tried one survey site so it is possible that my earnings could be higher if I tested more sites.

Until tomorrow.


Have You Ever Wondered How People Make So Much Money Online? Me too!

If you’re a Facebook user who loves to blog and you’re intrigued by making money online, you likely receive daily sponsored ads that go something like this:

  • Click here to rock your business. Last week, I had my best week to date. Six figures in the bank!
  • This is way better than a second job. Need 100? 500? We found 50 ways to earn a stack of cash before the end of the month.
  • Looking for extra side income? Here’s how I made over $85,000 working part-time in 2016…
  • How this 25-year old freelancer made $150,000 in 6 months of Fiverr.
  • How regular people are becoming independently successful every day.
  • We had NO IDEA how blogging would completely 180-degrees turn our lives around…We went from frustrated, young professionals working 9-5 jobs and basically hating our lives to making over $100,000 online in our first year of blogging. Since we’ve started a blog, we’ve been able to quit our jobs, work whenever we want, and even travel the world!

Many of the ads boast incredible numbers such as $150,000, six figures, $200,000, etc.

Are these ads legitimate?

In an effort to answer the above question, I am going to take at least one of the ads to see if I can replicate the results. I’ll let you know in the coming days which one I chose to test.

I can’t wait to keep you updated on my progress.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!



Four Ways to Create Your Ideal Life

Read time: 6 minutes 8 seconds

85% of employees are not engaged at work, according to a 2017 Gallup poll.

You probably know employees like this. I know I do. They ebb and flow through the waters of life complaining about their day jobs while waiting for the weekend, the next vacation, or retirement. This Gallop poll has always fascinated me, so I explored strategies that anyone can use at any age to create their ideal life. The four themes that surfaced the most during my research were:

  • Have a vision
  • Think BIG!
  • Invest in yourself
  • Work harder than you ever worked before

Dani Johnson, now a multi-millionaire, who was raised on welfare, pregnant at 17, and homeless at 21, calls the first theme, “The Law of vision“. She encourages readers of her book, First Steps to Wealth: A Revolution to Increase Your Income, Improve Your Relationships and Expand Your Influence, to write down any dreams you have, no matter how big or small, even if they start out as seemingly selfish, monetary goals. At this point, you don’t need to know how to accomplish them. You simply need to write them down.

When writing your vision on paper, think BIG!! Don’t hold back! Norman Poole said, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you will still end up in the stars.” Let me give you an example. If you’re tired of shaking, and sweating profusely before, during and after a work-related meeting, join Toastmasters. If you are already a member, don’t quit. To expand this goal, you could:

  • Aim to finish your first pathway in one year.
  • Schedule your speeches in advance so you are continually moving forward at a steady pace and never, ever cancel a speech, even if you don’t feel ready.
  • Compete in a Toastmasters competition.
  • Become a club officer.
  • Another idea is to work toward giving a TED talk. That is my ultimate goal. One day, I hope to speak from TED’s signature round, red carpet.

We’ve all heard the phrase if your goals don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough. Grant Cardone, a bestselling author and owner of several multi-million dollar companies, says in his book, The 10x Rule, that you should push yourself to be scared. The more you push yourself, the less scared you’ll be.

I have found Grant’s advice to be true. As a seven-year-old, I loved ballet but I was paranoid at recitals. As soon as I got on stage, I stood there frozen looking around at all of the girls not knowing what to do even though I knew the routine. Within two years, I quit.


Fast forward over 30 years, my daughter asked me to join her tap class last year. Even though I was nervous, I said “Yes, let’s do it!” because I didn’t want her to be scared like me when she is my age. In the first year, we participated in two dance recitals. Three weeks ago, we started our second year of lessons.

Can you believe that I actually love the recitals now? When one is over, I can’t wait for the next one. So many people have come up to me afterward and said, “I could never do that!” to which I say, “Yes, you can! If I can overcome my fears, so can you!”

When you have your vision on paper, and your dreams are as big as they can be, ask yourself, “How are you going to get from point A to your final destination?” You are going to need a plan. Linda, a fellow Toastmaster, would tell us to build a door. The best way to build that door is to take Dani Johnson’s advice and invest in yourself.

  • What can you do to increase your skills?
  • What classes can you take?
  • Who do you know that is successful? Go and talk to them.
  • If you want to be a writer, talk to a successful writer.
  • If you want a successful marriage, talk to a couple that has been married for decades.

When you start thinking big, you will notice that opportunities are all around you.

To achieve your goals, you will have to work harder than you have ever worked before. Arnold Schwarzenegger is a great example. As a young boy growing up in Austria after WWII, he desperately wanted to come to America. One day, he read a bodybuilding magazine article about Reg Park who grew up dirt poor in England. As he flipped through the magazine barely able to put it down, he learned that Reg Parks worked out for five hours a day. He went on to become Mr. Great Britain, then Mr. Universe twice, and finally secured the leading role of Hercules.

After that, Arnold’s vision was clear. He was going to move to America, become a champion like Reg on that same stage and become a movie star. Like Reg, Arnold weight lifted for 5 hours a day, took acting and language classes. Despite all the odds against him and directors telling him that nobody would ever hire an actor with such a strong accent, he was finally offered a few small roles. He got his big break with the move The Terminator. We all know who Arnold is. To view Arnold’s Five Steps to Success speech, click here.

If you don’t like where life has taken you, push yourself away from the bank, and swim towards a brighter future. You will encounter rough waters and naysayers, but know that if you have a vision, think big, invest in yourself and work harder than you ever have before that you will find yourself amongst the stars, and you may even end up on the moon.

P.S. The above blog post was my second Toastmasters speech from 19 September 2018 which took 6 minutes and 8 seconds.


