How to make more money as a graphic designer?

This article addresses some of the modern-day ways to maximise your skillset as a talented and skilled graphic designer looking to make money online. From working mums, building an e-commerce store to those just wanting some extra cash there are many ways to increase your disposable income.  

Having been in the graphic design game for quite some the time it has been interesting how things have changed drastically with more ways than there has been before to make money from the stuff you, I and any graphic the designer loves doing. There is plenty more online entrepreneur than before and business proprietors now sell their products and services via many platforms and social media channels.

Those new to graphic design should picture this- you walk down the street and pass a bus stop poster and see a design. You are later walking through a shopping centre looking at the shop windows and see the display filled with graphic design or even that favourite online store you love. The point is no matter where you go there are graphics every day, everywhere and almost every minute of the day across social media, video ads, internet sites, Google, YouTube and all the places in between.

There are several ways to increase income through graphic design.  In order to make a half-decent living wage designing graphics, there is no doubt you will obviously need to know your stuff. You will unquestionably need an element of creativity, some proficient knowledge using Photoshop Illustrator and InDesign (these are minimal absolute requirements) to stand out from the crowd! That means lots of practice with the software, a good portfolio and a training course to make both of those things easier. Just so you know the Blue Sky Graphics deliver those very things online through their one to one classes.

Training aside find something you like and make that niche a specialism of yours. From my experience, a fair amount of people in the field move from one thing to the next for a few years, before finally finding something that they really love. I love logo design and was lucky enough to work on a couple of big names from the FTSE 250 company logos. As a graphic designer, I believe that tenacity and persistence are essential when it comes to being an income minded graphic designer aka serial graphic design entrepreneur.

To help you succeed in making money spread the risk too and diversify your streams of income in ways that all make sense, but appeal to different sectors of the market. Be aware there might be young professional buyer audiences looking for a holistic template for their new yoga business while simultaneously they’ll be women working on meticulous wedding planning needing fancy invitation designs. Make sure you have something to sell to everyone or as many people as possible.

There is no reason why you shouldn’t be a design opportunist and make money for everything you do but just remember that there should be a balance so as to not to try to do it all yourself instead of hiring someone to help out of fear your wasting money. Money makes money and you need to spend, market, invest to accumulate and reap the rewards in.

Working mums will often enjoy the freedom of freelance work as they need to balance motherly commitments and childcare duty with flexible working hours. Many of my friends are mother and graphic designers and they find generally through word of mouth, social media marketing that they get work to do at home. You want to generate leads through your website but not spend a fortune with organic SEO (search engine optimisation) methods that take time to build and PPC (pay per click) services. These mothers, when asked about running adverts, confirmed that they never run ads for a client-based business. Instead, they built business gradually through networking, word of mouth, LinkedIn as well as general word of mouth.

Being a graphic designer whether you are a man, woman, mum, dad or from mars is a valued job greatly in demand – and the freedom to earn as much or as little from the skills this job entails is available.

You must be dedicated and think outside the box about how you go about boosting your income. Here are the tips taken from 14 of our senior Graphic Design Tutors at Blue Sky Graphics to help you set up your own business and use graphic design.

Unfortunately, not everything you design is going to be appreciated by your clients just like you are not going to appreciate each one of your clients but don’t despair. Instead of letting those idle designs go to the rubbish, monopolise on them by trading your files on the many marketplace graphics design sites for cash. If you want to make a website and you have studied Web Design and know how to do it-using  your own site so that you are not paying a sales commission.

As an example, for those happy to lose a little bit of commission then a site such as Graphic Leftovers is a place where graphic designers can sell logos, icons, illustrations.

Real-time, real people, real world, group-based exercises is still in demand despite the digital era we live in!  If you are particularly trained about something, why not hold an educational workshop. Although this idea requires you to have a committed physical space to run, you could also look at co-working spaces or even your local library. Many people enjoy the interaction of real spaces and want to upskill and learn new software. As well as training your participants, holding a workshop is great business development and marketing for your networking credentials- you never know who you might meet and what work could come out of it.

Many graphic designers are selling themselves shorts especially junior designers and it is important not to sell yourself too cheap on the fear of losing business. Your price is a projection of you and your brand so make sure you charge the right money to get the deal done and factor in your hourly rate too as well as your niche subject knowledge. You studied to get to where you are, spent money on equipment and software and you may have even taken a course at Blue Sky Graphics and now is the time to demand what you are worth.

If you have already done some spec briefs for a client and they want more of you please do not be polite about price and don’t forget if you do not ask you do not get!  

Sometimes you must spend money to earn money, and that’s undoubtedly the case in design, where you need to spend money on tools or training most commonly to get the most out of the skills you already have.

If you know Photoshop and a little bit of CSS and HTML, you’re a triple threat! Capitalise on the opportunity and make the most of your skills by investing in selling platforms that are boxed up for resale- this could be a site like ShortStack and there are plenty more out there too!

Online sites (including ShortStack) enable graphic designers to develop time efficiency with various quirky and the not so quirky design and broaden their service offerings. In addition to websites, business logos, and posters you can use this tool to create custom opt-in landing pages, Facebook apps as well as social contests.

There is a market out there and you may have heard it already, but many designers are making a huge amount of money selling their own WordPress themes to other keen end users.  If they can do it then let me assure you that you can do it too!  Do not assume that other graphic designers all create their own themes just because they are in design. Time-poor and cash-rich designers want to source themes and so they too will corner where possible. Tools like Elementor Pro 2.0 and can take your extra cash-generating business to a healthy and steady income.

Enjoy creating and making practical solutions like branded t-shirts, USBs, cups and the hundreds of other products that companies use and buy.  Or maybe you fancy becoming a supplier and producer and want to start your own line of merchandise with bespoke designs and then take the retail space by storm?  Starting a t-shirt small business is not as difficult as people often think. I know many people that have launched pop-up shops with their own designs and done so well that they did it full time and created multiple stores.  

There are many logistical solutions, such as Printify available that launching a successful clothing brand actually requires very little cash to start. Many graphic designers will use merchandise as a supplement to reinforce their brand and act as another revenue stream. 


How To Start A Successful Lifestyle Blog From Scratch


Starting a lifestyle blog in 2020 is no less than a beautiful goal. Here, I help you learn how to start a successful lifestyle blog from scratch so that you get a little closer to your goal. I will show you all the important steps you should know about lifestyle blogging and how to be a lifestyle blogger. I have been asked this from my followers to do a lifestyle blogging tutorial on my blog. So, here it is!


Quick navigation

What Is A Lifestyle Blog?

A lifestyle blog is a more general blog which is less niche specific but it is equally valuable. It can be a little tricky to actually describe what a lifestyle blog is all about but it can be done easily. When you choose to start a lifestyle blog, you just need to be transparent of who you are, and what you’re going to do with your blog.

Most importantly, you should have a unique point of view about your lifestyle. This will help you find a blogging voice. Let me remind you. Lifestyle bloggers are successful as niche bloggers, but those bloggers define their blogs well. In lifestyle blogging, you can write, and share almost every category including food, fitness, home decor, budgeting, happiness, career, beauty etc.

The most important thing which will get your lifestyle blog noticed is your own lifestyle.

Figure out what it is, and how it will impact others?


Many bloggers are not sure what steps to take to create a lifestyle blog from the beginning. Read this tutorial as you take steps to create your own blog.

Blogging is a lot of fun and creativity. Just remember to put your heart and soul to it, and you will have a wonderful blog. Be authentic, help your readers, hone blogging skills and learn to be an awesome blogger.

Briefly, enjoy blogging!

It doesn’t have to be a typical boring activity. It should keep your creative juices flowing. Your posts should impact other lives in some way. Honestly, there’s so much you can do with even with a lifestyle blog.

The best thing about lifestyle blogging is that it gives you more freedom to write on a variety of topics.

This is what exactly you can do to inspire others.


Here are 6 important steps to help you learn all about how to start a successful lifestyle blog from the beginning. This process will walk you through significant steps you can take today to start a self-hosted website that you can monetize also to make money from a lifestyle blog.

Related: What is a self-hosted blog? 5 huge benefits you must know!

Let’s get started.

1- Choose your blog niche

The first step in lifestyle blogging is choosing a niche. Even if you want to create a lifestyle blog, a niche is important. There’s too much competition in blogging that you need to give people a really good reason to come to your blog over other blogs.

