CNBC make it 2024-03-08 02:00:49

If you and your partner use any of these 5 phrases regularly your relationship is stronger than most

Speaking to your partner with respect and appreciation is important, especially in times of conflict.

The most successful couples, according to psychologists, regularly express devotion, understanding, and contrition.

Here are the five phrases that couples who have a strong connection use most, according to experts.

1. “Thank you.”

John and Julie Gottman are psychologists who have studied more than 40,000 couples in search of answering the question: What makes love last?

The one phrase they say all successful couples use often is “thank you.”

“A thriving relationship requires an enthusiastic culture of appreciation, where we’re as good at noticing the things our partners are doing right as we are at noticing what they’re doing wrong,” they wrote for CNBC Make It.

This is especially true for small, everyday acts, they say.

“Tell them why that small thing is a big deal to you: ‘Thank you for making the coffee every morning. I love waking up to the smell of it and the sounds of you in the kitchen. It just makes me start the day off right,’” the say.

2. “Help me understand this.”

Harvard psychologist Cortney Warren says successful couples don’t avoid conflict, they just better navigate it.

We often assume we know what our partner is saying when in reality they might be expressing something more nuanced or totally different.

“If your partner reacts to a situation in a way that you don’t understand, telling them that you want to know them better is key to resolving conflict and bonding at a deeper level,” Warren wrote for CNBC Make It.

3. “I can forgive you. Can you forgive me?”

When you’re in the heat of an argument or at the end of one it can be hard to express forgiveness. Do it anyways, Warren says.

“Studies have shown that couples who practice forgiveness are more likely to enjoy longer, more satisfying relationships,” she says.

4. “I am committed to you.”

“Being in a relationship is a choice,” Warren says. “Reassuring your partner that you’re still choosing to be with them and to work through challenges will help create a sense of safety and stability.”

This might seem obvious, but communicating your promise to one another can help you and your partner feel validated.

5. “I like you.”

“The healthiest couples don’t just love each other, they like each other, too,” Warren says. “Loving someone is an intense feeling of affection; liking is about seeing them for who they are and acknowledging the attributes you enjoy about them.”

Even if you and your partner aren’t arguing, remind them that you like them.

Want to land your dream job in 2024? Take CNBC’s new online course How to Ace Your Job Interview to learn what hiring managers are really looking for, body language techniques, what to say and not to say, and the best way to talk about pay. CNBC Make It readers can save 25% with discount code 25OFF.

42-year-old built a side hustle that brings in $1.7M a year—she works as little as 3 hours a week

This story is part of CNBC Make It’s Six-Figure Side Hustle series, where people with lucrative side hustles break down the routines and habits they’ve used to make money on top of their full-time jobs. Got a story to tell? Let us know! Email us at

At age 10, Jenny Woo got really good at reading nonverbal social cues.

It was out of necessity: She emigrated from China to Houston, and didn’t speak English. She connected with her peers largely through what she now defines as emotional intelligence, or EQ — watching their body language and listening to the tones of their voices to learn what excited, inspired and angered them.

In the decades that followed, Woo turned her EQ skills into a career at corporations like Deloitte and Cisco, training managers how to better communicate. She spent some time helping run her kids’ Montessori school in Southern California.

While working on her master’s degree at Harvard University in 2018, she spent $1,000 from her savings to launch Mind Brain Emotion, which sells EQ-focused card games on Amazon. Last year, the side hustle brought in $1.71 million on Amazon, according to documents reviewed by CNBC Make It. Woo estimates 40% of that revenue is profit.

DON’T MISS: The ultimate guide to earning passive income online

Between the side hustle and her three other current revenue streams — lecturing at the University of California Irvine, running an online EQ course and freelance business consulting — she works anywhere from three to 30 hours per week, she says. Her workload depends on the season, and her multiple income streams allow her to go completely offline when her three children are home.

“The mission has always been to make knowledge, skills, competence, mindsets and attitudes accessible … for really everybody to enjoy,” says Woo, 42. “But being able to support my kids … is also a true metric of success to me.”

Here, Woo discusses how she set up her side hustle, why she chooses to run it alone and her advice for anyone who wants to replicate her path.

