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    Twitter Chat With Special Guest Jim Wang, $150 In Prizes!

    #PlutusChat with Jim Wang

    If you joined us last month for our Twitter chat with J.D. Roth, you know that the Plutus Awards team plans on bringing experts in for public discussions throughout the year, sharing their expertise to help you create the blog of your dreams, and maybe earn your very own Plutus Award!

    Join us next Wednesday on March 18th, 2015 2pm EST / 11am PST with special guest Jim Wang, founder of Bargaineering, founder of Microblogger, professional speaker, and all around business man. Jim will be answering questions about one of his favorite topics, entrepreneurship! So many bloggers are entrepreneurs, and we’ll be picking Jim’s brain about his strategies and more.

    Jim has also been the recipient of a couple Plutus Awards: [Read more…]

    Bring the Awesome Sauce to Your Blog

    This is a guest article from Holly and Greg, who as founders of the blog Club Thrifty took home the Sixth Annual Plutus Award for best Frugality-Focused Personal Finance Blog in 2014.

    Bringing the Awesome Sauce at Club Thrifty

    Hello Plutus Awards! We are Holly and Greg from Club Thrifty, and we are absolutely STOKED to be here. Winning last year’s Plutus Award for “Best Frugality-Focused Personal Finance Blog” was unbelievably exhilarating, utterly humbling, and completely unexpected. It is an amazing feeling to be honored by your peers after putting your heart and soul into your work each day. Thanks again to everybody who voted for us! You’re the bestestest evah! Thanks as well to Luke and his team for putting on such an inspiring event.

    FYI, we’re bringing our buddy Kanye along with us this year. Voters, consider yourself warned.

    Our Life With Debt

    Greg and Holly, Club Thrifty

    Back in 2011, we found ourselves swimming in debt. We had a mortgage. We had student loan debt. And, even though we’d (almost) always driven used cars, we still had those blasted car payments to make. What’s worse, we were making plenty of money, yet we never seemed to be able to save a single penny. We thought we were living very frugally, but we really didn’t have any idea WTH was going on? So, we decided to take a closer look at our finances.

    What we found shocked us! [Read more…]

    Stephanie Halligan: Live the Life You Want

    Stephanie Halligan is the blogger behind The Empowered Dollar and Art to Self. The Empowered Dollar won a Plutus Award for Most Humorous blog in 2014. Stephanie has doodled since she could walk and talk, and she has created a successful business based on her ability to draw, as well as her passion for helping people make the most of their finances.

    Stephanie is an inspiration to many bloggers, especially entrepreneurs looking for a bit of a pick-me-up. Through her outgoing personality, and her insightful drawings, Stephanie reaches entrepreneurs, bloggers, non-profits, and consumers in a way that empowers them.

    Stephanie Halligan

    One of the most inspiring aspects of Stephanie’s story is how she has gone from being employed by someone else to turning her passion into a business that allows her to live the life she wants. I wanted to learn more about the inspiration behind her latest project, Art to Self, and how she finds the energy to keep moving forward.

    How did you prepare to make the leap from being employed to being self-employed?

    I knew I wanted to have a few months of savings in the bank and pay off my student debt. That meant saving up a lot more and getting aggressive with my loans toward the end of my job. I also kept working on the side and keeping my client pipeline “alive” before I took the leap.

    What are some of the skills you have that transferred well from being employed by someone else to being self-employed?

    I worked for a startup before venturing out on my own, so I got to practice bootstrapping, and working with the minimum amount of resources. I also became really clear on what I want for my days to look like, since my days were so hard at my former employer. So I would say I learned how to get by on the basics and create a life I want.

    You already have success with The Empowered Dollar. Why did you decide to start Art to Self?

    Art to Self was born out of two needs I had: to do art every day and to remind myself that I’m doing a good job each day. I tend to be hard on myself (like any entrepreneur) so now I get to send out a daily doodle and positive affirmation that I know makes me feel good and makes others feel good too. Thus, a daily art inspiration and affirmation email was born.

    What were some of the things you did to prepare to launch Art to Self?

    I underprepared. I realized I needed to just start, otherwise I would never get going. And since it’s a daily email, I know I need to focus on the long term and just get going today.

    What is the most challenging aspect about keeping Art to Self going?

    Getting caught up in growth. I love creating the art and writing notes every day. And while I am marketing it here and there, I have to remember that the growth will be slow. And that’s okay.

    Do you have other projects you are working on?

    I just launched a course to help freelancers and solopreneurs price their services and charge what they’re worth: I’ve been getting so many questions from fellow entrepreneurs about how to price their work. I took all our conversations and what I learned from raising my own rates and put it into a course to help people break through their blocks around setting prices with confidence.

    10 Years as an Online Freelancer: 10 Things I’d Do If Starting Today

    In 2005, I was approached by someone who told me that the Next Big Thing in online marketing was the blog. I didn’t know what a blog was, and, truth to tell, I didn’t much care. Someone was willing to pay me a monthly retainer to provide content to a corporate blog.

    With my freshly-minted M.A. in Journalism from Syracuse, it wasn’t exactly what I wanted to do. My science reporting focus didn’t pay all the bills, and we needed the rent money, so I agreed to get involved with blogging.

    As you know, my recruiter was right; blogging exploded in the years after I began. Professional blogging became my family’s online source of income, and, even though the online writing landscape has changed in the last decade, I’m still the primary breadwinner.

    As I reflect on 10 years in the online writing space, I’ve thought a lot about how differently I’d approach my career if I were starting out today.

    Online freelancer


    1. Treat Online Freelancing Like a Business

    At first, my plan was to write a little bit until my husband finished his Ph.D. and got a job. I thought I’d make just enough to pay the rent and the bills if we scrimped and had help from student loans. I never dreamed that blogging could be a business. As a result, I wasted a lot of money paying taxes I didn’t need to, and I made poor decisions that I wouldn’t have made if I’d had a business mindset.

    Even if your online freelance writing is meant as a side gig for a little extra, follow sound business principles from the beginning. [Read more…]