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Monthly ArchiveApril 2017

How We Can Make Money On Facebook

Facebook has become a multi-tool social network, meshed with a multitude of other applications. What we use Facebook for is our own choice, but opportunity is knocking.

Making money on Facebook requires following a simple business model: Have a product that fits people’s needs, find the right customers through targeting, and have them tell their friends to repeat the sales cycle.


Product That Fills A Need

The only requirement for a good product is that it fills a need for someone, or fixes some problem that they had before purchasing the product. If quality of life is higher with a certain product, people are naturally going to communicate this to their friends verbally, on social media, and unconsciously.

I found my first product by cleaning out my closet, inspired by The Minimalists, and stumbled upon my old graduation gowns. Even though I didn’t have the cap and gown combination, it sparked an idea in my head. Universities across the country are about to host graduation ceremonies; meanwhile gowns of years past will be sitting in closets of alumni, while fresh graduates go deeper into debt purchasing a new one.


Targeting The Correct People

I was not going to get anywhere trying to sell my graduation gowns (without the hat) to anyone other than those who are graduating from The University of Colorado. Luckily, Facebook has a page that has “brought together” the class of 2017. I simply posted my message, trying to not sound like an advertising robot, and waited… for five hours. BOOM! It was that easy!

People NEED the graduation gowns to take pictures with friends and family, and I was offering mine for $12 less than the bookstore. It may not seem like a huge savings, but to a college student, an extra $12 means a couple more drinks at the bar.


Using Word-Of-Mouth Power

Once a sale is made, the only way that sales will grow through word-of-mouth is to actually have a positive impact on someone’s life. When I was first contacted by Christy, she only wanted one of the two. I asked if she had any friends who would also like to save money. Within five minutes she had sold the second one for me!

My only problem came when I ran out of inventory. People continued to message me about the gowns yet I had already sold them. I thought of how to fix this problem, and realized that all of my friends who graduated probably don’t want their old gowns. Eventually, I sold my old roommate Sean’s, for an even higher asking price then I got for mine.


Tale Of The Tape

This is the first time that I used Facebook to make money, while at the same time decluttering my closet. I didn’t even have to pay for Facebook to advertise my post because I posted in the correct target market. However, if we are looking for a larger target market, Facebook is easy to pay $1 per day to find the actual audiences that matter for our products.

Perhaps this is an idea worth running with: I could create an app where alumni can connect to college seniors where they graduated to sell their old once-worn cap and gown. Taking money away from the school bookstores and putting it back in the pockets of those who need it, like a modern day Robin Hood.

The Minimalists: Cutting Out The Crap

Minimalism: Less Is More

I was sucked into a documentary last night titled The Minimalists (available free on Netflix) which is produced by two bloggers on a mission to live simply, and teach the world to do the same.


The film tells the stories of other successful people who were not happy living the material life pushed upon us by modern society. After eliminating most of their non-critical possessions they were released from the shackles of society which allows them to learn, love, and live their lives in ways that actually makes them feel a purpose on the planet. Check out the impactful trailer below.

Minimalism is a concept where you only have the key items you need, such as one chair, one table, one fork, one plate, one glass. Eliminating all of the excess helps you focus and appreciate the things that you do have.


One of my favorite parts throughout the documentary is when they highlight the emerging trend of living small. Tiny houses and people living the #VanLife have been increasing in popularity after the recession. One of the people interviewed reveals “Living in the smallest space possible is the most responsible thing you can do for the planet.”

This makes you think about how large of a space you live in and how your carbon footprint is actually much larger than the size of your foot. Our country has a a huge storage industry just because people have been so caught up with acquiring more stuff, even when they don’t use the stuff they already have.

I would highly recommend watching this film, as I will be watching it again to pick up even more detail and inspiration. Next, I am going to start eliminating unnecessary possessions from my life so that I can focus more on what actually matters.

Think about what you could eliminate from your possessions and how it would help highlight the more important things in your life.

 

For My People…

Who is going to take action in the near future? Will it be you?

“The distance between your dreams and reality is called action” – Unknown


The next five years are those in which many will either make it or break it. Which side of the spectrum are you going to be on? Are you developing skills that you can use in a variety of future situations, or are you stuck in a job that you don’t enjoy?

Most people find themselves stuck on repeat mode, or even one-track repeat mode. Spotify has a feature called Discover, where new music, similar to the stuff you listen to, pops up in your feed once a week. This feature allows me to explore new music and find things that I never would have. People have to branch out and try discovering life, instead of jamming to the same old song day after day. The metaphor is a stretch but the point is that you should try hitting shuffle mode on life and see what happens when you break out of your comfort zone.


  • What you can do:

Taking control of your life requires making a plan. Set SMART goals and hold yourself accountable to them. Try to practice mindfulness in order to realize where your place in the world is, and how you can be beneficial to other people’s lives. If you are chasing money, re-evaluate WHY that is the end goal. Money is required for life, but projects that actually benefit other peoples lives will create a lasting impact on both you and them.

