Many people start blogs as a creative outlet for sharing their passions and reaching out to help others by sharing their advice and vast knowledge on an any given topic. Add to that the potential for making a very comfortable living doing what they love, and it’s easy to see why so many are eager to try their hand at blogging.
I’ve spent several years following many talented writers who regularly crank out thought-provoking, valuable content-rich posts on a weekly basis, quickly and insightfully responding to questions and comments from their knowledge-hungry readers. But really, who has time for that?
Let’s be real. Blogging requires hard work, dedication and organization and honestly, wouldn’t you rather be vegged out in front of the TV or tucked away in your bed, dreaming your life away? Of course you would, and I know a few cats who would agree with you. But what do you do when you find that you’re caught up in that exhausting cycle of writing, publishing, promoting and engaging? When the freedom from the 9 to 5 office grind has got you totally regretting that impromptu beach trip with your family?
Well today’s your lucky day, because I’m here to share with you (with the help of a few of my feline [mostly] friends) several fool-proof ways to disengage with your audience, slow down or stop your production and ensure that your audience and profits will drop faster than the speed of light!
You remember how it was before you started your own blog, right? You lurked for months or more in the blogosphere, perusing the comments sections and related social media posts, looking for answers to questions that you yourself were afraid to ask. I get it. You’re a bit shy at times and people can be scary, so the less risk you take by immersing yourself in social engagement with readers and fellow bloggers, the better. And if it ain’t broke… After all, networking is overrated and you surely wouldn’t want to risk drawing attention and traffic to your brand or the posts you’ve worked so hard to write. We’ll talk more about writing posts in a moment. But first:
Nothing you have to say is really important, so why bother sharing who you really are with your readers? Valuable information is valuable information whether it’s doled out in a way that amuses or in a way that bores, and since you don’t really owe anybody a damn thing, don’t feel bad about lulling your readers into a snooze fest with your monotonous writing style. After all, if you really wanted people to get a feel for your down-to-earth nature, delightful humor or scathing whit, you likely would have tried your hand at stand-up comedy, not incorporate these charming qualities into your writing, amiright?
You’ve heard the saying: “Opinions are like _____ …” It seems everybody’s got one and can’t wait to share it, whether you want to hear it or not. Screw them. This is your blog and you can run it any way you like. That a few well-meaning readers might have a question about, or an alternate perspective on something you’ve written does not obligate you to engage in respectful mature debate. And who would blame you for giving the occasional dissenter a real piece of your mind? In fact, the sense of security and anonymity the internet offers can be a real advantage when the urge strikes to respond with contempt to anyone who dares exhibit a thought that conflicts with your own. This strategy is guaranteed to drop your readership, too. It’s a win‑win!
As pointed out above, dazzling others with your winning personality and engaging with your readers and fellow bloggers is a lot of work that takes time away from other activities you could be doing, like napping or bingeing on your favorite Netflix Original show. Happily, this problem is best solved by becoming lax in your blog output all together. By simply learning to prioritize in a way that allows you to be inefficient and maximize the precious time wasted, you’ll soon lose inspiration and ambition, run out of ideas for blog posts and eventually be free of those pesky readers who’ve kept your analytics counter moving north. So free yourself of the guilt you’ve been carrying around the past couple of months because you’ve neglected your writing and embrace your MIA status with open arms. Your conscience will thank you.
Despite employing all of the above, is entirely possible that you will find yourself with a few remaining blog subscribers or readers. Whether these hangers-on are the result of loyalty or the consequence of being too lazy to click the “unsubscribe” link, don’t despair. Their small number won’t bring you enough troublesome traffic to warrant any profit. Just the same, these too are handled with comparable ease as the above-listed steps. Are you ready for it? Simply walk away. Resign your blog to the vast graveyard of dashed hopes and save yourself the hassle of checking your blog dash for comments, keeping up the social media accounts or the expense of a domain and monthly hosting. You’re in good company. One New York Times article cited that 95% of blogs go belly up. That’s huge. Why should you stand apart from the others? You’ve got nothing to prove. Soon you’ll be free to spend your time doing the things you really love. Your couch awaits.
