Constant Contact Alt?

newsletterWhat do you use for sending out newsletters, tracking email lists, and handling CRM?

There are plenty of products that offer simple-to-full-spectrum features in this online space.  And that full spectrum includes the price they charge for it.

Am I wrong in thinking Constant Contact and MailChimp have risen to the top of the heap?  Here’s a blog I wrote about a year ago comparing the two services.

I also see Aweber, Icontact, and Enewsletter once in a while.  Here’s a list of 35 Mailing List Services on Mashable.

MailChimp has two big things going for it.  It’s a Google product, and it’s free for most of the standard features.  Constant Contact is incredibly feature-rich, and has integrations with about every other 3rd-party service you could imagine: 225 in all.  That’s a real plus in my book. But CC also charges extra for storing images, and then a little more for archiving your newsletters, and still more for add-ons like Social Media linking and surveys.

Mailing List Services are only handiest, of course, if you actually have lists.  That would be an accumulation of email address of friends, agents, producers, clients, prospects, etc., that you want to reach regularly.  One school of marketing thought is that it pays to keep your brand in front of the right people on a regular basis, and that a minimum of 7-8 exposures is needed before they even remember you.

Constructing fetching email list newsletters is a unique subculture.  Entire companies are built around selling you information on how best to do this technique.  Online communities and forums are available whose members do nothing but discuss the latest trends in email list building.  It’s beyond the scope of this blog to cover all of that today.  But if you decide to go this route, it certainly behooves you to take the time to decide what direction you want to go, and then, how best to go about it.  Hubspot might be a good place to start.  There are also a number of Google Plus communities that welcome information and conversation about this topic.

Let me add to the list of choices:  I’ve written before about BombBomb.  Its singular distinction is that it specializes in VIDEO newsletters, and also offers a lot of the same metrics, tracking, list management and other features present in MailChimp and ConstantContact.

Finally, a service claiming better templates, friendlier customer service, and free archiving all at half the cost of ConstantContact is ROBLY. It also stores all your images for free.  ConstantContact charges for that past a certain threshold of size.  Robly admits they have no 3rd-party integrations yet, as they are focusing on getting their core product solid.  I’ve had some very frank and open exchanges with a Robly representative I thought was part of their customer service department…and then I found out he was the founder/CEO!

I’m trying it out, and will file a full report on my experience in the weeks ahead.

CourVO

The Key to Choosing KeyWords

keywordsThere’s that term again:  Keywords.  Everybody throws it around like it’s OBVIOUS what they are, or should be.  Delve into online websites, marketing your VO services, and you’ll see that keywords pop up in many of the SEO and SEM strategies that used to be so important.  I dunno.  Are they still?  I choose keywords (tags) for every blog I write.  Some keywords are visible, others are written into the site’s code.  Keywords show up in backlinks, inbound links, and inlinks.

Keywords are at the heart of most analyses of web traffic.  If you want metrics, chances are the person you’re hiring, or the program you’re using is going to ask for keywords.

Google “keywords” and you’ll invariably get a lot of links to a site called Moz.com.  They hope to sign you up for their service, but the site is chock-full of some basic keywords philosophy.  Check out their page:  http://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo/keyword-research, where you’ll find this wisdom: “….through the detective work of puzzling ouour market’s keyword demand, you not only learn which terms and phrases to target with SEO, but also learn more about your customers as a whole. It’s not always about getting visitors to your site, but about getting the right kind of visitors. The usefulness of this intelligence cannot be overstated – with keyword research you can predict shifts in demand, respond to changing market conditions, and produce the products, services, and content that web searchers are already actively seeking…”

Great.  Got it.  The concept of keywords is not hard…just choosing the keywords…THAT’s hard.  Why?

