Re: Booz Allen – the nature of Federal consulting is shifting away from true strategy management consulting and more operational consulting and IT consulting. So to categorize Booz Allen in your Strategy list isn’t accurate, not when you have better Strategy firms to include, see above list, also consider Accenture Strategy (the strategy shop of Accenture, similar to Deloitte S&O).
university grades arent everything. yoy just need the bare minimum to reach whatever goal it is you want. 90% of the time youll learn everything on job and your grades wont mean shit. btw check out how many phds, masters, and undergrads work st your local starbucks. right now btw my friends and i, all who have degrees, the median is around 40k. with the upper end at 80k.
It seems that people are slightly repelled from sales pages since the experience imposes a decision making at a speed not of their choosing i.e. they are aware of the funnel and quite frankly suspicious of being manipulated (this is where trust building kicks in, but sometimes just…). For that reason, using editing techniques and somewhat less obvious copywriting techniques can make a huge difference. Give the full disclosure that you are selling, sure, but make it so that the reader is in a different mindset. I for one like to make the sale page looking like any other article on the site. Magazine style articles, with pictures, opinions, personal experience, advice… When my style of expression and writing feels as dispersed through the article as it is through any other segment of my site, I know that the page would appeal more to visitors.
If you are a teacher and salary is your number one priority you better make sure your bargaining team knows, or better yet get involved in bargaining yourself, because the people with other priorities like pensions, healthcare, and paid leave certainly speak up in my local! Though thanks to the incredible work in states like WV, OK, and AZ I think teacher pay is finally being addressed.
In a recent post on blog hosting I decided to promote BlueHost as an affiliate as I had used them for years and felt comfortable talking about them to the hoards of readers asking me for recommendations. In the end I applied to the program through BlueHost itself and the stats, tracking and affiliate support offered has been much better as a result.
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.

Actually Nunya, Jafar’s English is very good, with only a few very minor errors, and far better than most English speakers. It is simply not true that you can “barely read it”, it’s as good as yours. Most Americans, Australians and British I see online have very poor spelling and grammar, and use memorized abbreviations and SMS-speak instead wherever possible. You cannot sound as if you have something to teach people, if it sounds as if you still have to learn basic literacy yourself!
Freelancer – refer people to developers, designers, and other freelancers you’ve worked with and make 100% of Freelancer’s project commission for the first 90 days. I get a lot of people requesting WordPress speed optimization services… so I refer them to my developers with a freelancer affiliate link and make $125/month in passive income. You can’t use affiliate links to link to specific freelancer profiles, so I direct people to the homepage via affiliate link and give people my developer’s usernames.
I sometimes question choosing a career that was safe and paid well over chasing my passions. In a way, it comes down to passions now or passions later. If you earn big and save you can FIRE and the start your passion work then. Or you can be working on your (presumably lower paying) passions all along and wait until a more traditional age to retire.
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I love your post. I have been following you over the years. I want to shed some light to others who are in pursuit of the “Six Figure Salary”. Upon graduation, I set a goal to make six figures by 30. I started off making only $33k a year. However, I out worked everyone in my office and established a reputation as a hard work and smart worker. I stayed at the firm (insurance) for 4 years and somehow networked and found an opportunity in management consulting. I stayed there for 10 months and made approximately $95k. Next, i took the experience came back to the insurance industry and now make $125k at the age of 27…. 3 years earlier!. My best advice for everyone is to work hard, follow the opportunities, strive for constant improvement, and be open to change. PS. I went to a “B” school and was a “B” student. Unfortunately, I was an underdog through out my career because of my school, but I balanced it by tremendous work ethic and self taught myself in business. Work hard, keep reading, and continue to improve. You will make six figures!
The second thing you’ll want to consider is whether or not it is a receptive audience for both your message and the final sale. For example, doing a guest post on a site about Japanese culture might be a good idea for your Bonsai affiliate post even though the community might not be currently interested in Bonsai growing. Or you could go to a photography blog and do a link-bait post about beautiful Bonsai photographs. The site’s traffic might not buy from you but once the post gets indexed a lot of Bonsai-lovers will find it. Remember, these guest posts, videos, etc. should be sending relevant organic traffic that converts to sales over the coming months and years.
Based on the marketing, you earn 100% commissions on sales and on upsells. The promotion throughout the site makes these products sound like sure-fire winners, especially as Michael Cheney has already made a lot from them. That's not a bad commission rate! Seriously, I love when companies pay high commissions, but you have to promote good products if you want to keep those commissions and avoid refunds.
But don’t worry. You don’t have to make it all the way to the top, because you’re not going to an Ivy League school (see Step 3 and Should I Go To A Public Or Private School). Instead, channel your aggression towards maximizing Advanced Placement (AP) and community college courses. Why? Because these translate into real college credits later for a fraction of the cost now.
With your geographics and your desire to start a business, I’d choose a business degree. Pet E. is extremely specific and you’ll only be marketable to the oil and gas industry. I’m also not aware of much activity in Wisconsin. I would be cautious about your assumptions on getting out after 1-3 years unless you have some kind of funding from other sources. 100k is only 50k after taxes and a frugal living style.

