Free CV Template … Wait What???

Kia Ora Whanau

So this blog post is going to be a very brief one.

I was thinking that it’s time I give everyone a bit more help in the CV department so I have created a very basic CV template in Microsoft Word that you can use.

This document has been created so that you can download it, save it as your name CV and then start editing this.

I have added some pretty basic instructions within the document and hope the format works for everyone.

I have previously covered the importance of a Cover Letter and provided this as a free download you can change and edit as well. You can read this post here.

I also suggest you check out my Recruitment Advice page which has all my previous blog posts that will also go more in depth around what should be in your CV and also how to prep for interviews etc.

Other than that – please enjoy this free resource and feel free to ask questions, leave a comment or if you need help creating your own CV you can email me at mailto:doncostas@gmail.com

Until next time, have a great dat and good luck!

Print On Demand Tool – Canva.com – Designs Created Easy!

Kia Ora Whanau!

Welcome to another blog post about my Passive Income Journey through Print On Demand or POD from now. Today I am going to start off by covering off the main product I use to well … create designs (huh kind of figured that out from the title right??).

First off – if you’re new to this blog, welcome and if your like me, you are trying to generate a bit more of a passive income. I suggest you read my previous blog posts under Passive Income to come up to speed with everyone and also further help you get to where you want to be (especially if you’re new to this world).

For those that learn better by listening I have also completed a podcast episode on this topic and will be expanding on this. You can find the podcast episode here.

So to start things off – What is Canva.com (Canva)? Well simply put it is a website where you can create designs for thousands of different products. These can be anything from business cards, Instagram posts, T-Shirts, Posters and of course custom designs (This is for the POD use). The best thing about Canva is once your design is complete you have the full legal right to use that design for things such as POD.

I will be showcasing a bit about what Canva can do and don’t really delve into how to do every little thing but you will see that it is very simple to simply click an object and usually edit, or place this.

Full Disclosure: So I want to be completely open and honest, I am a Pro Canva user (Meaning I pay their subscription), and while I am not affiliated with them I am a strong believer that for me, Canva works. That said, I will cover off another “Design” product in the future (Look out for my upcoming blog and podcast on “Place-It”) that is also used by a lot of people but I choose Canva over this website.

But what is Canva exactly?

Canva is primarily used for word based templates and designs, but this does not mean that you are only limited to text. Far from it, as you will see. You can create thousands of designs (that’s just using their fonts, but when you see the free Elements, Backgrounds, Photos and the ability to upload your own image and you will see there is a reason why Canva is as good as I am trying to promote it!

How much is this gonna cost me?

Ok so I mentioned that I am a pro user and that means there is a subscription service. The cost is $12.95 USD (or in NZD $20.07 per month. YOU DO NOT NEED TO BE A PRO USER TO USE CANVA!!!

However, being a Pro user does give you a lot more access to their resources and most importantly, every design you create can be made into a transparent background … I’ll be honest this is the main reason I originally became a Pro user lol. Yes you can download the free designs and make your design transparent another way but with one click of a button … it’s much easier 🙂

You can also easily determine what is Pro or Free by hovering over the design/ photo/ element and looking for ‘Free’ or a ‘Crown symbol/ Pro’.

Now I will get into more about Pro user benefits a little bit later. First I want to start with some of the things you can do.

What Does Canva Look Like?

The basic Canva screen

As you can see from above, this is the main Canva Screen and just at first glance it doesn’t look like much but trust me if you are starting your POD business you should seriously consider looking deeper into Canva.

I briefly covered what some of the benefits of Canva can be used for but I’ll be honest I have barely scratched the surface. I strongly suggest you head to their website to check it out to see if it meets your needs.

What I will be doing is giving a brief overview of all the things you can do for your POD designs.

For this I will be creating a Custom Dimension Design of 5000 Pixels by 5000. Once you click the ‘Create Design’ you will be taken to the below default screen.

Templates

The Templates Screen

As you can see there is a Navigation Bar on the Left Hand Side. Click on one of the buttons on it and a further frame should expand. In this case it is the Templates frame. You simply click on template you want to use/ change and in the Reader window you can begin editing.

The cool thing about templates is most are created by Canva Designers so all elements, lettering, colours all flow and match together. You can simply click one part of the Template and change to what you want. Above I changed the original template and moved the text around a little. The above only took about five minutes to edit and frame up.

Uploads

Upload your own image or design

So next up as you can see is Uploads. This one is pretty self explanatory … you can upload your own image and/or design and then add them to your canvas.

Pro Tip: In this case pro means Canva Pro – You can click on an image/ photo (either uploaded or one provided by Canva and you can choose ‘Effects’ up the top and a new frame appears where you can click Remove Background. This tool is amazing. It does a great job of removing a lot of the background and means you can easily apply a potential background change to your image.

Photos

A selection of photos are provided by Canva

Canva has a lot of photos for you to use and I’ll be honest the search is actually really great! You can usually find a high resolution photo mostly towards what you are wanting. Now of of course you won’t find any potentially copyright images or famous figures – If your thinking of making that Trump design your gonna struggle but if you search broadly then your usually going to find something. Now of course there are still the same restrictions with a free account but you will still be surprised with what you can actually use.

As I mentioned earlier, if you are a Pro user you can also use some of the cool effects like Background Remover.

Elements

Elements Like Clip Art only Elementary …

Here we are … this is where the magic starts to form! Elements, as described by the caption, are like your own version of Clip-Art from the old Microsoft Word days!

If your not a design person but maybe you’re an ideas person (like me .. well that’s what I’m saying in this instance) this is where you can start to put your ideas into paper.. I mean Canvas/ or is it digital canvas? well anyway what I mean of course is this is where you can start developing your own designs without even having to learn how to be a designer.

Now this is no diss to any of those designers out there – I wish I had some of their skills, but those that can’t do … create a search in Canva and place it on a digital canvas!

I know it’s going to feel like sounding like a broken record but as always the advantage of a Pro user is of course more Elements etc.

Text

What Canva was originally designed for – Text

I said at the start that Canva focuses more on it’s Text fonts and for good reason. There are over 100,000 fonts to choose from. It is also really easy to just start typing and change your mind with the font given, or one you want to use.

As with all the previously mentioned functions, you will notice that the left page also has some mini text templates that you can simply click and then begin editing that style – I have highlighted this in the image above but can’t stress how quick and easy it is!

You also have some additional effects you can apply to your text as well as look at things like line height and of course change styles and transparency.

Styles

S.T.Y.L.E Spells Style man!

So what are styles? Styles are away of applying a colour and font scheme to your design. This is really handy if you need to set up a business colour scheme! If you are a Pro user you can ensure your business style is always available and once you have a object, simply click your style on the left and everything about your object gets styled the way you want it. This makes everything consistent … which is great for your brand.

Music & Video

You can also add Music and/or Video to your design. This is something you could do with your Facebook or Instagram posts but not really needed for a POD design for uh obvious reasons I hope …

Backgrounds

The digital canvas needs to be filled sometimes …

Similar to Photos and Elements, you can also have Backgrounds added to fill your open space. These are not just photos but also colours, abstract and even animated designs.

A well picked background can make your design pop or may even hide some potential issues with an uploaded photo.

Folders

Where is my stuff??? oh right here under Folders

This is like your document management system… or in very simple language – think of this like your ‘My Documents’ or ‘My Computer’ file structure.

The most common use will be to access all your previously created designs or any images/ text you may have liked for quick access.

More Functions

Integration Time! Discover more of what Canva can link with in this section.

The “More” section is where you can see the other cool features or ‘plugins’ that integrate with Canva.

From Instagram and Facebook to adding your Bitmoji. When you delve deeper and see what you can create on Canva you will understand why this website is a must for future Social Media Influencers wanting to ‘Trending Up’ their brand.

Pro Features – A look inside

Just a glimpse of what $12 USD or $20 NZD gets you …

The above image explains a little bit more of what you get for your “Pro” subscription. I have advised most of the features but you will notice I left out some features which you are more than welcome to pop along to Canva to check out a bit more in depth.

Putting it all together

So the next few images will be incorporating a background, text, elements and also show the Transparent Background button when you download. You will also see the design uploaded to Redbubble and TeeSpring.

This design is live now and feel free to check it out here to see the elements all working together.

Conclusion

Well I have already said that I love Canva so there is no point in me going against that. But the main reasons I love Canva are because I honestly didn’t think I was that much of a designer and this was a tool to help me achieve a goal of getting a design created and uploaded.

On a personal note I got a pure thrill when my designs arrived and I put them on for the first time. It makes me feel like I can get my artistic side of the brain flowing.

I suggest if your looking at starting your POD journey then seriously consider Canva as a great resource. Now if you have and use programs like Adobe then by all means use it!

If your like me however, I prefer to start simple and Canva makes it pretty easy.

Until next time – Thanks for reading and good luck.

Also if you want to support me, feel free to email me at doncostas@gmail.com or leave a comment … or buy a design 🙂

Get Healthy – Talking To A Psychotherapist

Kia Ora Whanau

So this week is Mental Awareness Week and I thought this would be a good time to address how important it is for you to acknowledge that talking about it can help.

This might be a bit of a long post so stick with me if you can. I will probably go down a few rabbit holes but I figure now is the time to say this stuff.

