Best Seller: How To Get A Job At Amazon.com
 

GeekMBA360

Career and Money Advice At The Intersection Of Business And Technology

GeekMBA360 header image 1

How much emergency funds should you save for a rainy day?

April 10th, 2013 by GeekMBA360

When I graduated from college fifteen years ago, the advice I received was that I should save three months of living expenses as my emergency funds. At that time, I was single with a good salary. The economy was at the height of the dotcom bubble. In the Silicon Valley it seemed that there was unlimited number of opportunities to get rich.

Things turned sour very quickly. I knew a lot of young professionals who were out of work in late 2000, 2001 and 2002. It was truly a very difficult time for a lot of people. Many young professionals chose to move home to save money, or go back to graduate school to get their MBA, JD, or other graduate degrees. For folks who didn’t have a family to support, it’s relatively easier to survive the downturn. Even for these folks, three months of living expenses was NOT whole lot of money as they struggled to find jobs and had to look for other options. If I’m a young professional today, I would suggest that you should  save at least 6 months of living expenses as your emergency fund. I believe the optimal emergency funds is 12 months of living expenses.

If you have a family to support, I would suggest that you should have a minimum of 12 months of living expenses as your emergency fund. Ideally, you should save 24 months of living expenses as your emergency fund. You might think I’m being too conservative. But, in this economy, if you lose your job, it could take a while to find another job. While you are unemployed, you still need to find ways to pay for medical insurance in addition to your living expenses. In the United States, we simply don’t have the social welfare infrastructure to support a family for an extended period of time while the primary bread earner is out of job.

Where should you put your emergency funds? It should be kept in a saving or CD or money market account – please do NOT put your emergency funds in the stock market!

Also, smaller banks and/or online banks tend to have better rate for saving or CD or money market account. For example, Everbank’s Yield Pledge Money Market and Interest Checking account both offer 1.25% APY guaranteed for the first 6 months for new accounts. Because the interest rate is fixed for the first 6 months, this is essentially a 6-month CD with a higher rate than most 6-month CD rate out there. It only takes $1,500 to open. No monthly fee. IRA eligible. It also promises to keep the yield on the account in the top 5% of Competitive Accounts. Because there is no early withdraw penalty, if you find better rate else where in six months, you can always move your money to somewhere else.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • E-mail this story to a friend!
  • LinkedIn
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Google
  • Tumblr
  • TwitThis
Trackback URL: http://www.GeekMBA360.com/how-much-emergency-funds-should-you-save-for-a-rainy-day/trackback

CommentsTags: Personal Finance

Lessons learned from raising $1 for my business

February 11th, 2013 by GeekMBA360

In my last post I asked for $1 from you to help me start a new business. This is one of the most uncomfortable things I have ever done. In this post I’d like to explain to you why I was doing it, how much money I raised, and what lessons I learned from this experience.

For the longest time, I have wanted to generate enough online income so that I can quit my full-time job and come off the corporate track. I have this goal NOT because I want to retire. In fact, my business hero is Charlie Munger who is still working at age 89. I want to have a very long and enjoyable career that I can work until advanced age. But, I want to have the freedom to choose 1) the type of work/business and 2) people who I work with. Furthermore, I want to create geographic and financial flexibility so that I can better take care of my family and pursue my own dreams.

In other words, I’m not looking to retire. I am looking to create a business to support the lifestyle I want for my family.

Over the years I have dreamed about many things. I have tried several ideas. This blog and the Ebooks I published are two examples. I was able to generate several hundred dollars of online income each month consistently over the past three years. But, I have not been able to get to the next level (i.e. grow the business by 10X to get to several thousand dollars per month.) It has been frustrating. And I feel an increasing sense of urgency to take my online business to somewhere.

I got a wake-up call when I read Noah Kagan’s writing’s on Wantrepreneur epidemic and how he created a million-dollar business in a weekend. The story is inspiring. But it is also scary. Am I one of the Wantrepreneurs? Am I in the wrong frame of mind? What do I need to do to change?

Last Wednesday I got an email from AppSumo about the How To Make Your First Dollar course. I was intrigued by the sales copy — you should read the sales copy to understand why I was intrigued.
The problem is that the online course costs $300. I have never paid for any online class. I have never signed up for any “get rich” books, tapes, or programs. I am too skeptical to buy any of these stuff.