We all experience days where we just cannot get motivated, and some of us more than others. Lackluster motivation can be a detriment to any task, but when you’re trying to pump out blog posts or accomplish any other imaginative work, it can be a real creativity killer.
As I gain more experience in blogging, I’m learning that I need to take advantage of the moments that I have ideas and/or things to say about those ideas by recording, writing or typing them right away. That way, when I am in the mood to write something and my creative juices aren’t exactly flowing, I have a stash of ideas ready and waiting to be elaborated on. Also, I’m terribly forgetful and thoughts and ideas dash out of my head almost as quickly as they come in.
But what about those times – and we all have them – when the obstacle we face is lethargy, lack of desire or disinterest? When the desire to curl up in bed or lounge in front of the TV for a Netflix binge overpowers our self-starting nature?
I do take time out on occasion to regain my sanity by indulging in a lazy day of nothing, but it’s a slippery slope. Add to that the day-to-day stresses that can pile up and sap me of energy and even hope, and I’ve got to have a strategy ready to implement when I’m stuck in a cycle of inertia or else I’ll end up putting off my writing or worse, neglect it long-term, and that doesn’t work for me.
Following are my go-to steps for getting back on track and into the game:
Endorphins or “feel-good” hormones are secreted in the brain and nervous system and activate the body’s opiate receptors, reducing stress and fatigue, lifting our moods and causing us to feel more focused, among other things. One of the most powerful endorphin boosters is exercise. A mere 10 to 30 minutes (each person is different) can make a world of difference in your mental outlook. So, go for a run or do some intense exercise to raise your heart rate and produce a good sweat. Or if you’re like me, you benefit from simply blasting music and dancing around your house. It’s free and nobody has to know but you! A quick high-intensity workout really refreshes me and gives me a positive perspective when I’m feeling down and blah.
Another free and easy trick to feeling better and lifting the mood is to get natural sunlight. The serotonin boost occurs when sunlight goes through the eyes and triggers receptors in the retina that signal the brain to produce more of the hormone, reducing stress and anxiety that can get in the way of creative thinking. Five to ten minutes is all that’s needed!
The sights, sounds and smells around you can have a drastic effect on your focus and creativity. Waking up to a cluttered bedroom or walking into a cluttered office can really hamper your ability to be productive; so, when fighting to get back into a creative mindset, take time to ensure your environment is clean and organized before going to sleep at night, allowing you to wake up in a clutter-free space. This contributes greatly to mental clarity and ability to focus on necessary tasks.
Additionally, a pleasant workspace can be very inspiring when you need to write. Decluttering your desk or worktable, playing some mood music and lighting your favorite incense or candles will go a long way toward getting your creative juices flowing and help you out of your slump. And if you need to, get out! Take your work to a coffee shop, a park or the beach. Change your surroundings and get flowing, stat!
Finally, what you put into your body has a huge effect on your state of mind. Nutrient-dense whole foods nourish the mind as well as the body, while sugar and starches make you sluggish and slow down the thinking process. It’s science! So the next time you sit down to work or write and you’re feeling foggy, reconsider reaching for the sugar-laden coffee drink with pastry and instead opt for something that will rev your engines, like a handful of almonds and a nice flavored mineral water (if that’s your thing).
Of course, you will have days where you will have no choice but to submit to a good day of relaxation for your mental health, and there’s nothing wrong with that! But if you’re like me and you find that one day leads to
a week or a month a year (okay, ya got me!) of neglectful lounging, it might help to have a few tips up your sleeve to start climbing out of your hole.
Try all or a few of these tips and let me know how you get on. I’d love to hear from you!
We all could use a little more cash at times, and some of us need more than others.
Writing, blogging, design and technical jobs are all great options for skilled and motivated individuals who wish to trade in the office grind in favor of being their own boss or bring in a little extra income.
But what if you’re not really a writer, or feel completely lost when it comes to anything technical, and you’re not feeling very entrepreneurial? Well, you’re certainly not alone, and there are still great options available for you.
