How to Scale Your Impact and Make More Money

As mentioned in a recent LAC newsletter, my word for 2017 is impact. With everything going on in the world lately, these last few months have had me really evaluating how I am making a (positive) difference—with my clients, in my community, in the environment, and more. 

And as a full-time freelancer, you bet I've been taking a hard look at how I can connect this service-driven side to my business goals. Being quite honest here, ever since I graduated college my major focus has been on making money and figuring out how to financially support myself and my ambitions. 

But now it's time to reconcile two things that I've always internally thought were at odds with each other: making money and doing good in the world. 

What I'm realizing now is that how much revenue you earn is actually a pretty good indicator of your impact on the world. If we consider the basic principles of supply and demand, the more revenue you bring in reflects a certain level of demand—people who are seeking your skills, services, expertise, and specific impact on the world. 

And I know money is certainly not the only measure of impact. There are so many people out there who are making a huge difference in the lives of others without earning large amounts of revenue. 

But here's the thing: maybe they should be making more than what they earn currently. How might we all be playing the small game financially, and not openly valuing our impact for what it's truly worth? 

Making money does not have to conflict with your values. In fact, it's necessary in order to act on your values. If you can't sustainably grow your business or keep yourself afloat, how can you possibly expect to amplify your impact? 

Let's stop getting that "icky" feeling when we talk about revenue and profit. Let's celebrate it as an indicator of success and impact. 

And if you really want to talk numbers, check out this calculator that shows exactly how you can scale your impact and influence the lives of those around you. 

How to Scale Your Impact and Make More Money

What if your impact reached thousands of people? Maybe even millions?

Sounds a bit daunting, right? 

The good news is that the digital world makes it easy to share that knowledge with all those people. Online courses in particular are an increasingly effective way to reach more and more people and scale your impact in a sustainable way. 

If you've ever thought about creating an online course, I highly recommend Danny Iny's flagship program, the Course Builder’s Laboratory

The Course Builder’s Laboratory is the most comprehensive program out there. Inside, you will get eight modules that will teach you the entire system for creating predictably profitable online courses.

From zeroing in on a promising course idea, to validating it with real sales, all the way to building a course people will want, CBL will take you through a proven step-by-step process.

In addition to that, the Course Builder’s Laboratory comes with templates and scripts to help you eliminate guesswork and unnecessary effort – including email scripts, webinar templates, and sales call scripts for reaching out to people in your existing audience or personal network.

The really awesome thing is that you will be getting a lot more than just the core CBL material. As soon as you join the Course Builder’s Laboratory, you will be assigned a personal course-building coach. This is someone who’s been extensively trained in the CBL process, and has worked through it with dozens of entrepreneurs. Your coach will work with you for the entire duration of the program, giving you feedback and helping you if you ever get stuck.

If you’re serious about creating an online course this year, the Course Builder's Laboratory is the best way of making sure you follow through with it and succeed. Click here to learn more! 

We all have a skill to share or something to teach. What is yours? I'd love to hear in the comments below! 


5 Tips for Mastering Post-College Finances

By Marisol Dahl

When you’re catapulted into the post-college world, it’s natural to feel a little ungrounded. You’re moving to new places, exploring new jobs, and facing The Future head-on.

On top of that, we live in an age where our career paths are constantly evolving, and 40% of us will be freelancers by 2020.

There’s a whole new level of uncertainty when it comes to “adulting.” And let’s be real here: financial uncertainty and pressures are at the top of the list.

As someone who has been fully self-employed since graduation, money management is particularly top of mind. I don’t have a paycheck with taxes automatically deducted, or an employer offering retirement benefits. Month to month, I never know exactly what my income will be.

There’s no doubt that there’s a whole bunch of practical benefits that come with really understanding your financial life. But I’ve also found that getting a handle on your finances is a great way to gain a sense of control when everything else seems crazy.

5 Tips for Mastering Post-College Finances

1. Assess your accounts

First thing’s first. Get a bird’s-eye view of your situation by identifying three things: where your money comes from (income), where your money goes (expenses), and where it’s stored.

Write everything down, including the credit cards and bank accounts you have open, any assets (like a car), any debts, and any stock. is a great resource to quickly aggregate all of these aspects of your financial life and see changes in real time.

