The College Discussion

I have about a week and a half until I graduate college and as I stand on the edge of this portion of my life I think I ought to reflect back and share my experiences and go over the whole “college thing” since that seems to be a hot topic nowadays. Let’s get some background out of the way first, I graduated high school in 2014 with above average grades and above average ACT score and all that stuff. I was smart and I went to good schools and I had all of that going for me. I went to Missouri University of Science and Technology for Mechanical Engineering and then I later added Engineering Management (exactly what it sounds like) to my curriculum as well. It took my 5 years to get both of those degrees and I took a co-op as well (I was ahead of schedule it would normally take 5.5 years to do that). I also failed a class during my time here (differential equations which is after Calculus 3) and I took 12 hours of summer class throughout my time here as well. So that’s a little bit about my college background academically so I’ll give you my hot take on college now.

There’s a lot of debate surrounding colleges these days for instance we probably all heard about the various college admission scandals and how parents are paying their kid’s way to prestigious colleges. We’ve heard of some of the larger tech companies no longer requiring 4-year degrees. We’ve heard about the overqualified Starbucks barista that has a 4-year degree in humanities and can’t find a job and is in lots of student debt. There is lots to be heard so let’s jump into some of the issues.

First off, your decision to go to college or not. There is an old school style of thinking from our parents that I believe pressures often, too many people to go to college. I think that’s fair to say that our parents want us to succeed and believe a college degree is the golden ticket to get us there. There’s also a mentality that college is unnecessary in the world of instant limitless information and with the internet and the ability to become an entrepreneur or start your own business overnight sways people that they don’t need to go to college and that it is a waste of money. To me that seems to be the two mentalities in each corner of the ring.

From my perspective if I want to do what I am doing I had to go to college. Sure, you can learn all there is to know about engineering from buying books and doing all of that on your own, but you need documentation and proof and a degree to get a job anywhere. I think having the college qualifications is necessary for my career path, it would be hard to convince a company that you should work for them and build bridges, buildings, roads, cars etc. that must be built safely when you have no official qualifications. I can clearly see the other perspective as well, if you want to be an entrepreneur you don’t need to get a business degree, one of my best friends has built out a 6-figure dropshipping store and built programs and what not around that and he dropped out of college his sophomore year. For some things you don’t need a college degree, for others I think it would be next to impossible to get a job without it. I know there are a lot of people in one camp or the other and refuse to see the other side and I think it is frustrating to hear, as a successful college student, with a job walking out of here that college is a big scam and isn’t worth it when I can clearly proof otherwise and will do so in the following paragraphs.

Another factor that should contribute to a decision to go to college or not is a simple cost benefit analysis. It’s very simple what is the benefit of the degree, the job, the opportunities, etc. of going to college vs. the cost of college. To give you an example I will take my personal numbers into account and demonstrate the cost benefit of the education I have received for what I paid. I should note that I am very fortunate to have parent’s that have worked hard all of their lives and have paid for my college almost in its entirety and due to this I am not all that familiar with student loans or how that affects cost but I will continue with the numbers I have at hand and go from there.

I pulled for 2017-2018 rates for both freshman and as a sophomore -senior the rates for tuition for the year. (https://futurestudents.mst.edu/costs/cost-estimates/) For your average freshman including room and board, books, classes, fees, tuition, everything it would cost $25,000 for a year at S&T. For a sophomore through senior, that cost is $23,0000 a year. As I mentioned before I went to school for 5 years, (really 4.5 but I’ll count 5 for easier math) which would equate to a total cost of $117,000 for attending here the last 5 years. There are however a lot of discrepancies so let’s discuss those. That number does not count for scholarships so that would lead to $3,000 a year off that price so down to $102,000. There have also been dramatic price increases to my college since I’ve been here, but I won’t factor that in (I believe my estimated freshman cost was $19,000 vs the $25,000 now suggested). I haven’t bought $800 in books like they have suggested since my freshman year so knock off $2000 over 5 years would seem reasonable putting us at $100,000 even. They have suggested $10,400 for room and board a year for sophomore through senior and I paid $3,000 a semester for room, board, dues food and all for my fraternity and we’ll throw in $500 of extra play money in for whatever else I spent money on college related for those 3 years. Altogether my fraternity costs saved me about $3,400 a year x 3 years + my current living situation saved me about $2000 off the suggested price ultimately saving me about $12,000. This brings my college cost down to $88,000. I also worked internships and co-ops throughout my time at school, factoring in taxes and what not I walked away from those jobs with $56,000 earned, I did not factor the cost of living into that number. If you factor the money, I earned throughout my time here I am only down $32,000 for 5 years and walked away with two degrees and had a great time doing it. All the above really focuses on the cost portion of the analysis, looking at the benefit side we see my schools average starting salary is $62,000 and my respective majors have a starting bachelor’s salary of $62,600 for engineering management and $63,800 for mechanical engineering. My starting salary is about $63,000 a year with obvious potential to go up with commissions so I will use the $63,000 as my benefit portion.

If we look at both the cost benefit ratios of the advertised price and the adjusted price, we’ll see that the real price produces:

$117,000/$63,000 = 1.857 or the cost is 1.857 times the benefit, or a ROI (return on investment) of 53.8%

For the adjusted price:

$32,000/$63,000 = 0.508 or the cost is 0.508 times the benefit, or a ROI of 197%

Now these numbers are relatively meaningless if you don’t have anything to compare them to so I will take some information I know about someone and apply it to this equation, unfortunately I don’t have their adjusted price information but nonetheless we’ll see what the real price produces.miam

Took 5.5 years of school (4 years undergrad and a year and a half grad school) undergrad at Miami Ohio in Oxford Ohio, assuming living in state https://miamioh.edu/onestop/your-money/tuition-fees/oxford-campus/undergrad-fall-2016/2018-cohort/index.html. Total price including all fees, books, room and board, tuition etc for 2018-2019 comes out to $32,800 a year or $131,200 for the duration of the 4-year degree. Again, I will make similar assumptions based on the price has gone up drastically over the last several years but will not account for that in my calculation. Then the year and a half at grad school I will be low balling this at 30 credit hours at $750 a credit hour (Fontbonne University STL, https://www.fontbonne.edu/admission-aid/scholarships-tuition/tuition-fees/) I won’t be accounting for any room and board fees since they don’t have any suggested for grad students. That adds $22,500 to the tap bring the total to $153,700. For the job being worked the average salary is about $61,200 which leads to a non-adjusted ratio of:

$153,700/$61,200= 2.511 or the cost is 2.511 times the benefit, the ROI is 39.8%

Again, I am not aware of the adjusted price including scholarships and the like however I know that the same internship and co-op opportunities do not exist to the level and the rate of what I was offered. I believe this example speaks for itself as to how this can get out of control when considering adding student loans, private colleges, and lower paying jobs into the equation.