First off, I want to acknowledge and personally thank the people in my life who helped me get to a point where I started to address some of the issues and behaviours I was dealing with and also helped me change my view about going and seeing a Psychotherapist (PT). You know who you are.

Now I am going to keep referring to my PT as “PT” and that is because this is a form of personal trainer but for the mind.

I supposed I should start at the beginning, I hear it’s a very good place to start! Growing up I had a lot of issues and some of which were family and others were definitely all Alex!

Because of these issues I grew up to be a person who not only did not believe in talking about his problems, I would try to change the subject, or just down-play all the good advice I was getting.

It wasn’t until I had time away from an environment where I was made aware that I actually was not as mentally stable as I had portrayed/ self-deluded myself into thinking.

This time away was about a month and when I came back to the environment I was given an ultimatum to start to take better care of myself, both physically and mentally, or risk digging myself into a hole that I might not be able to get out of.

I decided to start seeing a counsellor… Then heard how much it was going to cost, and that I wouldn’t be seen for about two months. This was not going to work for me as I felt like I needed help sooner rather than later. You see I have a tendency to give up sometimes and talking about my feelings is one of those things I would prioritise … in giving up.

I spoke to my doctor at the time and they advised I should try a Psychiatrist. I did some investigative research using valuable resources … yeah I did a google search on my phone and found a PT. At the time I didn’t realise I had not actually set up a meeting with a Psychiatrist but a PT.

I got a call back telling me that I couldn’t be seen, but the PT had a colleague who might be able to help.

I contacted the PT and set up for my first meeting a week later.

The First Meeting

So I arrive at the office not exactly sure what I was supposed to do…. I didn’t see a long sofa I was supposed to lay on while I get asked about my parents or look at inkblots.

Instead I saw two chairs and a welcoming soul. I sat down and was feeling really nervous, and shameful while I introduced myself. I use the word shameful because that was what I actual had thought.

As I hinted to above, talking about my mental state and health was not something I liked doing. Because of the way I was brought up I was taught (by behaviours, not actions) not to talk about any problems. It was family or personal business and not to be shared. It is for this reason that I had the idea that I was shameful for asking for help, or seeking help from anyone.

In all of my life I have never been more happy to be proven wrong.

My PT spoke to me as a person, no judgement, no shame, just listened and offered solutions.

I started to open up, I started to relax and most importantly I started to let my guard down.

It felt really good to just verbalize the dark clouds swirling and consuming my brain. I had just started a new job and it was a situation where it wasn’t a guaranteed job, I had massive amounts of debt, my home life was … less than ideal, yeah lets put it that way, and finally my health was, quite frankly, non-existent.

I left the office one full hour later (most counsellors will charge you an hour but you only have 45 minutes to discuss) feeling like some of the weight I had been carrying around had shifted … a little.

I set up another time to meet my PT in a fortnight.

Now came the hard part …. actually sticking with it.

The Second Meeting

Two weeks later and I actually kept the appointment and I was so glad I did. I started to talk more about my life and felt more open then two weeks ago when I am sure I came across as a person that did not want to be there. My arms crossed, sitting back, angry expression.

This second week I was open and starting to be more honest about some of the things I had been doing myself. I was not yet at the point of accountability, but hey a journey starts with a single step right???

We went back and forth discussing and listening to each-other. I conceded some points, and my PT made me aware of other behaviors I hadn’t even been aware of.

All in all a good second session. Now you may be asking “Why add The Second Meeting”? well let me put it this way. There is something I have to admit to you, and that was I didn’t know what a PT was, aren’t they all the same??? So I asked What was the difference between a Counselor/ Psychiatrist or in this case a Psychotherapist?

The answer was very enlightening. If you were like me you might have thought they all have the same role. This is ok to have this idea, it is wrong but overall there is a basis for why you would think this way.

I will try to explain as best as I can remember, and hopefully this helps you clear up any potential confusion you might have if you are looking to seek help in the future.

  1. Counselor – This is a medical professional who usually will listen to you and may offer advice to help.
  2. Psychiatrist – Same as above but is usually a doctor so they can practise as well as prescribe medications if required
  3. Psychotherapist – This is a medical professional who will listen like both above but instead of prescribing medications, they will try solve the issues at your core and help you grow and work through them.

After hearing this I immediately thought I had made the right choice … despite my obvious mistake at the start of not knowing what a PT is or does. I didn’t want to be put on to medicine. This is not because I don’t think medications work, more because I have witnessed in my life what these medications can do to a person and I wanted to stay away from that if I could.

So how long did you see the PT for?

I saw my PT for over two years almost every fortnight. It felt good to have a safe space where I could share all my thoughts and feelings and also my fears. My PT helped change my life and enabled me to have the strength to start to change my life for the better. Now while I don’t see my PT anymore I do still keep in touch and I know that they are always there if I ever need them.

So what did you learn?

So I’m going to keep the stuff I learnt about myself pretty private but what I will share is some of the techniques I learnt to deal with my situation.

Mindfulness. I know I have previously talked about this in a previous blog post about mindset, but I can’t stress how much this actually helped me cope day to day (and even today).

For those that don’t know mindfulness is basically being mindful in who you are and of your situation, your surroundings. Sort of like being one with everything … you know like Neo at the end of the first Matrix film.

Good news is you don’t have to get shot in the matrix to be able to have the same mindfulness sense.

Acceptance. So when I say acceptance it is more in relation to accepting who you are.

When you learn to accept the things in your life and your ability to always have a choice of what your actions are then you can start to change the things you accept as what you want to change.

Control and release

Ok so this might sound a bit weird. Control and Release is more about letting go of things I can’t control, this can be people, situations, behaviours and release is more about acknowledging that I can’t control them so I should release the emotion I hold on to.

So why bring this up now?

Honestly, I know that with Covid there is so much extra stress and strain on people as well as medical professionals within the mental health field. I want people who used to be like me to know it is ok to talk to someone. It is ok to seek help.

New Zealand has one of the hardest pills to swallow. We have a huge youth suicide rate. I’m not suggesting this post will change someone’s life. I just want everyone that is feeling stressed to know that you don’t have to do this alone. It is ok to seek help and you have a choice even when it feel like you don’t.

Conclusion

Talking helps. Take it from someone who bottled it all up for 35 years. Make a change in your life for the better. Seek help if you need it, or if you know someone suffering, be there for them.

If you ever need someone to turn to know you can txt or call 1737 in NZ or go to their website herehere.

Be Safe Whanau and feel free to email me if you have any questions doncostas@gmail.com.

Passive Income – TeeSpring Review – Uploading Guide

Kia Ora Whanau

Well as promised on my podcast, “Get A Job And Get Healthy With Costas Enterprises” (opens in Spotify). I promised that I would try write a blog as well every week.

Last week I did a review on Redbubble so I thought that I should now cover off the other Print On Demand (POD) service that I regularly use – TeeSpring.

To check out my TeeSpring site you can visit this here.

With my last post, “Passive Income – Redbubble Review … Wait I Got A Sale??” I compared all three POD’s I use, Threadless, TeeSpring and Redbubble. I covered off most of the differences but as I have been using TeeSpring a little longer than Redbubble I will try focus more on this.

So up front I want to say that I actually like a lot of things about TeeSpring, but there are defiantly some things that can hurt this POD.

My TeeSpring Site – Costas Enterprises Designs

Pros

  1. Analytics

So one of the things I really like about TeeSpring is the Analytics section of your dashboard.

The reason this is so good on TeeSpring is they clearly show you how many views/ sales and also what is generating your views. I will include a screen shot of my current analytics views page so you can see.

Analytics for views

As you can seem TeeSpring gives you a quick glance graph of views or sales to your store. You can also view your listings (your designs) and sort these by views, orders, units or profit. For the above example I have highlighted my most views for the last month dated to 22 August – 22 September.

The design highlighted above is the same design highlighted in my analytics

The main reason I love the analytics that TeeSpring provide is I can start to see what is working and what isn’t for my designs. It is also where you can see if your have gained a trust score.

… Um what trust score??? and … what is a trust score???

Ok so if this is the first time your hearing about a trust score then that means you haven’t read my previous post or listened to my podcast. Let me explain now.

TeeSpring advises that they will do advertising for you once you gain a positive trust score.

You can’t obtain a trust score until you have made between 1 – 25 sales through TeeSpring.

People don’t realize how important getting your trust score is. If you want to generate income passively using TeeSpring you need your trust score to be positive so your designs are seen by everyone. Now TeeSpring do advise you that you need a trust score when you sign up.

What TeeSpring doesn’t tell you is when you have gained a positive trust score or exactly how many sales you need to generate to get a positive trust score. By using the analytics to your advantage, you can start to see things like sales or views on your site to see when TeeSpring is advertising your designs.

2. Changing your storefront

Ok this Pro is more of a slightly better cosmetic fix then any actual issue on storefront but once you know about it – it can really help.

With Threadless – there is very little storefront customization for your products.

Redbubble is the same but their algorithm at least has the ability to explore designs and then click on products related to the design.

TeeSpring … not so much

Ok so let me clarify what I mean here, if you upload a design to your TeeSpring store then the design is automatically added to your store front. This means that if you don’t customize your storefront you run the risk of having 15 products with all the same design one after the other – this means your customer is only going to see one design until they keep scrolling.

