How to Make $45K in 3 Months

As a 20 something year old now, I have been approached by a lot of people (mostly friends) with the opportunity of a lifetime. The chance to get into a breakthrough nutritional company of sorts while it’s in hyper growth and the chance to make a ton of money while helping everyone around me. Unfortunatly, what they were actually pitching me on was the opportunity to get involved in a pyramid scheme. For those of you who don’t know what a pyramid scheme is, it’s a non-sustainable business model that involves promising participants payment or services, primarily for enrolling other people into the scheme. Essentially, a portion of all the money you make goes to the person above you and you claim portions of everyone whom you recruit to sell below you. Luckily for me, I was smart enough to be able to see through the claims of quick riches and fast cars.. I’m not going to name names but these companies almost always consist of some type of nutritional product(s) and always requires you to do “network marketing” AKA bug the hell out of your friends to buy.

Below is a talk track I made up that pretty much covers their pitch. Does this sound familiar to you at all? (Energy-Flex is a company I made up)

I have this new, INCREDIBLE, product I want to tell you about. You’re going to lose weight, gain lean muscle and have boundless energy. Don’t take my word for it though, Dr. Sanjay Gupta backs up all of these claims. On top of that, Kurt Warner used our product during his Super Bowl regime on the Cardinals and told us that he never had more energy going to the 4th quarter than when he took Energy-Flex.

So here’s the deal, all you have to do is put down $1,100 for your first shipment of Energy-Flex and you will be an independent business owner. However, you really see the value if you sign up for automatic montly shipments as you’ll save $100 per shipment which will increase your return on investment . You’re earnings are boundless and will multiply for each person your recruit to be a part of your team selling Energy-Flex as you get a portion of their sales. At 5 people, you’re breaking even and at 20 people, oh man, you’re making like $52,000 a year. A friend of mine makes close to $200,000 a year off of this! You’re an independent business owner (IBO) and I’ll even give you all of these nifty marketing and powerpoint materials so you can better present to your friends. I suggest you start reaching out to your friends IMMEDIATELY as network marketing is the fastest growing industry in the states and Energy-Flex is the fastest growing company. 

Don’t believe me that you can make boatloads of money? We’re having a conference in 2 weeks in DC. You should come. Our top rain maker is going to  be there and he’s going to talk about his successes. Last time he showed up in his Lamborghini. As a matter of fact, my good friend just got a Mercedes Benz paid for by Energy-Flex for his sales. Here’s a pic! So what do you say we get you signed up?

So lets say you ask them “Isn’t this a pyramid scheme”?  This is their general response. “Aren’t all companies pyramid schemes? I mean look, you work for your CEO and he is at the top. That’s pyramid shaped right?” WRONG! First off, I don’t work on straight commission. Second, I don’t put money directly into the CEO’s wallet, even if I work in sales!

Generally speaking, these people prey on high school students, college students and
people without a college education. The reason why they do that is because they know they can persuade people in those audiences with promises of a lavish lifestyle and a lot of money in a short period of time. Be wary when you hear something that is too good to be true because odds are it is exactly that. Get rich quick schemes are never actually real.

Here’s a tip. If you’re considering joining something that may seem too good to be true, try “googling” the company name. If one of the first things that pops up is “company name scam” then it is definitely a scam. You’ll never see “scam” pop up when googling a company like Microsoft or State street.

Don’t get me wrong. You DO have the opportunity to make money selling the product. However, in my opinion, you can be doing something much more constructive with your time. The odds of you making it big off of a network marketing company is slim, whereas the odds of you landing a high paying job from working multiple internships is much higher.

MBTA Etiquette

Every single day, tens of thousands of Bostonians rely on the MBTA (Mass Bay Transit Authority) to get to and from work. The subway can get packed to the brim during the 8:00 AM rush so you tend to get very upclose and personal with people who are still half asleep and irritable because they haven’t had their caffeine fix yet. Tempers can flare, and a lot of dirty glares are exchanged. However, the death stares can be avoided if you abide by the unwritten rules of MBTA etiquette.

To those of you who are new to Boston, this post is for you. Here are the top 7 things that can really drive people crazy during the morning commute.

  1. Hygiene. This may seem like common sense but you’d be surprised how many people smell like raw eggs and sheer BO in the morning. Don’t forget to put some deodorant on in the morning and on the hot summer days you may want to double up. At the same time, don’t kill us with your cologne or perfume either.


