Some more information: I’m really interested in business, finance and law and have started a successful organization. I also am good at computer science and have won a lot of national and international science fairs. I’m also a national high school debate qualifier. I’ve taken a certified IQ test and have received a 140. I got close to a 2400 on the SAT. I had a very bad injury in ninth grade and I missed a lot of school (I got a C in a class because of that!) I am really worried about my future.

1. I’m no longer a solopreneur. If I was a solopreneur who netted $5K from a website I ran on my own, that would be pretty darn good. But I don’t do everything myself. Instead, I run a company that has a lot of expenses. My team manages a number of blogs, and I pay six team members each month, as well as dozens of writers who contribute to our blogs, plus a tech-support team. That $5K goes into company revenue, not directly into my pocket.
Hands down I’d say the best thing you can do is research 1 primary keyword, craft an enticing article title that includes your keyword (though it doesn’t have to be an exact match), spend time writing your search engine snippets (SEO titles/meta descriptions), and by far the most important is making your content as VALUABLE as possible through videos, nice graphics, table of contents, bold/colors/styling, etc. Small things like keyword density barely matter.

As for my young self’s income, I’ve told a few pieces of my story in comments for other FS posts, but here is some history that aligns with the content of this post and answers a couple of Sam’s questions: I can’t remember if I made over $100k by 25 or by 26, but was a millionaire by 27 due to a mostly lucky break with tech company stock options in the Roaring 90s. The path: I graduated high school as co-valedictorian, but will call myself #2 because the other guy took harder classes so deserves the #1 spot. I started college in mechanical engineering, hated it (and esp. one evil professor), switched to international studies, liked it. I got decent grades, partied a lot to make up for a choir boy high school experience, and worked all the way through college…full time my senior year…but just sweat jobs, no internships. Paid for college myself. After college, I traveled and partied a bit more, dabbled in a few different jobs and ended up convincing a small software company to pay for a basic software testing programming course in exchange for about 6 months of service (got that through casual networking inspired by a dose of nepotism). I wrote a test script they were able to sell, so negotiated an early break and landed a test engineer contracting job at a large software company via the worst interview in the history of interviews (the recruiter had to come get me in the parking lot as I was getting in my car to leave…the hiring manager’s closing question was an incredulous “…ummm…so, why should I hire you?” which I answered by jumping to my feet with both arms in the air to yell, “Cuz I’m the best!” He laughed and told me to get lost.). After a year at that job, I did a couple other tech contracting gigs, then converted to a full time gig with a pay cut for a junior mgmt job in exchange for lots of stock…which split 4 times in 12 months, thus the millionaire thing at 27. I lost 75% of that money via bad (a.k.a. zero) investment mgmt by 29, but had a fantastic time bouncing around the world adventuring and doing a little non-technology work (including teaching English in a Mexican university and training teachers in Los Angeles, both of which I liked). I eventually got married and went back to madam technology, but as I hinted above, this old whore (hey, “44” rhymes with “whore”..whaddyaknow..I’ll remember that for my birthday next week ;-)) has about run out of energy or interest for working the corporate red light district. I’ve created some other income streams, but want more of that before I leave tech and spend more time the way I now want to. This site is good inspiration for that.
Remember: your audience is coming to you because they a) like you and/or b) find your content helpful/consider you an expert, or someone with more knowledge than them in a particular area that they’re interested in. They WANT to know what food, supplements, cleaning products, makeup, tech tools, knitting yarn, [enter your niche items here] you use… so don’t be afraid to share it with them!
I would say that I’ve only made 10-20k from stocks. Most of my money was from pure saving and aggressively working as much as I could. I’ve tried to limit my portfolio exposure to protect capital to ensure I can buy real estate. The real estate is now giving out over 10% returns and seems very low risk. I think I will continue this strategy. Lots of easy money to still be made from the day job and real estate :)! The market has me spooked as well! For me it’s all about cash flow to grow that income!

Nerds got a lot of grief in grade school. They were picked on, made fun of, called, “NERD” and other much worse things…lol. But as a grown up “Nerd” I can look back at all the jocks and have the last laugh cause it’s me who is now successful (and better looking), and their 10 seconds of fame on the HS Varsity football team resulted in a job at McDonald’s cause they “ain’t got no edjukaton”. Cheers to all those who are smart, took the grief, and are now living the good life! 🙂

[…] FICA stands for Federal Insurance Contributions Act and consists of a Social Security tax and a Medicare tax. This tax is very important for everyone to understand because so often we only think about federal tax rates and state income tax rates. The FICA tax is a big percentage of your total tax bill, especially for those making under six figures a year. […]

