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There are dozens of legitimate ways to make money online. Some are more passive than others. But if you’re looking to replace the income from your day job, many won’t come close to doing that.

An easy example that comes to mind is taking online surveys. Which, since I brought it up, you have to be very careful about, because many of those are scams.

You’re welcome. 😉

In this article, I want to present to you four different online business models that could be making you several thousand dollars a month within the first year. I say “could,” because realistically, most people who aim for that goal take two years to replace the income from their job. There’s a lot of competition in every area of online business these days, so it often takes more time and hustle to get to where you want to go with the one you embark upon.

That said, there are more than a handful of people who have succeeded in replacing their job income within a year of starting one of the following online businesses. However, I don’t like hype, and I’m not going to produce hype and get your hopes up.

Even if you really hustle with any of the following ideas, it will probably take more than a year to replace your current job income with any one of them. BUT – once you do, you will spend a lot less time on your business than you do on your job! So your efforts will pay off handsomely…and not just in the financial realm.

Business #1: Blogging.

The trick to making money with a blog, besides actually enjoying the process of writing, is choosing a topic that many people are interested in. How do you know that a lot of people are interested in a certain topic? Ironically, when you type the topic into the search engine there will be multiple pages of websites dedicated to it.

In other words, a good topic to write around is one that already has a decent amount of competition. Take heart: there are a lot of people browsing the Internet, and there’s always room for your unique voice.

Commit to writing two to three articles per week that are between one and two thousand words. Monetize your blog at the beginning with affiliate products, or by selling your own products, because many advertising services won’t let you put their ad code on your site until your blog has been live for so long, or is getting so much traffic per month.

Google, for example, won’t let you install their Adsense code until your blog is at least six months old.

Promote your blog with Pinterest, and/or with backlinking. Search “how to market my blog with Pinterest” and “the best backlinking strategies for 2020 (or whatever year it is)”. You might join and participate in a few Facebook groups related to your blog’s content to boost your initial traffic, as well.

Above all else, remember to write content that your target audience is going to be interested in. Answer the questions they’re asking. If you’re not sure of the questions they’re asking, use a keyword research tool to find out. And/or lurk around at online forums and on related Facebook groups.

Business #2: YouTube

There are two things you need to understand straight-up about the YouTube algorithm as it currently stands: it likes channels that upload at least one video a week best, and it likes videos that get engagement – i.e., comments and thumbs-up/thumbs-down clicks.

You also need to know that if you plan to make money with Adsense, you currently need to have 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of view-time before YouTube will let you apply to be an Adsense partner.

If you want to be making a full-time income with YouTube within the first year of starting your channel, you either need to choose a niche that has big-spending advertisers, such as finance or business, or a niche that will bring you tons of viewers on a regular basis. This is hard to predict. Right now one of the big trenders is people living in vans or in tiny houses. Interest in homesteading has grown in the past few years, as well.

Entertainment channels tend to do well. If you’re a natural comedian or a musician, or if you have friends who will get together with you and perform outrageous stunts, this might be the way to go.

There are services on Fiverr who will promote YouTube videos. It may be a good way to boost your initial viewership and get your first few subscribers.

You will also want to create and upload at least three videos a week if you’re trying to make a full-time income on YouTube within the first year.

You don’t have to count on Adsense for income. If you’re an entertainer, you could set up a Patreon account (which allows people to support you with small, monthly donations), create and sell merchandise (T-shirts, etc.) that carry your channel brand, and/or promote affiliate products.

If you’re aiming for a full-time income within two years, you have more wiggle room as far as what you do on your channel.

Business #3: Freelancing.

Are you a good writer? Have you developed the ability to crank out beautiful, eye-catching graphics with Canva? Maybe you actually have a degree in graphic design, have a soothing voice, or are an expert at creating and editing all kinds of videos.

If so, people are looking for your services! They are looking for people to write articles for their blog, ghost-write books, design blog headers and book covers, voice the intro for a podcast, create a video to market their product.