However TeeSpring does allow you to actually fix this. When you are in your dashboard you will notice a “Storefronts” option – From this section you can edit your current storefront and then favorite your designs (and products) you want to be displayed first.

Tip: Hover over the storefront to either view storefront or (located in the top right corner of the storefront thumbnail) you will see a edit button – this is where you can change your actual storefront, edit the banner, add images etc..

Being able to change your storefront does make your POD store feel a bit more personal. I have been very basic with mine but I plan to add a new banner up the top with some of my designs to really make it more vibrant.

3. Uploading preview window

So with this section I am going to cover off the actual upload process and use a new design “Footlong Hugs” created for this blog to show what needs to be done. The reason I really like this is the User Interface (UI) is quite easy to use for those just starting out.

The process of uploading a design, or even adding text to your design is simple and so is the adjusting of the design. While it is a slower process then Redbubble or Threadless it does flow a lot better and is easier to use.

The Upload Window

The Upload Process

  1. Upload your design by clicking the ‘Add Image’. This must be a transparent image. I use a design 5000 x 5000 pixels created in Canva.
  2. In the preview window you will see your design. You can faintly see a red dotted box. This is the area where your image can be printed on. You can resize the image within this box.
  3. To see your design on a product click the ‘Preview’ or to go back and edit click ‘Design’.
  4. Set your colours by clicking the ‘+’ to add more. The colour you select will be the default view. You can change this underneath
  5. Set your price – as mentioned in my previous post – TeeSpring will set your price initially and it will be quite high – I have changed my price to be lower than what TeeSpring offers meaning my profit will be lower … but this is because I want to generate more sales in the future to build my trust score up.
  6. Click ‘Continue’
  7. You will be taken to a new screen where you can select and edit other products for your design
Stage 2 of uploading a design

Now you repeat steps 2 – 6 for each product you add.

Once finished click ‘Continue’ to go to the publish page.

Publish Screen
  1. Add your Title.
  2. Add the Description for your design.
    TIP: Make sure your Description matches your title and mentions the title – this will help TeeSpring find your design and also improve your trust score.
  3. Check the View, URL, Visibility and that it is adding it to our existing store.
  4. Click ‘Publish Listing’.
  5. You listing will now be added to the shop.
OMG it’s our design??? That seemed easy …

To view (or purchase … yes cheeky to ask but no harm in asking) this design click here.

Cons

Ok so there are some cons and most I have previously talked about on my podcast and previous post but lets go through them.

  1. TeeSpring Trust Score

So why is a trust score a Con? well it is a bit of a Catch 22 – It is nice once you have a Trust Score but the negative is that unless you generate “organic” sales. An organic sale is where someone (not yourself) goes to your site and purchase something.

The other problem with this is you have to have 1 – 25 sales. this means there is no actual clear definition of how to obtain a trust score.

TIP: Ok so this Tip might sounds a bit silly but the way I got a positive trust score was simply making three purchases from different accounts (well I made two, my partner surprised me by making a separate one). The only problem with this tip is – it costs you $$ and you may have to get 25 sales before it works

2. Default Pricing

The default pricing set by TeeSpring is way to high. That is not to say that the products are priced too high, I am referring to the default profit price. If you are trying to acquire a trust score as per the first Con you might have a hard time selling the product given the T-Shirt you are trying to sell is close to $30 USD instead of $16 USD as TeeSpring wants to make you money.

But wait? Isn’t more profit what I want? – well yes it is but when your starting up you need to build your brand. You will have to do all of the advertising for your products/ shop with no help from TeeSpring. If you lower the pricing to start with you are more likely to bring in a bigger audience and even if they buy a sticker, this is still a sale. Your customer doesn’t want to be paying $9 USD for something you would usually pay $3 – $5 Maximum.

3. No Tags

So I know I keep referring to my previous post so you may want to check it out.

Tags is something you really need to know about. Tags are the way Redbubble directs your customers to your designs. Tags are like when you tag someone on Facebook or Instagram. You may have even found this post due to a tag!

TeeSpring doesn’t have Tags. Your design will only be found by using keywords in your Title and Description. These are important but as you can guess your visibility will not be as good as it would be with Tags.

Now this is not to say that your design wont be seen by people – TeeSpring still has an audience of close to 28 million views a week, but it means that your keywords in your Title and Description are even more important.

Conclusion

I still really like and use TeeSpring and would recommend people use TeeSpring as well as Redbubble. You will see positives and negatives in both but still the audience is too big to not take advantage of another POD site.

Thanks for sticking with me until the end of the blog post. It has been a long one I know but I hope this has helped you.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me as I love to here from my community 🙂

Have a great day whanau and good luck!

Passive Income – Redbubble Review .. Wait I got a sale???

Kia ora Whanau!

This post is going to delve into a bit more about my passive income journey and will cover off my first “organic” sales through the print on demand (POD) service. I will also be mentioning the other sites I use for POD so expect to be taken down the rabbit hole on some of the other POD sites as well.

Ok so if you read my last blog post Creating a Passive Income then you will know that I started creating two previous POD’s websites. Threadless, TeeSpring and now my new site is for Redbubble.

So what made me try Redbubble? Well honestly a lot of youtube videos where I am learning these skills from suggest TeeSpring, Redbubble and Merch by Amazon.

I have been doing POD for about 4 months now and can say that out of all three of the sites the one site I no longer use or upload to is Threadless. Teespring is a good site but going through the checkout and costs for more than one item can be a bit … painful. So I decided to try my hand at Redbubble.

So are you gonna review the other two? – Yes, in time I will review the other two but for this post I am just going to summarize my thoughts on using Redbubble. If you want to hear more of my journey feel free to listen to my podcast Get A Job and Get Healthy With Costas Enterprises.

Is it actually any good?

Yes. I’ll be honest with you all, there are some really good advantages from using Redbubble veruses TeeSpring, but on the other flip of the coin there are also some great things about TeeSpring that Redbubble doesn’t have.

As always this is my own opinion and my experience, I am learning about this just as you are.

Pros of Redbubble

So there are a few pros and I will try to explain them here as best as I can and why this aspect is better than the other two POD’s I am currently using.

  1. Tags

What like FaceBook? Well not exactly but in a way … kind-of.

For those that don’t know, Redbubble uses ‘Tags’ to advertise or promote your products. Depending on what you search for, or what you click on, Redbubble will suggest your design based on the tag that you assign to your design.

What I mean by this, is say for example you are looking for a design around “succulents”. Any designs which use the tag “succulent” will start to appear from your search. Note: Your design may not be the first to show up, however it is there trust me. Redbubble has a way of filtering your designs from you.

So why are tags good? – Simply put – if you create the right tags on your designs you will generate more traffic to your design. Redbubble ask that you don’t add more than 50 tags to any one design. They can also check if your spamming your tags and if they deem this to be true they will remove your design. An example of spam tags are putting “Mask”, “T-Shirt”, “Red”, Orange” etc..

The other cool thing about Tags, is that unlike both TeeSpring or Threadless, once a tag is on your design Redbubble will start advertising this after 15 minutes of you publishing the design.

How are tags different from TeeSpring and Threadless?

Because of the way Tags work, your design will start being advertised almost immediately. With TeeSpring there is the issue of the Trust Score. TeeSpring’s Trust Score means they will do the marketing of your product for you, but only after you have achieved a positive Trust Score.

When you first start with TeeSpring you won’t gain a Trust Score until you have at least sold 1 – 25 sales (meaning you have to market your site yourself). Threadless also use Tag’s for their designs but the main problem with Threadless is they are just not big enough. This means they don’t have as large as an audience to use the tags effectively.

2. So Many Products

You read that right, Redbubble has a huge selection of products for your design to be printed to. Not just the stock standard T-Shirt like most POD’s but also items such as Clock’s, Mugs, Hoodies, Leggings, iPhone Cases and even notebooks.

An example of products that Redbubble offer on my site.https://www.redbubble.com/people/Costas-Designs/shop?asc=u

Now TeeSpring has a huge selection of products as well but Threadless is clearly dead last in this category.

Of course with Covid 19 all of these POD’s now print masks as well.

The other advantage of the products with Redbubble is that once your design is uploaded, you will see a mockup of the design on the potential product very quickly.
REDBUBBLE TIP: If you do upload to Redbubble – check every product you want to upload, sometimes your design will not be centred or will be cropped and your design won’t look right.

How are products different from TeeSpring and Threadless?

So let’s get this out of the way at the start, Threadless is dead last for a reason. They do make great products as they originally started as a T-Shirt business and expanded into POD. The reason they are in last place in this instance is simply because they don’t have the audience/ following that the other two have. This means less sales. Threadless do have some cool variations from TeeSpring and Redbubble such as Skateboards (which I was not expecting from any of the POD sites).

TeeSpring has a wide selection of products and I’ll be honest out of the three TeeSpring feels like you have more control over the creation of the products. Uploading may not be as easy as it is with Redbubble but that is where TeeSpring lets you see the design on a mock-up of the design while you are uploading. That said TeeSpring does make it a bit tedious to upload because you have to tick every single product you want to upload with your design meaning these are not selected by default. Redbubble will start with alot of products already selected.

