8 Good College Habits to Hold Onto in the Real World

8 Good College Habits to Hold Onto in the Real World - letsreachsuccess.com

This is a guest post by Norman Arvidsson, an experienced entrepreneur, coach, and tutor from Atlanta. He writes mostly about motivation, e-learning, digital marketing, entrepreneurship, and blogging.

So, you’re about to graduate. You’ve got those hard skills for your career and have probably picked up some of those “soft” skills too – you know the ones like “team player,” “able to take initiative,” etc.

What you don’t realize, though, is that there are plenty of college habits you picked up that will do you well out in that cruel, real world.

Here’s eight of them.

1. Looking for the Deals.

Remember all of that getting online to print out coupons, groupons, etc.? You became a master of knowing when pizza was “buy one get one free,” or what bars had a free snack buffet during happy hour. You learned to scavenge for free or highly discounted food and drink. You also learned how to use resale stores to furnish that apartment or dorm room extras, for clothes, for dishes, etc.

Nothing has changed.

When you get your first job and you have all of the “big boy and big girl” expenses (rent, utilities, paying for your own Wi-Fi), along with monthly student loan repayments, you will be happy that you know how to live “on the cheap” in other ways.

If you have a formal event and nothing to wear, rent rather than buy. There are lots of local places or online sites that will rent event clothing – RentTheRunway, and LendingLuxury is just two examples.

Here’s another thought: If your student ID does not have an expiration date on it, use it for as long as you can – there are lots of discounts out there, and you probably already know about them.

2. Creative Ways to Grab Some Extra Cash.

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Most of us have found ourselves in financially tough times in college and we found ways to make a little extra.

Maybe we cleaned rooms, wrote papers for other students, walked dogs, hired ourselves out for painting, lawn care or handyman work. This does not have to stop once you have a “real” job.

If you want extras, if you need more money to meet student loan debt, then you are already in the habit of juggling classes, homework, social life, and part-time work.

That habit forced you to organize and schedule your time, so keep that habit and do what it takes. Do some research on the best sites for freelance work and find “gigs” that fit your skills and schedule.

If you are a good writer, you could research a list of the top writing services and apply as a writer. The hours are flexible, you can work as much or as little as you want, and do it all at home in your “grubs.”

3. Living with Others.

Okay. So, this may not have been your favorite part of college life, or it may have been great! Usually, living successfully with a roommate depend on your compatibility.

Explore your options. There are all sorts of sites that “match” roommates like they do love interests.

Do a bit of research, meet up with some prospects, and if you think it will work, do it. Think of the expenses that are now cut in half – rent, utilities, Wi-Fi, even food. If you are in the habit of having a roommate and have found it fine, you can just continue that habit.

4. Learning to Prioritize.

We’ve all been there. Five papers are due within the next month. You’ll get the all finished, but some will certainly be better than others. You learn to prioritize.

Which paper is the most important to keep that course grade up? Which is next? Which one can you do a pretty mediocre job on without affecting your final grade too much?

And you learned to do the same things with other coursework assignments. You’ve developed skills in prioritizing, in juggling multiple tasks at the same time, and “keeping all of those balls in the air.”

Think about it all – five courses and resulting assignments, maybe a part-time job, a social life of some sort, co-curricular activities, and taking care of all those basic personal chores like cleaning and laundry.

You actually juggled a lot and made it through just fine. Prioritizing and juggling are a part of every adult life, and you’ve had plenty of practice.

5. You’re a Master Researcher.

If you have a Bachelor’s degree, you’ve had four years of conducting research, some of it pretty deep.

You may be in a job that requires the same. But even if you are not, good research skills mean that you look at multiple sources, you are able to dig, and you sort out the facts and data you find.

Now you can put that habit to use as you look toward major purchases – a car, that wide-screen TV you want, and possibly a house and mortgage.

You know how to dig, how to get the facts, and how to compare. This is yet another of the college habits that will also come in handy as you look at insurance costs – health, car, home, and life.

And if you do own a car or home, you know how to research repairs and remodeling and find the right information and videos to show you how. Many bucks can be saved becoming a bit of a “do-it-yourselfer.”

