Best smatphones under a student’s budget $150 or less

 

BLU Advance L5 $46.99

The cheapest option you’ll find, it is a basic phone good enough to go through the day without many fancy apps running. Here are the specs:

      • 4″ Touchscreen Display – 480 x 800 Resolution
      • 16GB Internal – 512MB RAM – MicroSD up to 64GB
      • 5MP with Flash – 2MP Selfie Video Capture 720@30fps
      • Bluetooth 4.0 Wi-Fi (b/g/n) Hotspot
      • Android 8.1 Oreo (Go edition)

Samsung Galaxy A01 Core $88.00

      • 5.3 inches, 720 x 1480 pixels, 18.5:9 ratio, 3000 mAh Battery, Bluetooth 5.0, Dual SIM
      • Internal Storage: 16GB, RAM: 1GB, MediaTek MT6739
      • Android 10 (Go edition), Quad core, 1.5 GHz, Cortex A53
      • Rear Camera: 8 MP, Front Camera: 5 MP, Light sensor, Proximity sensor, Accelerometer

BLU Studio Mini -5.5HD $69.99

      • 5.5”Hd+ 18:9 Curved Glass Display 720×1440 Resolution.
      • 13MP Main Camera with LED Flash, 8MP Selfie camera with LED Flash.
      • 32GB Internal memory 2GB RAM Micro SD up to 64GB; Octa-Core 1.6GHz processor with ARM Cortex-A55 chipset.
      • 3,000mAh Battery and Android 9 Pie.

How to come up with ideas to write as a new blogger

 








How to come up with ideas to write as a new blogger

One of the things that stopped me from starting my blog, was this wrong idea that I was not creative enough to write consistently, to come up with fresh content, I’ve been following many bloggers from a long time, and it amazes me how they’ve turned their blogging into careers, quitted their jobs and are able to publish new content twice a week or even more often.

As a new blogger you may have the misconception that you are not skilled or creative enough (I know I did), and after the first exciting posts you enjoyed so much making, you could find yourself struggling to get new ideas or finding the ones you have to not be good enough, here’s how to improve those ‘not good enough’ ideas and get new ones every single day so you can keep writing new content and posting at your desired rate.

1. Read more books:

Writing skills are highly linked to your reading habits, the more you read the easier the words will flow when you start writing, try to read every day even if it’s just one page of a book, you’ll realize more often than not that you can’t just read one single page, you’ll read more than that.

Find some interesting books related to your niche that spark your curiosity, pay attention to the structures, the grammar, if you’ve got some time on your hands make the exercise of writing with your own words what you find most interesting about them, you could even turn these exercises into posts, like this one, where I share the helpful things I learned from Atomic Habits.

I focus on the relevance of books because they have a lot of work behind, people spend months and even years in the researching and writing process to make them as great as possible, this is why you’ll find valuable and detailed information in them, and you can learn almost anything from books.

2. Engage in social media and look for problems you could solve

Engaging in social media not only helps you connect with prospect readers and collaborators, it gives you a hint of what is people actively seeking out, look at the comments on Instagram posts related to your niche, what are they saying?

Maybe people have some questions that have not been answered yet, they could be struggling with an issue that you might just have the solution to. Isn’t the whole point of the modern days of blogging giving solutions and sharing experiences through the process?

You can always find something valuable to add, some random question on Quora could give you an amazing idea for a blog post, who knows? By this I don’t mean that you should be spending countless hours on social media, that is crossing the line to procrastination and we don’t want that; just spend the right amount of time connecting with like-minded people and when you stumble upon an idea jot it down.

3. Follow other bloggers from your niche

The first step of the writing process again: reading. It is amazing how much you can learn from other bloggers, in fact, I spent most of my researching days (pre-blogging) reading blogs, not only to learn the obvious which at the moment was how to start one, but to actually get advice for studying, on how to balance career and family, these are my areas of concern, my niche.

By reading I realized there was an empty space, the solution I was looking for my pain points was not available. There aren’t many women writing about how to be a successful student, raising kids, and work at the same time (they’re probably too busy to even write) but I’m pretty sure they look for some advice and they read more than textbooks, because I do.