My friend Brett Bumeter — web developer and WordPress expert explained it to me this way:

Customers typically need solutions to problems.  A voice over actor might be the solution to that problem, but they might approach it like ‘How do I make my own commercial?’ or ‘Where do I hire a firm to narrate a commerical?’ or something like that which never mentions the actual keywords voice over, or voice over artist or voice over actor.  They have questions to ask, but they do not have the answer to the question and therefore can’t seek out the person that embodies that answer.
So that means that as you are trying to drive more business and sales, you need to make certain pages or posts on your site visible in search ranking much further upstream int the clients ‘self-education process.
 
With that being the case, generic keywords like the ones above could be the absolute last keywords to chase and maybe also the most competitive and more expensive keywords to spend money and time on!
BTW, Brett is a genius at this stuff, and although he says he doesn’t do much SEO anymore, he’s plenty savvy about it.  He’s also great at ANYTHING WordPress.  I give him my unabashed recommendation:  http://www.softduit.com.
So where does that leave us, as voice-actors?  Where you’ve always been: finding your own marketing path to success.  Surely it may make sense to choose the standard keywords:  voiceover, voice-over, voice over, voice actor, etc.  But then again, maybe you need to choose more creative VO-related keywords that could reel in a different kind of fish.
The more you read about this stuff, the more complicated (and fascinating) it can be.  Of course, Google is big in this realm, so you may want to start there:  GOOGLE KEYWORD PLANNER.
Then there’s this too:  Google Keyword Tool Box.
BING offers a keyword search page that’s pretty helpful too:  http://www.bing.com/toolbox/keywords.
Finally, following up on the line of thought that I shared from Brett Bumeter above, there’s this dynamite article from January of this year on Social Media Today concerning alternatives to Google keyword search tools:  http://socialmediatoday.com/pamdyer/2039406/10-great-alternatives-google-keyword-research-tool.
Let us know what you decide on… or not.
CourVO

Seminar Excerpt: CourVOisier on Social Media

deweesEverybody’s favorite voice over business coach, and prolific YouTube trainer — Bill DeWees — is finally getting out ‘n’ about.

Bill and I are both introverts.  Seriously.   And besides being uncomfortable in the limelight, Bill is just always working.  The guy is busy because he lives what he preaches, and that means he’s not hurting for clients (most of the time).

But lately, Bill is showing a willingness to mix it up with his sisters and brothers in the VO community.  He was a guest at the Midwest VO conference just last week, and back in February, he hosted a weekend workshop in Las Vegas.  Bill invited me to come to that workshop for an hour and talk about social media, and what it can do for a voice-actor’s business.

DeWees had all the presentations recorded on video, and he’s just now releasing them.  When Bill posts those links, I’ll make sure you know about ‘em.  In the meantime, here’s an excerpt from my presentation on Social Media etiquette, and how starting a conversation on Social Media can lead to voice-over jobs.

Don’t believe I’m an introvert?  Watch how fast I’m talking in this presentation — a sure sign I’m nervous in front of a live audience.  When I’m on camera, the audience is NOT  looking back at me.

Dave Courvoisier

 

5 Tips for Handling Info Overload

infooverload-cYou know me… I live, eat, and breath social media.  Believe it or not, though, I’m not the most prolific poster among my peers.  I chime in when I see fit, and I’ll throw out a blog link or retweet now and then.

For the most part, though, I’m content erring on the side of posting paucity unless I have something worthwhile to say.  Instead, I prefer soaking it all in; wallowing in the mud of information overload…. and what a mudhole it is!

Even for a niche as specialized as voice-acting, there is more to read in one day than any of us have time for.  Derek Chappell’s ever-expanding compendium of voice-over blogs is impressive.  FaceBook VO groups abound.  Add in VO Twitter Lists, Google Plus VO Communities, Stumble-Upon, Reddit, Delicious, VoiceOverXtra, Johnny HateBait, Voice Over Herald, and Steven Lowell, and you’ve got a full plate.

People ask me all the time how I navigate all the info out there to keep a consistent upper-hand on “the latest”.  Well, it helps that I’ve been dealing with information overload in my broadcast news job for decades.  I’ve established a few protocols that have even survived the explosion of information that came with the internet, PLUS some tools that help separate the wheat from the chaff online.

