Brand Loyalty

The Danger of Brand Loyalty

Brand loyalty is dead.

Now I’m sure that when you think about brand loyalty, you generally think it’s a good thing. The purpose of this post isn’t to dissuade you of that belief or to tell you that brand loyalty is bad, but to shed some light on the flip side of that coin.

While as a brand, we would want our customers/audience to become & stay loyal to our brand, but being a loyal customer doesn’t necessarily serve us well. To broaden the scope of this discussion, let me expand on what I mean by giving a more broad definition of brand loyalty using several examples..

Are You Loyal to Any of These?DS Brand Loyalty Image

  • Car Manufacturers
  • Clothing Brands
  • Tech Brands
  • Music or Book Genre
  • Sports Teams
  • Political Parties
  • Religious Organizations
  • Your State/Country
  • Family (even extended family)

Chances are that you’ve said yes to one or more of those examples; but before I cover the potential downsides of brand loyalty, let’s go over some of the benefits.

Benefits of the Consumer

As a consumer, there are a few benefits you get by being loyal to a particular brand. First, it can be quite helpful if you have trouble making decisions.

Think of your favorite (car, tech, or clothing) company coming out with their newest edition, and how your natural inclination might be that “it’s time for an upgrade”. You don’t have to research all of the alternatives, you know that your favorite company provides quality products that are in your price range and that suit your taste.

Another big benefit can be the “community” aspect of brand loyalty. Think of the connections you have with other people that pertain to the organizations (sports, political, religious, family, and local community) you’re involved with. You have these common interests that bring you together.

Well so far, everything looks good. Brand loyalty is good for both the brand and consumer, right?

Maybe, maybe not. There are obvious benefits with this loyalty, provided that they keep putting out a quality product at a good price, but that’s not the entire picture.

The Danger of Brand Loyalty

Brand Loyalty IconThere are a few dangers of blindly following something, be it a brand, organization, etc.

One big danger is that it can cause you to stop using critical thinking. Many bad decisions can be made when you don’t focus on the possible outcomes or consequences before taking action.

Something else to consider is that times change. Companies change. You change. Those brands that are on top today will likely fall by the wayside tomorrow and beyond.

Also, many times this brand loyalty has been handed down to us. The ‘social’ brands (like politics, religion, nationalism, and family) tend to be heavily influenced by our upbringing and surroundings.

Think of it this way: if you met some of your extended family or your current co-workers for the first time at a community picnic or other social gathering, would you give them the time of day based solely on their attitude, personality, mannerisms, etc.?

If the answer is “no”, then why would you elevate their status based on factors that you’ve had little or no control over (being born and/or hiring your co-workers).

That example above may seem a bit cold, but I’m trying to make a point. Doing activities you don’t like or spending time with people you can’t stand aren’t good ways to have an enjoyable life.

(And obviously friends, family, and co-workers fall into different social categories.)

You are an Individual

stand outI believe it’s vital that critical thinking is employed in every area of life.

Avoid the ‘herd mentality’ and do a personal audit. Make adjustments to the areas of your life that need it and choose what’s best for your personal situation – each and every time.

Avoid guilt! It’s OK to root for a sports team that actually wins, rather than rooting for the team that’s based in the same geographical location as you.

If your favorite car company starts cutting corners with their quality or puts out a design you don’t like, make the switch to another brand.

Now let’s bring it back to something a little closer to home for me..

Back to the blog

Personally, I follow several different blogs, podcasts, and YouTube channels. As much as I enjoy consuming new content from these brands, they are only a few bad posts/episodes/videos away from my finding replacements.

There are too many great brands out there to keep following those that stop providing value on a consistent basis. Click To Tweet

Knowing that your audience can walk away at any time will keep you on your toes. Consistent growth and improvement is how you stay in the game.

I hope this post has helped you find a different way of looking at things. Keep providing value to others, and make sure that others keep providing value to you.