TeeSpring Upload Tip: When uploading make sure you edit your price here before you publish the product. Also TeeSpring will put the cost of the product up to make you a product … this profit is sometimes too high meaning you won’t sell as many because your trying to make $7USD profit on a mask (for example).

3. Ease of Setting Profit

Ok this is what we all want to read .. how much profit can I make if I make a sale??? Well let’s get into it now. Setting your price-point for the three sites are different in each site.

Redbubble

Setting your price point for Redbubble is not about setting an actual amount but more a percent. Now if your new to Redbubble it took me a few minutes to find where to set my profit margin but now I know it is really easy (basically look on the Left Hand Side Dashboard). The other advantage of this is Redbubble allows you to set the percent across all the products, meaning set it once and walk away.

Don’t get greedy, I currently set my percent to a 7% profit on Redbubble – This is not a huge margin compared to other sites and will result in a small profit for you then click apply to all and all product have the same profit margin.

If your design is any good you will sell lots of them and then that’s when you start earning and this is the same for all POD sites!

TeeSpring

By default TeeSpring will set a profit margin for you, be careful with this as the profit margin is very high. They want to cover their cost and you to make your money as well … but if the item is priced too high it simply won’t sell. I aim to make $3- $7 (USD) on some items but remember the TeeSpring Trust Score – you don’t sell anything then you don’t get added to their marketing. I suggest keeping the prices low to start off with and take the hit of a few dollars on each item until you start selling more than 25 sales. You will have established a Trust Score by then so new items can be priced a little higher. Notice that I said new item and not old items … That is the disadvantage of TeeSpring – once you set a price you can’t edit it. You would have to delete the item from your store and then re-upload it to change the price.

Threadless

You can’t really change the prices of your products for Threadless – Also the profit margin you get is close to $1 -$3 (USD) per item. This effectively means unless you sell lots your going to make very little.

So how do I get paid??

PayPal is your friend – All of these sites will prefer you to be paid by PayPal and they will pay you in the currency of USD (as all these sites are based in USD). Make sure your PayPal is set-up correctly in the name of your bank account … otherwise you won’t get paid.

4. It’s free to set up

So with all three of these sites they are all free to set up. You just upload the design and your done. The main advantage of Redbubble is that your tags will start generating traffic to your site .. and hopefully sales!!

The Cons

So upfront there aren’t as many Cons as there are Pros and as I have previously said in my podcast episodes. But that is not to say that Redbubble doesn’t have some cons.

  1. Uploaded Designs image issues

Ok so this isn’t the biggest issue to have but one little issue with Redbubble is that when you upload a design you don’t have as much freedom than what you do with TeeSpring.

Wait what do you mean by freedom? – Ok so let me be clear – the upload process for all three POD’s is really easy but out of the three I like a mix between Redbubble (for applying your design to all products fast) and TeeSpring for being able to move, resize or flip the design.

Redbubble uses a sliding scale for it’s zoom which is still easy to use but can be a bit finicky when trying to make sure you dont cut out the whole design. TeeSpring is better in this instance because you have a lot more help being able to use the frame (like if you are adjusting a picture in Microsoft), the trade off being that you have to do this for every single design you select. Not a huge Con I know but still it would be nice to have the mask to make things easier.

The other issue with this upload process is that when you go to edit the scale on the design, a pop-up window will appear and sometimes the preview window is hard to see so you find it difficult to adjust your design and see it change on the preview.

2. Audience

Ok so this is both a plus and a minus for Redbubble. The audience size.

Redbubble has like 40 million views a week … That is great, but because of this it also means that there is a lot of competition. I suggest really think about the designs your putting up. Redbubble is very big on copyright and trademark infringement (not as hard as Merch by Amazon) but still pretty big.

You need to have the right to sell the design you are creating. So make sure that you are not just taking that Dragon Ball Z image of google and uploading it – you will get fined or worse for breaching copyright or trademark infringement law – no matter what country you are from.

Never fear! there are some websites that can help buy giving you permission to use their designs or any design you create in them for POD. One such site is Canva which is what I use for my designs.

Conclusion

In conclusion I still recommend you to upload on all three sites. After all they are all independent and free and there is nothing stopping you from using each one to sell the same product. Redbubble is great and I wished I had started with them earlier but I wouldn’t have learn what I learnt if I didn’t try the others first.

Didn’t you say something about an organic sale??

Thanks for remembering! Yes out of all three sites Redbubble is the only site I have done no advertising for. So it is a surprise that I have made two sales on this site for the same product.

I marketed the Redbubble to America because they have the highest audience and to my surprise as of today 15 September 2020 I have made two sales for the below design.

Now my profit wont be huge, and I won’t get a payout until I make a profit of $20 USD but it’s cool to know that something simple is being sold and I don’t have to do anything else for it – Passive Income for the win!

The Design that sells! Aunty Cindy

Yep Auntiy Cindy aka Jacinda or our Covid 19 Saviour has earned me two sales – One a T-Shirt and one a sticker. I couldn’t be happier.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me and I will try and make a new blog post every week.

Thanks for reading and sticking right to the end and hope this helped you.

Feel free to check out my Redbubble or TeeSpring sites and give me feedback as I love to hear from my community.

Creating A Passive Income

Kia Ora Whanau

Today’s post is going to cover off some of my newer podcast episodes and will focus not so much on the getting or maintaining a job, but more so how you can create a passive income for yourself.

Full Disclosure: I will be referencing my own two print on demand sites. You don’t have to buy anything but if you do it will be giving me some profit, and would be greatly appreciated.

So now that the disclosure is out of the way lets go down this rabbit hole a little shall we?

Why?

Ok so you may be thinking, why if you are giving advice about getting a job, why should I be looking at creating a passive income? Well let me put this simply, while you will be earning money from the job you are working at 9 to 5, how good would it be to get money when your not working? and the best part … it wont cost you that much (or if your really savvy, nothing at all!)

Wait .. Free money? Is this a scam??

No.

I like to think that with my previous posts and podcasts I have a little integrity when it comes to offering something let alone declaring it as a scam .. see my previous post about Sweatcoin.

No the whole point of this post is to get you thinking about making a little extra money on the side, and if your lucky enough you make enough money to live off this passive income.

Now I have to be honest with you I am still trailing this and have since set up two print on demand sites (A Threadless site I have been running for over two months and a Teespring site I have been running since .. yesterday lol).

At this point in time I have only had one purchase … My own which you can see part has arrived below.

Happy Humpday mug available here.

So you may be asking, why go to all this trouble? or I’m not creative I can’t do this Alex!

That, my dear reader is where you are wrong!

Anyone can give this a shot and given we live in the world of Social Media, makes advertising your stuff even easier!

Now I will get into everything a bit more about how I found this, the ease of setting it up and also for all you non-design folk like me, how you can create designs that will actually help!

Just how easy is it?

Ok .. I know your first question is probably “How much does it cost?” – as I said above it costs very little or next to nothing to set everything up.

The reason I chose Threadless (and now Teespring as well) is because of the simplicity of setting up the store and because both are absolutely free to use!

Yes .. let that sink in, this is a FREE way for you to set up a print on demand service!

Ok now your probably asking .. What is a Print On Demand service???

Let me break it down for you. A Print On Demand service is a place where you can list all designs and everything from creating the physical product to sending it to your customer is done for you by the print on demand service (in this instance Threadless and Teespring).

And now your asking … Hang, on How do they make their money??

The print on demand services take the base costs and shipping costs out for you. Anything left over is pure profit for you.

Doesn’t that mean I get a tiny profit?? What’s the point?

The point is if you sell enough designs, any little bit of extra money you get is money you didn’t have to work for. You are starting to create Passive Income …. This is going to help you get one step closer to not having to work at all!

What If I don’t want to create designs or don’t want to use a print on demand service? Can I do other passive income ideas?

Of course! What I want to teach you with this post (and if this is liked, future posts) is that you are not limited at all by your idea for passive income. This is just one stream available to you.

If you don’t believe me before you read any further I want you to go to google or YouTube and type in Passive Income Ideas … There are hundreds of thousands of videos on ideas that can help and also some tutorials on how to follow those up. It all comes down to you. Do you want to escape the Rat Race. Do you want to retire early and are you prepared to invest in yourself and your future.

You are never too old or too young to start! As I write this I am 37 years old starting this business venture of creating passive income. This is one way I am trying to retire early and I hope you reading this will join me in this journey!

Ok, Ok … So … How easy is it to set-up?

Oh were back to the start now are we? well let me tell you, it is incredible easy to set up your own ‘Store’ for a Print On Demand Service. In fact it only takes a few clicks!

Now I am not going to go down the process of exactly how to set-up, but what i am going to suggest is doing some research first. Go on YouTube and search Print On Demand Setup. You will find a few.

The big ones I am aware of are. TeeSpring, Threadless, Merch By Amazon, Shopify and Place-It.

Now before you jump-in and start signing up to all of these there are some basic things you need to know.

  1. You will need to have a PayPal account (best to set up a Business one if you have a personal one first). This is how you will get paid!
  2. You may require a Tax number (Merch By Amazon and Threadless both require these)
  3. If you are an artist then you will need Transperant Backgrounds of your designs (These should be 5000 pixels x 5000 pixels
  4. You are required to market yourself (Teespring will offer your design once you hit 25 or more sales but to start you have to make those sales. Don’t worry we will cover this off shortly
  5. Get ready to upload
  6. Check the products you want to sell
  7. Publish the product and finally …
  8. Sell!!

