Successful Forex Traders in Kenya: What They Do Differently That You Don’t Do

Over 90% of the Kenyans who start trading forex get their accounts wiped out in less than six months. However, you do not have to become part of this statistics. You can trade forex in Kenya and become as successful as the other 10% of expert forex traders in Kenya.

However, for that to happen, there are some fundamentals of forex trading that you have to keep in mind:

Forex Trading is not a get-rich-quick scheme

Sorry to break your heart, but if you are looking to get into forex so that you can retire at thirty, you couldn’t be more wrong.

Forex trading is a skill, and it takes a lot of training, time and persistence to be profitable in the trade. The truth of the matter is that if you are just getting into the trade, you will lose more trades that you will win. This is why I highly recommend that you trade on a demo account for as long as it takes you to return some profits.

If you do not have a forex demo account, click on this link to open one right now.

Focus on only one or two currency pairs

Trying to be a jack-of-all-trades (pun intended) is the easiest way to wipe out all the capital you have invested in forex trading.

Pick one or two currency pairs, study them until you understand how they are affected by prevailing market conditions. Practice dealing them on your forex demo account.

It is overwhelming to keep tabs on all the major seven currencies that are commonly traded on the forex market.

If you are going to pick one of the major currencies, go with the EUR/USD. It offers the best spreads, which will cut down on the price you pay to get into a trade. However, since the currency is highly traded, it is highly volatile and you will need to be more savvy when trading it.

Follow Financial News

As a beginner in forex, you will mostly be using technical analysis to get into trades. This does not however mean that you shouldn’t keep tabs on the news affecting the forex market.

Trading forex in Kenya without a clear picture of what news is being released and how the news is affecting the market is a recipe for disaster.

Mostly, immeaditely, news is released, the market tends to be very volatile, and it is advised that you wait 15 minutes after the break of important news before you place a trade.

Now, assume that you are not aware of when news is released? Do you see why it is important to keep tabs on political and economic news from around the world?

Follow the Analysis of Forex Trade Experts

There are guys there who have been trading forex since God-knows-when. They are experts in what they do, and they are generous with their opinions.

Do not shy away from following them on Social Media, Youtube, websites and forums.

While reading the analyses from forex trade experts, write down what direction they are predicting the market will go and the levels they have predicted to be the key resistance and support points for the day for the currency you are following.

Some of the best places to find daily expert opinion about the market include:

  • Fxstreet.com
  • Forexnews.com
  • Currencypro.com

Always Have a Trade Strategy and Plan

By failing to plan, you are planning to fail.

That is some deep ancient wisdom right there. Forex trading is not gambling. There are indicators and signals that clearly point where the market is headed. Make use of these.

More importantly however, never enter a trade without a strategy.

Before you make a decision to go long or short, you should clearly have an entry and exit strategy. How much profit do you want to make from the trade?

What loss can you tolerate on the trade?

Place your take profit and stop loss positions, and stick to them. Do not get greedy and do not let fear get the best of you.

If you do not know how to analyze forex charts, make a point of taking a training course.

For more information on forex trading, or how I can help you, visit my official FX trading in Kenya blog.  Or call/text/WhatsApp me on 0710251380.

 

Social Biz Connect Kenya Reviews: Exposed Scam, Pyramid Scheme or the Real Deal?

Update: SBC has moved to recruiting members through another company- Internet Marketing Africa. Please, beware in case you receive online job offers from Internet Marketing Africa.

I have openly spoken about SocialBizConnect in other forums and have been called a ‘hater’ for my criticism.

But are my assertions that SocialBizConnect is a scam baseless?

No.

I have tangible evidence to prove that SocialBizConnect and its sister-in-scam Internet Marketing Africa will soon crumble and leave many Kenyans more financially desperate than they initially were.

Here are some of the key pointers that SocialBizConnect is headed for damnation even before it gets to its ‘official launch date’ on 30th April. Read them and don’t forget to leave your comments at the end of the post about what you really think about SocialBizConnect.

Remember My Fortunes Builder (MFB)

Kimathi Kamundeh SocialBizConnect and Internet Marketing Africa
Kimathi Kamundeh aka Lloyd Kim

A few months ago, Kimathi Kamundeh a.k.a. Lloyd Kim (pictured above) the founder of SBC Kenya was the mastermind behind another Kenyan scam by the name of My Fortunes Builder.

