Saturday, February 27, 2010

Great Resource for Entrepreneurs!

Whether you’re retired or 20-something, whether you’re interested in starting a business or already have one, I’ve found a great resource for entrepreneurs – Packed with info, the only negative I can find is that there’s so much that it’s a little overwhelming. So I’ll try to make it easy by linking to some areas directly.

First – check out the interview with Gaines on Starting a Jewelry Business. Didn’t he do a nice job for Horn’s Jewelry? If you’d like to read other entrepreneur interviews, there’s over 250 from which to choose. Lots of in-the-trenches wisdom there! I plan to sift through them slowly when I have a few minutes reading time. Maybe I’ll shoot for one a day. Hmm. That will take the better part of a year. Well, I really don’t have to read them all, do I? I guess I can focus on just those that seem relevant to what I’m doing business-wise.

Next – check out the Entrepreneur Resources page. They’ve got a TON of quality articles on starting a business, business ideas and so much more. Good thing this is all online rather than in print - just think how much paper that would take!

If you’re thinking about starting a business, or know someone who is, check out Remember that the second half is often the perfect time to start a home-based business. If you’re approaching retirement, a business of your own might be a great way to augment other retirement income and may even allow for an early retirement! If you’re already retired, beginning a new venture may help you stay active and involved. Just be sure to do your research and avoid investing too much money or time until your research shows that the venture under consideration is a viable option for you.

Please Note: This is NOT a sponsored post. Sorry if I sound like a groupie but I really do think they’re a really valuable resource.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Thoughts Turn to Gardening -

Staying active throughout retirement is important to both mental and physical health. Around here, gardening is big! We (well, not me personally – I am NOT a gardener) have several plots that produce a wide variety of fresh vegetables and herbs each year. There is also a variety of fruit, grapes and berries to harvest each fall. And the flowers are unbelievably beautiful!

Tending gardens and flowerbeds provides a good physical workout and allows for creative expression. In addition, it just makes good economic sense! Why buy what you can grow yourself? Consider growing at least a bit of your own food. If space is a problem, try growing tomatoes and peppers in containers on the deck or patio. Add a few marigolds of a scented variety to repel some common pests and you’re all set!

Please Note: Photos are courtesy of Karen Balvin, Sunlitway Photography. It's really nice to have a professional photographer onsite!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Two Great Cleaning Products – Good News and Bad News

We have a few rentals and one just became vacant. In preparation for cleaning, I went to the store to buy my all-time favorite tub and shower-cleaning product, Shower Power. It works great on built-up soap scum – no scrubbing or nasty fumes. Imagine my dismay when I discovered not only that they didn’t have any in stock, but also that it wasn’t even listed as available from any distributor. So I settled for an Arm & Hammer product that worked ok but not nearly as well or as effortlessly as Shower Power.

During the same cleaning spree, I discovered the magic of Holy Cow! all-purpose cleaner. I’d bought a bottle months ago because it was on sale (and it was pink) but hadn’t really tried it yet. Had I not seen the results with my own eyes, I would not have believed anything could clean that well! And the best part? The product didn’t eat the skin off my hands! How cool is that? Quite a pleasant change for me.

Now for the good and bad news:

Shower Power is actually still available but must be ordered online. Apparently the owners retired and closed the business down. There was so much interest in the product, however, that their sons resurrected it as an online only (at least at this time) venture. So that’s the good news.

You won’t believe the bad news. While online searching for what happened to Shower Power, I decided to check out the Holy Cow website. Guess what? It no longer exists. You can find lots of buzz on various blogs about how great the stuff is but no website. Thinking this was kind of strange, I did a Google search for the originator’s name. Guess what? They sold their interest under two years ago and the current owners filed bankruptcy on Dec. 30, 2009. Holy Cow! Another great product gone!

So there you have it – the good news and the bad news. Maybe I should contact the Shower Power guys and see if they want to buy Holy Cow, as well?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Can You Really Make Money Blogging?

Have you seen the “Get Paid to Blog!” ads? I used to wonder what that was all about. I guess I still do beings I have no idea what those ads are trying to sell – but then again, I don’t even want to find out. I’m sure it’s a scam of some kind. At least the ads look and sound like a scam.

I can tell you that I am legitimately getting paid to blog, however. Not right this minute as I write this post but in the past 2 days I’ve written 5 posts for 4 different blogs. These are all clients for whom I did orders on Textbroker who liked my work enough to request direct orders from me. The one client I’ve been writing for regularly since Oct. The others are new in the past few weeks but look like they might each need one post per week. And I have a couple more waiting in the wings.

