I have been blogging on an off for the past 6 or so years. I have never really taken this seriously, it was more of a way to express myself while I was in university and slowly faded away as I entered the workforce.

Of these last 6 years, I have spent 4 of them working for a small internet startup in Tel Aviv. Where I worked my way up from an entry-level position to a product manager. Over that time I had many debates with myself about if this is the life that I want to lead. In the beginning, I was working in excess of 12 hour days including weekends and holidays. This took a heavy toll on me and my relationships with the people around me.

My husband and I fought about work all the time and I never had the energy to go out with friends. On the weekends if I wasn't working I would want to sleep all the time and this just wasn't how I wanted to live my life. I knew that there had to be more to life than working all the time for a small payout.

Back in December, I took a week off of work to just focus on myself. This was a sort of burnout. I spent days sitting on the couch watching TV and aimlessly surfing on the internet. When I came back to work I felt refreshed, but quickly started to lose steam again. This was when I decided that it was time for me to move on.

I left my comfy, high(ish) paying startup job to go out on my own for a little. I have a few projects that I'm working on and hope to be able to build up a small income from these assets so that I can start to live the life that I want.

Investing in Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrencies have been all the rage for the last few years and I hear from people all the time who say that they would like to start investing in crypto but they just don't know how.

I decided to sit down and put together a short post on how you can get started investing crypto without being a very technical person.

The easiest way to think about cryptocurrencies is to think of them as virtual money or shares on the stock exchange. They have a value but you can't physically hold them because they aren't a tangible item.  The most important thing to keep in mind is that you don't have to purchase a whole coin, so if the price of a single bitcoin being over $6K is what was keeping you from getting in the game you can purchase as little as 0.00000001 of a bitcoin. This means that if you only want to invest $100 or even just $1 it is possible.

There are also a ton of different coins that you could invest in, so if you are interested in coins that are more privacy based you might be interested in something like Zcash. You can do a bit of research around the internet to try and figure out which coin is right for you (just as you would to find out which ETF is right for your portfolio). I like to used CoinGecko for my research.

Once you have settled on a coin that you think you would like to start investing with there are a ton of options for wallets.  Simply put a wallet is where you are going to store your cryptocurrency, think of it as you bank account.

The wallets that I would recommend you to use are Coinbase and Kracken because they make it very easy to get started investing in just about any coin.

The reason that I recommend these is first because Coinbase is a very simple and friendly platform that just about anyone can signup and start using right way. Second, because Coinbase only supports a very limited number of currencies if you want to invest in something like Zcash or Dashcoin, for example, you are going to need to use a service that allows you to trade in other coins thus Kracken.

I have been with both of these wallets for a few years (Coinbase since 2013).

You have to keep in mind that just like investing in the stock market or forex there is a risk when you invest in cryptocurrencies.  I have managed to make a small income from my early investment but there is always the chance that you could loose it all.  Don't invest more than you are willing to loose and invest responsibly.

How I Improved The Performance of My Etsy Shop

I have been running a small Etsy shop on the side for the past few years. With very little maintenance this shop has been able to generate a small profit.

Recently I decided that it was time to take my Etsy shop to the next level.

I am going to be updating the steps that I take along the way in this blog so that you too can learn from my successes and fails to improve the performance of your Etsy shop as well.

The first thing that I did was to quickly go on Google and do a simple search for "boosting Etsy sales." Needless to say, this resulted in an astronomical amount of search results.  I perused the first few results and found that they are all pushing the same messages. You need to improve your SEO, tags, and images of your listing in order to generate more sales.

Coming from the world of Ad Tech (digital advertising technology) this makes perfect sense.  Having the right images and the right messaging is what drives results in content marketing, so e-commerce should be no different.

The first thing that I did was to sign up for a free tool called "Etsy Rank". It's a very powerful tool with a ton of reports and insights around what is going on in the Etsy sphere.  You connect your Etsy shop/s to the tool and they analyze all your listing to find where you can make improvements.  Very quickly I realized that my listings were not getting good traction because the keywords that I had placed in the title and tags were very high in competition, meaning that it was very unlikely that someone who searched for these terms would find my listing and buy my item.

So the very first thing that I did was to go over all my listings and all the tags that were listed under each listing and remove the tags that had high competition.  These tags were replaced by tags that had either low or medium competition so that the right people would be able to find my listings.

I started to monitor the performance of my shop very closely for the next few days and noticed a shocking change. Instead of traffic taking off after changing the tags I saw a drop off in traffic. I was quite alarmed to see this so I jumped on to Facebook where I'm a member of a few Etsy seller groups and found a post of someone asking why such a thing seems to have happened to their store as well.  It turns out that there is what appears to be a learning period when you change anything about your listings. It isn't recommended that you change all your tags on all your listings all at once because this puts your entire shop back into this learning period which actually results in a lower visit count.

What you should do it spread the changes out over the course of a few days. For example on Sunday change the tags on 3 of your listings, then on Wednesday change another 3 and so on. This way you aren't going to be affected too badly by the relearning of the Etsy algorithm and your listings will continue to appear in the search results.

I have let the new tags rest for a few days and it looks like the traffic is starting to trickle in.

I hope that you have found this blog post to be helpful and that it will help you to improve your shop's sales as well.  If you have any questions please feel free to leave me a comment below.

If you have been thinking about opening an Etsy shop there is no time quite like the present. If you follow this link: you will receive 40 free listings towards your new Etsy shop. The best part is, I will also receive 40 free listings so its a win-win situation!

3 Tips for Traveling for Less

My husband and I love to travel.