Like SBC, My Fortunes Builder Stole from Kenyans by inviting them to attend seminars for a business that was never going to launch.

The company was to launch on 7th January 2013. The problem is that it never launched as this banner (which is a screenshot of the now abandoned MFB website) indicates.

The ‘launch’ of My Fortunes Builder was preceded by the same hype that SocialBizConnect Kenya is experiencing and the same paid for seminars…

Then? What happened?

Only Lloyd Kim can answer this question.

However, a very inquisitive person can see how this works out. You are being invited for seminars in Nairobi. Seminars that teach you nothing you do not already know. Seminars that are the only thing you will ever get from SBC since the company will never launch.

Lloyd Kim is making money from you and your friends as you attend his prelaunch seminars. Good luck to you and your invitees if SBC ever launches.

The striking similarities between My Fortune Builder and SBC are simply undeniable. In fact, one could argue that the two websites are Siamese twins albeit with some idiotic twists like the Power of 4 becoming the Power of 5 in SBC.

And is it a coincidence that the two companies are launching at the beginning of the year when there are a lot of desperate Form Four leavers looking for online money?

Mr. Kimathi does not even deny that he was the architect behind My Fortunes Builder. But the scornful look you get when you probe into this not-too-distance past is enough to cow even the bravest of hearts.

I particularly sought to know what led to the failure of My Fortunes Builder and what measures have been taken to ensure that SocialBizConnect does not go the way of MFB but my questions were met with insults and sneers.

Of course a lot of Kenyans who are running to join SocialBizConnect do not even know there was such a company like MFB that stole money from Kenyans and went under.

Until Lloyd Kim provides answers to explain what he intends to do differently with SBC that he didn’t do with MFB, we can confidently assume that SBC is another scam.

In fact, it lives up to the trends that have been observed with all MLM scams. They die and resurrect as other companies offering even juicier online moneymaking opportunities.

 

SocialBizConnect is a Scam that Will Soon Crumble

You can easily recognize a genuine opportunity from a scam by simply stripping all the colourful ads and seducing dialogue from it. You can tell which is viable online opportunity and which one will only waste your time, energy and money. The barebones version of SocialBizConnect has all the pointers of being headed nowhere.

  1. The only way you can really earn money is by inviting people to the paid-entry seminars

No one is very enthusiastic to join the SocialBizConnect Business Club, which promises to pay referrers $6 for every successful referral.

Why would any businessperson pay $18 to place his ads on a platform that has zero members online at any given time? It doesn’t make sense more so considering that you can get some pretty more sales with Facebook ads at that monthly budget.

This leaves SBC members with only one viable earning opportunity- finding as many idiots as they can possibly do to attend the seminars where they charge 200/= at the entrance, something that is not very sustainable.

  1. The products that SocialBizConnect ‘Sells’ do not have a market in Kenya

Some of the MLMs manage to exist {and continue milking money from unsuspecting citizens} for a little while due to the irresistible nature of products that they purport to sell; products that make the promise of wealth, health or both.

SocialBizConnect has however tied a noose around its already frail life by trying to sell internet marketing products that

  • Do  not have a market in Kenya
  • Cannot outperform the established brands in the market

The products include autoresponders, ebooks {most of which are regurgitated PLR junk} and Microsoft Packages videos! Not surprisingly, MFB was selling the same-same products. I honestly thought that Lloyd Kim would learn from his mistakes with MFB and find some hot-selling products to build around his internet marketing scam. Too bad, and that says something about his reasoning…

Only a fool would keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect different results.

  1. The worst sales team in the world

Internet marketing deserves patience, an unfailing perseverance and strategy. Most of the people signing for SocialBizConnect are in it for the fast cash. They have idiotically trusted what the banners tell them. They do not know what market segment to target with the tools that Lloyd Kim is offering.

From the above points, there is only one conclusion to be drawn about SocialBizConnect. It is one of the poorest drawn multilevel marketing (MLM) scams to ever be construed. Even if it ever launches (which I am willing to bet it won’t as Kim is only interested in your seminar money) SocialBizConnect cannot survive for more than a few months without sinking…

The ball is now in your court. When do you think SocialBizConnect will sink? Leave your comments below.

P.S. Don’t forget to share this. Sharing is Caring. Use the Buttons Below.

