Find your local role…

Just one experience from last week. I feel that local community is more important than ever. I know hat most of us are online for many hours and connecting with the ‘global village’. I have realised that internet always takes me mile away to different continents which is lovely but I do have less and less time for people around me. Now, when I am at home more than usual – I am thinking more about my immediate surroundings.

There are enough opportunities here under my nose for little odd jobs  that can help to boost my income. For me in particular, it is teaching and tutoring. Parents are tired of homeschooling and are happy to have a break from it. Another example is my cleaning of my extensive library. There is a lovely 15 year old girl who is collecting old book and redistributing them further. To see something like that makes me very happy and I am delighted if I can contribute. What I am trying to say is – try to look around in your community. What problems people living nearby face? Can you help somehow? Can you save them time with providing your services? You have understanding of the locale more then someone from faraway and you are more vested in than big business. You can offer the fact that the customers will know you in person and you literally live behind the corner. Moreover, you can balance the time you spend on the computer with some physical activity and something completely different…

You don’t have to stick to the usual ‘gardening or car pool’. Be inventive. Offer good price to the first customers. Ask for referrals. Team up with someone. People are often worried that they don’t have the right skills. Think about what you are good at. What are your hobbies? What you can share or teach? Can you provide delivery service? Can you do shopping for some people who can’t do it or do not have the time? Can you bake? Can you teach music – even at beginner level is fine. There are always beginners there 🙂 Can you prepare ‘prep’ packs, can you clean up places, organise room and wardrobes, can you transform someones garden into more sustainable one, can you help with composting, can you give advice on more sustainable living, can you teach makeup or styling? You don’t have to be a massive Youtuber or a big name on the market. In your local community YOU have the advantage because:

  1. You are you. You live in the same conditions and have a greater understanding than some big companies.
  2. You can offer better price.
  3. Local people are more forgiving if they know you are one from the community – they will not expect an extensive portfolio and a good word from a neighbour is enough.

I am sure there are more advantages. I hope I have motivated you to get going. Be confident! Now is the best time ever to go out there and make it 🙂

Building stronger community
Your community – your cornerstone

 

 

Going back to what I know…

Well, in times of crises I have always done it. Went home, talked to my grandma, met up with dear friends, looked at old photos, played old song…So this time I am going back to something I thought I have experienced and shelved. I even wrote a post about it and thought to myself: “Done that, been there – tick it off!”

I usually don’t go back but this time I am trying something else. Different perspective, angle, strategy and product. I don’t like going back to old thing that much as they lack the excitement but if they work, they have proven to withstand the test of time. I am trying again to open an online shop and everything from scratch. I know it worked four years ago and I know it took me about 2 years to get decent amount of customers, reviews and experience. Nothing fancy, very simple and straight forward. I will make an update in few months time. No, don’t worry, I am not going to promote it here 🙂

The main reason I sat down I wrote this post is that I think you should not feel ashamed or embarrassed to go back to old things. And especially if you know they worked. The social media promote ‘recency’ as something of a great value. It does have its value. Don’t get me wrong. But the old has its value as well and often it gets buried under the big hill of new shiny things…something to think about, I suppose 🙂

Also one side note: I was really looking for different way to open an online shop and basically there were only 2 ways; my own website or being on one of the big platforms. What I would like there to be – is something like virtual farmers market of sorts. Few shops bundled together. That are perhaps nearby and I can get to know the people bit more. A platform where can I build my own email without feeling like I am doing something wrong. A platform that allows me be me. A platform that is not massive with automated Contact us section. A smaller platform of few where your product does not get buried in a day and where you don’t have to spend on ads to keep it barely visible…

Do I want too much? Am I naive? Is there anything like that already? Anyway, there are many little shops like me who feel the same. Maybe there are already creative people working on some app for a mini-platforms that don’t have the ambition to be sold and grow bigger but rather to serve its primary premise – to connect people and stay humane at the same time.

Have a great day and wishing you all the success in your ventures 🙂

flower-913832
Dreaming about lavender fields 

Keeping it simple and going back to basics

My last post might have been a bit long-winded, I think…

So today I am doing something different. Basically putting out a checklist of what I am focusing now during these strange times. I like to write short lists to streamline my thoughts, especially after watching or reading something inspirational or motivational.