CourVO’s 5 Tips for Handling Info Overload

Be loyal to sites that have earned your trust over time  Most successful information sites from before the internet have managed survive the digital world too.  Wall Street Journal, CNN, Reuters, Wired, and Time Magazine are excellent examples. Digital-only publications have had enough time to earn a reputation, so ask around and get referrals from your friends, pay attention to the sites that seem to get a lot of traffic, and do your homework.

Triage your email, favorite websites, and blogs. Set your priorities before you begin browsing for the day, and don’t get swept in to click on anything but those subject headings or headlines that meet your priority.  Content providers are being trained to write great “hooks” to get you to click.  Don’t let them.  As you go through your email first thing in the day, cruise through all the subject lines and sender names looking for known quantities, clients, friends, and expected mail FIRST.  The rest can wait until later.

Use a feed reader.  Yes, there is life after Google Reader.  A “reader” is an online program that collates and displays all the content (without ads) from your favorite sites in one place.  It does that by utilizing the site’s “feed”.  That lingo is actually fairly arcane these days.  All you really need is the site’s URL, and you’re good.  Top Feed Readers these days are Feedly, FeedSpot, Kouio, and FlowReader.

Browse on your laptop without plugging it in.  When the battery runs out, you’re done. It’s that simple, and it’s for those days when you just can’t seem to stop surfing…and there’s just that one…more…site…

Consider a News Aggregator.  I like The Tweeted Times the best.  Tweeted Times is a personal newspaper generated from your Twitter account.  It sure beats mousing through your Twitter stream forever.  Paper.li is another service like this.  Both are free, and you get to configure what’s included.

Honorable mention Online search.  Yes, I mean Google, Bing, and YouTube.  UNBELIEVABLE how good they are. Use short keywords on the topic you seek, and I’ll be amazed if you don’t find what you’re looking for.  Wanna go deeper?  Try Twitter’s advanced search or LinkedIn’s amazing search engine.

What have I missed?

CourVO

Wolfson Wisdom

NANCY smiling headphones_2A gift.

Just the other day, Nancy Wolfson handed over a gift we all can use.  Something she had prepared for another publication that went unused.  “Why waste it?” she said.  “Dave, can you put it in your blog?”  Ah…gee… I really had to think about that one.

Top LA-based voice acting producer/coach/director Wolfson produces erudite content at a pace akin to the sales of snow shovels in Buffalo.  Her resumé touches on all aspects of the voiceover universe, and has for years.  The Wolfson training series is tantamount to a graduate-level course at Yale in acting for advertising.  Yes, I’m biased.  Maybe you haven’t yet been touched by the Wolfson mystique, but I recognize excellence when I see it.

Enough.  See for yourself in the following essay she provided.  Thanks, Nancy!

CourVO

_________________

WHAT SHOULD TALENT BE LOOKING FOR IN A COACH

Results.
Know the results you want and pick the coach who has procured for others the results you want for yourself.

A Plan.
If you want to build a business that affords you the fun of brokering “playing around in other realities” for a profit, you need a guide with a plan. That plan should include a clear blueprint of action tasks, skills and strategies for what you need to know and how you can realize those goals. You want a coach who will take your performance and business abilities as seriously and as far as you can take yourself. And then push you farther.
And together, realize your dreams.

The primary responsibility of a company, at least here in America, is to return profits to shareholders. Find a coach who has exhibited an adaptability to the changing landscapes of our business for themselves and for their students, who has maintained a solid reputation of having built careers with people who have experienced not just personal growth but also responsible financial profits. Remember that start up company – the one that had Devo Hat Fridays and orange bean bags in the lobby but did not make any money? It dot “bombed.” Those “we had sOoOo much fun!” employees who only had fun had to find a new place to work because a hoot and a holler didn’t make ‘em a dollar.

