It’s 2012. I’ve spent the last four years of my life on the internet, and I love how I continue to learn new things. I developed a slight addiction to Pinterest over the holiday break (what? it was only supposed to last a week and I stretched it into a month? shhh. don’t tell anyone.) and learned that you can make ANYTHING into a white board with a cheap dollar store picture frame and a dry erase marker.
I think I’m in love.
The above frames were made in about 37 minutes. It took me a while to figure out the actual dimensions of the frame– 8 x 10 means that if you’re using a power point presentation you should size your project for 6.6 x 9.
Another Thing to Note: the glass at the dollar store breaks really, really easily. I broke the glass on each of these frames, and ended up going out into the shed to find old pictures to steal the glass (one might of been from Adam and his college friends. oops.). I’d maybe find cheapish frames at Kohl’s or Target that match instead.
My kids don’t seem to care that I’ve written a housekeeping journal/planner, or have developed a clever acronym for decluttering. They also don’t care that I get thank you notes every day in my email box which continues to perplex my #butIhelpotherpeoplewhydoesntmyownfamilylisten crazy brain.
it’s okay. I’ve come to terms with it.
Anyhow, I wrapped these chore charts up and handed them to my 7 and 10-year-old daughters (their names are on the charts, but I’ve covered them with tape because I’ve promised Adam I won’t exploit the kids on the internet) as New Year’s presents.
My 10 year old rolled her eyes, but my 7-year-old was uber excited and got to work checking things off her list immediately. If you’re looking for a guideline for age-appropriate chores, this list is a good one. Our picture frame chore charts have now been in action for exactly one week, and so far so good.
How was your New Year’s? Any big ideas for 2012? Did you make a vision board?
it’ll be a good year. I promise.
Please welcome Izzy Woods, a freelance writer and journalist. Izzy first contacted me about a guest post for Totally Together on November 7, then touched base with me again on November 11, November 18, November 30, and then again today: December 16.
Izzy’s credits include writing for the US Daily Review, Organic Health, Wiki-bee, and Capitol Macintosh. She shares her work-from-home story with us below but I can tell you right now why Izzy has succeeded: she never, ever, ever, ever gives up. And neither should you.
also: the Big Dreams Mama site is running an interview they did with me about *my* big dream, and is hosting a More Make it Fast giveaway.
2012 is going to be a wonderful year—- I just know it.
Why Working from Home Isn’t Just a Pipe Dream
I’ve never been one for the nine-to-five. Even when I first entered the working world, I knew that I couldn’t stick to such rigid hours. To start with, that caused me quite a few problems – not least of which was paying my rent! It was then that I stood back, took stock, and decided what I really wanted to do was become a writer. I knew that simply writing a novel or short story wasn’t going to ‘bring in the bacon’, so to speak, so I decided to become a freelance copywriter.
It wasn’t easy, and it’s taken a long time, but I can now say that I make a decent living from writing online. And best of all, I can do it all from the comfort of my own home. I’d like to share with you exactly how I did, and offer some invaluable advice straight that I wish someone had told me when I was getting started!
Sharpen your skills
The first step you need to take before entering the world of freelance writing is ensuring that your writing skills are up to the job. The last thing you want to do is secure a large contract then be unable to provide the quality content your client will no doubt be after. If you think your writing ability needs a little polish, there are plenty of courses available online that can help with your spelling, punctuation, and grammar. It’s a great way to ensure you’re providing the best possible service.
Know how to find new work
Once I was ready to start working, I hit a bit of a roadblock: where am I going to find work? I’d heard so many horror stories about scammers and the many problems that freelance writers can have, so I was understandably wary. In the end, I decided that a career path such as this inherently contains some risk, and the main thing to do is limit that risk as much as possible. That means that when you reply to a job posting, you should always thoroughly research your clients. I’ve had at least two or three over ten years that were very unscrupulous and ended up not paying.
That’s when I learned: always get a signed contract.
