Many people who work full-time also have a business on the side. This can be to earn extra income, just for fun or because someone is seriously building a business to one day be able to leave their current job to make their side business their main sourse of income.
I have had a side business for almost 10 years and have worked it very part-time. When I first started out, I had a variety of reasons for starting my business and over the years it has provided everything from personal and professional growth, improved self confidance, extra cash, wonderful products and great new friends and customers.
Because my business is not currently my main source of income, I have sometimes found it difficult to keep my head in the game and stay motivated. Lately, I have had to rely on my business to provide the extra income for our household and I have had to stay disciplined with it. Here are some simple ways to make sure you stay productive and which have worked for me.
Set goals for your business. Yearly, monthly, weekly and daily goals and write them down.
Create a daily list of 4-6 items that are a priority to get done.
Make sure you have 1-2 income producing activities on your list each day. For instance, client follow-up, booking calls, sales meetings or showings (depending on what type of business you are in)
Feed your mind. What are you reading or listening to.
Have a morning routine that includes exercise, reading and quiet-time/prayer and journaling.
If the list of things seems overwhelming because your main job takes up a lot of time, then start with one thing and add a few more items from the list every few days. I still have periods where I don’t do all of this and where I really have to pull myself together and get things done. The importance is that it makes sense to you.
The reason that I had such an incredible experience was my host-parents. One of the challenges with Au-Pairs is that they are often very young when they start out, I was just 18, and so they are still learning to be an adult. I remember very well.
At home in Denmark for instance, I had just learned to drive a car. You have to be 18 to drive in Denmark, but in the US many of my peers had been driving for a few years already. One of the things my host -family counted on was that I could drive the children to and from pre-school and to and from activities, play-dates etc. I arrived in the summer and immediately, my host-mom would send me on smaller errands alone in the car so that I could get comfortable driving and also get comfortable with the area. She was teaching me and getting me comfortable while also building trust.
Building trust, learning responsibility and learning how to become independent was a big part of my experience and my host parents played a big part in this. Not only did I have the daily responsibility of caring for the family’s children, but they also played an active role in teaching me about American culture and society.
My experience in the US as an Au-Pair has everything to do with why I later chose to immigrate here. I still went back to Denmark and finished my degree, but my roads later led me back to the US, and I am forever grateful to my host-family form back then for believing in me.
25 years ago, I had just started my final semester of high school. I knew I wanted to go to college to get my degree, but I wanted to take a break first. I wanted to travel, and my main goal was to improve my language skills. I had decided to take one year off before I started college. I knew I did not want to go abroad to college, because I could not afford that and neither could my parents. I wanted to work and I wanted to work abroad.
For months on end I had been doing my research. In the early 90s that meant going to the library, getting books on studying and working abroad and figuring out what organizations were out there. Long hours of reading, then calling different organizations from a landline telephone requesting materials and brochures. It was an exciting time.
I settled on becoming an Au-Pair in the US. An Au-Pair is a live-in nanny. You work for a family and take care of their children. The program I joined would place you with a family, you’d get room, board, a small salary and your family would pay for two classes of your choice at a local college or other education program pr. semester. You committed to one year.
I was placed with a family in Pennsylvania and had one of the most rewarding years of my life.
That year abroad in the US eventually led to the life I am living today and I am forever grateful for that. My advice to young people out there who’d like to travel is to have a goal, do your research, find out what you can do safely and legally and then go for it. While it’s scary and risky and all of those things, it is also the most rewarding experience to see other countries and learn about other cultures.
For me, it was by far the most important and life-changing experience I ever made.
I am originally Denmark, where the climate is very coastal. It’s also further to the north than where I live now, which means we’d get lots of moisture during the winter months, generally in the form of rain. We’d get snow as well, but not always the amounts that we kids hoped for.
Yesterday was a wet day here. Sleety and icy conditions all though the day and then right before sunset the snow came. They’d been talking about this for a few days prior on all the weather forecasts, but we never hold our breath. Oklahoma is a toss-up with winter weather. You just never know what you are going to get. But last night it was beautiful.
I convinced my husband to go out and clean his car off and put a windshield cover on for the night. The snow was so pretty. And not a sound.
Big beautiful snowflakes covering the ground, leaving a white layer of fluff. Isn’t it amazing how everything quiets down when it snows?
Not even a sound.
Just by looking at the picture, you recognize the silence. Just the exited sounds of the dog playing in the snow.
The reflection from the lights of the houses in the snow and the snow-covered cars in the driveways on our road tells a story of a quiet evening at home.
The sound and the beauty of winter makes you forget everything else for just a while.
