The Opportunity Playbook: How to Optimize Your Life for More Opportunities

The Opportunity Playbook: How to Optimize Your Life for More Opportunities

Introduction

In this article, I will be taking a deep dive on the topic of optimizing your chances to flourish and make the most out of life. Whether your next goal is to find that perfect job or travel the world for free, the following playbook should provide you with more than enough actionable advice to help you along the way.

If you have any questions regarding the information and tactics in this article, don’t be shy to reach out. I’ll also be updating this article over time so it’s probably best to give it a bookmark as some content is under construction.


Table of Contents

  1. Keep your essentials in Google Drive
  2. Optimize your inbox with labels & filters
  3. Use a password manager
  4. Set up alerts on primary job boards
  5. Set up alerts on niche job boards
  6. Look out for Facebook hiring threads
  7. Set up alerts on Craigslist
  8. Curate an opportunity focused Multireddit
  9. Network via Meetup events
  10. Join a coworking space
  11. Grab a coffee and bagel with someone
  12. Form a partnership
  13. Enter the world of Facebook groups
  14. Venture out to forums and message boards
  15. Get involved in chat rooms
  16. Scan for opportunities via Twitter Lists
  17. Scan for opportunities via TweetDeck & Twitter Advanced Search
  18. Monitor Reddit for opportunities via TrackReddit
  19. Find opportunities via Google search operators
  20. Buy a side project or small business
  21. Find a cause or organization to volunteer with
  22. Help an entrepreneur or receive help yourself
  23. Work aboard through a work exchange program

1. Keep your essentials in Google Drive

You’ll need a few “essentials” along with your journey in pursuing these new opportunities. While some careers or industries may require more or less, all will need to have the basics listed below.

  • An optimized resume
  • High quality/professional photos
  • Work samples such as a portfolio or side project
  • Testimonials/case studies/referral contact information

Pro tip: Create a Google driver folder for your essentials so they can be accessed or shared anywhere at any time.

[Note: This section is temporarily under construction and will soon be updated with important tips on what makes a resume considered “optimized”]

2. Optimize your inbox with labels & filters

If you end up following this tutorial or you’re already going down a path of pursuing a new opportunity, it’s almost certain that you’ll be receiving quite a few emails. In order to manage this constant influx of mail, here are a few power tips worth applying that can help.

Create a label that will house all opportunity related emails and newsletters:

By creating a label, this will allow you to segment and filter incoming mail that is related to your search while not clogging up the rest of your inbox. Feel free to name this label whatever you would like.

Filter all related mail as they come in to skip the inbox and be applied with the label:

Creating a label is just one piece to the puzzle––as mail starts coming in from websites like Linkedin or a niche job newsletter, you’ll want to create a filter for each sender. By applying the rules “Skip inbox” and “Apply label”, all future mail by the sender will be sent to your opportunity label and stay clear of clogging your inbox.

Routinely check your opportunities once per day to reach Inbox Zero:

If you don’t continuously check your email, your opportunity inbox might fill up fast depending on how many platforms or alerts you’ve signed up for. A good concept to follow in keeping your inbox clean is the Inbox Zero framework. In simple terms, make sure you’ve gone through every single email by the end of the day. If you keep this habit in routine, you won’t feel stressed because you won’t have 200+ emails to go through.

Consider how often you schedule alerts, newsletters and notifications:

Most job boards allow the ability to create alerts and define how often they are sent. Typically, you can set these on a schedule of daily or weekly while some may come individually when available. I’ll let you decide on how often you’d like for them to come in but I’d imagine weekly alerts will save you some energy.

3. Use a password manager

When job hunting or exploring a large sum of websites, it’s almost certain that you’ll be creating quite a few accounts. Using a service like 1Password can help speed up the process and keep you sane throughout that journey. 1Password is a password manager, digital vault, form filler and secure digital wallet. Not only will your account credentials be safe and easy to access, but your personal information will also be just an autofill away.

I personally use 1Password for my digital vault but Lastpass and Dashlane are also quite popular. If you’d like to compare these services, feel free check out this article from PC Mag that explains their differences.

4. Set up alerts on primary job boards

If you plan to be in the opportunity market, you should have accounts created and optimized on the top “primary” job boards at the bare minimum. What the majority consider as the top are listed below:

[Note: This section is temporarily under construction and will soon be updated with important tips on what makes an account considered “optimized”]

5. Set up alerts on niche job boards

If you’re looking for a specific type of career or hope to work for a specific type of company, you might be better off by visiting niche job boards than drowning in typical positions on major websites like Linkedin or Glassdoor.

