What I'm reading: The Start-Up of You by Reid Hoffman

Every once in a while, I come across a REALLY good book that changes my perspective on life, and for a lack of better words, kicks me in the butt and whips me into shape. "The Start-up of You" by Reid Hoffman is one of those books. To be honest, I'm not even finished with the book yet because Reid Hoffman was so compelling that I stopped mid-way to create this website (it was one of the things he talked about). No kidding.

For those who don't know, Reid Hoffman is most famously known as the co-founder of LinkedIn. He's a entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and overall badass in the tech industry. Naturally, his book is about career advice, branding, and social networking in the modern day era.  Though I hadn't heard about it before, I thought it sounded interesting and picked it up because I was curious about what he had to say. I was blown away at how thorough and in depth his career recommendations are. At the end of every chapter, he gives you homework to complete (so I guess you can say that creating this website is an assignment of his). 

I'll need to write more about lessons learned, but I'll save that for another post after I'm done reading. For now, I think everyone should try to grab a copy of the book, or at least visit The Start-up of You website to learn more about this movement. Trust, I've been thinking about launching this site for a while (but been lazy/procrastinated), so if this book can be that catalyst for me to take the next step, it won't disappoint. 

Incase you are curious, the other books that have also kicked me in the butt (and might also give you that push) are: I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi, and The Defining Decade  by Meg Jay

Looking for a Side Hustle or Want to Boost Productivity? Look Into These Websites

I was speaking to a friend the other day who will be entering graduate school in the fall. She seemed a bit stressed about finances and finding a part-time job while remaining in school.  While helping her brainstorm ideas, I was inspired to write this post. The power of technology is phenomenal and it's amazing how many internet crowd-sourcing resources are out there that can help you make easy money; the main challenge is helping these companies increase visibility with the right consumer and ensuring a high quality of service. While blogging or creating a YouTube channel can definitely bring in extra cash, it may not be a fit for everyone. I complied an extensive list of different websites (and potential opportunities) to help those earn some extra cash on the side. These websites are also great ways for businesses and consumers to boost their productivity and make life easier. This list is applicable to students, stay at home parents, people in-between jobs who want to keep busy, or the over-achieving professional who wishes to do more.

Disclaimer: most of these companies have their own application process and way of evaluating the qualifications of the individual to assess if there is a good fit. The top of the list demands higher skill sets, while the bottom portion tends to require lower skill set (and presents higher risks).  Hourly rate and commission information is pulled directly from their websites and may change accordingly, so be sure to double check on your own. 

Embrace that inner entrepreneur of yours!

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Freelance: Want to find freelancing projects relevant to your skill set? Here are a few sites to check out.

  • ElanceOdesk, and Freelancer: These three platforms are great to browse for remote projects.  There are different projects available, such as writing, data science, legal, IT -- so plenty to choose from!
  • Hourly Nerd: This site is more geared towards MBA students who want to find a side consulting gig while in school.  The site says they are open to general (strong) graduate students as well.

Online Virtual Assistant Jobs: A resource for small businesses or start-ups to outsource their administrative duties.

  • Zirtual and Fancy Hands: For busy people who could use an assistant, but don't know where to look, I recommend checking these sites out. You can apply to be a virtual assistant and work remotely. Zirtual's website writes part time workers get paid $10/hour (full timers get $12/hour with potential benefits); Fancy Hands' website lists they pay from $2.50 up to $7 per task.
  • Amazon Mechanical Turk: I'm throwing this in here, though it's probably the least paying project out there (couple cents per task) and requires low skill set. If you have lots of time on your hands and open to micro jobs, then you might want to check this link out.  Either way, Mechanical Turk is a good resource for companies to outsource menial tasks externally.

Tutoring: These platforms help you find and connect with students, enabling you to build up your clientele.

  • Wyzant and University Tutor: I found my GMAT tutor through the Wyzant platform and she was great! I was surprised and impressed at the quality of tutors I found in the Bay Area. Huge ranges for hourly tutoring; I've seen anywhere from $40-$180, but beware of the fees associated for using the platform.

