Link Soup is a weekly stream-of-consciousness recap of the blogosphere. This is where you get my take on other people’s opinions. This week it isn’t all nice! There’s always room for non-snarky descent.

Bloggin’ Ain’t Easy

That being said, I’ll kick it off with an article I agree with. Yaro Starak has impressed me lately with a series of sobering articles on blogging as a business model. Instead of the usual “quick, start a blog to get rich!” articles that one finds sprinkled around the blogosphere, he has been very frank in describing the difficulties of reaching professional blogging status.

A lot of my readers are already bloggers, but if you aren’t, you should be! Blogs are extremely easy to set up and are the platform of choice for personal expression in the digital age. To find out more, read my article, How to Blog :: The Manual.

Yaro points out that blogging as a business is very similar to other kinds of entrepreneurial ventures where the cream of the crop make the majority of the money. The successful blogs just keep getting more successful while fifty five million other blogs are struggling to be seen.

In his latest article, Why a Preeminent Business is Superior to Money Making Opportunities, he points out that in this highly competitive entrepreneurial world, it is a better strategy to focus on one thing than try to be a jack-of-all-trades.

I have always believed in the power of focus (as I wrote about in one of my first articles, Three Steps to Success for Creative Geniuses). I find that it’s difficult to tap into your powers of synergy and creativity when your mental focus is spread thin. Instead, a combination of focus and persistence is the greatest indicator of success, outweighing even talent.

I read a great twist on the idea of focus from Scott Young. In his article Specializing Vs. Generalizing, he talks about using the “T” method of balancing focus and generalization.

Negotiation, Good or Evil?

Have you seen what’s happening on Steve-Olson.com? John Chow is buying AdSense ads, appearing on Steve’s blog, that say how great Steve is. That’s just cool on so many levels.

Anyway, Steve wrote an article called, How to Negotiate a Better Price. I really related to this article when Steve talked about how his perceptions of negotiation have changed.

I used to see all negotiation as manipulative and unfair. As I learned more about business and investing, I started to see it differently. Now I see it as sort of the art of business which takes its highest form when two good negotiators work together creatively. The result is often a win-win deal that both parties can be proud of.

At the very minimum, I think you owe it to yourself and your family to learn negotiating techniques in order to identify them when they are being used on you.

Double Link Bonus

Scott Young gets a double link bonus today with an article called, stress and recovery. He points out that goal achievement is not just about pushing yourself beyond your limits. If you don’t make time for recovery, your body will eventually reject your efforts.

Now it’s common knowledge that our muscles work this way, but I never really thought about how our minds might also. I’ve always been the the type to push, push, push. I once had a design in my T-shirt business with the title Sleep is Overrated.

John Chow Lets me Down

As of this moment, John Chow’s Blog is number one on my reading list. I find it entertaining because he covers not only just blogging, but food, life, and whatever else is on his mind. I can’t quite put a finger on why, but I seem to find something interesting just about every time I visit.

That being said, today, he let me down. He wrote an article called TD Visa Sends me Money, in which he talked about how great his credit card was. Apparently, he recently got a refund check for over $1000. Since the card gives him 1% back, that means he charged over $100,000 over the course of last year in order to get $1000 back.

As you all know, I declared credit cards the devil in my article, Rebuttals for Ten Reasons You Think You Need a Credit Card for this exact reason. I know that I am fighting an uphill battle with this one, especially since the prevailing point of view is that the credit card companies are here to save us all (as illustrated in this article on The Digerati Life called Nine Reasons Why I Love My Credit Card).

Both John Chow and Silicon Valley Writer claim to pay off their balances in full each month and therefore claim victory over the credit card companies. While this seems to be the prevailing wisdom on how to responsibly manage your money; I’m often suspicious of prevailing wisdom.

Since, according to BankRate.com, the typical American family pays about $1,200 per year in credit card interest, I’m sure Visa has no problem giving John Chow his $1000 for all the great advertising he is doing.

The credit card companies have done such an amazing sales job, that we are absolutely in love with our cards. We have our favorite logos and colors and we feel important if we have a platinum or titanium card.

The problem for creative types is that we are often too smart for our own good. We can easily come up with elaborate rationale for using credit cards. Paying off a card each month and walking away with 1% sounds perfectly logical and, in fact, very fashionable.

Since most of us are not fortunate enough to have the resources of a dot-com mogul, the majority of us are not able to pay off the balances each month. It only takes one little slip to erase all of the gains you have painfully accrued. Why even tempt yourself?

1% is such a miniscule rate of return anyway. Do you think that TD Visa would offer it to you if they didn’t think you were going to forget to pay off your balance? Plus, we tend to spend more when we aren’t using cash and just throw it on the card. The extra money spent cancels out the return.

I always take out $200 in cash every Sunday and put in in my house. I put a little in my wallet and when it runs out, I stop spending. Its so easy! I can’t imagine how stressful it would be to constantly have to check my credit card account to make sure I was still on budget.

Here’s where they get you: You planned to pay off your balance, but you didn’t account for that emergency car repair or medical bill. Now you’re stuck.

I know, I still haven’t convinced you and I probably never will. You are part of the elite percentile that is capable of perfect self-control. Here’s another angle that you probably haven’t thought of yet:

I don’t like the idea of being in a position where I have to make the money for something I already bought, even if its for a couple of weeks. What if you need to quit your job, or worse, get fired? Having freedom in your life gives you leverage and power that credit cards don’t.

I know, I know, you keep an emergency account in case you need to quit your job. You use your credit card carefully. I’m not going to win this one, so let’s move on to something else!

Don’t Panic!

Mark McGuinness over at Wishful Thinking wrote an article a few weeks ago called Seven Ways to Stop Worrying When You’re Under Pressure, which I thought fit in nicely with my article Whatever You Do, Don’t Panic!.

He presents some really practical ways to get rid of worry. Everyone knows that worry doesn’t serve a purpose but to diminish our abilities. Here’s the kicker: avoiding it is the hard part!

Stick it to The Man!

Tony at Success From the Nest gives the perspective of an independent entrepreneurial type in his article, Passing the Time Cube Farm Scavenger Hunt. He presents a way to help get through the excruciating days of working for someone else on your way to owning your own business. His answer: secret games at work!

Exciting, dangerous, mischievous… I like it.

I’m out.