  1. Boarding the bus or train before everyone has gotten off. This is a big one. Once the doors open on the T don’t just rush in. Wait for everyone to get off of the train first and THEN board. This is the equivalent of trying to entrance at the same exact time as someone is trying to leave.

  1. Sitting right next to someone when there are plenty of open seats open. This is the same rule as the unwritten rule about urinals. When possible, keep a one seat buffer between you and everyone else.



  1. PDA. We get it, you love your significant other. However, no one in the morning (or at any time really) wants to see you sucking face or speaking in baby talk with no infants around.


  1. Not giving up your seat for someone who needs it more than you. This isn’t something that exactly bothers other people as much as it just bothers me. If there is an elderly person, a pregnant lady or someone handicapped standing while you’re sitting down, offer them your seat. This is just about being a kind person in your community.

  1. Staring. If you’re a regular on the MBTA, you’re bound to see some “characters” while riding. To avoid any conflict, don’t stare or lock eyes with anyone. It’s sort of like looking at the sun. You can sneak a glance every now and then but stare for too long and there are consequences to pay.

  1. Talking obnoxiously loud. Unless you’re standing next to the person, don’t hold conversations on the T in the morning. If you’re talking to someone and there are people in between you everyone around you is going to be bothered. People on the T in the morning are doing 3 things; reading, sleeping or sulking. You’re conversation about how the weekend went by too quickly or how crappy the green line is because it’s always delayed doesn’t help any of that.

Abide by these 7 rules and you’ll look like a seasoned MBTA rider. Is there anything else I forgot to mention here? I’d love to hear what you have to say. Feel free to tweet at me @Aghanomics or comment on the boards below. Happy riding people!

4 Rules to Successful Negotiation

Negotiation is truly an art. To be able to get what you want while making sure the other person is still happy can be much easier said than done. Being a skilled negotiator will benefit you in every facet of your life; from being able to deal with your significant other to being able to make more money at your job. Having raised close to $26,000 for TEDxUMassAmherst and having worked in a sales related role for the past 2 years I’ve learned a few things about negotiation. Here are the 4 most critical things I’ve learned.

1. Have the power to say No.

  • This is arguably the most important skill for any great negotiator. Simply put, the
    person who can say no has all of the power in any negotiation. NEVER sell yourself
    short. What you ask for in your mind is what you feel like you deserve. Accept anything less and the other person has won the negotiation. I’m not saying to never compromise, however, I am saying to never go below your own personal threshold. You’d be surprised how much more you will get when you reject a bad offer.

2. Ethos (Credibility), Pathos (Emotional) and Logos (Reasoning).

  • Ethos means to convince your audience of something by letting them know you’re a credible source. Notice how in the intro I mentioned I raised money and had a sales job. This makes me a credible source and makes you more likely to believe me.

  • Pathos means to appeal to your audiences emotions. Ever see those commercials for the ASPCA of all of the battered puppies that makes you feel like tearing your heart out? They appeal to their consumers emotions to elicit action (donations).

  • Logos means to persuade your audience with reasoning. This generally involves numbers and stats. “You can buy a gas guzziling SUV, or you can buy a Tesla which will get you 300 miles to the gallon, tax refunds and save you an average of $6,500 a year on gas”.

  • Being able to identify which of these 3 means of persuasion to use in your negotiation is KEY to successful negotiation. Some people could care less about the numbers but care more about feeling good about themselves and giving back to the community. Meanwhile, some people just want to deal with an expert. Know your audience and know how to persuade them.

3. Ask the right questions.

  • Asking questions is more important than answering questions. The more you can get the person you are negotiating with to speak the more ammo you have in your arsenal which you can use in negotiating. Start with more general questions, and then take them down a funnel to more targeted questions. An example of a bad exchange is this. “Does this car come in green”? “Yes it does”. You have ended that transaction right there. A better exchange would be the following. “Does this car come in green”? “Well, would you like to buy this car in green”?. That question elicits a response and you can then take it from there.

