Browsing Category: Books

Unconventional Guide to Freelance Writing Review

I’ve review quite a few Unconventional Guides and as the name suggests, they are written to help you take the beaten path with entrepreneurship. This release is geared for freelance writers with the goal of making this creative endeavor a profitable one and break the stereotype of a starving writer.

There are quite a few talented writers out there, but they may not familiar with the business side of things or know how to approach editors and pitch their skills. This new guide is designed to do just that.

What’s Inside Unconventional Guide to Freelance Writing?

rewview unconventional guide freelance writing

As with other Unconventional Guides, there is a ton of information and resources that not only give you an overview of the process, but practical steps and tactics that you can use to find your next gig. If you are interested in just testing the waters, there is a Pen for Hire Edition that will get you started and it includes:

  • The Ultimate Freelancers Guide:  Amber Adrian, 10 year freelance writing veteran, created a 55-page guide with practical steps for crafting a pitch, sample rates for a variety of writing projects, and how to manage yourself as a business professional. She also goes into topics like when and how to raise your rates.
  • The Big List or Links and Resources: A comprehensive list of vetted resources and online tools every freelancer should have on speed dial.
  • “Rejection Be Damned” Tools for Success: Within the half dozen smaller and more targeted guides,  topics like overcoming writer’s block and being an introverted freelancer.

If you decide to plunge in with the Editor in Chief Edition you get everything listed above and some big bonuses, including:

  • Sample Pitches and Letters of Introduction. You’ll get your hands on actual pitch letters and LOIs that have successfully landed freelance writing work in legit publications.
  • Bonus Author Interviews. You’ll get the transcripts of eight Q&A’s with successful freelance writers from all genres. Each interviewee shares their personal secrets on how they land their best business, how they got their first gig, and what unconventional methods they use to get their writing out to the world.
  •  44 minute audio interview with seasoned travel writer Kristin Luna who lands bylines in heavy-hitting publications including Newsweek, Forbes, Redbook, Self and Glamour, and has contributed to several Frommer’s travel guidebooks.

Depending on how much time, you’re investing into freelance writing, you may opt for the Pen for Hire edition to test the waters out. Either edition you decide to go with, once you buy an Unconventional Guide you get lifetime updates.

Who is the Unconventional Guide to Freelance Writing For?

After reviewing the material in the main guide, I’d suggest that this would be a great fit for someone who has dabbled with writing on the side and is looking to make the transition into full-time work.

There is a lot of information specifically geared towards getting better paying writing assignments. If you want to grab a copy, please click here and pick the edition that works for your situation.

If you’re interested in working for yourself, but know that writing is not your cup of tea, then I recommend you check out either Break Out of the 9-5 Guide or the Unconventional Guide to Freelancing (more geared towards those who already started).

Do you absolutely need this guide to help you become a freelance writer? No, but I think for the price, you get incredible value as you have sample pitches and letters of introductions. With a few tweaks to them, you can come across as a professional.

With list of contacts already assembled and right at your fingers, you save quite a bit of time. For those two reasons alone, I think the price for the guide is quite reasonable.

Whatever you decide, I wish you success on your freelance writing. If you have any questions about the guide, please email me.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. 

Financially Fearless

financially fearless review alexa von tobel

With the new year beginning, I decided it would be appropriate that my first 2014 book review would be on mastering your personal finances painlessly. Too many people quit their goal of getting control on their money and many times it’s because they haven’t found a system that works with them.

If you’re looking at becoming more confident with handling your hard earned money, then you may want to check Financially Fearless  out. It’s a  new release from Alexa von Tobel, founder and CEO of LearnVest. If you’re not familiar with LearnVest, quite it’s about making financial planning an affordable and practical option for most people.

Basic Book Infofinancially fearless review alexa von tobel

  • Full Title: Financially Fearless: The LearnVest Program for Taking Control of Your Money
  • Author: Alexa von Tobel
  • Price: $15

Just last week I chatted with Alexa and got her thoughts about the book and how its release coincides with LearnVest’s mission.

What’s Financially Fearless About

The book is packed with information, but it’s fairly easy to read and filled with constructive advice that most people need to know if they want to master their money. The book is divided into several sections:

  • Where You Are Right Now-> The first part of the book covers getting the right money mindset and reflecting on how you’ve dealt with money in the past. Most of us have developed certain attitudes or habits through the years that have a huge effect on how we’re doing financially in the present. To help get a sense of how you’ll reach your goals while taking care of your bills, von Tobel has you run the numbers (and shows you just how easy it can be).
  • Your 50/20/30 Plan -> Alexa gives a system on how to create a real budget that allows you to save for your future while still giving you room to have fun with your money right now.
  • Protect Yourself -> Another point that Alexa stresses is making sure that your finances are on firm ground. I think most of us know how quickly emergencies can pop up so having your money in protected is a practical priority. The last major section is filled with how you can protect your money from life, others, and even yourself.
  • Pay It Forward-> After covering how to jump-start your finances, von Tobel encourages readers to spread the word and help others by starting a LearnVest Club to keep one another accountable.

This book is not meant to be read, it’s designed to be used as von Tobel included worksheets, tips, and checkpoints throughout it. With each section, there are plenty of ideas and tactics to apply in your life.