Now I think my personal story and cost benefit analysis has more than explained that when done a certain way the college ROI can be massive. I didn’t go to any Ivy League school or get a full ride either, I had a small scholarship for academics, and I had living situations that saved me money and also gave me lots of leadership and learning opportunities and for the most part helped with my grades as well.

Ok you’ve made your decision to go to college or not. If you’re not planning on going to college you still have lots of options, there are a variety of trade schools in high demand now and most pay well and require less schooling than conventional college. There is also the route of entrepreneurship and other similar avenues that don’t require the traditional 9-5. As I mentioned before we live in a world that has more open avenues than you can count, you can do so much with a phone or a laptop to earn money without a college education of a degree. The possibilities are quite endless with this one. If you decided, you want to go to college you’ve got a couple more steps ahead of you. For one I think you would need to start off with taking an inventory of your strengths and weaknesses, or take an aptitude test, or both and figure out what you may be well suited at/like. I put this one in the same because I feel like for the most part people like to do what they are good at for the most part. From there I would make sure that venture is profitable and works with that cost benefit analysis. For example, there would be a lot fewer doctors if they were pad $40,000 a year and still had $300,000 in medical school debt, because that would simply not make sense.

Now I know if you are that 18 year old reading this, it’s a lot to take in, you’re probably not judging your college decision off the criteria I stated above, you’re probably basing it off the football team, and the campus, and the cool rec center etc. I would challenge you to take a deeper look than that, its alright to not know what you want to do, in fact I’m aware I am the odd ball that had it all figured out before I was 16. Your teens and 20’s are valuable times in your life, it would not be wise to waste valuable time and money if the progress you’re making is not moving you forward in some way shape or form. Your happiness is valuable as well, if you hate every minute of what you’re studying and don’t like it then it might not pan out for you as a career. After all, assuming you go into that field that will be what you’ll be doing for a long time.

I think a lot of mistakes can be prevented from some simple due diligence and basic understanding of the world (aka common sense that isn’t all that common anymore). Like it boggles my mind how some people end up in these crazy situations with $200k in college debt from a liberal arts college with a useless degree that has no jobs and adds no real value. Like its supply and demand that drives a lot of the issues some people have with wages and jobs, and YOU LEARN THAT IN A FUNDAMENTAL ECON COURSE IN HIGH SCHOOL! If you didn’t learn that in high school, I bet there are 10,000 videos on YouTube explaining the same concept! As with the due diligence thing I found all the information I stated above from simple google searches, the salaries, the tuition, everything. The biggest irony of them all is we live in the era of total information and some people are too lazy to bother looking for the information.

Enough with the rant, let me finish up here and end with some advice. How I got to where I am in terms of college and all of that was, I knew I was good at Math and Science (various standardized tests), I took an aptitude test in high school and I scored pretty much dead on for being an engineer. I also loved to build and take things apart when I was younger (think Legos, Lincoln logs, bike jumps etc.) I lived in St. Louis, I didn’t have any desire to go far from home (my parents are dope, and why be further away than you need to be), I had several colleges to choose from and I went with the best value, cheapest, which also provided the best education. That’s a homerun if I have ever heard one. I joined a fraternity ( I much like many people in my fraternity had no intention of going Greek when we got to school yet that is 75% of us so I guess we’re not exactly status quo) that allowed me tons of leadership opportunities. I joined the rugby team, that gave me more perspective and more people to meet, also a great leadership opportunity. I took my classes seriously and I often pushed myself harder and harder throughout the years which developed me to be a hard-working individual that got the tasks done at all costs no matter the time or at what cost. (yea that’s some 3am nights, and 16-18-hour days, to get what I had to do done) I jumped at all internship and co-op opportunities and not only learned from them in terms of engineering knowledge but in terms of everyday life. Not many 20-year old’s live by themselves like that and have to make their own food, budget, go to work, and also get tossed into an environment where you’re the lowest on the totem pole and sometimes the youngest member on the team by 10+ years. I also worked and developed myself outside the classroom and job floor, I read books, watched YouTube videos, listened to podcasts, etc. I continually learned and improved upon myself to be the best I could be. That led to different job opportunities and added to my skill set and got me where I am today. And that is the secret to my pretty decent success.

Put yourself where opportunities will come up.

Take any and all opportunities even if you don’t know if it’s a good fit or how to do it, you will learn.

Push yourself so you grow.

Never stop learning.

A couple nuggets of wisdom before I end this,

“If you do what you love you’ll never work a day in your life” – I see this thrown around a lot and sure it has meaning but if you’re one of those people that get the most obscure degree or education known to man because you love it and then bitch that you can’t get a job you should take a hard look in the mirror and toughen up buttercup cause the world isn’t going to bend to your will for your stupid weird major.

Parent’s be supportive, college is tough, probably tougher than it was back in your day. There’s more outside influence and stress today than previously and it will crack some kids. If you forced you’re kid to study in high school and were a helicopter parent I can almost guarantee they will not succeed when they get away from the nest. Same with parent’s being over protective of their kids in their younger years, then they get that taste of freedom in college and go wild and crazy and end up in the hospital from alcohol poisoning, I’ve seen that shit happen.

 

That’s about it, like I mentioned I am almost out of here, I graduate May 17th, it’s exciting, it’s the next stage of my life and I can’t wait to show you all what I can do!

B^2

The Last Splurge

If you follow Grant Cardone at all he preaches increasing income above all else. The 2nd step in the process is to reduce taxes. I have done a relatively good job of that thus far, my internship allowed me to dictate how much income I make because it was a 100% commission job. I have tracked all receipts and have started researching how to minimize my tax bill this upcoming spring as well. The third step in his cycle is to save specifically “save it all”. This requires you to live your daily life without increasing your cost of living while you increase your income.