2. Make a budget

By creating and sticking to a budget you will be able to align your financial reality with your financial ideals. Think about your goals: are you saving for something big? Want to start putting money aside for grad school or a wedding? Want to get ahead on student loan payments? Setting a budget will help you put the systems in place to actually do these things.

To get started, check out Jenny’s Four-step Budget template and Financial Modeling template.

3. Start saving for retirement NOW

I get it. Thinking about retirement seems like the last of your worries when you have student loans breathing down your neck and next month’s rent check due next week. But here’s the thing, if you don’t start saving now—even just a little bit each year—you’re robbing your future self.

So when you land a job, make sure there are good retirement benefits and options. If you’re self-employed start saving on your own (I opened a Roth IRA, but you should investigate your options to find out what’s best for you!).  

4. Refinance your loans

The college debt crisis. Yeah, it’s pretty depressing.

That’s why refinancing my loans was my first order of business when I graduated college. I bundled all my college loans into one, with a lower fixed rate and more manageable monthly payment. It will still be a long time before I’m debt free, but I have peace of mind that I’m doing everything in my power to make the best of the situation. :)

5. Start building credit (if you haven’t started already)

The big (financial) things in life require having good credit, like renting an apartment, buying a car, and even getting your own cell phone line.

So the best thing to do is to start building your credit as early as possible, and understand what factors into credit score calculations. Credit Karma is a great resource to see your score for free and get a breakdown of what’s positively and negatively affecting your score.

Bonus Tip: Call in the professionals

Ok, a quick disclaimer: I am by no means a finance expert. The purpose of this post is to document what I did and learned after a year of diving deep into money management. And after implementing everything I mentioned above, I feel awesome. My relationship with money has never been better.

So while I highly recommend the above tips, it’s always a good idea to have a chat with an accountant or financial advisor to get more personalized and strategic advice.

Marisol Dahl graduated Yale University in 2015 and is now a full-time freelancer in communications, brand strategy, digital marketing, and content development. She loves exploring minimalist blogging and social media practices.

Winning the rental game

Written by Davis Nguyen  A year ago, I wrote about how my roommates and I were able to get rents that were less than half average in a newly renovated home in a safe, quiet neighborhood in San Francisco, the most expensive major city in the United States.

This month, one of our roommates is moving out and I was tasked with finding her replacement. And when you have a spare room that is below market price, people flock to you. Within the first day, we had more than 11 requesting applications, and I’d only told a handful of friends that we were looking to fill a vacancy.

Now that I am on the side to who gets to rent a place, I want to share two practices I’ve seen increase people’s odds of being offered a contract and one I wish more people did. Together these three tactics will help you secure a contract in a high demand area even if you are new to a city.

1. Do your research on the people you’ll be living with

Most people don’t know much about the people they will be living with. They are just so worried about securing a room. Doing some research upfront will set you apart. One applicant we had, found that two of us were both management consultants and asked us about tips for making the most of her first year in the field (she was also starting a job in management consulting for a different company).

As Dale Carnegie wrote in his seminal work, “You can make more friends in two months by being interested in other people than in two years of trying to get people interested in you.” With LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google you can do so much when it comes to learning about your roommates. Become interested in them.

2. Think creatively about the unique value that you bring

When interviewing, think about what can you do for the other people, not only what they can do for you. Our original roommate beat out almost 30 other applicants because she was so good at doing this. Despite being away from San Francisco when she initially interviewed, she did a convincing job telling us why we would benefit from having her as a roommate.

She offered to bring her couches cross-country so we would have a hang out area and she shared with us her irrational distaste of dirty bathrooms (meaning she would clean the bathrooms). While other parts of her application stood out, her willingness to think about how having her (or not have her) would influence our living environment brought her over the top.

Do you cook? Do you have a car? Do you have a projector? Think about what “add-on” you can offer for your roommates. By thinking about these “add-on” you’ll show you want to be part of their community.

3. Address your landlord/roommates concerns

This one I wish more people did. When people are reading applications looking for sub-lets, they have concerns: will you pay your rent on time? Will you be a positive energy in the house? Will you bring unwanted guests over?

As an applicant, if you can address these concerns, you’ve almost won them over. They aren’t impressed by what college you went to, where you work, or what talent you have if you can’t address their basic concerns.

