End of January Blues

January Snow

We all get them, those end of January blues that torment you about the goals you didn’t set, the ones you set but didn’t keep, and the different ways you’re already failing in the new year. When I realized I was succumbing to the End of January Blues, I took a deep breath and looked around at my accomplishments.

By acknowledging all the ways I’ve gained ground this month, I was able to overcome the blues part of this scenario and step into the spot light of accomplishment instead. I love knowing I’ve achieved something of value, but more often, I’m stuck beating myself up for what I didn’t do.

This month, it seems like I’ve been sick every time I turned around. Not seriously sick, just a head cold, a little virus or some other such non-sense that kept me from moving forward with my business… Or so I thought. By looking at what I’ve accomplished, I realized that by staying home, I’ve finished off more of my goals than I would have by being out in the public, because I actually settled in and worked on them. I did the eNewsletters, set up my schedule, and have been busting my buns accomplishing my financial/helping others goals. There’s so much to be said for simply working at home!

New clients and contacts ROCK, but by working at home and getting things done. My business took off, I have contacted clients that needed to be contacted, and I have made sales I might not have made, had I been schmoozing with the girls at the coffee shop or working accountability Tuesday, because it takes time to go from one place to the other and working at home, I didn’t lose ground on my schedule.

Yes, I have to get out and meet new people, but I’ll be more selective in the events I participate in now that I know I get more done at home.

Coming Home After Vacation

The return home after vacation often includes counting pennies and making ends meet whether you want to or not. The deal breaker comes when you traveled on borrowed money. There’s the big kahoona that doesn’t quite fit. If you traveled on plastic, arriving home means you’ve got bills to pay and there’s no rest at all from your trip. You’ve got to get right back to work, moving toward payment of those cards, and saving up for another trip isn’t even a remote option.

So, what’s a girl to do…

Mom 4 Business - Mom's working from home Rock!

Toss the cards before the trip.

Yup, that’s the solution. Don’t use plastic. The agreement when we left was, we’re not using plastic unless it’s the last option – as in the VERY LAST OPTION – and it’s gotta be an absolute emergency before we pull out the plastic.

Well, we didn’t find any of those emergencies in our pocket. We had a great trip with no problems and financially – well, we arrived home with a little cash left over and no NEW debt. That’s thanks to great planning and the ability to pinch a nickel until the Indian screamed and the buffalo – er… well… you’ve probably heard it before. We did manage to get home with a few of those super pinched nickels.

Scentsy Candles by Sharon Arns

And on the way, we did a few other things… Like sell some ads on our home page here, to make a few extra bucks. If you’d be so kind as to click on these ads and buy something from the sites in order to help us pay for the trip NEXT year, we’d appreciate your assistance. If not, I just want you to know that we’ll still manage to go, because we know how to pinch those nickels.

The best part is, we found ways to earn on the trip. Which I’ll be talking about in the near future, because it’s really awesome information that you might be able to use too. I’ll probably even give you a tip or two before I quit today.

First off, I want to tell you… It was right back to work, before I even arrived home after vacation. There’s truly no rest for the wicked, and I’ve been told I was plenty ‘wicked’ as a child. I must have been, because there’s been no rest. Even on the trip, there wasn’t many hours of rest. I couldn’t get over how much work it is, just to drive across country. Although – it was a total blast of fun (and I’ll be sharing photos very soon).

Coffee Clatter

Our favorite stops included coffee shops along the way. From the iced coffees in Missouri to the hot espresso in Tennessee. Did you know that Tennessee coffee shops don’t have latte? Well, some may, but the back woods cafe where we had breakfast simply said, “We have hot coffee or cold coffee, you add the cream and sugar.” AHEM.

Definitely, check your coffee drinking etiquette before traveling.

Then there’s the sweet tea thang in the southern states. ER HERUMPH I prefer unsweetened tea, thank you. After all, when I add the sugar, I know how many calories I’m adding, but when you add it, my butt cheeks are at the mercy of your measuring cup. Have you ever noticed there are no calorie counts on those sweet tea cups?

But, then there’s the A&W Root Beer taps… Oh, my gosh, that stuff is good. Yeah, sweetie, I know it’s got more sugar than a cup of sweet tea, but heaven help me, I felt like a five year old dragging my tongue around the frozen edge of that root beer mug. Can I get a refill with a new frozen mug? Oh, wow! That was practically orgasmic pleasure. I’m tellin’ ya. It was better than the Orgasmic Mocha Brownies I used to crave. Gotta love Root Beer from a tap in a frozen mug. YUM.

So, if you’re wondering what happens on a vacation to Virginia Beach and back… um… just keep checking back, because I’ll be telling more and more details as the days go by… I really gotta get all the batteries charged and upload the pictures, soon.

