Online Business Decluttering

September 27th, 2008
Pencils and Moleskines 04

Image by Paul Worthington via Flickr

I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching this past few days. Several things happened that made me realign my business goals.

First, I listened to the Mom Masterminds September resource about time management for work at home Moms. I realized that I had been feeling a lot of frustration and even some anger and resentment because I did not have enough time to work on my home businesses. I had so many ideas that I wanted to implement, but couldn’t do them because my time is at the mercy of a 2-year-old’s nap schedule! In the time management audio, I heard Carrie Lauth say that she simply accepted that, since she had small children, her business would not grow as quickly as other work at home Moms’.

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When a Freelancer Loses a Client

August 8th, 2008
freelance writer loses a client

Photo by Steven Orr

I lost a client the other night.

I was heart-broken. I had a sick feeling in my stomach. Not only did I lament the loss of income – she had been my steadiest and biggest client. Worst of all, I feared that she had been unhappy with my work.

Because of this experience, I resolved to do three things from now on:

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Online Support Groups and Work at Home Opportunities

July 25th, 2008

Work at Home: You Don’t Have to Do it Alone

work at home opportunities

Photo by Dano

It’s been five months since I left my office job to become a stay at home and work at home Mom. Since then I’ve become a freelance writer and an Internet marketer. I only experienced significant milestones in my work at home opportunities recently when I joined an online group of other online Mompreneurs, Mom Masterminds.

Benefits of Joining an Online Mastermind Group

At first, I hesitated joining Mom Masterminds because of the monthly subscription fee. I figure I would give it three months and, if I didn’t at least earn back the monthly fee, then I would unsubscribe. I’m glad that I finally decided to invest in my own education and networking with other work at home Moms. Here are the results I’ve had after two weeks of being a Mom Masterminds member:

  • the number of my clients has increased significantly
  • I have made more than the monthly membership fee
  • I now have my very first niche site (more on that on another blog post)

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How Rejection Can Make You a Better Freelance Writer

July 17th, 2008

rejection is a normal part of every freelance writer's life

Photo by Irina Slutsky

A Freelance Writer’s Blueprint for Handling Rejection

Since I embarked on my freelance writing career, I have experienced rejection more often than I have received acceptance. Now I have been a professional long enough and have worked with enough tough bosses that I can take criticism — including harsh criticism — and not get crushed. After 19 years of working in various offices, I now have a pretty tough skin.

However, I don’t just let rejection slide over me. I gnaw on it and suck the juices out of it. No, I’m not a masochist. I am a person who makes the most of every situation and tries to learn something from every experience, even one that’s as unpalatable as rejection. You might be surprised to know that rejection can be a positive thing in your freelancing career.

How should a freelance writer deal with rejection? Here is my own personal blueprint for handling rejection.

Expect rejection.

I’m not being a negative thinker here. All I mean is that you should accept rejection as a normal part of a freelance writer’s life. Even the best, most successful writers have been rejected at one time. Yes, including Dr. Seuss himself. Do you think you’re better than the rest of them? If you expect rejection, then you’re less likely to take it personally. Rejection will not defeat you.

Recognize and accept your disappointment.

There will be lots of times when you feel that you’ve written the perfect article for a publication, or made an irresistible bid for a project, or that you’re the perfect fit for a writing job — and yet your services were rejected. Admit it, you’re totally bummed! And it’s the perfectly healthy way to feel. Allow yourself to feel bad about it. Treat yourself to a chocolate cupcake and a latte while nursing your wounds. But don’t stay there too long. You need to move on.

Analyze what you did wrong.

Go back to the article you submitted, your bid proposal, or your application letter and resume. What could have gone wrong? Was the article not suitable to the publication you submitted it to? Was your bid too high? Perhaps the application letter had a typo? Maybe your resume does not differentiate you enough from other freelance writers, or show off your best qualities? Or maybe you did everything correctly but they simply liked somebody else. It is possible that it was not your fault.

Brainstorm ways you could do better.

Even if your rejection was probably not your fault, note how you could do better next time. Could you do more research on the target publication? Could you offer an additional service — at no added cost — that your competitors might not be able to do? Could you improve your resume so that it reflects what you do best? Would you like to test-run your article, project bid, cover letter and resume to a trusted friend and see what they think of it? You might be surprised with what you learn.