And those are just a smattering of skills and talents that represent the freelance world. Start a blog and a YouTube channel showcasing your skills and expertise, hang out in the right groups on Facebook and LinkedIn, join sites like Upwork, Guru, and Fiverr, and as long as you’re consistent, persistent, and reliable, you’ll eventually find clients who want to hire you for your services.

Business #4: Podcasting.

To begin podcasting, all you need is a $200 digital recorder and a closet with a light. Eventually, you’ll want an actual audio mixer and a microphone so that you don’t have to stay in the closet for acoustic purposes, but you can start small.

Choose a popular topic that you know you’ll either be able to speak upon for at least twenty minutes per week, or that you’ll be able to find an unending stream of guests to interview about. Use a blog, Pinterest, and social media to market the podcast.

Eventually, you want to have enough downloads of each episode to attract sponsors who will pay you to mention their company or product on your show. You can also ask for listener sponsorships through Patreon, and/or promote affiliate products or your own products.

Get ready, get set…

…RESEARCH! LOL. Because of course, there are a whole lot of other details to learn about each online business model if you want to start off right and not flounder.

At least, not as much as you might otherwise flounder.

But if you get to it, the basic research to get yourself started shouldn’t take more than a week or two. And then, if you want to be able to quit your job within the next two years, you’ll have the tools you need to do so.

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Researchers aren’t absolutely positive that an 100% whole-foods, plant-based diet is the healthiest diet, but they are sure that people who eat a nutrient-rich diet that contains no more than a small serving of animal product every day are going to dramatically reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and a host of other chronic and terminal health problems.

And the more days you can eat 100% animal product-free, the better!

But if you’re like a lot of people, you may not know much about no-meat, no-dairy meal preparation. You may also think it takes more time to prepare a homemade vegan meal than a homemade meat-based meal.

I’m about to prove you wrong! Not only that, but I’m also going to show you how easy it can be to prepare a whole-foods, 100% plant-based meal.

A disclaimer: when I say “whole foods,” I mean foods that are purchased in their natural form, cooked or otherwise. Canned goods aren’t strictly “whole,” having been cooked, but unless they’ve been coated in syrup or otherwise doctored, I count canned vegetables as “whole” for our purposes.

These are, after all, supposed to be easy recipes. And cooking beans and cutting corn off the cob aren’t exactly easy tasks!

A word of warning: I have photos for very few of the following recipes. I’m certainly not going to have photos of every step for any of the recipes. This isn’t a food or cooking blog, this a blog to encourage and inspire people to live a more fulfilling life, of which good health is key. You don’t need photos, just an ability to read and follow directions, and a tongue that can taste.

Now that we understand each other, on to the recipes…

Recipe #1: Simple tofu stir-fry with rice

If you don’t like tofu or are allergic to soy, omit the tofu. Make up the protein later with a handful of pumpkin seeds for a snack.

INGREDIENTS

  • One block of firm to extra-firm tofu
  • ½ cup soy or Worchester sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive or coconut oil
  • 2-3 cups frozen broccoli pieces, thawed out, OR 2-3 cups cut-up fresh broccoli
  • 2-3 carrots, each at least six inches long, cut into ½ inch slices
  • (if you’re not used to vegetable-heavy dishes, or have a small-ish skillet, go with the two cups broccoli and two carrots)
  • 2 teaspoons onion or garlic powder, or 1 teaspoon each, optional (if you want to bother chopping up fresh onion or garlic, you may, but these recipes are supposed to be easy. 😉 )
  • 1 cup rice
  • 2-1/2 cups water

DIRECTIONS

Do this first part a couple of hours before you want to eat.