The internet contains thousands of lists of jobs you can do at home. I’m sure you’ve already scanned through dozens of them and maybe determined that most weren’t a fit for you. There was a time (long before I started this blog) that I had no interest in a career or becoming a brand, and I just simply want to bring in a paycheck that allowed me to focus on being a mom.
It feels like only yesterday I was living in a tiny apartment with my husband and two small children (One of those children just graduated college – woo hoo!), stressing about how on earth we were going to pay our rent and keep the power on. My husband had a part-time teaching gig at the community college around the corner, but the money from that was so little, we had to depend a lot on family to get us by.
I remember frantically searching the internet for work-at home jobs, frustrated that every glimmer of hope I mustered was eventually dashed at the realization that I would be expected to fork out money (that I didn’t have!) in order to qualify for whatever work was available. The scams in those days, I tell ya! Thankfully I’m a bit older and wiser now.
I did manage to navigate those days relatively unscathed, and managed to find scam-free, gainful work-at home jobs that really helped my family get through the tough times and allow me to stay home and focus on being a mom. Not surprisingly, most of the legit companies are still around today and seeking honest, self-motivated individuals – like you – to fulfill dignified essential roles in their companies. And I’m here to point you in the right direction.
A telephone customer service representative (CSR) was the very first work-at home (hereafter referred to as WAH) role I ever tried. After the initial relief of finding a company that provided WAH opportunities and surviving a telephone interview, I was overwhelmed with fear that I wouldn’t be able to handle it. I had been out of the work force for a few years by then, staying home to take care of a small child and an infant, and as many women can tell you, that transition can really mess with your brain. My self-doubt and insecurity were at an all time-high. But you know what? I needn’t have worried. It was fine.
Phone calls were sent to my computer, which I answered using software from the company, which enabled me to press a button to connect the call. I then simply read from a script that appeared on my screen. Easy Peasy! I took orders for a popular shopping channel, I took orders for a popular pizza chain, and I even took calls for credit card companies, signing up new customers. Everything I needed was right there in the script in front of me. If I did on occasion have an issue that I couldn’t handle, transferring the customer to a manager was as simple as pressing a couple buttons to pass the call to someone more qualified to help. I was soon able to relax enough to have a little fun with the job and be more personable with the callers. It made for a better experience and I’ll say it, I even began to enjoy being a WAH CSR. Three companies that have been around for a long time and have good reputations are:
• www.sykes.com (formerly Alpine Access)
I personally worked for West Corporation and I had a great experience with them. My husband even did some work for them short term, which essentially doubled our income at the time. We were both making $8.00 an hour when we were with West, but admittedly, this was years ago. At the time, $8.00 was pretty good considering the lack of overhead.
Bottom Line: If you’re a people person, have a flexible schedule and love working in your PJs, WAH CSR just might be for you!
2. Transcription from Home
Eventually, my husband got a decent fulltime job which, coupled with my income as a customer service rep, enabled us to adequately sustain our household, and even a few luxuries from time to time. So, imagine my surprise when I was contacted out of the blue by a transcription company claiming that I had applied for them some time ago, and that they now had an opening for me if I was interested. Honestly, I had no recollection (I still don’t) of applying with this company, nor had I heard of them; but cautiously optimistic, I interviewed, went through the training and even received my first paycheck two weeks later.
My bank initially refused to honor the check, suspecting that it was a fraud, but after a triangle of phone calls to and from my bank, the transcription company and their bank, it was determined that it was a legitimate check, the funds were available and the company was legit after all. Boy, was I relieved!
Ten years later, I can confidently tell you that this company is huge, with big-name clients and continues to grow. And I’ve never once had an issue with payment. They faithfully make direct deposits into their contractors’ bank accounts twice a month. In fact, I still maintain one company’s required minimum of typing hours, per month, in order to keep my certification with them because these days, you just never know when you’ll need a little extra cash and it’s always good to have a backup.