CNBC Make It: Many people who run successful side hustles eventually need to hire people as their ventures grow. Why do you largely run Mind Brain Emotion alone?

Woo: It’s a very intentional choice for me to be the [sole] founder. From my experience in the corporate world and at Harvard Innovation Labs, I’ve seen co-founders really go haywire [and ruin friendships]. I really wanted to avoid that.

It also helps with scheduling. I started this as a full-time student and parent. Now, I like being able to travel with my three kids. I can have control without feeling like I’m letting [a partner] down.

As my kids get older, I would eventually like to operationalize and grow the business globally. I am certainly looking to delegate and bring people onto my team, but only if they have the right talents.

Is your side hustle replicable?

Absolutely. It costs $39.99 per month to have a professional Amazon seller account. Anybody can really list their product there, or on platforms like Etsy.

But you have to pay to play, in the sense that you have to be really savvy with advertising campaigns, SEO and staying on top of the new features on each platform. Last time I checked, there are 12 million products under games and toys on Amazon U.S. Being able to surface can be really, really hard.

There are a couple juicy secrets. You can advertise using keywords, and on your competitors’ sites. I do both.

I also sell in other spaces like Walmart, Faire and on my website. They don’t produce as much revenue. Platforms are constantly changing their criteria and bids. You really have to get on top of it.

You have five degrees and a decade of experience working for corporations. What’s your advice for people who don’t have that pedigree, but want to follow in your footsteps?

I think you have to do two things to be successful. The first: Never stop learning. I tell my students I am a lifelong learner first and an entrepreneur second.

You also have to be your own cheerleader. When I was still learning English in middle school and high school, there were so many incidents where I felt so embarrassed, where I felt I wasn’t good enough, where I felt like I didn’t know anything.

[Navigating those] things can give you coping skills and make you more resilient. There will be haters and copycats. You just have to keep going.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Want to make extra money outside of your day job? Sign up for CNBC’s new online course How to Earn Passive Income Online to learn about common passive income streams, tips to get started and real-life success stories. Register today and save 50% with discount code EARLYBIRD.

32-year-old mom who makes $143,000/month in passive income: 5 books that helped me get started

When I started my side hustle, I didn’t have a mentor, a big social media following, or any startup capital. I just had a drive to help people find great careers, and advice from some of my favorite books. 

In 2022, I quit my six-figure recruiting job at Amazon to grow my YouTube channel and launch my business, PayBump. I make videos about remote work and unique income streams, and create kits to help people make their resumes and cover letters shine.

Today, my business brings in $143,000 a month in passive income, mostly from digital product sales and YouTube ad revenue. And I only work two hours a day.

Here are five books that helped me get started:

1. ‘The Power of Broke: How Empty Pockets, a Tight Budget, and a Hunger for Success Can Become Your Greatest Competitive Advantage’

By Daymond John

This is a practical playbook for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to build a business from the ground up. It draws on the “Shark Tank” investor’s experiences, as well as insights from other self-made millionaires.

I learned how to bootstrap my online business, connect with likeminded people, develop partnerships, and use free marketing strategies to drive sales and make a profit. 

2. ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not’

By Robert Kiyosaki

Kiyosaki writes about the habits of two men, and how one ultimately obtained wealth, while the other struggled, in large part because of the differences in their money mindsets.

DON’T MISS: The ultimate guide to earning passive income online

“Rich Dad, Poor Dad” showed me the value of the “on-the-job” skills I already possessed, and how I could use them as the blueprint for my business. It gave me the confidence to harness my experience in fintech, project management, and recruiting to get PayBump off the ground. 

3. ‘The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses’

By Eric Ries

Inspired by Ries’ years as an entrepreneur in Silicon Valley, “The Lean Startup” taught me how to identify what my customers really want, and test out new ideas at a low cost. 

One concept he writes about is the “minimum viable product,” essentially the most basic and least expensive version of what you want to offer. 

This inspired me to release an early version of my digital membership to a small group of people. I collected data about their experience, and thanks to all their feedback, I was able to boost my customer retention rates by 50%. 

4. ‘The YouTube Formula: How Anyone Can Unlock the Algorithm to Drive Views, Build an Audience, and Grow Revenue’

By Derral Eves

Eves is a TV producer, content creator, and the founder of the VidSummit conference. His book was a great crash course for me when I started my channel

I learned how to structure my videos, create eye-catching thumbnails, use analytics to improve the performance of my content, and make connections with brands.

