Maybe It’s Time To Ignore The News

Only Relevant Info Remains After We Stop Actively Following Current Events

It may be time for us to stop watching the news. All of us are bombarded by an unprecedented amount of content. The amount of content created each day is expanding at a rate that the average person couldn’t even comprehend.


Your friends, family, favorite influencers, and brands are all competing for your attention — every single second. The only possible way that the news outlets can get their own space in our minds is to spread bad news. “If it bleeds, it leads,” is an age-old phrase commonly used in the media world. With both the consistent acceleration of content being made and the increased access that nations are having to each other, things may seem worse than ever before.


The more that you consume the news, the more this sense of apocalyptic-fear will grow. The news is important but, we must become selective in what we consume. If you were to quit actively consuming the news, only to hear about current events from daily conversation, you will know what is really necessary news. For only the most relevant information tends to stick in our minds. All other news is often sensational, fear-inducing clickbait designed to generate impressions and clicks for ad revenue.


Career Design: Searching For A Combination Of Skills That Make You Irreplaceable

For Every Job Replaced, A New One Will Be Created

I’m an optimist. Instead of expecting not to have a job in the future because automation, I expect that there will be more new jobs than ever before. With this emergence of new jobs however, I am worried about making sure that I am consistently learning new skills that can be transferable. Instead of searching for that dream job, I am more concerned with growing a large combination of skills.


In 2007, author and cartoonist Scott Adams published a career advice article on skills acquisition. In this article, he explains that we should not be aiming to be in the top 1% of one specific skill. Instead, we should be focusing on being in the top 25% in a combination of skills. Using this tactic will make us more successful in the long run. He gives an example of how this approach helped him in his own career, creating one of the most popular cartoon comic strips in the world, Dilbert. Thirteen years later and his advice still rings true.


Becoming So Useful That You Seem Irreplaceable

Job security may be a remnant of the past but, there should still be methods that we can use to ensure we at least seem as irreplaceable as possible, in the eyes of the people we work with. The last thing anyone ever wants to be is a replaceable cog in the system, waiting to be usurped by cheaper labor. This applies to any professional working in any industry. So how do we showcase our usefulness, how do we show our clients, teammates, and bosses that we are irreplaceable?


We can show others that we are irreplaceable by bringing a unique set of skills to the table. What represents a person more than their job title is the set of demonstrable skills that they have. Even though this idea may seem obvious, skills aren’t necessarily discussed in the typical college setting. Students who have not yet entered the workforce don’t seem to notice that their studies don’t lead to the acquisition of applicable skills.


Understanding theories and concepts are always vital to the learning process yet, to really be ready to work in an industry requires the acquisition of skills. Having studied marketing case studies doesn’t necessarily mean that you know how to create a marketing campaign from scratch. Taking four years to learn photography and doesn’t necessarily prepare you for dealing with a picky client. This goes to show that we have to take a different approach to growing as young professionals.


Key Skills Everyone Should Know, Regardless Of What Industry They’re In

There must certainly be universal skills that transfer over to multiple industries and positions. Take for example, the ability to communicate effectively in both one’s writing and in public speaking. No matter the job, there will come a time each day that you will have to either speak or write to communicate with your team and clients. The better you are at asking and answering questions, delegating tasks clearly, and communicating your ideas will increase the chances of you advancing in your career.


Another transferable skill that you may want to cultivate is the ability to give and receive feedback. This skill is essential because without feedback, you nor your team can improve. Being able to give feedback may be more critical a skill to learn, as people are emotional and the ability to help others without appearing mean will considerably affect your career. Additionally, not being sensitive whenever you’re told to redo an assignment will show that you are a good listener. And it will show that you care more about the task at hand, rather than your own ego.


I am certain that the ability to learn quickly will also be useful to any team you are in. If you can learn new skills and concepts quickly, you help your team save money on training costs. Having the initiative to educate yourself on topics that relate to your industry also indicates an ability to potentially teach others. Also, if you can create a system of self-education, you standout amongst other professionals who become complacent and comfortable in their positions.