But, there are several things about this course offering that is different.

  • Noah Kagan has a lot of credibility. I have been following his blog, listened to his talk at UC Berkeley, read his post on Four Hour Work Week, shopped at AppSumo, and marveled at many of his entrepreneurial successes.
  • This class has a tuition of $300 but has a 60-day money back guarantee. The 60-day money back guarantee took the risk out of my purchase decision. I don’t mind to spend the money but I definitely want to get my money worth. On the other hand, I’m willing to make a commitment by investing $300 — it will force me work hard to get a solid return on my investment. I learned this from my past experience. I signed up for Kaplan GMAT class when I was applying business school. The $1200 Kaplan tuition investment really forced me to study extremely hard to get a good score. I wanted badly to get my money worth. :-)
  • Noah’s style and substance resonate well with me. He is original, pragmatic, realistic, thoughtful, honest, and common-sense. He is not trying to teach people to become a millionaire; he teaches the right mindset and approach to build momentum.

So, I paid the $300 and signed up for the course last Thursday. My first exercise is to get the first $1 by emailing 5 friends, talking to people, social media, or whatever method.

Does this sound easy to you? It’s not easy for me because it feels awkward. Here is a list of thoughts came across my mind:

  • Are my friends going to think this is silly/crazy/stupid on my part?
  • Now everyone will know I’m taking this class. Will people think me as someone who is desperately trying to get rich quickly? (like people who bought the “make money” product from an informercial?)
  • Will any of my blog readers help me? What if nobody respond to my request?

I thought about just skip this exercise. But, Noah made it very hard to skip this step — basically I must complete this step to advance to the next step of the course.

So I swallowed my pride and worries, made a blog post, tweeted about it, posted it on LinkedIn and Facebook. During the first 24 hours, I didn’t receive anything.

I emailed Noah for support. His response? “Blogging is weak. Go to talk to a real person.” I had to admit I was avoiding emailing or calling someone directly. I was too embarrassed. But, I had no choice if I want to continue the course. So I texted a friend and he immediately Paypaled me $1. Interesting enough, within an hour, I received a $1 donation from a reader of this blog who I didn’t know. And the next day I got another donation of $8.28 from a fellow reader of this blog. Thank you all!

I learned several valuable lessons from this experience.

First, I learned to ignore my worries by committing and not having any other option. The experiment is not something I’m used to to; it’s awkward for me. However, I have no alternative — if I want to continue the course, I have to do it. Making up my mind and not having another option really pushed me to complete the task while ignoring my worries.

Second, giving is a very gracious act, and we should all give more to others and to the universe. It’s impossible for me to describe the feeling when I received donations from my friend and two fellow blog readers. I’m very grateful and thankful. I was really in need of support and encouragement. Their generosity is exactly what I needed. And their investment in me might very well motivate me and propel me to reach my goal.

Third, the first dollar is the hardest. To make the first dollar, I need to look around who I know, what resource I have access to, and what I’m familiar with. Once I get the first dollar, things get easier.

In the next 90 days, I’ll continue to blog about my progress and learning from How To Make Your First Dollar. Stay tuned.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • E-mail this story to a friend!
  • LinkedIn
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Google
  • Tumblr
  • TwitThis
Trackback URL: http://www.GeekMBA360.com/lessons-learned-from-raising-1-for-my-business/trackback

CommentsTags: Learning and Growing · Start-up Success

I’m raising $1 for my new business

February 7th, 2013 by GeekMBA360

This post is NOT a joke. I’m serious.

I am starting a business and need $1 from you. Why am I doing this? Because I signed up for AppSumo’s Make Your First Dollar program. The first task is to raise $1 – I cannot continue the program until I raise at least $1.

Why would you do this?

Your investment will give me some serious confidence to kick some ass and start a business I’ve always wanted to start. I’m reaching out to you because you’ve been a reader of the free content on this blog who might have benefited from my writing and advice (and you are probably a friend who knows me). I could definitely use your support this time. After all, it’s only $1 dollar.

If you’re cool with that, then please PayPal it to geekmba360@gmail.com.