  1. What do I love most? How can I translate that into a digital business/product?
  2. What truly fulfils me?
  3. What I am most passionate about (work wise )
  4. Prioritise based on my answers to Question 1-3
  5. Stick with it
  6. Organise other things that I don’t like, things that sap my energy, things I am not particularly good at
  7. Cut out things that eat my time
  8. What takes me away from my priorities – based on my answers to Questions 6-8, cut them out or at least minimise them

Yep, so that’s it for today 🙂

colored-166920

Working from home again – what next?

Working from home become the new norm in a last couple weeks. Even people who never intended work from home – simply have to.

I found myself paradoxically at home again. Nothing new to me and I eased to it quickly. However, my old fears and problems reappeared: …I can be made redundant any time. How long before I am asked to take a pay cut? And so on.

Rather than listening to these lurking thoughts, I am looking at the new opportunities. I am asking myself, where are they? In what areas? Where is my place in this?

Here is a list of few ideas that might be booming in future and might be worthwhile to explore bit more:

  1. online education and tutoring
  2. care service offering remote activities
  3. fitness trainers providing online sessions
  4. delivery service
  5. providing of interactive activities for all ages
  6. anything to do with and audio – audiobooks and podcasts
  7. blogging might see a Renaissance
  8. all crafts should be blossoming again right?  (maybe a wishful thinking)

I am sure there are many more and I will add them as I go…

In the meantime I am off to polish some of my tutoring skills.

Take care and stay healthy everyone 🙂

Screen Shot 2020-03-23 at 4.52.08 PM

 

 

Working from home for 8 years – my experience

Well, eight years is a long time and I thought that I should share my own experience. I do see lots of different posts on working from home, passive income and great part-time opportunities.

I have worked as translator and project manager for one internet company for many years. It was intense. I had to provide very high standard of service and had to be available any time as we had customers from all over the world. When I say any time – I mean it. I worked on weekends and I worked late nights. The pay was not fixed and depended on the bulk work done – hence me working during Christmas and Easter break 🙂 The pay was average and only if I have done 10 hours day, the pay was worth it.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not complaining. I have done it for a reason. I could stay at home with kids. I have no regrets. However, my energy supply was limited and once I slowed down, I was not needed…

I think many people don’t see this side of “working from home”. My family members and friends often joked on my account saying that I am on holidays all the time. About that I WAS bitter. Although these were loving people, they did not see the work I did and assumed I don’t do much if I don’t go to work in the morning. Of course, they did not know that I am working sometimes till 3 am in the morning, that I am working when sick and so on. I felt that my work is invisible and not valued. I know many people can make it and work from home with a great success. But not me. And I thought that my experience might be useful for someone as we are usually told only the good things and then we lose time figuring things out.

My list for next work from home job would be:

  1. What is the success rate of this business model, 1 in 10 or 1 in 1000
  2. What is the pay structure and job guarantees
  3.  Will I have holidays and free time or am I expected to work in different time zones
  4. What are the future prospects of this job
  5. Make list of advantages and disadvantages

and then decide if it is worth it 🙂IMG_1119

How is my business going – update

Well, so this is interesting. About a year ago I have launched an Easy shop and now I should be a successful entrepreneur right? Not really. And I don’t say that with any bitterness. I have learned new things, met some lovely customers, got great reviews – but did not make much money. I have covered my costs and got little bit of profit but not enough to keep me motivated. By now the shop is closed and put on hold probably indefinitely.

Here are main reasons why I decided to do that. It took a way more time to manage, my products were too cheap  and I would have to sell a large amount of each item. The shipping was expensive and labour intensive. First I did not mind running to the post office with every little order but it wore off by several months.

What went wrong? I don’t blame Easy at all. I think it is a great platform for people who make products by themselves. I however had stationary products that were more of a supplies for arts and crafts. My big downfall was that I did not think it through properly and jumped into it without asking myself whether I am passionate enough about selling stationary and running to the post office every day. I realised it was not for me. I must say that the customers were really nice and often left a very good review. Some customers became frequent customers and dare I say – fans 🙂 It is a very friendly place and you can meet some wonderful people there which is quite unique thing to experience on a selling platform. Things to ask yourself before you give it a go:

1/ What is my profit margin? /I made a mistake selling cheap items with small profit and had to sell large amounts to get some profit./

2/ How much time I can invest into this? /I had to be engaged every day. You can close for holidays but it is not recommended, some orders can come when you are on holidays, on weekends, during Christmas and so on./

3/ Can I secure the shipping? /I was visiting post office with numerous packages and queueing  with people being that were very grumpy because I had ten parcels of different weight  and value. After a while I started to dread that situation./

4/Does my product stand out or am I one of many? /I did not have a unique product. I think if I had something that was hand-made or more unique I would be more successful./

So – I hope I did not discourage you but learn from my mistakes – it can save you time 🙂 My next venture is self-publishing…I know I am bit late to enter this field but who knows maybe I will be more successful then with my shop on Etsy. I will keep you posted!