The process of learning the skills necessary to profitably service the marketplace as a voiceover talent and working one’s brand therein can be a stimulating, hilarious, illuminating, and sometimes frustrating experience. Growth isn’t always a bag of laughs. The payoff comes when a killer education then affords you the luxury of having an often goofy work lifestyle that actually makes you money. It is paramount that you enlist a discriminating coach who has proven able to guide a variety of committed people – not just actors, but accountants, stay-at-home dads, singers, DJs and blood splatter analysts – into using this uniquely creative platform, this playground of word games, to make their students money.

A Passion.
What characteristics define a great coach?
Well, certainly a great coach has that Plan.
An even better coach will have relationships that can offer you Pipelines of Access to casting, agents, buyers, and up-to-the-minute advice on which sources are returning the most robust results to and with talent today.

Ultimately, a great coach must have a Passion – perhaps one that is Greater than your Own – a damn near obsession with language, business, art, culture, branding, and most importantly, a passion for your success.

And… ready?
No Patience.
(Wait – don’t leave – come back.)
No patience for your efforts to argue for own limitations.
No patience for you to slack in accomplishing in today’s P2P marketplace,
what is, with a trusty coach by your side who has deconstructed it all for you, very achievable.
No patience for you to be anything less than your best, most silly playful profitable self.

Nancy Wolfson
Braintracksaudio.com

Cold? Choose a Fabby Feb VO Working Vacation

deweesLooks like the voiceover community has finally discovered what most every other conceivable business has known for years:  Las Vegas is the premiere conference destination in the world.

Well OK, it’s not quite that serious.  But it IS growing.  January saw Marice Tobias holding her 3rd all-guy Vegas VO weekend workshop.  Later this Spring, Vegas will be the site for the first ever WoVO-Con.  VOICE had it’s start in Vegas in 2007 (FaffCon…do I hear FaffCon?), and this month, Bill DeWees is hosting VoiceOver Revolution in Las Vegas.

You may have already heard of Bill.  His prolific string of no-nonsense YouTube instructional videos relentlessly spew forth common-sense real-world advice for running the business end of your company.  Just go to YouTube, and search “DeWees”, and plan to take a few hours to sit and watch any of 100+ of that running series of videos.

Bill admits he’s not much for attending many of the VO conferences.  He claims to be an introvert.  Sound familiar?  But I’m workin’ on him to change his stripes.  :)

Bill also admits he hasn’t “seen the light” about the value of Social Media for his voiceover business.  BUT, he’s willing to be convinced, and to that end, he’s asked me to be part of his instructional weekend in February here in Las Vegas, February 15th & 16th.  I know it’s already less than two weeks away, but that’s another good thing about Las Vegas, there’s always a direct discounted flight to “the entertainment capital of the world”, and besides, you’re dead tired of sub-freezing temperatures, right?  So far this season, it’s been one of the warmest winters on record in Vegas.

Bill’s 2-day workshop will be loaded with the kind of practical business-management tips that have made Bill a steady success in VoiceOvers.  Also — Jennifer Smith, a Voices.com senior account manager will help you with an analysis and makeover of your profile to maximize your success on their site.  One of Bill’s most successful students — Tim Tippets — will be sharing his considerable knowledge in getting the most out of your studio sound.

When I’m not presenting, I’m going to be glued to a chair to hear all that Bill and the other speakers have to say.  I know it’s gonna be well worth it!

Check out the voiceoverrevolution.com site for all the info.

Voices.com’s VoiceOverTimes blog has a nice write-up on this too.

Want to know more about Bill?  His book: How To Start and Build a 6-Figure Voice Over Business reflects a lot of his personal strategy… but this seminar will build above and beyond that.

Finally, watch Bill’s brief video below to hear more about VoiceOverRevolution.

Looking forward to it, Bill!

CourVO

VO at NMX

nmxWhat is NMX?  An acronym for New Media Expo, a pre-CES convention.  CES is the largest of all the hundreds of conventions that descend on Las Vegas every year.  The Consumer Electronics Show.  This week is CES…the center of the technology universe for one week.  Check the bylines on any story about tech this week on ANY online or print publication.  It’ll say Las Vegas.

