You wake up, ugh, another day of work. Is it Friday yet?
You get the kids to school or daycare after a hectic morning and finally punch in at work. Finally, you get to work but have to walk past that one person who’s always smiling and happy, it’s so annoying.
You drone through the day thinking about your weekend plans.
Sure, there are a few faces around the office you like, so the entire day is not wasted. You get to catch up with some pals.
Finally, it’s time to go home. After the commute, it’s basically dinner time when you get home and get the kids to bed.
You sit down and you’re….exhausted. You sit on the couch to rest, and next thing you know it’s getting late and time to go to bed.
Another wasted day…and you think “I wish I had some work-life balance.”
Then you wake up again…
What is Work-Life Balance?
Work-Life balance is the goal of balancing your time between work and other parts of your life including family, social, leisure, and other personal interests…
Guess what. you’re wasting your time…
It’s not because the cause isn’t noble. But then again, people spend their lives trying to find Big Foot, aliens, and the Loch Ness Monster.
If it doesn’t exist, you won’t find it no matter how much you search for it.
A job is like indentured servitude. Unlike indentured servants of the past, you aren’t bound to a specific employer. But, you are bound to employment within the system.
That’s the reason why you’re unhappy and looking for balance
But, you can’t balance that.
Work vs a Job
Work is defined quite simply as an activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result. Or it can be an activity done as a means of earning income.
A job on the other hand is a paid position of regular employment.
Do you see the difference?
Work is an activity, a job involves employment. While they are clearly related, at a minimum we need to see they are different.
If you chase the idea of job-life balance, you’ve accepted that you will always have a job and it is separate entirely from and incompatible with your ‘life’.
Some people can accept their role inside the corporate system. That is the person who is always happy at work. They don’t seek work-life balance because they are content.
Maybe they don’t even recognize what’s controlling their lives, or maybe they don’t care.
Either way, that’s not you. You want something more.
On the other hand, if you pursue some activity that you are passionate about and love that also happens to earn some form of money, you are ‘working’.
Here’s the kicker, If it is a personal interest, passion, or hobby, it’s already part of ‘life’.
…and that’s why chasing work-life balance is like chasing a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
You either accept your life as a worker bee, or you are unhappy. There is no way to be a worker bee for a little bit of the time and be a lion on the hunt the rest of the time.
There is simply no way to balance between those two. You need to be one or the other.
You need to accept that you are a worker bee, and be content. OR, you need to be the thing you want to be.
If you are the thing you want to be, there is no need to find a ‘balance’ between being that and being something society needs you to be.
That’s why work-life balance doesn’t exist.
That all being said, achieving balance is a part of all aspects of life.
Eat too much or eat too little, you end up in the hospital either way.
It’s like all those contradictory food studies – wine is good for you one day and bad for you another day. Or maybe this week it’s potatoes that are good for you or bad for you or… who knows?
That’s because literally everything in life needs to be balanced.
But, that’s just life. Why are we looking at all the various pieces of life that need to be on the scale?
Remember, though, a scale can balance things because it has a fulcrum. And, just as with a scale, your life has a fulcrum as well.
All scales have a fulcrum and all lives must have a focus.
This is the singular thing that is most influential in your life, which directs or impacts all other decisions in your life.
For some people it’s religion. They always think about what is written about what God wants. Or they pray and look for guidance on various things.
They act either out of love/respect for what they believe God’s wishes are. Sometimes they act out of fear of God’s judgement.
For other people, their lives are balanced around friends, family, their community, or something similar.
They dress a certain way, buy certain types of vehicles, houses, etc because of how their social group will perceive them.
The job and the life of work is chosen because that is what their peers and parents expect them to do.
They want the acceptance of the group, or perhaps fear their judgement.
If you want to change who you are, you need to change the fulcrum and stop focusing on what’s on the plates on either side
That’s how entrepreneurs are different. We create our own businesses and make that our fulcrum.
Your Business as Your Fulcrum
If you love to do something, you’ll naturally want to do it more and other activities just won’t seem as important anymore.
That’s how entrepreneurs can work 12 hours or more, 7 days per week. They burn with passion for it. The business they are building is everything to them.
Of course, no one can work incessantly with no leisure or time with their family.
Maybe they get their spouse and children involved too. So their passion becomes the family passion. Now they spend time together and build their future.
They make new friends and go to dinner or parties with them. These friends are also entrepreneurs who have intense passion as well.
You raise your children and show them how passionate you are and teach them how to find and cultivate their own passions.
As they get older, they learn that life is not about a modern form of cubical slavery, but instead aboutthey pursue those passions and build balanced lives around what makes them burn.
Soon, everything in your life has some piece of your passion in it in some way.