If you take the time to put these tactics into practice during your next rental search, you’ll be miles ahead of other applicants. Go the extra mile because it is never crowded up there.

About Davis


Davis (@IamDavisNguyen) graduated from Yale University in 2015. He currently lives in San Francisco and works at Bain & Company. When he’s not helping CEOs transform their companies, he is helping recent graduates figure out the type of life they want for themselves and helping them get there.

How To Cash In On Your Skills

Written by Marisol Dahl

It's a little crazy to think that it's only early October and I've already hit midterms season in college. The clock is ticking and in more ways than one. By next May I'll have my cap and gown packed up, a job (haha, maybe), and an onslaught of student loan payments. Out of the college dorm and into the real world.

For those times of life transition, it's time to get serious about money-making. Yes, I went straight to the "m"-word. While money can't buy happiness, it is kind of nice to have when navigating exciting new changes.

And what better way to make money than by doing what you already know how to do? Ramit Sethi is the man when it comes to doing exactly this. Author of the book and blog I Will Teach You To Be Rich, Ramit is an expert when it comes to doubling down on your skills, turning a profit, and rocking your finances. We're excited to share his insight on freelancing and how anyone—yes, anyone—can cash in on their skills.

Is freelancing right for you? Q&A with Ramit Sethi:

Why should someone consider freelancing?

Ramit: The first thing most personal finance gurus will tell you about money is to cut back—be frugal! Stop wasting your money on lattes! The truth is that you can’t out-frugal your way to rich. While the “experts” focus on cutting costs, that’s only one part of the puzzle to living a Rich life. There’s a limit to how much you can save, but there’s no limit to how much you can earn.

Freelancing (or, taking your skills and turning them into income) is one of the easiest ways to get started earning more money, and it’s something you can do without quitting your day job, meaning very low risk. Most freelancing jobs—no matter how unique you think you are—can be priced easily, and the work-to-income is very clear compared to uncertain income-generating strategies like productization.

What are the typical objections you see people have regarding earning money on the side?

Ramit: Although it’s easy to get excited about earning more money—who doesn’t want to be richer?—we will always run into doubts about why we can’t do it:

  • “I don’t have enough time”
  • “That might work if you have an Ivy League education but I’m just a humble [occupation]…”
  • “Maybe if you live in SF or NYC…”
  • “Maybe if you’re a single guy, but I have a family…”

All of these are reasonable excuses, and some might be legitimate, but the objections to earning more are less about external barriers and more about your mindset.

I’ve seen people earn thousands in extra income as parents who live in Podunkville. I even have a friend who started a side job while working at an extremely demanding and prestigious full-time job. People can earn a great side income with ordinary jobs and incomes all because they took the initiative to do it.

What’s the biggest mistake people make when they try to start a side business on their own?

Ramit: I think the biggest mistake people make is spending too much time in the beginning “playing business.” They do things they think they “should” do but will never pay. They’ll get excited about an idea, and their next step is to launch a website, create a Facebook page, and buy 1,000 business cards. But then what?

After they’ve wasted a lot of time and money, they still don’t have one paying client to show for it and their excitement ends up withering away after a couple months. They end up blaming their failed attempt on others instead of their approach.

So if that doesn’t work, what SHOULD people do?

Ramit: Instead of random tactics that we see fail over and over again, there’s a more effective way to start that changes the entire approach.

The first step is finding a profitable idea.

My team and I have spent over 10 years of extensive research to bring you the exact tools and techniques that can help you identify what you’re already good at. Sometimes, you’re so good at something —it comes so naturally to you—that you don’t even realize it’s a skill. Then, you check to see if it’s a profitable idea before you spend months! Almost nobody realizes that they could “pre-test” an idea for profitability. This sounds simple but is actually a totally different approach than most people take.

The next step is to turn the idea into side income.

This is where a lot of people started doing random things they'd read about, like starting Twitter or Facebook pages. And again, they’d fall back into the same pattern! Launch something—this time, a blog with Google ads—and try and try to somehow turn it into lucrative side income.