But this past weekend was NMX…a haven for anyone and everyone who loves social media, especially blogging and podcasting.

The words “voice over” were spoken many times at this conference.  Ya see, podcasters fancy themselves as “nearly” voice talent.  Some of them are, or were performers, or  maybe broadcasting personalities at one time.  Most of the rest of them are converted housewives, publishers, writers, advice-givers, bloggers, and ___________ (fill in the blank from about 900 professions).  All of them have a mic and most use Audacity.  Most of them also know how to edit soundfiles, and produce long-format recordings.

Content” was a big buzz-word at NMX.  Content providers.  There was talk of how to provide compelling content, how to keep readers/listeners, knowing your audience, building passionate fans, constructing winning brands, writing tips…and much more.  The former director of Thomas Nelson Publishers — Michael Hyatt — gave a compelling seminar on brand-building that I attended.  Among his many tips:  spend money on a headshot…a good headshot…and use it everywhere consistently online.  I considered… then declined to raise my hand, and say what a conundrum that seemed to be for voice-actors.

You’ll be interested to know that there was an entire seminar devoted to promoting ACX to podcasters.  The head of ACX – Jason Ojalvo (right) was there on that panel, as was David H. Lawrence XVII.

ojalvo

The purpose of the session was to convince podcasters that they should consider putting audiobook narration in their wheelhouse, seeing as they were already comfortable with mics, audacity, and audio-editing.  Having done scores of books audiobooks myself, taken hours of training, and continued to lawrencestudy the craft at length, I thought that was a rather breezy carrot to hang in front of a bunch of podcasters…but then again, maybe not so much of a stretch.  Who am I to judge that?

At any rate, I was interested to find out that Lawrence (left) is about to launch a coaching solution for those who want to seriously go the ACX route.  As soon as I get the OK from him, I’ll let you know more about it.

Bottom line message from NMX:

  • None of can sit still and expect to be a voice over success.
  • There are even greater opportunities, now, for voice actors.
  • Digital, digital, digital
  • Video, Video, Video
  • Good content, combined with knowing your audience, will always work in your favor.
  • Audiobooks are still a hot market.
  • New Media (social media) cannot be ignored in your marketing equation
  • Blogging is hotter than ever
  • Podcasting is useful in spreading your message, and still very popular (just don’t ask me to listen, I don’t have the time — same reason I rarely listen to music)

Later this week:  a report from the CES show floor.

CourVO

 

 

Would You Recommend This Book?

publishNext year, I’m finally going to do what so many have been urging me to do.  In fact, it’s in the works as we speak.

I’m going to publish the best of my blog into a book.  Probably 3 books by the time I’m done.

Wow!  THREE BOOKS?!!!

Here’s the math:  2013 completes my 6th year of writing a Voice-Over blog.  I began in January of 2008.  I have achieved almost total success in my early goal of writing one blog a day / 5 days a week.

So far, I’ve written 2317 blogs.

More math:  Many of the blogs are obsolete within days of writing them, some within months, and others are mere conjecture or commentary.  Still, there are enough articles to pen 3 books of approx. 150 pages each on the following topics:  Social Media Tips, Equipment-Hardware-Software, and Advice/Resources for Newcomers.

I’m starting with the advice Book, and a working title of “IT TAKES MORE THAN A GOOD VOICE TO DO VOICEOVERS”.  I’ll likely e-publish first, and if it’s well-received, I’ll publish a print version too.

Where am I finding the time to do this?  I’m not really.  I’m hiring an extremely accomplished Virtual Assistant to work on it for me.  She claims I’m the easiest book she’s shepherded through the process, because all she had to do was collate, organize, and dress it up a little (she’s too modest).

In 2013 alone, I’ve blogged the following articles that are likely to appear in one of the books.  When Derek Chappell asked me to choose my fave blog for his end-of-the-year list, I got to looking, and realized there’s some really good stuff here!

So here’s my question?  Would YOU buy this book?  Download it?  Recommend it?  I hope so.  I’ll be asking an extremely modest price in hopes of recovering countless hours of work over the years.