  1. Cut the block of tofu into two-inch cubes. Set the cubes in a glass cake pan in one layer.
  2. Pour the sauce over the cubes, then set the pan in the refrigerator. Let tofu marinate at least two hours.
  3. Just before cooking, remove tofu from refrigerator.
  4. In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil.
  5. Add rice, reduce heat, and simmer for about half an hour. If you don’t have a rice cooker, keep an eye on the mixture so that it won’t boil over, or the simmering won’t come to a stand-still.
  6. When all the water has been absorbed, remove from heat and prepare the stir-fry.
  7. Heat oil in wok or skillet over medium-high heat until it starts to sizzle.
  8. If you’re going to bother with fresh onion or garlic, put it in the skillet now and stir it while it cooks for about one minute.
  9. Pour the carrot slices into the skillet. Stir every few seconds for two minutes.
  10. Add the broccoli and do the same. Continue stirring every few seconds until the vegetables take on a bright color and are crisp-tender.
  11. Toss in the tofu cubes and pour in whatever sauce remains. Add enough extra sauce so that all the veggie pieces get a little coating, if necessary. Stir all until tofu is warm.
  12. Serve with hot rice.

Recipe #2: Vegan wrap

INGREDIENTS

  • Packet of large Ezekiel 4:9 sprouted grain tortillas
  • Mashed black or garbanzo beans OR almond or peanut butter, optional
  • A variety of wrap-friendly veggies:
  • Shredded romaine or leaf lettuce
  • Sliced avocado
  • Sliced tomatoes
  • Sliced cucumbers
  • Cut-up red pepper
  • Grated carrots
  • Any other veggie you enjoy on a sandwich!
  • Your favorite vegan condiment – salsa, ketchup, mustard, vegan mayo, etc.

DIRECTIONS:

Really? Do you seriously need directions for this one. *SIGH.* Okay.

  1. Lay tortilla out on large plate.
  2. If using mashed beans or nut butter, spread it over the tortilla.
  3. Layer the raw veggies in the middle third of the tortilla.
  4. Top with desired condiment.
  5. Roll up and eat!

RECIPE #3: Chickpeas and quinoa

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 1-2 cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat water in medium saucepan to boiling.
  2. Add quinoa.
  3. Return water to a low simmer.
  4. Cover pan and let simmer for twenty minutes. Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t boil over. Lift lid to release steam if it does, or if a lot of steam is coming out, and reduce heat. If you use an electric burner, you may have to go back and forth between a medium setting a low setting.
  5. After twenty minutes, no water should be visible in the pan, just quinoa. Remove pan from heat, keeping covered. Let sit for ten minutes.
  6. Heat beans in the meantime.
  7. Scoop quinoa onto dish. Spoon over beans and top with seasonings or condiments to taste.

Recipe #4: Sprouted mung bean and sweet potato salad

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup dry mung beans
  • 2 cups water
  • 1-2 large sweet potatoes (depending on how many are eating)
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, or 1 package romaine hearts
  • Balsamic or apple cider vinegar

DIRECTIONS

  1. Two days prior, soak the beans in a  container of at least four cups, in the two cups of water.
  2. Eight to fifteen hours later, drain the beans in a strainer or colander. Return to the container and let sit for at least another twelve hours. They should have sprouted little white tails by then.
  1. Dump the beans by quarter-cups onto a glass plate. Dump each cup onto empty glass, not onto the beans you’ve already dumped. If you hear something hard clinking when you dump out the beans, you have an unsprouted bean that will not be nice to crunch on. Find it and remove it.
  2. Peel the sweet potato if you want, then cut it up into pieces no more than two inches wide and two inches and diameter.
  3. Bring about an inch and a half of water in the bottom of a saucepan to a boil.
  4. Put the sweet potato chunks either directly into the water, or in a steamer basket set above the water.
  5. Cover and cook until all the pieces are soft, five to ten minutes.
  6. In the meantime, wash and shred the lettuce. Put into a bowl.
  7. Set out the bowl of lettuce, sweet potatoes, container of mung beans, and vinegar.
  8. Let each person partaking of the meal heap their plates with however much lettuce, potato, and sprouted mung beans they desire.
  9. Top with vinegar, sprinkle with salt, mix together, and enjoy.