This is balance.
Billion-Dollar Marketing Dilemma: Are You Being Ripped Off By Social Media Influencers?
Advertisers spent a cool $1.69B on Instagram influencers last year, a figure expected to double by 2019.
Because of the hype surrounding this trend, its early infancy, along with the (alleged) direct-to-consumer access influencers supposedly provide, there’s a lot of reasons brands are jumping on this.
But how effective is this? Are they for real? Or are they really just full of shit?!
Or even #FraudNews, as the President would say? There are a lot of layers to this so hang tight.
Just some basic stats: The Association of National Advertisers surveyed its members, which found that 75% of marketers currently work with influencers. OK, so far, so good.
Within that pool, 43% plan to pump more money into influencers next year. Of those who did not yet use influencers, 27% indicated they would in next 12 months.
Here’s the big issue.
It’s super easy to game the system. Again, the layers. First one being fake followers.
You can create a fake influencer in two minutes, post some modeling pics from some cute girl in Australia, name her Logan Gerwitz, acquire a shitload of followers, and boom, you’re in business.
One agency actually made money off a fake “influencer” account…
In fact, to prove this, one influencer marketing agency did exactly that—and then had brands pay thousands of dollars for sponsored posts, just to showcase how easy that shit was to pull off.
The first subheader said “How Anyone Can Get Paid To Be An Instagram Influencer With $300 (or Less) Overnight.”
Pretty creative and compelling, right?
Here’s what they did. (They’re named Mediakix, btw, just so that’s out of the way. Shout out to them.)
From there, they applied to campaigns on popular influencer marketing platforms. You need 10k followers to get that.
“How To Build A Completely Fake Instagram Influencer Account”
They created two totally fictitious Instagram influencer accounts, built solely with bogus followers and engagement: 1) a lifestyle and fashion-centric Instagram model and 2) a travel and adventure photographer.
The model influencer was built from a one-day photoshoot. Another completely from stock photos. (Real talk.)
Once the profiles were create, Mediakix did two things: 1) bought fake followers, 2) bought fake engagement.
(On some odd matrix shit, their campaign actually is a brilliant form of meta-marketing. Defrauding to showcase others’ fraud all the while maintaining some sort of Robin Hood’ish ethical high road that somehow makes me believe in them more…And now my head’s exploding. Back to the story.)
How they got paid
Once there was a decent level of engagement, Mediakix set out to get that moolah. Once you have a following, all you have to do is sign up on an influencer marketing platform (here are eight) where brands and influencers match up.
Once we had the accounts on a few platforms, we applied for new campaigns daily. The application process ranged from simply clicking a button to writing a short message to the brand, depending on the platform’s requirements.
Results. We secured four paid brand deals total, two for each account. The fashion account secured one deal with a swimsuit company and one with a national food and beverage company.
The travel account secured brand deals with an alcohol brand and the same national food and beverage company. For each campaign, the “influencers” were offered monetary compensation, free product, or both.
In other words, pay for a few follows, scam a brand out of dollars. It’s a form of catfishing, serving as an allure of something enticing…but ultimately not real.
But there’s more…
Here comes that aforementioned #layer again.
Ali Mahvan, CEO of shopping app Sharebert, produces and hosts influencer merchandise. Under this arrangement, influencers promote their own products, ranging from hoodies to t-shirts and collect the lion’s share of proceeds.
With follower counts from $50k to 1M, you’d think it’s easy money for influencers, right? Not so fast.
“We’ve worked with influencers with 10k followers and influencers with 10M followers,” Mahvan tells WealthLAB. “One of the strangest things we’ve noticed is that follower count very rarely coincides with sales.”
Influencers he’s worked with appeared to have great engagement, lots of content and, obviously, lots of followers. But the results, he says, were “embarrassing.”
Oddly enough, the influencers still had an expectation of compensation, despite not moving a single item.
“They couldn’t move their own merch,” Mahvan says, “but were insulted they weren’t paid for the quote-unquote effort they put in to quote-unquote promoting their own merch.”
Is the influencer economy doomed?
In spite of the ease with which you can hack your follower count, influencer pay is still determined by the number of followers.
To combat this, there are verification softwares popping up left and right to gauge the veracity of these accounts. Dovetale, another company listed in the same NYT report, says it uses over 50 metrics to determine account legitimacy.
Basically, a social #FakeNews meter of sorts, trying to make influencer marketing great again.
But Mahvan says the influencers are still getting around that cat-and-mouse game by resorting to growth pods or engagement pods, a form of inter-influencer engagement, commenting on each other posts to inflate the engagement.
“It’s all real followers and real likes but it’s fraudulent activity,” Mahvan says. “Everyone in the Pod is only there to grow their own following so the engagement doesn’t mean anything.”