MozBar – MozBar is a Google Chrome extension that lets you Google any keyword and see how competitive the search results are. The higher the DA (domain authority) and PA (page authority) the more competitive the keyword is. However you still want to click on the top results and browse the content to make sure you can creating an article/video that is better than whoever’s in the top results. That is really what “researching the competition” is all about.
For policing in the media, it’s something I’ve been covering often in my blog. Some situations talk about themselves with body cameras. Officers make mistakes. Other times there is no mistake, but it “looks” bad even if fully justifiable. Other times it’s fully justified to those with a legal grounding, but the public is shocked. Hopefully without offering platitudes everything officers do are on the table for observation. Regardless of the current issue, if someone calls, we will show up.
Just a quick note on the consulting firms you listed. Although the Big 3 are obvious to include in the list, I would certainly remove Booz Allen Hamilton, and even Arthur D. Little. Booz Allen is notorious for under-paying, especially when compared to much better firms. Booz Allen is also primarily a Federal contractor with very limited commercial work (granted their non-compete with Booz & Co. [now Strategy&] is over) – commercial strategy/ management consulting out-pays Federal counterparts.
100k in the Bay area is like 50k in most of the country adjusted for cost of living. I really wish we used adjusted salary more frequently in the US – including welfare, taxes etc. So many T10, T20 B schools are graded based off average nominal salary, which drastically overstates NE and California B-Schools in terms of their value due to their typical placement location.

Hi, thanks for another awesome article. I understand EVERYTHING on this subject but what’s the best course of action when your website is lacking a tight focus? My site is based around the concept of stop doing the things you hate and start doing what you really want. Which started out with ‘how to quit your job’ but I thought that was too limiting so now it now covers all aspects of lifestyle, interacting with others, thoughts on life and health & fitness. (using personal experience where applicable).
First of all, Thanks @Alexis Grant to share this post with us… Well it’s true, if you have enough visitors to start in Affiliate program, you should go for it, You need to monetizing your blog according to your visitors interests.I am using amazon to promote affiliate links in some of my blogs and it’s a clear winner I must say, I am getting more than 5000 unique visitors daily and averagely earns upto 3,00,000(around 4500 $) per month… I would say go for it 🙂 🙂
As for your daughter, I’ve seen a few applied math majors in this industry become petroleum (reservoir) engineers over time. We use numerical simulators to model petroleum reservoirs and many of the software developers have a background in applied math. Since they know best how the tool works, they often become an expert in simulation which leads to a transition into petroleum engineering.

Thanks for sharing your experience. It was a real eye-opener for me. I am new to affiliate marketing and am looking for ways to make a steady income. Your affiliate program seems to fit my needs. If you have the time email me with your affiliate link to signup and I hope you can help me get started the right way. Any assistance would be greatly appreciate. Be Blessed.
This is brilliant. A really in depth a thorough post. It has to be all about the content and delivery. Plus natural soft-pitching is so much better to me than a soandsoreview.com site. Blogs are becoming a highly valued tool for marketers and more and more people nowadays are getting their wallets out from review or guide posts that they read on blogs.
I think this post is totally on point. Starting from high school, you are paving the path. I also think choosing the right career is key. I have been a court reporter for 18 years, and my best year I made 270k, and in my worst year, I made 160k. Even with taking time off to have a baby, last year I still made 140k. I also think it’s true you have to hustle. I have recommended becoming a court reporter o so many people! But none of them have wanted to put in the effort to train and work their butts off. I turned 40 this year and also became a millionaire. Greatest feeling! And I didn’t have to sleep with someone not as good looking as me, LOL! Love your posts. Keep up the good work.
I rarely work more than 40 hours (neither does my boss), my job is challenging in terms of problem solving but not stressful- read i’m not bored, my coworkers generally keep to themselves – no office drama, I get a nice raise and bonus every year, time off is generous, I work from home 25% of the time and I make around 150k all in. Graduate school was free through research and my undergrad degree cost less than my annual salary – paid for by bank of daddy. My house costs less than my annual salary. I don’t know of any other field that gives you such a high reward for very little effort. I didn’t have to go to med school for 10 years neither do I have to work 60 hour weeks or wear a stuffy suit. I wear blouses and jeans to work everyday and I’m easily the best dressed. Instead of jumping ship to management like many Engineers I’m developing my skills in a highly technical and specialized area with hopes of becoming an Independent Contractor around the 12 year mark, targeting around $220 and hour. You can do anything with a Chemical Engineering degree – both the diploma and the skills you will learn, I can’t sell this dream enough!
Michael Cheney is a very creative presenter, I give him that. He used expressions like “golden dropzone,” “choose your weapon,” “select your target,” ”set your battle tactics,” “fire at will” and so on as the captions for his training modules. But what he taught in his Commission Black Ops doesn’t qualify for the “the greatest commission-creating tactic known to man” as he put it on his sales page. If you doubt it read on and see for yourself.