4. Make your intentions clear.

  • Right off the bat, let the person know what you want. This way, there are no

    Dwight didn't make his intentions clear and has been paying the price since moving to LA.

    surprises at the end when things are coming to a close. If you want to go watch “The Purge” in the movie theaters and not “The Intern”, tell whomever you are going with right away instead of waiting until the movie theaters. You will have a MUCH higher chance of convincing them in the early stage vs in the late stage. By the time they get to the movie theaters, they most likely already have their mind set on what they want to do while if you talk to them the a few hours beforehand they are a bit more impressionable.

While there is a lot more that goes into negotiation, these are 4 things that I have used every single time I have negotiated with someone. Nothing about negotiation is comfortable, as a matter of fact, negotiation is pretty awkward. You have to really put yourself out there and not be afraid to ask for what you want. However, you only learn when you are out of your comfort zone and you get better each and every time you engage in a negotiation where you didn’t settle. In my opinion, the only way you can lose a negotiation is if you settle for less than you wanted. Saying “no” doesn’t mean you lost, it just means you’re holding out for better.

Welcome to the Real World

“Welcome to the real world” has been the saying that has echoed in my life over the past few weeks. Everywhere I go, people welcome me into the real world and tell me that I will always look back on my days in college as the best days in my life. The “real world” for me starts on Monday, when I begin my job as an Account Executive at Bullhorn in the wonderful city of Boston.

I’m excited for my entrance into the “real” world. As you should be as well! Transitions are always scary but what’s nice about transitions is that there are always great things waiting for you around the corner that you just don’t see yet. Think about when you first went to college. Personally, I was scared shitless the night before I moved out of my moms house! I was nervous that I wouldn’t do well in school, that I wouldn’t make friends and that I wouldn’t succeed. Similar fears that many may be experiencing in their transition into the “real world”. Little did I know that in those 4 years at college that I would be an honors student, that I would study abroad in Madrid, that I would organize TEDxUMassAmherst and ultimately achieve my goal of getting a full time job upon graduation.

He peaked at 12 years old!

Steve Jobs put it best, it’s impossible to connect the dots moving forward, however, in hindsight, connecting the dots makes so much sense. College may have been a great 4 years (for some maybe 5 or 6) but do not live your life thinking you peaked at 21 years old. It’s time to put the college days behind us and begin having fun as professionals. There is so much ahead of us and I truly believe that the best has yet to come. What is coming? I have no idea. That’s half the fun though!

Why I Don’t Wear White Collared Shirts

“The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice, it’s conformity”. Earl Nightingale

Everyone tells you that you need to wear a white collared shirt and a suit to an interview or formal event. I personally have never owned a white collared shirt (except for my brief, 2 week stint at Shaws…), and I don’t plan on it either.

So why don’t I own one? The answer is simple: I am not like everyone else; I’m a unique individual. It follows from the age old saying your parents have said time and time again “if everyone was jumping off of the Brooklyn Bridge would you jump too?” So why wear a white collared shirt to an interview? Instead, I wear a colored collared shirt to an interview.

Not exactly my style but to each his own.

Imagine yourself being as an interviewer, interviewing hundreds of kids with similar qualifications for an entry-level job. The interviewer is going to be looking for someone who manages to stick out from the crowd because, on paper, everyone looks pretty much the same. Dressing differently, but still professionally, is the first and easiest way to stand out.

Challenge the status quo and make a name for yourself for being who you want to be, not for being what everyone else wants you to be. No one remembers people who don’t make an effort to stick out.

Let me put it this way: think about any party you have ever been at. Other than your friends, who do you remember? Odds are you remember the person who made a really funny joke, or the live band, or the person who looked like a fool because he or she was too drunk. Even though over-drinking is a negative way to be remembered, it is a testament to being unique and sticking out. Being remembered means you’re recognizable, and being recognizable in this day and age might just be the deciding factor in landing your dream job!

How to Befriend the President

Over the past 6 months, I’d been creating TEDxUMassAmherst. We raised over $25,000, booked 12 keynote speakers (including a national best selling author, the CEO of Hubspot and a former Celtics player), planned a private dinner for 64 people, and planned a networking mixer for 500. It was a lot of work, but WOW was it a learning experience!

The biggest thing I learned throughout this process is how to create value and relationships. This ties back to a question I’ve been pondering for a year now: why are some people well liked and others aren’t? The answer is very simple.