But I told you Alex I’m not an artist or a designer!!

Ok hold your horses, neither am I!

What I do is I have created an account with a site called Canva. Now this is where the $$ comes into play. You can use their site to create free images/ writing which you can then download. However if your prepared to pay the subscription fee of $20 NZD a month, you get access to thousands of images/ pictures/ typesets and backgrounds. You also get a license which means you can use those designs and there are no legal ramifications for copyright.

All of my designs on Teespring and Threadless have been created using Canva. The one reason for this … If you pay the subscription fee they allow you to download the design as a transparent image. This means it can be placed on any print on demand service without it leaving background on the product you are trying to print on.

When you are creating a design (unless you are using Merch by Amazon) it is best to create the design with custom dimensions of 5000 pixels x 5000 pixels. This means your design will be big enough to be placed on a T-Shirt but also can be reduced so the quality of the design can also be placed on a mug or a sticker without looking … crap!

There are thousands of designs to give you inspiration so what have you got to lose?

So you made a storefront, you have designs now you need to upload them.

This process is even easier! It is literally drag and drop into the site.

The you select the products you want to sell, the colours and (in the case of TeeSpring, the Price) and then your almost ready to go … you just need to get creative with the title of your design and give a little description. (Hint … go to any of my designs on either website to see the kind of descriptions I use).

So umm what about marketing?

Ok so if your have been living in a cave you may not have heard of Social Media! Yep that’s right it’s time to do the one thing a lot of us Kiwi’s are bad at… promoting yourself and what you do!

Now you should all know about Facebbok and Instagram etc.. but there are also some helpful things that can help you market your new designs.

Below you are going to see some images of models wearing some of my designs. There were created using a website called Place-It.

Place-It allows you to put some of your transparent designs on models and products … for free! with no watermark. You also have the ability to add your own text (as you can see from my images). I will try to link each product on Teespring (as this site is where I will be focusing on for the future … I’ll get on to why shortly).

So why the change from Threadless to Teespring???

Well I’m glad you asked, it’s like your reading this post and reading my mind!!

I will still be uploading to both sites but, there are two big problems with Threadless versus Teespring.

Threadless makes the process really easy but … all the marketing is all on you. Teespring will add you to their marketing pool. The only catch is you have to sell 10 to 25 products first. So you marketing fame has to be on point! We can cover that and what you can do to increase your chances in a future post … if you all like this!

The other disadvantage of Threadless is the billing area … You can’t really add your own prices, that harms it abit because you dont want to be charing your customers an extra $10 just so you get a profit of $10 etc..

This where Teespring is a little easier to manage. You can set your own pricing and it will show how much profit you will make per item sold. If you think Teespring are charging too much you can reduce the cost of that item. This is what I have done to generate a bit more intrest.

However Threadless does have some cool advantages … It has sales!
This means your profit might go down a bit but you can promote the sales to your customers and hopefully generate more sales in the future.

The other thing that Teespring has over Threadless …. It has more traffic! Close to 16 million views per month … you have more people to sell to.

Now of course with Covid-19 around all products will take awhile to get to your customers so there may be slow uptake on that front, on the positive side … more people are shopping from home now so … Yay!!!

I wish everyone will at least give this a shot or think about it. I am trying it for the first time and I will keep trying. Anything to help me get ahead!

Feel free to visit my sites and give me honest feedback. If you want to buy something great! if not that’s fine too as I appreciate any feedback.

Be sure to check out my podcast episodes on this as well as feel free to email me at doncostas@gmail.com

Thanks for reading and good luck!!

Weight Loss Journey … Month 02 Diet Harder!

Kia Ora Whanau

Alex from Costas Enterprises here, and I want to welcome you to month two of my journey.

Note: This post may be long and may include some comedy about what I have observed. Like the last post Weight Loss Journey … The First Month I will be covering things like cravings, what the Diabetes has done and also my feelings … but in a manly way of talking about feelings… so crying deeply and rolling up in a fetal position??

Before I start I do want to also acknowledge and thank all the people that have kept me honest, supported me and also have helped me deal with all the other stuff currently going on in my life. You can follow my journey on Instagram. Don’t forget to check out my SweatCoin post where you can also support and follow my journey.

Week One

So thinking about this last month I take it back to Week One and if I can be honest it has been pretty much the same as what you have seen the last month.

Still craving food, but managing to stay away from the foods that make me feel “comfortable”… all those foods are still cravings but I have been good.

You all know the food I am talking about.

  • McDonalds
  • KFC
  • Chocolate
  • Fried Chicken
  • Pasta – any pasta!
  • Real Bread – yes Keto bread is an amazing substitute, well the one my partner makes is but I’m talking about sliced white bread with a sausage and tomato sauce
  • Pizza
  • Potato Chips.

I better stop myself here cause otherwise I will want these and the last thing I need is more temptation.

I’ll say this now, the cravings do still appear for the rest of the month. I also do give into them a little but not in this first week.

Diabetes Check – This has now been reduced to fortnightly checks and I am told that my blood sugars are doing ok but I need to increase my insulin by 5 units now up to 35.

Overall feeling pretty good with myself. No cheat meals this week and eating well.

Week Two

So those cravings I was talking about. This week they started to win… I had some sugar, I had some chippies and I had some chocolate. And let me tell you now, I felt guilty after eating it. I felt like I was hiding it, mainly because I was.

That’s not the worst part, the worst part was after something happened, I went and did the stupidest thing I could have done… I went to MacDonalds at 2:00 am and gorged on a Big Mac, A Double Cheeseburger, Nuggets and French Fries.

Why? You were doing so well??? You know what these foods do to your body and why 2:00 am???

Quite simply, I had just left the hospital and after not eating since 8pm I was very hungry.

Now some of you may say “that’s understandable”, except it isn’t. I knew I had food at my home. Where I stay now is closer to the hospital than the distance I had to travel to McDonalds.

No I am not knocking McDonalds, I have eaten there since I was a kid and like some of you I had birthday parties there, when I was five just to clarify, (pouring the ice cream was the best right??, you felt like you had so much power!).

For a long time it was a huge staple of my life (and diet??) and I will be honest, after not having it for over a month that first bite into a cheeseburger, it was like I had died and gone to heaven. Ronald was waiting for me with open arms and Grimace was giving me props for coming back to the way he was, well minus the being purple and looking like a weird sex toy, but you get what I’m saying!

Then after eating/ gorging I snapped back to reality. “What have I done? Was it worth it to break my streak?” I know these feelings of guilt and general ugh feeling because I have them every single time I have KFC. Again KFC used to be a stable of food for me. I used to have it all the time. But the feeling I always have after biting into that piece of chicken watching the fat ooze out is one of wanting to be sick, but not being able to stop myself.

My main problem this week was knowing what I had eaten, how do I stop from going back? Now I know a lot of people will say something about having a cheat day/meal is ok. Yes it is ok once in a while but not when one of your trigger foods is likely to lead you back to them.

I know my body pretty well and once I get a taste I find it very hard to ignore it. It’s like one of those little devils on your shoulder saying “Go on, you know you can have it, you have been so good”. Those little devils are bastards, and as a week goes on they grow bigger and also make you hyper-sensitive to foods, adverts of foods and smells of foods.

You feel yourself wanting to have one more, like a crack-head needing their next fix. Think of that Dave Chappelle character … for a fat person that is what those foods can do to you.

So I manage to make my way through the week after that feeling and trying my best to avoid all my trigger foods and also Alcohol. We have already covered my previous drinking was in my History post.

Week Three

After finally managing to control my urges I step into week three with a bit more focus. That is the important part here, focus. I managed to do a little self evaluation and re-affirmation that I don’t need that type of food anymore. During this week I am doing great, I am walking a bit more that last week (but not hitting my personal goal of 12K per day) but I am at least eating better.

It is at this time that i remember one my traditions that I had been planning for the last month. International Womens Day.

For those that don’t work with me, you won’t know this but on 08 March every year (for the past 7 years) I bring goodies into the office for my team(s). A lot of this is to show the women I work with in my life that I appreciate them as they help me grow as a person.

This year I enlisted the help of my flatmate who owns and operates her own mini bakery. Check out her Instagram here for lots of delish cakes and slices (You will be in for a treat). My flatmate made 24 cupcakes (Chocolate and Berry, Banana, Salted Caramel and Vanilla). I managed to stop myself at two (one of each) and not only was the cupcakes … well F^&king amazing but that sugary carb infused awesomeness tasted sooooo good.

I could have stopped myself from having any, but that is part of the problem because sometimes we can’t stop ourselves. We (I in this case) grab those cupcakes on instinct, put it in our mouths and chomp down before stopping and saying “Do I actually need this?”

Diabetes Check – This week it didn’t happen because I had to cancel this. This was my own choice due to everything that was going on in my life at the time. I didn’t have the time to go back and change it. I kept monitoring my bloods and also kept checking my insulin and taking my pills so I felt confident I would be OK until next week.

Week Four

By this week Covid 19 had hit New Zealand and people are out there are starting to panic buy (I didn’t but some people in my family did). This means there are a lot of people at the Supermarket, Farmers Market and supply is certainly getting affected.

