Guide: How to Make Money with Social Media Skills

It started with a tweet.

And wow did Twitterjaya respond. 30 ‘yes’ replies as of time of writing! So here you go – an article about everything a beginner should know about how to make money with social media skills.

Note: as social media is still evolving, I plan to continually update this article, but it should be a good starting point.

Just a little heads up before you get too excited – just because social media marketing sounds fun af (and it is), doesn’t mean its not work. The ‘social media efforts are best done regularly and consistently‘ part is the work part.

Let’s start with the responsibilities,

Responsibilities of a social media manager*

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6 Ways to Draw More Tourists to Malaysia, According to Malaysians

According to the PM, “the government is targeting to achieve 30 million international tourists and RM100 billion revenue in the tourism sector through the (Visit Malaysia Year 2020) campaign.”

As you and I know, we as a country have A LOT of debt to pay off (yes this is a 1MDB reference). So I am fully in support of the campaign and initiatives under it. It’s not your or my fault that we’re in this debt…  but we’re in this debt.

It sounds like the RoR audience is in support of initiatives that improve the tourism sector, too, because when I asked about what we could do to attract more tourists to Malaysia, I got so many amazing replies! They were so good, I decided to compile some answers here for everyone else to read and contemplate on.

Here’s what you say will draw tourists to Malaysia:

#1 – Appeal to locals (and people who live here like locals)

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Link Roundup #43: 10 Things to Know This Week

Accelerate your personal finance knowledge with this regular feature on Ringgit Oh Ringgit – the Link Roundup! I promise you’ll find these 10 links informational 🙂

1.  Here’s an example of the perfect answer to ‘Tell me about yourself,’ according to Yale career experts – CNBC Make It

It’s not a bad idea to learn the art of humblebragging without making it look like humblebragging. No shade, its true, I do it too.

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Invest in Yourself to Earn More Money: 4 Ways to Do It

Let’s play a game. Anytime you see someone asking the understandably common question of ‘What should I invest in?’ online – in Facebook, Twitter, any social media really – try and see if you can find that one fella who reply back ‘you should invest in yourself first’.

Which is, you know, not wrong. But it *is* condescending and out of place. I said what I said.

(Btw – the answer to that question is in this article. Most people start their investment journey with one of these five types of investments)

But fine. Like I said, those fellas – and its almost always fellas – are not wrong (again, I said what I said). It *is* important to invest in yourself first, I agree.

How does ‘invest in yourself’ look like in practice though? In this article I’d like to share how I’ve been interpreting that statement. The steps are loosely chronological.

#1 – Get access to learning materials

Non-fiction books. Courses – online and offline. Any source of new knowledge, paid or free. I’d put travel in this category too.

You already know this – it’s too obvious and I’m not even going to expand this section beyond this.

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My Total Income and Expenses in 2019

Welcome back to my total incomes and expenses report, now in its fourth year! In this annual series, I’m as financially naked as I can be – you’ll know how much I earned for the whole of 2019 and what I spent on during the year.

Seriously, I love that I keep such meticulous record of my financial data (even though it’s nowhere near perfect, but perfect is boring and not to mention impossible). I love that I can share this information with you, so you get to see how record-keeping is beneficial in practice.

This article is divided into two big sections: incomes (recorded via a Google spreadsheet) and expenses (recorded via my expense-tracking app).  If you’re a regular reader, you should already be familiar with my expense breakdowns anyway – I post them every month.

Income in 2019

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Budget Update: December 2019

budget update december 2019

Budget Update: December 2019

Note: My expense-tracking app, Money Lover got a new visualisation update. I like it fine, except it removed the ‘biggest single expense of the month’ segment in the above graphic. I miss it 🙁

So I spent RM5,444.39 in December 2019. Top 5 expenses were: Dates/Travel, Rent & Utilities, Business, Groceries and Social. More about the breakdown below.

As I write this, New Years Day have came and went. It’s 2020 y’all! It’s still surreal, but I’m sure we’ll all get used to it soon enough.