DS Blogging Schedule Featured Image

Why You Need a Blog Schedule

DS Blogging Schedule Featured Image

When you first start out blogging, you’ll probably have enough drive & ambition to stay focused and produce new content. At least for a while..

question markWhen I first got started, I followed other blogs, especially those geared towards new bloggers. I kept seeing question come up such as:

  • What is the best length for blog posts?
  • Which social media platforms should I be on?
  • How to I get more traffic?
  • and on and on..

These questions are a good start, but they leave out something important.

A Blog Schedule

One of the biggest keys to whether or not you become a successful blogger lies in your consistency. And how do you become consistent? By having a set schedule for your blogging activities.

I’m not just talking about posting on a regular schedule (like once a week, daily, etc.), I’m talking about having a daily schedule of tasks to complete. In my experience, having a set daily schedule makes the whole ‘blogging process’ effortless.

[tweetthis hidden_hashtags=”#hustle”]How do you become consistent? By having a set schedule for your blogging activities.[/tweetthis]


Here’s a sample schedule I’ve created, closely based on the version I personally use. It follows a logical progression of creating posts and spending some time improving the blog itself.

Sunday – Brainstorm new post headlines

content machine coverThe best advice I found for creating content came from Dan Norris in his book Content Machine, and he suggests to start with post headlines, rather than just the generic subject you’d like to talk about.

This can be done in as little as 10-15 minutes. All you need to do is come up with about 5 good headlines, and you’re good to go.

Monday – Outline next post

Now it’s a good idea to have your posts scheduled out a month or so in advance, but either way, for Monday’s task, you simply choose one of the headlines and outline that post.

Again, this task can usually be done in 10-15 minutes. I use Workflowy to quickly and easily outline posts.

Tuesday – Write rough draft

If you have a good outline, the post practically writes itself. I use Workflowy and Writebox, opened side by side to effortlessly write the rough draft of my upcoming post.

Mistakes are OK, and the post doesn’t need to be in perfect order; simply get all of the content out on this day, and you can worry about editing on Thursday.

Depending on the post length, this step usually takes 25-30 minutes.

Wednesday – Work on imagesimage editing

Aside from the text component, blog posts need an array of vibrant images to accompany that text. I usually use Pixabay for free images (but there are many other options for images).

Stock images are fine throughout the post, but often (and especially for your featured image) you need to work on them a bit. I mainly use Canva, which lets me add overlays, text, and a variety of other components to the image.

Working on images can eat up a lot of time, so try not to obsess about getting things perfect. I like to complete this task in 30-45 minutes.

Thursday – Finish & schedule post

Thursday’s task is the part I like most; putting it all together. You already wrote the text and created the images, now you just need to work on the layout and proofread the text.

This step is pretty straightforward, and when finished, you can schedule the post. This usually takes me about 15 minutes.

Friday – Email broadcast and autoresponders

Since a big part of blogging is about building your email list, I have a day dedicated to working on those funnels.

ConvertKit Resource ImageI use ConvertKit for my email marketing service, and they make it easy to create & schedule broadcast messages and setup ’email courses’ (which are basically just autoresponder sequences).

I schedule a brief broadcast message that tells subscribers about my latest post, and have it go out on the upcoming Monday.

Beyond the broadcast message, I also spend some time working on my email courses. I have one setup for each of my books, and am working to have a course setup for each topic I cover. This way, the incentive to subscribe is more targeted, and I can give those subscribers information that’s more suited to their interests.

Although this day’s work covers a wide range of activities (from writing the email texts, to outlining the sequence of an email course, and more), I can usually fit everything in to a 30-45 minute time block.

Saturday – Work on website

web designSaturday is the day I work on my ‘site infrastructure’. Things like static pages (about, resources, contact), adding landing pages for new products, making sure the plugins & theme are up to date and functioning perfectly, etc.