An example of this (which has only just hit me in the last two days) is that my partner has told me that the place where she gets the special flour she used to make the best Keto Bread in the world is all gone (After trying the cardboard like substance that passes for Store Bought Keto Bread I can easily say this is going to be hard! lol #ketoproblems).

What I want to get at it with this week is, there is increased tension and fear in the air and it’s all good to just tell people to “Chill out” but when the anxiety is hitting you from all sides, it’s’ times like these when you can fall back into your old learned behaviours. In my case I am more at risk to not cook the food I bought, go out and buy bad food like Pizza, or Burgers.

I am going to keep trying to keep this under control and cook the food that I like eating.

Now I am no Jamie Oliver .. well I don’t cook naked, I wear a robe I have some decency. I mostly do my cooking in the mornings, but what I do cook I enjoy. I am seriously thinking about making a Keto Recipe book in the future showcasing just some of the food I have and how I make them in a semi-lazy way. If you think this is a good idea let me know! Now when I say lazy I’ll give you an example of what I mean.

My main goto for breakfast is simply boiled eggs with sausages and veges.

I will put the eggs in from cold and let them boil. Same as the sausages, I will put these on the frypan. I will then go have a shower, put my robe back on, come back and flip the sausages, check the eggs and then go get dressed.

A little simple I know, but it works for me and it’s making me eat healthier.

Of course if you now have an image of me cooking in a robe … um your welcome?? and I apologize??

I want to show people in the future that this Keto thing, can be very hard but only if you make it hard on yourself (like me straying towards McDonalds instead of coming home to cook something). Otherwise you can have really tasty food (even if your a fussy bugger like me).

Amazon Affiliate Plug time! Yes it’s that time, I don’t get paid to write these crazy blogs but if you like what you read and want to help support me you can click the link below and if you buy anything from Amazon I will get a small percentage.
So what do I have for you today? Well how about something we all need at the moment but can’t get our hands on. Hand Sanitizer anyone??

Well thanks and congrats for making it all the way to the bottom. You will see some photos below and notice that since this journey started I have lost around 9 Kg’s (19.84 lbs) which is pretty good for two months work. I truly appreciate you all and want to tell you to like, subscribe and comment.

I want to grow this Whanau into a community.

Stay Safe and love you all!

Weight Loss Journey .. The First Month

Kia Ora Whanau!

Welcome to my second post about my weight loss. For more on my history you can visit my previous post “Weight Loss Journey … The History

First off before I being I want to say a huge thank you for not only taking the time to read about my journey but also the out flowing support I have received from everyone either on my Instagram posts or my personal Facebook, and also in general life from the support of my family and friends. For those that know me it has been a long journey to even start this, and then to do it publicly is even more daunting.

OK so straight up, this is gonna be a loooong post so I hope you will stick with me.

There are photos at the bottom of this blog and I explain these a bit more so if you don’t want to read the post first before you get the saucy half-naked yeti photo, feel free to come back to this!

So my first month, I’m gonna break this down week by week and I will try to discuss all aspects of it.

Week One

Well lets just start this with the first day, I started following a meal plan that my girlfriend created for me, as I mentioned in my previous post, I didn’t actually realize that what I was doing was a personalized version of a Keto diet.
As you can see from my photos below, I wasn’t exactly super focused on my health (specifically photo three).

The meal plan was a one pager that included, food I can eat at breakfast, lunch and dinner and all food I can’t go near.

Now I am not a big vegetables guy – It’s like I always thought of the word as a bad swear word, and the ones I did eat were mostly heavily carb/ sugar focused, potatoes, corn, carrots and berries, apples banana’s. … seeing I couldn’t have these made me a little weary. I automatically felt like I would be failing within two to three days, let alone trying to turn this into my new lifestyle!

But I persevered! I was doing it for the right reasons, I was gonna be healthy and change my life … Cue my eventual Hypo(glycemic) attack within 12 hours of starting the diet and having to have my girlfriend buy me fruit at the farmers market (where we had gone to go buy all the veges I could now eat) just to bring my blood sugar up.
Now I admit I f%&ked up in this instance. I left for a big walk after taking my 120 units of insulin, my diabetic pills without any breakfast and very little to eat the night before.
I also didn’t take my Jelly Beans (Shout-out to my diabetic’s reading this, you know how much those little sugary beans can pick you up!).
As you can imagine I had not made the best impression that this was gonna go well.

But the main thing is I recovered and decided I better have some jelly beans with me all the time. The meals were tasty and nice. If you go to my Instagram you can see every meal I have made or had since starting this journey.

Now before I started this Keto diet/ lifestyle I had started increasing my walking – trying to go for 10 thousand steps a day, this has since increased to 12 thousand and hopefully climbing as time goes on.

During this time, like literally just before, my change in lifestyle (I’m gonna try not to call it a diet from now on, because lets face it most times I try to diet, I Die @ doing it!). I discovered Sweat Coin. Now this isn’t a plug or anything like that, but basically Sweat Coin is a crypto-currency app that you earn by walking … seems to good to be true right? well it is actually true.
You can join my Sweat Coin and I get $5 sweat coins if you use my code. I will do a Sweat Coin post in the future if people are interested.

Because of the app, I actually enjoyed walking and seeing my coin’s increase, gives me an incentive to keep with the walking and the new lifestyle!

Day three … another Hypo, this time I was at work. The mistake I made this time, I had been monitoring my blood sugars but the one thing I hadn’t done … I never changed my insulin. Naturally with the low sugar I was eating, my natural blood sugar would be reducing … A fact I saw while doing my blood sugar readings.
This time I called my friend who worked in the diabetic field. What did she say to me? “Get your ass to the Dr’s!”
Note: I really want you to go back and read that line like in Arnie’s voice from Total Recall, not because of the person who told me but I figure it will make you laugh every time you think about it.

I took my friend’s advice and then luckily on day five I saw the my diabetic nurse. He was not happy with me, not because of the changing lifestyle, or the walking. What he wasn’t happy with??
The fact that I had not had a blood sugar HbH1C test (this measures your blood sugars over the last three months), in about 18 months… yeah not proud of that.

My diabetic nurse went through the meal plan and issued me with a new diabetic machine (my old one was over 10 years old), now I am a big tech geek so when my friend who I phoned said there are now meters that connect via Bluetooth I thought “I don’t have to write in a book anymore, sweet sign me up!” if you are diabetic, talk to your Dr about getting one because these things are awesome!

A condition of my new machine … I had to come in every week to talk to the diabetic nurse. When I discuss week two a bit more I’ll expand more on why that was a great idea.

So I manage to get through the first week with a few minor hiccups but overall it seemed like I could get used to this, sausage and eggs for breakfast (with a lot of veges thrown in), steak, chicken, or fish for lunch (insert previous comment about copious amounts of veges) and repeat for dinner.

Now over the first week my mind did actually wonder .. can I actually do this for a sustained time? I mean wont I get sick of the same meals all the time. Well one month on and I can say I still enjoy the meals and even trying to create new ones as well. so that’s a yes … so far, lets see how next month happens!

Week Two

So I am getting in to the pattern of cooking my food and actually quite enjoying it, but there is one thing that’s bothering me.

Bread.

Yup that’s what I said, Bread, god did I miss bread! It is one of those essentials that I didn’t even think of missing that much. The funny thing, it wasn’t even actually for the bread itself.
OK stick with me but, it was what I could put on the bread, Peanut Butter, Marmite (for those from overseas, if you haven’t tried marmite on bread and butter it’s … an experience, Kiwi’s love it, everyone else … not so much!).
The point is, I couldn’t see myself putting peanut butter on a cracker (cause carbs) or marmite on a slice of cucumber … no thanks!

I expressed this frustration to …. well anyone that would ask me “how it’s going?” The cravings for those carbs did hit me pretty hard but I pushed through the struggle … and munched on more bell peppers and cucumbers.

The big “D“, Diabetes that is, Week two and seeing my diabetic nurse was a little bit better as I didn’t see the same person, but what I did get is the result of my blood glucose. I was 97 … If this was a class room that would be a pass right??? not in the world of diabetes.
To give you some clarification a “healthy” person’s blood glucose should be around 40 to 60 (or when your testing your blood between 4 to 6).
I was sitting at over double that.
But the diabetic nurse looked over the food I had been eating (I have been tracking everything through My Fitness Pal), and also my new blood sugar measurements … because now its all on my phone so I can easily watch my progress.

The diabetic nurse tapped me on the head and wished me well until next week, when my original diabetic nurse came back to see my progress.

So it’s been two weeks and you would think I wouldn’t see any change right?, well you would be wrong!

OK so I’m not gonna make out like I had lost heaps and look like a Greek Adonis of a man, my heritage suggests I should look like. I am however defiantly noticing my increased mobility, the tightness in my breath disappearing and the need for being sore for lifting my fat ass every time I need to move. So I’m calling it a win at this stage.

Week Three

Now this was a big week for me for my fitness. Last week I did something which surprised me, I walked from my work to home, a distance of about 7 Kilometers across some hilly terrain. It took me three hours.

This week, not only did I do this walk in two and a half hours, I also went for a massive walk to the Red Rocks Reserve. This reserve houses some pretty cheeky Seals and is somewhere I have always wanted to go to… I have lived in Wellington all my life .. of 37 years, Way to see the world right??