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Internet Marketing Africa is a Scam: Here’s Our Unbiased Review

You are probably on this page because you have received a text message from someone who works for a company by the name of Internet Marketing Africa LTD that purports to operate from the 4th Floor of the Commerce House in Nairobi. You want to get answers and I can understand your thirst for information.

Is the company genuine? Can you make such huge amounts of money working online in a week, as the SMS said? Where did Internet Marketing Africa get your details, especially your phone number?

While I might not provide answers for all your questions, there is one thing that I know.

Jobs in Kenya are scarce, and not even the most philanthropic and humanitarian NGO in Kenya is inviting people to high-paying jobs from the blues.

In fact, from the very fact that Internet Marketing Africa has resulted to spamming Kenyans with unsolicited SMSes, it snugly fits into companies that are characterized as scams.

In this review article, I will provide you with information that you need in order to make an informed decision.

What is Internet Marketing Africa?

Internet Marketing Africa is a sister company of SocialBizConnect Kenya (formerly My Fortunes Builder). The company operates from Commerce House, Nairobi. The company is owned by one Kimathi Kamundeh.

A few weeks ago, SocialBizConnect was trying to recruit new members, just like IMA is doing. I wrote about SBC a few weeks ago and received all manner of derogatory comments and abuse for my criticism. You can read the viral post here.

After my exposure of how the SocialBizConnect Kenya cons the Kenyan youth hit the number one spot in Google, members of the pyramid scheme were advised to stop saying they were working for SocialBizConnect Kenya. Instead, they were to recruit members under the name of Internet Marketing Africa Limited.

What Does Internet Marketing Africa Do?

If you are going to work for Internet Marketing Africa, you surely need to know what the company does, and here comes the spoiler.

Internet Marketing Africa does nothing but invite members to training seminars for a small fee of 200/=!

The invitations are to seminars that teach you how to invite new members, and so the cycle goes. You are paid a small fee of 50 shillings for inviting new members to seminars.

In the process, Kimathi and cahoots pockets a cool 150/= from the members you have invited to their seminars. That will be your main ‘online work’ in Internet Marketing Africa.

Below are 5 reasons why there is more darkness than light in the operations of Internet Marketing Africa.

Is Internet Marketing Africa Giving Free Blogs?

 {Update- Since I wrote this post, Internet Marketing Africa have upgraded their website. Instead of the free blog announcement that used to greet site visitors, you are now welcomed by a few PLR articles about Network Marketing/Multilevel Marketing (MLM). Note how the website is still basic and lacks information about what the company does. The company is still to update their compensation plan, and for a very simple reason- They do not have one.}

Internet marketing africaThe first thing that hits you once you navigate to the {::poorly designed::::} Internet Marketing Africa website is the promise of a free blog!

Who wouldn’t want a free blog at this age when hosting costs an arm and a leg? Don’t fall for it. Once you click on that Free Blog Banner, you are greeted by a Hostgator affiliate page.

Kenyans know what a free blog means and we know when you want to make a few bucks from unethically tricking your visitors that you are going to give them a free blog only to lead them to an affiliate page.

This is super-wrong. It is malicious, scammicious and suspicious.   If Internet Marketing Africa really wanted to give online jobs to the Kenyan youth, they wouldn’t trick them into affiliate pages. In essence, what Internet Marketing Africa is doing is making money for themselves using the Hostgator affiliate link.

Internet Marketing Africa on Social Media

You would expect a company whose main focus is the youth to be having so much social media presence since it is in the social media where the youth hang out.

Internet Marketing Africa will however not have any of that. Their best shot at using social media channels to reach out to their fans is is to spam Facebook groups requesting for new and vulnerable members to join.

Their Youtube Video Channel is a joke that was ordered from Fiverr and shows white people who are apparently making money through Internet Marketing Africa. {:::white people:::}. Sorry, but I thought this was a Kenyan thing.   Social proof is one of the indicators that is used to gauge the trustworthiness of a company.

{Update- Internet Marketing Africa now has a Facebook page! Big news, huh!}

Internet Marketing Africa and SocialBizConnect are One and the Same Thing

If you are intuitive enough, you will notice that the calls to join SocialBizConnect Kenya have been declining by the day. Maybe they have hit saturation point. Or the members are taking a sabbatical, reenergizing and coming back to give you over 8,000/= per week!

I will give you another consideration though.