Lately, I’ve been thinking of the ways that the environment shape our money behaviours. One concept is Nudges, a term popularised by Nobel Prize in Economics winner Richard Thaler. Nudges are measures implemented to gently guide society members to pick one decision over another.

The simplest example is the items positioned at eye level in grocery stores – you still have the freedom to buy whatever you want in the aisle… but you’re more likely to buy the ones positioned at eye level (that’s why companies pay for that space btw).

One powerful nudge is social pressure. For example, studies show that people in a neighbourhood are more likely to recycle if they know that all their other neighbours recycle, too. You don’t want to be the odd one out.

If your new year’s resolution is to save more money or make more money, then use this information to your advantage. Increase your exposure to nudges that work to your advantage.

For example, increasing your exposure to personal finance content creators in various social media (websites | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube). If your feed is telling you that it seems that everyone is trying to get better with money, you will too.

Likewise, try and recognise when for-profit companies are trying to take your money by nudging you a certain way.

That’s the end of that thought process for now. Let’s continue to be better. All the best in 2020, fam.

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Link Roundup #42: 10 Things to Know This Week

Accelerate your personal finance knowledge with this regular feature on Ringgit Oh Ringgit – the Link Roundup! I promise you’ll find these 10 links informational 🙂

1. One Habit That Holds You Back from the Life and Career You Want –

That habit is the habit of seeking permission, something that most, if not all of us were taught since young.

If you have not unlearned this habit, 2020 is the time to do it.

To be clear, a lot of things do require permission. This article refers to the decision-making processes that don’t, or can be achieved even if someone said ‘no’.

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4 Financial Goals I’ve Failed to Achieve

What are the limits of your abilities?

That’s an unpleasant question to ask yourself, isn’t it? No one likes to think of their own flaws.

Yet as the world prepares for the new year decade, all excited to start their financial goals, I can’t help to go the other route and think of where and what I’ve failed to do in the past.

Why talk about failed financial goals

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a negative person. In fact I’m annoyingly optimistic.

(“Crashed your expensive car? Thank God you still have your life”; “Lost a limb in the accident? Insurance payout time kachinggg!!”).

It’s just, I’m battling a dilemma. I want to make financial goals, because failing to plan is planning to fail and all that.

But do I make ambitious financial goals and fail (again) but at least ‘miss the moon and land among the stars’, OR do I make super-realistic financial goals and not feel challenged or excited by them at all?

After thinking about it, I decided that the former is a better alternative than the latter.

But what if we… combine them? Set ambitious goals which are also realistic. To get there, it’s not a bad idea to do some risk-reduction activity – think of where I have failed in the past so I can (try) avoid the same problems.

So here are all the financial goals I’ve failed before, to ground me back to Earth.

#1 – Getting a scholarship

This is old, deep feelings I’m digging out. Late teens, early 20s stuff. See, I’ve never really gotten over the fact that I’ve never gotten a scholarsip.

You might say yeah Suraya many others didn’t get scholarships as well, but let me just counter back – almost all of my best friends during high school got scholarships. I was the stupid less-clever one, the one who didn’t study enough.

The only reason I got an overseas education is because of my parents’ money, not of my own merit.

(Well, maybe a little bit of my own merit. Just a tiny bit)

I might also add – oh gosh I’m so embarassed to admit this – I actually failed my admissions interview into UiTM Shah Alam, too. Yes, the university known to help Malay people.

Underlying core problem which contributed to the failure: underpreparation

#2 – Have a career in social work and work with United Nations

Before Suraya-the-personal-finance-writer, there was Suraya-the-social-worker. Up until my mid-20s, I was working in a few NGOs, including for intercultural exchange, SOGIE rights, HIV/AIDS, refugees and women human rights, just building experience.

I’ve since left the field and industry, but sometimes I still think about the ‘what ifs’. My ultimate goal then was to work in the United Nations, where salaries are high.

Like really, really freakin’ high. I thought, well that’s a nice two-birds-one-stone situation. I would satisfy my lifegoal of ‘doing good’ while making money at the same time.