So, how to choose a niche for a lifestyle blog?

Have a clear focus. You need to have a clear purpose to get successful in lifestyle blogging. Think of some combinations of ‘College girl lifestyle’ or ‘Young mommy lifestyle lessons’. In both of these examples, it clearly shows that who you are, and what you’re going to do on your blog. You can also choose two main niches and combine them into one. The main tip here is to develop a crystal-clear focus. Your blog should define what it is all about, and who you are you. I hope you get the idea.

By the way, it’s okay to write on different topics, but make sure to set clear dimensions.

Pick a niche = Figure out who you are, define your niche and the aspects you’re going to cover on your blog.

Next step in starting a lifestyle blog is to choose a domain.

2- Pick a domain name

Before we get it into blogging platform and hosting, you have to decide a domain name. It’s so important to have a custom domain for your blog.

Your domain will look something like this ‘’. The custom domain doesn’t have to be associated with, or This custom domain gives you the complete ownership of the domain and no one will ever claim your domain.

I use Namecheap to make all domain name purchases. It’s so simple, and easy that I love using it every time. Check your domain name availability on Namecheap.

There are few options you can go with. First, simply use your own name as domain name. The second option is to merge your name with a creative word. Another option could be to come up with a completely different, unique name. But, always try to pick the domain with the same name of your lifestyle blog. Choose a name that’s easy to use, and remember.

3- Decide a blogging platform

The next important step to start a lifestyle blog is to choose a blogging platform.

When it comes to blogging platforms, I wholeheartedly recommend for a lot of reasons. As a blogger, you spend a lot of time on your website for performing different tasks. Your website adds a unique value to your personality. Of course, as a lifestyle blogger, you would want to personalize it on your own. That’s where we need the best blogging platform which gives us flexibility, friendly user experience, and tutorials to get started.

WordPress clearly wins it! Even if you have zero technical skills, is still easy to operate. You will just have to spend a few hours, and there, you start loving it.

You can’t start a self-hosted WordPress blog without hosting. Your website needs hosting!

This takes us to our next point, website hosting.

Read this post to find out the difference between and – what you should use?

4- Get Website hosting for lifestyle blog

There are many website hostings that allow you to host your website at different plans. As you’re just getting started, the basic plan will be the best to host your new lifestyle blog.

I recommend two hosting companies Siteground, And Bluehost.

If you want to use Bluehost and avail a free domain then follow my comprehensive tutorial and set up your blog with Bluehost! As I said, I recommend both companies because of their incredible support, uptime, and packages.

Siteground is another top go-to place for buying website hosting if you want to avail a pocket-friendly package with an incredible support system, backups, and blazing fast speed. Siteground has different plans for new bloggers. So, you can choose a plan according to your requirements.

You can start your blog for as less than $3.95/m!

If you have plans to create two blogs, then ‘Grow big’ would make the best choice. However, if you are only focusing to start one blog then ‘Start-Up‘ plan is completely fine. However, you can always upgrade, and change your plans later.

Just follow the screenshots below to follow all steps.

STEP 1: Choose the plan

STEP 2: Add your domain name. If you have already got a domain name, just add your domain name and click ‘proceed’.

STEP 3: Review and Complete the payment form

After this, you will just get another window that confirms the payment, and plan. It’s safe to ignore all other extra services for now. You can always upgrade later.

So, your account is created!

Install one-click WordPress

Begin the Siteground account setup wizard and it will take a minute or so to install WordPress software. Once, you are done with WordPress, note down the admin login and password details.

Siteground is so easy to use. Just follow all steps and you’re done. You can even take their amazing Support to install WordPress for you. Did I tell you they have awesome customer support?

Now, get access to your new blog and start making it pretty!

5- Find a theme for a lifestyle blog

A theme represents the overall appearance of your blog. It depends on how would you like the design of your blog. As I said earlier, you can always personalize your blog on your own by making little tweaks, and customization.

The aesthetic appeal of the website really matters. It includes color, fonts, images, widgets, etc. Most importantly, the website responsiveness and a user-friendly experience matter. Your website theme gives the first impression of your blog readers. The first visitors will most likely come to your blog again if it’s appealing and provide great value to them.

For lifestyle blogs, there are many options to choose from. I would definitely recommend a theme that’s affordable, pretty and strong.

When you go self-hosted, you can also download and use any free theme available like this one.

However, if you have some budget then I highly recommend choosing a premium theme as it’s customizable, competitive, fast and also offers customer support.

Divi From Elegant Themes is a perfect premium theme for your WordPress lifestyle blog. It’s highly customizable, responsive and easy to install. It comes with unlimited features, tutorials, and support that make the whole theme installation process painless. You can read my complete review of this gorgeous theme.

Investing in a premium theme will give you benefits for a long term. However, if you are tight on budget, you can always go with free themes, and later invest in a paid theme.

Check out all feminine WordPress themes in this post!

6- Create & publish value blog posts

The most important step is creating valuable content for your blog. Initially, you can list down all of your blog post ideas in a spreadsheet, and write one pain point you’re going to solve for your readers. The WordPress dashboard is easy to understand. The more you use it, the easy it becomes.

A spreadsheet or a blog planner keeps you more organized when there’s so much to write about. I know the feeling when a new blog gets published, and you’re excited to write more every day. So, this can make you overwhelming.

A simple smart planner helps to put down all of your blog post ideas, keywords, brands, affiliate networks, social media growth in one place which you can easily track.

7- More blogging tips to make a successful lifestyle blog

Congratulations! Your new lifestyle blog is all up.

Here are some extra blogging tips which help you take your blog in a better direction.

Create social media profiles

As soon as you have decided your domain, and blog name, look for available social media profiles with the same name. If your blog name is unique, you will easily get the same social media profiles on all networks but even if they are not available, add a new word that looks similar. Make sure you create profiles on all networks even if you don’t plan to use it now.

Design a logo

A logo is very important for your blog visibility. Nowadays, creating a logo is so simple to create. There are pre-made templates available online. Canva is another free tool to make logos and gorgeous graphics. It has premade elements, fonts, and texts which you can simply use to design a logo.

Fiverr is a wonderful place to hire affordable designers and get your logo made in less than $10, or $20. You can always customize it with your own brand colors etc.

Set up website menu

Create a simple menu for now. You can easily find it under the appearance section of the WordPress dashboard. The menu has main pages of your website including home, blog, privacy policy, contact, and about pages. Create all the important pages for your website.

You can also follow this post to do 20 things right after you install wordpress on your site.

Install WordPress Plugins

WordPress is a pool of plugins for almost everything. Too many plugins can even slower your website. So, I don’t recommend installing every plugin. Consider installing Yoast plugin for SEO, Akismet plugin, W3 total cache, Jetpack, Contact Form and Sharebuttons by AddThis.

Related: 17 Free WordPress Plugins You Should Consider Using On Your Site

Set Blogging Goals

Don’t consider this a waste of time. Don’t!

At first, set achievable goals. I have been blogging for more than 4 years now and I’m saying this from experience that blogging goals are a must. There can be days when you will feel unmotivated and stressed. It’s also possible that other daily activities turn into big obstacles, and you discontinue blogging. I know this happens with many bloggers.

I would suggest you do goal setting for your new blog. Write it down daily, weekly, and monthly goals for your blog. There should be a blogging to-do-list prepared for you in advance so that you don’t get overwhelmed and keep your focus on blogging. Simply use a planner!

Make Money With Blogging

As a new blogger, you will have to first keep your website running, and write content. After that, you need to choose blog monetization methods. How are you going to make money from your website? Do you have physical products to sell? Do you want to make money with ads? Are you interested in affiliate marketing? Do you have the skills to teach?

Initially, just have a clear purpose of how you’ll make money. I have comprehensive blog posts on several of these topics so you won’t have trouble getting the information. But, at the starting, have a goal.

Trust me, making money is totally possible if you know what you are doing!

Don’t scare to invest!

I’m teaching you things as you’re my best friend, or family. I definitely encourage you to invest in blogging. Accept it or not, if you want to grow your blog and make it a profitable source of income you will need to invest. Again, I’m saying this from experience.