Creative services (Beauty/Fashion/Design): There are many up and coming beauty/fashion start-ups that help independent contractors find more clients.  If you are in the beauty/fashion industry and want to boost clientele on the side, you may want to look into these sites.

  • Fashion: Keaton RowStitch Fix, and Share Some Style are helping people find their individual style and become more fashionable.  Keaton Row is based on a sales commission; Share Some Style stylists can set their own rates, with current rates averaging $40-$90/hour.
  • Beauty: Styleseat is one of the biggest ones out there for individual beauty artists to promote their business, set up their own profile, and create brand awareness. Check out this site for more related examples.
  • Design: Dribbble and DesignCrowd are great for designers to showcase their work and find small projects. My start-up has used these platforms to source for designers.  DesignCrowd allows designers to pick up small projects, such as creating logos, banner and business cards, ranging anywhere from $80-$300.
  • Crafts: Etsy is definitely a big player in the crafting world, allowing local artists to sell and showcase their work.There are also many other similar competitors. I'm a big fan of Etsy whenever I'm looking for something more unique.

Recruiting:

  • RecruitLoop: I included this in here because I'm a recruiter :) I love following their blog, and it looks like a great place for freelance recruiters to find other side projects. Again, there's a fee associated with using the platform; looks like average rate is $100/hour.

Services:

  • TaskRabbit: This is a marketplace where tasks are outsourced to the community; hourly rates will vary and a 20% service fee is charged on each task.
  • HomeJoy and Exec/Handybook: I've heard really great things about these cleaning services, and I believe they are looking for cleaners in their open markets. Homejoy's site claims $12-$15/hour; Exec claims $22/hour as a cleaner and $45/hour as a handyman.
  • DogVacay: If you love dogs, why not dog-sit and get paid for it? Rates vary anywhere from $25-$60, with a 15% service charge for hosts.
  • Rentagent: I read about this a couple months ago, as the company has been getting a lot of press; found the idea hilarious. Nonetheless, throwing this in here, since these gentlemen are making $200/hour and getting paid to go on dates (ya, rly!).

Driving:  Whether you plan to be a driver or not, these sites are amazing for busy consumers who are on the go.

  • UberLyftSidecar: This article claims that Uber drivers can make a good couple thousand per year. I love using this service when I travel. (Disclaimer for drivers: read the insurance policy carefully and be aware of the liabilities and hidden costs (i.e. gas, insurance, revenue share, etc.)
  • Doordash and Fluc: I love using these food delivery services for days I'm really busy and have no time to pick up a meal. I believe both Doordash and Fluc are looking for local drivers to help with food deliveries.  Doordash's website claims that drivers make up to $20/hour; $25/hour for Fluc.
  • Instacart: This is another service focused on delivering groceries.  The website is looking for "personal shoppers" to pick up and delivery food, and can make up to $25/hour.

Sharing Services: If you are open to sharing on the crowdsourcing platform, there are ways you can make extra cash. But of course, there are always risks involved with renting your processions to others.

  • Airbnb: Share your extra room in your house/apartment for some extra cash, but beware of squatters. I've used this a couple times while traveling, and really enjoy the local experience of staying at an Airbnb listing.
  • Getaround: If you're sick of the traditional rental care services, look into this website. You can even rent out your car, and get paid when not using it.  The company takes 40% commission on the service transactions for renting out your car.
  • RelayRides: Similar business model to Getaround, but with a few additional features. You can drop off your car at at airport when you're heading out of town, get free parking and get paid by letting others drive your car when it's not in use! I believe they take 25% of the total reservation.

Whew! That is a lot of information and concludes my list for now. I'm sure there is a ton more out there; you can probably search for others by typing in any of those listed companies + "competitors" into Google, and a bunch more services may pop up.  As always, be sure to network and embrace each opportunity -- you never know what new doors may open up!