Since this step doesn’t usually take very long, I also take this time to update my post links. Whenever I have a 2 part series, I go back and link them together once the 2nd part is live.

Another example would be going back to a post where I mentioned an upcoming post topic, and updating the post to actually link to that topic. This makes for better continuity within your blog, should a reader land on an older post. I also link all of my ‘personal progress update‘ posts together.

I usually limit this step to about 30 minutes.


If you’re a student of productivity, you probably already know about batching your tasks, and how it’s much quicker to do the same task multiple times than to switch and start on something new.

This schedule is setup exactly in this manner.

For example, on Monday when I’m outlining my upcoming post, I usually have enough time to outline a 2nd post, either to help me stay ahead of things, to use as a guest post, or for posting to another platform (Quora, Medium, Reddit).

It’s much faster for me to outline 2 posts, than if I were to try to outline and then write 1 post, since I’d have to ‘change gears’.

What about marketing?

You may be thinking that I’ve overlooked social media and other means of marketing my posts, but I haven’t. Based on what I’ve read, a good blend seems to be ratio of 30% content creation, 70% marketing of that content.

I came to the conclusion of needing a ‘marketing schedule’, just like I have a ‘blog schedule’.

blogging board no border


Here’s another sample schedule I’ve created, and this one is closely based on the version I personally use for marketing my blog. It again follows a logical progression, but this time, it’s just a few tasks that repeat twice a week, with a ‘filler’ day in the middle.

Social Media MontageThe tasks are:

  • Posting for Traffic
  • Posting in Social Groups
  • Sharing quality post & articles
  • Outreach (the ‘filler’ day)

I’ll go into more detail on each of these tasks, and then end this section with an example of a schedule you can follow..

Posting for Traffic

When I say posting for traffic, what I mean is posting content to a site or platform (with a link back to your own site), and the whole intent is to drive the readers back to your blog. This is different from sharing on social media, in that the content is a bit longer, and it usually has a longer shelf life than a Tweet or Facebook status update.

Some good examples would be Medium, Reddit, Quora, and maybe LinkedIn. Posts here would be somewhere in the middle, lengthwise, between a Tweet and a full length blog post. (200-500 words)

My personal focus for this task is Quora. I’ll talk about Quora more in an upcoming post, but suffice it to say that I’ve found that answering questions on Quora leads to some good, steady traffic back to the blog.

Posting in Social Groups

facebook groupsThis should be self-explanatory. Posting in Facebook groups, Google+ communities, and the like. These posts typically get a lot more engagement than just a simple social share.

I like to either post a question, share a helpful tool, or leave well thought out comments to help people one on one.

This probably won’t bring in as much traffic as the last task would, but it builds a lot of good will. When you have a question, need help, or come out with a new post or product, you might be pleasantly surprised by how willing the group members will be to help you out in return.

Sharing Quality Posts & Articles

This section could more accurately be titled “loading the Buffer stream”, but let me explain the basic premise. Social media is overflowing with people who do nothing but share their content over and over.

Be different.

Share great articles written by other people. Follow a variety of blogs and other media sources in and around your niche, and regularly share their stuff. I use Buffer for this, as it is simple to use, and takes virtually no time to implement.

Simply install the Buffer browser extension, and then whenever you read a great article, add it to your Buffer stream with 1 click. I’ve actually written a Quora blog post that goes more into much more depth on this.


microphoneOutreach isn’t a big focus for me at this time, but I try to do a little each week. This would include pitching guest posts to other bloggers, lining up podcast interviews, or asking people to participate in a ‘expert round up’ post.

I’ve been having consistent success with posting for traffic and sharing quality posts & articles, so I haven’t spent much time with this.

So let’s see how these play out in a typical week. I’ve put together a simple image, so you can see the pattern I use..

Blog Schedule Image


I’ve attempted to balance the workload out between both schedules. For instance, when I’m writing a post for the blogging schedule task, all I need to do is reload my Buffer stream for the marketing/promotion schedule’s task. This tends to keep both tasks for the day to an hour (or two) of actual work.