Lastly, time management is an essential skill that you must get and cultivate at any stage of your career. Without good time management skills, you will become unreliable. People won’t be able to trust you when you say that you will submit an assignment by a certain time. If you have good time management skills, at a certain point you’ll be able to manage and delegate tasks to other people. The more you cultivate this skill, the faster the teams that you manage will grow.


I am certain that there are many other skills that are equally as important to the four mentioned above. Above all else, what will make you an attractive candidate in any future job application will be your ability to clearly showcase your list of skills. There will always be jobs that require certifications and a minimum educational requirement but, what will become more important over time is demonstrating what skills you have that others don’t.


If you can start considering what unique set of skills you have right now, which skills you’d like to add, and how you want to demonstrate them, you will be well on your way to becoming incredibly useful to others. The more useful you become, the more irreplaceable you will seem.


The Goal Is Being Comfortable

Is Becoming A Billionaire A Practical Goal?

I used to believe that the only way to be truly successful was to become a billionaire. I wanted to become a notable entrepreneur, someone who had a huge impact on society, and someone who made my family proud. This is what I used to believe when I was still in college, taking entrepreneurship workshops and reading books that taught me how to start my own business.


Sometime during my senior year of college, I behaved frantically. Every month I tried to come up with a billion-dollar idea that would help make the name Kenny Soto a household name. I even tried creating an educational non-profit called Futures For Students with my mentor Maurice Bretzfield. My hopes were that I could become a “billionaire philanthropist.” Needless to say, my dreams were all over the place and I had no clear focus on what I wanted out of life.


After graduating from college and seeing none of my ideas come to fruition, I took some time to ask myself, “Do I really need to be an entrepreneur?” “Perhaps I don’t need to be a business owner to be successful.” These thoughts seemed to go against everything I believed to be true when it came to what I was seeing online. As I took to the internet to research successful people, I came to the conclusion that I didn’t even understand what the word billion even meant.


There is a stark difference between a billion and a million. If you search on Google, “a million seconds versus a billion seconds,” you will find this search result:

  • “A million seconds is 12 days. A billion seconds is 31 years.” [make the bullet a star]

If you compare the numbers in relation to time, instead of money, the difference between them becomes clear. To even think that I could become a billionaire is the most ridiculous goal I have ever had. Yet, knowing that the odds of becoming a billionaire are slim I still can’t help but wonder, what should I strive for? Isn’t it okay to have impossible goals and dreams?


I can’t remember which movie or TV show I was watching when I heard this joke so forgive me for not giving the source due credit. This joke isn’t my own and I am paraphrasing:

“Whenever you enter the very uncomfortable topic of income in a group conversation, there is one response that indicates someone is rich. No one with a middle-class income ever says that they’re comfortable. That word in itself is more startling to hear than someone actually answering the question with a number.”


I want to be comfortable. I believe that since this goal doesn’t necessarily equate to any one number but, an income range, it should be more practical a goal. When I think of the word “comfortable” what comes to mind is not having to worry about my basic needs. These needs include my rent or mortgage, my phone bill, monthly groceries, monthly outing costs, and insurance bills. Being comfortable for me means not necessarily retiring to never work again but, to work for the projects and passions I care about without feeling stuck.

Taking Charge Of My Financial Education

In 2019, I took it upon myself to take my finances more seriously. I was lucky enough to be debt-free, having no student loan or credit card debt associated with my name. However, I knew that if I didn’t start learning about how to manage my money, I would eventually end up having debt creep back into my life.


I had read articles, blog posts, seen countless youtube videos, and read 2-3 books on the topic of financial education beforehand. However, none of that helped me to create an actual plan that I could act upon. None of these resources helped me to create a plan with clear financial figures as my goals. Again, I know now that I will most likely never become a billionaire. Yet, my financial plan now has me striving to become a millionaire.


In MONEY Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom by Tony Robbins, he helps his readers understand how to create a reasonable financial plan. Reading the book yourself is the only way to appreciate the practical information that it contains, but I will speak from my own experience on what I learned.


The best way to achieve a comfortable lifestyle is to calculate your annual income at your ideal age of retirement. This annual income has to sustain itself without you working, meaning that you have to create a portfolio of assets to help you get to this amount.