So, by following other bloggers you can find topics to cover, connect to people with similar interests, and you can even emulate some of their techniques on writing, you wouldn’t do it exactly the same way even if you tried, because we all have our own train of thoughts and unique ways to express, so don’t feel guilty if you get some ideas from other bloggers.

Also don’t be afraid to reach out and comment on their posts, let them know how you’ll use the information they’ve just shared with you, or any feedback you’d like to give.

4. Use search engines as a brainstorming tool

It’s amazing how much you can expand just one topic when you look for it on a search engine, the suggestions might just give you dozens of different ideas of posts to write. Also using some of the most searched keywords around the topic can give your SEO game a bump.

The main search engines I constantly use and get ideas from are Pinterest, Youtube, and I do a quick research on AnswerThePublic to understand what people want to know about the topic I’ll be writing about.

5. Jot down any ideas you have through the day

When you are a content creator any tiny idea is valuable, and I mean ANY, you have to keep them safe as if they were gold! Don’t trust your mind on keeping these thoughts safe, your minds goes through millions of thoughts a day and if you don’t get this one idea on paper the moment you get it you could lose it forever.

It doesn’t matter if the structure is not clear, you can work on that later, the moment you are ready to sit and write instead of looking for a streak of creativity look at your ideas and pick one to expand on, get to the brainstorm and you’ll be ready to go.

I try to keep all my content ideas in one place, at work (I’m currently a waitress) I used to have tiny pieces of papers, clients’ receipts written in the back with my crazy ideas all over the place, and when I got home I completely forgot about them in the bottom of my apron’s pocket. Now I have them on Evernote and at the end of the week I pass them on paper to a notebook I have dedicated to my blogging process.

 

6. Practice everyday

Make writing a habit, the more you do it, the easier it will get and the ideas will start to burst. Set a time every day to sit and write, have a dedicated space for your writing process, a starting ritual if you could, make yourself a cup of coffee, sit on your writing chair, and put on some background music.

Whatever the ritual is, it’s up to you. From what I’ve read about creating habits these starting rituals are very strong when it comes to getting things done, and don’t worry if you can’t write more than 300 words in a session, it’ll get better, just keep doing it every day and by the end of the week you could have a finished blog post.

Once you get through the initial phase of research and have your first drafts of content, you’ll soon find that the idea of beginning to write 1000 words or more is harder to think about than the actual writing is.

7. Bonus: Break down one big subject and make it a series.

This is one of those techniques I got from seasoned bloggers I follow, you have some really good idea that you can get a lot of content from? Instead of making a mega-post, break it down into smaller chunks of information, you may have to do a little more research to make it more detailed in every step of the way but it’ll be worth it.

You can see some common examples from starting a blog series, landing your perfect job, reaching financial freedom. All these topics have little subtopics you could make several posts from.

And this is it, these are the tactics to use as a new blogger to ease the struggle of writing fresh new content every week, the key is to make writing a part of your daily life and the ideas will come to you.

Going back to school after having kids, when is it too late or too early?

 

This post is dedicated to the warrior inside of every woman who becomes a mom.

The doubt, the guilt, the fear of not being able to cope with all of it and have your kids affected, I know exactly what you feel, and I’m writing right now the words I wanted to read 18 months ago when I was crying for guidance, I needed someone to tell me how to do it and if it was possible.

This post right here is the whole reason why I started my blog.

Is it possible to go back to school and pursue your academic goals after having kids? Yes, here are the first steps I took, and the answer to the million-dollar question when can you go back?

 

Ignore the negative talk thrown at you

Be aware that this will happen; in 2020 there are still people who believe that once you become a mother you’ll have to devote your entire waking hours to your kids and home. Some will criticize, don’t let anyone make you feel guilty, you’re not selfish for wanting to grow, improve, and learn.

You’re making an act of love, you’re sacrificing precious time you could spend watching your babies grow, to prepare yourself to have better opportunities and give them a better life; this is selfless instead of selfish as they want you to believe.