You can start looking at these 20 cheap things to invest in your blog

It’s okay if you don’t have a budget now. Save some money, and invest in your blog. It can be paid tools, courses, ebooks, or services. Just invest and follow the step by step process! If you think you will just buy things, and throw them in your drive then you don’t need to invest. Blogging has become a full-time field and people are making thousands of dollars. And, even if you ask a successful blogger then he/she will most likely tell you the amount of expense they made in their blogging journey and they continue to do so to keep their business running.

My FREE 7-day email course covers all this in detail, and also tell you popular income streams for blogging. Click the image below to get started!

Be a consistent blogger

Consistency will certainly get you successful in lifestyle blogging. Whether it’s an Instagram account, Facebook page, or a complete blog, you need to be active there to get successful. All your efforts go in vain if you fail to achieve consistency. Make a blogging routine, and stick to it. Find your audience, and help them with their problems.

That’s all for now.

I really hope that this post answered all of your questions.

So, are you ready to start a lifestyle blog for yourself?


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Public health and the U.S. economy

[ Fall 2012 ]

With the November 2012 elections on the horizon, Americans surveyed in national polls consistently rank the economy as their number one concern. Public health professionals can have a big impact on this ballot-box issue. More than 17 percent of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product is spent on health care—in many cases, for conditions that could be prevented or better managed with public health interventions. Yet only 3 percent of the government’s health budget is spent on public health measures. A 2012 study in Health Affairs notes that since 1960, U.S. health care spending has grown five times faster than GDP.

Why do these numbers matter?

First, a healthier workforce is a more productive workforce. According to an April 2012 report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the indirect costs associated with preventable chronic diseases—costs related to worker productivity as well as the resulting fiscal drag on the nation’s economic output—may exceed $1 trillion per year. A 2007 study from the Milken Institute found that when unhealthy workers show up on the job, as many must to survive financially, the effects of their lower productivity on the nation’s economic health are immense: in dollar value, several times greater than the business losses accrued when employees take actual sick days. Avoidable illness also diverts the economic productivity of parents and other caregivers.

Second, the costs of health care are built into the price of every American-built product and service. And the per capita cost of health care in the U.S. is higher than in any nation in the world. If the U.S. can reduce the costs of health care over the long term—by preventing diseases that require costly medical procedures to treat and by making our existing health systems more efficient—the costs of American products can become more competitive in a global marketplace.

Today, U.S. per capita health expenditures are more than twice the average of other countries in the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development. The IOM estimates that cutting the prevalence of adult obesity by 50 percent—roughly the same reduction across the population as was achieved through public health’s multipronged attack on smoking in the late 20th century—could cut annual U.S. medical care expenditures by $58 billion.

Put simply, effective public health measures, including those aimed at improving health systems, have the potential to be economic engines. But these engines have been chronically underfunded and have received too little attention from lawmakers and voters. Michael Blanding, a Boston-based journalist and author, asked seven Harvard School of Public Health experts from widely ranging fields, to assess public health’s vital but often overlooked role in the American economy. Here’s what they told him.

Walter Willett: Stop Spending Government Funds to Promote Obesity
Meredith Rosenthal: Prevent Duplication, Coordinate Care
Norman Daniels: Spend More to Reduce Risk
Milton Weinstein: Identify What is Cost Effective
Kate Baicker: Focus on Value, not just Price
Deborah Allen: Invest Now … or Pay Later
David Bloom: Treat Health as the Nation’s Number One Asset


Stop Spending Government Funds to Promote Obesity

Walt Willett
Chair, Department of Nutrition

The obesity epidemic has huge economic consequences, and we have not even begun to pay the full cost. There is a generation of children today who have diabetes or prediabetes, and they are just coming to the age when they will start developing heart disease and kidney failure, and need amputations as well as treatment for sight loss. These conditions will cause enormous costs in the future, even if we arrest obesity at the present levels.

The federal SNAP program (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly called “food stamps”) allows recipients to use SNAP dollars for any kind of food. As a result, SNAP serves as a funnel for nearly $80 billion a year of taxpayer money to the junk food industry. This industry produces the foods most readily available in low-income neighborhoods—a lot of soda and lower-cost foods loaded with calories and refined starches. People on the SNAP program are more obese, have more metabolic syndrome, and have more cardiac risk factors than people not on SNAP, adjusted for income. And their health care costs will be higher, which ends up costing taxpayers even more.

All we have to do to fix this is apply the same criteria, or similar criteria, to SNAP purchases that we already have for the federal WIC program (Women, Infants and Children program), which essentially allows purchases only for healthy foods. That policy would cost virtually nothing, but it would transform the food supply and dramatically improve the health and wellbeing of SNAP recipients. Little stores and bodegas that only stock junk now would start carrying healthy foods, the cost would come down because of the greater volume of healthy alternatives, and these foods would also become available for those not receiving SNAP benefits.

We are talking about doing something that is cost neutral but would produce not just better health, but also economic benefits in the medium and long term. How? If you change what people eat—and perhaps return physical education to our nation’s schools at the same time—within months, children’s weight and incidence of diabetes will go down. Their parents’ weight will decline as well. Within a year or two, there will be important medical cost savings. Long-term health costs will decline as fewer people develop diabetes, and the cost of healthy food will drop for all of us.


Prevent Duplication, Coordinate Care

Meredith Rosenthal
Professor of Health Economics and Policy

What really matters to health economists is value.

Health care is a huge part of our national economy, and our Medicare and Medicaid programs represent the most important spending categories in the national budget. But our health care system is subject to market failures, so some of that spending does not generate improved health. We are wasting money in health care that we could be spending on education, roads, and other goods and services that we value as private citizens.

So improvements in this area, particularly reforms to health insurance and delivery systems, have an important role to play in balancing the federal budget and in fixing the economy as a whole.

One critical area for reform is primary care. Without robust primary care, lots of people—especially patients with complex needs—are getting poorly coordinated care. The health care delivery system has been ineffective at managing these patients, because as soon as they leave the doctor’s office, the medical system disengages.

That’s why the concept of patient-centered medical homes that we are studying is so important. In this model, insurers pay primary care providers a fixed amount for each patient every month, whether the patient sees the doctor once a year or every week. The provider is accountable for coordinating any care that may be needed across specialists, hospitals, home health agencies, and nursing homes, as well as care provided by community-based services and the patient’s loved ones.

Concepts like the patient-centered medical home have the potential to reduce waste from overuse and duplication of medical tests and services, and also increase the delivery of high-value preventive care. The result is a more efficient and effective, and less costly, system designed to keep patients healthy, rather than respond to illness.


Spend More to Reduce Risk

Norman Daniels
Mary B. Saltonstall Professor of Population Ethics and Professor of Ethics and Population Health

There is vast evidence suggesting that as important as medical care may be, risk reduction—particularly public health measures that reduce the chances people will suffer adverse health conditions—has the greatest impact on people’s health. The return on investment from these measures is not always economic, but if we look carefully at what improves the health of large numbers of people, we’re going to place considerable value on public health initiatives.

A well-known Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report noted that people in the U.S. increased their average life expectancy by 30 years in the 20th century. When the CDC listed the major drivers of that increase, most of them were public health initiatives: clean water, motor vehicle safety, vaccine programs, occupational safety programs, smoking cessation programs, and the like.

Because the benefits of risk reduction programs like these are often invisible, there is an obstacle to investment in public health. When people are healthy, they rarely attribute their health to a specific action taken by government. They view it as their constitution or their lifestyle or their luck.

But if they’re sick, it’s highly visible and they demand to be treated. The visibility of that need creates enormous pressure to heavily invest in medicine, rather than in public health.

When legislators look for something to cut in the budget, they cut something that has no visible effects. If you stop investing in anti-tobacco campaigns, you don’t necessarily see more illness right away—it might take a long time to appear. But private markets don’t produce public goods like clean water or clean air, which everybody draws on. If you don’t believe that, just look at the rates of diarrheal disease in countries that don’t have sanitary conditions.


Identify What is Cost Effective

Milton Weinstein
Henry J. Kaiser Professor of Health Policy and Management

We’re spending more than one-sixth of our national income on medical care. We’ve already reached the point of diminishing returns in some areas of medical care, but we can still see very good returns for many medical and public health interventions that are currently underutilized.