I exposed SocialBizConnect Kenya as a dangerous scheme that will steal money from Kenyans and go under. The expose went viral. When you Google SBC  or SocialBizConnectKenya, the first page you’ll probably come across is my in-depth review of SBC.

That means almost no business for the company.   That’s why Kimathi Kamnundh hatched and popularized Internet Marketing Africa to counter the decline of business in SBC.

There is no Information Available Online About the Company

This is one of the most obvious red flags about Internet Marketing Africa!

A company about internet marketing that does not have any information available online. Who are you kidding? Not even a website where Kenyans can learn more about the company. Not an about us page. Not a twitter account.

How do these guys then claim that they are doing internet marketing?

Open your eyes Kenya.

You do not need to fall for such crap!

If you ask me, the masterminds behind Internet Marketing Africa are the poorest schemers ever. How can you convince people that you will give them a free blog when your own blog/website lies in shambles?

Multi-level and Network Marketing are Dead

Internet Marketing Africa, and by extension SocialBizConnect Kenya are trying to revive a system of making money online that is long dead. There might have been times when network marketing and multilevel marketing were the shiz when it came to making money online.

Guys like Zig Ziglar and Brian Tracy made a killing from MLMs and Network Marketing but unfortunately those days are gone.  The internet has wisened people up. The promise of a free blog and other regurgitated PLR ebooks, videos and other junk won’t work. If you are looking to make a killing working from home, Internet Marketing Africa is clearly not the place for you.

So, What Can You Do to Make Money Online?

SocialBizConnect and Internet Marketing Africa are scams. Nothing earth shattering goes on at the 4th Floor of Commerce House in Nairobi.

However, the fact that Internet Marketing Africa is a scam does not mean that you can make money online in Kenya.

Here are some of the genuine ways to make money online:

If you would like to start a blog that gives you money, kindly visit my homepage http://www.blogscheme.com/ for instructions

If you are looking for a way to make money online that pays more than $1000 per month, you have to check out the Kindle Bestsellers Program!

This system is so easy that anyone who knows how to type can start making money instantly. I developed a training program that takes you through the whole process, step-by-step.

  • Join Bubblews

Update: Bubblews is no longer accepting new members. I have deactivated the signup link below.

Bubblews is a little known social network that pays you for sharing your updates, liking and commenting on other people’s updates. The system is best suited for a beginner. They pay you after you have made $50.00. Click here to join Bubblews now

  • Freelance jobs

If you have a skill (marketing, writing, graphic design, web design etc) you can join Upwork.Com or Freelancer.com for free and start applying for freelance writing jobs.

Do not allow yourself to fall for pyramid schemes such as the one being run by Internet Marketing Africa. Janjaruka!

Mpesa Integration to Website: Learn How to Add Mpesa API to Your Site

I finally started accepting Mpesa Payments via my website! You can now pay for your favorite e-course or a web design project straight from this website. That is what I call a milestone

However, the journey to this point has not been an easy one. The difficulties I faced trying to integrate an Mpesa Payment Gateway on my website left me wondering why we do not have more developers investing in this area. At the least, Safaricom should come up with solutions on this but they seem to have left it to third-party developers.

JamboPay Mpesa Payment Gateway

One of the most popular online Mpesa Payment Gateways. Their downsides is that they charge an arm and a leg to have you use their Mpesa payment gateway. When I enquired about their services, they slapped me with a quotation that almost toppled me over.

Here is a screenshot of the email I received from them

How to Accept Mpesa on your website

To use JamboPay Mpesa gateway, you would need to pay at least Ksh 150,000 for them to setup your account. Clearly, JamboPay’s service are not for the small online trader or a struggling startup. I told them that much and headed back to Google to find a more viable solution.

PesaPal Payment Gateway

If you can forgive them for the lack of information/misinformation on their website, PesaPal are the guys to use for your online Mpesa Payments.

If your eCommerce store is built on WordPress, integrating with the PesaPal Mpesa Payment gateway is quite easy. There are several plugins available for free on the WordPress repository that make it very easy to start accepting Mpesa on your website.

  1. PesaPal Pay

Last updated on November 2014, the PesaPal Pay WordPress Plugins lets you collect payments via all the mobile money transfer services in Kenya. It makes use of forms and shortcodes [pesapal_pay] and [pesapal_donations] to collect payments and donations respectively.

The plugin is not very intuitive to use. Unless you know your way around coding, I would advise you try the other alternative provided below.