Toastmaster Success Story: My First Unplanned “Toast”

Today, I attended a retirement lunch for a colleague who has helped me tremendously over the last five years. After the initial formalities and awards, the host opened the floor to comments from the11717619ad12dc4901d44f979c82023b--faces.jpg audience. 

After the fifth person spoke, I mustered up enough courage to participate. I power walked to the front of the room so as not to change my mind, told a story about how we met and how much he helped me over the years. 

In true Toastmasters style, I managed to avoid all ahs, ums and filler words. I even had the room laughing at one point, I made eye contact with everyone in the room, and used gestures. My Toastmasters club would be so proud!

I was thrilled that I found the confidence to publicly explain how much someone meant to me, instead of hiding in the corner wishing I had said something.

This was a huge confidence booster for me! Never in a million years would I have given a “toast” before joining Toastmasters two months ago. If I had, it would have been thoroughly rehearsed and I would have stressed about it for days or weeks beforehand. The table topics sessions are clearly working! 

I share this small success story as proof that Toastmasters does in fact work. If Toastmasters can help a person like me, who has avoided public speaking for the better part of 30 years, it can do the same for you.

I challenge you to visit your local Toastmasters Club and consider joining. You won’t regret it! You might even discover a new and improved YOU!

Once you visit a club, let me know what you thought. I would love to know!


Facing Rejection While Chasing Your Dreams

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On Friday afternoon, Tim Grahl’s newly published book Running Down a Dream arrived. It was still warm from the printing press. It is that new!

I eagerly opened the package, flipped to the first page, and started reading. I finished it three hours later. It was that good!

Tim shares 20 practical tools that helped him while running down his dream. I didn’t think I would need his toolkit quite so soon. Was I ever wrong!

Facing Rejection

Producing and sharing creative content “in the open” via a blog, website, YouTube, Facebook, etc, is an excellent way to connect with readers and/or listeners.

Invariably, you will face rejection or criticism. It may even happen sooner than you think.

This happened to Tim. When he started sharing content on his website, he mentioned that a handful of people pounced on him. He shares a great analogy: “It was like waiting for a baby to take her first couple of steps and then immediately pushing her over. Who does that? […] Even now, thinking back to those times still makes me angry” (page 71).

How I Benefitted From Tim’s Toolkit

Four and a half years ago, I fulfilled a 20-year dream. I purchased a used, upright piano and found a great teacher. I have since upgraded to a grand piano, and continue weekly lessons.

Three months ago, I started a thread in a piano technique Facebook page encouraging members to do a 40-piece piano challenge with me. Within one year, the goal is to play 40 pieces for the purpose of improving your technique and increasing your repertoire. The post has generated hundreds of comments and numerous people are doing the challenge. The group has 20,000 followers so if you post a piece, you are opening yourself up to criticism.

A week ago, I shared my fifth piece. I couldn’t play the piece a year ago so I was excited to share my progress. I am a firm believer in celebrating life’s small wins. Over time, small wins become big wins.

Today, I received a comment I perceived as negative from a piano teacher within the group. With that first comment, I felt deflated, didn’t want to play the piano anymore, and wondered if I should even bother. It’s amazing how one negative comment can make you question your dream. The dialogue is as follows:

Feedback: I think you really need to work on strengthening those fingers as they sound very weak. The performance also has no dynamic variation whatsoever. Do you have a teacher?

My response: Thanks so much for the constructive feedback. Yes, I have a teacher who I see every week. This piece, like everything I am learning, is a work in progress.

Feedback: Did your teacher mention anything about basic technique and dynamics yet?

My response: She did. I posted this piece before she had a chance to hear it.

Reading her comments really stung. I envisioned her sneering behind her computer. I proceeded to analyze everything she wrote. Were my fingers really that weak? Last year, I couldn’t even play this piece. Now I can. Doesn’t that count for something? Did I have dynamics? I did, but sometimes they are hard to hear on a cell phone recording. Of course, I have a teacher! How rude of her to ask! Wait!! Am I that bad that it seems I don’t have a teacher? Why yes! I know about basic technique! I didn’t start lessons yesterday. My face grew red, I started to become angry, and I walked away from the piano.

I needed Tim’s help. I flipped to the toolkit at the back of the book and found two tools to help me through this situation.

Tool 9: Find the Right Kind Of Criticism

Tim advises his readers to, “ignore 99% of criticism that comes your way. My rule: I only accept criticism from people I know care about me. […] Ignore online criticism. Instead, focus on the handful of people who love you and are willing to tell you the truth” (page 198).

I decided that the only person I will accept constructive criticism from is my teacher. When I surprised her with the piece in question, we played the duet and she suggested I play it for an upcoming recital. Maybe it wasn’t so poor after all.

Tool 13: Realize You Are Supposed To Suck

Tim begins this section by saying that, “Anytime you start heaping shame and despair on yourself, step back and remember that you are still learning. Yes, you are not where you want to be, but you are on your way” (page 201).

I took Tim’s advice. Maybe I do suck at playing the piano. Even if I do, so what? I am still learning. The person commenting knows nothing about me or my progress. Besides, I am only 4.5 years into this journey. I am not planning to become a piano teacher. I am not, nor will ever be, a concert pianist. That isn’t my goal. I play for my own enjoyment and I love encouraging other adults to learn. One day, when my teacher says I am ready, I plan to become a music therapy volunteer at our local cancer treatment center.

Even though I am still bitter about the comment, I am thankful for Tim’s toolkit to help me overcome life’s hurdles. I know I will reference the book again.

Don’t let others smash your dreams with rejection or criticism. Keep those you trust close by. Keep moving forward towards your ideal life! You really can do it!

Purchase your copy of Tim’s book here!

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