Most important, you know that you can and should do such research – it’s become a habit.

6. Budgeting.

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Okay. So, this may not have been a strength for every college student.

But if you were on student loans, divvied out twice a year, and had earned money during the summers for other expenses, you had to make that money last. You probably made some budgeting mistakes, but you learned and got better.

By the time you graduated, you were pretty good at juggling and learning to hold off purchases to make your money last.

In the “big boy and girl world,” these same college habits will carry over. The amounts may be larger, but the principles are the same.

You have probably developed a habit of deferring your gratification, at least some, and that is a good thing. Sometimes, you will have to make some tough financial decisions, but if you have the habit of being moderate with expenditures and watching your wallet, you will do better than most.

7. Pursuing Experiences, Not Things.

If college students develop one habit universally, it is the pursuit of great experiences.

It may be a weekend road trip, some great parties, football games, a spring break trip, or any number of other activities. College students tend not to be too consumed with things, except perhaps for tech gear.

The same goes for traveling. If you want to go away for some time after you graduate, you’ll do anything you can to make it happen.

This habit of buying experiences rather than things is a good one.

Think about growing up. Do you remember all of the Christmas and birthday gifts you got or do you remember the family trips to Disney World or the beach? These are what build memories, not that new TV you had to have for Christmas as a teen.

The other things you will remember about college are the activities your pursued and the friendships you made.

If you have developed a habit of being “involved,” you will do the same thing once out in the world. If you volunteered for Habitat for Humanity during college, chances are you will do it or something similar afterward. You may have tutored elementary children – chances are you will find something like this to do now.

If you played tennis or swam, these activities will be holdovers, and you will find the right means to keep pursuing them. This will increase your quality of life, especially when work becomes stressful.

8. Speaking of Stress.

You dealt with a lot of stress in college – cramming for exams, meeting deadlines for complex assignments, worrying about grades, money, relationships.

There were some tough times. You found ways to deal with that stress – whether it was physical exercise, finding your own quiet place, Yoga, meditation, talking things out with someone, etc.

By the time you graduated, you knew what worked for you.

Now, you have the right methods for dealing with your stress and you know exactly what to do when those tough times hit at work or elsewhere.

You are More Prepared Than You Know.

Yes, the real world can hit you smack in the face. After four years of college living, you now have to take the next step in independence, as a fully self-reliant and independent adult. It can be a bit scary, and you will make some mistakes. But, you are far better prepared than you think you are. Having developed these eight college habits, you’ll find the reality of adult life not so frightful.

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How This Family Guy Makes $10,000/Month Online Teaching Others How to Make, Save and Invest Money

How This Family Guy Makes $10,000/Month Online Teaching Others How to Make, Save and Invest Money - Interview with R.J. Weiss from TheWaystoWealth.com

This is an interview-style post with R.J. Weiss from The Ways to Wealth.

Hey R.J. What’s your background and what do you do?

I blog about all things personal finance at The Ways to Wealth.

Before I went full-time into blogging, I spent ten years in the financial services industry. Specifically, helping families buy the right type of life insurance.

During my time with a full-time job, I’ve always had different side hustles going on. From freelance writing, Amazon FBA, conversion rate optimization, to website design — there were many projects I pursued outside of work.

How did you start your career in finance?

I got started in finance straight out of college working for my the family insurance business. As I love the financial planning side of things, I choose to specialize in life insurance planning. This led me down the path to obtaining the CFP® Certification.

What made you start blogging?

The Ways to Wealth, which I started in 2016, has been my 5th blog.

The others mostly fizzled out most due to a lack of interest. But, in 2009 I started a personal finance blog called GenYWealth.com (no longer around) that had some success.

The idea GenYwealth.com was to write about what I was learning about studying to take the CFP®. The blog was, by all means, a success. I was able to gain valuable knowledge, pass the CFP® exam, earn some extra money and build up a good community.

I then took this knowledge and started a business blog, which allowed the insurance agency I was working for to generate leads.

I started The Ways to Wealth because my passion is personal finance–from investing to travel hacking, I love the challenge of optimizing my finances.