While fake followers can be detected with these verification softwares, growth pods can’t—they’re real people.
Unlike Twitter, who’s cranked down on #FakeUse hard, Instagram—while cracking down—has come off a bit more laissez faire about the whole thing, encouraging advertisers to use third-party account “verifiers” to make sure accounts are real.
“We knew this kind of day of reckoning would come,” Erick Schwab, the co-founder of Sylo, which vets influencers for fraud, told NY Times. “We’ve gotten tons of brands, agencies, vendors emailing us, who we’ve been having conversations with for a while, but now they’re sort of like, this is being demanded.”
“They’ve artificially inflated this influencer economy and brands were just ready to get on to the next thing, which still was better than advertising in print,” Mahvan explains. “But outside of agencies with vetted influencer accounts—and we get fantastic results with those—you’re pretty much pumped and dumped the entire influencer economy.”
FWIW, here’s Mediakix’ infographic on the influencer marketing market. And before you splurge on influencer marketing, just make sure you know what you’re getting into.
Riding The Flow Of Life And 4 Other Ways To Make Great Things Happen
(Editor’s Note: The following article is a guest post by superstar entrepreneur and tech investor Jonathan Schultz.)
Going with the flow can be a scary idea for some people, simply because it means letting go of expectations —the number one killer of confidence. If you feel like you are constantly disappointed, it can be hard to just ride the flow. If you go with the flow, this does not mean that you have no power to create the life and career you want.
Here are four ways to make great things happen just by riding the flow of life.
PLAN LESS; FREE FORM
Do you have a plan for every hour of every day? If so, you are leaving little room in your life for riding the flow and being spontaneous. Maybe something larger would appear by just taking the action steps necessary to go in the DIRECTION you want to go, but not necessarily know the outcome in advance. Personally, any plan I’ve ever put on paper has never been the plan that ended up being successful —it was constantly pivoting while riding the flow. It is perfectly okay to have a solid plan for the day, but don’t overwhelm yourself by planning every moment of your day. Let yourself flow with the day.
CONTROL YOUR THOUGHTS, IT’S THE ONLY THING YOU HAVE CONTROL OVER
Practice gratitude, positive affirmations, and positive visualization to help your channel your thoughts into positive ones. There’s a reason why athletes, entertainers, and CEOs all take training in this discipline. A negative state of mind will keep you from going with the flow. Being able to look at things with a positive mindset will help you stay in the flow.
DON’T PLAY THE VICTIM
Many people don’t even know when they are lost in the victim role. They think they are strong and in control, but in reality, they are not. They are blaming their negative circumstances on everyone and everything else. This keeps you from riding with the flow because other people and other situations are controlling the direction you go. You are in control of your thoughts and direction in life, even if you do not have control over everything that comes your way.
BE MORE COOPERATIVE AND WILLING TO HELP
Make the best of every situation that happens to you by being more cooperative. Look at everything from every angle and not just from your own perspective. A lesson can always be learned. Go with the flow and be patient when something does not go your way. Not every bad thing ends up being the bad thing you thought it was — it’s just a time where you were forced to follow a different course that was probably always the right way in the first place.
CHOOSE YOUR RESPONSE
Keep in mind that your reactions and responses dictate how you experience life. As things happen, learn to choose the best response possible so you continue to move in the positive flow of life. Choose patience, understanding and react positively and you will find that your experiences are much more rewarding, as well as less stressful.
Trying to control every situation in life will lead you to a lot of disappointment and will cause you to miss out on some of the most fun experiences in life. Some of the best memories are made when there is no planning involved. Going with the flow doesn’t mean relinquishing all control, it just means that you allow positive things to happen to you without forcing it.
Jonathan Schultz is an entrepreneur, real estate tech investor and influencer. He’s the co-founder of Onyx Equities, a leading private equity real estate firm, and has been voted one of the most powerful people in real estate. Follow Jon’s blog here.
6 Money Saving Tips For Millennials
Millennials make up approximately 25% of the total population in the United States and they are now larger than the Baby Boomer generation.
This has welcomed a new trend—increased spending. The spending power of Millennials is estimated to reach a whopping $3.39 trillion by the end of 2018. A higher education level and more spending power haven’t yet translated into financial literacy.
As financial literacy is not taught in schools, most individuals grow up having no idea of investing and saving options. Most millennials will soon have to start making life decisions—whether it is to buy a home or start a family.
They need to find a way to overcome mounting student debt, skyrocketing rents, a saturated job market, and stagnant wages, while saving enough for retirement.
Sounds tough? Sure. But you need not worry. Here are six financial tips that will help millennials save a few bucks—all the while maintaining financial discipline.