Excellent Resources That I Personally Use
Some of these resources contain affiliate links which means that I earn a small commission to keep this site running. There is never any additional cost to you — and some things contain a coupon or discount to save you money! A win-win!!
Travel Savings and Recommendations
I absolutely love Airbnb, and will never go back to paying ridiculous prices for hotels. So far I’ve stayed in a lovely downstairs room with private bath just minutes from the beach in Carlsbad, CA and loved it. My daughter and I also were enchanted by our stay in a cozy room in an historical Seattle neighborhood last month. Click here for $40 off your first stay with Airbnb!!
My friend Holly, who travels the world, turned me on to these amazing packing cubes that literally transform your suitcase! There are various sizes that come in sets on Amazon. I used the set with 2 medium and 2 large cubes. They were wonderful for staying organized on a recent 10-day trip. I put all of my tops, jacket, and sweatshirt into the large size. And the medium mesh cube can hold some shorts and several smaller pieces like socks and underwear. These are perfect for not having to rummage around in your suitcase for that shirt or scarf you wanted to wear!
Turo is a great alternative to the big rental car industry with their exorbitant prices. I used them recently in Seattle, and it was the perfect way for me to rent a van for a day to haul my daughter’s bike, boxes, and luggage to her college. The price of the car for a couple of days was 1/2 of what I would have paid with a rental car company.
With Turo, you look through listings of cars and decide what price and style of car looks right for you. It’s sort of like the Airbnb of car rental. These are regular people who put their cars, vans, and trucks on Turo to rent them out when they’re not using them. Brilliant!
Best Finance Resources
My favorite investment/retirement account company is Vangard. It will always be Vangard. I’ve had my IRA funds with them for years, and I just adore their customer service. When I was new to the investment world, their service reps explained things to me patiently and graciously.
I never felt like I had asked a dumb question, and that was really important to me to be respected even if I didn’t know all of the correct terminology yet. They specialize in no-load (no fees for transactions) funds that outperform many of their competitors.
Most of my absolute favorite finance products are books that I’ve studied over the years. I’ve devoured most of what Suze Orman has written, along with The Millionaire Next Door by Stanley and Danko, and Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. And the classic, debt-crushing The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey should be required reading for everyone!
My current favorite is not exactly finance, but has everything to do with evaluating the level of technology and social media distraction in your life. When was the last time you did completely focused, outstanding-quality work? Deep Work by Cal Newport is a stunning eye-opener to how rare it is these days for anyone to concentrate on one task for any length of time, in order to do it really well.
I recently heard New York Times bestseller (9 consecutive times!) David Bach speak in person at a fabulous finance convention. He is passionate about empowering women with their money. He told an amazing story about his grandmother who took him to McDonald’s when he was 7 years old.
She explained to him that he could either one day work there and struggle to get by, or invest and “own the place”. That was the day she bought him his very first share of stock in McDonald’s, and taught him how to track it in the stock exchange newspapers. What a woman! His book Smart Women Finish Rich: 9 Steps to Achieving Financial Security and Funding Your Dreams, would make her really proud. Highly recommended!
Best Courses for Starting Your Own Freelance Business
I have personally taken each of these courses and I could go on and on gushing about them for days. They have each helped me, like amazing stepping stones, build a successful blogging and freelance writing career.
Start your own proofreading business
Caitlin Pyle’s amazing course, General Proofreading: Theory and Practice, is as thorough and tough as they come. You definitely get what you pay for with this comprehensive course that prepares you for a successful proofreading business of your own. There are numerous job boards with ads for proofreading positions for manuscripts, books, online printed material, blogs, business papers and more. Indeed.com is a good place to start, as are Upwork and Flexjobs.
I was able to start a great transcript proofreading business after taking Caitlin’s course. The empowerment that came with running my own show and making a nice income was priceless. This became an amazing stepping stone for my current writing and blogging business. I use the skills I learned in this course every single day. Highly recommended!
Start a freelance writing business
My successful freelance writing career was launched with the extraordinary course, Earn More Writing by Holly Johnson. If you’ve never heard of her, she and her husband run the wildly popular Club Thrifty website, and she built a stunning writing career from a humble side hustle.
In her course, Earn More Writing, Holly shares all the details about how she got started, why blogging is a good idea, how she first got clients (and how you can too), the perfect pitch letter, how to ask for a raise, how to choose your perfect niche and profit from it….and so much more!!
** When you start a business of your own, you’re going to need a way to send invoices to your clients so you can get paid! The very best service for billing your clients and automatically tracking your expenses is with FreshBooks!!
I absolutely love the way I can create nice, custom invoices with my logo to send to my clients. And with FreshBooks, your yearly earnings and expenses are compiled into nice reports for the end of the year…just press the print button, and tax time is a cinch.
Start your own blog and make money with it
When you first start a blog, you need a name (address on the web where your blog can be found…usually something that ends in .com). That’s referred to as a domain name. You can Google domain name search to find some sites that will see if your chosen name is taken or available. If you find one you like, you can purchase it on the spot.
However, if you want a better deal, you can start your blog with Bluehost web hosting service and they will throw in a domain name for FREE (you still have to see if it’s taken or not)! I have a special Bluehost discount for you through my link. You can start your own blog in an hour or less for as little as $3.95 per month!!
The only thing left to do now is decide which platform/site to build your blog on. Some are more user-friendly than others. Many bloggers love WordPress, but it can be difficult — really difficult — for beginners who aren’t tech savvy. If that describes you, I highly recommend Weebly. It was perfect for my first blog, and such an easy platform for beginners. Plus, Weebly has some really nice templates to choose from so your blog looks professional right from the start.
Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing may be the best course of all for anyone who already has or would like to start a blog and doesn’t want it to become a big old black hole where time and money escaped never to be seen again. Even if you have nothing to sell, don’t intend on making physical products or ebooks etc. to make money online, your blog can still earn you a decent passive income! That’s such good news — blogs take lots of time and effort, and if you build a nice following, you can offer your audience some wonderful products or services that you already love.
That is a win-win for sure! You help your readers by sharing awesome things you already use and love, and they already trust your opinions or they wouldn’t be your regular subscribers, right? And you’re benefitted by the products or services you share with your readers by forming partnerships (affiliate) with those businesses or companies. For every sale you make through your blog with that affiliate link, you make a commission.
Imagine getting a check in the mail, or automatic Paypal deposit every month just for having a few affiliate links on your blog (that many of you are just doing for fun and enjoyment)! It’s very cool. Michelle Schroeder-Gardener, over at Making Sense of Cents, has created the most comprehensive Affiliate Marketing course I have ever taken on the hows and whys of affiliate marketing. It’s really worth every single cent of the cost of the course (which is very decent for what took me a couple months to finish–since I was doing it part time). You’ll never regret this one… I promise!!
Pinteresting Strategies by Carly on Purpose over at the fabulous Mommy on Purpose blog, is the best thing I’ve studied about increasing Pinterest traffic, yet! This girl has done her homework, and it’s very apparent in the course she’s put together that’s a meaty 16 chapters of easy-to-follow valuable Pinterest strategy.
Carly is not a proponent of scheduled pinning, and she tells you why right from the start. With any good thing that is wildly successful, you do have to work at it. Carly has mastered the way Pinterest “perceives” its users and has been rewarded over and over again with her Pinterest numbers. I highly recommend Carly’s course, Pinteresting Strategies if you want to go over and above with your numbers and score big time with Pinterest.