Recipe #5: Tex-Mex Vegan Salad

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 can corn
  • 1 can black beans
  • 2 large bunches kale
  • Jar of salsa

DIRECTIONS

  1. Tear the kale leaves off the stems, which are hard to chew and leave annoying green strings between your teeth.
  2. Cut up the kale leaves.
  3. Pour an inch of water in the bottom of a saucepan.
  4. Bring water to a boil.
  5. Either drop the kale right into the water, or place the kale in a steamer basket and place it in the saucepan.
  6. Steam the kale for about seven minutes.
  7. If you put the greens into the water, pour off the water.
  8. While the kale cooks, drain and heat up the black beans and corn in the same saucepan (optional – you may not want to do this if you’re making the meal during the summer).
  9. Place the kale, beans, and corn in a large bowl and stir together.
  10. When served on plates, top with salsa to taste.

Want more?

These easy and healthy vegan recipes are a great way to ramp up your nutrition and generally improve your health.

If you want even more tips on how to improve your diet, including more simple recipes, check out my book, Simple Diet, Beautiful You. While it’s not strictly vegan, because I wrote it to reach a more general audience, it will still give you plenty of tips on how to eat healthier with more plants, and without spending hours in the kitchen!

Click here to download the book now.

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If you’re asking about how to make money online, you are far from alone. Which can be discouraging, because doesn’t that mean you have so much competition you have only the slightest chance of succeeding with an online business?

It depends. Mainly, it depends on your persistence. I once heard a blog consultant state that around 90% of people who start blogs with a view to making money from them, quit within the first year. If you look around YouTube long enough, you’ll find a lot of channels that haven’t had any new content posted for the past two to three years.

While many people set off on a journey to build a profitable online business, a huge percentage eventually quit. Why?

They don’t profit. Some even lose a lot of money. I know of one YouTube channel where the guy obviously put a lot of money into video-making equipment, and a lot of time into making each video. But he got frustrated with some change the algorithm made, and gave up…with several hundred subscribers panting for more of his videos.

I don’t want you to give up on your dreams of shaking off the chains that tie you to a job that doesn’t fulfill you. So in this post, I’m going to share four ideas on how you can start an online business that will begin profiting after about thirty days.

Note that I’m NOT saying you’ll be able to pay any bills with that profit, let alone quit your job. But if you can see even twenty, fifty, a hundred dollars in the first month, without having had to put any money into your new start-up, you will be motivated to continue to work hard and ramp up your efforts so as to gradually build up that income.

Let’s get into those ideas.

#1. The social media coach/consultant

Do you have an area of expertise that you know others are wanting help in? Whether it’s health and fitness, marketing, relationships, or any number of other topics, you can set yourself up as a coach or consultant and find your first client within the first week or two.

How? Join a group on your social media platform of choice (probably Facebook or LinkedIn) and start participating by helping the members of the group. You can set up a free blog at blogger.com, or a Facebook page, and include your contact information, a summary of your services, and the offer for a free consultation call. If you’re allowed, put the link to this page or website in your signature for the groups.

When you encounter someone in a group who seems to be in a bind that you know you can help with, message them and offer them a free consultation.

If you decide to go this route, I suggest you read a book about coaching or consulting before you get started.

#2. Selling your products via YouTube

This one will take a little more legwork if you want to profit within the first thirty days, because a brand new video on a brand new YouTube channel isn’t going to get many, if any, views for days, perhaps even weeks. And it takes a lot of viewers before one decides to purchase from you.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. If you’ve written a comprehensive book or created a video course on a topic a lot of people would be interested in – relationships, health, career change, videography, etc. – you could start a YouTube channel based on whatever niche your book or course is related to. Upload at least three content-rich videos a week in the first couple of weeks to give your channel immediate momentum within YouTube. Then, go to fiverr.com and find a few people there who promote YouTube videos. The people they promote to who end up watching your video may not want to purchase your product, but the higher view numbers will tell YouTube to start suggesting your video to more and more YouTube browsers.