Why didn’t I still pursue this goal? Well I think I realised that I’m simply not angry enough to make a good activist, the type that demands rights and drafts policies and organises protests and all that. I’m too comfortable with my privileges to act.

Underlying core problem which contributed to the failure: cowardice

Related: [PERSONAL] Malay and Money: A Reflection

#3 – Continue

Sometime back, circa 2018 or early 2019, I bragged about coming up with a new business slash website idea – It’s like, the deal-hunting website but for Malaysians (obv). I even made an article about its creation process: The Exact Steps I Use to Build & Launch in 7 Days

I was so excited about the project in the beginning. But as time went on… I got lazy, and just stopped working on it.

No excuses really. Once I did the beta website, the passion for the project died off :/

Underlying core problem which contributed to the failure: Laziness; loss in motivation

#4 – Doing outbound sales

Generally speaking, there are two ways to get sales/clients: inbound and outbound marketing.

So far in with RoR, I’ve relied mostly on inbound marketing, ie clients liking my work and/or personal brand and coming to hire me directly. It’s a good strategy.

In the past few years, and especially after the publication of the Money Stories from Malaysian: Volume 1 book in early 2019, I’ve challenged myself to be more comfortable with doing outbound sales, ie approaching target clients/customers directly.

And let me say… it’s still hard. Some days I have the confidence to do it, but other days, no.

I want to say small progress is better than no progress, and that is absolutely true, but I also want to push myself harder. Sometimes I even wish I had a boss who’d force me to do sales so I’d have to do it! But no, being a solopreneur means all the initiation and motivation must come from my own self.

Underlying core problem which contributed to the failure: my fear of rejection


To be really, really honest with you, this post was originally supposed to be a list of my financial goals in 2020.

But I thought instead of just sharing with you what I want to do, instead let’s use this space to

(1) remind you that I’ve failed more times than I care to admit, and so does everyone else;

(2) failing is completely normal, don’t be too hard on yourself, shit happens, and

(3) you only truly fail if you don’t learn and grow from your mistakes.

Thus with that logic, financial goals are bars you set for yourself, yes, but also above all its a tool for self-growth. If you achieve it, good. If you didn’t, also good – knowing what you didn’t know you didn’t know is also valuable information!

So. Having said all these. I want to know – is the process of goal-setting is an easy or hard process for you? What have you learned from your own failed goals? As always, do share in the comments section 🙂

Under-RM2000 Travel: 6D5N Budget Bali Trip

Bali, for me, is one of those places that was easy to postpone a trip to, because it’s so ‘near’ to Malaysia and I could technically go there ‘anytime’. It’s only recently that I finally got my ass there.

Confessions of a first-time visitor to Bali: I *did not* know it was this big of an island:

*Not pictured: Nusa Penida, a smaller island located east of Zone 1 below

So… all this while, when y’all say you went to Bali, you really meant you went to one (or a few) of those places right? Because there’s no way you could cover them all.

I wish I could explore more areas but I only had 6D5N to play around with – well 5D5N would be more accurate, excluding airport travel times – so I decided on 3 nights in Kuta + 2 nights in Ubud. Kuta allowed me to explore Uluwatu, Seminyak ad Legian, while Ubud allowed me to explore Tegalalang.

Many of you recommended me to stay at Seminyak, Tanah Lot, Sanur and Nusa Penida. Next time around I’ll try to stay at those locations 🙂

Budget Bali Trip Overview

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13 Referral Programmes You Can Use to Earn Money (Up to RM200++ Each)

One of my favourite things about being a writer is the creativity I can apply during the content creation and monetisation process. There are so many ways to earn money!

And you know what? Anyone can write. And everyone has a network of friends and family to tap into. It’s just a matter of doing it well, in a ‘everyone likes to buy but no one likes to be sold’ kinda way.

In this article, I would like to share with my fellow content creators – both current, future and even casual ones – the referral programmes that I have experience in using, plus the amount of income they have generated for me so far.

I’m also giving links of posts containing the referral links so you can have a sense of what types of content do well, and which do not. Knowing what *doesn’t* work is part of learning too.

Some disclaimers before we start:

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