What they actually need are less random tactics and “Top 10 Ways to Make Money from Home” lists, and instead, a system for testing your idea for profitability before you commit hundreds of hours. The right system can tell you whether you’re on the right track or not, so if something’s not working, you’ll know exactly what to do to fix it and get back on track. With the right system in place, you can grow that side income as much—or as little—as you want, with your available time.

What advice can you give to people who are ready to start earning more money?

Ramit: Most people reading this can agree that the thought of starting a side business isn’t just about money. It’s about living a life where you can control your income and your time. You could use the extra money to tackle your goals, to pay off debt, save more, or spend on the things you love. And freelancing is one of the easiest ways to get started.

"Cash In" On Your Skills

Want to freelance but don't know where to start? Ramit can help you earn your first $1,000 (and more) with his Earn1k Idea Generator Tool. Nail down a viable, profitable and fun freelance idea—you can afford to make a career change.

About Marisol Dahl

Marisol is currently a Sociology and Education Studies major at Yale University. A longtime New Yorker, she is interested in pursuing a career in education and child advocacy. Marisol started her blog in 2011 as a way to document her college years and beyond. When not running around campus and catching up with her school reading, she enjoys spending time with her family, reading dystopian fiction and volunteering in her community. She can be reached on Twitter at @marisoldahl.

Smart People Should Build Things

Written by Davis Nguyen

You’re 26 years old with $100,000 in student loans. Your recent start-up has just collapsed. You have a law degree and your friends and family pressure you to be a lawyer, but what you really want to do is build things.

What do you do?

This was a real dilemma facing Andrew Yang, who is the author of Smart People Should Build Things: How to Restore Our Culture of Achievement, Build a Path for Entrepreneurs, and Create New Jobs in America, a few years ago.

I met Andrew a few month ago at a conference where he delivered our keynote. The conference had nothing to do with business or start-ups, but when Andrew asked “how many of you would want to start your own business or join a start-up?” 80% of the attendees raised their hands.

Andrew followed up by telling us that while the dream of building a company is one most of us have, when it comes time to choose, most of us will defer our dream for security and comfort. He understood that this was a normal reaction.

Bootstrapping Your Life

Andrew graduated from Brown University in 1996 and earned his law degree from Columbia Law School in 1999. After graduation he started working at private firm. Despite the job security and six-figure salary, Andrew couldn’t find much meaning and purpose in his work. Six months into his career as a lawyer, Andrew quit to pursue his passion of building things with no experience in business and $100,000 in student loans. Less than a year later, his first company,, was a victim of the dot-com bubble in 2001 leaving him with no back-up plan.

Despite his parents jeering him, “Didn’t you used to be smart?”, his friends introducing him as a lawyer, and his growing pile of bills, Andrew decided to give entrepreneurship another chance.

Today, thirteen years later, Andrew has had a successful career as an entrepreneur and founded Venture for America, a non-profit helping recent college grads become entrepreneurs by pairing them with early-stage companies to gain experience. He was recently named Champion of Change by the White House and one of Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People in Business” for his work with Venture for America.

While most people in the audience were amazed by Andrew’s successes, I wanted to ask him about the story behind the success: the nights no one will talk about.

Two lessons I learned about being a successful entrepreneur from Andrew Yang

1.     Find Your Yoda (Mentor)

After Andrew’s first start-up failed, he started to work for Manu Capoor, whom he met while networking for Stargiving. Manu was a former doctor and investment banker who had started a healthcare software company, MMF Systems. Andrew had no prior experience in this industry, but working under Manu, Andrew had found his Yoda.

Andrew notes in the book that it was from Manu where he learned the most important lesson about getting things done in business. It comes down to “people, processes, and technology.” Andrew left MMF after three years to work under his friend Zeke Vanderhoek at Manhattan GMAT where he learned to shape company culture, scale a business, and provide unparalleled customer service. Andrew eventually became the CEO in 2006 and ultimately grew the company to employ over one hundred people and had it acquired by The Washington Post Company/Kaplan three years later.

2.     Learn to live within your means

Andrew gave up a six-figure lawyering job to work at start-ups that were paying him just enough to cover food, housing, and other essential needs. Through this process, Andrew learned that what he previously thought he “needed” were really just “wants.”

Besides paying for living costs and his student loans, Andrew never went broke or homeless. As one of my favorite quote about entrepreneurship goes, “Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t so you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.”