Here’s a breakdown of three financial goals I calculated for my retirement while reading the book:

Financial Security Retirement Goal


Financial Independence Retirement Goal


Financial Freedom Retirement Goal



These figures are how much I would need to retire for 20 years at an annual after-tax income of $48,000. Now let us first focus on the goal of $48,000 annually. My first two jobs after college paid me $48,000 in pre-tax annual income and my third job paid me $60,000 in pre-tax annual income. I attained these jobs with only two years of experience under my belt.


Granted, these figures could only be attained because I was working in New York City. It goes without saying, however, that if I could make $48,000 a year, that I could also live within that lifestyle and consistently get jobs that pay me that much. I don’t necessarily plan to nor do I want to retire in NYC anyway. So the goal of a $48k-lifestyle seems like a very practical goal.


Now let us focus on my Financial Freedom Retirement goal of $2,028,000. This is the best-case scenario. This goal is attained if I grow a strong portfolio of assets and save 20% of my income, every year until I’m seventy years old. $2,028,000 is much more reasonable a goal than let us say one billion or even half a billion dollars. I have over forty years to make that money.


What if I don’t make that amount? That is where the $744,000 goal comes into play. Under the worst circumstances shooting for $744,000 in retirement savings seems like a practical goal. With this amount in savings, I would still need to work part-time at the age of seventy but, I could have all of my basic needs covered. Having my basic needs is all I want at the end of the day.

Why Shoot For Being Comfortable?

Being comfortable doesn’t mean that I stop working and live on a yacht, sailing around the globe and sipping martinis all day. When I am seventy years old, I would love to be able to not have to worry about my house, food, or how much I’m spending to take my grandchildren out every weekend. I want to be able to spend time with my family, write about whatever fancies my curiosity, and have the least amount of stress granted to me at that age.

There are plenty of financial columnists and bloggers out there that share their concerns of millennials not having a retirement savings goal or savings account for that matter! I prefer not to be a part of that statistic. Perhaps I will never become a billionaire. However, there is a good thing that comes from setting a clear number as my financial goal — retirement doesn’t seem unattainable anymore.


And while I am working towards retirement, I am still taking mini-retirements along the way.


$2,028,000 seems like a small number now. $2,028,000 isn’t scary. Attaining $2,028,000 would make me proud of myself while at the same time, encouraging me to continue working on what I care about. Let’s not forget that once you begin to attain money past $10,000,000 you start to lose your privacy, and you begin to gain more social responsibilities. “Mo’ money, mo’ problems,” as Biggie put it.


“The question isn’t at what age I want to retire, it’s at what income.”

— George Foreman

If you’ve read up to this point, I want to thank you for your time. Please share this article with someone you know who might like it too. If you have any questions, you can send me a tweet or a message on Instagram. I hope this article helped you in some way! Thanks again for your time and attention.


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How To Get Remote Work As A Writer (An Opportunity To Make Money While Traveling Or At Home)

Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance

There is an opportunity right now for anyone who wants to work from home. This opportunity is also for anyone who wants to travel the world and get paid at the same time. Before I begin explaining how this can be done, I want to start off with what this post is not about.


This post is not about:

  • Creating a popular travel vlog,
  • Creating an e-commerce site,
  • Being a remote coder,
  • Doing graphic design as a side hustle,
  • Or becoming an influencer

This post is about how to use a universal skill, the ability to write, to make a living. And yet, just because everyone can write, that doesn’t mean everyone is good at writing. I would also add that anyone can become a decent enough writer to get paid, given enough practice and time.


The First Step In Becoming A DECENT Writer: Defeating Writer’s Block

One of the most prolific writers in the world, Seth Godin, doesn’t believe in writer’s block. He explains that what writer’s block really is, is a fear the writer has of not being perfect. If you want to be a professional writer, you are going to eventually write bad work. This is why most writers, whether you’re a content writer or copywriter, have editors. It is the editor’s job to fix any bad work you make, it is your job to write. It is as simple as that.


Writer’s block is the most accessible excuse to use when you don’t want to fully commit to the craft of writing. What I have done to get rid of my own writer’s block is to write every single day. This is a practice that Seth Godin suggests to anyone struggling, whether they are an amateur or a seasoned veteran.