If you can get a total of, say, a thousand of more views among your videos within the first thirty-days, and you promote your product at the beginning and end of each video (be sure to offer some bonus to sweeten the deal), you will probably get at least one sale your first month.

And all it takes to make a quality video is a smart phone and a video editor, and there are several video editors that have free versions.

#3.  Becoming a virtual assistant

Are you good at creating beautiful pins for Pinterest? How about doing online research, or connecting with bloggers on behalf of clients? What about writing 1,000-word articles, or proofreading or editing? Maybe you’ve delved into video-making as a hobby, and are well-versed in the in’s and out’s of video editing.

While a virtual assistant should have some online savvy in a few areas, you don’t have to know everything about every administrative task in order to set yourself up as a V.A. As a matter of fact, sometimes people who hire V.A.’s walk them through the specifics of the task they want done.

Eventually, you’ll want a paid blog as your home base for this one. But you can start with a free blog.

If you’re a mother, join Hire My Mom. Women or men can sites like Upwork or Guru. Yes, there are a lot of competition on those sites. So start by taking on a few jobs for free, or at a very low cost so you can get some good reviews. Let all your online and offline networks know that you’ve put out your shingle as a V.A., and ask them to put you in touch with anyone they know who might need their services.

If you work long enough to make enough of the right connections, you will likely have received your first paying gig within the first month.

#4. Website design for local businesses.

Don’t skip over this one if you know nothing about website or graphic design! Look for free courses about web design, and after a few weeks to a few months you’ll have enough expertise to begin to approach local businesses to offer your services as a web designer.

But don’t take my word for it. Click here to listen to a podcast episode from one of my favorite podcasts, “Side Hustle Nation,” to hear how one man who knew nothing about website design turned it into a significant income within a few months of taking a free course about it.

Remember: you’re not going for a “significant income” in thirty days, just a profit. And once you have the skills and get out and start soliciting them to local business owners, this is totally possible.

Conclusion

I know I haven’t hit on all the possible ways that you can start making money online without any money, and begin to make a profit in your first month. But the above ideas are a great place to start, and might inspire you to come up with a completely different idea that suits your unique skill sets, interests, and gifting.

Just remember: those who persist, win. 😉

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Wondering how to save money with children? Wonder no more! As a recovering cheapskate and forever-saver, I can tell you with confidence that we didn’t spend more than $500 on our son during his first two years of life (he was born in 2006) – and I’m pretty sure that number is overblown. And while he has gotten more expensive as he’s grown older, we don’t spend nearly as much on him as the average middle-class family spends on each child per year.

And no, he’s not unhappy. Au contraire.

So if you need some ideas on how to make children fit into your monthly budget without blowing it, following are twenty-two ways to save money with kids that most anyone can do.

Babies

*1. Use cloth diapers. I know, gross, right? But as long as your baby is consuming only breastmilk, their feces is not a horror to contend with. If you’re feeding them formula, or once they start eating solid food, that’s when the poop gets…interesting.

Breathe through your mouth and deal with it. How to “deal with it” is beyond the scope of this article, and I’ll readily admit that there were a few months before our son turned two and poop-potty trained himself when we used disposable diapers. However, if you really need to save money, using cloth diapers instead of disposables will help you a lot.

*2. Purchase baby items from kid consignment stores.  Cribs, changing tables, clothes, baby toys, bedding, all of these can be purchased second-hand at consignment stores for much cheaper than the in-store prices.

*3. Don’t buy a changing table. If you have lower back problems, skip this one. If not, you can change a baby on a bed or on the floor.

*4. Practice co-sleeping. Letting Baby sleep in your bed is a highly personal, and therefore somewhat volatile, issue. But if you don’t buy a crib, you save some money. One popular co-sleeping method is temporarily putting the bed frame and box spring mattress in storage, and sleeping on the mattress on the floor. As your child grows, you can put a crib mattress on the floor next to your mattress.

*5. Hold a baby shower, and register for absolutely everything you think you’ll need for the next three years.