Well, that’s about it for the marketing schedule. Let me briefly touch on how to put this into practice.

The Schedules in Action

monthly plannerCreating these two schedules for blogging and marketing the blog was a great first step, but I then needed to setup a system for following through with them.

The two best ideas I found were by either using recurring tasks in a task manager like TickTick, or simply having them in a document that I check out daily.

I chose the 2nd option, and have a nice set of bullet points in Workflowy. I use this tool for a variety of things, and always have it open. All I need to do is glance at it when I’m ready to start working, and I’ll know what to do for that day.

If you’re just getting started with blogging, there’s a much simpler version of this concept explained on the CoSchedule blog HERE.

The Results

working onlineThese schedules have helped me immensely. I’ve been able to increase the length and quality of my posts, get consistent traffic from outside sources, and slowly build up a social following.

On top of all that, it’s made blogging quite enjoyable. I encourage you to experiment with these two schedule types and give it a go.

Talk to you soon,


Micro Jobs Featured Image

How to Learn or Improve Skills with Micro Jobs

Micro Jobs Featured Image

This post is a more in-depth look at the way I’ve been using Micro Jobs to both learn & improve my skills, and earn extra income.

What is a Micro Job?

In case you’re not too familiar with this term, here is a simple explanation:

Micro jobs are tasks that typically take 15 minutes or less to complete (but can also be up to a couple hours in length). These are mostly online jobs, so think of them as a task that is too small to outsource conventionally (setting up a job posting on Upwork, then hiring the best applicant).

Some examples might be: having a 500 word article written, getting a voice over for either your voicemail greeting or a short video, having header images created for your social media sites, etc.

Most of the time, these tasks are packaged more as a commodity. You’ll find a few types of sites available. On some sites, sellers list their services, and you choose one that is the best match based on price, ratings, and turnaround time. The second site you’ll likely encounter is one that you post your task on, and freelancers will submit their bids to you.

There are pros and cons of each, but for today, I’ll be sticking to the first type of site. This type of site will usually get your work finished quicker, without having to sift through dozens of bids, and in most cases, you don’t pay (or can be refunded) if you’re not satisfied with the work.

Micro Job StrategiesMicro Job Strategies

I’ve found there to be 2 main ways that micro jobs are used.

  1. as a buyer outsourcing/delegating small tasks
  2. as a seller to earn extra income

For this post, I will be focusing on a variation of strategy #2.

As you may have already read in my Journey Toward Location Independence, I have been in the middle of a huge shift in my personal & professional life. As my business was changing, I realized that I needed to learn new skills, and replace my offline income with online sources.

I started on this journey back in March 2014, and in this time have sifted through many ‘opportunities’ (which mostly ended up being dead ends, scams, etc.), and was able to eventually find some legitimate online jobs.

After much trial & error, I settled on these elements to make up my micro jobs strategy:

  1. I must be learning skills that serve a dual purpose.
  2. These skills must build on each other.

By serving a dual purpose, I mean that my primary reason for working on micro jobs platforms is to learn skills that I can apply in multiple areas of my life.

Writing or marketing, for instance, can both be applied in a variety of areas, while whistling or juggling, on the other hand, have limited applicability in life (for most people).

By having the skills build on each other, I mean that I prefer them to be related and in the same field, rather than scattered all over the place.

Learning Skills

Earning extra income is another factor to consider, but it only plays a minor role. What the income does, is provide motivation and accountability.

A ‘Real World’ Example

For a real world (non-micro) example, I spent a few years working as the Editor in Chief for a community organization and later as the Executive Director for the same group, mainly to learn and improve my skills.

Some of the skills I learned include: design & layout, copy editing, proofreading, desktop publishing, print & email marketing, and payment processing. While those skills came in handy for my offline business, they also help in running an online business and blogging.