The famous author Ernest Hemingway purposefully stopped writing mid-sentence so that during the next day, he knows how to continue. I could badger you with a whole slew of techniques and practices on how to tackle writer’s block but, to keep things short and sweet: writer’s block goes away by writing. Don’t be afraid to write badly. Just plow through and write each sentence knowing fully well that you can always go back and edit them or have someone edit your work for you.


If you are considering how to start gaining experience, know that you can write about anything. The best way to start is by creating a blog. The easiest topics to write about tend to be your obsessions, so that’s where I suggest you begin. Once you get a handle on what your topic is, the next step will be figuring out whether or not you want to write for the sake of entertainment, to educate your audience, or to sell something.

Do You Want To Write Content Or Create Copy: Content Writers VS Copywriters

Content writers and copywriters serve two different needs. Content writers write for publications to drive traffic to a website and gather readers. Copywriters sell products or services in order to convert people — to have them spend their money. The best way to know which type of writer you want to be (and you can be both) is by trying each role out.


Try experimenting with writing articles and blog posts that try to entertain your audience, educate them, and sell them on an idea. You’ll get a feel for what you’re best at based on your audience’s responses. Even if you don’t an audience, the simple act of writing these pieces will give you a sign on what you like to write about.


You can also find inspiration by reading! The best writers are great readers and they read regularly. Make sure that throughout your writing journey, you always take the time to read. Read books, read blog posts, read the newsletters that are in your email inbox. See what you like and dislike, and why. This will also help you figure out what you want to write about and how you want to write.

Here’s a list of resources I’m currently using to help me become a better writer:

How To Get The Gig: Don’t Pitch, Ask Questions

After you have created a large body of work, showcasing your ability to write consistently with your own unique voice, the next step is getting hired. Finding remote work as a writer isn’t as hard as it may seem. It took me three months to find my first job. And in the grand scheme of things, three months isn’t a long period of time.


Note that before you even begin searching online for your remote content writer or copywriter job, know that you’ll be searching for clients — not a boss. It is important to make this shift in thinking if you’ve never worked as a remote worker before. You work for your boss. You work with your client. That is the key difference to consider when sending your CV/resume to businesses that are hiring.


I mention this key difference between bosses and clients because the interview process you’ll experience will be different from a typical in-person interview. In any remote job interview, especially ones for remote writing positions, you’ll stand out more if you don’t sell yourself and your skills. I’ve found that clients tend to hire writers who understand them: their expectations, their needs, their concerns,  and the needs of their customers.


The only way to understand your potential client is if you don’t sell yourself and instead, focus on asking them questions. If you got the interview, the selling part is already over. Some jobs will require that you take a written-skills test or a writing assignment. This may be the hardest part of the interview process. However, if you write regularly you will have a higher chance of successfully passing these tests, as they usually are used to access your ability to write grammatically. They were sold on your skills when they saw your CV/resume. Now what they want to see is that you are professional and that you understand what is expected of you. The best way to do that is to show an earnest curiosity in their business and asking questions helps you with that.


Some example questions I have used include:

  • Have you ever hired someone for this position before? Were they also working remotely?
  • What communication problems have you had in the past with previous writers?
  • Do you use a writing manual?
  • Do you examples of past posts or copy that showcases the brand’s voice? What are the best examples?
  • How often do you need to be on a call with me and what times work best for you?
  • What are your monthly, quarterly, and annual goals for website traffic, sales, etc.?
  • What calendar and task management tools do you use?

Where I Found My Remote Writing Jobs

I found all of my copywriting jobs on both AngelList and Craigslist.

AngelList is another great platform I’ve used to find writing jobs. I prefer to use AngelList over LinkedIn because remote writing jobs posted on LinkedIn require years of experience. AngelList is a platform where start-ups are posting open jobs, so the opportunity to find a gig where you don’t need actual professional experience is much higher! If you want a specific recommendation, I suggest searching for the unpaid internship positions first. Once you’ve done two to three of them successfully, you can then use your past experience to get paid positions and ask your previous clients for referrals.