We see people violating this rule every day, some guy gets a promotion at work makes an extra $10k a year and goes out and celebrates by purchasing a new BMW. That promotion and pay increase did not make any difference since he increased his cost of living. He probably would have been better off getting a $5k pay increase and not blowing the money on material things.

I never was into blowing my money, here and there I would “treat yo self” but nothing drastic. Last summer at the end of my internship which paid me quite well and was a decent increase from the previous year ($150 more a week) I bought my only watch and a piece of wall art. That was my form of treating myself which came out to be about $250.

This summer by the time it is over and with bonuses included as well as any lingering payments I should avg a pay increase of about $350 more a week (no living stipend though) than last summer. I should be able to reduce my tax bill because of my 1099 status this year substantially. (I received about $1300 back last year, but I also had taxes taken out every paycheck and I am not taxed under my current pay system yet.) So, check box 1 and 2 for Mr. Cardone. I should also note I didn’t upgrade my standard of living during this time. I currently live in the cheapest apartment my roommate and I could find that would be able to accommodate a 3-month lease. It is cockroach infested and is pretty hood for a $400 a person month rent ($450 for 3-month lease). I drive the same car, I wear the same clothes, I buy the same food, I buy the same beer, and spend the same amount at the bars.

Onto box #3 spending: Looking over my expenses which I track to the penny, we’re looking pretty good. I went over them in a blog post about halfway through the summer and you can check them out here. I spent some extracurricular on/with my girlfriend for the vacation and everything like that. I also spent some money at the bars and on booze and other non-constructive habits and vices, but that was minimal. Overall, I didn’t blow any of my money. That is until this upcoming weekend.

I plan to spend a bunch of money when I return to home and go shopping with the girlfriend Saturday. I WANT new clothes, new shoes, a new suit, and some other Knick knacks. I say want and not need because that’s just what they are. The clothes I wear are fine but perhaps a bit dated. Some of my shorts and shirts I often wear I purchased 3-4 years ago and some are not in the best condition. I’d still wear them though, so it isn’t necessary I purchase new ones. Essentially this shopping trip is to purchase my “adult clothes” things that I will need in the future after I graduate college. That is why I call it the last splurge. This theoretically should get me the next two years or so of my life in terms of clothing and what not and would be considered the “treat yo self” portion of my saving.

Some of these purchases have been a long time coming for example the suit I currently wear I’ve owned for about 5 years, and I received a gift card for the purchase of a new suit last Christmas. The watch I purchased previously was intended to go with this new suit I plan to purchase. With upcoming interviews for full time jobs and the networking, events and other occasions I plan to attend you could consider this an investment in my dated wardrobe.

So, what do you all think? A waste of time and money or a much-needed update to prepare myself for what comes in my future.

 

 

The Next Level

Many want to take their life, finances, current situation to the next level. Some have a vision of what that is, even fewer have a game plan to get themselves there. I will share with you today my vision and how I intend to get there.

So, as we speak I am 22 years old pursuing a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering and engineering management. I have a net worth around $18,000 through mainly my co-op and internship salaries. I will graduate college in May of 2019 and take on the real world.

Vision:

This is always a hard question to articulate and put into words which is why few people get this far. Think about it, when was the last time you sat down and figured out where you want to go in life. Some may have small goals like I want to drive a Ferrari or a Lamborghini but what about the BIG goal.

I would like to first buy my parent’s the lake house of their dreams on table rock lake. My mom and dad have provided for me all their life it is my obligation to give back to them. My dad would like the top of the line jet ski and a nice boat, my mom would be happy with a home that looked like it came out of better homes and gardens, a nice greenhouse and an abundance of grandchildren. My mom is going to have to wait on the later, but my brother may be able to help me out with that one. That is my first and foremost goal.

Second, I would like to give back to the people and organizations that made me who I am today, my wrestling program in high school, my rugby program in both high school and college, and my fraternity to name a few.

Third, is an obvious one but I think it should be said, to provide for those around me. I am going to assume at this stage in my life I have others to take care of other than myself, maybe a girlfriend, or a fiancé or a wife maybe kids the timeline of this one is foggy. My dad made it a goal to give my brother and I everything he ever wanted when he was a kid and to provide more than his parents could for him and I would also like to do the same to my loved ones. My dad did set the bar high on this one so I look forward to the challenge.

Fourth, financial freedom. There is an unbelievable amount of people in the United States that live paycheck to paycheck and I remember my parent’s doing the same at times. I don’t ever want to live a life like that.

Fifth, to help those less fortunate than me, I already practiced this when I was younger and currenly. I am aware I’ve had experiences that many have not or will not be able to have in their lives and I would like to the share that with all those that I can.

So Mr. B^2, how on earth do you plan to do all of this?

That’s a good question isn’t it, when it’s all laid out like that its hard to fathom that kind of success.

First step would be to graduate obviously, I have spent years in education and lots of money has been spent on me to get to where I am so obviously finishing what I started is a good place to begin. I would like to graduate with a 3.25 GPA currently at a 3.16 as of this semester.

Second, I would like to walk out of this university making $80,000 which I believe is a lofty but possible goal and with my skill sets, education and past experience I believe this is within my reach.

Third, using that money, and the money from my investments, and what not buy investment properties and other passive income sources. How many and of what kind I am not sure, but an investment property in my college town would be a good start I feel and from there only grow and expand my horizon as I move and travel. This could also be a side business that I develop to generate more revenue to acquire these properties and make more investments.

Fourth, rinse and repeat over and over and over again.  That in combination with my strong work ethic and developed leadership skills should put me in a position to move up the corporate ladder or start my own business or something of that sort. Not sure where I’m going but I’m going for it all.

With all of that said I would like to attain a net worth north of $3 million before I am 30 years old. I understand that is going to be extremely difficult but nothing of such high aspirations comes easy and I believe what I am doing now is laying a solid foundation for what I plan to do in the future and the fact that I already have the vision and the majority of the game plan is evident that I am already on my way.

As always let me know what you think, even if you think I am blowing smoke up my own ass I’d like to know what you think!

B^2

 

Summer Plans

In my spare time today, I did a little bit of thinking about what I wanted to do this summer as far as my finances are concerned.