Update: 2019 – Etsy shop did not work for me. I also tried publishing on Amazon – did not work either (but still trying). I took a part-time job at local school which changed to full-time now. It is an interesting work but very exhausting. I do not have time to pursue my business activities. I am thinking about some new business ideas but at the moment they are just in my head…

IMG_2015

How is the business going

Well, I know that most people write about their business when they have achieved something…anyways here are some notes on my own experience so far.  One thing I need to say – it is a slow process. And I mean really slow. My website is set up and I have sent out e-mails introducing my business. I have signed up with a countless websites and directories. After some hesitation I have started with social media, too. I have been avoiding Facebook for years and still did not give in. Instead I have opted for Instagram and Pinterest as I liked their vibe more.

Here is what I think about these two at the moment:

1. Instagram – I love, love Instagram. I have immediately got into it. Started to post, comment and like. The response was good and actually better than expected. I am slowly building following and loving it in the process. I give it an hour a day – just to like and comment. The comments won me most subscribers and interest. I post once a week. Sunday works best for me and on Monday morning  I usually have a new group of subscribers waiting for me. I like the positive atmosphere, people comment in a very nice manner. I did not come across any haters or trolls like you will find on YouTube for example. People there are creative and supportive. I hope it stays that way! I have read some articles about how to get new subscribers on Instagram but I have not really use them. Advice like: “Post every day.” is not practical for me. My own advice for this social channel would be – make interesting photos of your product, be consistent, supportive with your comments, follow like minded people and things will start to snowball pretty quickly.

2. Pinterest – because I have taken to Instagram I thought let’s try Pinterest, too. I have read how great it will be for my business and how many sales I will get from Pinterest alone. However, at the moment I am just at the stage of the building some interesting boards. With regards to followers, my numbers are way way lower than from Instagram and no sales, yet. I will continue with it as I am told by numerous articles that it takes some time to build it up. At the moment I am lukewarm about it. I think it is great for inspiration or getting ideas or maybe browsing when having free time. In some ways I don’t see much difference from searching something by Google Images. I miss the personal connection with followers and ability to comment on boards. The connection is not so direct and instant as with the Instagram (or maybe I still have not figure out how to do it).

I will keep on going. Not giving up 🙂

IMG_1119

On starting a business

This is a new one in the Categories section. I did not write anything on my intention to start a business. I think I have been avoiding it on purpose. I cannot give any advice as it my first attempt so why bother writing about it right? But now I have changed my mind. The reason is – I simply need to streamline my ideas, get down to business and most importantly – start it! Writing about it will really push me and I need the push…

So little bit of the background. I have been working steadily since 2005 with the same employer until summer 2016. I knew what I had to do. I knew the people and company’s ethos. I cannot say that it was the job of my life but it was O.K. I have learned along the way and become more at ease with marketing, promotion campaigns, accounting and few other skills which I did not study at university. I can honestly say that I worked on automatic pilot and it did not cost me much effort. Last year or two a strange feeling began to creep in: “This job is a dead end and it will probably not be very long before I get fired.” People I worked with started to disappear and it become more obvious that one day I will have to go, too. I did not want to see it. I was always ‘too busy’ to consider what if that really happens? And one day, yes, I was told: “We don’t need you anymore but may call you back if the business picks up…”.

First I thought:”Not a big deal. I needed a change.” But after while I realized that finding new job is going to be lot harder than I thought. I am not twenty any more. Some of my skills are out of date. So after a frantic search through current job market I have made a big decision:” I will set up my own business. I will finally do what I like and enjoy .”The decision has been made and as I said, I have to make it happen. There is no other way. Not knowing what is ahead of me – is scary. Knowing that it is only up to me – is exciting. Wish me luck 🙂

IMG_0720