My conversion rate went from 2.5% to 8% just by including Facebook polls where SiteGround was rated #1 (here’s last year’s poll) plus Twitter screenshots and Facebook conversations. Whether it’s Amazon reviews or social proof, you NEED to include outside opinions. You can also use WP Rich Snippets to allow people to leave a review about the product/service on your site and get those review stars in Google (you will want to use their front end submit add-on).


If you aren’t smart enough to get into a top school, then you aren’t smart enough. Period. At some point, you can’t just throw more effort at academics to be better. People have natural limits. So I don’t believe “anyone can get an education at a top university if you try hard enough” is true at all. That would be like saying “anyone can play quarterback in the NFL if he tries hard enough.”

Thanks for the thought provoking comment. It’s a question of idealism vs. practicality to me. I would absolutely support dictatorship or socialism if it meant responsible management of resources, equality and peace of life. But from history, we know leaders get corrupted or people take advantage of the system. Thus, we all play the game by ourselves to fight for our right to live the way we like…at least for those who are fortunate to be in a country that allows it.
While I've sampled a few other programs along the way, I continue to promote only a select few programs on a regular basis. As far as affiliate program marketing goes, you won't find too many marketers who are as picky as I am. But picky works. Had I joined that very first affiliate program I looked at, I would have been lucky to make $5,000 last year in affiliate income. Not bad, but a far cry from 80K.
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.

My parents had never went to college. When I applied to school, it was mostly based on schools that received my SAT scores and followed up with advertisement. A lot of those schools are private liberal arts colleges. I went to the one that cost the least in terms of loans. Sometimes I wonder if I’d applied to Yale, Harvard or MIT if I would have gotten in. It’s more a curiosity at this point.
Hi John, 30 years old with no experience is no problem. You could realistically be employable at a major airline by age 35, and you’d still have a 30 year career ahead of you. It took me longer than that to get here, but as I mentioned before, there’s a severe pilot shortage coming and I think anyone starting now will have a quicker path to the majors than I did.

Once you’re financially stable, I hope you start giving back. It feels good and people like the idea of supporting a good cause (they will be more likely to click your affiliate link in your disclaimer). This also means you don’t have to use as many links in your content and risk getting a penalized. Last year I donated $3,000 to Red Cross At Hurricane Harvey.