I’ll admit that even on my own blog, AlexisGrant.com, I’m sometimes lazy about taking an extra minute or two to pull an affiliate link when I see an opportunity to use one in a post. But if you want to benefit as your traffic grows, you have to be consistent about adding those affiliate links every time, even if you don’t expect the post to take off. This is something we’re religious about on The Write Life (thank you, editor @Heathervdh!), so when we get unexpected traffic to a post, we earn.
In the United States, the highest earning occupational group is referred to as white collar professionals. Individuals in this occupational classification tend to report the highest job satisfaction and highest incomes. Defining income based on title of a profession can be misleading, given that a professional title may indicate the type of education received, but does not always correlate with the actual day to day income-generating endeavors that are pursued.
– The most important. TIME. Value your time and make sure your plate is clear to focus on growth of your most valuable skills. Time also gives you time for reflection, relaxation and a balanced life. Hire people to do redundant stuff. I’m currently dating but not married so I have someone come and clean the house, mow the lawn and do the laundry. This stuff would take me 3-4 hours a week. That’s 1.25 weeks in a year. At my earnings level, I’m “worth” $80-$100/hr with expected 50 hours working. For $10/hr someone else can do these tasks while I relax or make money. Same things in the work place. Reports, data collection, number crunching, answering non money making calls or emails etc…..
Most of the information on this site is free for you to read, watch or listen to, but The Creative Penn is also a business and my livelihood. So please expect hyperlinks to be affiliate links in many cases, when I receive a small percentage of sales if you wish to purchase. I only recommend tools, books and services that I either use or people I know personally. Integrity and authenticity continue to be of the highest importance to me. Read the privacy policy here. I hope you find the site useful! Thanks - Joanna
Hey, Ari! I think you’ve actually inspired a blog post or two in terms of how I define success. Professionally, success is a student coming back a year or five or ten later and sharing what they actually learn. Of course, there are other markers. Professionally AND financially, I’m about there in terms of maxing out my salary schedule. But I still have a lot of success to try to cultivate in my classroom that matters more than dollars and cents. In my financial life, I feel like success is a moving target. I have to remind myself the fact that I bought a house at 26 on my own and my husband and I can do many things (within reason) to support ourselves and our son AND have fun means I’ve already had success.
To put it another way, the high income is intended to ensure that the desired individuals obtain the necessary skills (e.g. medical or graduate school) and complete their tasks with the necessary vigor[41] but differences in income may, however, be found among occupations of similar sociological nature: the median annual earnings of a physician were in excess of $150,000 in May 2004, compared to $95,000 for an attorney.[21][24] Both occupations require finely tuned and scarce skill sets and both are essential to the well-being of society, yet physicians out-earned attorneys and other upper middle class professionals by a wide margin as their skill-sets are deemed especially scarce.
While grades aren’t everything, they do an excellent job of sticking out in a pile of resumes and getting your foot in the interview room. For example, I absolutely sucked at networking. I remember attending some welcome reception and walking around the room for 5 minutes before going back to my hotel room!  However, because I had a 4.0 GPA, I still got invited to over 25 interviews that semester. As a result, I became a Level 99 interviewee primed for dominance the following recruiting season.
If you lack the time to read the details of the review, here’s the short version: Michael Cheney’s Commission Black Ops isn’t as the sales page claims. Your chances of making $1000 per day with it are very slim. You’ll discover that there’s really nothing exceptionally revealing or new about it. Some of the information in it are actually stuff you can get for free on the Internet. I provided proof for all these within the main body of the review below.
If I were hiring a college graduate, I’d pay more attention to field of study than GPA. Given the choice between someone who got a 4.0 in English or a 3.0 in mathematics, I’d be far more inclined to hire the latter. Even for a job irrelevant to both disciplines. The math student had a tougher workload and almost certainly knows how to attack a problem better.
Great article! So I was wondering if I could get your advice? I’ll be graduating college in about 3 years and I should have around $200k saved in mutual funds, I’ve considered getting my degree in accounting (although I want to become a physician once I have a solid amount of money saved) and I was planning on trying to go work for my family’s CPA firm. What’s a reasonable amount I can save at most so I can attain a million in mutual fund savings? Considering that it’ll gain roughly 10% a year
Internship definitely helps. My GPA was so bad I was embarrassed to tell anyone, but one internship landed me another, then landed me a full time job, and now I could go where ever I want. If you don’t have GPA or internship, I’d say you might be screwed and your starting point after graduation will be much lower than those with internship experience or good GPA. There was a point I felt like my life was over and I’ll never be able to get a job after graduation. There were also thoughts of working at McDs or a sales rep at the mall.
If there’s one thing that all freelancers know, it is that their income is always ‘unpredictable’. Sometimes, you have work that you can’t even handle and sometimes, you are in desperate need for work. Your earnings as a freelancer depends on your time. The more time you spend, the more you will earn. This is why having recurring revenue can prove to be a significant factor of financial growth.
This is brilliant. A really in depth a thorough post. It has to be all about the content and delivery. Plus natural soft-pitching is so much better to me than a soandsoreview.com site. Blogs are becoming a highly valued tool for marketers and more and more people nowadays are getting their wallets out from review or guide posts that they read on blogs.
Great article, thanks. My question is slightly off the affiliate topic. I am curious about how Authorship will effect people running blogs on different topics.I run a marketing creative firm and want to start moving into information product sales, but I want to be able to write about our firm expertise (membership marketing) as well as try out products and blogging for people who want to start creative firms. How will people who want to write on unrelated areas manage things like G+ profiles as Aurthorship and authority become bigger deals? Do you think it will be a problem in Google to have the same author writing about different topics?