If you want to get more health for the money, then reallocate resources from some of the things that are done in medical care that are not cost effective and use that money for underutilized, cost-effective programs, including both medical and public health programs that aren’t being done enough.

What does this mean on a practical level? We need to convince doctors and patients that women don’t need a Pap smear every year if they have had three normal Pap smear tests. Doing a Pap smear once every three years is extremely cost effective, but doing it every year adds about $800,000 per life-year gained across the population. If most girls and young women are vaccinated against the virus that causes cervical cancer, human papillomavirus, then guidelines may well shift toward even less frequent screening.

Intensive care unit treatment for patients with certain fatal conditions, or extra diagnostic tests such as MRI, CT scans, and PET scans, are expensive; for many patients who don’t have clear indications of a disease, you often get very small gains. In these scenarios, you’re talking about cost-effectiveness ratios of hundreds of thousands of dollars per quality-adjusted life-year gained.

How do we persuade the American people that more care isn’t necessarily better care? It’s hard. People view medical care as an entitlement: If I’m sick, I should get the best available medical technology. A first step is to show that we can get more value for the money we’re already spending—but that will mean doing more of some things and less of others.


Focus on Value, not just Price

Kate Baicker
Professor of Health Economics

The key is not spending less, but improving the value delivered through our health care system. Lots of interventions that are cost effective don’t actually save money. For example: smoking cessation programs might be costly, because smokers who die before the age of 65 then don’t collect Social Security benefits and Medicare. If we just want to save money, we could hand out cigarettes. But that’s wildly inconsistent with public health goals.

Our focus should be on producing health at a reasonable price, understanding that only a very small subset of things actually improve health and are cheaper than free.

The relationship between health insurance and the labor market is important because the vast majority of private insurance in the U.S. is delivered through employer-sponsored insurance plans. That is largely a relic of post–World War II wage controls that limited increases in wages but not in benefits, and the fact that employer contributions to health insurance aren’t taxed. This tax treatment of health insurance favors those who get health insurance through an employer instead of buying it on their own, and favors more generous health insurance relative to wages and other benefits.

There is thus a direct connection between health insurance premiums and wages: When the cost of providing health insurance to workers goes up, that leaves less money for things like wages and other benefits that come with employment. When health insurance premiums rise more quickly, workers’ wages rise more slowly and some workers are at higher risk of being laid off.

And what drives health insurance premiums? In large part, it’s the cost of health care.

So it’s clearly good for the economy when we can improve the productivity of the health care sector—or any other sector. But it is also important to remember that any effects improving health care delivery may have on economic growth are second-order relative to the effect on improving health itself.


Invest Now … or Pay Later

Deborah Allen, SM ’80, SM ’86, SD ’98
Director, Child, Adolescent and Family Health
Boston Public Health Commission

In our economic system, payback comes when you sell something expensive to a captive market. You have that in health care, when you sell high-cost drugs, medical services, and equipment.

But public health promotes the opposite: Let’s invest now for a benefit that may not emerge for many years. Let’s create the conditions for healthy birth, healthy infancy, and healthy childhood. The payoff is extraordinary in terms of lifetime health status and averting the need for extraordinarily costly, often ineffective intervention at the later stages of life. It also creates a population that has a much higher quality of life. But it is more difficult to persuade governments or individuals to pay for something for which the payoff is not immediate.

Adverse health exposures for fetuses in utero or children in the early years of life can cause lifelong problems. It could be a mother inhaling toxic chemicals where she works. It could be maternal stress associated with poverty and racism, which causes her fetus to be exposed to toxic levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Exposures like these lead to disproportionate levels of preterm birth and low birth weight. And even if there is no visible impairment, the child is invisibly vulnerable and will have an elevated lifetime risk of asthma, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and hypertension.

When you invest early in prevention, and a healthy full-term baby grows into a healthy child, then you prevent not only chronic medical problems, but also cognitive and behavioral impacts.

We have to ensure that families have the internal resources to raise kids, but also that families live in communities where there’s access to exercise and good food. These are not what people traditionally think of as health interventions—but they are the things that shape lifetime health.


Treat Health as the Nation’s Number One Asset

David Bloom
Clarence James Gamble Professor of Economics and Demography

There are many links between health and the economy. We’ve known for a long time that richer nations generally have better overall health conditions than do poorer nations—and that, within a country, more affluent individuals have, on average, better health than do poorer individuals. This association has long been thought to reflect a causal link running from income to health—which makes sense for a variety of reasons, including simply that richer countries can afford to spend more on health care.

But new thinking and evidence—much of it pioneered at HSPH—shows that cause and effect also flow in the other direction: A healthy population spurs economic growth. First, healthier people are more economically productive. Better health also leads to an increase in savings rates—because healthier people expect to live longer and are naturally more concerned with their future financial needs.

Another bridge between health and the economy is education. Unhealthy children may enter school with physical and cognitive disadvantages, miss more days of school, attend school for fewer years, and learn less when they’re in school. By contrast, healthy children are more likely to be able to take advantage of whatever education is available to them—and a good education has profound economic consequences throughout an individual’s life. These consequences include a higher starting wage and larger salary increases over the course of one’s working life—earnings that ripple out into the larger economy.

Human health is fundamentally a national asset, which means that spending on the promotion and protection of health is more like a fruitful investment than a consumption expenditure. A 2011 study on the global economic burden of noncommunicable diseases estimated that the five most serious conditions will cost $47 trillion in lost output worldwide over the next two decades. In the U.S., reducing heart disease and cancer alone could save trillions of dollars over that time frame. Investments in public health measures that can avert these diseases (and frequently cost less than treatment) or measures that can better manage these diseases if they do strike, are an essential and highly justifiable way to enhance the value of America’s most important asset: its people.

— Michael Blanding, Boston-based journalist and author

Learn more

Health care and the 2012 election (HSPH News)


How To Make Money With ClickBank in 2020 [Up to $400/Day]

Most affiliate marketers know about ClickBank (and if you don’t I’ll explain exactly what it does just below) but few of you guys know how to make money with Clickbank.

A typical process for a newbie to affiliate marketing is that they sign up, find some crappy product with a high commission and start to fantasize about how it’s going to make sales.

Then, they throw some random traffic at it and watch how nobody spends a dime on it. Finally, they come to the conclusion that the platform sucks. Sounds familiar?

Well, here’s how it worked for us.

2014 was the first year we tried to make some money off the platform. We ended up making $37,075 off it without trying very hard (ClickBank has always been a secondary monetization method, so far, for our businesses).

As we saw the affiliate marketing revenue from Clickbank grow we paid more attention to it and decided to optimize the process so we can make more money online with Clickbank.

After a few months of hard work, we managed to transform this small income stream into something a lot more sizable as you can see by this screenshot:

In this post is that I’ll show you exactly how to make money with Clickbank using the process we devised during this time period.

Let’s get started!

  • What ClickBank is and how to use it to make thousands of dollars monthly
  • How to pick ClickBank products to promote
  • The most common ways to promote ClickBank products
  • The unique funnel we use to scale up our sales
  • How to build these funnels
  • How to scale them up and take over the offer

What is Clickbank?

Many people consider Clickbank just another affiliate network. But unlike traditional affiliate platforms, Clickbank serves as a marketplace for both people who create products and affiliates, so they can make money together without complex paperwork or agreements.

How Does it Work?

In other words, Clickbank is the middleman between creators of digital products, such as ebooks, video, music and so on, and people who can sell those products, i.e. affiliate marketers.

Obviously, depending on which party of the marketplace are you, Clickbank fulfills one of the two functions:

1. A Product Marketplace For Affiliates

As an affiliate marketer, you can jump right in, create your unique affiliate links for thousands of products (more on that later) and start to drive traffic right away to start making money. You will also see your earnings in real time.

It’s free to join and there’s no screening process. No cap or complicated metrics. It’s basically a simplified affiliate network, open to anyone that wants to give it a shot.

In case you want to try it out, simply go register on their homepage.

2. An E-Commerce Platform For Information Product Owners

As a product owner, you can add your product to the database and ClickBank will take care of all the checkout and e-commerce part, as well as offering an affiliate program for it.

You will be charged $49.95 one time activation fee, for becoming a seller on Clickbank. I believe this fee does a good job of keeping some low-quality vendors out of the platform.