  1. I am going to absolutely crush this internship/sales position. I mean crush it! This is the first time in my life that I will get paid on commission meaning every minute I am not working or trying to sell is a wasted minute. That goes beyond the job as well, I also have this blog and an Instagram, and I will continue to expand my social media presence and further build my personal brand.
  2. I want to move away from the umbrella of financial security of my parents. They have done a fantastic job providing for me all my life and I feel obligated to lighten their load. I am making it a goal of mine to work harder than ever before to obtain scholarships and other means to provide for my schooling. My parents have also paid for my housing during college and pending the results of my friend meeting with his landlord tomorrow I should be moving out the fraternity house and plan to pay my rent and all necessary living expenses. I also came up with my method to do so. I have talked about Lending Club before on this blog but for those of you who haven’t read about it yet you can reference this post about it “Lending Club Review”.

 

My favorite part about Lending Club is how liquid it is while you are making money. I get funds transferred to my portfolio nearly everyday as I have 110 active notes currently. This pays me about $100 a month in both interest and principal payments. If I own about 400ish notes I will receive about $350 in payments per month which is coincidentally my rent for this next school year again assuming the conversation with the landlord goes as planned tomorrow. That is all while making about a 7% gain as of this moment. This whole school year I have been pulling out my interest and principal payments to cover my expenses (its not enough however I spend more than $100 a month typically). If I can purchase that many notes however that should cover my rent payment which would be a passive income source for me. As of now that is my game plan for this next academic year. My typical food expenses as I have learned from diligently tracking them through my internship and co-op is about $60 a week or $240 a month. I plan to use my savings and any side money to cover that aspect of my expenses.

  1. I have also began looking at investment properties in my college town, with the hopeful influx of money I make this summer this may finally become a reality and I have also explained some of those plans in a previous post linked *here*.
  2. This will also be the first summer where I will be relatively free while I have been this interested in improving my life for the years to come. On my co-op I did not start investing until very late and then I returned to school and was again very busy with my other obligations. While on my internship I was taking 9 credit hours of summer class which took a very large toll on my time and extracurricular efforts. I lived an endless cycle of work, working out, and then studying and doing homework during the 5-day work week and then my Sunday’s were typically consumed in school work as well. This is another very exciting aspect of this summer that I can hopefully take advantage of.
  3. I intend to learn more than I ever have this summer as well. I have an ambitious reading goal this summer of 10 books which is crazy to think about since I have not read for leisure in years but the value that it has been bring to my life is incredible and I have learned so much already and I can’t wait to learn more. If you have any suggestions I am open to them all but I will most likely need to focus in on something related to what I would like to pursue later in my life, namely entrepreneurship, business, investment property and real estate, and investing.
  4. I would like to make a strong effort to help my fraternities recruitment efforts this summer. Due to the new structure of our recruitment and pledgeship process this summer will be the ultimate factor to our future success and I would like to give my time, effort and talent to this endeavor. Not that I haven’t helped in the past, but I see the high importance of this task, but it will also give a chance to develop my new skills.
  5. I believe this summer will also allow me to network more than I have in the past and I have given up some of those opportunities for my other obligations in the past. Again, with all that I have learned this school year I believe this will be a key aspect in my ultimate success later in life and the more I can network and connect with the others the more opportunities will present themselves.

I’m sure there are other aspects I am forgetting to include but these are just some highlights. I will do my best to update all my readers on what I am up to this summer. Hopefully this last 2 weeks of school won’t drain me to bad, I had the problem occur on my co-op.

As always, I would love to hear all your comments!

B^2

Internship update

Hope everyone’s spring is going well. This past week I accepted a position at Premier Roofing in Kansas City as a salesman. This is very odd position in comparison to my previous internship/co-op as I worked in engineering disciplines for Caterpillar and Samtec. I am excited for the opportunities that lie ahead. I believe this internship will allow me to continue to expand this blog and any side endeavors I soon pursue. This internship will also set me up for a technical sales position that are popular in my field. The commission-based pay will also cater to my work ethic and determination and I hope I can make the most of the opportunity given to me. I also gained experience as head philanthropy chair when I talked to t-shirt sponsors which I believe will benefit me for this position. I will keep you all updated as things progress my hope is to walk out of this summer with a strong sales position experience and I have enabled my free time to the best of my ability to create another source of income or success. I also hope to invest my earnings to further diversify my portfolio and to set myself up for success during the coming school year and post-graduation.

Please leave a comment below if you have any questions!

Status Update 3/12/2018

Hey how’s it going everyone hope you all are well.  I just wanted to give a quick update on what is going on with my life right now. If you’ve been keeping up with the biweekly goal analysis you know it’s been a crazy couple week and I’ve been super busy.  I can say nothing has changed on that front, I am in the middle of our big St. Pat’s party week right now, followed by a hard week of school with tests and then spring break. From then on, it’s still going to be a wild ride to the end of the semester. Because of this I’ve been putting the blog and Instagram on the back burner for a little bit. I was consistently working 16-18 hours a day between school, fraternity, philanthropy, rugby, and my personal endeavors and it was slowly killing me. Soon I plan to refocus my Instagram efforts and get the blog some better tools retain my audience (mailing list, email newsletters, more Facebook ads etc.) but I simply do not have the time to make that commitment all the way. On a positive note I have an internship more or less locked down for this upcoming summer its actually a sales position which is very different from what I am use to or expected to do, but the experience and income should be very beneficial. I think the unique schedule I will be working will also help with this blog, and my other endeavors so hopefully that leads to some explosive growth this summer. I was also considering changing the focus of the blog entirely, as it sits now its me sharing my financial journey, but I guess it’s boring right now to be frank. I’m not making many moves right now since I haven’t had any income since August. I am reading books and learning about successful people and how to be successful and am reading a lot of motivational content so maybe that may be a temporary route I go. As I said above its been busy and we are in a holding pattern right now so hold tight while I get my life together.

If you have any suggestions, ideas, content to talk about, or products to aid in some of my problems stated above let me know!

B^2

Blog analysis January- February

As you may know I am extremely data driven. I love numbers and finding trends and all that kind of stuff, that probably why I ended up studying engineering.  Anyway after 2 solid months of putting my heart and soul into this blog or as much of both as I could I wanted to look at what I had and see if I couldn’t find any trends or anything special with it. Hopefully by the end of this I can give other bloggers out there some tips and advice or if you have any please share it with me!

Below is the stats board for January 2018.