2.  WooCommerce PesaPal  Standard Payment Gateway

Last updated in July 2014 and downloaded 330 times, the WooCommerce PesaPal Standard Payment Gateway extends WooCommerce’s functionality and lets you charge for goods via Mpesa and other mobile payment services in Kenya.

I could not get this plugin to work on my website, and I finally gave up trying to use it.

I am not sure why the developer insists that you use demo consumer key and api during installation…

  3.  PesaPal Gateway for WooCommerce

This is the WordPress plugin that I ended up using on my online stores. It is super easy to use when you have WooCommerce installed on your WordPress website.

  • Simply download the plugin from the WordPress repository
  • Unzip it and upload it via FTP to wp-c0ntents/plugins.
  • Activate on your WordPress Dashboard
  • Go to WooCommerce Settings and Click on PesaPal
  • Enter your PesaPal API Key and Consumer Secret and start accepting payments via Mpesa!

I actually tried it with a sample product that I created on my website, and it works like a charm!

Lipa na Mpesa Online

Safaricom actually have an online Payment Gateway where you can Lipa na Mpesa. This came as a surprise to me. However, I cannot understand why I have to call or email them in order for them to share the details of the application with me.

Lipa na Mpesa OnlineThose are the 3 online Mpesa payment gateways that I am currently aware of. PesaPal takes the trophy home. It is super easy to register for a Merchant account on their website and the available free plugins makes it a darling to work with.

With the PesaPal Payment Gateway, there is no reason why you should not be selling your goods online. Contact me today to set up a beautiful online shop for your business.

You Don’t need to Compete with Anyone but Yourself to Blog Better

“I am competitive with myself. I always try to push past my own borders…”

What a marvelous sentence quoted by Tyra Banks that defines the whole crux of the title!

If we relate this to the highly competitive field of blogging, the same can be said:  the only person that you need to compete against if you want to blog better, is you.

Nowadays, blogging has become so common that everyone strives to make big money through it.  It has become a cutthroat competition and every blogger wants to excel in this field.

This severe competition has created an unhealthy atmosphere of envy in the minds of bloggers.

The main purpose of blogging should be to educate the customers and people around the world about different things and that can only be done if someone is creative and broad-minded.  You can’t do that if your judgment is always clouded by envy.

When competition becomes fierce to become a better blogger, you don’t need to compete with others, but only you.

Here’s two reasons why you should compete only with yourself:

First, when you compete with other bloggers, you only push yourself to match their level of content.  Sometimes, you’ll have much more potential to rise above and to improve your writing skills, but because you’re only focusing on competing, you only end up doing just enough to get by.   Potential is wasted because you could have done so much more.

Secondly, the emotions of jealousy and envy distract your mind and prevent you from producing better content.

There are a lot of bloggers all around the world.  You cannot always figure out what your competitors are doing or what can you do to beat them.

In this situation, what you need to do is to compete with yourself.

Analyze your previous writings in your mind and set your own targets to exceed the quality of content you produced previously.

Set your own milestones. For this purpose, bloggers should study various books and exchange ideas with experts to enhance their knowledge and creativity for coming up with something extraordinary.

Bloggers should realize their inner capabilities and set their own standards against them. They should have faith in themselves and should feel a sense of independence and individuality to come up with content that exceeds the quality of what they’ve previously written.

Competing with yourself in blogging brings success to you in two ways:

  • Your regular readers get a feel that they are getting something better than before and they feel more inclined to visit your blog frequently.
  • The continuous improvement in your content and blogging style attracts even more readers to your blog.

Therefore, if you want to blog better and become successful, then stopping competing with everyone else – focus on yourself.

How do you feel about this?  Do you constantly find yourself comparing your progress to others?  Are you secretly competing with other bloggers?  Are you satisfied with the results?

Get off the Internet and Write!

Oh, I’m not yelling at you – I’m yelling at myself.)

Every day procrastination threatens to steal my dreams and erase any hope of ever achieving my goals.

I know this, but regardless of that knowledge there are still times when I’ll sit down to work on accomplishing goals and then the next thing I know, hours have passed and so many things are still left undone. How do I still manage to let the time slip away?

When I need to write, it seems like everything else is begging for my attention. I don’t know what it is, but everything else seems so much more interesting than using my brain to write a new blog post.

Seems like that’s the only time I actually feel like emptying out my inbox after months of letting both read and unread messages accumulate to an astronomical number. It’s terrible, I know. It makes no sense.