This is great if you don’t want to handle the technical part of things but you have to know that the platform will take quite a bit of money off your sales ($1 + 7.5% of the sales).

That’s why if you start making some serious sales volume, you may want to move out of the platform to platforms like Thinkific or Teachable because these don’t take a % of your sales.

In addition to % of sales, you’re charged $2.5 dollars payment processing fee, every time you take out the money. Clickbank can also approve customer refunds and charge you $0.50 or $1 for that.

The rise of the LMS platforms like the two above is probably why Clickbank has been losing some steam in the last few years …

Why Clickbank?

As an affiliate marketer you might ask yourself, why sell ebooks and online courses from unknown producers, if you can just sign up with say CJ or Amazon Associates and sell reputable products.

Firstly, online education is a huge market and Clickbank itself generates close to a quarter billion dollars in sales revenue each year.

Secondly, there’s a beauty to digital products. That beauty is the highest margins possible. Because, to make a copy of a video and sell it, costs nothing.

100% of the revenue can be considered the profit (outside of marketing costs).

High profits = high affiliate commissions. And Clickbank pays up to 75%.

Pros & Cons Of ClickBank

I really like ClickBank and I think it’s a fantastic place for new affiliate marketers to get started and earn money online without the hassle of more advanced affiliate networks. There’s no cap, you don’t need to be approved for 90% of the offers and you can start selling straight away.

Trust me, that’s a huge plus when you get started and have no track record to show to those big affiliate networks.

Here is a short list of the pros & cons of the platform:

  • Highly paid offers (75% commission is common)
  • You can sell in most countries
  • Several recurring offers to sell, for ongoing income
  • Takes the tech out of the way
  • Lots of shitty products & sales pages
  • Lots of competition on popular products
  • Hard to tell what does well without investing traffic
  • High costs associated to the e-commerce platform

Step-by-step: How to Make Money with Clickbank

To make money with Clickbank, you have to follow the same formula as any successful venture.

You need a solid product that customers want and create a funnel to convert the traffic, to begin with. Then you build up your traffic, optimize your funnel, and once you know you’re profitable (i.e. you convert $ more than you invest), you scale the whole thing.

Easy on paper, but sadly, few people put the effort to get it right. 90% of affiliate revenues come from 10% of affiliates, so put your best work in.

Let’s start with the product.

How To Pick The Right Product To Promote

One of the best ways to make money on Clickbank is to start as an affiliate, promoting pages that have already been optimized, in order to build your sales funnels.

Much like keyword research for SEO, picking the right product to promote on ClickBank is extremely important. No matter how good you are at promoting if you drive traffic to a sales page that doesn’t sell, you will not make much money.

Here is a short video of me going through the ClickBank affiliate marketplace to find juicy products to promote.

What Is A Great Product To Promote

Screening offers is a big part of knowing how to make money with Clickbank. Here are the things we look for when it comes to screening offers to promote:

  • Low-cost initial offer with up to 3 upsales
  • Video sales pages & “native” sales pages (pages that feel like content)
  • Products with good reviews online (low refunds = more money and less list burnout)
  • Gravity above 20 (means that the page converts fairly well)

How Everyone Tries To Make Money From ClickBank

If you read on other affiliate marketing blogs, you’ll see a ton of “tactics” on how to make money with ClickBank. Some of them work and some of them clearly don’t work.

The issue most of these tactics have, apart from the last one, is that they have very limited preselling. People are thrown to sales pages without knowing exactly why they are there or who is this guy trying to sell them an information product.

From our experience, preselling is HUGE. You need to give people valid reasons why they should buy the product and if you can be that 3rd party giving a recommendation, your conversion rates will 5-10x very often (hint: that’s what I do all over Authority Hacker).

Additionally, repeat exposure to the offer does very very well for us. More on that later though.

Let’s have a recap of the most “common” ways people make money with ClickBank before I show you our secret sauce.

This one is the most common and very often least profitable. The tactic is simple. Find a somewhat related article on your site and slap a banner on the sidebar or in the middle of the article, without any form of pre-selling the product specifically.

Because the traffic is somewhat related to the offer, some people will convert. However, your EPC ( earnings per click) will be very low because the product does not come recommended by the author.

In Content Links

In content, links are usually in line recommendations that are embedded directly in the text. The recommendation often comes from the voice of the author and if they’ve done a good job building trust throughout the article/post, the conversion rates will be decent.

However, they’re not very prominent and will only catch the attention of the most attentive readers. Other than trusting the author, there’s not much of an incentive to click through.


This is one tactic we still use to this day and for good reason: it works! Review traffic is extremely targeted and people landing on your page have a very high chance to buy.

If your review doesn’t look completely biased, there’s a good chance they’ll trust you and click through your affiliate link to buy the product.

Read more: How to write product reviews that sell without being cheesy

The issue with reviews is to actually get the volume of traffic you need to make a lot of sales.

The traffic on review keywords is low and the competition is fierce. Every SEO and their dog tries to make money online with reviews and you end up sitting in the middle of a negative SEO fest, for trickles of traffic.

Not ideal, if you’re trying to build a long term property. Also, there’s no other way to scale than horizontally (produce more reviews) because there just isn’t much traffic for each product review. This makes it hard to grow faster or use paid traffic to push things up.

Building A Value-Oriented Media Funnel

All the methods we talked about before tend to work to some extent but they’re usually worn out and overused by everyone in the industry making it very competitive and hard to scale unless you have a site with hundreds and hundreds of reviews.

Plus, nobody links or shares any of the content above because it sells and people tend to hate linking or sharing stuff that sells something to its readers. It’s just the way it is.

Not being sharable or linkable is a huge handicap in today’s social web. This means you will have to pay or produce all of your traffic and if you ever want to have a chance to show up in Google, you’ll have to spend hours doing tedious link building. Not fun, not scalable, not economical.

So how do you remain shareable while making sales? Simple, give free stuff and add value.

But how to make money with Clickbank then? You sell to the people that wanted more free stuff and gave you their email for it.

You basically keep your front end clean of ANY sales pitch. You run it like a media company offering free content to the readers.

You then offer lead magnets through content upgrades, opt-in pop-ups and retargeting. The lead magnet offers more free stuff to those who are interested enough to trade their contact information for it.

You can THEN start linking to the offer from the thank you page and start emailing people about the offer so you make sure they don’t miss out on it.

But wait! If I only show my offer to those who opted in am I not losing on sales?

Well, if someone doesn’t care enough about the topic to give you their email address, they probably won’t give you money for it.

Here is an outline of the system we use:

This system is the best out there, in my opinion, for the following reasons:

  • You keep your front end clean of commercial offers meaning you can get tons of links/shares etc.
  • You can target viral topics or high traffic keywords related to the problems the offer solves meaning there’s no traffic problem.
  • It can run 100% without PPC if that’s not your thing (many of those run purely on organic for us)
  • You’re building an email list meaning that you own the audience. This means that you can sell more things to them once they reach your main list, and the value of your media property is greatly increased and compounds over time.

Let’s dive into each element of the funnel and how you can execute each of them:

1. Traffic & Content

This one is pretty straight forward. If you create value only content, getting links using these tactics and getting shares is fairly easy. There are 3 main ways I recommend you to go after traffic:

  • SEO: If you’re going to create content, you might as well optimize it for search engines. If you want more info on implementing SEO for your authority site I recommend our free authority SEO course (see what I’m doing here?).
  • Facebook: Pretty much all audiences are on Facebook and you can get very cheap traffic. I recommend this method by Digital marketer or to build a big fan page, engage it and drive traffic through organic reach (case study coming soon on that one).
  • Content distribution networks: I don’t have a ton of experience with these but judging by the number of people running this tactic across networks like taboola and outbrain I imagine this must be fairly successful. This works especially well if you’re covering a widespread issue.

Remember these rules. Keep the content clean of promotions (apart from your opt-in), give value, establish yourself as an authority and don’t be greedy. That will really set you apart from 99% of affiliates.

2. Opt-In

Create a complementary piece of content to the article. For example, if the article is a list of tips, create 3 more tips that people can download. This can be more recipes or anything that is a continuation of the content. This way, the people that were engaged enough to read until the end will most likely want to trade their email for more.