January stats

Unfortunately, I didn’t think I could fit everything well in one screen snip, but I had 152 views and 97 visitors. Fairly respectable for a full first month’s effort. At this time, I was experimenting with Facebook advertising as you can see 55 of my views all of which were driven by the Modern Long Term Stock Market investing book drove many of my visitors and views. Instagram contributed 27 visitors and search engines managed 7 visitors. If you turn those all into percentages it would read 56.7% Facebook, 27.8% Instagram, 7.2% search engine. All should be noted that many of the views came within the United States and the runner up was UK with approximately 10% of the total views. About $29 was spent on advertising in January.

Next up we have February 2018. While not completely over we are pretty darn close so we will call it as we see it.

February stats

February boosts 260 views and 177 visitors, a sizeable margin over January. Now with 2 front runners for article views, both Freedom Funnel and Millionaire Booklet were advertised heavily. The runner up 10X Rule didn’t do bad either. Facebook comprised 125 out of 177 referrals, Instagram 35, search engines 7 it looks like. In percentages we have Facebook 70.6%, Instagram 19.8%, and Search engines at 4%. Lets also look at viewership. Majority United States again comprising of 64% of the demographic, and UK in second with 16.5% of the demographic. Advertising costs for January were about $43 maybe slightly less than that.

Digging further into the data we find that both January and February had 8 new blog posts each so that remains a consistent factor. I also cut down the Facebook advertising after mid-February, I was at 150+ visitors around that time as well. The lack of effort in the second half of February killed the growth of this blog. I have mentioned in earlier posts my extra effort required at school around that time prevented some of that growth.

After looking at the above data, I can deduct that advertising has a direct correlation to viewership however I still have not made any income from the blog in terms of referrals to apps, amazon affiliate sales, or any other revenue of that manner. Until I can increase my income organically I will be taking it easy on the advertising costs. I have been putting more emphasis in my Instagram account and hope that will drive future growth. I believe more posts and the catalog of old posts will also increase visitors and viewership. I am currently working on setting up a mailing list to further hit on returning visitors and keep the blog growth steady.

Hopefully this gave you all some insight on what’s going on behind the scenes here at B^2, please let me know if you have any suggestions!

Until next time,

B^2

Sell or be sold: How to Get Your Way in Business and in Life – Grant Cardone

What better way to start off a book review than a quote from the author, Grant Cardone, “I believe Sell to Survive to be the most important book written on selling in the last fifty years and vital to every person who is interested in making their dreams a reality. We have taken that book and reworked it, added material, updated it, and retitled it: Sell or Be Sold: How to Get Your Way in Business and in Life.”

So, let’s get this straight, you take the best book written in its genre in 50 years, make it better and add more to it, and you can read it. Wow. I will do my best to keep this informative and brief, I believe the chapter titles are self-explanatory for the most part, but I will try to clear up any ambiguity and include some important quotes from the text.

Chapter 1: Selling—A Way of Life

In this chapter Mr. Cardone explains how selling is part of our everyday lives from negotiating to getting others to like you, work with you, anything having to do with convincing, persuading or getting your way in life. Regarding people saying they could never work as a salesman and work on commission his answer is “Your entire life is a commission. There’s no salary guaranteed in life. The whole world is on commission and the whole world is required to sell!”

Chapter 2: Salespeople Make the World Go Round

“Selling is the last great truly free-enterprise opportunity available today; in sales, an individual can work for himself, be accountable to himself, and make his dreams come true.” If that doesn’t get your heart fluttering I don’t know what will! We all have dreams of some sort of freedom maybe its not being tied down to that 9-5 dead end job, maybe its becoming and entrepreneur, starting your own business etc. this opportunity rings toward that goal. It is solely up to you to work and make your money with no cap on your financial compensation, the more you sell the more you make! The economy relies on getting products in consumers hands, salespeople are responsible for this, which drives the behind the scenes action such as shipping, handling, production, storage, retailing etc.

Chapter 3: Professional or Amateur?

“I you want to get rich, learn how to sell.” This reverts to the first chapter regarding how everything in life is selling, this includes but is not limited to getting that promotion, girlfriend, job, negotiation, contract, opportunity etc. you will have to sell yourself to get all those things and you can become rich in whatever manner you want to define it. There are two mental barriers you must overcome to become a professional at selling. “1.) Selling is critical to your survival regardless of your career, and 2.) you must decide to become a professional and give up any idea that its something for others and not for you.” “The difference between mediocrity and greatness lies in being committed to the profession and being consumed by the desire to be great and the dedication to learn the trade.”

Chapter 4: The Greats

If you are familiar with Grant Cardone his books are not always directly about the subject at hand like sales for instance, he often incorporates life and career advice that is broad enough to encompass all professions. In this chapter he describes how to become one of the greats in your profession and the first step is to commit all the way. “Committing is when you make a firm decision, you quit wondering, and then you follow through on your commitment with actions.” “A burn the ship kind of mentality is what it takes to get you to a place where you’ll doo things that will ensure results.” So, you commit and put in 10X amounts of action and thought. How do you know when you become a professional or one of the Greats? Grant Cardone says that “the ability to predict is the first thing that happens when you become a professional,” this happens when you have experience nearly all the scenarios that arise and observe them objectively without emotion and assume responsibility for the faults and acting to correct them. Mr. Cardone did this by recording his phone calls and sales pitches, making note of his body language, and gestures, tone of voice and how he responded to objections.

Chapter 5: The Most Important Sale

Chapter 5 goes into the mental state required to be an excellent salesperson. Grant Cardone states that “In order to become a great salesperson, you have to sell yourself on what you’re selling.” and “the conviction that you have regarding your product is more important than the conviction that others have about their facts and figures.” This whole idea on becoming sold on your product or solution is what keeps you motivated and driven as well, this also requires a go all in attitude.

Chapter 6: The Price Myth

               This chapter proofs that price is not the ultimate deciding factor like most think it is. “Getting the sale isn’t about money; its ultimately about the buyer having confidence that the product is the right one.” Price also represents value in your product, if the price is too low the product is perceived to lose value or is not useful. “The buyer would rather pay more and make the right decision than pay less and make a mistake.” This emphasizes the move up not down paragraph explain that a price issue is often resolved with a more expensive product. The customer often may think that there is not enough value in a cheaper product and the reason price is the issue is because the option is too expensive for the results it will give. Also “salespeople, not the prospect, are the ultimate barriers to every sale”.