Try and try again.

Now that you have a list of ways to improve how you get new clients or writing jobs, go and do them! Test your new knowledge just to see if the little tweaks you thought of give you better results. If you think you’re too raw to expose yourself again, then try again out of curiosity: will it work this time? Remember what Lisa Simpson used to say, “I’ll keep asking because you might say yes on the 99th time”? This is how people succeed: they try until they succeed.

Rejection is a painful, humiliating experience that’s enough to undermine any professional’s self-confidence and desire to persist. But as with any form of suffering, rejection can help you become a better writer, a better freelancer, and an all-around better person.

Related website:

Rejection Collection: The Writer’s and Artist’s On-line Source for Misery, Commiseration and Inspiration

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Stay at home – are you ready for the loneliness?

May 22nd, 2008

stay at home loneliness by tom@hk on flickr

Photo by Tom@HK

Loneliness is a common experience for stay at home individuals. Even an introvert like me needs human interaction to stay sane and happy. And I mean interaction beyond one’s spouse or partner and children, especially if, like me, you spend the entire day with a semi-verbal toddler who always needs to be cleaned or fed.

Having spent 14 years in my last job, I made lifelong friends of my co-workers. No wonder I miss them terribly now even though I’m living my dream of becoming a stay at home Mom – especially after the little one is napping and I’m the only one stirring in the house.

It doesn’t help that I moved across the globe to become a stay at home Mom, and I’ve landed where everyone outside my family, save for four people (relatives), are complete strangers. It isn’t that simple for me to pick up the phone and call a friend. It’s expensive and we are separated by 12 hours’ time difference. Besides, the four people I know have full-time jobs or are in school and wouldn’t be home.

Rather than wallow in my isolation, here are seven things I’ve been doing and plan on doing, to ease the loneliness:

1. Get out of the house everyday.

Now that spring is here, I indulge in a daily walk every afternoon. I strap the toddler in his stroller and take in the fresh air and all the greenness for at least 15 minutes every day. It’s great for my body and for my mind. I always come home feeling refreshed.

2. Keep in touch, the high-tech way.

Most of my friends and family are thousands of miles away and it would be too expensive to call them often. Fortunately, we live in the digital age. Last weekend, we had a video chat with some good friends and boy did it feel good to hear and see them in real time. Technology rocks! We used Skype (with the friend who wasn’t using a Mac) and iChat (with the friend who was). No web cam? Instant messengers are the next best thing. And there’s always Email.

3. Minimize TV watching.

It’s easy for a stay at home Mom to get trapped into the TV viewing habit. After all, you can do household chores, entertain a toddler or even surf the Net while doing it. But I’ve noticed that watching too much TV leaves me feeling a bit depressed and detached. Besides, it isn’t good for my toddler (which I’ve been telling parents for a decade now while I was still in UNICEF).

4. Keep a positive attitude.

One of the things I learned from Flylady is to always smile, even if I don’t feel like it. I try to do this even when the toddler has just had a screaming fit, or when I’m worried that DH still doesn’t have a job. Somehow, it works. What we do on the outside affects how we feel on the inside.

5. Make new friends.

I have to admit, my older children are better at this than I am. In fact, their social calendars are filling up fast. I have the feeling it may be difficult for me to make new friends at this stage in my life, but I’m not giving up yet. I have run into parents of toddlers in the library and park. Maybe I’ll overcome my introversion and bring cookies to our next-door neighbor. Maybe.

6. Create or join a network of like-minded individuals.

I’ve got virtual networks on Facebook and Yahoo! Groups but I think a network you see face-to-face is better. As soon as we have a car I’ll join monthly meetings of the local La Leche League or maybe attend a knitting group.

7. Talk about it.

I write a weekly Email to my friends back home about the trials, tribulations and triumphs of immigrants in Canada. I began writing them when I was very depressed and homesick and thought we had made a big mistake moving here. Being able to express myself, even in writing, truly helps ease some of the pain. Talking to DH about my feelings of isolation also helps a lot.

Surprisingly, I didn’t find a lot of articles about loneliness in my favorite work at home websites. I did find these:

How to overcome loneliness when you work at home

10 tips for overcoming loneliness

6 practical and powerful ways to overcome depression

If you’re thinking of becoming a stay at home parent, seriously consider how you will cope with the inevitable feelings of loneliness.

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