Why Micro Jobs for Learning Skills?

Online Platforms ImageThe reason I’m emphasizing Micro Jobs for this purpose, is that the work is in bite sized chunks, and doesn’t require an ongoing commitment. It is also easy to change directions, if need be.

It also has another added benefit. When you become a seller on a Micro Job platform, you will learn how to communicate effectively with your buyers, a skill that will be useful should you become a buyer when outsourcing and delegating tasks.

So that’s a summary of why I feel that working as a seller on a Micro Job platform is a very effective way to learn or improve your skills.

My Journey

Now I’m going to share which skills I want to learn and improve, which platforms I’m working on, and how all of this fits into my overall online business strategy.

First, let’s start with a list of the platforms I’m currently working on, and a few more that I’ve tested out. I’ll also mention which skills I’m learning or improving. Afterward, I’ll cover their importance in the long run..

Which Platforms Am I On?


Fiverr ImageI started on Fiverr in April of 2014, and within 4 months I had turned it into a low 4-figure monthly income. When I initially started, it was entirely for the income, but I quickly saw that this was a big opportunity to learn something new.

I started out by learning customer service, and then added “gigs” in areas where I felt I needed some work. So far, I’ve learned how to sell a service, communicate with buyers, and create & streamline systems for order delivery, communications, etc.

I’ve even gone so far as to write a book, Double Your Fiverr Income, detailing my methods for success.

Fiverr Clones

Micro Jobs Platforms

I started expanding onto a few new ‘Fiverr like’ platforms once I become successful on Fiverr itself. I basically just cloned my Fiverr account onto many of these sites.

They don’t get nearly as much traffic as Fiverr (even combined), but I didn’t think it could hurt to cast a wider net. I still get some sales from them, usually whenever the site owners do a big marketing push, but they almost aren’t worth the time. This next site, however, has been a great addition..

People Per Hour

people per hourI actually came across People Per Hour by accident. This platform didn’t show up in my searches for ‘Fiverr clones’, but I found it through Udemy when I was looking for courses about Fiverr.

What I like about it is that is combines the ‘bid on jobs’ type of freelancing site with the ‘one and done’ gigs from Fiverr (which are called ‘hourlies’). The site feels a bit more professional, and jobs go for a much higher price than you can get on Fiverr, although it is a smaller site.

What I like most about these platforms, is that there is a definite beginning and end to each order. From start to finish, it usually only takes between 2-10 minutes to complete an order.

There’s no hunting for (and then bidding on) jobs, haggling on price, etc. You simply put your service out there, and fill orders as they come it.


iWriter Once I took on the mindset of using these platforms to learn or improve my skills, I realized that my writing could use improving. Although I’ve had good results from the web & email copy I’ve written, it would take me a long time to complete. What better way to improve, than by writing on various topics, with money and positive ratings at stake.

I got started on iWriter, which has this probationary period where you need to write 30 articles and maintain good ratings before you can actually start making decent money. This put positive pressure on me to write faster, otherwise I would practically be working for free.

Once you make it past the first 30 articles, you can actually start making decent money, but at that point I began to put that effort into the blog instead. (This was a case where I was mainly looking to improve skills, and the money was a distant second.)

This Blog is also a Platform

While we’re still talking about writing, I should mention this blog as another platform I’m working on. I’m looking to further improve my writing, and also learn WordPress, SEO, and everything else that goes along with running a blog.

It also helps me to gather my thoughts for future books & courses, and lets me connect with other like-minded people online.

Digital Sharecropper Blog

How They Tie Together

As I mentioned earlier, these skills need to build on one other. Still being somewhat new to the world of online business, there is so much to learn. These platforms provide me with motivation, income, and the skills I’ll need to continue to grow as a Digital Nomad.

In the short term, I’m finishing up my second book, and in the usual fashion, writing this book is another avenue to learn some new skills. My eBook can also be turned into audio book, and maybe even video courses on Udemy.