Update yourself on the latest trends in how people are working such as using Fiverr and Etsy to showcase skills and become freelancers to earn extra cash. Consider using one of these platforms to showcase your craft and see where your current abilities can take you.

Start thinking about the world in different ways than you have before. Things are happening that no one saw coming: Cubs winning the World Series, Sergio winning the Masters, or any of the other crazy events that have gone down recently. You can be next on the list of the unexpected.

Do something that makes an impact in another persons life. Say thank you to those who help you, and if possible find a creative way to do it. Give back more than you receive, and eventually you will get your return on investment. Invest love into those you care about and you will see it reflected back at you.

Build your personal brand in conjunction with those around you. Who knows where you will get if you dream big, set S.M.A.R.T goals, and take action.

My First One Hundred Day Ski Season: The Good, The Bad, and The Beautiful

“The sport of skiing consists of wearing three thousand dollars’ worth of clothes and equipment and driving two hundred miles in the snow in order to stand around at a bar and get drunk.”– P.J. O’Rourke

telemark backflip

Skiing has been a major priority in my life ever since I can remember. My parents would take my older sister Brooke and I on ski vacations with our extended family, dragging us through blizzards and down black diamonds, trying to instill the love for the mountains into us. Despite the constant frozen tears I eventually learned to love the cold, snowy days spent on the hill with friends and family.

My Dad continued to push the sport upon me at a young age, and for that I thank him. I can’t remember the exact day that my love affair with snowy mountains started, but I am grateful for having a passion that I can indulge in every winter season.

Big Sky Montana

2016-2017 Season

  • THE GOOD

This season, I started working at Big Sky up in Montana, close enough to Canada to feel part Canadian. Working for the resort scanning lift tickets allowed me to ski everyday, which was a pretty sweet gig. Seeing the mountain slowly fill in, and skiing on a different snow surface day after day has made me enjoy powder days even more than I used to. Days when we got new snow were spent touring around the mountain and working on small tricks. I improved my skiing tenfold, simply because I was spending time in my ski boots everyday, spinning and carving my way down the mountain.

One of the things I am most grateful for this season is the relationships that I formed with so many new friends. I moved up to Montana only knowing a few people, and it turns out I didn’t spend that much time with them anyway. Friendly faces were everywhere; I was always out riding with someone different due to my position as the fastest ticket scanner in the West. My parents even got to come visit me and meet all ten thousand of the friends it felt like I had in Big Sky. Skiing with my Dad on his 60th birthday was a special day that I enjoy looking back on as one of my favorite this season.

  • THE BAD

The only thing that I would say could have been better this season was the total amount of snow that came down at Big Sky. It was considered a low snow year, and I was getting rained on while working in February! The lack of snow, along with a couple other factors, led me to part ways with my position at Big Sky. However it was fun while it lasted, and I still got my share of powder days.

It is hard to think of bad times at Big Sky because everyday seemed like a magical dream. If you look up Big Sky in a dictionary, you would see descriptions such as “Too Much Fun” and “Party Mountain” due to the dirtbag culture and friendly atmosphere around the base-area plaza and town center bars.

  • THE BEAUTIFUL

One of my favorite things this season was the shear beauty that is Montana. Only having visited Montana once before, this was a great time to see so many beautiful landscapes that I never could have dreamt of. My photography skills have been improving and I am motivated to capture the stunning imagery that Montana offers to adventurers. The vast mountain ranges and huge expanses provide photo opportunities literally in every direction you look.

All too often I found myself staring around at the landscape in awe. Mountains and rivers as far as the eye can see make for a great setting to spend time in. Wild animals dominate the scenery with bison on the plains, fish and eagles among the rivers, with elk, moose, and bears in the mountains.

Even though I have returned to Boulder for the time being, I will be back in Montana soon. Ski season is far from over here in Colorado; I have 114 days and counting. If you are here in Colorado let’s get after it! But Montana, save me a spot at the table, for I have fallen in love with the Big Sky state.

Volunteering to Serve Food at Your Local Soup Kitchen Works Wonders

“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” -Mike Tyson

Serving food is one of the most generous things you can do for someone else. Can you remember the last person you cooked a meal for? Consider volunteering at a soup kitchen and see what happens. 🙂

I just attended a talk titled Poverty: What’s Really Needed for the Conference of World Affairs, at CU Boulder. Lara Gilmore was my favorite speaker of the panel, although they were all amazing. 

Along with her husband, world renowned chef Massimo Bottura, they have created a non-profit Food For The Soul. They are dedicated to using food waste to feed the hungry. The mission is simple, and it is working! They create soup kitchens that are crafted with beauty in mind, so that people can not feel ashamed to be eating and create positive relationships and connections to move forward in life.