To distribute this lead magnet I recommend you look into:

  • Opt-in pop-ups – They just do wonders for us, with up to 6% opt-in rate on this very site and 5.5% on Health Ambition. We collect hundreds of emails daily with those. Read more on opt-in pop-ups.
  • Content upgrades – They’re a great final call to action at the end of your content, hard to miss along with the pop-up. It’s also very inexpensive to set up. Read more on content upgrades.
  • Retargeting + Opt-in page – If people didn’t take your offer on the site, maybe they got busy. Add them to a retargeting list on Facebook and send them to an opt-in page to download the bonuses.

To create all of these, so far the best tool is still Thrive Leads (review). But if you are going to be using Elementor PRO as a site builder they also have a great pop-up / opt-in builder baked in.

3. Thank You Page & Offer

Now that people have opted in, you need to redirect them to a thank you page where you can (finally) promote your offer.

While promoting the offer is important, it’s also important to “bridge” the offer with the lead magnet they just opted in for. Otherwise, people will be frustrated and think they need to pay for the lead magnet. Trust me we’ve made that mistake!

Note that we also have a retargeting pixel on this page to set up a negative audience and not advertise the lead magnet to those who already opted in.

You then want to explain to people why the lead magnet they’ve downloaded is incomplete and why they should take the offer you present along with it, to get better results.

In this case, people download a juicing recipes book but we explain to them that without the 30-day plan, they won’t get very far and achieve what they want.

Notice that the call to action is to “continue” meaning we’re not telling them anything is for sale yet. That means more clicks to our sales page and eventually more sales.

You can build a basic version of these landing pages with Gutenberg but I recommend Elementor (Review) or Thrive Architect (Review) for it, with the drag & drop editor you can create these in seconds.

4. Email Marketing

This is where things start to be fun. As opposed to people trying to throw traffic to a sales page once and then have no chance to see those visitors again, you have their contact details!

Note: If you don’t have an email marketing service yet, I recommend Getresponse for affiliate marketers, it’s far superior to Aweber and offers great automation for the exact same price and has a free trial for you to see if you like it.

That means you can expose them to the offer again in case they didn’t buy and take your time to convince them that it’s what they need (and you know it is because they downloaded the related lead magnet).

When you get started, I recommend to only set up a 3 part autoresponder. It’s enough to know if the offer is going to convert or not. Here’s how I break it down:

Email 1 – Features & Logic

In the first email, I first send them the link to the lead magnet a second time (the excuse to email them) and ask them if they saw the offer (affiliate link).

I then go on and give a bullet point list of why I think they should get it as well as maybe 1 testimonial to give it credibility and start easing into the emotional realm. I’ll usually finish with a question, opening a loop making them want to open the next email.

Email 2 – Emotions

In the second email, you email them to answer the question you asked in the previous email and start (excuse for the email).

Then you go on and help them visualize themselves having solved the problem and all the things they could do when it is solved.

In the case of weight loss, for example, it could be:

  • Being more attractive and finding the love of your life
  • Not being ashamed when people look at you anymore
  • Having more energy / being able to do more
  • Not dying early

Simply elicit positive emotions of all the great things that could happen and link it back to your product.

Email 3 – Scarcity

In the final email of the series, you want to push people to take action right now. This is when you use a mixture of limited time offers (discounts, bonuses etc if available with the offer) and guilt people for not taking action.

You can use sentences like: “Einstein defined insanity as the fact of doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results” or “You need something new if you really want to change your life”.

This is when you want to make sure the product actually delivers. If I guilt someone into buying a product that actually helps them lose 20lbs and live a better life, I’m happy I did it. If you guilt low-income overweight people to buy a crappy pseudoscience product and they lose both money and hope, you’re not a great person.

These sales tactics are powerful and work but you have to have ethics when using them. Remember, we want to sell MANY things to our prospects so the first product better deliver! Really helping people makes you more money.

If you want to build real scarcity, you can use a tool like Deadline Funnels and actually open and close the offers for your subscribers.

This sounds counter-intuitive but limited access does increase sales dramatically so if you want the best results, I recommend you open and close the offers as a product launch to your list. Deadline funnels allow you to do just that, you can even add a timer on top of the affiliate sales page.

If you’re thinking this is a lot of work, and it really isn’t, then imagine how happy you’ll be when your daily emails go out and you see money trickling in that way (wait, was that visualization?).

Once people have gone through the 3 part autoresponder, simply add them to your main broadcast list and email them your next pieces of content. If they’re interested, they’ll opt in and enter a new mini sales funnel.

This is a great way to not burn your email list while constantly selling. Those who don’t opt in never get sold to, until they are interested enough to download your lead magnet. At this point, you’re seen as a great value giver since your front end is always pure value.

5. Retargeting

Sadly, this option is becoming more and more popular so I won’t be able to enjoy it alone anymore.

Using Facebook or any other retargeting service, you can create audiences of people visiting your website (minus those who opted in from the site) and advertise lead magnets to them for about 30 days.

The process is fairly simple and after a bit of optimization, you’ll be able to let it run as people get out of your retargeting list after the 30 days have elapsed. This means you don’t run into ad fatigue problems nearly as much as you do when running cold traffic campaigns.

Send that traffic to a squeeze page. They will know who you are and you can achieve as much as 70% opt-in rate with some headline tweaking. Here’s an example of opt in page (I created it with Elementor Pro) I send traffic to the free webinar we offer on this site.

Creating Your Affiliate Links & TID’s

In order to know where your conversions come from (Which E-mail, Facebook ad or blog post), the best practice is to create a new affiliate link each time you put a link somewhere. This way, you will be able to tell which emails/pages convert and which don’t.

In order to create a tracking ID, when you create your link simply add it in the “Tracking ID” field as per the screenshot below.


Now that you’ve built the initial funnel, let it run for a little bit. Perhaps start building a second one and after a while, decide if it’s worth spending more time on it.

If it’s making some sales and you want to expand it, all you need to do is pick one area and expand it. These include:

  • Creating more SEO content around more keywords related to the product you’re selling.
  • Link building your existing content to improve its rankings.
  • Using paid social to grow the traffic to your content.
  • Expanding your autoresponder from 3 to 12-15 emails to increase sales.
  • A/B test your pop-ups and opt-ins to increase the opt-in rate.

Owning The Offer

When you’ve reached a certain scale, you should already be making several thousand dollars per month. At this point, it’s time to start considering swapping the affiliate offer with your own offer.

This will allow you to keep all the money coming in and control things such as:

  • The upsales
  • The sales page
  • Being able to buy traffic directly to your sales pages
  • Have affiliates make money for you by promoting your product

It’s not easy and it’s not something I would consider doing if I had no traffic and no revenue. But once you have proven you can get people and sell them info products, this is one of the best ways to grow your own revenue.

At that point though, I would consider solutions such as Thinkific or Teachable to sell your own courses or information products.

They are just easier, more up to date and just cheaper to use as you grow (Thinkific even has a totally free plan where they take a small % of your sales as Clickbank does).

To Wrap It Up

As you probably guessed, the scope of this strategy is slightly larger than ClickBank itself. ClickBank is a great, simple place to start replacing things such as Adsense or Amazon revenue for real sales.

It tends to generate much more revenue if you manage to make it work.

You can use this in other affiliate programs or even for your own products to promote. Be careful though, as offers do occasionally get pulled. You need to be sure you have a backup offer in case this happens (or you’re ready to create a backup yourself).

I hope this tutorial inspired you to get out of the “easy” monetization methods and showed you that it is possible to build a long term property, be seen as a value adder and yet make money with Clickbank. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments.


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Protect Your Money, Grow Your Wealth

Wealth Strategist & Author

Book Your Appointment With Dwayne


You don’t have to wonder if you will have enough money to retire or to stay retired.

Starting today, there are simple and strategic steps you can take to protect and plan for a successful retirement. 

Take advantage of financial strategies that can help protect and grow your wealth.


 Choose a Fiduciary Advisor 

Dwayne Burnell, MBA helps individuals, families and business owners gain financial security and independence.

You can also be assured that Dwayne has always operated with, and continues to provide, the highest standard of financial knowledge and care for his clients – referred to as a “fiduciary” standard – always putting his clients’ best interest first.


Retirement Planning  

Don’t live with fear and worry. Planning for your future doesn’t need to be scary or filled with financial jargon. But it does have to happen. Remember the old adage: “People don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan.”