The challenge in blogging for others is generating quality content that is accurate and relevant to their particular target audience. My longest-term paid blogging is specific to home and garden tips, which is something I know about so I’m pretty comfortable with that. The new ones are in less familiar areas so I’m getting to learn something new. I look at blogging for others as similar to developing a newsletter which cuts down on the intimidation factor somewhat.

I’ve also made a few dollars with this blog doing sponsored posts. I may be doing more of those in the future but will always clearly disclose within the post that it has been sponsored. The ones I’ve done so far have been vision or hair related. Who knew you could make money just putting information for others on your own blog?

Another blogging for pay opportunity that I checked into several months ago was through I was all ready to apply when I found a clause in the small print that I couldn’t agree to although it makes sense. They pay bloggers to post and then they own copyright to everything that’s posted. Well, it’s their blog so that makes sense but I was unwilling to give up rights to my writing for so little pay. I’m sure it’s a nice opportunity for some folks but just wasn’t a good fit for me.

There are also several ways to generate income with paid advertising. Although I have Google Adsense and Amazon ads on my blog, I have yet to make any money. But that’s no mystery – anyone who has read much of my blog knows that every time I include an amazon ad in a post, I also give suggestions of where to get the item for free. And I don’t have the traffic to attract paid advertisers to buy space but I do know of other bloggers who do make a respectable amount of money through paid ads. And if you are savvy enough to develop a niche blog and do everything just right, it’s possible to make a significant income. I’m just not there yet.

Anyway, bottom line is yes, you really can make money blogging. Are you going to get rich blogging for others? No. Are jobs easy to find? Not really – I think I just got lucky. Might you get rich with a niche blog? Maybe – but it’s a lot of work and won’t happen in a hurry so plan to spend some time and don’t quit your day job just yet!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

New Year’s Resolutions Derailed

It happens to the best of us. New Year’s Resolutions get derailed, often by Feb 1st. That’s why I have goals instead. But goals can get derailed, too. Which is what happened to me just recently, on several fronts.

One of my New Year’s goals was to NOT spend any money on cards in 2010. I made a couple of cards for Jan birthdays and figured this was a no-brainer. Then I was called away from home and my mom’s birthday came up while I was gone. So what to do? Fortunately, I was going to be at her place and had the gift all done (a lap quilt with a personal label) so I decided to forgo the card and that worked fine. Now I’m back home before any more Feb birthdays come up at the end of this week and also later in the month. So I guess I need to dedicate a few minutes to making those cards and also schedule a day to make cards for the rest of the year so they’re all done and ready just in case I’m unexpectedly away from home again.

Another goal was to stretch and walk every day. I did great in Jan! If I meet the goal, I put a blue check mark on my calendar and this has been an extremely successful motivator. Who knew? What might I do for a gold star? Anyway, when away from home, the stretching and walking routines go out the window! I guess I won’t beat myself up too much beings I’m sure that’s pretty standard but I would like to stay on track a little better even when traveling.

A third goal that bit the dust in my absence was to post to this blog 3 times each week. I did manage one post but that’s it – oops. There’s an easy fix for this problem so I guess I need to get more organized. All I have to do is write some posts ahead and have them ready to go as drafts and then schedule them to publish on whatever date I choose. Simple. But will I do it? We’ll see.

Finally, I have my freelance writing, moneymaking goals. Totally planned to complete and submit an assignment for Textbroker since I’d have Internet access. What a nightmare! So many distractions and unfamiliar settings and software made that a nearly insurmountable challenge. So I need to get my new laptop travel ready and take it along so that at least I have software with which I’m familiar.

Now that I’m home again, things are getting back on track. We will be away from home again the end of this week but only for a few days rather than a week+. And it’s a planned absence so I can be better prepared and hopefully stay somewhat on track and experience less frustration!

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Joys of Being "Retired"

Finally got home last night after a week's absence. Was called away last Sun to babysit a sick grandchild Mon and Tues, then worked on our recently vacant rental Wed-Thurs, then drove to OR Fri to attend my mom's birthday celebration (Happy 70th!) on Sat. I had been planning on the OR trip but the rest of the week was last minute. Aren't I glad I'm "retired?"

Flexibility to drop everything and attend to family is one of the many advantages of not having a regular job. I do earn money as a freelance writer, however, and had a deadline to meet while away from home. I figured the availability of Internet at our daughter's and also the rental house would allow me to finish easily. WRONG! Like Dorothy said in the Wizard of Oz, "There's no place like home."

What I discovered is that setting and routine are even more important to me than I realized. In the future, I will be traveling with a laptop (just got one and still need to get all my stuff transferred over) so that at least I can work with programs with which I am familiar. Trying to write in different settings and also learn new software just didn't work for me. But I met the deadline and the client was pleased so all is well.