So there again, building on what I’ve already learned. I’m sure you can see the pattern. Everything I do has a long term focus, and I highly recommend you take this approach too. To the outside world, you’ll eventually look like an “overnight success”, but you will know the truth.

[tweetthis hidden_hashtags=”#freelance #hustle”]An overnight success is really built one step at a time, one day at a time.[/tweetthis]

Thanks for stopping by, all the best.


Digital Nomad's Chromebook

The Chromebook: Secret Weapon of the Digital Nomad?

Digital Nomad's Chromebook

As I started my Journey Toward Location Independence, I began to look at the many tech options available to me. Was there a ‘perfect’ system for my needs?

The 4 Main Choices

To be able to run my business from anywhere, there seemed to be 4 main options available to me: a desktop computer, laptop, tablet, or simply a smartphone. What I needed to do was find the option that best fit my online business needs..

Eliminate the Obvious

4 Tech OptionsWorking through this list, I was able to eliminate 3 of these rather easily..

The Desktop Computer

Even though there are some semi-portable options, in general there are several downsides to the desktop computer.

  1. Size & Weight – this choice is the least portable option.
  2. Static Location – even if you bring it with you, it can only serve as a “home base” at best.
  3. You’ll also need a desk. Depending on where you are, you may only have a counter or table, not a proper desk to work from. Also, if you frequently work while standing, this makes it even harder.

The Tablet

While iPads and other tablets can be a convenient way to read, watch videos, etc., they aren’t very good when it comes to creating new content. Sending email, writing, and filming quality videos can be done, but not very quickly or easily.

The Smartphone

Screen size is what really kills this one for me. Add to that the same downsides as working with a tablet, and this option can also be easily eliminated.

So where does that leave us?

The Laptop

The portability and functionality of this option seem to make it the best choice for a Digital Nomad living the ‘laptop lifestyle’. Upon further inspection, though, we are still left with 2 choices..

Either go big, or go lean.


Going Big

Most entrepreneurs I’ve observed have chosen this option. The idea is to get a high-end laptop with the most possible speed, RAM, hard-drive space, screen resolution, and loads of professional software suites.

These, too, were my initial thoughts (more on this in just a sec), but all too often I observed this option being taken more as a status symbol, than as the best choice for that individual.

The next option, go lean, is one that I hadn’t seen too many other people choose.

Get Lean

Going Lean

Philosophically, going lean sounds like a good idea, but the execution seemed like it would be lacking quite a bit. Even though I was sure this would be the case, I still decided to look into this possibility.

As I dug deeper, I came across a device that was quietly growing in popularity: The Chromebook. The more I looked into it, the more it seemed like it could almost be a viable option.

I just needed to find out if it would be possible to run my entire business using only a Chromebook. Here’s how it all played out..

My Journey

This started when it was finally time to upgrade my laptop. As I hinted at earlier, my initial objective was to get the best and most powerful laptop I could find.

I found one that suited my apparent needs, and placed the order. Shortly afterwards, though, I got an email that it was on back order and would ship out in a few days.

Well, a few days turned into a couple of weeks, and I started to get impatient. Did I pick the right one, and if it didn’t ship in another week, what would be my next choice?

The Chromebook

Sample ChromebookIt was at this time that I started entertaining the idea of going lean instead of going all out.

The one thing that was important to me, was to shrink from a 15″ screen down to a 14″ screen. Even though I was planning to go all out, I had wanted an edge with a bit more portability.

In the online comparisons, an HP Chromebook kept showing up. Since most of what I had heard about Chromebooks was negative, I was a bit intrigued. I liked the concept, but wasn’t sure I could make it work for me.

With each passing day, though, I kept leaning more towards this choice. It was finally settled when I got another email that my laptop wasn’t going to be back in stock at all, and I’d need to choose another model. I finally took the plunge.