Audio Interview with Andrew Yang

I had a chance to do a 18-minute audio interview Andrew, where I went into more depth about Andrew's decision to quit his six-figure job, managing a start-up with student loans, and how you can take the first steps towards being an entrepreneur today if you wanted. You can listen it below.

[soundcloud url="" params="color=cc0000&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_artwork=true" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]

You can buy your own copy of Smart People Should Build Things here.

We’d love to hear from you in the comments below:


What is the biggest obstacles facing your entrepreneurial endeavors? 

What is one first small step you can take?


Davis Nguyen

About Davis

Davis (@IamDavisNguyen) graduated from Yale University in 2015. He currently lives in San Francisco and works at Bain & Company. When he’s not helping CEOs transform their companies, he is helping recent graduates figure out the type of life they want for themselves and helping them get there.


Out of the Red, Back to Black

From the moment I first met her at Alexia Vernon's Moxie Camp conference, I had an insta-crush on Jacquette Timmons. This woman is a radiant, positive powerhouse for good, and I feel fortunate to have crossed paths with her this year. Jacquette’s professional success impressed me -- she’s a frequent TV correspondent (CNN, Bloomberg Report), investment industry veteran of 24 years and a long-time private portfolio manager -- but it’s her commitment to personalizing, de-villainizing and visioning (yes visioning!) around debt management that really intrigued me.

As those of you who’ve been reading since the Suze Orman Knows We Exist days, I have major soft-spots for smart financial practices, for kick-ass people doing cool things, and for staying “out of the red.” When Jacquette mentioned she was launching a course around vision-based debt management, I was totally hooked -- and I knew that it (and she) would be the perfect resource to share with all of you.

With that, I turn it over to Jacquette to share more about how we can all be a little smarter about our finances, and get out of the red and back to black!

Out of the Red, Back to Black: Q&A With Jacquette Timmons

JB: What is the biggest misconception people have about debt?

Jacquette: Many people start and stop with the notion that debt is a numbers isn't! It's not just a financial issue; it's about so much more than the numbers and if you only focus your attention, time, and resources on the numbers, you may discover that you're working hard on the wrong thing! And this scenario could result in you paying a bigger price (financially & emotionally) than you realize.

JB: A lot of people experience shame and embarrassment around debt, or even just money management overall. What do you say to them?

First, I remind them that whether we're talking about debt or money management overall: money is never just about money. Part of your financial experience is always an equation that consists of the numbers/mechanics of money + psychology and emotions of money.

Second, especially as it pertains to debt, I'd say, "I understand." Debt has become the new "scarlet letter." Because of 2008 and its aftermath, there is now a prevailing presumption that all people with debt are irresponsible, unable to control their impulses. And that just isn't true. Do some people fall into that category? Absolutely! But there are a lot of people who have done all the right things and due to circumstances beyond their control (a prolonged period of unemployment - perhaps due to 2008; a significant dip in business; or an unexpected illness), they now find themselves behind the financial 8-ball trying to get back in front. External pressure and internal pressure can lead to feelings of shame, embarrassment, and guilt.

Third, I'd say, "Write it out." I know it sounds hokey but if you write out exactly what you're feeling, when that feeling surfaces, or who might trigger it, you can get a better handle on how to best manage it. For example, do you feel more tense when a bill collector calls? Ok. Why? Because it reminds me of what I don't have? Ok. Does that make you feel bad? Yes. Why? You'd continue this series of question, response, and "why?" until you reach the core reason for you reaction. And trust me, you'll know when you've reached this point. But reaching that point is critical; it is what will help you more clearly see what you have control over and to give yourself credit for the steps you're taking, no matter how small they may seem, to make things right.

JB: What mistakes do people typically make when managing their personal finances?

Jacquette: Many people simply have no clue. And I don't mean to be dismissive or to insult anyone's intelligence. But they lack financial self-awareness. They don't know what they have; what they tend to do with what they have; or why?

That translates into not knowing how much they earn (yes, there are people who have no clue about this); they don't know how much they spend and on what; they don't know anything about their investments, presuming they have any; and if they have debt, they may know the big picture number, but the details totally elude them. They are in effect, operating in a financial vacuum. However, without financial self-awareness financial leaks are more likely to go unnoticed and you're also likely to miss out on financial opportunities as well.