Thanks for everything. :) If you’re wondering what business I’m starting and how I came up this idea  of asking for $1, I’ll blog every single step of this journey during the next 90 days. Stay tuned.

Sincerely,

GeekMBA360

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • E-mail this story to a friend!
  • LinkedIn
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Google
  • Tumblr
  • TwitThis
Trackback URL: http://www.GeekMBA360.com/can-you-help-me-with-1/trackback

CommentsTags: Learning and Growing · Start-up Success

The #1 WORST food for your skin, joints & blood sugar

February 3rd, 2013 by GeekMBA360

I’m excited to announce to you today that our friends and nutrition gurus Catherine Ebeling and Mike Geary have just released a brand new manual called The Top 101 Foods that FIGHT Aging.

In this book, they discussed the #1 WORST food for your skin, joints & blood sugar. (Beware and you might be surprised!)

This new manual is MUCH more than a list of foods… it’s actually 83 pages jam packed with all sorts of unique foods, herbs, spices, teas, little-known nutrients, and dozens of other tips and tricks to help you FIGHT the aging process and keep youthful joints, skin, organs, and muscles so that you look and feel 10 years YOUNGER than your real age!

I highly recommend you to read about the #1 WORST food for your ski, joints & blood sugar and check out the book The Top 101 Foods that FIGHT Aging.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • E-mail this story to a friend!
  • LinkedIn
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Google
  • Tumblr
  • TwitThis
Trackback URL: http://www.GeekMBA360.com/the-1-worst-food-for-your-skin-joints-blood-sugar/trackback

CommentsTags: Health

Do not bad mouth your current employer when you interview with another company

January 22nd, 2013 by GeekMBA360

Someone I know recently interviewed with another company. He was one of the finalist but he didn’t get the job. So he is still work for his current employer while he continues to interview with other companies.

I happened to know several people at the company he interviewed at. I had lunch with them last week. Apparently they took took my friend to an happy-hour event after his interview. He bad-mouthed his current employer during the Happy Hour. He had every reason to be frustrated with his current employer. But, it’s unwise for him to say the bad things about his current employer.

First, if I’m the hiring manager, I will question this guy’s judgment – it doesn’t do him any good by bad mouth his current employer.

Second, this is a small world. You never know who knows whom. What if his current employer heard about his complaints? You put your own job security at risk.

Third, no matter how frustrated you’re, you don’t want to burn any bridges. In the end of day, when you leave a company, you will bring two things with you – and only two things – the relationships you have built, and the skills you have developed. Nothing else.

Be wise.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • E-mail this story to a friend!
  • LinkedIn
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Google
  • Tumblr
  • TwitThis
Trackback URL: http://www.GeekMBA360.com/do-not-bad-mouth-your-current-employer-when-you-interview-with-another-company/trackback

CommentsTags: Career Fast Track · Career Transition

Choice of employer and age

January 22nd, 2013 by GeekMBA360

When I was fresh out of school, it was during the height of dotcom era. I had a group of friends who graduated from the same computer science programs. Most of us had 3 jobs in five years. You can call us job hoppers, but it was pretty common for young professionals to jump ship during the dotcom boom.

As I grow older and move up the corporate ladder, it is getting more difficult to switch jobs. I was just talking to a friend today who is also a mid-career professional.

With a family to support, stability of an employer becomes a higher priority. In a single-income environment, taking a start-up job is probably not a good idea. The base pay will be lower. And the upside of stock options is very risky.

The industry of desired employer also changes as we become older. Consumer technology company such as Facebook is a young man’s game. More experienced mid-career professionals are better suited for enterprise/B2B companies. Enterprise/B2B products are more complex, requires more specialized experience, and a deep understanding of business processes. In this type of companies, experiences become more valuable.

When you plan for your next job change, I suggest you to think about  your age and where you are in your career progression. Think ahead a little bit – time flies and age is an important factor in the high tech industry. You want to figure out the right niche for your career given your experience and expertise.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • E-mail this story to a friend!
  • LinkedIn
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Google
  • Tumblr
  • TwitThis
Trackback URL: http://www.GeekMBA360.com/choice-of-employer-and-age/trackback

CommentsTags: Career Fast Track · Career Transition

Did someone put you into a box?