Nobody knows what are your deepest motivations to do what you want to do right now, they don’t have to know either; and while it may seem obvious that any kind of improvement you make in your life will have a direct effect on your kids, people don’t see the bigger picture, they just see that now you’re taking 2 hours that you could be out in the park with them to study.

It doesn’t matter what people say, in 5 years it will be you, not them, living the life you are cultivating right now. You reap what you sow. It would be a shame that for second-guessing, and listening to others you get stuck in this cycle of being a perfect mom/wife to their eyes, instead of being the best mom you can be for your kids and feeling happy in the process.

Find support in your family and close friends

One word for courage, a couple of hours of babysitting, a mug of hot coffee, or the dinner served when you get home could be everything you need on a particular day to keep going. Keep close to you those people who want to see you succeed, the ones that are happy for your development, and encourage you to reach your goals.

I’ve been so lucky to have my babies’ daddy support me with all his heart and energy, we’re a great team, we share equal responsibilities, and this is the best scenario for us to grow together as a family and as individuals. If you are lucky enough to have your partner support you let them know how to help you, try to improve your family dynamic in order to have a smooth transition into this new phase of your life.

If dad is not available you can always find another family member willing to support you, especially grandmothers they’re a secret weapon for any new mom, they have gone through it all before you, and are most probably willing to help you out when you need them, so don’t hesitate and talk to your mom or mother in law, schedule some hours so they can help you babysit your kids when you’re out for class.

When is it too early?

Is it possible that your babies are too young for you to be out for long periods? It depends on how you deal with the situation. A healthy attachment forms in the first 18 months of life, it will be crucial for your children’s development.

If the attachment figure is not consistent your baby will be affected, this means if you have a new babysitter every couple of months and you stay out for long periods of time it could have a negative impact on their development.

The key is to have a consistent family dynamic for the children, the caregivers are always the same (preferably you and just 1 more person) and your routine is established, the time you spend with them has to be quality time, focus your whole attention on them.

If this is not possible for you, try online classes or wait until your kids are old enough to sign them up on daycare while you’re working or in class.

I can’t go back to school, my baby is still nursing

I think I could make a whole post for this particular topic, but for now, I’ll tell you it is possible. You don’t have to feel stressed about this. I’ve done it, and it’s not hard to pump milk in a clean and private environment even if it’s not at home. Do your research about Lactation spaces on your campus.

If you can’t find any information related, communicate to Human Resources, if there’s a space provided for lactating employees, it could be available for you too. You could also check for a Lactation room near the campus and take a quick break to pump milk between classes, talk to your teachers about your situation in case you could be late for a class.

What to do before you go to class

Set everything up on time, have anything your babysitter/family member could need at sight and ready to use, diapers, milk, water, your phone number in case you have to come back.

And don’t forget to have your outfit and backpack ready! You know how easy it is to forget about our own stuff when we are about to be away from our babies.

Ideally, you should have everything ready and the person who is going to watch your kids at least 30 minutes before you have to go, this way they can get used to seeing this person (in the case is not daddy or a member of your household) and you can have some mommy time with them, talk to them about why you’re leaving and that you’ll come back soon to have fun with them.

Recharge your positive energy with toddlers hugs, this will get you through the class, my biggest motivation to study are my kids, so these moments for me are very important; I have a 60+ minute ride to get to the campus, and some days I ask myself if it is worth it, you’ll have those days, I promise you it will be worth it, just melt in your kids love to remember why are you doing this.

During class

Try to stay focused, trust that they are being taken care of and have your mind completely into the class you’re attending, take notes, record the teacher in case you’ve lost some note-taking skills, and make the best out of these hours.

Find your study group

Is it sharing a classroom with people a decade younger than you daunting? Maybe you’d feel out of date since they already know each other from Facebook groups, Instagram communities, and who knows what else you have missed for changing diapers instead of networking on social media.

Who cares? Don’t let the first day, or week set you up for discomfort, you’ll find your group. You could say I’m an adult, I don’t need to be part of a group to study, I don’t do well in study groups we never really study when we gather anyway, I’m over that, we’re not on High School anymore.

