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03/01/17 Work #

3 Big Ways to Continually Improve Your Skills at Work

3 Big Ways to Continually Improve Your Skills at Work

Going to work for five straight days each week can become monotonous. You can feel like you’re running on a treadmill and it can take all of your energy to just get through the workday — only to do it again the next day.

If you’ve reached that point, it’s a good sign that you need a vacation. But vacation time can be hard to come by, and there’s never enough of it.

A better solution, I think, is to keep yourself refreshed by continually improving your work skills. Doing this has two big benefits: job satisfaction as you enjoy improving the work you do each day, and a better chance at a pay raise.

Just like exercising and regularly and eating well, improving your work skills is a process that needs to be done regularly. Here are three of the biggest ways I’ve found to improve your skills at work continually:

Sharpen the saw

This skill is from the Stephen Covey book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” It’s a great book and one worth reading for your personal and professional life.

Sharpening the saw means renewing yourself in four areas:

  • Physical: Eating, exercising and resting well.
  • Social/Emotional: Making connections with others.
  • Mental: Learning, reading, writing and teaching.
  • Spiritual: Being in nature, meditation, music, art, prayer or service.

These are all big steps, but can be done continually at work and away from work to put balance in your life.

Take for example, self-development expert Trevor McClintock, who writes on his blog about how taking care of yourself will lead to being more productive. Making time for social interaction in your workday is important, McClintock writes, as is having time to daydream to spark creativity. Continue reading

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02/15/17 Minimalism , Work

Why I’m Dropping Another Side Gig

Why I’m Dropping Another Side Gig

For the past two years I’ve tried to increase my semi-passive income by buying two websites. As a side gig to my work as a freelance writer, I thought that they’d be easy enough to keep going while helping me meet an important financial goal — paying my family’s monthly mortgage.

It didn’t work out as well as I hoped it would, and I recently sold an investing website called Before You Invest after about two years of ownership. It was an interesting side gig, but I found that I didn’t have the time to devote to it that I thought it deserved.

The sale comes about six months after I sold another site I bought as a side gig and a way to add some semi-passive income — I wrote about this sale in 2016, explaining that it was taking up too much of my time and wasn’t making much money.

After starting with a sudden change from how the site had been running for years with weekly posts on the best parenting sites, it looks like the new owner of FamousParenting has changed it to original blog writing that should hopefully attract more readers. Continue reading

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02/14/17 Work #

Beacon Resources: Key Skills for an Account Manager

Business people shake their hands

If a job title includes the phrase “manager” it is likely that the position will require some management skills. But when it comes to account managing, there isn’t a one size fits all for every employer.

Accounting recruiters are well aware of the challenges that employers face when seeking account managers, and there is a certain skillset that allows a candidate to rise above the rest of the resumes.


An account manager that provides solutions even before a challenge is presented is the type of account manager you need on your team. In the finance and accounting field, being proactive can mean the difference between success and failure for a company.

Account Managers who can look beyond what’s in front of them and evaluate future needs, possess a skill that can rarely be taught.


Being a jack of all trades may not appear as a requirement on a job description, but as an account manager, multitasking will play a big part of the role. Juggling tasks and switching hats at a moment’s notice is something every account manager should be able to accomplish.


Whether on the desk or in emails, account managers need to be organized. There are so many moving parts involved that it can be challenging to stay focused without organization. Accounting recruiters place a high value on a candidate with strong organizational skills.

Attention To Detail

Big or small, if it’s part of the job, it deserves time and attention. A valuable account manager is someone who maintains and dedicates attention to detail. Managing an account involves constant communication, and the oversight of even the smallest pieces of information can create major challenges.

The accounting recruiters at Beacon Resources are among the top finance recruiters in San Francisco and Los Angeles. If you are seeking accounting jobs in Los Angeles or San Francisco, our team of recruiters is here to help.

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01/10/17 Work # ,

How to Set Rates as a Freelancer

How to Set Rates as a Freelancer


One of the more difficult things I did when starting to work as a freelancer was setting the rates I charged clients.

I didn’t want to be too high that they thought I wasn’t worth it, or too low that my time was undervalued. I also had to figure out if an hourly or project rate worked best for my time as a freelancer.

Like many freelance writers starting out, I charged a low rate just to get my foot in the door. After a few months of that, I asked for raises and got it at a few websites that I wrote for, but mostly found that websites were willing to drop you as a writer because they could find other writers elsewhere who would write for low pay.

freelancerYou get what you pay for, and I suspect that many of those people who wrote for low pay either didn’t have the writing and reporting skills that I have or they were so desperate for a paycheck that they’d accept $25 per post.

Before I get too deep into how to set your rates as a freelancer, I want to mention that much of this information is covered in a podcast I did in early January with Liz Theresa on her “Liz on Biz” podcast. Listen to episode 17 for the fun of hearing me in stereo. Continue reading

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11/04/16 Travel , Work # ,

How I Side Hustled Across the Country on Fulfilled by Amazon


This guest post about making money on Amazon is by Tyler Philbrook, a personal finance blogger at I Am the Future Me who I met at FinCon16 in San Diego in late September. I also wrote a post on his site, so after you read his story here about how he made money to attend FinCon, go over to his site to read my post about what got me to get going on starting an emergency fund.

A little over a year ago I got the opportunity I had been waiting for. I was GIVEN a ticket to FinCon16, a financial blogger conference that I wouldn’t be able to go to.

When given the ticket I became sick to my stomach. I should have been excited, but I knew I was going to have to turn it down.

I have a lot of credit card debt, and didn’t want to go further into debt to travel across the country.

Instead, I committed myself to getting there no matter the cost, no matter the sacrifices I would have to make I would come up with the money.

One of the MANY side hustles I did was sell on Amazon with FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon). Continue reading

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Hi, I'm Aaron Crowe. Welcome to CashSmarter. I'm a personal finance freelance writer who enjoys spending my money wisely and using minimalism to make my money last longer while increasing income.