Becoming Financially Fearless

Alexa was very clear that the book was a part of the LearnVest mission of empower people everywhere to take control of their personal finances. Financially Fearless does a great job with that. The ton of the book is very encouraging and at the same time, the advice is pragmatic and actionable. There are things you can do at the end of each chapter that give you more power and control with your money.

Build Real Budgets – 50/20/30 Rule

To show you  how usable this book is, I’m going to give an overview of one chapter – budgets. One shortcoming Alexa addresses is the matter of budgets. She mentioned that people tend to fail with budgets because they don’t take into account how people truly spend their money.

Instead of focusing on budgets of what you can’t spend and do, Alexa uses the 50/20/30 method to handle both necessities and wants. How does it work?

  • 50%: Covers your essential expenses like rent/mortgage, food, utilities, and transportation
  • 20%: This money is allocated for your savings goals including retirement and kid’s college fund.
  • 30%: Alexa refers to this as lifestyle choices.

For some this framework is the perfect way for them to see their finances. Having a big enough chunk of their money dedicated to the things that make them happy while still taking care of their current and future needs will curb their spending behavior.

Thoughts on Financially Fearless

I think this is a very handy book for those looking at getting their money squared away this year. For those looking at getting a professional to work with them on their financial goals, LearnVest is offering a $50 credit good towards a 5 year plan, just use use the promo code “couplemoney50”. I think that those serious and wanting to get a second set of eyes could get a huge benefit with this.

How Much Money Do I Need to Retire Review?

how much to retire review

how much to retire reviewToday I want to share a review (and giveaway!) for readers looking to retire smart. Todd Tressider, from Financial Mentor, has a wonderful book out. While the book is certainly a manageable size, there is a lot of information packed into the pages. Tresidder walks through how you can get an idea of what you need to have saved so your money doesn’t run out while you’re retired.

Basic Book Info on How Much to Retire

The kindle edition is $4.99, which is a steal, considering how much is covered in the book.

How Much You Need to Retire According to Conventional Retirement Planning

The book is broken up into main sections, based on different models that can be used to plan for retirement. The first section addressed is the conventional model, where financial advisers and calculators taken certain inputs and gives you a number or a range to shoot for.

He explains and helps you answer some important retirement questions, including:

  • How much income do I need for retirement?
  • How does inflation impact the amount of money I need for retirement?
  • How does life expectancy impact the mount of money I need to retire?
  • How much will my company pension and social security pay during retirement?
  • How much investment income can I expect during retirement?
  • How does the order of returns and market valuation affect your investment return assumption?

What I appreciate is that Todd pulls no punches with these questions and more. He shares the math and studies relevant to each question. You are encourage to run the numbers yourself and decide whether or not conventional retirement planning suits your needs.

From here, the second section covers creative retirement planning. Todd goes over how you can adjust and tweak your current lifestyle and assumptions based on scenario analysis. He gives some practical advice on how you can turn activities and hobbies that you enjoy into income streams that you can utilize when you retire. For couples approaching their retirement and are looking to shore up their finances, this section is for you.

The last section gives the cash flow model, which Todd used himself and allowed him to ‘retire’ (be financially independent) at 35. He crafted a three rule system handles inflation and life expectancy plus gives you diversified sources of income.

Autographed Book Giveaway

I met Mr. Tresidder last week in St. Louis and I attended one of his sessions. Not only is he extremely knowledgeable about investing, he is also a genuinely concerned about helping others get their retirement plan squared away.

He was kind enough to offer a couple pf autographed copies of his book and I’m giving them away on both my sites – one for a Couple Money and one for My Financial Reviews. There are several ways you can submit it:It’s simple to enter; I just want you to share your biggest retirement question by November 30, 2013. I’ll pick a winner December 1, 2013.

There are several ways you can submit it:

Once you do, just leave a comment below so I can record your entry.

Breaking Down the Walls Review

norma yaeger

Today I’m reviewing a book that is more than just finances and numbers, which is always a treat for me. While I enjoy reading about finances, I find it more fascinating to have it in a context of personal lives. Breaking Down the Walls is such a book.

It’s a new memoir from Norma Yaeger, founder of both Yaeger Securities and Yaeger Capital Markets. She had spent several decades in the investment business and has a number of gems and stories to share in her book.

Basic Book Info norma yaeger

  • Full Title: Breaking Down the Walls: 50 Courageous and Successful Years
  • Author: Norma Yaeger
  • Price: $11.95 (on Amazon)

Here’s a summary of what you can expect in Yaeger’s book:

Like most young women in the 1950’s, Norma Yaeger married young, had children, and depended on her husband to support their family. Unlike most women of the times, when things went awry and her husband failed to provide, Norma took it upon herself to make a better life for her and her kids.

It’s a mix between memoir and finances, where you get to see how Yaeger navigates through Wall Street’s male dominated culture and creates a space for herself and eventually others. For those curious about the struggles of balancing work and home back when there wasn’t much support for women, Norma’s tale is an encouraging one. She fought to get equal pay and respect from her superiors and colleagues.

Thoughts on Breaking Down Walls

I think this book will appeal to many readers. It’s not just about a woman breaking barriers, it has some great behind the scenes information about the stock market’s history and culture. Drawing upon her professional experience Yaeger is able to succinctly explain some of the big differences between how investing used to be done and how it done now.

It’s about finding balance between family and work. It also contains an example of maintaining integrity and doing things the honest way instead of taking shorts.