When mindless activities like checking my email spam folder or compulsive stat checking become more interesting than writing, I know it’s time to do something.

At this point, you’re probably thinking…”therapy” or at least some other psycho analysis to prove that I’m safe to be around children, but I assure you, it’s just the evil procrastination demon trying to steal my success.

Well, I’ve got news for him, I’m not going to surrender that easily. I refuse to let the tempting allure of the internet keep me from the most important thing I must do for my blog. Yes, it’s time to get off of the internet, exit out of the Reader, Twitter, Facebook and yes…exit out of the internet browser entirely.

When nothing else works to curb meaningless distractions that threaten to kill my blog, I have to totally shut down Firefox, Google Chrome or whatever other browser I might be using at the moment to avoid the temptation to check my email every time I get a notification.

I have to stop myself from rushing to respond to every tweet I see. Sometimes I have to slap my own hand whenever I get the urge to start reading every new blog update that pops into my reader (they always seem urgent until you read them).

It’s strange how the very activities that help me support my blog can become the very activities that threaten its survival. Social networking is wonderful, but if social networking and promotional activities are allowed to get out of control, they’ll devour your whole day. It’s easy lose track of time and totally forget to write something new to promote. It can become a vicious cycle.

So until I get my writing for the day done, I’m sorry, but I’ll have to shut this thing down-…!

So what do you do to force yourself to stay productive? How do you filter out all of the distractions?

Who Needs an MBA (or any Degree) When You Have Hustle?

This post isn’t just about MBAs (master of business administration), it’s about higher education in general.

Some folks don’t have access to it; it’s expensive, exclusive and the Kenyan system isn’t built for everyone to have the opportunity.

It’s my hope that after this post, the attitude around what a degree means changes in relation to one’s success, specifically for those who don’t have one…because I don’t think anyone needs a MBA (or any degree) if they have hustle.

I used to think that the more advanced the degree, the better job, and naturally, the better the pay. The reason my attitude has changed is because over the past few years, many of my colleagues have had MBA’s…and I don’t have one. So not only do I play at the same park, I’ve done so without the same credential.

The Reality

Before I get too deep into this subject, I want to make it clear that for certain technical and industry-specific fields, degrees matter.

You can’t become a lawyer without going to law school.

You can’t become a physician without going to medical school.

There’s no way around this reality.

Most would agree that there should be strict regulations and educational requirements for highly complex and sensitive industries.  But in my eyes, everything else is wide open for the rest of us.

The Black Belt Concept

Anyone can get a black belt if they dedicate themselves to doing so (I’m not insinuating that it’s easy…just saying that it’s not out of reach.)

A person who reaches such a milestone will certainly know how to throw a perfect punch – at the air, and a perfect kick – at the air…but in the heat of the moment, they may not have what it takes to truly defend themselves outside the Dojo.

Let’s apply the black belt to a college degree.

Most people, given the opportunity, have the intellectual ability to get a college degree. It’s not THAT hard. And just because a person has a degree, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll be good at any job.

I took a number of speech classes in college (hated them by the way), got good grades, but I left campus being pretty bad at public speaking. My grades said I was excellent, but my practical skills proved the opposite. Doing it in the real world is what helped me develop and get better at it.

Just because someone has a black belt doesn’t mean they’re ready for battle. It means that they have a high theoretical understanding of their discipline. You can learn all about swords, understand the dynamics of a sword fight, and have perfect form. That doesn’t mean you’re ready to sword fight.

Organizations are starting to view candidates in this light (Read the Ernst and Young Case). This is part of the reason why GPA’s don’t matter as much as it did in years past. They want people who can drive results; not people who can recite business definitions.

I got A’s in each speech class that I took – and I was pretty bad at the time. If organizations looked at my A, they would think I was a great public speaker…the fact is, there’s no accurate correlation [generally speaking] between grades and real life ability. Same thing goes for degrees.

Hustle is My MBA

I have absolutely no plan to go back to college to get an advanced degree.

Why?

Well because I KNOW that it would have minimal impact on me professionally, as it does for most that do so. I’m not trying to down play the major accomplishment – just saying that in the reality of my world – it wouldn’t do much to serve me.

My colleagues that have a MBA’s did receive some positive impact on their career.  Which is great. I’ve done the same – without the financial burden (MBA = avg. $80k) or time investment (avg. 2-3 years). Their MBAs helped get them to the position they are in…I used another method to get to the same position.