A Few Reasons to be Careful with Social Media: Life in the Digital Age

Call me paranoid, anti-social or hypocritical, but I am not a huge fan of social media (unless it's used properly to help boost businesses and customer engagement). I deactivated my Facebook, refuse to get a Twitter, keep my Instagram really private, and stopped making public reviews on Yelp. Not only do I find social media a time sink, but I also find it an invasion of privacy.  I didn't realize how creepy the internet can be until I started recruiting, and was able to find so much information on my candidates (I call it professional stalking).  All joking aside, here are few reasons why we should be careful of our digital profiles in this day and age. 1) Digital is forever

How much information do we have about ourselves floating around cyber world? Millennials remember: digital is forever, no matter if it's on LinkedIn, Twitter, FB, Yelp, emails, etc. Whether it be for personal or business purposes, be careful about what is posted and shared because it will be floating around in cyberspace - FOREVER.  This means years later, that email or Facebook wall post that you originally thought would be private, could be exposed. Just look at these articles of Evan Spiegel.  That poor frat boy can't even party in private.

2) Our children will have an online presence even before they are born?!

I was 18 when I first created my Facebook (I've deactivated it for the last 5 months now), which means I would have had my account for about 7 years this year.

This leads me to think about our next generation. How long will we continue to have our lives publicized on the web? When we have children, will they have an online image even before they are able to talk?  Yes, at this rate, the whole world will know who your baby is, what the ultrasound looked like, embarrassing birthday photos exposed -- even before your baby is able to consciously understand what's going around. This completely blows my mind. MIND=BLOWN.

3) Never mix personal and professional

It's always dangerous to mix your personal and social networks, especially on Facebook.  I've seen and heard of so many instances where social media clashes two circles groups, resulting in a nasty ending.  For example, co-workers ratting one another out for saying they are sick but posting a picture on Instagram. Or, your friends and coworkers battling one another in a heated Facebook feed, even though they've never met. Someone liking and posting feeds on Facebook in the middle of the day, and a coworker calls them out for slacking. These are all real instances that I've heard of in the last couple years.

4) Recruiters can find out information about anything

Most importantly, recruiters/headhunters or anyone else who is good at stalking can actually stalk you. It's not that hard. This goes back to my older post about keeping your address private in your resume. It would also be wise to keep your FB wall, IG, Twitter and whatever else private, especially when prospecting for a new job. Your new employer really should not see or know about those 10 tequila shots you took last Friday.

 

Be safe friends, and know the internet is a dangerous playground.

When I was 22...

I'm turning 26 in about a month (!) and it's recently hit me that I've been out of college for over 4 years now.

The last 4 years has been quite tumultuous, with lots of ups and downs, uncertainties, career changes and moving around.  Though things are still quite uncertain right now, I wanted to write some thoughts that had inspired me after reading this article.

First off all, when I look at the course of my career (and observations from my friends careers), the common theme of post-college graduation life was that we all wanted to accomplish big things.  We all had big dreams and ideas that popped up in the back of our minds of what we "wanted to do when we grow up." I've had many friends who wanted to go to law school, dental school, pharmacy school, business school, art school -- "the world was our oyster" as some would say.

While some end up taking actions towards pursuing their dreams, others  kept their dreams on pause and it eventually fizzled up, as daily life duties, school rejections or money problems kept them preoccupied and content. Others keep delaying because of timing (but really, when IS the right timing?). It was clear who was a "say-er" versus "do-er".  For those that are currently in pursuit of their 22year old dream (or any life goal in general), I'm so proud of them for going to seek it out.  For those who gave up on chasing dreams altogether, it frightens me to see a generation with so much potential lose their drive and ability to do so much more. 

All in all, I completely understand that it's easy to choose a life of stability and contentment.  I've been told to "take it easy" and tune down my Type A personality (lol, psh yeah right. can't help it- It's the INFJ in me). But, I'm a firm believer that NOW really is the best time to set your foundation for your future career and to stop making excuses.  It's so much more difficult to try and juggle your education goals when trying to juggle raising a family, mortgage, etc.  It's also much harder to work to that ideal dream job/dream company if contentment just keeps weighing you down.

When I was 23, I read The Defining Decade and the statistics around how our 20's really matter completely it kicked me in the butt.  Especially the part about how the first 10 years of a career have an exponential impact on ultimate earnings. Reality check: I'm halfway through my first 10 years of my career, and I really don't want to stagnate.