I’m seeking testimonials for book promotions.  If you can think of ANYTHING good to say about my blog, let me know, or send your statement to me at courvo@courvo.com.  Thanks!

CourVO

Tobias. Vegas. January.

vegasRecent years have seen the foundation of a Marice Tobias tradition in Las Vegas:  an all-male weekend voice-acting workshop.

Now, she’s scheduled another (the third)…and what a great way to get VO going in the New Year!

If you’ve been toiling in the voice-acting trenches at all, you’ve likely heard the name Marice Tobias mentioned with reverence.  Her unique approach to voiceover coaching is well-known, and unlike any other voice training in the business today.

This planned weekend will be held at the well-equipped studios of KNPR radio on the campus of the College of Southern Nevada the weekend of January 18-19, 2014.

SEE THE OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT.

Yes, I’m going.  Not that that is any major incentive for you to follow suit, but let me offer to help you with any questions or concerns you may have about coming to my town for this exceptional weekend.  BTW, it’s the same weekend that Joe Cipriano will likely be here to promote his new book “Living on Air” (unconfirmed, but rumored).

CourVO

Wanna Know How To Become Rich?

JOhnPJohn Pozadzides goes by the name John-P.  Email me if you want to know how to REALLY pronounce his last name.

Anyway, John-P and I have been friends for years.  Were it not for him, I’m not sure how we would’ve handled moving my daughter into her college experience in Ft. Worth several years ago.  He was there for us.

John is the force behind GeekBeat.TV, and is pretty widely known for his blog:  OneMansBlog, Specialization is for Insects.  But that doesn’t tell half the story.  Aside from being an original geek himself, John is a dynamo.  He’s started more hi-tech companies than Miley Cyrus has birthdays.

YES, you could say John-P is a success, in almost every sense of traditional and creative definitions.  In fact, building on my blog from the other day about measuring success; John has authority…not from a sense of power, but from experience.  When he throws out nuggets, I listen.  Thousands listen.

His latest missive had to do with success…or more to the point:  getting rich — but his definition of rich is more like success.  I’ve reprinted it below, as it was published publicly on G+, and I think it has plenty of great advice.

Take the time to read it?

CourVO

___________________

You Wanna Know How to Become Rich? Ok, I’ll Tell You… It’s not every day, but quite frequently people basically ask me how to get rich.  They certainly don’t use the phrase “get rich quickly”, but its always implied.  I’m not sure why? Do I give off the impression that I’m well-to-do because some single event occurred and instantly make me a millionaire?  Because I didn’t win the lottery. So, I’d like to answer the question publicly this one time, then from now on I’m referring people who ask it right here. 

Question: How do I get rich? 
Answer: Find Happiness.  Oh, I’ll get to the money part in a minute.  But first you’re gonna sit through my thoughts on the matter. 

The first question I have when people ask me how to get rich is, why the hell do you want to be rich?  But really, we all know right? 
– Drive a nicer car 
– Get a better looking partner 
– Live in a big, beautiful house 
– Travel the world 

But every single answer I’ve ever heard is based on the principle that these things will provide happiness.  And here’s the deal - they won’t .  And I would know.  Because I’ve got and done all of those things, and they don’t make me happy. 

You know what makes me happy.  YOU!  Friends.  Family.  Love.  Being loved.  I promise you that the misery of loneliness, despair and depression is just as great for someone with great wealth as it is for someone who is just getting by.  And I know that we joke about the fact that “money can’t buy you happiness, but it can buy the kind of misery you can live with”, but that’s all it is.  A joke.  You only need to look at all the celebrities who are rich, famous, and dead as evidence.  

