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

 

 

Thinking about the next step…

There are lots of prediction how the world will look. It is clear to me that I will have to be more versatile and juggle lots of moving parts. I will have to learn few more things, too. From all of this I gather that the future is going to be about activity, flexibility and self-improvement.

All of which I don’t particularly like or excel in…I love things to be the way they are – change often scares me. I don’t welcome it…having said that, I know it is something that needs to be done. I have streamlined my direction as follows:

  1. What am I good at? Maybe look back into my past and rediscover old talent.
  2. How can I help others or solve their problem while earning bit on the side. Tutoring? Dog walking? Selling things I don’t need anymore?
  3. I need to go deeper in my skills, what makes be different from the crowd? (I need to work on this point and I know it will take me at least a year to do that – I know that sucks but it is better to be honest with myself)

So yes, this is a marathon that feels like a very long sprint 🙂

Let’s get it done!

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Mini-blocks and mini-burnouts

This might be useful for someone who works at home with a great intensity. That is what I have been doing during the lockdown and it occurred to me – that instead of having a big creative block or a big burnout, I experience a series of small ones. Not sure why it is, but this is how I deal with them.

Usually, when I put 100% into something or all my creative focus into one thing, I get very excited and almost nervous. I want to get straight to it. Bring it to this world so to speak – and usually I do. Sometimes, during that process, I start feeling like I am just pulled into some desert plains. I start asking about my motives, if someone is going to care, will it serve someone, am I wasting my time and so on. This is disappointing for me, simply because after a great high becomes a great low. And I think that is where many people stop creating and abandon their original idea/intention.

Now, when I am at home and I do need to find other strategies, I react differently. When I start feeling like this – I stop. I don’t push through anymore and I take time from it. I can do this just because I am at home. What works best for me is when I sleep on it. The next morning, I look at it with fresh eyes. And I am sure my brain worked on it as well while I slept. Then I continue and I finish the task no matter what where my initial feelings – euphoria or subsequent feelings – negativity. I finish it from a more balanced and neutral place.

I am writing this because you might be feeling the same, starting something with a great enthusiasm and then stopping it with negative feelings. I think, the best way through this is to embrace it and realise, yes, this is the process, this is how I work. There will be these ups and downs – and so what? Why it should stop me? This is how I work. This is how I get things done – and there is nothing wrong with it.

So keep on going my friends, no matter how hard it seems 🙂milky-way-1023340

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 🙂

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Working from home – because that is the only way now…

So…I have completed several weeks of work from home now. And just few months ago I thought that I will never work from home again….

This time round I found it quite hard. I was distracted by what was going on around me. I spent hours watching videos about the pandemic; what to prepare, how to survive and videos about what will happen next.  As a result, my productivity dropped immensely not mentioning zero motivation to work. Anxiety and fear crippled me for hours. I am not ashamed to admit it. I believe that it is O.K. to be scared and worried. It is a normal reaction. It is good to admit to yourself and your loved once. If you do that, you will be more understanding towards yourself and others will be more understanding towards you. When I realised my feelings and failings, I moved to the next step. If you read my blog regularly, you already know that I love to follow steps 🙂

I created a new routine for myself and decided to keep it. Morning routine stayed almost the same as on the “normal” work days. I created a little workspace that is shielded from my family and is fairly quiet. I have put up my board with a weekly timetable and deadlines. I left my phone in the bedroom and limited my time on the media. I have set a time for breaks (I have cut out my trips to the fridge). To make my work day more appealing, I have shorten my ‘actual’ work hours. I started my work with few silent minutes of ‘tuning’ into my work. This is an important little step for me as I need to sound friendly and enthusiastic when I talk to the clients. All of this, helped me to get into a certain tempo.

Once I moved on from feelings to action, I realised that I am actually still interested in what is going on. I even looked at new technologies that I can use and found some free courses I want to take. All of that helped me to settle into my ‘remote’ mode of working.

Did the worries disappear? No. I still have them. I don’t know what will the ‘world of work’ look like after the pandemic is over. Some people say that it will be better and some people say that it will be worse. I think – no one really knows 🙂 All I know is, that I need to have a back up plan, in case I lose my job. I know that people often recommend to go deep and focus only on one thing. But I think, for me personally, this is not a good strategy. I am looking at my skills and thinking – what can I offer to this new world which is coming but I know nothing or very little about.

Here are my very crude notes:

1/ I know, that I have to diversify.

2/ What skills do I have, what can I offer.

3/ How can I enhance my skills in the shortest time possible.

4/Can I start providing this service now at least on a small scale, perhaps during that time I gained from working at home?

I will end up this post by some basic observations that might be good to share with you . I think that I am not wrong if I say that people will always – meaning even in our uncertain future – be interested in:

  1. Health
  2. Happiness
  3. Wealth

Are you able to provide service, advice, expertise in one of those areas? Can you solve some problems people have in achieving these? Can you teach them or help them?

Last time, when I was mentioning some hot jobs, I omitted completely the tech industry. Mainly because I am totally useless with anything technology related. But if you have those skills – you might go really up now. I can see around me a great demand for apps or educational software that are simple and useful.  Or can you offer services geared up towards the industries that are under so much stress nowadays? That would be great too. Think about nurses, doctors, fire fighters , police force…Do you have something that will make their life easier, can you provide something that would be of a value to them? Or can you produce some cleaning or hygienic products? I can see a massive demand for those.

Or why not start with something small? I noticed that even now there is a demand for dog walking. Or you can offer to be a personal shopper and deliver the shopping to people who are not able to do the shopping themselves.

And one last note to end up this post with. But an important one. Never ever think that you can’t do anything. New opportunities are there already while some new once are slowly emerging. We need to notice them and decide which way we will go.

The feeling that we all are in this together is more obvious then ever. So I wish us all – sunny days ahead 🙂

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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…

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