All of that helped me turn audience members into repeat customers and create a thriving online community.

5. ‘Ask and It Is Given: Learning to Manifest Your Desires’

By Esther and Jerry Hicks 

“Ask and It Is Given” is all about how to use the law of attraction to help you visualize and achieve your dreams. The premise is that whatever you think about and feel strongly about, whether it is positive or negative, that will be drawn into your life. 

Inspired by their advice, all of the goals I made vision boards for — my marriage and son, good health, hitting financial milestones — have become a reality.

Ultimately, this book helped me be more intentional about where I put my time and energy, and figure out what was important to me. 

Jasmine “Jazzy Mac” McCall is a career expert & CEO and co-founder of Paybump, a career development platform that helps everyday people land remote, corporate roles. Follow her on YouTube and LinkedIn. 

Want to make extra money outside of your day job? Sign up for CNBC’s new online course How to Earn Passive Income Online to learn about common passive income streams, tips to get started and real-life success stories. Register today and save 50% with discount code EARLYBIRD.

Mark Cuban looks for 2 qualities in employees: Without them, ‘you’re going to be in trouble’

Whether or not you get hired by billionaire Mark Cuban comes down to two qualities: culture and  competency.

They’re the “two things that matter the most,” Cuban said during a MasterClass course released last month. “Are they competent enough to do the job? And do they fit in the culture of the organization? If they fail on either one, you’re going to be in trouble.”

Culture is more important than raw talent, Cuban said. Most of the workforce agrees: 56% of workers rank a strong workplace culture as more important than salary, with more than 75% of employees saying they’d consider a company’s culture before applying for a job there, according to a 2019 Glassdoor survey of more than 5,000 adults in the U.S., the U.K., France and Germany.

Young millennials and Gen Zers consider company culture a particular priority, the Glassdoor report noted — meaning Cuban’s observation many prove more true over time, as those workers increasingly rise through the ranks.

Cuban does value employees who complete tasks correctly and efficiently — that’s the competency part. But searching for the perfect worker to fix your company’s problems, a “home run hire,” without properly vetting their cultural fit is “probably the biggest mistake I’ve seen my portfolio companies [make],” he said.

To find employees who check both boxes, Cuban said he asks specific job interview questions like:

  • What’s one thing you’ve failed at and one thing you’ve succeeded at?
  • Tell me about a time you took a chance at work.
  • Why did you leave your last job?
  • What’s the best culture of a company that you’ve ever worked in?
  • Who’s the best manager you’ve ever worked for?

“I want to get them talking about their positive or negative experiences, so I can understand whether or not they’re going to be a fit,” he said.

For Cuban, the right fit doesn’t mean a carbon copy of himself: He looks for employees and partners who “complement” his skill set, but are unafraid to speak up when they disagree with him, he noted.

“I think one of the biggest problems an entrepreneur [or] CEO can make is they hire people who are like them,” Cuban said. “You don’t need to hire people like you. You’ve got you.”

“I don’t need people to tell me yes,” he added. “I can tell myself yes … I need people who are going to challenge conventional wisdom and challenge me, and when they think I’ve done something wrong, say, ‘I think you think you’re making a mistake here, and this is why.’”

Want to land your dream job in 2024? Take CNBC’s new online course How to Ace Your Job Interview to learn what hiring managers are really looking for, body language techniques, what to say and not to say, and the best way to talk about pay. CNBC Make It readers can save 25% with discount code 25OFF.

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35-year-old risked parents’ house on $2.5M loan to start fashion brand—now it brings in $100M a year

The story of Matt Scanlan, Diederik Rijsemus and cashmere apparel brand Naadam reads like an adventure novel.

During a globetrotting vacation in 2013, the two college friends found themselves stranded among Mongolian goat herders in the Gobi Desert for three weeks. They learned about the wool trade, and came away with a business idea: Make low-priced cashmere goods by purchasing wool directly from those herders, skipping the middlemen who bought low and sold to apparel brands at a high markup.