Important: When checking out these websites, always make sure to set up email alerts based on your related search phrases so you can be in the loop when new positions are added.

Here is a list of some of the most popular niche job board sites:

Need some more? Try out these: FlexJobs, Remotely Awesome Jobs, Working Nomads, Remotive, Entry Level Jobs, Stack Overflow, College Recruiter, and Crunchboard.

If the industry you’re pursuing isn’t relevant to any of the links above, it’s easy to find potential sites that may cater to you by Googling your desired job or industry + the phrase “job boards” like so: engineering job boards.

6. Look out for Facebook hiring threads

The power of Facebook groups are incredibly strong and I’ll explain more on this later but for this point, I’d like to highlight how often connections are made by simple job-board-like Facebook threads.

Often times, the hiring threads that I am speaking of can be found in industry-specific Facebook groups just like this one:

If for some reason you aren’t having luck finding any of these job focused threads, considering joining an entire job focused group like the one below!

7. Set up alerts on Craigslist

More so than often, Craigslist is underestimated and even shunned away (thanks Craigslist Killer ????). So what makes Craigslist so worthy of being mentioned in this guide? The simple fact that everyone knows about Craigslist and Craigslist is used everywhere. Craigslist has a wide range of categories for opportunity so for the sake of this article’s length, we’ll be going over the most important two.

I do want to note that sometimes the quality isn’t always up to par with these listings but I personally owe a lot to Craigslist throughout my life so I keep it by my side.

Craigslist jobs

Craigslist offers a paid ability for companies and citizens to publish Job listings on their website spread across almost 40 specific industries. Often times, a wide majority of job listings posted on Craigslist end up being only posted to Craigslist as they are typically local mom and pop shops or ran by non-technical business owners –– this is great news depending on your location and desired role as competition can run thin.

Craigslist gigs

Furthermore, Craigslist offers a free ability for companies and citizens to publish Gig requests on their website spread across 8 main categories such as writing or labor. These gigs are essentially odds jobs and temporary work. Craigslist gigs can be a great side hustle or consistent source for leads as a solo freelancer.

How to set up alerts on Craigslist

In order to always stay in the loop with new listings, you can easily create alerts for whatever category is relevant to you by setting up email alerts directly on the Craigslist platform or by using a third-party service like IFTTT. Alternatively, you can create RSS feeds out of the Craigslist platform which can be incredibly powerful if used right. If you’d like to learn more in-depth on setting up alerts, you can do so here. If you’d like to experiment with IFTTT, check out the applet below:


8. Curate an opportunity focused Multireddit

Reddit, also known as “the front page of the internet”, is a place for community, conversation, and connection with millions of users worldwide. Currently ranked as the 19th most popular website in the world by Alexa, Reddit serves as a home for almost any niche or topic. Topics are housed in subreddits, and these subreddits can contain anywhere from just a couple hundred people to over 18 million such as /r/funny. Because subreddits are so fine-tuned to their topic, this provides enormous opportunity for those sifting through the platform with a mission at hand.

In order to “aggregate” Reddit for whatever opportunity you might be seeking, creating a “multireddit” will be your best tool as multireddits can combine up to 100 subreddits into one feed. Sure, creating a multireddit will help you keep your primary feed clear of clutter but most importantly, it will provide you with a birdseye view of opportunities to scan whenever you please. Keep in mind that you can keep your multireddits private, but you can also share them with others.

To give you a running start, I’ve put together a multireddit for you that combines over 50+ work related subreddits.

If you want to take your multireddit efforts a step forward, Reddit has gracefully built in an RSS system across its entire platform. RSS, also known as Really Simple Syndication, is essentially a notification feed for whenever new content is published on a website. By having an RSS feed of your curated multireddit, you can then pipe these notifications to wherever you desire such as an email digest via Zapier or an RSS reader such as Feedly.

9. Network via Meetup events

While we can’t deny that social media has brought great opportunities for the world, many are asking, “but at what cost?” The debate that social media has become one of the largest causes of modern-day loneliness has been quite a topic of discussion.