Let me break this to you… at college, you do need groups, maybe you won’t be hanging out together (you probably don’t have time for that) but what if you miss a class? There’ll be someone you can borrow notes from, to tell you about resources the teacher has mentioned, and ultimately, sharing valuable information is what study groups are for, those are the ones you need to be a part of on higher education.

You’re finally home!

Hug them, kiss them, tell them how much you missed them, tell them about your day even if they don’t understand yet, babies love hearing mama’s voice talking about anything. Ask them about their day, how they felt. Let them know that even now that you’ll be out for some hours nothing will change.

Being a working student mom is not easy, but that moment when you come back home makes everything worth it.

Just as you need to have a routine for bedtime, you have to establish a routine for your study sessions while being at home with the kids, here I wrote a full blog post with the insights of what has worked for me to keep my classes up to date.

Also, make sure you start working on your studying schedule, you could download for free this one I created and read on the most effective way to revise and prepare for your exams.

Your kids: your motivation and strength

Do a visualization exercise, how do you see yourself in 5 years? How do you think your life could improve 10 years from now if you keep working on your degree? What image do you want your kids to have of you?

In my case I see myself pursuing specialization, with a well-balanced career and personal life, reaching financial stability, I want to give my kids the best education possible and inculcating in them the value of knowledge.

Once they understand why is studying so important and how lucky we are to have access to every level of education I hope they feel inspired by their mom’s story, have the study habits not as something painful but instead a rewarding action.

When is it too late?

It’s never too late to go back to school. On my first day of class this year, I realized I wasn’t the only mom in the classroom, there were 3 other moms, between the ages of 30 and 50 starting their careers, I was actually the youngest mom (I was 26 at the moment). So, it’s never too late to reinvent yourself, create new habits, learn new things, learn from your failures because it won’t be all a bed of roses, you’ll fail along the way, but you’ll stand up big and tall and keep going.

You are the only person able to decide whether or not you can take the next step now, most probably your kids will follow along with your routine and they’ll adapt, nobody can tell you it’s too early or too late to pursue your dreams and goals, nobody can tell you you won’t be able to fulfill every role you have to take part on your life.

There are no limits for the human mind when it is focused on a goal, take advantage of it. Go back to school mom, do it for you, do it for your kids, it’s never too late.

Not an Income Report, but My First Month Blogging Growth Report









 

 

Spoiler Alert: I didn’t make any income my first month, this is just a growth report, if you’re curious about how much can a beginner blogger grow from 0 in a month then stay around…

*This post contains affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase through one of my links I’ll get a small commission at no cost to you.

 

How did I start

I’ve always liked to write, and when I found out that bloggers can actually make a living off writing about what they love it was mind-blowing. To be more specific, the one story that inspired me and made me consider that this was possible was Lauren’s from BossGirlBloggers, I’ve been following her for some time.

I feel very identified with her since I’m also a waitress and I’m really looking forward to finally quit my job, I’ve also dropped university (I was practically forced to do this, I’ll maybe share my story later) and I got back on track, this motivated me to help other women strive to achieve their careers and goals, no matter the circumstances.

That’s how I started this blog, it was actually a rushed decision, I had some ideas to write about in a notepad, but didn’t really have a structured plan to follow, I knew I wanted to do this and I kept on reading articles on how to start a blog, how to get traffic, income reports (my favorite) until I gathered enough information to start.

I looked over some keywords that interested me on Ubersuggest (my first attempt at SEO) and following advice from seasoned bloggers I wrote my first two blog posts, that actually weren’t the first ones posted.

I saw an amazing offer from Namecheap and I couldn’t miss the deal, paid $21.10 to get my blog, and the adrenaline rush of finally seeing my site up gave me the creative spark to write my first blog post, I knew that bloggers got some money from affiliate sales, so I’d give it a try, I recommend Namecheap service because it has been smooth from the first moment.