As an IT. I work a 9-5 schedule 40+ hours a week but it’s not enough. I have big dreams that require $100K to fulfill. I am extremely ambitious, driven and motivated. However I keep looking but cannot find anything that would give me that much. I now have certificates and experience and keep applying to different jobs but no luck still. Any advice?
There are other apps that do similar things, but thanks to the size of NF and the ranking of that article, we outrank all of them in the app store and usually crack the top 25 for Health and Fitness every day. Also, thanks to the supportive NF community and a simple app that does what it’s supposed to, 98% of our reviews are 4 and 5 star reviews, which helps for people who have never heard of Nerd FItness and find us in the app store instead of through the article.
I could talk about unions forever, Alice! I didn’t in this post because I didn’t want to get too lost in the weeds for people who aren’t part of the profession. My parents are both retired union workers, and I will be part of a union for as long as I can be. Sadly, the right-to-work nonsense is rubbing off, and we just got a letter from our union saying that it is now optional to be part of a union. I have to be honest and say that teachers’ unions (at least in our area) aren’t what they used to be. But as long as I can, I will fight for mine. So glad you spoke up, Alice! Your building is lucky to have you!
Thank you Andrew! Also what is your take your data analytical roles in corporate? Do you think data analytical roles will be short-lived due to all the hype and the analysis part will be automated soon within the next 10 years or so? Even if it was automated, EXPLAINING the data and EXPLAINING it to your investors, stockholders, clients to basically tell them how they’ll make money from what they wanted me to analyze and interpret will still be the HUMAN aspect, correct. U you can’t automate that, right? Idk if this kind of role will be short-lived compared to a functional IT role. Moreover, I eventually want to hold a managerial role in corporate, but I want to deal with a line of business where there is a lot of money within IT. Projects that deal with SAP? CRM? <— This isn't programming right? I don't mind working for healthcare companies since that's where alot of money is for stuff like ^.
I’ve seen college programs where they tell kids to “slow down” and take fewer credits to “ease in” to school and be successful. (My most recent job was college professor!) SURE – fewer credits, more years of college and a crapload more money for the school and debt for the student. There’s a difference between part-time (living at home, working, etc.) and slowing down (living on campus, taking at least 5-6 years to finish a degree).
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!
Interesting article and dialogue. I went to a lower end UC, and graduated in Political Science, a major which doesnt pay right away. I instead got into direct sales for a cable company and made 130k my first year out of college by selling cable door to door. I made even more the second year. Been there for fooir years now – earning 100k-150k but dont see it going mucb higher. Not sure what to do to hit that next level. Toying with the idea of going ack for my MBA to take that next leap of faith but its hard to leave my income and incure a 100k debt for a goood business school. I agree, being motivated, working hard, being positive, not being a hard partier- but a hRd worker has helped me reach that sox figure mark. Thanks for the article.
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But if you want to make money – there are things to do besides be an engineer and having been one of those that did a bachelors, medical degree and post doc before I ever had a real job – worked fine even with the loans. I was the first in my family to acheive a graduate degree, paid for it with loans, but my niche career choice I found out about during my pathology traing way down the line worked out.
The one thing that is amazing to me is government jobs. You talk about effort required…let me just say that it isn’t always required to land a government gig. My neighbor does logistics for the army…she said it is mindless work, quite boring, and now that the wars are winding down, there isn’t much going on. She makes well over 6 figures for her job. She hired in at 75k. Her previous experience before getting hired? American Eagle…
Also, things cost more. Stuff like housing, transportation, or food will take more out of your paycheck every month than they used to. The mere cost of Thanksgiving Dinner has risen thanks to the increase in the cost of turkey and pumpkin pie mix. College costs more (and so do student loans), so many are starting out in the workforce already in debt.

Perhaps my dry humor blurs my message, but I don’t consider myself to be burned out. I think that would be an insult to everyone working more hours than me with perhaps less pay. Not to mention those in actual physically demanding jobs. I have extra energy to burn and am making moves to explore working in the banking side of things. Acquisition and merger activity is expected to pick up with smaller oil companies struggling.
From what I’m gathering it may be best to test it out first and see if sales drop and see from there. However if sales are lost I’m thinking it could be made up for with the e-mail newsletters. I guess it’s a bit of a tough one and it will require trial and error for a few months. My main concern is deciding where to place the e-mail optin without causing any annoyance for visitors.
In recent years, college tuition costs, which have been growing faster than the rate of inflation for more than two decades, have slowed a bit. According to the College Board’s annual Trends in College Pricing report from 2014, the average cost of in-state tuition and fees at a four-year public university increased by 2.9 percent between the 2013-2014 school year and the 2014-2015 school year to $9,139. The past two school years were the first since 1974-1975 in which increases were less than 3 percent (not adjusted for inflation). That doesn’t mean college is cheap.
Of course you want affiliates with high commissions, but they should also have a solid reputation with high conversions and low reversal rates (you get $0 if people cancel after signing up). If they’re part of an affiliate marketplace like ShareASale or ClickBank you can see some numbers there. Companies likes Amazon/SiteGround are safe bets, otherwise do your research (or track your affiliate links so you can monitor their performance). Avoid affiliates offering huge commissions since this probably means they’re struggling to acquire/retain customers naturally. This will hurt your numbers (specifically your conversions/reversal rates).
Hi John, 30 years old with no experience is no problem. You could realistically be employable at a major airline by age 35, and you’d still have a 30 year career ahead of you. It took me longer than that to get here, but as I mentioned before, there’s a severe pilot shortage coming and I think anyone starting now will have a quicker path to the majors than I did.
We live in a modest 3 bed 2 bath house that is about 1,300 square feet. I drive a Toyota Prius that I bought in 2013 for $24,000 which I paid off in early 2015. My wife drives a Subaru Forester which we bought for about $25,000 and will have it paid off in less than 2 years from now. My point is, we know better than to spend our money on luxuries at this early stage in our financial careers. If we invest all of this excess now, how much better off will we be 15 years from now when we are in our early 40’s?
I support Sam on this topic. Yes you CAN at any age. I did. $100K fresh out of college and 4 years later I make more than double that in Finance. I didn’t go to a top school. I did get a high GPA, but not in a major that anyone cares about (English). I’m not particularly brilliant or talented. I had no connections. I did not do any networking. I don’t work at a BB either. But I am extremely focused, driven, I learn quickly, I don’t repeat mistakes, I am able to work intensely for long hours, and I produce real results.

