My new hustle as a ghostwriter.It’s been a while since you and I have hung out.

It’s been for several reasons.

All good ones, actually.

And now it’s about to change.

You and I are going to have some fun together.

Here’s how:

Many of you know I work full time as a lawyer, host two podcasts, wrote a book called Confessions of a Terrible Husband: Lessons Learned from a Lumpy Couch, and make lots more noise around the internet….

Oh yeah, I’m married with children, too.

That’s a lot of stuff, right?


How do I do it all?

Several ways. But here are my three favorites:

1. I plan carefully.

Nothing is by accident. I plan the times I work and the times I relax. I set boundaries and stick to them. People ask to invade space that I have set for other things I say no. Yeah, it’s tough sometimes. But it has rarely been an issue. It’s usually a “not then, but now about at this time” rather than a straight “no.” But… that leads me to number 2.

2. I say no.

I’m terrible at saying no. I used to never say no. But now that I am focused on building a freelancing business (rather than just freelancing for fun like I have been doing), I’ve had to say no more and more. So in addition to “not now,” I have to cut things out and say no to opportunities to allow me to focus on where I can have the most positive impact in the world, which starts in my home and then trails off as I go through my day job, freelance writing for pay, and my personal writing and podcasting.

And finally…

3. I supertask.

I write a lot. I podcast a lot. I speak, too. But I don’t multitask. I do the exact opposite. I’ll write more on this later. But when I set a time to do something I stick to it. If I have to write 5 blog posts for various sites this week, I don’t write one a day, I write 5 in a 3-hour period one night. Same with podcasts. Same with promotion.

So where does this leave us?

As of September 1 I am hitting “reset” on all of my online adventures and share the process for me building up my side hustle.

I do have several items in place and have been doing some writing, coaching, speaking, and podcasting for money for a little while now, so it’s not exactly “new.” But I haven’t shared my process, successes, and failures before.

So I’m going to start that right here.

I’ve been wanting to redirect Step Away from the Mall for a while. It’s always been about improving your money and your family life.

But I wanted a better narrative.

Now I have one.

Stick with me as I share how I’m building my business with strong boundaries around family.

This isn’t going to be the most polished of websites. It never has been. And it never will be. And I think you’ll like that.

But it will be a place where you can follow along with me as I build my lifestyle business more intentionally than I ever have.

Until next time, put your credit card down and slowly step away from the mall!

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Hope in the Changing Financial Environment

by Nick on August 14, 2015

Hope in the Changing Financial EnvironmentIn the early years of the Milennium the economy was so buoyant. Few people worried about their spending because if they owned real estate it was rising in value year on year. Others saw that credit card companies were presenting them with ever increasing credit limits if they were approaching the current one. 0% balance transfers were widespread so no one was too concerned if they were overspending. Complacency abounded both in the financial sector and society as a whole.


Those days are long gone; they were brought to an abrupt end when the Collateralized Debt Obligation (CDO) Crisis caused such problems on Wall Street and ultimately worldwide. The years of recession saw widespread misery, austerity amongst ordinary people who had had few financial problems previously. Things would never be the same again and as the recession ended many households had a serious repair job to do. They often had debt and no obvious way to get out of it. Their friendly local bank was rarely friendly any more.

The lucky ones were those that had either retained their jobs, and hence regular monthly income, and later those who found jobs once again and could therefore look at how best to improve their financial circumstances.


The repair job can take time. The first prerequisite is income but that is just the beginning. That income needs to meet all regular bills as well as any other financial commitments that might be employed to successfully achieve the improvements. One obvious thing is to cut out waste which comes in many forms; unnecessary spending, uncompetitive utility supplies and paying too much interest unnecessarily when there are better products in today’s market.

Cutting out waste does not equate to austerity. It does not make sense to pay too much for utilities and insurance if there are better deals on offer. Equally it does not make sense to be paying a high rate of interest on credit card balances each month when there are consolidation loans at a much more competitive rate even for those people with a poor credit score due to previous defaults that then appear on their credit history. Debt does involve expense but it should be as low as possible.

The Dangers of Credit Cards

Credit card companies are going for growth once more but cards really should only be used for convenience. If someone cannot really afford to buy a product and cannot pay the full amount back at the end of the month they should forget the purchase until they can afford it. The danger is that taking out a consolidation loan to pay off balances in full results in a line of credit becoming available once again. The last thing anyone should do is to spend once more and build up another balance after taking on term realistic quick loans to get rid of the last one.

Anyone who thinks that it is too good to be true that there are lenders with a sympathetic ear to those in financial difficulty especially after the years of turmoil should pause for a moment and do their own research. The Internet has become the most powerful marketing tool at the disposal of business and that includes those in the financial sector. Lenders operating exclusively online have all seemed to adopt the principle of affordability. If an applicant is realistic and the information he or she can provide can back up that principle of affordability then in almost every case an applicant will get approval, and the funds will be released almost immediately.

While those with a poor credit score may pay a little higher interest rate than the norm, that rate will be far, far cheaper than anything a credit card company will offer.

The financial environment is clearly different than it was a decade ago. It requires people to have more self-discipline and many have learnt that by necessity; the experiences they have suffered between then and now. The lesson will do no one any harm for the future because everyone should be aiming to stabilize their finances, create an emergency fund and provide properly for retirement. Online lenders are an important piece in the jigsaw.

This was a guest post.


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I’m Out of Debt. Now What?!

April 15, 2015

I’m glad you asked. First of all, I want to congratulate you on having eliminated your debts. It’s really difficult to do so. People have debts from many sources. You may have had school loans, expensive credit card debts, hospital bills, tuition costs for your children, or any of a thousand other debt sources. But […]

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10 Ways To Get Out Of Quiet Financial Desperation

March 12, 2015

One of the biggest life lessons that came for most people from the financial crash a few years ago was not an abstract awakening of global finance, but a concrete awareness of their own personal finance. While for some the rapid collapse of a $639 billion financial institution like Lehman Brothers in 2008, the revelation of […]

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