Cluj-Napoca is the official capital of the Grand Principality of Transylvania. A city in Europe you never thought of visiting, but you should!
“You’re the same today as you’ll be in five years except for the people you meet and the books you read.” Top 9 Books for Business you need to read.
My name is Radu Balas
I am a #1 Amazon bestselling author, a web designer, and I also have a lucrative business working online full-time.
I am 30 years old, but my online career began at the age of 15 creating logo designs on various obscure websites and forums. I did very well in this arena and my success soared from where when I discovered 99designs, a popular online design contest marketplace.
99designs connects a pool of designers from across the world, like small and medium-sized businesses who need design solutions; and it’s such an endless source of information and income! It’s great for companies who can’t afford to employ full time designers. If you need something designed for your company, 99designs can help you.
Project categories include logos, web design, banner ads, and even merchandise design for items like apparel.
The more I learn and the more I earn, the more I fall in love with this World Wide Web.
99designs – How It Works
Contest holders – the people who need design solutions, pay a listing fee of $39 plus 10% of the prize offered for each listed project. Depending on the project type, there is a minimum set prize.
For the amount you pay as a contest holder, this is what you will get:
- 100% money back guarantee
- Access to a pool of approximately 80,175 designers
- Wide variety of designs to choose from for each contest
- Option to run a regular or guaranteed contest
- Option to run a blind contest where no one gets to see the submissions other than you
- Unlimited revisions
- Access to tips on every aspect of running a successful contest
How Photoshop and Deke McClelland opened a whole new world to me
At some point in time I discovered, Photoshop and its GOD, Deke McClelland from Lynda.com. His tutorials are pure genius and he is quite an amazing guy. Just by watching his tutorials, everything changed. I became better and started getting higher paying gigs – $100, $300, $800. Which for a 20-year student living in Romania, was a pretty huge deal! It was a great incentive to help me keep doing what I was doing.
It wasn’t just about the money. I was, doing something I loved, and getting paid really well for it! Everyone I knew hated their job so my level of happiness with what I was doing seemed a bit absurd at the time!
I had an epiphany when I designed a logo in five minutes, and was paid $150 for it. That was $30 a minute! It was a T-shirt logo for a lovely lady, who needed it for her parent’s 50th wedding anniversary. It was then when it hit me: I had improved so much, after this course!
Work and Travel – The Ultimate dream
Over the next few years I continued to develop my online skill set. It was more for the thrill of learning more and helping people than making money, though the cash flow did help! I managed to make enough to travel to The States to live out my dream of ‘Work and Travel’.
The first year was great, did a lot of new things. I was constantly learning and pretty much everything I did was something I hadn’t done before. In the second year, I found my way to New York. I lived on Ludlow and Rivington in Manhattan right next to my favorite cocktail bar and work place, VERLAINE. It was one of the best times of my life.
While in New York helped I discovered Craiglist. Craiglist is known as one of the biggest classified ad sites in the world. Craigslist opened a portal for me where I was able to find in-between jobs as a street hustler and repairing wifi networks. I also took on weird web design gigs and Photoshop retouching jobs. It was nice residual income.
After a little while I came back home to Romania and I applied for a job in the UK as a webdesigner/webdeveloper . This is where I met one of the best guys in the SEO industry. In a short period of time I went through a steep learning curve that didn’t stop until I knew everything there was to know about this field. From SEO, to PPC, Email Marketing and Outsourcing to Creating Training Courses as well as complete online solutions, I learnt it all. Today I feel like I understand how the wheels are spinning. I am able to produce high quality sites on ANY topic and get them listed really high in Search Engine results.
Butterflies in my Stomach – My first love
I may have had experience in many different internet-based jobs, but I realised that my first love, my real passion lie in SEO. I really enjoy working to get high ranking websites and it turns out I’m pretty good at it as well! SEO has definitely changed a great deal across the last 18 months. This constant change keeps me hooked, because it means I have to test and experiment as I go. Many people who work online are scared of the possibility of Google updating their algorithm, and a lot of them gave up after the Panda and Penguin updates, but I actually look forward to the new challenges that these algorithm changes bring!
Why Setup This Blog?
When I browse around forums and popular internet marketing blogs, I find that there are a lot of misinformation that is being spread. A lot of people’s advice is entirely fueled by how just much commission they are making from the product they are selling, or reviewing. Most have zero hands-on knowledge. I’ve managed a fleet of websites, across different categories, including emerging markets and designing websites. I’ve taken each and every one of them to the #1 spot in Google and it has definitely has taught me a great deal. But I am not talking about just one website or two; I am talking about hundreds of websites.
I want to share this information, because I have gotten to where I am with the help of others like Deke McClelland, who were generous with sharing their expertise. And where I am is pretty awesome! In 2010 I even won first prize in a prestigious global web development competition. I entered 3 of my websites into the competition. Each of them was created for affiliate marketing long before the competition, and they all won top positions. The CEO even sent me an e-mail telling me how impressed he was with the websites!