Last fall I did a small table makeover. Here is the link to the post if you’d like to check it out: https://creatingacozyhome.com/small-table-makeover/. We have this really awkward space between our fireplace and the door to our backyard. It has a window that goes down pretty far, so I had to get creative with what to put there. The table fit perfectly there.
We also had an old chair that we got together with a big old office desk. We got a more comfortable office chair for the office, so I decided to redo this old chair to match the table. Below if a picture of the old chair before I painted it. Check out the seat on the floor behind it. I mean, it was just ugly.
I decided to paint the chair the same off-white as the table. I distressed it just a little bit and then I antiqued it with a brown antique wax. I also purchased new fabric for the seat. I got this very cute pattern at Walmart. Check out the after result of both pieces here.
I am still not 100% sure about the antique finish, but for now it’s staying like this. It’s definitely better than it was.
What I loved most about this project is that it was very inexpensive. The small table and chair were given to us by family members who no longer used these furniture pieces. The paint I used was a chalk paint that I bought on sale a while back. The fabric and antique wax used for the chair was purchased at Walmart for about $20 total.
I love to write, I always have. I just don’t get a chance to as often any more, which is one of the reasons that I decided to start this blog in the first place. With the job I do on a daily basis, I long more and more for a creative outlet, which is also a reason for starting the blog. In reality, I dream of and long for a much more creative every day reality that provides both an outlet for writing and creative projects.
My goal with my blog during this January challenge is to get comfortable writing and producing good blog content. I want to get to know people and learn from people who do this better than me and who can give me feedback.
Last but not least I am exited about getting started on my projects in my home, which is part of what I want to display here as well. I have several in mind, some bigger, some smaller. Not all of them will be done in January for sure, so I hope many of you will stick with me throughout this year as the blog develops.
Creating a cozy home to me, however, is not all about creating cute spaces and redoing furniture. Its also about the people in the space and what they bring to the table. It’s about my background and childhood in Denmark and how that has contributed to my life today in the US. I am so exited to share more about that.
I have waited for this day for a few weeks now. I just love the start of a new year. It brings with it a clean slate, a fresh start, lots of excitement and anticipation. There you have it. I am a sucker for resolutions, new challenges and a path to follow to get a good start.
I started this blog last year as a way to chronicle the updates and the journey we went on as we purchased our home. So the Ultimate blog challenge is a perfect way to help me on the way.
For those of you who are not familiar with the Ultimate Blog Challenge, it’s a month long challenge that takes place 4 times a year: in January, April, July and October. I have participated once with this blog and a few more times with other blogs that I have had in the past, but I have never actually completed one. The goal is to write a blog post each day for the 31 days of January. I am ready and excited to complete this challenge.
I welcome you to read along or write along if you also have a blog.
Being an immigrant, there are days when the longing to that which was once my home is so strong that the emotional pain is almost physical. I had a spout of that this past week. It was paralyzing this time. All I could do was the stuff I can almost do in my sleep. Get up, go to work, eat, sleep, repeat!
It took me back to 2011, when our little family went there to celebrate the Christmas holidays with my parents. My husband took some incredible pictures one day on a walk to the beach. It was a mild winter, just wet, windy and gray.
I love how he captured the shift in the weather that day, almost exactly what I experienced with my mood this week.
The view from the cliffs over the beach is amazing no matter if it’s a sunny or gray day. I have sat there on the bench so many times, when I just needed to gather my thoughts. The water and the wind always forgiving and calming.
Last summer when my daughter and I went back for a wedding, we spent some time walking along the beach, gathering shells, playing in the water, eating ice cream. Even though the summer of 2017 was one of the worst on record in many years in Denmark, she still got a feel for what I love so much about this place.
The beaches of my childhood. It’s the one thing I really long for.
At the beginning of October, I started this blog challenge with Ultimate Blog Challenge. Each day we receive a topics as a writing prompt that we can choose to write about, or we can select our own topic. Todays topic is to write about adversity, either personal or in business. So, here we go.
I have already mentioned in a previous post that I run a small business next to my fulltime job and although it may not seem like a very visible adversity, it’s there and I face this demon every day. While I love my business, I still live with this fear in my head every day. That bugging feeling of “what if…”. What if I am not good enough? What will they think of me doing this? How am I going to find new customers? And the list goes on.
To quiet my mind and start my day of the best way I know how, I start with the miracle morning that I wrote about here: https://creatingacozyhome.com/miracle-morning/
In addition, I try to really plan my days and weeks to make sure that I am on top of things. But the fears are still there. The only thing that takes the fear away is action. Action that isn’t always there!!
Why? Why can’t I just shake it? I know it is all in my head, yet it seems so real. And yet somehow, I persist…