JB: What advice do you have for people with erratic incomes trying to create a realistic plan?

Jacquette: Ahh...this is always a toughy. For people with erratic incomes but steady expenses, it is even more critical to control your variable expenses and to save 5-10% more of your income during flush periods than you do when things are "normal." Now this presumes you know what a normal month or period looks like. But your "normal" becomes your baseline, and anytime you exceed that normal level of income, make sure to apply the 5-10% rule. Also, it helps to do scenario planning; this will help with a necessary mindset replace "a realistic plan" with "this is my baseline plan."

JB: What is the snowball effect and why you think it’s a key approach to paying off debt?

Jacquette: The snowball effect is a powerful and counter-intuitive way to approach paying off your debt! There are some who subscribe to the approach that says you list all of your debt and you tackle it beginning with the one that has the higher interest rate. The thought being: Pay off your higher interest debt first because it is costing you so much. And if you focused just on the numbers that definitely works. But if you focus on the psychological boost that comes from paying something off, then you need to follow the snowball effect.

With this approach, you list your debt and you tackle first the debt that has the lowest outstanding balance! So you pay the minimums on all the other debts except the one with the lowest balance -- on that one you pay a bit above the minimum until you get the balance down to zero. Then you apply the amount you were paying to this to the next debt, the new "lowest" balance debt. And, you continue this pattern until all of your debt is paid off!

JB: During the Moxie Camp workshop, you provided a really helpful exercise (that involved a circle divided into four parts) -- can we share that with LAC?

Jacquette: Absolutely! It's called the Financial Wheel. I use it with all my financial coaching clients, it's in my book - "Financial Intimacy," and I weave it into as many public speaking engagements as I can. The Financial Wheel exercise invites people to look at the four things any of us can do with money, which very broadly are: Earn, Save, Invest, Spend.

So, draw a circle and inside the circle draw a vertical and horizontal line. Label the upper left quadrant "Earn;" the upper right "Save;" the lower right "Invest;" and the lower left "Spend." I take people through a series of questions that helps them discover if they are living by design or by default. And because of our conditioning, most of us are living by default: meaning, we determine the elements of the save, invest, and spend categories based on what we earn. When if you flipped it, you'd be living by design!

Here's how: determine what you need to earn based on what you want to save, how you want to invest (and not just in assets but people and causes as well), and spend your money, and what would be required for there to be an even greater alignment with your values, goals, dreams and priorities.

The current gap between "living by default now" and "living by design in the future" is filled with insight, knowledge, wisdom, and clues on strategies to take, tools to use, and tips to employ.

More about Out of the Red, Back to Black

Out of the Red, Back to Black is Jacquette’s signature program for people feeling a bit overwhelmed and stressed about their debt. If you enter your email, you’ll get access to her free training video, even if you don’t enroll in the full course.

This course is for you if your debt is:

  • costing you time, money & emotional freedom
  • larger than you want
  • keeping you stuck, preventing you from making career & life-style choices you would otherwise make if debt wasn't part of your financial story
  • taking you much, much longer than you initially thought to pay off
  • causing feelings of frustration and maybe even a bit of shame (not necessarily the guilt-oriented kind of shame, but the shame of feeling "not enough")

Here's what you'll get:

  • 4 modules of audio + video content - all downloadable for easy access
  • PDF worksheets & checklists to help you to take action & stay the course
  • Private member's area with 24/7 access to your materials
  • Private online community for interaction with and accountability and support from other program members
  • And more...

Jacquette says, "If getting your finances in order was one of your 2012 goals and is one of your 2013 goals; if you now realize there's something more to the exercise of getting out debt aside from addressing the numbers, but just aren't too sure what that "something" is; then give yourself a gift of this program! I assure will take the 'it sucks' factor out of your debt experience."

Click here to access the free training video and see if the full course is for you.

More about Jacquette

Jacquette M. TimmonsJacquette M. Timmons is known for leading thought-provoking conversations about money, choices, relationships, and life.

She is the author of Financial Intimacy: How to Create a Healthy Relationship with Your Money and Your Mate, the creator of the Financial Intimacy Conference and the founder and CEO of Sterling Investment Management, an investment education and financial coaching firm.