Leaving A Neuroscience PhD To Build Two Online Businesses

by in Lifestyle on Jun 9th, 2014

My name’s John Accardi. I’m 25 years old and just about 6 months ago, I withdrew from the neuroscience PhD program at Georgetown University. Not only was I on a full scholarship that paid my tuition and lab expenses, but I was receiving a generous stipend as well. So why did I drop out and how did I build 2 profitable online businesses with hardly any startup capital?

Why did I leave Georgetown?

I left for one simple reason: I didn’t like it. In the Neuroscience PhD program, I was required to attend class but the majority of my time was spent doing research at the lab bench. I was working on developing the new technology of optogenetics to treat epilepsy. I’d surgically implant fiber optic cables into the rat brain, in the attempts to alter epileptic neural networks. At times, It was cutting-edge and exciting but mostly it felt limiting. Like most jobs, I had to work for long hours in the same place with the same people, day after day. I also disliked the fact that I needed permission to take any time off, even for something as simple as a doctor’s appointment.

I started to become restless and thought of ways that I could earn a living with a more free lifestyle. I searched for different ways to work for myself and set my own hours. I also wanted the potential to earn more money. After some searching, I became excited about the idea of building an online business. It was so fascinating to me because I knew that an online business could be operated from anywhere in the world. I pictured myself at a condo in Florida, sitting by the pool while managing business from my laptop or phone. Read More

Your Comment System Is Killing Your Discussions And Community Building Efforts

Does DISQUS, Livefyre, and others comment systems help or hurt your site?

by in Lifestyle on Jun 2nd, 2014

There once was a time when no comment system existed. You’d just go to a site, read the post, and leave your Name, E-mail, and URL address (optional) to leave a comment. If your browser was smart enough, it would remember all your details so you could go directly into leaving another comment instead of re-typing all your information with every visit.

Nowadays, comment systems like DISQUS are taking over. In order to comment via Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or whatever, you’ve got to first register with DISQUS, allow them to access all your contact information, set up a password, and then comment. Who is to say you have a FB, Twitter, Google+ account in the first place? I registered for DISQUS a while ago, but I don’t recall my password and I can’t be bothered to change it.

Every time I stumble across a site with a DISQUS comment system, I no longer comment anymore. Some sites smartly allow one to leave a comment as a guest commenter without registering, but most sites with DISQUS don’t allow for guest commenting, so I stopped trying.

I also registered for another commenting system a while back called LiveFyre. But over the years, I hardly ever see the LiveFyre commenting system installed anymore. What happened to them? My concern is that I have to keep on registering for these new comment systems, and because many aren’t profitable, they end up not lasting for the long term. Therefore, why continue registering for ever more commenting systems that access your personal data only for them to likely disappear?

I long for the good old days to return because I like to interact more with the community through comments on the publisher’s platform.  Read More

Implementing Chip and PIN Technology For Credit Cards To Protect Against Fraud In The US

by in Personal Finance on May 27th, 2014

Though chip, or EMV, technology for credit cards has been around since the 1990s, the United States has continued to rely on the traditional magnetic strip on the back of cards along with a signature for point of sale (POS) transactions. Some companies have “upgraded” their cards to include a chip but still require a signature, as opposed to a PIN, to complete the transaction. If you are a frequent traveler abroad, this technology isn’t as useful as many foreign countries employ a chip and PIN system to verify payments, which effectively renders a credit or debit card useless in certain places. However, from a security standpoint chip and PIN technology thwarts fraud better than the traditional swipe-and-sign method. 

How is Chip and PIN Technology Different? Read More

Stay On Top Of Your Affiliate Partners! How Laziness Cost Me $10,000+ In Online Revenue

Optimize Your Site For Maximum Revenue Potential

by in Lifestyle on May 26th, 2014

If I wasn’t careful about diversifying my topics on Financial Samurai, my site could easily turn into a real estate blog. Real estate is my favorite asset class to build wealth because it’s tangible, provides utility, has tax benefits, and can be improved upon. Stocks just don’t get me as excited, even though that was my career for 13 years.

My main affiliate partner for real estate was Quicken Loans. I’ve used their product and recommended their product to plenty of people before. When you’re shopping for a mortgage, it’s always a good idea to cross check what you can get online the same way you check online for any product you’re thinking of buying at the store.

For two years, Quicken Loans would generate a steady $1,500 – $1,800 a month in affiliate income. Then I noticed a drop off around August of 2013. I didn’t pay any attention to the drop off because I figured refinancing volumes simply slowed given interest rates inched higher, and everybody who needed to refinance, refinanced already. I was also focusing on other affiliate products that were generating more revenue at the time, so the drop off wasn’t really felt. Furthermore, I wasn’t doing any refinancing or buying a new home in 2013 so my real estate posting related activity stopped.

For about four months I received $0 Quicken Loans affiliate income until one day, I asked my affiliate manager whether she had noticed a steep drop off in real estate activity as well? She told me, “We actually cancelled the program about four months ago and sent an e-mail.” Oh crap! I guess I never got the e-mail because if I did, I would have sought an alternative product.

Because my other affiliate channels were doing well, I simply ignored my real estate drop off and didn’t look for an alternative product for another two months after I found out. In other words, my laziness for 6 months cost me $10,000+ in affiliate revenue just because I couldn’t be bothered! Read More

Is Creating Original Content Worth It Or Should I Just Piggy Back Off Others?

Introducing The Comment Commentary Strategy For More Traffic

by in Lifestyle on May 12th, 2014

When I first started blogging in 2009, I took the angle that it was better to create original content vs. simply copying other people’s content and putting my own spin on things. After all, once you’ve created a new terminology, you’re looked upon as a creator instead of a regurgitator or a consumer.

But after seeing some very large sites simply regurgitate content about what another site said, I’m not too sure about my stance. If you never create your own content, you never have to really think as hard. It’s also impossible to ever run out of content either! You can simply piggyback off other people’s good work, and potentially rank AHEAD of them on the search engines for the original work.

Let’s discuss!


How To Make Money Quitting Your Job
  • Mom Cents: Do you freelance writers have any formal training or is it a practice makes perfect type of thing?
  • Financial Samurai: Just copy and past to e-mail. Easy peasy!
  • Syed: Wonderful post. You’re certainly right about making a living being a blogger. It’s tough to live...
  • debt debs: OK thanks for the pointer. I’ve written something on my site and put the picture in there. When I...
  • Financial Samurai: Yeah, if the writer isn’t a fan of your site, forget about it. Hire someone who is!
  • maria@moneyprinciple: Sam, I’ve been thinking about this one on both sides – as someone who employs...
  • Untemplater: I’ve casually wondered about this a few times and you nailed it on the head with your list. Lots...
  • Financial Samurai: If you have your own account as a trusted freelance writer, then I would upload the pictures...
  • The College Investor: Great points Sam. There is so much money to be made freelance writing, especially as you build...
  • debt debs: Lots of good points, Sam. I never thought about doing an html and a word version, but that makes a lot of...

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