Neither co-founder had any industry experience or enough money to fund a startup. But in 2015, Scanlan’s parents put up their home as collateral for a $2.5 million loan from a private lender. Scanlan and Rijsemus transferred it to a Mongolian bank, withdrew all of it and drove the cash — stuffed into 32 plastic shopping bags, filling the back of an SUV — deep into the desert to buy Naadam’s first 50 tons of unprocessed cashmere wool.

In 2022, Naadam brought in $100 million in total revenue selling a wide range of cashmere products, from its top-selling $98 sweater to sweatpants and tank tops. (The business declined to share its 2023 sales numbers before the close of its current fiscal year.) It sells online, in stores like Saks 5th Avenue and in three of its own New York and Los Angeles brick-and-mortar locations.

Scanlan, the company’s CEO, is well aware how insane that sequence of events likely sounds. Given the inherent risk of a desert shopping spree with borrowed money and the fact that he’d never run a company before, he says “there were many moments” early on when he “had no idea how we were going to pay back that loan.”

Here’s how Naadam defied the odds.

‘A little bit of luck and opportunity’

First, Scanlan and Rijsemus obtained the wool. Then, they needed to figure out what to do with it.

They sent it to Beijing, where it was cleaned and scoured for impurities. From there, it went to Italy, where another third party spun it into yarn. The co-founders sold most of that yarn to pay off their loan, and used the leftovers to make sweaters, says Scanlan.

Scanlan loaded the sweaters into a car for an east coast sales trip, pitching “every store I could” between Maine and Charleston, South Carolina, he says. “I’d pull the sweaters out on the table and I’d lay them out neat and I’d tell my story. We had 50 orders, each one like $1,000, and I learned how to perfect my story … I didn’t realize at the time that I’d be doing that for the rest of my life.” 

Simple as it sounds, the business grew from there. In 2018, Naadam posted a three-minute video online detailing the co-founders’ early desert exploits and their vision for the company. It’s been viewed more than 35 million times since then.

“That video defined Naadam’s success for a long, long time,” Scanlan says. “It probably is still the best advertisement we have for who we are and what we’re about.” 

Along the way, Naadam picked up more funding: over $50 million from investors like private equity firm Vanterra Capital, according to Scanlan. None of it could’ve happened without a lot of luck, he notes — including his parents’ willingness to put their home up as collateral for a business that had no guarantee of succeeding.

“You can have a great business plan, but if you don’t have a little bit of luck and opportunity on your side, it kind of doesn’t matter,” Scanlan says. “Every major inflection point that we’ve had along the way … we’re just [at] the right time, right place.”

A good story only gets you so far

Companies also need profitable economics to stay alive. Naadam only exists because of the cashmere industry’s middlemen, who buy goods from remote farmers at low prices and profit by reselling up the chain, resulting in the sort of exorbitant costs typically associated with the fabric, says Scanlan.

″[The goat herders’] remoteness led to, essentially, fixed pricing strategies that meant they couldn’t negotiate up the value of their raw material effectively,” he says.

He and Rijsemus reasoned they could pay the herders double what they typically received for their wool and still pass on considerable savings to consumers. Naadam’s most popular cashmere sweater costs $98. Comparable sweaters often cost hundreds of dollars, or even more than $1,000 for luxury brands.

Naadam also offers more expensive options, like a cashmere coat that costs nearly $700. 

But reasonable prices and an entertaining story only get you so far. Clothes that look ugly or fall apart at the seams wouldn’t sell, no matter how cheaply you price them, says Scanlan: “All that work, [from] being in Mongolia to getting you that product, [would be] for nothing.”

A Wirecutter review of Naadam’s $98 sweater, most recently updated in December 2023, says it does develop some fuzz over time, but its quality “rivals that of sweaters costing twice as much.”

“I need to make sure that that product is amazing, and you get it, and you go, ‘I’m going to tell everyone I know about this, and I want ten more of these, and I want every single color,’” Scanlan says. “That’s how we make money.”

Want to land your dream job in 2024? Take CNBC’s new online course How to Ace Your Job Interview to learn what hiring managers are really looking for, body language techniques, what to say and not to say, and the best way to talk about pay. CNBC Make It readers can save 25% with discount code 25OFF.

Plus, sign up for CNBC Make It’s newsletter to get tips and tricks for success at work, with money and in life.