How does it work?

Chromebook ExampleBefore I finish my story, I’ll take a moment to bring you up to speed on Chromebooks, if you’re not already familiar with them.

Basically, it looks & feels like a ‘normal’ laptop, but uses a different operating system (Chrome OS). This operating system is much lighter weight, and doesn’t take as much in the way of resources to run.

Most of the functionality requires that you are online, but there are still plenty of capabilities if you happen to be out of WiFi range.

Rather than full local ‘programs’, it uses lightweight Apps (similar to smartphones and tablets). Beyond that, you can access everything else through the Chrome browser.

It also syncs with your Google account once you log in, and automatically installs your extensions & bookmarks. There are no drivers to worry about, no updates or antivirus to download, and it doesn’t slow down over time.

In fact, you’ll get a couple of tiny updates each month that only add about 10 seconds to the lightning fast 5 second boot speed.

Now I’ll get back to my story and show you how it all played out for me.

Using it as a 2nd Computer

When I got started with Chrome OS in 2013, it couldn’t yet replace everything I needed it to. Over time, however, it has gotten better and better, eventually becoming my primary device.


What MUST it do for me?

Before switching to a new platform, I made a list of everything I needed my device to do. When I had finished, there were about 6 things that I couldn’t do on a Chromebook at that time.

The main things that I originally couldn’t find suitable arrangements for were:

  • Desktop Publishing
  • Audio & Video Editing
  • Screencasting
  • Using my VPN

As each month passed, though, new apps were added, and some of the software I needed began to be offered using the SaaS model.

Chromebook Promo

Now, my Chromebook can handle between 95-98% of everything I need to do for work, and I anticipate the last few percentage points being added in the coming months.

Since ChromeOS is an operating system based on the Linux kernel, I’ve actually installed GalliumOS (a Linux distro built specifically for ChromeOS devices) alongside Chrome, giving me a full range of desktop applications (should the need arise), but that’s a story for another day…

There are even a several competing devices entering the market now that Google has proved the concept of a cloud based laptop, usually running either a stripped down version of Windows or even Android. I expect the number of devices and competing systems to continue to rise, especially as the heavier desktop applications move into the cloud as SaaS.

The Digital Nomad’s Secret Weapon?

To bring the post back to the question I asked in the title, could a Chromebook be the secret weapon for Digital Nomads? I think so.

A Digital Nomad keeps things lean & lightweight. Their tech system must also be easy to maintain, and ideally everything would backed up automatically. Also, if they’re living abroad, they likely only have one computer with them.

You may think this would be the reason to have the end all be all device, but I say that this is the main reason for having a less expensive device.

Which laptop is more likely to be stolen; a $300 Chromebook or a $1000 MacBook? And assuming you keep your laptop secure, what about accidents? I can replace my laptop 3+ times for that price, and with ChromeOS, my new device will be setup exactly like the old one within a few minutes.

This is the definition of simplicity & practicality, and very cost effective to boot. If your interest is piqued, here’s how I’d suggest you go about trying out a Chromebook.

How to Make the Transition to Chrome OS

For anyone looking to try out the platform and possibly make the switch, here is what I suggest

  1. Start using your Chromebook as a backup computer.Acer Chromebook C740
  2. Begin transitioning to cloud based services. Start with data storage, then begin trying out SaaS options & apps for the software you use.
  3. Embrace “good enough is good enough”. Just because the program you use has 100 features, doesn’t mean its replacement needs all those features. Find replacements for things you actually use.
  4. List any “must haves”, and start researching your options.

Other Considerations

Most early Chromebooks only came with smaller screens (11-13″), but now you can find models with the display sizes ranging from 10-15 inches. Try choosing one that has a screen size closer to your existing laptop, or maybe just an inch smaller.

Also, many devices only have 2 Gigs of RAM, but I’d strongly suggest going with 4 Gigs if you’ll be using it for your primary device, and it’s truly a must for power users.