One day, your future will be your present. You might find yourself standing at the door to your retirement uncertain as to whether you have enough money to retire and stay retired.

Don’t let this happen to you. Take an important step toward financial empowerment. Dwayne can help you reach your financial goals.

Consider All
Your Financial

It’s comforting to think that there’s a single magical solution for financial planning. But it simply does not exist. Everyone has a unique set of circumstances, needs and goals that must be considered carefully to retire well.

You have far more retirement strategies available to you than putting your money in your 401(k) (or any other qualified plan) and “hoping for the best.”

Don’t leave your retirement at risk. You don’t have to hope that it will all work out. Be sure.

Plan for Unexpected Events 

How would you cope with a sudden change in your life? Can you handle a job loss, a change in your health or in the health of someone you love? It can be scary when life throws you a curve ball and you aren’t prepared. But you can be.

Dwayne works with individuals, couples and families anywhere in the count. He helps them develop a lifelong financial strategy that is designed to manage both expected life events (such as retirement) and unexpected life events (like changes in health or the loss of a job).

Book Your Complimentary Appointment with Dwayne

With Strategic Retirement Planning, You Can:


  • Protect Your Savings
  • Position Your Money for Growth
  • Avoid Unnecessary Taxes
  • Access Your Money Without Penalty
  • Reduce Your Risk of Running Out of Money in Retirement  

Plan Now to Avoid Outliving Your Retirement Savings

Dwayne Burnell, MBA

Wealth Strategist & Author

Consider developing a comprehensive retirement strategy. You have more options and alternatives than you realize.

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Get Dwayne’s valuable perspective and expertise to help you with your retirement planning.

Stay on top of current financial news and trends.

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Take a moment to listen and watch Dwayne as he walks you through simple, yet highly effective,strategies that will grow your financial well-being.

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Check out Dwayne’s 
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Dwayne’s two best-selling books, “Financial Independence in the 21st Century,” and “A Path to Financial Peace of Mind” describe unique and uncommon strategies in the field of personal financial and retirement planning.

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20 ways for renters to stay cool and save money this summer

The problem with most articles about summer energy saving is that they’re geared for homeowners. Tens of millions of people in the U.S. rent their homes, and tips that help homeowners save energy may not be practical for them.

So you’re a renter? That power-bill insert suggesting you upgrade attic insulation is probably more frustrating than useful. The same applies for most tips related to improving property. If your appliances are furnished, it’s likely you don’t even have the option to replace them with more efficient models.

What’s a renter to do?

Summertime energy prices can turn a trip to the mailbox into a stressful experience. But while major home improvement projects may be off the table for renters, it’s still possible to take some of the sting out of summer power bills. The key is conservation.

If you can’t change your living space, change your behavior. Reducing consumption is the greenest of green. We’ve rounded up 20 ways to stay cool and save money through the warmer months. While you may already be doing some of these, you should find a few that will fit your energy saving arsenal.

Take action and save!

Increasingly hot summers have led to an increased reliance on air conditioners. (Photo: Alex Marakhovets/Shutterstock)

1. Set your air conditioner to 78 degrees (F) or higher. An obvious pointer, but also one of the most ignored. Running your air conditioner at colder temperatures won’t cool down a room any faster than a more moderate setting, but it will force your system to work harder. Worse yet, it’s easy to forget to turn it back up. Stick with the warmest setting you can tolerate, and move on to other stay-cool ideas.

2. Wear cool, loose clothing — even indoors. Shorts, absorbent fabrics and loose-fitting clothes all work outdoors. They’ll work inside, too. It’s your space: dress for comfort. The cooler your clothing, the less you’ll need air conditioning.

3. Indulge your taste for spicy food. There’s a reason Indian and Latin food is hot: It makes you sweat! If you have proper air circulation, sweating is an effective way to cool down. That sheen on your arms, face and legs is pretty much odorless, by the way. Crank up the heat in your food, and you’ll feel cooler. It may also provide other health benefits, such as improved circulation.

4. Use fans to improve air circulation and set existing ceiling fans properly. This goes hand in hand with not being afraid of a little sweat. Fans use a fraction of the energy required by air conditioning. Just as in the case of wind chill outdoors, moving air will substantially lower the perceived temperature. During the summer, a ceiling fan should (in most cases) be running counterclockwise when viewed from below. You want the setting with maximum downdraft. Flip it next winter to bring warm air down from the ceiling. Just keep in mind that fans are for people, not rooms. There’s no point running them when nobody is around.

Fans use a fraction of the energy required for A/C, and you can move them around as needed. (Photo: Bouybin/Shutterstock)

5. Take cold showers. If you live in an area experiencing water shortages, skip this one. Otherwise, a quick three-minute cold shower is a fantastic way to cool down. Going longer than three minutes won’t make you feel much cooler, so skip the soap and just enjoy the relief. For regular showers, avoid using hot water during the summer. In most temperate locations, tap water is plenty warm for bathing by July. The cooler you run your shower, the less heat and steam you’ll need to remove from your living space. Use the exhaust fan if it’s vented outdoors.

6. Drink plenty of water. You may not sweat enough if you’re dehydrated. While some traditions, such as Ayurveda, discourage consumption of cold liquids, they’ll temporarily cool your body core. Alcohol and caffeinated drinks tend to dehydrate, so choose wisely.

7. Draw drapes and blinds on windows exposed to direct sunlight. Window coverings are one of the few home additions tolerated by most landlords. Curtains, blinds and window shades can all go with you at the end of your lease. In warm weather, you’ll want to be sure the space at the top of curtain between the rod and the wall is covered, or hot air will rise through the gap. It’s possible to buy curtains and shades with thermal ratings, so shop around or make your own. Window coverings have the added benefit of keeping heat from radiating outward during the winter.

Cooking food outside on the grill can help keep your kitchen and the rest of your home cool. (Photo: stockcreations/Shutterstock

8. Cook outdoors. Grilling is a classic summer pastime. Best of all, it keeps heat outside. Of course, you want to minimize the environmental impact of outdoor cooking.

9. Use the microwave. The lowly microwave is your kitchen’s most efficient plug-in appliance. In addition to saving money year-round, microwave ovens are a good bet for summer cooking. Here’s why: Microwaves direct most of their energy into the food, rather than the kitchen. That means you’ll stay more comfortable and burn less energy removing cooking heat from your home.

10. Eat more smaller meals through the summer months. The bigger the meal, the harder your body must work to digest it. Try splitting mealtimes across the day, opting for more and smaller meals when it’s warmest. This will keep your body from having to stoke its metabolic afterburners. It’s also a great time to experiment with cold foods — perhaps even raw cuisine. Less heat in the kitchen, less heat in your tummy.

11. Spend more time outdoors or away from home. Why not soak up someone else’s air conditioning? A little window shopping never hurt anyone, and it’s likely there are several ice-cold destinations within walking distance or a short bicycle ride from your home. While eating out is a luxury for a lot of people these days, blowing a couple hours with a frosty drink and a book someplace cool isn’t a bad way to spend a sweltering summer afternoon.

12. Try a cool pillow. It’s tough to sleep when you feel like you’re in a sauna, and the alternative is running a fan or air conditioner all night. In addition to dressing out your bed with seasonally appropriate sheets and bedcovers, consider a “cool pillow.” They’re marketed under names such as Chillow. Cool pillows are designed to draw heat away from your head, where about 30% of body warmth is dispersed. They require no power or special preparation. Here’s a low-tech idea for beneath the sheets: Fill a hot water bottle or two with icy water. It’s like a refrigerator for your bed.

13. Shut down unnecessary electronic devices. Here’s another year-round energy saver. During the summer, however, it’s even more important to pull the plug on home electronics. Anything with a transformer creates heat. Shut down unused desktop computers (they have cooling fans for a reason), televisions and entertainment systems — pretty much everything with a plug.

Drying your clothes outside can also cut down on your utility bills. (Photo: Nils Z/Shutterstock)

14. Wash your clothes at night and line dry them in the morning. Some power companies offer off-peak rates to their customers. Take advantage of these. In any event, even a properly vented clothes dryer radiates heat. Restrict its use to the coolest part of the day. Wherever possible, line dry clothes. It worked for our parents’ generation, and it will work for ours. This should be no problem if you’re renting a house. A simple line between two sturdy supports will do, and umbrella-style clothes lines are an affordable investment. Line drying is more of a challenge for apartment dwellers. You may be able to get away with a small line on a porch — check your lease terms. It’s also possible to dry indoors, and there are many retractable lines and racks made just for that purpose. Indoor drying may be the best choice if your area is dusty, or if you happen to be particularly susceptible to outdoor allergens.