It will protect you from scams, and keep everything above board from a legal point of view. Once you’ve got this nailed down, you’ll be able to enjoy a huge array of potential clients, from golf shoe manufacturers to websites that offer coupons. Variety is the spice of life, after all.
Be proactive and reactive
I started out by finding a lot of my writing jobs on sites like Craigslist and other job boards, but recently I’ve started using ‘Pay Per Click’ advertising like Google Adwords. Both of these methods can be successful; however I’ve found that I get the best quality jobs from PPC adverts linking to my personal website. This way, the client is actively looking for help, and is generally less likely to be a scammer. Always be cautious when applying for advertised jobs; my golden rule is and always will be ‘if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.’ I remember one job when I was starting out, the pay was huge for the amount of work required and I thought I’d hit the jackpot! Of course, I never saw a penny and lost hours of work. The lesson was to always check out prospective clients, always get a contract, and always be realistic about what a client is offering.
The freedom of working from home
With the words of warning out of the way, let’s focus on the positive. By becoming a freelance writer, I’ve been able to enjoy a much higher quality of life. I generally set my own hours, and I’m always comfortable at home. I don’t have to worry about bosses because I’m my own. Being a freelance writer has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done – and I’m proud of the time and effort I’ve put in to get here. If you want to follow the same path, just remember that you’ll need plenty of time, plenty of effort, and (perhaps more importantly), a boat load of patience!
This is the exact game box that’s collecting dust on the closet shelves in the family room at my parents’ house.
I haven’t played with it in over twenty years.
because it takes too long.
… insert metaphorical psycho babble…
When things are going well, does that mean that you are #winning (thank you Charlie Sheen!) the Game of Life?
Does that mean that others are losing?
if you are sick, or hurt, or hungry, or worried, or disorganized, or scared, or poor, does that mean you are #losing?
Does that mean that your situation was just the luck of the draw, or that you must simply play the hand you’re dealt?
that can’t be the case. it just can’t be.
No one has all the answers on how to play this game. No one can anticipate all the wildcards and roadblocks Life brings. The only thing that seems to work, is to pull out the directions, smooth out the creases and recommit to staying on course.
Adam ran a full marathon yesterday. Today he is taking a lot of Advil.
I had over four hours to sit and think by the finish line while I waited for him to reappear— and when he did, I finally exhaled a breath I didn’t realize I was holding.
I think a lot of us are holding our breath.
you are doing a great job.
Remember being young, and not being able to wait for the next thing to happen? Christmas. Your birthday. The new school year. You counted down the months, the weeks, the days until the Next. Big. Thing.
Most of us still do this.
I can’t wait until I’m married. I can’t wait until we have a house. I can’t wait until we have a baby. or two kids. or three.
I can’t wait until we re-do the kitchen. Until we go to Europe. Until we have a bigger house.
Until we retire.
Until we win the lottery.
Don’t wait to start living your life the way you want to—- just begin. The race has already started. You can fight it, or you can get caught up in the music, the frenzy, the cheering, and put one foot in front of the other and begin running.
but I don’t like my shoes.
and I don’t have one of those GPS watch-thingies.
If you are reading this, you have access to the internet. And probably own many more things than you need. Most likely you have a warm bed and and a full belly each night.
You are already winning.
and you are so very blessed and so very lucky.
breathe deeply—- and appreciate it.
When you cross the finish line, what do you want it to look like? Do you want your chest puffed up, full of pride, while you smile for the cameras? Do you want to wave your arms around, all silly, and quack like a duck? Do you want to cross and then immediately fall in a heap and proclaim: “never, never, never again”?
Will you limp across? Will you crawl across? Will you feel triumphant, or will you feel defeated?
Every Day is a New Gift.
No, really: Every Day Is A New Gift.
do you feel that way today? will you feel that way tomorrow? what do you need to do to get to that point?
PS: it’s not going to be a new kitchen…