Chapter 7: Your Buyer’s Money

               The first section of this chapter explains how there is no shortage of money on this earth. The problem is your way of thinking of money and “If others have a difficult time getting money from you, you’ll never find it easy to get money from others.” On the note of repeat sales Mr. Cardone says, “second money is easier to get than first money”, once that trust gets established you will find it much easier to make repeat sales.

Chapter 8: You are in the People Business

               Salespeople must remember that they are selling products to customers, “that’s why its vital that salespeople know about people first and products second.” Grant Cardone says selling is 80% people and 20% product, so what do you think you should allocate your time to? Learning about the product or learning about the customers? The answer is clear, “learn to think like customers think” put on their shoes and your sales will increase. “True communication requires finding out what is important to people so you can identify what they actually want and then deliver it.”

Chapter 9: The Magic of Agreement

               “Always agree with the customer” even if they are wrong, even if they are full of shit, “agree as you write the deal; don’t disagree and fight the deal!” This is the number one rule and it is also the most violated by salespeople, you’re leaving sales on the table by not agreeing with the customer. “Agreement is senior to closing the deal”, Grant Cardone says this and to him the close is sacred!

Chapter 10: Establishing Trust

               First paragraph of this chapter explains the show don’t tell phenomenon, people believe what they see not what they hear, show them the facts and figures or how well the product works don’t just talk their ear off about it. Grant mentions how he used to keep an evidence manual with him to show his facts of what other customers had said about him because of doing business with him. This helps build trust with your buyer which is crucial in making the sale.

Chapter 11: Give, Give, Give

               It was mentioned in an earlier chapter that you are selling to people, not just selling your product to people. Part of the human experience with sales is the customer service and this chapter covers all that you need to know to service your customer. “Give all of you to your prospect, not just a part of you. Give all of your attention, all of your energy, all of your suggestions, all of your information, and then find some more of you to give! Exceed expectations and go all the way with him and then a bit further.” “Human beings are much more valuable than money. Treat them like that and you’ll be rewarded” Problems are also opportunities for future sales, service your customer when they have complaints or problems and you’ll probably be able to sell them later just with your customer service you showed them.

Chapter 12:  Hard Sell

               This chapter can be summed up with this one paragraph, “if you don’t truly believe that your product will somehow bring the buyer more enjoyment, benefit, or security than the numbers he has in the bank, then you’ll never be a great salesperson and you’ll never fully understand the concept of ‘hard sell.’ If you really believe and learn how to close, you’ll know someday what it means to hard sell. This is an art form!”

Chapter 13: Massive Action

               Refer to Mr. Cardone’s book, The 10X Rule, Link to the review can be found here: http://bsquared.website/2018/02/08/the-10x-rule-the-only-difference-between-success-and-failure/

Chapter 14: The Power Base

               This chapter is an obvious but overlooked solution to first starting off in sales. The power base refers to the people around you that you are familiar with, your friends, family, etc. and with those people in mind “the easiest sale you’ll ever make in your life is the one to those people who already know you, trust you, and want to help you.” Again obvious but overlooked, but you need to put in work to build your power base and rekindle those connections, face to face is the best way to get back in contact. Work hard on your power base and they will work hard for you and it has the ability to naturally grow wide and strong.

Chapter 15: Time

               The critical take away from this chapter is the lunch out. A mentor of Mr. Cardone when he was just starting out asked him why he went to lunch with his co-worker every day.  Grant answered they were friends and just naturally thought that was something normal to do. His mentor told him “he will never buy anything from you. Never!” from that moment on Mr. Cardone realized that he had to use that precious lunch break hour to make sales. Go out, be seen, know where your buyers go to lunch, today Mr. Cardone invests breakfast, lunch, and dinner to buyers and prospects and even long shots. Use every possible moment to sell.

Chapter 16: Attitude

               “People will pay more for an agreeable, positive and enjoyable experience than they will for a great product.” This chapter goes right in line with the Give, Give, Give chapter as well as the people business chapter. Mr. Cardone ends the chapter with seven tips for having a great attitude.

Chapter 17: The Biggest Sale of My Life

               As I mentioned earlier, Mr. Cardone includes life lessons as well as real life examples in his books, this chapter describes using the previously mentioned lessons and tactics how he made the biggest sale of his life, his wife, Elena.

Chapter 18: The Perfect Sales Process

               “The best salespeople I know are straight shooters. They don’t play games, they tell it like it is, and they know how to get the hob done without manipulations and tricks.”

  1. Greet
  2. Determine Wants and Needs
  3. Select Product and Present/Build Value
  4. Make Proposal
  5. Close the Transaction or Buyer Exits

Chapter 19: Success in Selling

               In order to demand consistent sales success, you have to:

  1. Decide you are ultimately responsible for the sale.
  2. Make it your duty, obligation, and responsibility to make the sale.
  3. Take massive amounts of action, followed by more action until the sale is made!
  4. Accept no excuses, reasons, or logic, and figure out how to make it work!
  5. Prepare yourself daily to handle all obstacles, stalls, reasons and barriers you will encounter with a client.

Chapter 20: Sales-Training Tips

               How sales training is supposed to be laid out and what creates a good sales training program.

Chapter 21: Create a Social Media Presence

               This book was written in 2012 and this chapter was in it. I think we can all see the power of social media today and its everyday presence in our lives. Now more than ever it is vital to have a social media presence, perhaps on multiple platforms to reach out to potential customers and other influencers.

Chapter 22: Quick Tips to Conquer the Biggest Challenges in Selling

               Lots of tips regarding the challenges you’ll face selling. Pretty self-explanatory check out the book for details.

There you have it, Sell or Be Sold by Grant Cardone! As always, the link to the book can be found below, I highly recommend reading it to anyone trying to increase their ability to sell or persuade in life. I think this can apply across all industries and careers. This book has had me consider taking a more sales-oriented internship this summer rather than an engineering-oriented internship as my major would suggest. We’ll see though and let you all know how it goes!

http://amzn.to/2HT9qs6

Until next time,

B^2

 

The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure

The 10X Rule is exactly what you would expect from best-selling author Grant Cardone, plenty of information on becoming successful and how action and perseverance leads to that. Let’s jump right into it then. Now there are several summaries of the book available on amazon, I’ve linked the top ranked one above and below in the post, I haven’t read the summary, but I understand those who value their time and want to get the best bang for your money and time. The book is 261 pages, contains 23 chapters and takes approximately 4 hours and 40 minutes to read according to my kindle fire through the kindle app.