The cold hard reality is: 
– Expensive cars rapidly become a depressing drain on resources 
– A person’s outward appearance has ZERO bearing on how good they are in the sack.  And lets face it, SEX appeal is based on an impression of what SEX with a person would be like.  FACT: There is NO correlation between looks and love making.  So don’t let society fool you into thinking you are missing out because you can’t have sex with a super model.  It’s bullshit. 
– Big houses are difficult to manage, clean and keep up.  They also become a never ending quest to fill, and refill, robbing you of time doing something valuable.  They also make people think you’re made of money.  Which makes you a target.  Oh, and people will think you’re a douchebag too.  By default. 
– Traveling the world is great.  But if your idea of traveling is staying in a resort in a foreign place just to be pampered, that’s just boredom.  PEOPLE are what is important.  Not places. 

So, the REAL answer about how to be rich?  Here it is:  Get yourself healthy and in shape.  Get out and do things with people you care about.  Fill your days with activities that matter to you.  Make a difference in people’s lives.  Learn what true LOVE really is.  Live like this is your last year on Earth. 

Ok.  Now you want to know how to successfully get some money to go along with all of that?  It’s going to be damn hard work, and require actual discipline.  That’s right – 100% of the time you need self-discipline.  And you’re going to have to make sacrifices. 

Wealth Requires Savings 
WHATEVER you earn, you need to save 30-50% of it.  I mean, every month if you earn $1,000, you save $300 of it. 

This is really hard for people because they start thinking, “Wow!  I have the equivalent of several months or years worth of monthly income saved up!  I guess I can use some of that!” :-D  WRONG!!!  To this very day most of my income gets SAVED!  

What you need to be thinking is, if I never earned another dollar in my life would I be able to live to be 100 with what I have right now?  And take care of my family?  And without sacrificing the lifestyle I’m currently accustomed to?  Until the answer is YES, keep saving. 

Wealth Requires Dedication and Hard Work 
Its going to take you decades to get wealthy.  I mean you are going to have to focus your attention on a goal, and then you’re going to have to pursue it for 20 years.  Are you really willing to do that?  Is it worth it to you?  Because remember, you don’t need money to be happy!   

You can either spend as much of your time with people trying to be happy as possible, or you can sacrifice a lot of it in order to try and get wealthy.  Because if you aren’t working 60 hours a week (literally) you aren’t going to get rich.  And even if you are, you might not. 

Wealth Requires Calculated Risk Taking 
BEWARE!!!  Criminals and snake oil salesmen will try and remove the most important word and tell you “wealth requires risk taking”! 

Not only is that not true, its patently evil.  Risk taking is a terrible idea – unless you can afford it and you believe the likely outcome is success based on all the information you have available to you.  And research and cynicism is YOUR responsibility.   Failing to investigate the risks is something we pay for every single day . 

For example: quitting a job you hate but that pays the bills to pursue a dream with no immediate income is sheer stupidity.   Anyone who tells you they did it is either lying, or is one of the small percentage of lucky ones who pulled it off.  It’s a terrible idea. 

A good idea?  Modify that plan by keeping your crappy job and starting something on the side!  When you see an actual sustainable income stream from it that you believe would increase if you dedicated all of your time to it, and which isn’t a short term thing that can disappear immediately, then – and only then – consider taking the RISK of quitting a job and doing it full time. 

The same concept applies to investing.  Dumping all of your savings in the stock market is the stupidest thing anyone can do.  The market is a gamble.  You will win. You will lose.  You hope to win more than you lose in the long run.  So ONLY gamble the amount of money you can lose without affecting your long term plan.   

Wealth Requires You to Back a Winning Horse – Even if YOU Aren’t the Horse 
For some reason there is an impression that being an inventor / entrepreneur is the way to go. But its rare that this is the case.  What you need is a whole string of things to come together.  You need a good idea, a good team, and good luck. 

If you can find a good job working for someone else who takes care of you, gives you opportunity to contribute, and surrounds you with good people you’re definitely winning!  Remember – the people you surround yourself with are your greatest asset, and should be your greatest source of joy. 

BOTTOM LINE: Anyone who tells you that you’re going to get wealthy without a lifelong commitment to bettering yourself on a daily basis and taking care of the people around you is full of shit. 

Chances are, you’re already better off than you’d be if you were rich.  You just don’t know it yet.