The key to befriending anyone on the face of this planet is to create a mutually beneficial relationship, whether it’s the President or your neighbor. The fact of the matter is, no one wants to be with someone they get 0 benefit from being around. Whether it is because that person can provide you with a resource or simply make you laugh, if there is nothing in it for you, you’re not going to waste your time with that person. When you create a mutually beneficial relationship, you are creating value for the other person and hence strengthening that relationship.

This really clicked with me when I was out raising money for TEDxUMassAmherst. We didn’t raise much money in the beginning for the simple fact that we had nothing to really offer other than a ticket to the event. I realized something needed to be changed, so my co-founder and I put together a buffet of benefits for sponsorship. We created a recruiting database full of resumes of UMass students, we offered to market their company through multiple mediums, and most importantly, we created a private dinner with the purpose of facilitating relationships between the speakers and sponsors. At that point, the money we would receive in exchange for sponsorship was mutually beneficial; it wasn’t just a one way street.

Since then, with all of my both personal and professional relationships, I try to make them as mutually beneficial as possible. You’ll notice people like you a lot more and that you make a LOT more friends that way. You also receive the great perk of good karma, which I promise will send a lot of good things your way. I even go a step further and live by the 1-for-2 concept: when someone does you a favor, do 2 back for them. When everyone is constantly “indebted” to you, everyone is thinking about you. The next time your friend gets some Pats tickets, guess who he is taking with him? Not the guy who is crashing on his couch, but the guy who helped him move out of his house for free or the guy who got him an interview somewhere.

My whole point is always give back. The more you give back the more you receive. It’s THAT simple.

Move Fast and Break Things


Too often, we are too afraid to take the first step in an idea we have. This may be simply because we don’t know what step to take first or because we fear failure. Failure in my mind doesn’t exist, but mistakes do. Mistakes are inevitable and we must accept that we will ALL make mistakes in our life. This does not make you a bad person or a failure, rather, it makes you more experienced than your peers who didn’t have the guts to to try. Mistakes lead to progress which lead to success. There is not a single successful person in the world who made it through life without making a mistake. Actually, the most successful people in the world made the MOST mistakes! Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor “because he lacked imagination and had no good ideas”, Soichiro Honda was turnt down by Toyota for an entry level position and Bill Gates started a failed business called Traf-O-Data before starting Microsoft.

What I am trying to get at here is if you have an idea, take the first step, no matter how scary it may be. If you don’t know how to take that first step, do as the 12th employee of Facebook told me; paint the door red and kill something every day. What he meant by that is just DO SOMETHING and do it with conviction. Doing nothing gets you nowhere but doing something will undoubtedly get you somewhere.



I live my life by the motto “Move Fast and Break Things”. For those of you who know me well, you know that I juggle a lot of projects at one time. I will be the first to say that I fail at some of these projects. However, that’s the whole point in moving fast and breaking things. When you’re juggling a lot of projects at once, you are going to drop some of the projects that aren’t worthwhile, but the projects that stay in your grasp will prosper. Living life at a fast pace allows you to learn much quicker and pursue great ideas. Not every idea is a good idea, but there is no way to tell which idea is good or bad until you actually give them a shot.

How To Connect Passion With Success

Over this past month I have come to a realization about myself and my career. I’ve learned that I will most likely be working in the advertising/marketing industry for the rest of my life. When it comes to practical, applicable knowledge, I know more about marketing than I do about anything else (even economics, which I major in). I’ve gained this knowledge of marketing through my internship experiences. Essentially, I inadvertently chose my career path without even realizing it. Luckily, I love what I do, and am very passionate about marketing solutions.

I'm not talking about this kind of passion. Unless you want to do risque photos for your career!

Had I obtained an internship with an investment bank or web development shop, I would be on a much different path than I am on now. I was very, very lucky to find an internship in an industry that I love before even realizing that I loved it. Now, as I move forward with my career, I can connect the dots that I’ve created over the past 3 years. As the old saying goes, “hindsight is 20/20”; it is very clear to me now that had I chosen an internship in a different industry I would be no where close to where I am now.

Strong and relevant internship experience is crucial to success in your job after graduation. It gives you real world experience that cannot be learned formally, and greatly reduces the learning curve of starting a new position. However, if you choose to work in a different industry than the one you interned in, you are basically starting over at step 1. You will have to learn the ins-and-outs of this new industry, and that could take years.

