And it doesn’t involve the word “blockchain”

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Still confused why someone would pay $69 million for a JPG file anyone can download for free? You’re not alone. Despite all the articles explaining the technology of NFTs (“non-fungible token,” “blockchain,” the usual buzzwords), no one has explained why anyone would spend a penny — let alone eight figures — to “own” an image you can Google in two seconds.

Well, the mystery ends here.

Understanding NFTs (or “crypto art”) is simple. You know how collectors go crazy over the first edition print of a baseball card, or the first print of a comic book? NFTs make it possible…

Plus: a subscriber update for my newsletter Takeaways

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In December, I published just six articles while battling burnout all month long.

I’m not a fast writer by any means. To keep up with the algorithm, which seems to favor volume, I’ve been trying to write every day. Last month, I finally hit a productivity wall. Juggling Medium, a day job, and an attempt to learn growth investing took a toll on my creative output.

I’m not 100% sure how much I’ll be writing on Medium going forward. …

Breaking down three successful pitches and why they worked

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When I started freelancing on Upwork this year, I had one goal: to build a full-time income. Though it was derailed when I was offered a full-time job I couldn’t refuse, I’m satisfied with my attempt. In the few months I freelanced, I wrote for global biotech companies, built connections that still generate side income, and made $13,343 in the equivalent of one month of work.

Through it all, I was able to acquire clients quickly thanks to a simple realization: the key to a winning freelance pitch is to reduce uncertainty for the client.

As someone who has both…

Filling in some gaps on behalf of the education system

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Wealth inequality and student debt are on the rise, and there’s a lot of disagreement over who’s at fault. However, there’s one institution we can all agree to blame for at least a portion of this crisis: schools.

Over the last few decades, schools have gradually omitted more and more critical subjects from their curriculums, the most harmful of which is personal finance. In theory, we should all embrace personal responsibility and take our education into our own hands. …

How to boost your click-through rates

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“[On average], five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy,” legendary marketer David Ogilvy once said. “When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”

These days, Ogilvy’s words are more relevant than ever. Whether you’re a writer, marketer, or small business owner, the quality of your headline often decides your fate. A good headline can make your content viral, while a bad one might cast your hard work into the unending sea of the internet, never to be read again.

Don’t fret. The good news is that great…

If I could only turn back time…

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22 is a pivotal year for many. You graduate college, enter the “real world,” and suddenly find there’s pressure to perform. Did you land an entry-level job? Are you moving to a cool city? What kind of jobs are your peers landing? Which cities are they moving to?

The mindsets you hold — your assumptions, ideas, preconceived notions — define how you react to this pressure. And I often wonder how different my 20’s would’ve looked if I could go back in time armed with what I know now.

Assume for a second that I could. …

5 lessons from Copyblogger, one of the internet’s biggest blogs

Brian Clark from Copyblogger being interviewed.
Brian Clark from Copyblogger being interviewed.
Screenshot from Interview with Brian Clark of at Dreamforce ‘12

These days, Copyblogger is more than just a blog. With over 252,000 monthly organic hits and nearly 4,000 posts in its archives, it’s the internet’s premiere educational resource for content marketers, ranking number one on Google for search terms like “writing tips,” “how to read,” “learn copywriting,” “how to write well,” and even “analogy or metaphor.”

In 2016, it generated over $12 million a year in revenue, prompting Forbes to call it an “empire.” Though they haven’t publicly released their income recently, estimates that the site now brings in over $33 million a year — nearly tripling in size…

How to learn a highly profitable trading strategy

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When you hear the word “investing,” who do you think of? Most would say Warren Buffett, and for good reason. With a net worth of over $86.7 billion (as of December 1st) and a perennial position on the world’s wealthiest people lists, there’s no denying that Buffett is one of the most successful investors of all time.

Buffett is a value investor, which means he prefers stocks that are “on sale,” i.e. currently trading for lower than what they’re fundamentally worth. But there’s another high profitable trading philosophy that’s rarely covered in the media: growth investing.

Growth investors trade with…

Plus: a subscriber update for my newsletter Takeaways

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To keep up my promise to be transparent with my progress, here’s everything I experienced on Medium in November. Please keep in mind I’m very much still an amateur, so any opinions on algorithms and earnings calculations expressed might be inaccurate.

November was my lowest earning month yet, but also the most interesting. Let’s dig into it.

Newsletter Update: +78 Subscribers

The internet is turning writing into big business

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Making a living as a writer was much harder just two decades ago. If you couldn’t land a copywriting job or find a publisher that liked your manuscript, you were probably out of luck.

The internet has since dismantled these barriers. These days, there are dozens of ways for writers to make money, none of which require a boss or literary agent. Can’t get a book deal? Launch a newsletter, start a blog or teach a writing course instead. The only tools you need are an internet connection and the ability to communicate ideas clearly.

Three writers in particular have…

Matt Lane


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