I didn’t go back to technology until 2004 and didn’t start getting more focused on reclaiming financial independence until about 5 yrs ago, I guess. I’m still not as focused on FI as you and many of your readers are (or maybe used to be) – balance NOW is just as important to me as FI SOON. I’m wary of selling the present to the future, even if the future promises a sweet deal in exchange.


1. I can go up north (make 120 guaranteed with a pension through the union) but the hours and the lifestyle (2 weeks in 1 week out) might be too brutal for me (fort Mac if you have heard of it really is not for everyone), i thought i would give it a try after school and see if it works for me but ive heard of many people having problems with their relationships/health with working so much. and i have to come back to town eventually and yes maybe ill have a nicer number in the bank but thats about it right back too 85,000 and still working hard.


It’s a good excuse you make not being smart enough (getting into great schools isn’t just academics), however I just listed 24 companies above you can apply to which will make you six figures, and 15 business schools to apply to as well. And if you can’t get into any of them, there are hundreds of other companies in those fields which pay just as well. And if you can’t get into any of those hundreds of companies, check out this whole section for you:
I want to say thank you for taking the time to focus on useful content going into future years, as opposed to regurgitating something you read out of a hard cover marketing book from 1991. The original reason I came here however, was looking for tips / information on a general structure for paying taxes reliably on affiliate earnings in addition to disclaimer examples. Ive searched through different key word combinations and due to financial diversity on a national scale I can understand why this information is scarce. That being said, as long as a solid disclaimer is made about the information being a rough guideline etc. I think it would be extremely useful as most start up affiliates don’t know a thing about VAT, or how to separate their take home earnings from the tax they owe. I am currently residing in Alberta, Canada for your reference, but any information or a lead you could give me would be most helpful.
I think it can be hard, although not as hard as it’s sometimes made out to be. If you do well in school, go into a field where you can earn six figures shortly after graduating, do well in said field, there’s few reasons why someone who’s smart, hard-working, interested in working in a high income field, and determined to make a six figure salary can’t do so. That said, how many people do you know who meet all of those traits?
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This is brilliant. A really in depth a thorough post. It has to be all about the content and delivery. Plus natural soft-pitching is so much better to me than a soandsoreview.com site. Blogs are becoming a highly valued tool for marketers and more and more people nowadays are getting their wallets out from review or guide posts that they read on blogs.
These elements can be dressed up prettily but are recognisable once you are aware of what they are. OK so Number 1: An absolute bargain. His drop closing was very standard it could be $20000 gradually coming down to $1997 sound like a bargain. “2: It has to be NOW! No time to check anything independently, it’s now or never! and 3: Cash or cash equivalent.
If you see a job listing with a salary of 12k, that means you willbe receiving 12,000 in your country's currency for a year. Assuming you are in the United States, making minimum wage ($7.25an hour) at 40 hours a week will give you around $15,000 per yearbefore taxes. Making $12,000 for full-time work is below the UnitedStates' federal minimum wage, but would be a typical salary for apart-time job.
I’m currently looking for ways to get my MBA covered (at a top 20 – my company will pay the local state schools no problem) and work too, to further accelerate my way into management and chase down a 250k+ job before 30 (excluding investments). Similar to what John said most people at my company only work 40 hours a week. I work closer to 50-60 on average but that is by choice to learn more skills while I am young and is not required. High tech is where it is at for sure.

Michael Cheney is a very creative presenter, I give him that. He used expressions like “golden dropzone,” “choose your weapon,” “select your target,” ”set your battle tactics,” “fire at will” and so on as the captions for his training modules. But what he taught in his Commission Black Ops doesn’t qualify for the “the greatest commission-creating tactic known to man” as he put it on his sales page. If you doubt it read on and see for yourself.