Ego vs Confidence

Disclaimer: Another self-reflection rant…

I’ve had an ego for a long time and I think I am one of few from the subset of those who have such an ego as I can recognize it and acknowledge it. I think ego is easily attained by realizing how much one has accomplished given one’s obstacles. Obviously ego is also bred from other sources, but I think that’s where mine came from. No one person has experienced an identical set of obstacles on their path to success – some may have faced similar and those people become close friends often enough. As these once substantial accomplishments age, they become more normal in your mind by nature, and ego returns to control.

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Best Budget Rank Trackers

There are hundreds of rank trackers to choose from – some expensive and some cheap. Some are even free. I like to have a separate rank tracker for each venture so when I sell the company, all assets stay together. It also allows my partners to view one project’s SERPs without seeing everything else I’m involved in – and it also help keep my finances between projects start.

Sometimes I want a rank tracker just to watch 2 or 3 keywords, so I’m always on the lookout for budget rank trackers that are either free or $10 or less per month.


Rankitor is who I am currently using. They are owned by Pro Rank Tracker which starts at $25/month for only 200 terms. Previously, they had a free plan but have since removed that. Rankitor has a $5/month plan which I’m happy with. It covers 20 keywords. Since it is a new platform though, you will come across the odd bug.


SerpRobot is a favorite on the SEO forums. It is entirely free. The only problem is it’s not technically a rank tracker. Instead it’s like a rank checker, which can only check on a keyword for you. Ideally it’s nice to monitor positions so when they go up and down, you know when and can attribute it to an onsite or offsite SEO change you made.


SerpFox has been around for a while. They previously had a free plan but removed that and instead offer a starter plan for $10/month which covers 100 keywords. If you need between 50 and 100 keywords checked, this is the better value than Rankitor but if you need less than 20 keywords monitored, Rankitor will be the better option.


SEOlium is the only tracker on the list that is pay per use. I like this, especially as someone who doesn’t track many keywords. However, the pricing can be a bit complicated as you have to measure based on the frequency you want checked. For reference, 25 keywords checked daily is $3.75 per month making SEOlium the cheapest paid rank tracker on the list. The problem with free plans is they get discontinued often and free customers have no priority. Paying $3.75/mo is almost free and you know that your keywords will be checked.

Keyword is the successor to Serpbook, which was founded on the black hat forum Black Hat World. It is the most expensive rank tracker on the list at $24/mo for 100 keywords.

The Non-Technical Founder Has Made It to 669 Libraries so Far

I’m extremely proud of the library coverage of my book, The Non-Technical Founder. We are now in 572 libraries across the USA.

Schools like MIT, Stanford, Yale, Brown and Columbia University have The Non-Technical Founder in their library for students to checkout.

Outside of the USA, the book can be found in the following countries: UK, Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, Austria, Italy, Greece, Paraguay, Turkey, Brazil, Cyprus, Armania, Lebanon, Nigeria, Iraq, UAE, China, South Africa, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, Colombia and Ecuador – and the list is constantly growing.

I would like to thank my publisher, and all of my followers and readers who have helped spread the word.

Click here to download the full list of libraries as of Apr 18, 2020.

The Keyword Scout Legacy

As many of you know, Keyword Scout was one of my first successful ventures years ago. Then, I was 16 years old, and even though I was new to the software business, I was able to pack in over 1000 paying customers within the first 6 months.

For those of you who read my book, you already know the rest of the story. PayPal closed my account, with no reason. This means all of my liquid cash was frozen and unaccessible. All of my customers’ subscriptions were cancelled. I had no monthly recurring revenue.

I tried to follow up, but no one at PayPal would talk to me. Every time I called or emailed, I was told I had to speak with the employee who limited my account. The problem? He didn’t have an email and he never returned voice mails.

So, I started trying to get customers to sign up again with a new payment process and some did, but many did not answer their emails. This is expected with cancellation of subscriptions – most will not resubscribe until they need it again.

The company had a slow and painful death. If you’re interested in the full story, you can find it in my book.

Users don’t read labels

I own a company called Slide. It’s functionality doesn’t matter, so I’ll save you the time and won’t explain it. 

I’m sitting here on a Friday night, watching HotJar recordings of my users, to see where I can improve.

This particular user filled out his/her information, and like many other users, is too lazy to read the labels on the buttons. So instead of clicking “Save” like they should, the user clicks the “Delete” button.

But it doesn’t stop there. I figured this would happen, so I threw in a confirmation box before people did this.

Guess what – the user clicks confirm, immediately! Boom, account is gone. They are redirected to the homepage, so not knowing what they just did (because they refuse to slow down and read) they go to login again. For the next 3 minutes, I watch the user attempt to login again, and sit there, puzzled when they receive an error.