15. Shut down your furnace pilot light. It’s small thing, but there’s no point running a gas furnace pilot light through the summer months. Locate the gas shutoff valve. There are safety issues here, so if you have any question about how to properly extinguish a pilot light, consult your building supervisor, utility company or heating and cooling professional.

16. Close doors to unused rooms and closets. Your winter clothes do not require air conditioning, so get into the habit of keeping closets and cabinets closed. Shut unoccupied rooms and their cooling vents. If you’re using window units, close the door in the air conditioned room whenever practical.

17. Replace or clean your air conditioning filter. Dirty filters dramatically reduce air-conditioner efficiency. Check your filter once a week, and replace as often as necessary. Filters are generally throwaway items, but some may be reusable if thoroughly vacuumed. Clean window-unit filters once a week. Some window air conditioners have a warning light to indicate when air flow is restricted.

18. Close your fireplace damper. If you’re fortunate enough to have a fireplace, close the flue during warm weather months. Chimneys are another void you don’t need to cool, so keep fireplace doors shut or construct an airtight screen to close the hearth when not in use.

19. Replace standard bulbs with low-energy equivalents wherever practical. The heating effects of incandescent bulbs are generally overstated, since most lights are mounted close to the ceiling. But every degree matters when you’re trying to keep power bills under control, and the money-saving benefits of using LED or CFL bulbs year-round are obvious. Concerned about the mercury in CFLs? These dangers are usually overstated, but proper CFL handling and disposal is a responsibility. (See 5 ways to dispose of old CFLs.)

20. Talk to your landlord. Property owners usually take action when it’s in their financial interest. So do your homework and see what might make sense in terms of energy-saving improvements. There may be local, state or federal incentives for things such as improving insulation values or weatherization. Landlords of utilities-included rentals will be particularly receptive to projects that save them money over the long term. In any case, you may be able to obtain permission — or even rent credit — for making small improvements on your own. You’ll only know if you ask.

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Related topics: Energy Efficiency, MNN lists, Save Money

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Preserving & Growing Your Wealth

Increasingly volatile markets, manipulated interest rates, and reckless money-printing by central banks are making it harder than ever for the individual investor to build wealth or preserve the purchasing power of their savings.

1) Speaking with our endorsed financial advisors

Are you finding it difficult to locate a financial advisor who has any awareness of how too much global debt, Peak Oil, and rampant money-printing will likely impact the financial markets — and thereby your investment portfolio? We searched long and hard to endorse an independent firm who does. Schedule a free portfolio review today.

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2) Scheduling a personal consultation with Chris Martenson

Receive customized guidance from Chris on where to prioritize your wealth-building efforts given your personal situation. Sessions are conducted over the phone at your convenience. In-person meetings can be arranged upon special request. Consultations for businesses are available, as well.

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3) Considering enrolling to receive our best insights

In addition to the free public blog posts and interviews, we publish each week, those looking to preserve and grow wealth should consider enrolling on the site. Enrollment offers access to Chris’ & Adam ‘s premium analysis plus that of our growing team of expert contributing editors. You receive in-depth reports on critical issues, early-warning alerts, and practical, actionable advice on what steps to take in order to protect and grow both your wealth and the quality of your life.

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These steps focus on just three of the many resources this site offers. Whether you start with these or not, the important thing is to start engaging!


6 Simple Lifestyle Changes that Save Both Energy and Money

Even though a lot of people may disagree, choices that can help save the environment often save you money as well. By learning from and curbing our regular habits, we can decrease our impact and contribute meaningfully to the Earth. Teaching our kids these alternatives while they’re young is also important: if kids know where things come from and how the world works, they’ll be more likely to continue these eco-friendly habits throughout their own lives. Here are 6 subtle changes you can make to save both money and energy in your everyday life.

Image © plonk264

 1) Change Your 5 Most-Used Light Bulbs to LEDs

LED bulbs can be expensive, but buying a few of them to put in your house can save a lot of money and energy in the long run. They last 10 times as long as compact fluorescents and ages longer than incandescents. In terms of heat, they only produce 3.4 BTUs per hour as opposed to 85 for incandescents, which contribute to heat build-up in rooms and can raise the cost of air conditioning. At first, you’re paying more for the bulbs, but over time, the cost is saved because you’re buying less of them.

Related: World’s First Glow-in-the-Dark Road Promises a Brighter, More Energy-Efficient Future

Image © Umberto Rotundo

2) Spend at Least an Hour Outside Every Day

I know how easy it is to sit on a couch and flick through TV channels. Sometimes it feels like there’s nothing else to do; you’ve got no friends around, and you’re hungry, so those Nacho Doritos are a nice complement to your mindless vegging session. But before you sit down and press that power button, ask yourself if there’s something you can do outside for the next hour. Find a trail you’d like to hike, go for a walk with your dog (or even your cat if you’re into that). Buy a field guide about local wild flowers and learn about the plants around your home and what medicinal purposes they have—you might be surprised how useful certain plants can be for everyday situations. If none of these things sound interesting, there’s always the beach.

Image © Magic Madzik

3) Change Your Clothes Washer & Dryer Habits

Whenever I can, I make sure to use cold water in my washer and avoid using my dryer completely. Most of the energy from washing clothes comes from heating the water, so by using the cold setting I save 90 percent of the energy costs. For the dryer, not only does it shrink all my pants and render most of the already skinny-fit jeans unwearable, but it also wastes uses about 5 to 7 pounds of carbon per hour of use—that may not seem like much but if you’re doing 400 loads a year, it adds up. When it’s cold outside, hang laundry somewhere in your house that gets a lot of sunlight. It makes your clothes smell better, saves money on dryer sheets, and sometimes clotheslines can be artsy, too, which increases the aesthetic pleasure of your home.

Related: 6 Super Easy Eco-Home Changes You Can Make for $20 or Less 

Image © Robyn Lee

4) Eat Less Meat

A lot of people really love meat. Globally, we eat about 105 pounds of it a year and in America alone, that number is more than doubled. But the problem with meat consumption is that it’s causing issues in our bodies as well as our environment. In order to make a quarter-pound burger, it takes: 6.7 pounds of feed, 52 gallons of water, 74 square feet of grazing land, and over 1,000 British Thermal Units (BTUs) of fossil fuels. This doesn’t account for all the methane released by ruminant livestock (read: cows), either. In total, methane emissions from cows account for 28 percent of global emissions. Besides all those climate facts (which probably won’t stop you from eating meat anyway, let’s be honest), that processed meat is being shown to cause heart problems—replace that steak with a black bean burger every once in a while.

Image © JD Thomas

 5) Buy Secondhand Clothes and Items

I’d be lying if I didn’t say that my best clothes have come from Salvation Army. Not only can you make fun of the hilarious t-shirts in Salvo (and sometimes buy them), but you can buy nice clothes for next to nothing. Shirts are usually about 7 bucks, and pants range from 2 to 14 bucks, again, usually. A lot of people only use places like Salvo for clothes, but you can also find furniture, dishware, books, and sunglasses among other things. Another example of buying secondhand would be to purchase a used car instead of a new one. Buying secondhand not only saves you money, but since you’re buying something that’s already been made, you’re not creating a chain of demand and costing electricity to run factories that produce smog and pollution.

Image © Jeff S. PhotoArt

6) Walking> Biking> Taking the Bus > Driving > Taking a Train > Flying on a Plane

In this order, you’ll save the most money and reduce emissions. If you’re planning a trip, always be sure to keep these steps in mind. Two years ago, transportation accounted for 28% of total greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., and that number has increased 18% since 1990. Trains are better than planes, but many still burn coal, and despite new technology, air traffic accounts for 2% of the global emissions that are contributing to accelerated climate change, and that number’s growing. If you’re really close to your desired destination, remember that good old-fashioned walking is always a great way to travel.

Lead Image © Pink Sherbet Photography; all other images via Photopin