The prizes helped me realize that I wasn’t leveraging my most valuable asset, one that I had honed for nearly ten years – my own personal knowledge and experience. It was clear that I needed to setup this blog to share my own learning’s as well as to provide high quality advice, tutorials and answers to those who require it.
This is actually good practice for me too, writing things down somehow releases the bottled energy I have stored up. And it all gets saved for posterity. So hit me with any questions you might have, especially hard ones. I promise you I will provide the correct answer if time permits it. I love a challenge, and who knows, we may both learn something new. But remember – there are no right answers, no magic formula in SEO. There are just educated guesses.
Success has nothing to do with luck or being born with a silver spoon in your mouth.
Success is not about having a “golden handcuffs” job either…
Success is born from a state of mind.
It’s born from the inside and nurtured until it fills an individual’s very soul to the point where it overflows and touches everything around them and turns it into gold.
Some people just own it – “Step by Step: How Elon Musk Built His Empire“
Success is a way of thinking that can transform anyone’s life into one of great satisfaction and reward. You’ll notice here I did not say “wealth” or “riches.” You’ll see why in the next two paragraphs!
I want to share the experiences I’ve gained over the years. There are no guarantees that what I have to offer will enhance your life exponentially, but as with any other piece of information; it all depends on what you decide to do with what is given.
It’s a BUSINESS! Not a money machine!
Too many people make the mistake of starting a business just to make the almighty dollar.
Too many people are focused solely on the potential profit of a business rather than looking at whether or not that particular business is even needed.
These are selfish endeavors and are a sure way to end up in the 90% failure statistic.
Don’t be a statistic.
Start by chasing needs.
Start chasing deficiencies in service. Start chasing problems or thorns in the sides of society. This is where true success lies.
A business should be rated by its need in society
When selfish goals such as excessive profit or your own happiness are the driving forces behind the business, it is sure to fail. Put the needs of others and society first and the profits will come later and they will be bigger and more rewarding than you have ever dreamed of.
Many many years ago I was dragged to an Amway seminar and had to listened to a trainer talk about setting goals. This sounded like an interesting topic to me, well until he said his goal was to make 100.000 Euros by the end of the year.
Needs should come first, or at least before any money goals (more about this in part two of this article).
Engage the marketplace and it will embrace you. Do what you are good at, overcompensate on your delivery and make sure you’re buckled up and ready for a long journey.
Ten dollars per month for the rest of your life is way better than 100 dollars right now.
You live only once
I have followed many, many people and there are certain characteristics all extremely successful people entail. There is a formula by which success manifests. Here are the general guidelines I’ve compiled from all my experiences and travels:
Live Life On Purpose vs Living a Life of quite desperation
Passion is a great motivator. When you do what you truly believe you were meant to do, life unfolds like a great epic novel.
Living a life of quiet desperation will merely entail getting through your days on Earth with the least amount of problems. Living life on purpose means finding that cause which you are passionate about, that you truly believe in, and building a business around it.
Be 100% Responsible for Your Success or Failure
People in today’s society seem to want to blame their failures on many different factors from parents to government to Trump.
This is called playing the victim.
Those who hold this state of mind are destined for failure. It means losing the race before the bell rings. Not holding yourself accountable is handing over the control of your life to that person or entity.
Be the Best
Be the best in your field; an expert. This has nothing to do with talent but a lot to do with ambition.
All successful people strive to be the best in their chosen field and are constantly taking the path to self-improvement to be the best and stay the best at what they do. If you want to be successful, make the declaration today that you will become the best and then work toward that goal. If you aren’t sure how to do this, find out what the current best are doing and mirror their actions.
Be the powerful person you really are!
Most people don’t realize just how much power they hold. Everyone possesses power. It is merely the “ability to act.” There is one catch: You must take action to utilize this ability. It’s like muscle-building; the more you do the easier it gets.
Keep in mind that science has already proven that the neural transmitters in your brain become stronger and thicker the more you do certain things.
This applies to everything, you can even trick your brain for happiness.
Remain Focused, on the right things
Don’t let yourself become distracted with all the hundreds of things to do and phone calls to take every day. It can seem at times like you are the rope in a tug of war game and everyone is competing for your attention.
Ranting and complaining never made anyone rich.
When problems arise, learn to stay focused on the solution and not the problem. Focusing is all about sacrificing the present for the pay off in the future.
Remember though it’s not just about the destination, it’s also about the journey.
The two authors of Chicken Soup for the Soul stayed focused on their goal. They went through thirty publishers and were turned down by each one.
Despite this, they did about twenty-five interviews per week for a year until someone finally gave them a chance and now their books have become household names, some have even become part of a series with more than ten million copies sold!
Don’t Just Set Goals!
Make a Plan!
You know where you want to go. How are you supposed to know how to get there if you don’t make a map?