Using Craigslist surprised me because I wasn’t expecting that much when I first started searching for opportunities. Then I realized that there are a bunch of businesses outside of the United States that need native English speakers to create content and sell for them. As of writing this, that is where the low-hanging fruit is, any country that doesn’t have English as its first language. If you’re looking for specific recommendations, search for writing jobs within Japan, South Korea, and Hong Kong. I have had great luck with these three countries.


Becoming a remote copywriter or content writer is only difficult if you are searching for an easy way to start. The difficulty tends to go down the more you write and build your body of work. I have been blogging for five years so, even though I didn’t have any professional experience, I still stood out whenever I applied for a position.


Perhaps becoming a remote writer is something you want to do. If so, know that I am not the only resource out there. I learned from resources available on the internet and so can you. I hope this post becomes a starting point for your journey to becoming a remote writer.


“The key to preparation is to strike a balance between knowing what’s out there and being optimistically ignorant.”Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel by Rolf Potts, Page 50

If you’ve read up to this point, I want to thank you for your time. Please share this article with someone you know who might like it too. If you have any questions, you can send me a tweet or a message on Instagram. I hope this article helped you in some way! Thanks again for your time and attention.


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Here’s What You Should Do When You Quit Your Next Job

The case for taking a mini-retirement

Have you ever had a job so soul-sucking that you hated the thought of waking up and starting your commute? This job may have had horrible coworkers, a boss that couldn’t seem to appreciate you, or the work itself was way too tedious and boring. Regardless of whether or not you hated the job, I am sure that the thought of quitting may have crossed your mind. Perhaps you may have already quit a job or two. The next time you quit your job, I want you to consider a new approach.


This approach for quitting your next job is to help you maximize your time between jobs. In the ideal case, before you quit any job you should definitely have some interviews lined up and ideally, you should also have some actual offers as well. However, before accepting your next job and you start the daily grind all over again, I propose that you take a mini-retirement.


Rediscover what work means to you

The idea of a mini-retirement originally came from author and lifestyle designer Tim Ferriss, in his book The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich. In this book, he describes the mini-retirement as a period of time in which you are not working the typical job. This is not a sabbatical nor is it a time where you do absolutely no work either. A mini-retirement serves the purpose of self-discovery. This can be done by taking six months to a year traveling the world, taking three months to learn a new craft, or simply taking a month to read some books or exercise more.


The mini-retirement is a reset button — a very necessary reset button for anyone who has worked in a job they didn’t like for a year or more. The danger in hopping from one job to another without taking a substantial break is that you may fall into a pattern where you find yourself in the same situation over and over again. For the first two years of my career, I found myself constantly trying to climb the corporate ladder.


I never seemed to fit in with any of the teams I was working with. I was self-serving and only cared about collecting accolades and titles. I thought that if I had any large gaps between jobs in my resume, I would look like an unfavorable candidate to the next hiring manager. I was always seeking the next dream job. When I finally got into the best job I could ever ask for, I was miserable. It was only after taking a necessary six-month break from 2017-2018 that I saw what my faults were and how to fix them.


During those six months I was working as a freelance marketer but, I didn’t work for more than fifteen hours each week. The rest of my time was spent staying home, reading, writing, watching anime, and spending time with friends and family. Those six months helped me to see how important it is to take long breaks. This break, in particular, was crucial for my personal and professional development.


After that six-month mini-retirement, I decided to pivot and live in China as an English teacher. One year and ten months later, I decided to take another mini-retirement. This time I am traveling the world for an indefinite period of time. I’m financing this trip with part-time copywriting work, working remotely from whichever country I decide to live in.


How you should set up your own mini-retirement

There are several steps that you need to take to make sure you can come back to the professional world, whether you want your mini-retirement to last one month or one year. You don’t need to go on some pilgrimage around the world if you don’t want to. Your mini-retirement can be as simple as staying home and working on your own personal projects. What is important to note is that you have to create a proper plan before quitting your job.