The food was going well, but that craving of bread was still there and this week it was like a cheesy horror film tagline, “It was back for vengeance!” or “Don’t go into the bakery!”

Now this would be all good, if it wasn’t for the fact that I live with three qualified bakers, one of whom, specializes in amazing cakes and slices. Temptation is real people and her name is Carb City!

My girlfriend knew I had a problem with this, and how much it was getting to me. She made me a deal. Before I started my Keto journey I used to frequent Dominoes, and as such I had a free pizza voucher from them.
I texted my girlfriend one night and fessed up that I still has this and (if I’m gonna be completely honest, I almost slipped and spent twenty minutes trying to convince myself not to use the voucher. I had even logged in to the app and ordered my pizza before pressing the complete order button), she was proud of me for not going through with it. I asked if she wanted the pizza . . . Hoping we could share it (this would be the ultimate cheat meal!), she saw through my plan and told me I can swap the voucher for a present.

I didn’t want to, but I thought “ok, I don’t actually need the pizza”

She surprised me with the best gift ever … Bread!!!, specifically Keto bread that she had learnt to make and advised she would make me every week. My love tank bubbled over, something so simple like a loaf of bread made me dam well near cried my keto tears of joy.

Week there was hard but everything is getting easier, I am cooking more and feeling so much better.

Let me put this in perspective for you, Prior to my new lifestyle, I was having a sick day almost every week. Not something I am proud about either. When its’ once in a blue moon it’s ok, but every week for like four to five months … there’s something wrong buddy!

I seemed to have a cold that would never go away, I was constantly popping throat pills to clear my airways. I was not well.

Three weeks of eating mostly veges and no carbs and internally I feel like a new man.

Diabetic appointment number three. I no longer feel bad or horrible, I’m starting to be more aware of what I should be doing and when I should be taking my readings. Everything is coming up Alex!

This week I also have to visit the Hospital for a previous referral about my eyes. A lot of people don’t realize that diabetes can also make you go blind, yes not the original thing that your parents said you would go blind for, but sugar!

The good news is, apart from looking like Mr Sparkle because of the eye drops, it appears that finally my eyes are finally getting better since the change.

Also this week I had my first cheat meal (notice I said meal and not day). As it was Valentines Day, my girlfriend and I went to a restaurant and I had ribs, not a lot but just enough. It was a welcome change … it wasn’t pizza or pasta but it was delicious! The main thing is I didn’t feel like I now need a cheat meal every week.

Week Four

So this is the week I am in now, I know it’s early so I cant talk about my diabetic appointment, but I can already tell from my reduction of insulin and my readings that I have already knocked off around 40 from my score from 97. I have been promised that in April I can go for another blood test so that will be a huge indication of what has changed.

I no longer feel shame walking around, and the confidence that everyone has given me from their support and love had made me feel like I am doing the right thing and also inspired me to keep going.

Now I am an Amazon affiliate and if you click the link I mention here you will be taken to Amazon and if you buy something (anything) I do get a slight commission, that said one of my friends referred me to listen to an audio book from Tony Robbins called Unshakable. This book, while mostly is about talking about how to invest in index funds and the diversifying of your portfolios, it also talks about changing your mindset and effectively trying to make your mind Unshakable. I’m not gonna lie, it actually helped me quite a bit during week two and three when I felt I was gonna fall off the wagon and go have that slice of non-keto bread, or go buy that chocolate. The point I want to make is that it’s not just the health stuff I am eating or moving it’s also about changing my feelings, my emotions and also my mindset. It’s worth a listen or read if you have a chance. I hope to cover my mindset change in a future blog.

Once again thanks so much for reading all the way to the end, feel free to like, comment, subscribe and all that good stuff. I try to respond to everyone. I want to build this into a community as well as a network and in order to do that I need you.

OK so you made it all the way to the end of the first month! Here is your reward, some old photos and some new ones:

  1. Me at the Wellington Rugby Sevens as The Fat Chippendale (Kids don’t search this, ask your mum what this is!)
  2. Me as Psy from Gangnam Style at one of the 12 Pubs of Christmas pub crawls
  3. Me on my 30th birthday. I drank all 30 shots in less than 7 minutes … something drunk Alex used to be very proud of … I would do this about 4 years in a row
  4. Fast Forward to NOW! This is an example of the food I have been eating to change my diet, Chicken Drumsticks baked in spices with veges
  5. A Egg omlette with sausage, bell peppers and cheese
  6. Me today (18 February 2020) I am down to 124.40 Kgs (274.25 Lbs) – down 5 KG’s roughly from start this journey

Weight Loss Journey … What Is SweatCoin???

Kia Ora Whanau

Welcome to the another weight loss post! Alex from Costas Enterprises here, and this post is going to cover SweatCoin, what it is, some tips and also shameless promotion of my using this as another motivator to lose weight!

Disclaimer: I am not paid by SweatCoin, nor do I gain anything from this post. This is my personal review of an App I heard about and started using. You will see me mention my code later and if you want to support me with SweatCoins if you click the link, download and install the App I will be given $5 in SweatCoins (not real money). I am an Amazon Affiliate and on this blog I wont be adding any links to Amazon, I ask instead that if you want to support me you instead use my SweatCoin referral link below:

sweatco.in/hi/thekiwidon

You can also listen to this blog via my podcast episode here.

So lets get started with the big question shall we…

What Is SweatCoin?

So if you search SweatCoin you will see a lot of things like reviews and also the phrase “It Pays To Walk”. That is because SweatCoin is an app for Android and iPhone that helps you create SweatCoins.

But what does all that mean???

SweatCoin is an attempt to make a Crypto-Currency like Bit Coin but rather than sticking 15 iPhone’s together to generate One bitcoin every 15 minutes, you can earn SweatCoins by Walking.

Yes you read right I typed walking.

Does it cost?/ Is this a Scam??

The next question people ask is one of the above. So let me get this out there right now.

No! It does not cost you any real money. There is some cost involved but this is linked to the SweatCoin themselves. We will cover this a little bit later when we talk about plans.

No! This is not a Scam! Real people use this app everyday, and honestly if I was offering it as a scam my integrity would be brought into question not only for this job but also my current employer within Information Technology.

Yeah but are you sure???

Trust me, as someone who is very skeptical of scams and even of things like this I have done some research for you. I have not only looked thought he web and you-tube videos, I have spoken with others that have been using the app for three to four years and have claimed rewards.

Now I have to admit in my skeptical nature going through the login process made me think that it could be a bit of a scam, but I did some more research and I then realized I was being super paranoid, yet I have so many apps that I share everything with and this was only asking for one thing – Geo Location.

If your skeptical like me you may want to look at their site yourself, you can do this here.

So if it doesn’t cost or it isn’t a scam … why haven’t I heard about it?

I have to admit I literally stumbled across this randomly through searching you-tube for looking at earning passive income. It was here that I heard about SweatCoin and the promise of up to $1000!!!

As I said, it sounds to good to be true right? Walk and get $1000 … well it’s not super simple. They don’t/ can’t give away $1000 just to anyone.

So what’s the catch?/ Where do they get the money from?/ What do I have to give up?

OK so lets tackle this in three parts.

The Catch – For the $1000, this is a one time reward. Once you claim it, it’s gone. This is paid into your PayPal account and is in your local currency. Now this part is important.
They won’t ever ask for a bank account or credit card for any payments. They also will not receive any payments from you using normal money.

Where do they get the money from? – So in the Market Place (refer to screen-shot further down) you will see offers from advertisers. Yep that’s the catch, you will get adverts in your App, but don’t stop reading yet, the adverts are not pushed to you. This means you wont see an advert everytime to walk or open the app. You only see these adverts when you personally want to see them. You can use any earned SweatCoins to purchase anything from the Market Place or use a daily advert to earn more SweatCoins.

The Marathon items you see cost a lot of SweatCoins … I’m not going to lie, these can take two to three years to earn. Some offers however are as little as 10 Sweat Coins which can easily be earned in a day.

What do I have to give up? – So this will be a sore issues for some people and will be a reason people will probably switch off. You give up some Geo-Location/ Privacy issues. Now if you stick with me I can now explain that as for the Geo-Locations – You can choose to not have any data sent via the App (apart from the mandatory once a day so it can analyze and sync your step count).

Wait … did you say step count? like a pedometer? Well kind of. You see the app will track the steps you take based on Google locations. It does not currently work with FitBit, or Any other smart watch but apparently they are trying to source this.

The important thing to remember here is that your step count will be different from your fit-bit/ smart-watch etc…

So wait … does it use a lot of Data? or Battery?

Data – No, it will only use data once a day if you leave it so it can analyze your steps, however if your like me you sometimes want to see the conversion so you can manually transfer your steps in to Sweat Coins. Also if you go to the Market place you will be using data. This feature is not turned on. Data is always on by default and you have to turn this off through the app (or just turn your mobile data off).

Battery – Yes, I have to admit my battery does go down a bit faster these days but not so much that I never have enough. While it’s not as big of a power-drain as Pokemon Go, or other Geo-location apps, if you have it open all the time you will notice this. This is where things got interesting, you see it will run in the background so the drain on power is not half as bad as you actually think.