Epic Fail – Or Symptomatic Lesson of Success

The conference planned, scheduled and marketed for today was an epic failure. Not a single person managed to wiggle their way into our conference site – for OUR conference. That might not be a surprise to some, but to me — who had been marketing the project night and day (with a few breaks to beat down the political angst by attending, speaking at Tea Parties and supporting a candidate for U.S. Senate), an Epic Fail of NO ATTENDEES came as a surprise to me.

Looking back, I now realize we were probably marketing to the wrong market. But, I didn’t think so at the time. I’m a firm believer that anyone who has a business needs a blog… But some business owners are under the misconception that their business will do just fine even if nobody knows their opinion on the topic of the day. I suppose they could be right. Or, they could be wrong.

If your business doesn’t require income from the Internet to survive, you don’t need a blog, probably don’t want one, and who has time for something that goofy? You’d probably be better off just reading what others have to say. Who’d believe you have anything to say anyhow?

But if your business needs Internet income to survive… Rip out the old keyboard and park your carcass in a chair, you need to pound out some serious content. Your business is relevant, so stick to what you do. Write what you know. Don’t get arrogant, you can’t do it all, hire a virtual assistant to do some of the writing for you.

Bottom line, this was a stellar opportunity for you to upload a web domain and carve yourself a space out there in Cyber Realestate. You really need a blog and a website if you’re going to do business in the REAL world. Don’t push off success by failing to catch up to current events. Get a computer, buy a domain and call me, I have solutions for your website issues – yes, it’ll cost you!

The Writer in Me – A Journal of Survival

A few weeks ago I had a conversation with Oris George,  the back roads of yesterday guy who writes about mules and such stuff as comes about on those back roads where real folks rarely wonder. He mentioned something I’d written and said, “It’s really good. You ought to sell that.”

I went off half-cocked and wrote a query letter to a popular editor/publisher and ended up with a contract to… uh… sell that. What I’d actually written was little more than a title and a few paragraphs of plot, which could go many directions, but I chose to send it down the road of mystery/suspense where I rarely ever go. Not that there’s anything wrong with sitting on the edge of your chair turning pages one after another to get to the end of the book and find out if your hero survives, I just never wrote that stuff before.

So, sitting on my desk, in front of my face on any given morning is an acceptance of a story genre I’ve never written before. Thus far, I’ve gotten about 4500 words and it’s due in a few months, along with several other projects, jobs, and items of work type nature… In fact, the book is due on or about the same date as my third grandchild.

But that reference has nothing what-so-ever to do with the book, just a general concept of I’d better hurry, because I don’t want a looming deadline arriving with a baby due any minute. Babies don’t wait, and looming deadlines must be met.

And yet, here I sit stumbling over the words of the suspenseful novel, waiting inspiration beyond – it was a dark and gloomy night. It’s rather over used, droll, and… Sorry Ava, but… Rather Ava Betz-ish. It has been, often, one of her favorite comments when we start writing those suspenseful pieces in writer’s group, because she knows I’m going to dream up a thunderstorm. “The thunder rolls…” is one of my favorite starting lines for just about anything, because once I get the thunder rolling out of my way, I can get down to writing something of value.

It’s my white page, black-out. You know, those words that settle onto the page first, to remove the fear of white page addiction, which has been known to cause writer’s block in the fairest of writers. Once we’re addicted to the white page, we lack the sensibility to add words and get beyond our addiction. It’s a disease that has stumped many writer’s next books and prevented many Wurlitzer Prize winners from accomplishing their goals.

The psychosis of writing is much the same as the psychotic mania that spurs my hero into action in the thriller I’m currently writing. The desire to accomplish that which is irregular or unusual, while making a statement for humanity drives a strong pulse to continue. Where does the need to stop insanity come from in a sane world? Isn’t it normal to have moments of ridiculous tumultuous experience and a sense of crisis in each day of living?

So, what is so different from putting those thoughts and feelings into a book and calling it suspense and mystery? The doom and gloom of daily living is surely enough suspense to carry us through a thriller crime story filled to the brim with mayhem and chaos, right?

And yet… In a very literary sense, the book must go on.

After an intense conversation with my daughter (who has an incredible sense of knowledge about profiling) I found my weakness in writing to be at least half as great as the profile required to create a psychotic killer in my book. With that knowledge and at least five Sydney Sheldon’s sitting on the shelf, I’ve determined that I can do this. I will write this book, fulfill this contract and beat down the demons that keep saying that I can’t write this book. I can, I will and they can’t stop me!

The Branding Iron

As winter comes on, I’m reminded of the years I spent branding cattle. There weren’t many, but there were a few and those years stand out in my mind as treasures where we gathered to brand, cut cattle, and have a celebration of the end of winter. I loved the gathering and the identification of time, people, and purpose.