The first and most critical part of your plan will be your finances. Whether you are in a job you love or you are in a job you really need to leave, you should be considering how you are creating and managing your financial runway. Your financial runway is an account, ideally a savings account, that is used to store cash for future monthly expenses. In the most ideal scenario, you should be saving enough money to have three to six months of your total monthly expenses covered if you aren’t working. These expenses include your average monthly expenses for food and general outings, your rent, and your bills (credit card, student loans, etc.). The best way to make sure that this actually gets done is to automate your savings.


Once you’ve established what that exact amount is and you actually save that money, then you should consider what your mini-retirement will look like. The only goal you should set for yourself when designing your mini-retirement is making it so that you learn something. I say this because there will come a time, very early within your mini-retirement, where you will feel aimlessness kick in. You will want to work, work on anything, to feel a sense of purpose and to tackle your inevitable boredom.


During my first mini-retirement, I wanted to learn what was I doing wrong when it came to connecting with my past coworkers. It was a time for self-reflection and the goal was to become a better team member in future jobs. During my second mini-retirement (the one I am doing now) my goal is to learn how to be a better writer.


You want to make sure you have a clear goal to make sure you maximize your mini-retirement. That goal can be something as simple as, “I want to learn how to cook all of the recipes in that cookbook my aunt bought me last Christmas.” Keep the goal simple and if for whatever reason you don’t accomplish it during your first mini-retirement, you can always do another one in the future!

Telling your boss you’re leaving and what to expect afterward

Once come to terms that it’s time to leave your job, saved your money, and designed your mini-retirement, the next step is to tell your boss. The best way to approach this is by sending a simple 30-days notice email (or two-weeks notice if you are really in a hurry) and setting up an exit-interview. I suggest doing this so you can leave on the best of terms, in the case that after your mini-retirement you have an epiphany and realize that you actually like the job you’re in and want to come back.


You don’t need to be too specific when letting your boss know your future plans. Your reason for leaving can be as simple as, “I’m doing this to focus on my mental health,” or “I am taking a break from work to reconsider what I want from my career.” If you are a great asset to your team, your boss and your HR representative will try their best to keep you. Stand firm and let them know that you put a lot of thought into this decision and won’t be swayed. Even if there is ill-will between you and the boss (or any other member of your team) take the high ground and be as polite as possible throughout the entire transition period.


Once the news that you are leaving spreads across the office, your coworkers will inevitably ask why you’re leaving and what you are planning to do next. How much information you want to tell them is up to you, but I personally tend to be vague unless I have a strong connection with whoever is asking me. Most people won’t understand why you’re leaving if you tell them that you’re quitting to take a six-month break to work on yourself. Save yourself the time and let them find out on their own after you leave.


After your last day at work, your immediate challenges will be:

  • dealing with boredom,
  • avoiding work for work’s sake,
  • and immediately going into a new job.

You will not be the only person that has ever taken a mini-retirement. One way to help yourself stay true to your decision and keep pushing forward will be to research what other people have done or are currently doing during their own mini-retirements. Reading The 4-Hour Workweek or watching videos on Youtube are two resources to leverage. And remember, if at any point you feel like you want to end your mini-retirement early, that is okay too. You are in complete control.

What to do when you want to go back into the professional world

Now while reading this, I am sure at some point you asked yourself, “This sounds great and all, but what do I do after the mini-retirement is over? How do I get my next job?” Use what you’ve learned and the story of planning your mini-retirement in your resume. It certainly makes for a more interesting story if, during your mini-retirement, you made an adventure of it and traveled. However, if that isn’t what you did that is fine too.


Showcase the positives of the mini-retirement. What did you learn? How did it make you a better person? What did you come away with? If you can answer these questions and use them to create a narrative, the hiring manager interviewing you will be more keen on what you have to say. If you want to know how to actually write this in your resume, there are resources on LinkedIn that you can use if you research, “how to explain resume/career gaps.”  There are a ton of career experts who have written about this topic and their information is free!

If you’ve read up to this point, I want to thank you for your time. Please share this article with someone you know who may need their own mini-retirement. If you have any questions, you can send me a tweet or a message on Instagram. I hope this article helped you consider the idea of a mini-retirement. You don’t need to wait until you’re 65 years-old to enjoy some much needed time off.


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