What does it look like?

So if your still reading by now you are hopefully a little intrigued so lets have a quick look shall we?

Home Screen – After the login process this is the main screen you will see. You will notice that you have your Total Steps at the bottom and then above that are your SweatCoins earned for that time/ day.

Home Screen Tips

  1. The info button on the right is where you can manually convert your steps in to SweatCoins
  2. The +S button in the bottom right corner is where you can Refer a Friend or watch your Daily Bonus adverts – I will cover these a bit more in depth a little later
  3. The bottom bar is like your navigation bar. The first button is your Market place, The second is your wallet, The third is the home screen, The fourth is your leader board (where you can compete against people around you or friends) and finally The fifth button is your profile. You can see who follows you, who you follow and also change the plan your on (more on that a little later).
This is the Home Screen for SweatCoin (Android)

Market place – The below screenshot shows you the Marathon offers you can claim. As you can see the $1000 will cost you 20 Thousand SweatCoins…. that’s a lot of walking.

In the Market place you can also access your Daily Rewards by scrolling down.

In addition to using the market place for yourself you can also Donate to great causes.

Yes that’s right, your SweatCoins can be donated to causes that will be paid in real money by the company on your behalf.

This is the Market Place. You have Marathon and Normal offers from advertisers.

Rewards Pages

So there are two basic rewards/ referrals that can help you earn more SweatCoins.

  1. Daily Bonus – This is three 30 second adverts to watch. Disclaimer: These are the only adverts you will be forced to watch once you click their button. All are about 30 seconds. These rewards can range from 0.50sc to 25.00sc. I’ll be honest this screenshot below is the first and only time I have received 25sc (which was 03/03/2020). Most times I get 0.50sc or 1/2sc. It also has to be noted that you only unlock the three videos until SweatCoin registers 2000 steps. The minimum for daily reward can be 1.5sc and the maximum is 75sc per day… if your really lucky!
  2. Refer-A-Friend – So every friend that you refer and they sign-up earns you 5sc per person. As you can see there is a referral code as well as other sharing mechanics to allow you to send your code. (Shameless plug, try my code and help me gain 5sc!!

Referral Code: sweatco.in/hi/thekiwidon

OK so what are these plans you keep going on about?

There are four plans. Mover (no cost), Shaker (4.75 sc p/month), Quaker (20 sc p/month) and Breaker (30 sc p/month)

Each plan has a different cost and maximum SweatCoin you can earn per month. You can keep it free by sticking to Mover. I am personally on Breaker.

Plan Tip! As an introduction to SweatCoin you get offered your first month free on any of the other “paid” plans. I signed up for the Breaker plan and it took me 3 days to earn 30sc … meaning my first month basically paid for itself. I suggest if your going to actually try this, then do think about going to one of the plans and get that free bonus. You will then be charged every month (on the anniversary of the date you joined).

So why does it motivate you?

I’ll be honest, I started this just before I started my weight loss journey … like literally one week before. What kept me going, I can earn money if I walk.

If I’m going to walk anyway I might as well earn something while I walk right???

The fact that I can simply have this app running in the background and that my SweatCoin balance just keeps going up.

To date (As of 05 March 2020) and after only doing this for around six weeks my wallet size is currently 444.54 sc.

To be the honest the added bonus of helping me lose weight is just another advantage of using the app.

Conclusion

OK so as you can tell I actually like SweatCoin. There are other app like this out there but I really like the User Interface (UI) and also I love the fact that it dosen’t actually cost me real money to use the app, or I’m not bombarded with notifications or adverts every time I open it.

The thought of walking my way to money is also pretty cool.

Cons: Lets the get the bad stuff out of the way, the Geo-Location/ Privacy issues are a slight concern, however given the other apps on my phone which ask for a million other things like contacts then the one request for Geo-Location isnt so bad.

The battery issue is a concern as it does drain a bit, however I am the kind of person who changes a battery as soon as it falls below 80%.

Pros: I think most of this article shows my positive side towards this app but lets make it clear:

  • I like the fact it gets me moving – aka more motivation,
  • I like the UI and feel like it’s easy to use,
  • I also like that I am not bored of the idea,
  • I like money … yeah I’m honest right.

In short, and this is my opinion, I really like the idea of the app and if you need some motivation to go for that longer walk, this does help .. well it did for me.

If you want to support me in this journey then please click the link and join up!

Referral Code: sweatco.in/hi/thekiwidon

Thanks everyone for taking the time to read this post.

Please like, comment and subscribe!

Prep For That Interview, What Do I Need To Do?

Kia Ora Whanau!

Alex from Costas Enterprises here, and today we are going to cover some of the basic things you should do before you go to the interview. These tips wont get you the job, but they may help you feel more confident.

Review your STARL examples and try to anticipate what you may be questioned on.

OK shameless blog posts plug here, but if you haven’t already, you may want to check out my previous STAR examples post. We have also already discussed about identifying these in another blog post (Before you apply for a job). These can be identified by looking in to the job description and identifying what skills the employer is looking for. Sometimes the employer will come out and say exactly the skills they want but other times you will need to read the language of what they are wanting to find.

Practice the delivery of your STARL examples.

You can do this by holding a mock interview with a family member or your friend. The important thing to know when going into an interview is that when you are being asked a question by one of the interviewers, the one question asked is actually two to three questions in one. For example they might ask something similar to:

“This question is about teamwork. Tell me/us a time when you were part of a good team, what was the defining factor about this team and how did you resolve any conflicts within that team?

When you are asked a question like this you may need to change your STARL example to fit this question, you need to think how you break down the question.

In this example we are told the skill is Teamwork, but is this the only skill they want you to identify? They ask to tell them a time you were part of a good team (Question 1 – This is you giving them an example), What was the defining factor about this team (Question 2 – What made this team great (this should be within the example itself)) and finally they ask how did you resolve any conflicts within the team (Question 3 – This is not only asking about teamwork but also how you resolve conflict or deal with irate team members – And before you ask, the answer “we never have any complaints or conflicts” is not going to be helpful at all so think carefully). Also in this example you may want to instead mention a time from your personal life if you can’t think of a work example.

Practice the delivery of your answer.

You need to practice taking your time to think about the answer you will give to their question, you need to make sure that you can interpret one of your STARL answers into the question they have asked. This may also mean slightly adapting your answer.

One thing you will learn is that while you’re STARL answers will be great when you explain the Situation Task Action Result and what you Learnt, if you can’t adapt these within the interview to answer the question being asked, you might as well not even try to remember them.

This only comes with practice! The more practice and experience you have with these style of interview questions, the easier it will be to adapt and respond.

The key point here is listening to the question being asked. By taking time you think about your answer before responding straight away, you will be more comfortable and confident in your response.

Remember: You want to make this interview more like a conversation, this way the employer will feel comfortable around you … this is a good thing!

Dress to impress

OK so I know I don’t really need to say this, but I’m going to cover it off anyway.

When you are going for an interview you are giving a visual representation of yourself to the employer. What does this mean? … You don’t have to be dressed as if you’re going on a first date/ wedding or a school ball but at the very least dress professionally.

Think about it simply, if you were on the opposite side of the table and someone came to you wearing a T-Shirt and Shorts, with a dirty full beard or messy hair, applying for an office role … would you hire that person?

You want to make a good first impression as it might be the last one you have to ever give.

So get a shirt/ blouse, some nice pants/ dress, get a hair-cut (or comb/ brush your hair) and if your a man, shave/ style your facial hair and finally go get kill that interview!

Believe in yourself and visualise your own success.

Ok, Ok I know it sounds a bit airy-fairy but hear me out.

Before you go into the interview, once your looking and feeling So Fresh and So Clean (Clean) you need to believe that you can give that amazing interview.

Put simply BE CONFIDENT!!

You are going in this interview to show that you will be an asset to their team/ organization because you have every skill needed to go. So go in there and not only show that you can do the job required but exceed it (you did apply for the job because your thought you were qualified right?, now is the time to act that way).

Do some research and prepare to ask a question.

So I know we have covered this already in a previous Questions blog post but this is actually really important, As mentioned in the blog post, this is not a standard “What does the job pay?” type question.

Instead it should be more of a reflection of what the job is, for example if you are applying for a Business Analyst type role within security, ask them something that is in line with what they are looking for.
“What security measures do you currently use and how do you intend to develop these to the changing technological markets?”.
By asking a question to do with the job, you are showing an interest in the role and while it might not get you the job, it will at least show them you are seriously interested and could lead to another job interview or a junior position within the same organization.

So we come to the part of the blog where I offer links to Amazon products and advise that I am an Amazon Affiliate and if you click the link and buy anything from Amazon I will get a small commission. This is a way of helping keep these blogs going so I appreciate anyone that helps me do this! These two books are only examples of what you can wear when going not only for an interview but also once you get that job. Again this wont guarantee you get the job, but it might make your interviewer favor you more if you have closed shoes as opposed to jandals/ flip-flops.

  1. Chic Simple Dress Smart Men: Wardrobes That Win in the New Workplace
  2. Chic Simple Dress Smart Women: Wardrobes That Win in the New Workplace

Thanks again for taking the time to read this post and I value all of my readers/ followers and commentators. So come and join the Whanau and subscribe so your always in the know!

Until next time, have a great day Whanau!

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