January 8th, 2013 by GeekMBA360

Did your manager put you into a box? You have a well defined set of responsibilities. Your manager will never let you get out of the box. He wants to handle the high-visibility activities. Explicitly and implicitly, you’re put into a box.

This happens a lot in corporate environment. This is because most middle level managers are terribly insecure. They are afraid that their subordinates will outshine them. They do whatever it takes to put their team members into the right boxes with clear boundary.

If you’re in a situation like this, my recommendation to you is that you need to assess if it is worthwhile to stay inside the box. Sometimes it might be a big box that you have a lot of room to learn and grow. But, keep in mind, at some points in the future, the box will be too suffocating and restrictive for your growth. You need to get yourself out of the box as soon as you can when you reach that point.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • E-mail this story to a friend!
  • LinkedIn
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Google
  • Tumblr
  • TwitThis
Trackback URL: http://www.GeekMBA360.com/did-someone-put-you-into-a-box/trackback

CommentsTags: Bad Boss · Frustration@Work

The best career book I read in 2012

December 21st, 2012 by GeekMBA360

It is a book I read last week: So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love.

Why do I pick this book? It goes against the conventional career advice of following your passion, which is crap in my opinion. If you’re starving, following your passion is not going to help you.

Passion is one of the the most over used terms in career planning and management. This book is written by Cal Newport, an MIT trained computer scientist. He debunks the long-held belief that “following your passion” is good advice.

This book is a quick read but it reveals a new paradigm/perspective on building a successful career. If you are having issues with your job or career, you should check out this book.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • E-mail this story to a friend!
  • LinkedIn
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Google
  • Tumblr
  • TwitThis
Trackback URL: http://www.GeekMBA360.com/the-best-career-book-i-read-in-2012/trackback

CommentsTags: Career Fast Track · Career Transition · Frustration@Work

Have you heard about John Chow?

December 8th, 2012 by GeekMBA360

I started this blog in 2008 soon after I learned about John Chow and his blogging success.

John Chow makes over $40,000 a month from blogging by writing a blog titled “I make money by telling people how I make money”.

He was banned by Google a few years ago because Google felt he was gaming the search algorithm. But, John Chow figured out a way to grow his traffic exponentially without Google. Eventually Google caved in and re-indexed John Chow’s blog.

John Chow’s one-person online empire has allowed him to live a doctom life style – he owns house in West Vancouver, BC, Yarrow Points, WA, and Newport Beach, CA – all are very expensive and NICE places. He works in his own terms, and he doesn’t work that much.

I’m sure many of you want to live like the way John Chow lives. The truth is that John Chow is a brilliant online marketer and entrepreneur. He knows how to grow traffic exponentially in a very short period of time and monetize the traffic.

He just released a new product called Blogging with John Chow. If you’re interested in building a second income online, live a dotcom life style, and retire early, you should check it out.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • E-mail this story to a friend!
  • LinkedIn
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Google
  • Tumblr
  • TwitThis
Trackback URL: http://www.GeekMBA360.com/have-you-heard-about-john-chow/trackback

CommentsTags: Blogging · Multiple Income Stream

What is your current salary, annual bonus and stock grants?

December 8th, 2012 by GeekMBA360

Imagine you are interviewing with a potential employer. Everything is going really well. The employer has told you that they would like to offer you a job. However, to give you a competitive offer, they need to know your current base compensation, annual bonus percentage, and stock options and/or Restricted Stock Units (RSUs) you own.

How would you answer this question?

Here is my answer.

“I really enjoyed the interview process with company X. Thanks for considering offering me the job. I’m very grateful for the opportunity.

With regard to compensation, I would like to get compensated fairly and competitively. With the amount of information that is available on the Internet such as Payscale.com and Glassdoor.com, it’s pretty straightforward to find out if an offer is competitive or not given the job candidate’s experience and background. At the same time, I also want to stress that I evaluate job offer holistically, including the job content, the company, people, etc. Compensation is part of my decision making process, but there are other factors that are important to me as well. “

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • E-mail this story to a friend!
  • LinkedIn
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Google
  • Tumblr
  • TwitThis
Trackback URL: http://www.GeekMBA360.com/what-is-your-current-salary-annual-bonus-and-stock-grants/trackback

CommentsTags: Salary Negotiation