We love the experience of going to new places, seeing new things and experience different environments. My husband even loves the experience of going through TSA, passport control and checkin as quickly and efficiently as possible (maybe I'll write about that in a different post).

But the problem with loving to travel is that it can get quite expensive.  There are a few things that you can do to help minimize the costs of traveling and these are some of the tricks we use to get the most out of our vacations.

1. Booking flights on a low-cost airline.

When we want to take a small weekend get away we turn to the low cost airlines to find where is the cheapest place we can go that we haven't been to yet.  Here in Israel EasyJet flies to many different European locations and we have been able to go to both Geneva and London for relatively cheap.

The secret with low-cost airlines is to make sure that you only take what you absolutely need.  Because the baggage fees can be large on these airlines (thats where they make all their money) you need to travel light.

For a quick weekend getaway we are able to get by with one or 2 small backpacks and a rolling carry-on each.  This means no checked bags, no fees and no waiting at baggage claim when you get there.

We have also been fortunate that on one of the flights they decided to gate check all rolling carry-ons so we were able to gate check our bag for free.

2. Get the miles

Some thing that I have discovered recently is that if you are a milage plus frequent flyer member through United or Star Alliance is that you are earn miles from shopping online.

For the longest time I had thought that there were only two ways to earn miles.
1. Fly more often
2. Get an airline credit card

But there is a third option, its online shopping.

This all started when my miles were about to expire (yes they expire) and I wasn't planning a trip on United anytime soon.  I took a quick look on their site to see maybe there is another way for me to keep my miles (I didn't want to have to buy more miles) and there was!

When we travel to the states we order just about everything that we are planning to buy there online through the United Airlines Mileage Plus shopping site and earn thousands of miles.

Just on this last trip my husband ordered a laptop from HP at 12 miles per dollar! Not all the offers will be this good but if you are someone who typically does a lot of online shopping, this is definitely worth checking out.

The miles that each store gives can vary day to day, I recommend only placing an order when the milage is more than 1:1 so your dollars will go father.

If you rack up enough miles you could fly for next to nothing or stay at a nice hotel.

3. Know where to book

In addition to the miles for shopping you can get cash back for booking your hotels and flights online.

I have used the site Ebates to get cash back on flights and hotel stays but you can also get cash back on car rentals and even luggage.

If a place that you want to order that flight or rent a car from isn't on the United list then check Ebates because you could get as much as 10% back from just activating Ebates cash back!

So traveling doesn't have to break the bank.  Book a cheaper airline, order the tickets through a cash back site like Ebates, and do all your online shopping through United.

Before you know it you will be traveling the world for less.

The world is waiting for you.

Jack of all Trades

For the past 2 years I've been working at a start up. Everywhere I go and all the people that I meet are constantly saying "wow, a start up. So do you get free lunch and stuff?" The answer is no.

The truth that many people miss, myself included is that working at a start up is hard work. I joined the team when there were only 6 employees we were in a cramped crappy office. It smelled awful all the time and the air conditioner leaked constantly.  We did go out for lunch most days, but not because we got free lunch but because the only way we would all be able to eat together and not be at our desks was to leave the office. Not to mention that the mini-fridge in the office always had a funky smell.

When you think about this kind of start up, you expect to work hard, and believe me we did. Every day was a hustle and we sratched and clawed to keep everyone of our customers. But when the team makes the leap from six to 15 and then to 30 people suddenly there is more work to do. When we were six there was a lot of hustle but there just seemed to be more focused work.

I joined the team as an Account Manager (now called a Customer Success Manager) and for the first year or so I was almost fully dedicated to the task. Then the company began to grow and there came the "growing pains" of a rapidly (although from the inside feeling slowly) growing company.  Suddenly someone needed to be on top of the company's growing finances, QA needed to be taken more seriously, even the shear sizes of the customers grew expoentially.

Thats when I found myself learning about test cycles, test plans and testing out all kinds of QA software (which I ended up not using since excel was the easiest solution).  I got to the point where I was good enough at doing manual QA so that was added to my plate.

Flash forward a few months and on top of the previous two positions I was suddenly learning all about the world of billing.  What does net 30, net 45, net 75 mean?  Tons of acronyms and filling out all kinds of ACH and ETF (huh?) forms. 

As things moved along I started exploring into areas that are more interesting to me personally and what I want to be doing with my career. So, now my job description looked something like, product manager, QA, invoicing and Customer Success Manager.  That is quite a mouth full.

The point of this post is that there is a lot of truth to the phrase "A Jack of all trades is a master of none. I find myself everyday getting by with just being good enough.  I'm OK at doing manual QA, at this point I could probably manage the billing department of a small company, and I am a pretty good Customer Success Manager.

But I just don't feel like my skills in any of these feilds are really something to write home about. I've gained an emense amount of knowledge and experience in this short time but there is still a feeling of being a Jack of all trades and a master of none.

I guess this can be applied to just about any facet of life.  I'm a creative person, well I fancy myself a creative person. When I was younger I used to be into photography and drawing, and now I find myself still into photography, less so in drawing (haven't really drawn in years), but I also enjoy cooking, UI design and learned to code.

Living in this Internet Century, as they put it in "How Google Works," it is understandable that you will have knowledge in many different areas.  We don't live in the middle ages where if you were trained as a blacksmith thats they *only* thing you would do for the rest of your life.  You have access to all the information out there, its literally at your finger tips.

What we have to realize is that in the current state of the world you can know a little bit about a lot of things because there is always someone who will know more than you or be better at something than you and it is okay.