Whether you agree with them or not, it’s a real issue at hand, and while I can’t get into the complexities of the topic, I can recommend one remedy: physical connection.

Thanks to the Meetup platform, marathons are run, love is found, music is made and careers are changed. These are just a few of the things that Meetup brings people together in thousands of cities to do. Meetup is the world’s largest network of self-organized clubs and community groups. Meetup makes it easy for anyone to organize their own local group, or find one of the thousands already meeting face-to-face to help its members better pursue hobbies, advance causes, network with peers, get health support, or just arrange a friendly playgroup for their kids.

Remember: You never know who you are going to meet or who they might know.

10. Join a coworking space

What is a coworking space?

Typically, a coworking space is a membership based environment for productivity and collaboration. Whether you’re a remote developer or a local creative, a coworking space can provide you with not only an office but a playground of likeminded synergy.

Now a global phenomenon, it is predicted that there will be more than 30,432 coworking spaces and over 5.1 million coworking members by the year 2022.

via Coworker
Why join a coworking space?
  • For freelancers and digital nomads, coworking spaces provide “freedom” of location with all of the benefits of a productive office plus the perks of a like-minded community.
  • For startups and bootstrapped businesses, coworking spaces lower the cost of doing business as membership is less than a lease and most coworking spaces have everything a business would need on stock.
  • For young professionals and go-getters, coworking spaces provide a wide range of opportunities through diverse networking, community events, cultural influences and entrepreneurial spirit.

11. Grab a coffee and bagel with someone

If you feel like you’re lacking in terms of networking, consider reading Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazz which explains the art of networking and provides actionable advice on how you can harness the power of good relationships.

3 key lessons from the book:
  1. Relationships are like muscles, the more you use them, the stronger they get.
  2. You must build your network long before you need it.
  3. How you spend time with people is much more important than how much time you spend with them.

If you’re like most people, getting out and making new friends can be an intimidating task, but there are a few tools to help like Shapr and Bumble Bizz.

Shapr is a personalized, mindful way of networking. Based on your interests and experience, Shapr provides a daily dose of inspiring, like-minded people to meet nearby in your area. Whether you’re seeking friends or employees, each swipe is a new opportunity.

Similarly, Bumble Bizz’s primary goal is to help users make professional connections within their current or aspiring career fields. While it can indirectly help you find a job, the major focus is to break the barrier and intimidation that can often come with professional networking.

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is today.”

Anonymous

12. Form a partnership

Business ideas may come and go but quality partners are priceless. Not only will this partner be also carrying the weight of whatever struggles are at hand, oftentimes a quality co-founder is vital for raising capital and scaling a company. Having a bad partner isn’t good, but neither is having no partner at all.

“Cofounder relationships are among the most important in the entire company.”

Sam Altman, Y Combinator

Finding a partner is not an easy task but CoFoundersLab and Founder2be have made it their mission to build a platform to help solve this problem.

Just like you would on a typical dating app, you’ll first fill out your profile information to help you find the best matches; the more information your profile has, the better your chances will be. After your profile is setup, you’ll be ready to start searching. Make sure you have your email notifications turned on so you don’t miss out on any opportunities as well!

If it’s been some time and you haven’t found much luck on CoFoundersLab or Founder2be, it wouldn’t hurt to consider looking elsewhere. With that being said, Bill Murphy Jr. of Inc Magazine has put together an extensive list on 50 subtle ways to find your right partner, you can check it out here.

13. Enter the world of Facebook groups

Facebook groups have been around for quite some time but only in the last few years have they grown as powerful and productive as they are today. In light of their growth, Mark Zuckerburg announced a new mission for Facebook on July 22nd, 2017 that will guide their work for the next decade: “Give people the power to build community and bring the world closer.”

When it comes to Facebook groups, you can find a community for just about any topic or industry. Some groups are formal while others may be as simple as a chat room. Because there are so many groups out there, you’ll have to hunt them down but I wanted to share a few examples with you:

Built by Jordan Frazes of Atlantic Records, Music Industry Career Networking Group or #MICNG for short is a private peer-to-peer referral network of 10,000+ active and aspiring music industry professionals.

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, founder, or growth hacker, this group is for you to learn, share, and grow. Currently, at 25,000 members, BAMF sets the bar in terms of value-driven content and community for digital professionals.

14. Venture out to forums and message boards

Forums? Message boards?! Aren’t we in 2019? Believe it not, online forums and message boards still make up a thriving population on the net.