Stop dreaming and start planning! A goal without a plan is nothing more than a dream (I think Tim Ferris said this in his book). Nearly all successful businesses plan at least one year ahead.
In Japan, they take it to the next level and plan decades ahead, up to fifty years. It’s good to step back and look at where you’re going.
Learn To Love To Learn
Remember that humility you had as a student? You knew you didn’t know everything and looked to your educators and elders for advice. Never lose that quality. Nobody knows everything.
Mentors have their own mentors and those mentors have their own as well! Never stop learning and, to do this, you must stay open to the notion that there will always be more to learn.
Don’t have a mentor yet? Hire one…
Luckily, I’ve had great mentors all my life. But there were times when I had to hire mentors, people to advise and consult with on certain aspects of my business.
Don’t be scared about their fees, be it $100, $1000, $5000 an hour. More often than not, you’ll get that money back. And no, I don’t mean you’ll get it back as just a mere blah blah experience. If you position your interaction right with these people and if you offer something of value, they will even send clients your way. (this has happened to me several times – thank you Jane Friedman)
Practice Self Awareness!
Get on a constant path to self-discovery. Your five dominant tendencies are the windows to what your future holds.
Take time to figure out what those are and write them down. If in doing so you see a pattern of griping too much, passing blame off to other people or entities, using drugs, spending too much money, or wallowing in generalized negativity of any kind, you know you will need to work on yourself to bring about the changes necessary to facilitate success.
Never Give Up
Even when you think things are hopeless, do not give up. Enough cannot be said here.
Never, never, never give up.
When you are focused on a goal and ready to sacrifice anything to achieve it, a magical thing happens to you. You must be willing do to whatever is required to make it happen. Absolute, unflinching, unrelenting perseverance is key. Focus on the journey and you’ll be at your desired destination in no time, or many many years… whichever comes first!
I heard Elon Musk say in an interview – “Being an entrepreneur is like eating glass and staring into the abyss.”
Keep Your Goals Visual
For those who tend to respond to visual stimuli, a whiteboard can be a great motivator. Write down goals, ideas, thoughts, and affirmations. Write down future goals—even as far as a year out; they serve as reminders to yourself of where you need to be.
Get rid of what robs you of the time that could be used to focus on your business. I’m talking about anything that eats up time, but gives nothing back in return: television and video games are at the top of that list.
Remember, you must be willing to sacrifice to be successful. Eliminate these distractions and you will be surprised how much time you have to focus on your business’s success.
In the last 5-6 years I have reduced my TV time up to 90%.
I have no regrets.
There is no better time than right now!
Even if it’s ten o’clock at night and you’re ready for bed, do something first! If you don’t get started right now, you may not have the drive to make it happen. We don’t know how much time is left on the clock. Nobody knows. All we know is that we don’t have forever. Time waits for no man. Successful people understand this and use it as a motivational thought to get them going on a constant path to achievement.
Oh, I’ll start on Monday…
I’ll quit smoking 1st of January…
NO! If you want to do something, start now. Why Monday? Why 1st of January, why not any other date? 1st of June?
UPDATE – Interesting article about procrastination you might like – http://waitbutwhy.com/2013/10/why-procrastinators-procrastinate.html
Don’t Reinvent The Wheel, Make It Better, use what’s out there
I first discovered this in 2008, I was on a beautiful little island near France and I was trying to figure out the best width for a website…
But then it hit me… why? Amazon, Apple, and other companies spent millions of dollars finding the right answers to these questions and if you have the right filter and enough experience you can just take that info and use it in your business.
Successful people rarely come up with brand new ideas, but rather improve on old ideas. Every item on the market can be improved upon. Find an existing idea, discover what points it is lacking, start small, and capitalize on it.
Just look at Facebook! MySpace was around before Facebook, but that didn’t stop Mark Zuckerberg. He took the idea and improved upon it.
Did it stop Sergey Brin and Larry Page from making Google when there were already several search engines around (#goodbyeAltavista)?
No! And now it is the most used search engine out there. Well, we can’t even imagine life without Facebook or Google.
Sam Walton ignored the fact that there were already plenty of department stores around when he created Wal-Mart. He took an existing idea and improved on it.
Is coffee a new idea? It’s been around for centuries and people were able to get a cup of coffee anywhere before Howard Schultz still took that archaic product and capitalize on it by being the best at providing this simple everyday item.
Ray Kroc started McDonalds even though hamburgers were already a staple food among eateries. He took the idea and improved on it.
Even though people obviously had places to get rid of their garbage, Brian Scudamore still started the 1-800-GOT-JUNK franchise and Wayne Juizinga still started Waste Management. Waste Management is now a Fortune 500 company.
All of the above entrepreneurs took existing ideas and improved on them by fulfilling a need at which the present services were failing. Through sacrifice, perseverance, and focus, they were all able to build their businesses into the household names they are today.
I believe each and every one of us has the ability to do this.