As a web developer, it’s not just my job to write good code, but to build a good UX (user experience) by having a detailed UI. More on this in my book.

However, the changes I have to make are:

  • Make the save button blue
  • Make the delete button red
  • Make the save button the same size as the delete button or bigger
  • On the confirm dialog:
    • make the confirm button grey
    • the cancel button blue (this will encourage clicking cancel subliminally)
    • change the confirm button label to “Delete” – in hopes by chance they may finally start reading labels
  • After account deletion, have a page that explains why the account was deleted

“Josh, Help Me Make Money, I’m Poor”

Most people who make money, generally choose to keep quiet about it because it brings unnecessary complications into their lives – one being beggars. If you know me, I’m not necessarily good at keeping attention off myself – or maybe it’s the mystery and vagueness about my work that attracts so much attention.

I get hit up on Twitter and Instagram more often than I would expect by people looking for handouts. Sometimes they want free consulting, or sometimes they want money.

The world owes you nothing

Contrary to what you may think, nobody owes you anything. No one owes you health, love, respect, loyalty, friendship, happiness or money. For some reason people think they’re entitled to my help and get upset when I don’t offer it. If you can’t respect that, then I probably won’t respond.

I already helped

The reason I wrote a book is not to make money. In fact, it costed more to write it, edit it, promote it and launch it, than it generated in royalties. The book was my way of telling my 60,000 word story to as many people as possible, as I was getting tired of repeating the same story to everyone in my life. So when someone hits me up for help and they haven’t even read my book (not even a pirated version), I lose interest in helping immediately.

Okay so $8.00 is too much to spend on an ebook that I sunk thousands of hours into. You could ask your library to stock it. Every library has a form you can fill out and they’ll buy and stock a book for you – just go request it. Or, have you read my blog, or any of the content I put out across the web? I’m chatty and I’m always writing or giving out free knowledge somewhere. Google me and scroll through the first 10 pages. You’ll find lots of material to keep you busy for the evening.

People pay for my time

I charge for my time – shocker, right? You don’t work for free and neither do I. My consulting starts around $300 per hour and companies are happy to pay for it when they think I can help them with something.

As always, if you’re an enjoyable and pleasant person to be around or to talk to, I don’t mind helping with the odd question, and neither do most entrepreneurs. You can send me questions via Twitter, where I often reply.

Summary: How Much Can I Spend in Retirement – A Guide to Investment-Based Retirement Income Strategies

Until recently, there has been little effort on trying to create retirement income plans except for the formulation and acceptance of the 4% rule. Pfau has built a short career in the retirement field, but he is one of the best in the economics of retirement planning. In his book, he explores through models for retirement planning and approaches driven by expectations. The volume is for readers good with statistical analysis and have the financial expertise to implement high-level recommendations.

The author in a methodical approach and lengthy analysis of historical data and projections defines every method that he has suggested for retirement income planning. He lays out the processes and assumptions that he has merged in his simulations using Monte Carlos simulations which have become a fundamental ingredient in financial planning.

Pfau suggests spending and investment tactics with possible outcomes based on predictions of the future also states the relationship between spending and returns with ways to modify to compensate changes which occur in conjunction with pensioner’s personal goals and risk tolerance. The book focuses on critical investment advice, highlighting the benefits of delaying Social Security payouts and explaining ways to come up with bond portfolio.

Wade groups his approaches as either probability based which require analysis using simulation software or safety first depending on its risk of failure. He generates a sampling table (pg. 32) of retirement income strategies that classify them into two approaches. Using graphs, he illustrates and makes it clear to those planning to be involved in managing their retirement funds should be patient to study to study the possibilities to invest wisely.

With analysis of William Bengen’s 4% rule which state that safe spending rate from accumulated wealth is 4% for the amount at the beginning of retirement and the same inflation-adjusted dollar amount annually for the next 30 years at most leaving no money at the end of that time. He finds the process as justifiable due to its high chances of success but that not all as other factors can come in.

In chapter 3 which familiarizes us with the sequence-of-returns risk whereby one could fail due to considerations in costs of investments based on the analysis of the returns to wide-ranging indices of asset class returns.

Finally, he sums up with the description of how to approach retirement planning. He describes an outline approach used by McLean Asset Management; his advisory firm which he is the director of retirement research in developing plans for his clients. His approach is reasonable and detailed and assumes that clients have an assured degree of investment sophistication thus allowing them to make informed choices but that not the case as many clients may be highly educated but lack sophistication. The final chapter lacks the summary of all that had come before and did not recommend the approach one should use among the analyzed. The volume is a comprehensive and well-written guide to retirement preparation for those with financial knowledge.