In addition to physicians, lawyers, physicists, and nuclear engineers were all among the nation's 20 highest paid occupations with incomes in excess of $78,410.[24] Some of the other occupations in the high five-figure range were economists with a median of $72,780,[25] mathematicians with $81,240,[26] financial managers with $81,880,[27] and software publishers with median annual earnings of $73,060.[28] The median annual earnings of wage-and-salary pharmacists in May 2006 were $94,520. The median annual earnings of wage-and-salary engineers in November 2011 were $90,000. The middle 50 percent earned between $83,180 and $108,140 a year (as in the Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008–09 Edition by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
I say invent yourself into a six figure income. I spent (wasted) 20 years building a professional appraisal firm only to watch hundreds of banking clients disappear into thin air with the advent of 2009’s HVCC legislation. I fired everyone once the business once the industry was transformed into nonprofit work. I spent the next couple of years searching for the next best thing and came to one conclusion. Adobe Software is an incredible bargain for anyone wishing to start their own business. As an appraiser I spent thousands of dollars each year on software updates, MLS fees, E & O insurance, gas, office space, etc. With Adobe’s cloud system you can lease every software item in their arsenal for $50 per month, meaning you could create publications, videos, web designs, and so much more for $600 per year. That’s roughly 1/50th of my annual expenses in the appraisal business. In the appraisal business you craft and sell your work one piece at a time…much like a custom furniture maker. With Adobe you could easily create one video and sell it 100,000 times.
I do have to comment though on your section where you mention pursuing an MBA for a higher salary. This is risky. In order to attend one of those top universities full-time (because I’m fairly certain those universities don’t have part-time programs, and if so, part-time programs are not looked at with the same respect as full-time from recruiters), one must give up 21-24 months of employment (which, in my current situation is about $140-145K) as well as pay $120-140 for the program. That’s $280,000 in costs.
If you do need glamour or excitement on the job, working as a pilot might be the right choice for you. Pilots have many options, including working for commercial airlines, cargo airlines, and corporations. The average annual salary for a pilot is $110,000, but many experienced pilots make twice that amount. Salaries vary based on ratings, experience, and type of license (e.g. sport pilot license vs commercial or airline transport)
You could certainly write a totally different take on this post as an adjunct professor! You’re right that teaching is typically poorly paid, and I think it is just appalling what we do in higher education, especially given its costs. I am certain that your students were better for having you, but I am certain that that role came with its own frustrations.