How was The Ways to Wealth born?

I didn’t have much of a plan for starting The Ways to Wealth when I purchased the domain name.

I was actually thinking it would be a niche site, which was inspired by Pat Flynn’s niche site duel. Then, I came across the income reports of Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and wisely changed direction to a more traditional blog.

This change came about 6-months after starting to blog.  I did a timeline of the site in one of my income reports.

What worked best when trying to grow the site?

I had a decent knowledge of SEO. So at first, I started growing the site with email outreach. One of the first posts I had about best investing books of all time, had about 15 links to it.

This was nice to start with but was quite slow to build up, as it can take a while to earn Google’s trust.

The big turning point came when I started to understand Pinterest. I spent a few frustrating weeks on the platform, then it finally started paying dividends.

I went from about 100 sessions a day to 1,000, which was huge for me at the time.

How did you get to 3 million monthly viewers on Pinterest?

the ways to wealth pinterest 3 million monthly views

I lay out my Pinterest strategy here. But at the core the idea is to:

1) Write high-quality content that Pinners want to click through, read, and share.

2) Pin to my own and high-quality group boards, with a keyword-rich description.

3) Continue to Pin my best pins across my own boards/group boards, ruthlessly eliminating Pins that don’t perform well.

One thing to keep in mind is impressions don’t mean much on Pinterest. What counts are clicks to your website. So, you want to design not for impressions but clicks.

What aspects of the online business are you outsourcing or automating and how?

The first thing I outsourced was Pinterest design. I’ll design about 30-40 pins a month, so this was big time saver for me.

Of course, it took some work to get going. At first, I hired 5 or so people on Fiverr. I found one decent designer but the work quality deteriorated over time.

I then went to Upwork and posted a job for a  graphic designer. I found a great team down in Argentina, who I’m very happy with.

I’m currently experimenting with working with a ghostwriter. A few of my latest posts have been transcribed from my recording, with the ghostwriter making sense of it all.

I can compile about 3 posts in 90 minutes, then take another 90 or so minutes to prepare them. Saving me around 3-4 hours per post this way.

What’s your main income stream and why do you think it works for you?

My main source of income for the blog is affiliate revenue. It works because the partners I do have are high-quality businesses, who deliver value and solve real problems. This makes it easy to naturally link to such a partner.

When did you start making more than $10K/month and what was the turning point?

My first month over $10K was in January of 2018. In December of 2017, income was around $3,000 and in July of 2017 around $500. So, it was definitely a jump.

What happened then in January?

First, personal finance is at its peak interest in January.

Second, I had multiple Pins go viral.

Third, in November I started driving traffic via Facebook to the site. So, in January I could take campaigns I’d been fine-tuning for a few weeks and scale them.

How do you balance work and family life?

I have a routine I stick to Monday through Friday.

When inside of my designated working hours, I work. When outside of these hours, I’m not.

This is a lot easier said than done. But the thing important for me is not to take work everywhere I go. This means I don’t have any apps on my phone that are work-related (email, analytics, etc..)

What are you 3 best finance tips for newbies?

  • Focus on your savings rate. How much you save is the most important decision you’ll make.
  • Small incremental improvements add up over time. My favorite example is increasing your savings rate 1% every quarter, means you’ll be saving 20% of your income in just 5 years.
  • Study happiness. Become a student on how to increase your level of happiness. The natural result is you’ll want less overtime, making the game of personal finance a lot easier to win.

What books, blogs or podcasts help you stay motivated along the way of growing an online business?

I read a fair amount to keep fresh ideas in my head.

My favorite podcast is The Tim Ferriss Show.

Two blogs I enjoy reading are:

Farnam Street
Barking up the Wrong Tree

And as far as books. I try to read one a week. A few books I would recommend to online entrepreneurs would be:

Deep Work by Cal Newport
The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss

Pin this post if you enjoyed the interview.

Check out my interview with R.J. from TheWaystoWealth to see how he entered the finance niche, started making money blogging, began bringing traffic from Pinterest and monetizing it with affiliate marketing, and is now making $10,000/month from his online business. #blogger #interview #blogtraffic #incomeideas #income