With it’s main use case being in the education market, the trend used to lean towards longer battery life rather than raw performance. This is changing now that mid range and high end devices are now available for the consumers outside of the education market.

Some quick research will point you to the Chromebook that best suits your needs. To check out the current Chromebooks on the market, go HERE.

You can learn a lot more by reading the blogs dedicated to Chromebooks & Chrome OS, watching YouTube unboxing and review videos of each device, and checking out the Amazon review.

Whether or not a Chromebook may be right for you, the concept of going lean with your tech is definitely something to look into. Even if you have no interest in switching platforms, learning more about Chrome OS and Chromebooks will give you better insight into where computing is headed.

To quote my good friend Sherlock Holmes:

[tweetthis]Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.[/tweetthis]

That’s it for now. See you in the next post!


Digital Sharecropping Part 1

What is Digital Sharecropping Anyway (Part 1)

Digital Sharecropping Part 1

Defining Digital Sharecropping (Part 1)

For this 2 part series, I thought it would be good to actually define Digital Sharecropping. This should give you some insight into this blog in general.

Although this first post may seem to paint digital sharecropping in a negative light, stay tuned for Part 2, and you’ll see it come full circle. I think this topic is quite important for anyone who is working online.

Almost all of the sources I’ve found online credit Nick Carr as originally coining the phrase back in 2006. He is a bestselling author and blogger at Rough Type who covers topics such as technology, culture, and economics.

So What is Sharecropping?

digital sharecroppingAt face value, digital sharecropping is pretty similar to actual sharecropping. According to Wikipedia, Sharecropping is a system of agriculture in which a landowner allows a tenant to use the land in return for a share of the crops produced on the land.

I often see sharecropping looked at as a bad thing, since in a lot of cases the sharecroppers were poor (and possible even being taken advantage of), but I would argue that it provided access to arable land for those who were typically excluded from owning land, such as women and freed slaves. This arrangement also split the risk between both the landlord and tenant.

Side note: this practice is still alive and well today in the form of “farmer’s cooperatives” (or “Co-op”), where smaller farmers join together and become “members” of the cooperative. This gives them access to better machinery and better pricing on supplies.

How does this relate to the digital realm?

working onlineWhat this means in the digital world is that a site (landlord) allows users (tenants) to create content on their existing platform, typically at a low cost or free.

The exchange here is that the users get to create content on an established platform, while the site gets to make the rules and retain most of the value of their content.

The term “digital sharecropper” is usually aimed at people who run their online business exclusively on social media sites, but I’d like to extend it a bit further..

Are you Digital Sharecropping?

Social Media MontageLets see.. Do you:

  • Create content on social media and/or YouTube?
  • Store your data / files in the cloud?
  • Use SaaS (including email services)?
  • Practice Affiliate Marketing?
  • Rely on Google for traffic to your website?
  • Rely on iTunes for your Podcast audience?
  • Sell books on Amazon or video courses on Udemy?

Any of the above (and there are dozens of additional examples) can be considered digital sharecropping, since you are at the mercy of those sites and providers. I could even take it a step further to include internet service providers, the internet’s infrastructure (undersea cables, electricity, etc.) and so on, but I’m sure you get the point..

Why is this ‘bad’?

The danger here is that you are not fully in control of your business. Everything you’re working towards today can be undone by forces outside of your immediate control. Algorithm changes, changes in royalty percentages, the decline of a particular social media platform, etc., can completely derail your business.

So What’s the Solution?

Most of the time, the solution offered is to simply ‘own the land’ (build your own website, grow your following and email list, etc.), but that is not without its own challenges. I elaborate on this a bit more in Part 2, but suffice it to say that [tweetthis hidden_hashtags=”#hustle #onlinebusiness”]Owning 10% of something is better than owning 100% of nothing.[/tweetthis]

See you next week,