As a new blogger, this post was amazingly informative and maybe a little over my head (I’m still getting the basics down and affiliates is beyond my reach this week.) But here’s a newbie question: what is your method for writing such rich content with all of the links (both to your own previous posts and to other blogs)? It takes a while to get through, which I like, because it’s chock full of good stuff. Do you have an idea of exactly who/what you’re going to include in the article when you start or do you get inspired as you write (and links come to mind that you want to inlcude)?
I have a very similar story. I became a nurse as a career change, and now make over $200k. It’s very easy to work OT and second jobs as a nurse. My wife and I live in our 2 family, and rent out the basement apartment to help with the mortgage. Drive Prius and used Subaru, still able to do vacations, not worry about money month to month, we are in our late 30s now, 2 small kids, net worth over $600k and saving >50k per year.
I like what I do but eventually would like to start my own engineering company. I feel like this is different than what Sam was referring to with regards to dissatisfaction with the work that engineers do. Engineering is a pretty easy gig honestly. I work 40 hours a week on engineering work and occasionally work a few extra hours on business development. I’m going to finish my masters in a few months (completely paid for by my company) and then be looking to make ~160 after that.
I’m 23 y/o and have been going to community college on and off since h/s. Didn’t really care about grades the first 2 years so that really screwed up my gpa in the beginning. Long story short, I’m sitting at a 3.0 gpa currently and want to change my situation. I’m going to take school and grades more seriously. I have to stay one more year at community college to complete the required transfer classes to be able to attend a university. I can probably raise my gpa to a 3.1 before i transfer, but I don’t think i can transfer to a good business school with that gpa. So I plan to transfer to a Cal State and try to keep a 4.0 for 2 years until I graduate so my average gpa from community college and University would be about 3.5-3.6. Then, my next step would be to apply to a top 15 business school
Oh, I absolutely could have chosen to pursue a more lucrative field. I just very firmly believe that I wanted to pursue my passions now, not later. There may be plenty of teachers, but there are other ways that teachers can distinguish themselves within the field. Unfortunately, it doesn’t net the pay increase that we might like. But that’s the trade off, I suppose, for pursuing this field. And you’re spot on with still being able to accumulate wealth. I’m working on it! 🙂
Love this story! I finished college in 3 years back in the 80’s because of AP/community college credits and stayed another year to finish my Master’s degree (which was required in my state for professional certification). And I swam fast and got money to help each year. I also got my entire doctorate paid for which was awesome! Not an engineer though – a teacher, but still got me to FI earlier than many!
I’m always surprised by how many people feel “icky” about promoting affiliate products – I started my blogging “career” building niche blogs specifically to sell Amazon products, then branched out into other affiliate programs. I’m a big fan of affiliate marketing, provided that the blogger/marketer is also providing quality content with their links.
i just couldn’t resist jumping in here. even though i’m a b.s. chemist i’m in a union at this big company as more of a technician. we just allowed our first tier system on the plant this year and it’s the beginning of the end. even though i’m in the higher tier i would have conceded something in my future in order for the people coming in to make what i make. nobody ever wants to address the sacred “higher tiered” people. geez, about 15 years ago i knew of home-ec teachers pulling down 80 or 90k while the physics and math teachers unlikely reach that level, much less with the lifetime gold-plated benefits. i say, share the pain. now i’m fired up and need a drink.
I will say the workload for a petroleum engineer can vary depending on the company and role. If your Chem E friends went into planning or management, they could be working more than the 40 hour standard. Also, smaller aggressive companies typically like to work their employees harder with perhaps a bigger equity reward down the road. That being said, I’ve worked in a 50 person company and most employees there maintained normal hours.

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.
You’re likely familiar with a resource page, as most blogs tend to have them these days. Essentially, it’s a roundup of your favorite resources (products, services, apps, subscriptions, courses, etc.) that you think your audience will love and receive value from; most often, these are affiliate links, especially for your best performing affiliates. See R+R’s resource page here as an example.
Hi Sam, I’m new to your site and getting so much out of it. You mentioned you got your MBA for cheap or free–have you already written a post on it? I may not have gotten to your post yet, but I’m preparing for the GMAT and application process next month and need help figuring out how to get my MBA for cheap or free too. Can I ask how you did it? Any pointers please? Thanks!
This literally changed my life… I moved out of my parent’s house (sigh) into a nice studio in downtown Denver, bought my first car (a Mercedes c300), adopted 2 kitties, and my credit raised 45 points. I also donated $3,000 to Red Cross at Hurricane Harvey. I’m a humble dude but in affiliate marketing, the numbers do the talking. So… I want to show you how I did it :)
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Smart tips, Elna! That’s exactly what I did with BoardBooster – I created a post that showed people (with screen shots etc) exactly how I was using it to increase my Pinterest engagement. In my opinion, that’s one of the best ways to create affiliate sales – not only are you providing something that’s truly helpful to your readers, you’re showing them exactly how it works.
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The reason I’ve put the “choosing your affiliate product” section before the “blog post writing and strategy” section is because it’s often really beneficial to know what affiliate keywords you’re going after before you start the blog. This gives you a good opportunity to craft the content and the tone of the discussion towards the promotion of the product in the reader’s “journey”.
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