One of the best things about these communities is that there’s one for almost any topic. Similarly to Reddit, forum based communities can often be extremely valuable and full of opportunities as they are fine-tuned in terms of content and connections.

Almost every day on IndieHackers is a thread from someone looking to hire or partner. Communities like Warrior Forum and Black Hat World have multi-million dollar marketplaces. And if you ever have a question or you’d like some free advice from top leading experts, Quora has got you covered.

15. Get involved in chat rooms

Gone but never forgotten.

Somewhat similar to forums and message boards, instant messaging chat rooms are just as thriving. They might not be on Yahoo Chat or AIM these days, but they are taking place through popular applications like Slack, Telegram, and Discord.

Note: Because of how niche and “techie” some of these environments can be, a large majority of these communities are centered around things like tech, entrepreneurship, gaming, and similar topics.

One example is WIP.chat, a productivity app that takes place through an entrepreneurial community on Telegram. WIP.chat has over 1,000+ members across the globe and has changed the lives of many, including myself.

Happen to be a fan of Slack? Hit the button below for a list of 2,000+ Slack communities!

16. Scan for opportunities via Twitter Lists

Whether it be pinning posts to your profile or creating a Messenger chatbot, it’s amazing how often we forget to take full advantage of all the little features that social platforms provide us –– Twitter Lists being one of them. Twitter Lists are curated lists of accounts relevant to whatever topic you decide that can then be viewed in a separate newsfeed.

  • Twitter Lists can help you declutter & keep things in order
  • Twitter Lists can help you stay in the know & on the cutting edge
  • Twitter Lists can help you start, nurture & engage key relationships

So how would you go about using Twitter Lists specifically for the job hunt or finding opportunities? One way is to monitor specific companies of interest by adding their hiring accounts to a Twitter List like this one or this one. It’s quite common for established companies to have separate Twitter accounts dedicated to publishing job openings. Here’s an example of a recent NPR opening:

Alternatively, there are also several community-led Twitter accounts worth following that are more structured like niche job boards such as the example: Union Jobs.

Need help setting up your Twitter Lists? Check out the Twitter Help Center.

17. Scan for opportunities via TweetDeck & Twitter Advanced Search

What is TweetDeck?

TweetDeck offers a more convenient Twitter experience by letting you view multiple custom timelines in one easy interface. TweetDeck is essentially Twitter’s official application for “power-users” –– if you have a busy Twitter or want to gain the upper edge, this tool provides a host of advanced features to help you make the most of Twitter.

What is Twitter Advanced Search?

With hundreds of millions of Tweets per day, Twitter offers massive opportunity. This also means you’ll need to get specific in your search. Twitter Advanced Search is available when you’re logged into the Twitter platform and allows you to tailor search results to a wide range of filtering options which can be layered to make an advanced search as specific and custom as possible.

How to use the two together?

The possibilities are endless –– here’s a few examples:

  • Monitoring requests from journalists and publicists. Journalists across the globe commonly include “#journorequest” and “#PRrequest” in their tweets.
  • Finding fresh leads as a graphic designer or developer. By searching common phrases like “Looking for a graphic designer”, you’ll never run out of gigs.
  • Keeping up to date with new company job listings. As mentioned above, many job listings share common keywords––add that with some geotargeting? Bingo.
  • Staying in tune with local networking and social events. Monitoring public Eventbrite or Ticketmaster links locally? Might work! Creating a list of all the top venues in town? Probably better.

18. Monitor Reddit for opportunities via TrackReddit

As previously mentioned, Reddit is quite the goldmine in terms of opportunties and while yes, using a multireddit does provide you with an upper advantage, there’s still a lot of untapped potential within the platform.

For example: When scanning over posts in the multireddit you’ve curated, you can really only go off what a title says unless you’re using advanced search operators. This isn’t so easy on the fly and that’s also assuming you’d did a good job at creating your multireddit. So what about all the opportunity-rich posts and comments that are in a subreddit or thread that you aren’t aware of? That’s where TrackReddit comes in.

There’s nearly 3,000 comments & 250 submissions made on Reddit every minute, TrackReddit offers real time tracking and alerts whenever a target phrase is mentioned. TrackReddit searches all of Reddit by default but you can fine tune your search to get the best results you desire. Not only can get you notified by email or text, developers can easily access these alerts by API webhook.