Yes, I said three years. Imagine not having to worry about buying clothing until your child is four years old!

*6. Breastfeed your baby for at least a year. Join your local La Leche League to get the support you need in order not to give up on it sooner. The women who lead those meetings have a wealth of experience and a passion to help mothers keep their babies on the breast.

*7. Don’t force your baby to wean. Wait until they are “asking” for regular food. At this point, they will more than likely have several teeth and be mature enough to know how to eat non-pureed/blended food. Our son was eleven months old when this happened, and he ate a small piece of apple.

*8. OR, make your own baby food. Blend apples into applesauce, peas and corn into mush, and so on. It’s a lot cheaper than buying jarred baby food, and doesn’t take long to prepare.

Young children

*9. On gift-giving holidays, give toys from garage sales and thrift stores. Unless they have older siblings or cousins telling them otherwise, they won’t know the difference.

*10. Keep gifts simple. When he was a toddler, our son had more fun playing with the boxes and wrapping paper the gifts came in than with the gifts themselves.

*11. Or, abstain from starting gift-giving traditions altogether. There’s no law stating that a child must receive gifts on their birthdays, Christmas, or Chanukah.

*12. OR, limit the gifts. No one receives more than, say three gifts on their birthdays or other gift-giving holidays. Keep this the rule every year in perpetuity.

*13. Purchase second-hand clothing (underwear/socks being the exception). If you haven’t discovered swap.com or thredup.com yet, now is the perfect time to explore those sites.

*14. Never take them into toy store or toy aisle of department store. Out of sight, out of mind.

Along those lines…

*15. Don’t let your children watch television programs that are loaded with toy commercials. What they don’t know about, they can’t ask about.

*16. Purchase plastic dishes from thrift stores. Plastic won’t break with the usual dropping/falling accidents.

Older kids

*17. If they’re picky about fashion, purchase brand-new for clothes that they’ll wear in public. Purchase at-home clothes from thrift or consignment stores.

*18. Budget “fun” spending for each child each month, and stick to the amount. This could be in lieu of gift-giving at holidays.

*19. Take advantage of craigslist for large ticket items, such as bicycles or computers.

*20. Find online coupons for everything possible, from entertainment venues to restaurants to online purchases.

In general

*21. Feed your clan homemade meals and snacks, made from whole foods. For example, breakfast cereal can be homemade muesli or oatmeal or rice topped with fruit and/or honey and/or cinnamon or Allspice. Snacks can be a piece of fruit, a few nuts (if they’re old enough to chew them properly), or cookies that you bake yourself using natural sweeteners and low-gluten flour (such as einkorn or emmer). Make restaurant food (take-out, slow, or fast) a rare treat.

*22. Always wait until late summer to purchase school supplies (glue, pens, notebooks, etc.), even if not used specifically for school use, and stock up then.

*23. Buy season passes to favorite entertainment venues (water parks, science museums, etc.).

*25. Take advantage of local public playgrounds and recreational areas, such as state parks.

*26. Make same-gender siblings share a bedroom. Contrary to popular belief, there is no law anywhere stating that every child in a given family must have their own bedroom. Embracing the “shared room” idea can save you big money when purchasing a house.

*27. Purchase evergreen toys. These are toys that a child is likely to come back to for years. Generic Lego® sets is a popular one. Girls will often play with dolls into their early and mid-teens (though they’d never admit that to their friends). Balls of all shapes, sizes, and materials. I could go on, but you get my drift.

In conclusion

The average cost to raise a child to age eighteen doesn’t have to be your family’s cost. Put on your cheapskate hat, pick some of these ideas on ways to save money with your children, and once you put them into practice, you just may find you finally have space not only to create, but work toward, financial goals.

PS – Many of the above ideas can be tweaked to help anyone of any age to save money. For over 300 ideas to help you simplify your life, be sure to check out my book, Crazy Simple: 307 Ways To Save Money, Your Health, And The Planet.

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