Today, the branding iron has a different meaning, but still just as fulfilling and driven by purpose. Article Marketing is not my life, but it fulfills my livelihood and my directives. It gives me resources and drives my business while allowing me to move my own values forward. Often, article marketing gives me an ability to reinforce the message I believe should be presented.

Your Brand identifies you like a branding iron. Using article marketing to make your brand popular often means you can make your brand identifiable and still promote information other than the primary topic of your site.

Brute Force – Taxation Beyond Rights

Are you ready for a government that can tax you beyond your earning power?

Sometimes we look at the taxes we pay IRS and think there should be a regulation, but have you considered the other ways you’re taxed?

Road Tax –

Comes not only when you purchase gas at the gas station, or your license plates. But what about those tickets you receive for not wearing a seatbelt, for having a license plate light burn out, or for not using your blinker to signal a turn? Are all of those revenues used for the roads? Or do those revenues end up somewhere else?

How often do you pay ADDITIONAL TAXES?

Transportation Tax –

It’s that road tax again, from a different source. Have you seen the price of groceries? Not much of that gets back to the farmer. He’s in the same boat you’re in, still scrubbing to get by on the minimal amount of income he’s making, because the extra goes to transportation and hauling of your groceries. Consider the average trucking company pays out at least a 2% fine each year in road costs, at the port, over the ticket counter, or to the courts. Those fines increase the cost of your groceries.

Community Power –

In a small mid-west town where water, wind, and oil are plentiful in local fields, you’d think the cost of power would decrease. Not so fast, it seems local powers-that-be changed the source. Coal fired power plants where the wind never stops? How can that be a productive choice of fuel? Increased costs of transportation via rail have increased the cost of power in the mid-west. Can you imagine the luxury of having your own power plant?

Government Requirements are costing you money.

New laws are digging in your pocket and adding more and more taxation to already unbelievably HIGH levels of taxation. Have you noticed? Or is this just another one of those iconic slaughterings of the current administration that taxes your brain too much to understand the actual cost of what you’re giving up? Are you going to stop it? Are you just going to sit there and watch it happen?

Single Mom – The Theme of This Month

I’ve decided it’s only because this is the month I turn 49. It’s that hazy day-breaking revelation that life continues no matter what the source.

As a single mom, my life is pretty busy and most of the time, dating isn’t an option. There’s just too much going on. But, then there are times when I have an opportunity to date – and take it. I’ve had some really incredibly good dates. A few of them repeatable and something I’d like to repeat. Others, I rarely talk about and try not to remember.

This past week had three specific dates. One very memorable and delightful evening with a friend. I thoroughly enjoyed myself, although I don’t consider “him” as a date. He’s a nice guy, a gentleman, and probably eventually a good friend. But a date, nah – not a serious contender.

The second event was supposed to be a date. My date arrived late – no big deal, he drove a ways to get here. I didn’t get too excited. We went casual, jeans and sweaters and had a nice time. I actually gave him a hug at the end of the night and sent him on his way peacefully. Nice guy – but no dice. He just didn’t keep me interested, not even a little.

Date number three offered something to write home about. In fact, I seriously considered calling my daughter and telling her what a great time I had. Until he dropped me off at the front door. Let’s just say a pleasant evening went south from the exit.

None of these were exactly planned dates. The first one was a last minute invitation to go with a friend before a meeting. The second was a blind ‘get together’ prelude to the supposed first date, scheduled for next week. (I’ve already made other plans.) The third was an event and we were simply going together.

There are a few ‘standbys’ who are good friends with a plan… I’ve never been certain what their plan was, but whenever I need a date for an event, or my friends need a date for an event, we end up on each other’s phone. But nothing serious.

After getting together with ‘friends’ and the few dates I’ve experienced this month, I’ve about decided it’s time for a Mom and Kids only Month. No competition, no drama, just mom and the kids for fun and a good healthy dose of laughter.

Personal Columnist – Write Your Own

Write a Column – 5 Steps to Your Own Personal Columnist
By Jan Verhoeff

Small town papers the world over are looking for personal columnists to add content to their papers. Ideas run rampant, but as a writer, how can you take advantage of the need for personal columnists? Here are some suggestions you can take to heart.

Continue reading Personal Columnist – Write Your Own

Burning Bridges & Midnight Oil

Time passes slowly in the summer when the heat beats down on your head and you’re working the hot afternoon. Living in the Arkansas Valley means hot dry summers through most years, and too many afternoons of heat beating down. Dirt blows and the days grow hot and long.

I remember as a child, my grandfather saying, “It’s two in the afternoon and that sun ain’t gonna budge until well after four, I might as well go in and take a nap.” And he did.

Continue reading Burning Bridges & Midnight Oil