 

My sources of traffic

I am trying to focus only on Pinterest for now, it is huge for bloggers and I know it’s a great way to get traffic to new blogs, also I’ve always felt comfortable with this platform, spent countless hours scrolling, getting ideas, getting inspired, learning, that’s actually how I found out about the beautiful life bloggers can have.

I also was part of the Studygram community for a short period of time, around March when things started to get crazy and I spent weeks locked at home, I stopped posting on Instagram shortly after I got back to work, but grew a decent amount of followers (500); so I changed my username to the.student.mom and revamped my profile a little bit, I got a great response from my Studygram friends, not so much from the blogging community I have to put more effort on that later on.

I got 280 unique sessions, 340 pageviews, my Bounce rate is pretty high at 87.5% but I’ve read this is not a big deal when you’re just starting out, and finally, most of my traffic comes from Pinterest.

Pinterest strategy

I switched my personal account to Business account in July, not sure the exact date, but I’ll count my progress since August 1st since my business account didn’t migrate my previous followers, I started from scratch. I looked at what successful accounts had in common:

  1. Professional looking profile picture
  2. Keywords related to what they pinned about next to their name
  3. The bio has relevant information about why should users follow them
  4. Cohesive design on their pins displayed on the header
  5. Custom board covers

Once I got this covered I was confident enough to follow accounts similar to mine and wished they’d follow me back, almost half of the time it does happen, and it makes me happy because I feel like sharing thoughts with like-minded people, I like to follow College bloggers, Mompreneurs and Lifestyle bloggers, also everything I can learn from blogging and Pinterest strategies even though it’s not my main niche I love learning about that and it’s something I repin a lot.

I also optimized my boards with descriptions, enabled rich pins, and started using relevant hashtags on my pins, I think that’s when I reached my best performing pin. Also, the article was well thought and complete (it was one of the posts I wrote pre-launching) I have a freebie already designed for that post but wasn’t sure how to introduce it, so it’ll have to be an update.

Here’s a screenshot of my growth on Pinterest after a month. I can’t dedicate more than 10 hours a week to this whole blogging/creating/promoting, and I’ve been manually pinning everything, so I’m really happy with my progress so far:


I joined two group boards from the College Lifestyle niche to share my posts, I’m hoping to get in more group boards this month, what takes me to…

Goals for Pinterest

  • Get 100 new followers = 250
  • Join 3 more group boards = 5
  • Double my monthly viewers = 60K
  • Double my Engagements = 5K
  • Pin 30 of my own pins weekly
  • Create 2 fresh pins for every blog post

 

The Email Subscribers

I got 8 email subscribers and most of them came for the Freebie on this article about the Forgetting curve, which was the second-best performing. I haven’t sent the first Newsletter, but I’m planning to do this the 5th and 20th, 2 monthly emails, with my latest posts and something cool I’ve learned and want to share from my monthly read.

I have to admit I’m not really sure how to manage the email list, but I’ll be using the strategies from some Newsletters that I love reading and I’m always looking forward to hearing, these are from Thomas Frank and his ‘Tuesday Tools and Tips’ and Suzi from Start a Mom Blog.

My goals for this month on my email list are: reaching 30 email subscribers, I’ll try to get this by adding and promoting one or two more freebies and adding a page of exclusive content for my subscribers.

 

Final thoughts

August was a pretty good month, I learned a lot, I’ve grown a lot as a content creator, I love being able to call myself a content creator! This month I didn’t focus as much on getting income, I only put up a few affiliate links here and there and a full blog post with affiliate links when I got super excited to be in the Amazon Affiliate Program.

I focused mostly on setting up everything, from learning WordPress along the way, to make it through Mailerlite automation, understanding the Pinterest algorithm to drive traffic to my blog, and time went by quickly.

My goals for this month won’t be too high, I just want to keep it steady, September will be big for me, I’ve got a lot of exams to study for and I will be moving out to a bigger place soon, we all know how time-consuming looking for a place and moving out can be.

So, I’ll keep on posting every 5 days, will continue focusing my efforts on Pinterest, and hopefully will get some bucks this month with Adsense or affiliate sales, fingers crossed!