The10X Rule begins with an introduction about Mr. Cardone and what the 10X rule is about, which contains various definitions and goes over the psychology of being successful and how he defines it. He describes how limiting your success and being ok with being average, middle class etc. is the ultimate demise and will not bring happiness to those who seek to be above average which would be the demographic he is writing to. A powerful quote from this introductory chapter states that “as long as you are alive, you will either live to accomplish your own goals and dreams or be used as a resource to accomplish someone else’s”. Are you ready for the 10X adventure? Keep reading if you are we are about to get to the good stuff. I should also note at the end of every chapter is a little exercise to evaluate your goals and do a mental checklist of what you want in your life, I am not sure if the summaries also contain these checklists or not, I’m sure in Mr. Cardone’s other reading material you will something similar.

He then goes into why 10X is so vital to success, telling the reader “to never reduce a target” and instead increase action, this will change your mindset of targets and goals and ultimately get you hooked to success and chasing that success. It’s a never ending cycle, accomplish your goals, make more go smash those as well, he also defines success in that way as well, to accomplish a task or an objective and pushing through to the next one and the next one. Chapter 4: Success is your duty is a chapter that speaks dear to me, I feel like I see lots of wasted potential out in the world and in my own life because people don’t want to put in the work or the risk. When, Mr. Cardone and I have a sense that we are obligated to reaching that success to push those boundaries to make the world a better place. Whether you bring a product or service to market to help others or donate millions of dollars to charity like he does, we can all make the world a better place and it is up to the successful people to lead that charge.

In the next chapter, he opens the door to possibilities by saying there is no shortage of success in the world, no scarcity and many people can be successful. This then transitions into the formula for being successful. First step would be to assume control for everything, now this doesn’t mean be a control freak or anything, this chapter describes being responsible for your actions and mistakes. Mr. Cardone’s originally title for this chapter was “Don’t be a little bitch” but backed off to not offend anyone, I think this chapter would’ve rang true with that title but being politically correct helps book sales, so I can see why he didn’t.

Chapter 7 may be the most critical to The 10X Rule, the Four Degrees of Action expose the foundation to success and the 10X Rule, the more action you take, the better your chances are of getting a break. “Disciplined, consistent, and persistent actions are more of a determining factor in the creation of success than any other combination of things.” The Four Degrees of Action are as follows:

  1. Do nothing
  2. Retreat
  3. Take normal levels of action
  4. Take massive action

Now most who would be reading this book and this blog post are in category 3. If you did nothing you wouldn’t have searched this, clicked the link etc. to get to this article. If you retreated when you faced adversity you wouldn’t have made it this far in the article. Now let’s talk about “Take normal levels of action” since that applies to most of us. This is what would be considered normal, which also creates the foundation of the middle-class, this makes it the most dangerous. That’s because this is considered acceptable, doing nothing and retreating are for the most part not acceptable and everyone seems to grasp that concept well. The goal of normal levels of action is to be average however, we’ve seen that average or doing good enough doesn’t always work out when rubber meets the pavement in economic hardships like the recession and the housing market crisis. Mr. Cardone does a better job explaining the details of this chapter than I ever could so I’ll leave it at that. The final degree of action is taking massive action, something that we’ve seen him do time and time again if you follow his companies, social media, YouTube etc. Massive action takes more than just motivation and wanting to succeed, it takes an obsession, it takes borderline insanity, when people start telling you slow down, speed up and keep running past them.

Chapter 8 “Average is a failing formula” reiterates what is discussed in the normal level of actions section and reinforces that just enough isn’t good enough. He goes on to describe the differences between the successful person and the average and what actions you can do to make up that ground, the foremost being taking massive action persistently. Goal setting is the next topic, specifically 10X goals. Remember that quote above about not setting your targets lower but taking more action instead? Do not sell yourself short, a goal that is too easy to accomplish doesn’t further motivate you and will not gear you up to take the massive action necessary for success. The following are to be considered when setting your goals:

  1. You are setting these for you-not for anyone else.
  2. Anything is possible
  3. You have much more potential than you realize
  4. Success is your duty, obligation, and responsibility
  5. There is no shortage of success
  6. Regardless of the size of the goal, it will require work.

The next item discussed certainly threw a curveball to me and perhaps you too, Chapter 10 Competition is for Sissies. What? Competition is for sissies? I said the same thing after reading the chapter title but by the end it all made sense. To the consumer competition is necessary, imagine if there was one cellphone service provider, they could charge whatever they wanted and rake in the profits because we are all so dependent on our phones, but in the eyes of a business competition sucks. Mr. Cardone goes further in explaining how completely dominating your sector, market etc. will bring you success and explains how he acquired omnipresence through twitter until the only name people would turn to for sales programs was Grant Cardone. Hopefully the wheels are turning in your mind a bit, the goal is to completely dominate your competition, be the only thing people think about in your sector, be in the spotlight constantly etc.

Still hung up on the Degrees of Action and the middle class being a failing formula? Don’t worry Uncle G covers the “Breaking out of the Middle Class” in chapter 11 and explains the incomes of the Middle Class. Again, I’ll let him cover that topic since he will out do anything I put on this article. As I am reviewing over the book on my Kindle Fire I see that Chapter 12 is all highlighted up with good reason too. “Obsession isn’t a Disease; it’s a Gift” has lots to dig into so let’s get to it. This chapter goes hand in hand with taking massive action, because the only way you will be able to sustain massive action is to be obsessed with success. “In fact, you want to be so fanatical about success that the world knows you will not compromise or go away.” Mr. Cardone use a metaphor of a fire as your obsession and building it up so that people feel compelled to sit around it an admire it. If you’ve ever sat next to a bonfire you have probably experienced this feeling, how it pulls you in and you can stare into its abyss for hours, in that same way your peers will stare at your success in admiration.

“Most people make only enough effort for it to feel like work, whereas the most successful follow up every action with an obsession to see it through to a reward.”