Obviously we all do not have the luxury of picking whatever internship we want. However, we all have the ability to begin thinking about what we want to do for the rest of our life. If you already have internship experience and did not exactly like what you did, it is time to move on. Even if the internship paid particularly well, in the grand scheme of things, a few grand will mean nothing. What will be meaningful is that you have a job you love and are excited to wake up to every single day.

That's the kind of passion I'm talking about

Never settle- keep working to find something you love. You’ll know it when you find it… your heart and intuition has a way of alarming you. It won’t be easy, but then again nothing in life worth having is. This winter break I followed my heart, and it led me to amazing places. I chose to not intern or work anywhere this break and spend the whole time networking, working on my career, and building my personal brand. From getting free lobster courtesy of the owner of a night club, meeting numerous executive at companies I admire, re-connecting with old friends, working on personal projects (more on this in my next post), visiting plenty of offices, and drinking a lot of coffee, I have had an absolute blast this winter break. I was able to accomplish everything I sought out to achieve this break, not because I am gifted, but because I am passionate.

In conclusion, follow your heart. It will take you on an incredible ride.

Dealing With Doubt

A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him. -David Brinkley

I have noticed that whenever one attempts anything beyond the status quo in society that you are going to face a lot of doubt and adversity from those around you. There are going to be a lot of people who will tell you you can’t achieve what you are setting out to do and that you should just settle.

What do you think his peers originally said about his path?

Recently, with my job search, I have been facing a lot of adversity for the decisions I have been making. At this point in my life, I would rather pursue my dreams and fail rather than work a stiff job for the rest of my life and wonder “what if”. I understand that I have loans and bills to pay but, as scary as this sounds, college graduation is the time time where we essentially decide the track for our life.

I implore all of you with an entrepreneurial spirt to pursue your dreams and do what everyone else thinks is a waste of time. It will be hard sometimes to keep believing in your dream with so much doubt coming from the people closest to you but achieving your dreams is never easy. As long as YOU believe in your heart that you are doing the right thing and you have some trusted advisors who believe in you as well then keep moving forward. It is going to be scary, volatile and outright uncomfortable but I challenge you to not settle.

As a side note, my definition of an entrepreneur is someone who can turn life’s obstacles into opportunities. Being an entrepreneur does not mean necessarily starting your own business. You can be entrepreneurial in your job search by searching for jobs that are a bit more uncommon such as a position within Rolls-Royce.  In order to make a difference you must see things differently and do things differently.  The world is truly yours right now and ANYTHING is possible as long as you are willing to get your hands dirty.

Clear Paths Are Simply Mirages

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my life, it’s that when things seem like they are all good is when they go bad. Why is that? Why does a clear path create propensity for failure? The answer can be summed up in one word: complacency.

Struggle brings out the best in us. When the odds are against you and you have no choice but to hustle to make something of yourself, you are working your hardest. Once you achieve what you were working towards, a sense of accomplishment kicks in, which is simply a pre-cursor to complacency. Most of us are trying to get an internship for the summer or a job upon graduation. You have to grind, grind, and grind some more to beat the competition. But once you do it, it’s almost a natural reaction to coast and go through the motions. I am here to preach that that is the single most dangerous thing you can do to start your career.

Life is not easy. No one ever has nor will say that. You need to grind and hustle every damn day until you get your end goal. Dream, and dream BIG. Set a goal that you think is unattainable; this will keep fueling your hunger for more. Personally, I dream of being a billionaire. You might be thinking to yourself “Kareem, you’re crazy man. Billionaire? You’ll never get there”. You might be right about that. However, I will keep grinding it out every day and seek bigger and better opportunities to at least try to get there. At this age, it would be foolish to say none of us have the opportunity to be a billionaire or achieve our wildest dreams. On the contrary, we ALL have the opportunity; it’s just a matter of how bad you want it. In this competitive landscape we call earth, there is no room for complacency because someone is just waiting for you to slip up so they can take your spot and achieve their dreams.

To those who have jobs upon graduation- congratulations. You now have a leg up on 50% of college grads. If you want to keep rising do the following: relish it for a moment, drink an expensive drink, get a good night of sleep, and then wake up and figure out how you can move forward. Being stagnant is just as bad as moving backwards, so the only choice we have is to move forward.