Category: Financial Freedom

The Best Free Tools for Entrepreneurs

I love, love, love free stuff.  Soooo, so much.  If it’s free, I’ll definitely give it a try. No matter what.  Of course, sometimes I get what I pay for and it sucks.  But then I will eventually stumble upon a gem that I can’t get enough of.  The kind of thing that I can’t believe is free and then I become totally hooked.

So obviously through my years of entrepreneurial pursuits I’ve gathered some pretty amazing free tools that help me do whatever it is I’m passionate about at the moment. These are those tools.  Some might not be strictly business, but as we all know, when you’re an entrepreneur your life and business become so intertwined that at times they are indistinguishable.  Which is the BEST part of being an entrepreneur.

So here we go!  The absolute best free tools for entrepreneurs:

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The Life-Changing Power of Goal Setting

I know this sounds ridiculously corny, so I’m hesitant to even write an entire post about it, but I’m telling you – this one simple activity is how my husband and I have (and are) achieving all of our dreams in record timing.  It’s why I’m able to stay at home with my son, how we bought two investment properties, are learning a second language, have spent our summer traveling, have become vegan, the list goes on and on…

So here’s the really simplistic, dumbed-down gist of how we’ve made it all happen:  Every few months (if we’re lucky, weeks), we sit down and formally Goal Set.  I’m emphasizing formally and capitalizing Goal Set on purpose – it’s that big of a deal and that big of an event for us…it’s better than a date night (actually, we love it so much that it basically is a date night). But most importantly, it consistently and reliably always works – sometimes it’s scary how much so.

So here’s what we do, and how you can (and should) do it too:

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7 Important Reasons to Pay Off Your Mortgage

For the most part, the classic American dream includes home ownership.  A comfortable job, a vacation once a year, and a place to call home.  What’s funny is that the vast majority of us are relying on 30-year mortgages to “own” our homes.  So, in some sense, we really aren’t owning them – we just feel like we are.  And it’s so commonplace to have a mortgage that nobody really second-guesses it.

To be fair, there are some benefits of having a mortgage.  But does that really mean that it’s a good idea for everyone? Should it be the norm?  I’m not convinced.  Here are some of the biggest reasons I think it’s a good idea to pay off your mortgage (and why we’re doing it):

Related post: How to Pay Off the Mortgage Early
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How We Bought Our First Investment Property

Investing in real estate is an amazing way to diversify your portfolio and ironically it is much easier than most people think.  In this day and age it can be nearly impossible to build wealth from a paycheck alone, so most of us need to think outside of the (career) box if we really want to live the comfortable lifestyle that we all dream of.

My husband and I purchased our first investment property 3 years ago and it was one of the best decisions we ever made.  We rarely even think about it nowadays, yet it is still making money for us behind the scenes.  We aren’t handy-types or real estate experts, yet it still was a great investment choice.  It is honestly something that anyone can do, as long as you make smart decisions in the beginning.

So here’s what we did to buy our first investment property:

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The Best WordPress Plugins for Beginner Bloggers

There are a ton of roadblocks that make starting a blog intimidating and setting up the actual website is certainly one of them – especially if you’re a writer at heart. Thank goodness for WordPress!  If you’re still in the very early stages of setting up a blog and haven’t picked a platform yet, please take this one piece of advice – CHOOSE WORDPRESS.  If you don’t, at some point in the next year you will be migrating your site to WordPress and it will be a pain in the butt.

The reason is plain and simple – WordPress makes everything extremely easy.  And one of the ways they do that is by offering thousands of plugins that add special functions, bells, and whistles to our sites.  All of the plugins listed below are free, so I highly recommend you just add them right away.  I use each and every one of them, so everything I’m telling you is from my own experience.

Here we go! The best WordPress plugins for beginner bloggers:

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Why You Should Make Money from Your Photography (And How to Actually Do It)

Ok, it’s probably no surprise to any of you that I love using my photography to make a little side income (I use Zazzle to do this, but there are other similar sites). It has been one of my favorite hobbies for a really long time and over the past few years it’s been a nice source of extra spending money.

I’ve written a few times about the different ways you can actually use Zazzle to make money from your photography (I’ll list them below for reference).  But I thought it would also be worthwhile to tell you exactly why it is worth your time to add sites like Zazzle to your portfolio of hobbies and/or income sources. And more importantly, why you should be using your photographs (that you’re already taking!) to make some extra money.

Here are the other articles to check out if you’re as excited as I am about this:

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5 Reasons You Should NOT Pay Off Your Mortgage

I recently wrote about some quick and easy ways to pay off your mortgage early, but talking to everyone about that made me realize one important thing – paying off the mortgage is not necessarily a good idea for everyone. In fact, for some people paying off the mortgage may do more harm than good.  And for lots of people hanging onto the mortgage may actually help to grow their bottom line.

Here’s why:

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16 Different Ways I’m Increasing My Blog’s Pinterest Traffic

There are two main elements to a successful blog – great content and powerful marketing. And while most conventional advice says to spread your marketing efforts over various platforms, pretty much all bloggers quickly realize one thing – Pinterest is everything.

But for those that haven’t yet realized, I will say it again – Pinterest is everything.  Yes, of course you should have a Facebook page and a Twitter account and the obligatory Google Plus account, but none of those are as important as Pinterest.  Not only does it drive the most qualified traffic, but it has the highest revenue per click rate of all social media platforms.  This is really, really important.  These are the people that click on your ads and purchase your recommendations and use your recipes again and again and again.

Now that I’ve made my pitch, here’s the important stuff!  Here are all the things I’m doing to try and increase my own blog’s Pinterest traffic:
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18 Lifestyle Upgrades that Everyone Should Own

So our taxes have been filed and I’m waiting, waiting, waiting for our money.  I have SO many things that I want to do with it!  As I wait, I’ve of course been making a list of all of the things I’d like – and I figured, why not make a list of all of the things that everyone should have? Not just stuff, but the items that end up being a truly amazing lifestyle upgrade.

So here it is!  Some of these I know from experience, some I’m just hoping will be as amazing as I imagine.

Enjoy 🙂

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