Summary: Text Me! Snap Me! Ask Me Anything!

The author starts by claiming that the world has become a lonely place and no one feels indeed connected with someone. The world over the last century has increasingly become detached from our societies and that a large number of Americans have never interacted with their neighbors.

In social media, big businesses have introduced new tools to make it a mass marketing platform to mass audiences. Marketers have come up with automation tools like HubSpot and Buffer to pump out streams of generic memes and article reviews. Social pages such as Facebook and Twitter are now filled with ads and company promotional posts. Tools such as Instagress, Salcedo, and Archie have been used to set out automation to make company likes, comments and follows. This has taken out the ‘social’ out of social media.

The power of Intimate attention.

The secret is connecting with one person at a time. While prominent organizations are sending emails to thousands of subscribers based on their list, you will send one email to one person. As ‘goliaths’ are sending filling their social media pages with memes, you just answer a question for one person in an online group. While Goliaths are using social channels, i.e., Bullhorn you will start a real conversation with a person. Kevin states that it helps in beating the competition from big companies.

He clarifies in simple terms and handy techniques on ways to create a loyal fan base who will respond to call for action and ways to deal with trolls, beggars, and complainers.

Kevin pointed out businesses and individuals who don’t give their responses even though having given them a lot of money for products and services and when he asked for contribution to his book he got no response

Kruse emphasizes the value of personal attention, intimate attention (as he called it) in a modern world of fake or shallow connections. He claims that it is better to have a small and an engaged list than huge list emails and followers. Stories from high profile folks such as millionaires, rock stars, and celebrities have confirmed that it becomes a nuisance when they attempt to develop personal connections with their followers.

Kevin states that the real key to intimate attention is the consistency such as replying to each mail and messages on social media.

The book also has a portion where there are records of highly successful people’s mini-interviews as it provides more understanding and perspectives on how Intimate Attention can be cultivated on difficult platforms which are suitable for their businesses and it increases revenue.

The content of the book is useful and functional to readers. Through practical illustrations especially in “text me” part, it becomes an effective method of leaving a mark in a reader’s memory. He shares his experiences which becomes an essential aspect in couching readers. The book is a useful guide for small business owners, freelancers, bloggers and leaders who want to grow their active audience.

Summary: Crowdfunding for Social Good – Financing Your Mark on the World

According to the author, crowdfunding for social good is about aiding someone to invest yourself as a social entrepreneur. It’s useful in fundraising, and it’s determined by your ability to access money from your network. It has proven to be successful in raising a startup without debt or equity crowdfunding.

The book states that there are four models useful today for crowdfunding;

  • Donations – offered only that you will carry out the stated purpose, i.e., feeding orphans.
  • Rewards – there are many ways in which one are offered rewards. I.e., Bands promise CDs to fans to get funded.
  • Debt – this is when money is raised with the exchange of repaying it back with interest.
  • Equity – though it’s still not regulated one is allowed to raise funds.

Devin states that most campaigns, however, raise much less money but equity crowdfunding raises much more money than rewards and donations. There has been fast growth and has become an important means of raising funds for nonprofit organizations and many social ventures.

The book profiles instances in which people or organizations have had success in their crowdfunding efforts.

In chapter 2 some events occurred to Jennifer that made her change her life mission. The diagnosis of her mom with lung cancer who was in Nebraska while she was in Phoenix was behind her creation of the SMAC (Sock Monkeys Against Cancer). Her passing increased her passion for campaign awareness on funding for lung cancer. Jennifer turned to crowdfunding site Start Some Good to launch her social enterprise.

For instance, eight-year-old Vivienne Harr chose to pursue to put to an end child slavery and made her life’s work. She has been successful in raising half a million dollars through crowdfunding to achieve her dream.

Another example is Martha Griffen who wanted to help her son who was born with a birthmark on his face. She wrote a book called Sam’s Birthmark to celebrate what makes him different from others and was able to get $35,000 to publish it through funds.

Thorpe lists some issues that affects the success of your campaign. The image you portray increases the cause’s appeal. The urgency of the more tragic and sudden the situation, the easier it is to raise funds for disaster relief. Campaigns work best when a project or an event is associated with them. It is easier to raise funds if you are already a part of a community who are connected with your cause. The more the people you have in at the center of your network the higher the chance of having a successful campaign.

For one’s team to be effective it is comprised of partners, champions, and boosters. Partners are officially involved in the project, i.e., startup partner. Champions are people outside the circle but help in the campaign. Boosters are fans and friends you can count on to help but not formally committed to the cause of the campaign.

This book distills the teachings learned from successful social entrepreneurs and not-for-profit organizations into actionable and applicable steps that anyone can follow to raise money for their purpose.