The Alternative

I’ve educated myself by being present and aware; by extending my learning in areas that directly contribute to my ability to do my job. I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone and taken on projects that have expanded my business intelligence. I’ve maximized on-the-job training. I take complete ownership of my role and responsibilities.

This approach has helped me become the standard in positions that I’ve taken. When you’re the standard, you become the point that others are judged from. It’s a position sure to help progress your career over what any degree can do – in my experience.

If you feel disadvantaged because you can’t fill up the Education part of your resume – don’t fear.

Showcase your skill sets, accomplishments and willingness to self-educate outside of traditional study. Be willing to work harder than everyone else, which will naturally place you on the stage of being the standard. Before you know it, you’ll be working in the same peer group as those who pay thousands of dollars each month to cover student loan payments that they wish they would have done without.

I’m an Advocate of Education

From where this post has gone, you might think that I was against education. But in reality, I’m the biggest advocate of education that I know. I just try not to get caught up in academia and the prestige behind where he or she got a degree (only because it really doesn’t matter and most people don’t care).

A few months ago in a post called Street Smarts Reigns Supreme, I shared that schools such as Yale and MIT offer free online courses open to the public. I actually take courses offered by these institutions based on subjects that I have interests in and that will help me be better at my job.

I have a lot of respect for those who have made the commitment to complete college; under graduate and graduate level. I have a friend who has his PhD and I think it’s the coolest thing in the world. But also I have a great deal of respect for those who didn’t have the opportunity to go to college – because I think they can make just as big of a splash as the next person.

Conclusion

I have a bachelor’s degree. Having it served a good purpose at one point in my career. That purpose being that it satisfied a requirement to get a certain level of job when I graduated. That’s it.

75% (maybe more) of the courses that I took were pointless in the scheme of my life today. Who in the world needs a Matrices class if they don’t care one lick about rocks (I hated that classes).

How in the world can you make a Chinese Dynasty class a prerequisite, but fail to teach young adults how to manage money? The system seems a little twisted.

It’s getting a little too expensive…and frankly, having a degree is more of a formality than a means for preparation.

For those of you who don’t or didn’t have the opportunity to go to college – I think you’ll be okay if you’re willing to hustle. But for those who aren’t so willing to work hard, college degree or not, I’m not sure if higher ed will do a thing for you.

Just because a person has a degree doesn’t mean that life’s any easier…hard work is the requirement under all job descriptions.

To those with a college degree, don’t think you’re “black belt” is all that you need if you want to be successful…it’s not enough. Before my attitude changed, I was stuck in regular run-of-the-mill jobs that paid average wages and it sucked my energy dry.

Bottom line, college degree or not – you own your results…not some piece of paper, no abbreviations or letters after your name, not the state of the economy and surely not any of your excuses. If you want to win – then go do something about it…and win.

I’m not advocating that anyone should pass on the opportunity to go to college. If you can go – don’t let the opportunity pass you by. But if you can’t…you know what to do.

DISCUSSION

I said a lot here and didn’t cover the bulk of my thoughts. College seems like it’s a racket now days; all about hiking up the costs but not truly preparing young adults for the real world.

What are your thoughts on this?

If you have an MBA – do you think it gives you an edge over high achievers? And finally, share anything you’d like on this subject that may offer additional value to the community.

Personal Branding, Self Promotion and the Art of Marketing Yourself

How do you feel about marketing yourself?

Does it feel too self-focused, conceited or arrogant?

Whenever I write about personal branding, self-promotion or anything along those lines – I feel like I’m coming off a bit shallow.

But marketing is a powerful tool for a reason.

Corporations spend millions and millions of dollars on marketing efforts to create a brand, distribute the awareness of their brand, and of course to promote products and services. It’s a natural and essential part of business. Today I’m going to talk about the human side of the marketing coin – marketing yourself.

Self Promotion: The Road to Getting Known

To me, self promotion is a bit awkward at times. But no matter how we slice it, everything we do shapes our personal brand in one way or another. It’s a matter of us owning the promotion ourselves or allowing others to define who we are from their own perceptions or misconceptions of us.

If we don’t own it, we risk being labeled in a light that doesn’t accurately represent who we are.