The rate of pay is moderate, but the faster and more accurate you type, the more money you stand to make. When I started out, my pay worked out to $9.00 per hour, but I’ve become really fast, and an hour of typing brings me a much higher rate depending on what kind of transcription I’m doing and how my hands are feeling on any given day. HIPAA laws and just general privacy considerations prevent me from naming specifically the transcription companies I’ve worked for, but I will include them in a list below of the more reputable transcription agencies, and you can check them out yourself.
The only investment needed is a foot pedal and a decent computer. Now, I managed to go through the training without a foot pedal, and it was a pain in the butt, but it is possible. However, I highly recommend the foot pedal. You can get a really nice one for $60.00. The software I used is proprietary and free to download once you’ve been set up as a contractor.
Bottom Line: If you’re not really a people person, don’t mind spending long hours at your desk, have flexibility in your working hours, and have strong work ethic and attention to detail, this job might be for you.
Not everybody is cut out to run their own business. Finding a job that pays a decent wage that you can do from home with little overhead isn’t impossible, and with a bit of determination, you can turn a good side hustle into a fulltime gig.
I didn’t really plan on posting anything until Tuesday, when I will be weighing myself and posting an update picture, but I just found myself in the mood to write.
I’m surprised to say I’m feeling great. Despite a few setbacks this week (all sugar based – more detail below), I’m managing to keep up the workouts, which for me is huge. It’s 9:00 p.m. here and though I’ve not yet worked out today I’m itching to do so and will make sure to squeeze it in before bed.
I’ve been drinking from 48 to 72 ounces of water per day. It’s not quite my gallon (128 ounces) goal, but it’s still more water than I was drinking before. Additionally, despite my insistence that I would NEVER give up my coffee, I’ve just been making myself a cup every morning but not taking more than a sip or two. I’ve had a bit of voice work this week and I find that copious amounts of caffeine tends to dry me out a bit and make recording difficult. The water has been so helpful and I was told that my recordings were better than usual, though I have a sneaking suspicion that might be more due to my positive attitude than anything else.
My diet has been mostly raw vegetables (kale, spinach, peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes); some raw fruits; chicken or beef and the occasional eggs or cooked beans and veggies (My husband made a spicy vegetarian chili).
Alas! My sugar status has not been boast-worthy. Wednesday night my husband was feeling celebratory after a small personal victory which resulted in milkshakes. Mine was peanut butter fudge and I felt it long after. Dairy has never been my friend.
Yesterday I went a bit crazy when I came across plates of cookies and chips at my brother’s house that his wife had set out for everyone. I resisted for an hour but eventually “just one” snowballed into several. I didn’t let it get me down though. I came home, brushed my teeth (a trick that helps me so much), consumed a 24-ounce Mason jar of ice water and made sure to get my workout in.
Against my own judgment I weighed myself last night and was pleasantly surprised. I don’t want to become a slave to numbers, as I understand that the scale is not the final word in fat loss, but since I’m just starting out on this weight loss journey, I’ve decided to pay some attention to the numbers on the scale for a little while. I won’t divulge them today, but Tuesday I will be sure to post them along with a picture.
That’s all I’ve got for you today. I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend!
For a few years, a sizable portion of my income while working from home was made as a VA (virtual assistant). While I did well and worked with some wonderful individuals (partners as well as clients), I soon became dispassionate about my work. I was stubborn and slow to accept and learn about blogging as an important facet of running a successful business and I was overwhelmed by social media in general. I’m not as stubborn as I formerly was regarding these common business tools, and while I still have so much learn about them, I am genuinely making the effort.
The rich warm aroma of brewing coffee; the clicking of fingers on keyboards; the clacking of high heels on hard floors; the background hum of paper-shuffling, printers and voices – these are just a few of the ambient smells, sounds and sights of the typical office that I have come to miss while working from home, a sentiment I’ve discovered to be beyond the grasp of many I know still subject to the conventional grind of their occupations and even at times a surprise to myself.
Almost nothing I say interests people more than when I tell them I work from home. This revelation never fails to bring out exuberant responses from others ranging from curiosity to assumptions; and as anyone who works from home can tell you, the latter can have you pulling your hair out!