Hunger and food waste are huge issues not only in the United States but around the world. The goal is to try and find a community based solution to these problems. They have a great idea and you can read more about it on their website http://www.foodforsoul.it/ or in this article from GrubStreet.

One of the biggest takeaways that I got from the talk is that everyone can and should go volunteer to serve food in a soup kitchen. It is a simple act and they are always needing help. You can create a new network of positive individuals. People who work in the soup kitchens are most likely going to be some of the nicest people you’ll encounter. 

This graphic shows how Food for the Soul is changing the way in which society can feed the hungry and impoverished.

I served in the Denver Soup Kitchen once with my youth group, but after listening to the panel today, I am going to volunteer again within the next month.

What do you think about the problems of hunger and food waste? Leave a comment.

Three Easy Ways To Improve Your Production Value

“One can do anything, but not everything”

Productivity is at a premium these days. There is stuff happening everywhere and not enough time for everything.

Here are a few tips about how to stay more productive and utilize time more efficiently and effectively.

  • YouTube – Chances are someone has had a problem that you have before, whether its how to work your editing software or how to change the oil on your car. Type a simple few words into YouTube and instantly there are videos that show you how to do a million different things.

  • Read a book –  Despite seeming counterintuitive, reading books helps increase general knowledge and increases reading speed and comprehension. It takes time to read, so you cannot sit and read all day otherwise you are not being very productive.

  • Break your schedule up into smaller chunks – Consider this: take 15 minutes to read a book, then 15 minutes to clear out your inbox, then 15 minutes making lunch, then 15 minutes blogging. After an hour you will have read a chapter of your book, communicated with clients and co-workers, fended off hunger, and started writing your next book. Breaking up activities into smaller segments can help productivity because you will stay focused on the task at hand for a short amount of time.

If you set a goal of being more productive, then you can squeeze more out of each day to increase your value to the world.

How To Live #VanLife2.0 – The Thomas Woodson Story

A small glimpse into the unfolding story of Thomas Woodson, someone that I enjoy following online. One day I hope to link up and collaborate on a project with him because he is an inspirational artist and content creator.
 
Andrew Commander: How would your Dad describe you to a stranger?
Thomas Woodson: My dad would likely find a description somewhere in between a tree-hugging-liberal that moved away from the South, to a hard working entrepreneur chasing his dreams and doing what he loves.
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AC: What do you desire?
TW: I desire stability and something constant through all the hectic travels and adventures. Currently that’s the goal of owning a house in the next few years to serve as a pit stop between driving all over the place.
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AC: Why did you choose to live a nomadic life? Are you still living in a Sprinter?
TW: I chose to live nomadically after my first year as a professional photographer. Living out of a suitcase and constantly packing and unpacking gear was frustrating. It also felt stupid to be paying expensive rent in Boulder but leaving for weeks at a time. I saw van life as a total solution, and primarily a side business of selling beautifully converted camper vans. Currently I’m 18 months into it all, and preparing to sell my second van by the summer.
 
AC: How have you continued to learn after graduating college?
TW: Since high school probably, I’ve been good at surrounding myself with people who are older, wiser or more talented than myself. This fuels my fire to keep up, to learn and grow, and to hold myself to higher standards than what might be expected at my age (currently 26).
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AC: Which of your travels would you recommend to someone looking for an adventure?
TW: Out of my international adventures…I can’t really recommend much unless you enjoy questioning your entire trip as you carry a bike up some massive mountain. Traveling the west is where it’s at. Summers in Jackson, WY are unbeatable, from the river activities, to alpine climbing or shuttling downhill bike laps on teton pass. That’s where you will always find me in the summer when it gets too hot in Colorado.
 
AC: Describe a typical multi-sport day in the life of Thomas Woodson.
TW: Big bike linkups are my jam right now, however infrequent. One “training mission” for the Elk Mountain Grand Traverse involved leaving Boulder at midnight with Joey Schusler. We had our custom MatterCycles and Sklar Bikes adventure rigs loaded with skis as we pedaled up Boulder Canyon to Magnolia, the Peak-to-Peak highway, and finally the Moffat Tunnel trailhead. Clicking into skis at 5am, we stumbled through the night to catch sunrise bootpacking the continental divide, then zipped down into Winter Park for brunch. After a short stop we reversed it all and had a blast trying to race each other back down into Boulder with our super heavy rigs. 17 hours later we were drinking beers and chai at Sherpa’s laughing about how enjoyable it all was.
 
AC: Where do you see the future of athlete/company relationships going?
TW: I’ve been lucky to develop as a photographer during a phase where brands are crazy for content. It allows me to develop relationships with marketing managers and gives me a outlet to pitch projects. This process seems to breed photographers who are emerging athletes—and on the contrary, push athletes into becoming better content creators as well.
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AC: Any other closing thoughts people need to know?
TW: Keep your eyes peeled for my Van 2.0 to hit craigslist late May 😉
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Follow Thomas on Instagram @ThomasWoodson