If you want people to know who you are and to recognize you for a particular skill-set, qualification or interest – then you have to create a lasting awareness. The best way to do this is by sharing your personal stories that make you who you are.

Stories create lasting memories.

A couple of weeks ago I posted 10 of the most commonly asked questions (along with my answers) that I receive via email in an article entitled Why I Hustle. I recently read through the 100+ comments (including my replies) and discovered that I shared my discomfort with publishing the article a number of times…I thought it was a bit too self promotional, although that wasn’t a part of my plan.

The overall reader-reaction to the article was great. It was one of the most viewed articles I’ve ever published…and during its week of sitting at the top of this blog, it yielded a 16% increase in subscribers. I share the numbers to make a point that even though it may feel a bit uncomfortable to share your personal stories, in the name of establishing a name for yourself – most people appreciate learning about you.

People respect, appreciate and want access to “who you are” because:

  • It answers naturally formed questions – helping to build a relationship with people you don’t even know.
  • People are instinctively curious and want to know why you are the way you are, and why you do what you do.
  • You get to clear up misconceptions that may have been formed about you…turning a negative light into a positive one.

Check out Srini of The Skool of Life. He chronicles [what I refer to as] his saga of living abroad as an avid surfer and entrepreneur. Not only is he living is dream, but he’s making a name for himself in the process…such as his upcoming speaking engagement at  Blogworld New York in the coming weeks. Whenever I see or think of surfing, I think of Srini and all that he represents.

How to Promote your Personal Brand

Let’s start with an Example…

When I start a new blog, I also start a new personal branding campaign. To a degree, we all do this. I take the opportunity to meet new people and tell them about myself. This is generally (hopefully) before people have the chance to form any lasting/negative misconception about me.

There are three things that I like to get out as quickly as possible. These things define what I want others to know about me and what is authentically accurate about me:

  1. I’m a family man. It’s my first earthly priority and work never trumps family.
  2. I look to work in an efficient environment. I want to work really hard, for as few hours as possible each day…so I can get home to my family.
  3. I’m interested in being a high performer and getting optimal results. My aim is to be ‘of the best’ consistently with the purpose of maximizing my compensation…but never at the sacrifice of my family time.

This is how I initiate my personal brand campaign. The drift is all centered around performance, and lead by my priorities. I make it clear that I never-ever put work first…but I always give always my best effort towards my job related responsibilities.

All of this takes time…it’s not a 1 week formula. But having actions that consistently match your messaging, and performance that detects that you’re the “real deal” – conditions (not in a bad way) people to identify you in the light you want to be projected in. So sure, I probably work less than 40 hours per week, but people don’t identify me by that, they identify my performance.

Another Example…

Check out Frank Jennings’ About Page (ASparkStarts.com). On it, you’ll find a powerful personal story that captures the complete essence of his personal brand. It’s crafted in a story-like format which you’ll be sure to remember after reading it.

How to Frame Your Messaging…

It all comes down to being real. If you speak on something, but never deliver – the void will always sit in the back of people’s head about you. So it’s not a matter of saying what sounds good, but it’s a matter of projecting what’s real.

Faking it until you make it wont get you far. In time, the truth will catch up with you and you’ll be exposed.

A few tips to consider:

  • Don’t be someone else, just be you. It’s really simple and even natural if you’re honest.
  • Don’t go over the top, it gets a negative effect.
  • Let it happen, don’t force it. It’s a thin line to walk between… and a line that you don’t want to crossover. It’s like the difference between old-school outbound marketing, and the new inbound marketing model.

Marketing is a Skill. Marketing Yourself is an Art

(honestly, marketing in general is an art…but that header sounded soooo good!)

See, it’s not so bad is it. It’s taking the ranks into your own hand and marketing your business (yourself) in a deliberate fashion; in a light that you want to be seen in.

It allows you to control the perception that others form, all while creating a name for yourself and in the very image that accurately and honestly portrays who you are.

The reason I’m so passionate about this topic is because if you market yourself well enough, eventually others will do it for you. Three of my last job offers have come as direct word-of-mouth-referrals; each advancing my career and extending my ability to take care of my family on a financial level. How cool is that!

Discussion
Now for the fun part…

  • Do you make lasting impressions…how so or why not?
  • What do people think of when your name comes up in a conversation?
  • Has your personal brand benefited you in a tangible way?

*Bonus – For those of you who I know well enough, I will share what your brand represents to me, in my reply to your comment.