19. Find opportunities via Google search operators

What are Google search operators?

Per definition by Moz, “Google search operators are special characters and commands (sometimes called “advanced operators”) that extend the capabilities of regular text searches. Search operators can be useful for everything from content research to technical SEO audits.”

How do I use search operators?

Just as you would normally search on Google but with a few extra commands. If you want to make the most out of them, you’ll need to study up ????

An example use case: How to Find Guest Blogging Opportunities

For those who haven’t seen this strategy before, almost every blog or media publication that accepts guest contributors has an established location for those that are interested. By using advanced search operators and keywords, we can quickly uncover these pages.

One of the most common keywords used by outlets looking for guest contributors is “write for us” and while yes, this can be a quality source, it’s also worth trying a few other creative means that aren’t used as often. To make things move quicker, I’ve put together an extensive list for you down below:

The Ultimate List of Guest Blogging Search Queries ????

If you’d like to learn how to use Google search operators for hunting down the perfect job, check out this article by Zapier below:

20. Buy a side project or small business

In an Inc article on multiple streams of income, Amanda Abella writes:

“Tom Corley, author of “Rich Habits”, studied the habits of millionaires during a five-year study of the rich and poor. Here’s what he found as it pertains to most self-made millionaires and their income streams:

  • 65% of self-made millionaires had three streams of income.
  • 45% of self-made millionaires had four streams of income.
  • 29% of self-made millionaires had five or more streams of income.

Having multiple streams of income is the same idea as diversifying your investment portfolio. When one income stream suffers, the others make up for it. And if none of them are suffering? Well, then you’re making a ton of money.”

If you’ve already found some financial freedom or you’re feeling confident and looking to invest, taking over a side project or buying a small business can be of great return. Curious to see what kind of businesses are actually being sold? Take a look at the marketplaces below:

21. Find a cause or organization to volunteer with

If you’re interested in giving back, VolunteerMatch is the #1 volunteer network to consider signing up for. VolunteerMatch serves over 100,000 nonprofits every year by helping them connect with the critical volunteers needed to achieve their missions. From youth education to human rights advocacy, VolunteerMatch matches inspired people with inspiring causes.

If you’re interested in getting even more involved with a cause or organization, Idealist offers not only volunteer opportunities but also full-time jobs and internships with thousands of nonprofit organizations around the world.

Pro tip: Make sure you fill out your profile interests completely and set up email alerts so you’re always in the loop for new related opportunities!

22. Help an entrepreneur or receive help yourself

MicroMentor is a free, easy to use platform that allows entrepreneurs and knowledgable volunteer business mentors to connect so they can solve problems and build businesses together. MicroMentor is a growing community that has already created thousands of mentor-mentee relationships and continues to make an impact through the power of mentorship. Whether you’re just starting out or running a 6 figure, you don’t have to do it alone.

If you are on the opposite end of the spectrum and you’d like to give back and help an aspiring entrepreneur like yourself, this is your chance to do so. Turning passion into profit is the ultimate dream but that dream doesn’t come easy, and you know that. Long nights and early mornings, that’s just the price of success. Do you know what else is a common price though? Making mistakes. Sure, mistakes and failures are always going to happen but wouldn’t it be nice to help someone make a few less?

An entrepreneurs chance of success statistically increases with access to the business knowledge and guidance of experienced professionals.

23. Work aboard through a work exchange program

What is a work exchange?

Defined by Workpackers: “A work exchange, also known as work travel or voluntourism, is a type of travel where you exchange your time and abilities for accommodation. You find a host who’s looking for a certain kind of help and lend them a hand for a limited number of hours per week. They provide you with a place to stay and other benefits.”

There’s no limit to what kind of work you can do or where you might be working. Hostels, campsites, farms, local businesses or even small communities host travelers from all around the world every day like yourself. If you’re thinking right now that there’s no way you could do that or that it would be a daunting task to pursue, think not.

Workaway is an international hospitality service that allows members to contact one another to organize homestays and cultural exchange. With over 36,000 hosts spread across 184 countries, Workaway is the number one platform for fair exchange between budget travelers, language learners, and culture seekers.

Closing thoughts

I hope that this article has given you some ideas and inspiration!

It’s clearly evident that opportunities are abundant & there are endless strategies to secure them, the only thing left is for you to execute.

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