You just read the quote above but go reread it. Ring a bell? That little bit up above about pursuing goal after goal in an obsessive manner because the goals you set are hard and the 10X actions required to accomplish them gives a powerful sense of satisfaction. Bingo. Here’s another little nugget of wisdom.

“I suggest that you become obsessed about the things you want; otherwise, you are going to spend a lifetime being obsessed with making up excuses as to why you didn’t get the life you wanted.”

Don’t be a little bitch? It’s a full circle baby lets keep going! Next chapter #13, Go “ALL IN” and overcommit, but wait… you aren’t supposed to put all your eggs in one basket. You’re suppose to play it safe, be conservative, etc. etc. But think about it, the term all in refers to poker and you can run out of chips in poker and then you’re done, pack your bags and go home. What if you never ran out of chips and could go all in EVERY SINGLE HAND. Now think about your most valuable “chips”, your mindset, actions, persistence, creativity, and energy. Even if you fail you still have all the chips mentioned above, soooo you only lose if you quit.

“Remember: There are no shortages of how many times you can get up and continue!”

Moving forward we are at chapter 15 “burn the place down” again about the fire of your success that we mentioned earlier. Mr. Cardone mentions that “when you begin to ‘heat things up’ you’ll quickly become aware- even obsessed- with the possibilities before you.” However, about that time you’ll hear the people offering you admiration that you’ve “done enough” or that you should take it easy, slow down, go on vacation. Keep the foot on the pedal, the train isn’t stopping, when you slow down or stop you lose your momentum. If you’ve ever driven in the mud or snow you’re aware how important keeping your momentum is, don’t lose it.

“Fear is one of the most disabling emotions a human being can experience. It immobilizes people, and often, it ultimately prevents them from going for their goals and dreams. Everyone fears something in life; however, it’s what we each do with that fear that distinguishes us from others. When you allow fear to set you back, you lose energy, momentum, and confidence—and your fears will only grow.”

-Chapter 16: Fear is the Great Indicator

We’ve all experience fear before, even perhaps the crippling fear described above. We are challenged with fear when we go “All in”, and each fear conquered adds fuel to your fire, keep your fire burning bright. There are several chapters that go over things specific to business such as customer satisfaction and customer acquisition, and while important I feel like that may not be the best use of your time for the average reader.

Chapter 21: Excuses, we’ve all probably heard them all, Mr. Cardone writes out a very exhausting list of them. Here is how you can get around the excuses and this relates to making success your duty and obligation.

“If you make success and option, then it won’t be an option for you—simple.”

We will end this review and summary with Chapter 22: Successful or Unsuccessful?

Ready? This is the list Uncle G compiled after studying successful people all his life and this is what he found:

  1. Have a “Can Do” Attitude
  2. Believe that “I will figure it out”
  3. Focus on opportunity
  4. Love challenges
  5. Seek to Solve Problems
  6. Persist until Successful
  7. Take Risks
  8. Be Unreasonable
  9. Be Dangerous
  10. Create Wealth
  11. Readily Take Action
  12. Always say “Yes”
  13. Habitually Commit
  14. Go All the Way
  15. Focus on “Now”
  16. Demonstrate Courage
  17. Embrace Change
  18. Determine and Take the Right Approcach
  19. Break Traditional Ideas
  20. Be Goal-Oriented
  21. Be on a Mission
  22. Have a High Level of Motivation
  23. Be interested in Results
  24. Have Big Goals and Dreams
  25. Create your Own Reality
  26. Commit First—Figure out later
  27. Be highly ethical
  28. Be Interested in the Group
  29. Be dedicated to Continuous Learning
  30. Be uncomfortable
  31. Reach Up in relationships
  32. Be Disciplined

Wow that was a lot. The last chapter tells the reader how to get started with 10X, with the key piece of advice being,

“Act now and then keep acting with the knowledge that enough action taken now will create the future.”

Are you ready to start you 10X journey?

If so get yourself a copy of the summary or full book and commit to it, I hope to see you at the finish line one day.

Full version: http://amzn.to/2GRy3VC

Summary: http://amzn.to/2GRN7Te

B^2

January Goal Analysis

I decided in Mid-January after reading part of Grant Cardone’s “The 10X Rule” that I needed to push myself and set some short-term goals to get my finances, blog, social influence, brand etc. all on track. I wrote these goals down on my phone and posted them on my business Instagram as you can see here.IMG_0313.png

Also if you haven’t been following me yet its @bsquared.website and I try to make my posts value oriented and show everyone what I am doing to improve my blog, business, investments etc. Anyways the timeline for that first set of goals was under 2 weeks and as you can see below I didn’t reach most of them.

IMG_0328.png

I came so close to the blog visitor goal, I was at 97 for January and as I was finishing up homework around 12:30am I had another visitor technically on February 1st, that’s why the +1 is there. Nonetheless that was a huge achievement for me, I started the blog in late November and had only 7 visitors for the whole month of December. As far as clicks go I haven’t been doing well on blog to amazon, I always hear its just a law of numbers. I guess I just need to get my numbers up and the clicks will come in. Falling short on blog posts came down to time and amount of content I had, but mainly time. I also planned on a friend writing 2 articles for me but that hasn’t happened yet. Side money made it easily with all the recent stock sales and profits I’ve collected from that. Again, with the clicks I think the affiliate sale follow a rule of numbers and I just need to keep pushing until I get to that threshold. The 10X rule and posting about it also came down to time, I’ve been extremely busy with school, fraternity business and working on all my personal goals and picking up my kindle and reading just wasn’t on the priority list. Coming short on forward dividend was mostly on me. I sold and bought a bunch of stock over this duration of time and didn’t allocate for the best dividend stocks but rather went with shorter plays for profits soon. Hitting my 25 IG posts was easy, I could always come up with content for that and just got in a habit of posting in the morning and late at night helping me rack of my following, reach, impressions etc. Instagram followers are a little bit more difficult to come by, I noticed I have lost a decent number of followers as well, so I am not sure what that is all about, but we are going to try to get those numbers up this month. Speaking of which here are my goals for the next 2 weeks.

IMG_0329

They are as ambitious as the last ones I would say, but attainable I believe. I think these goals will come down to how I utilize my weekends. This tends to be the only free time I have, and I normally allocate that to social activities. I can say for certain that affected the end of January goals in a negative way. Tell me what you think!

B^2