Wound Wednesday: It’s the Family

Forget a glass of wine, I could use a few bottles right about now.

My mom’s in a tight spot, my sister is having issues with her roommate in college and her dad, my stepdad, just found out he has cancer. All of this news was dumped on me this past Saturday and it’s been reeling in my head ever since. I have no power to make any real change for anyone and nothing I can say will make anyone feel better. And two of these three things I’m not even suppose to know about.

How? How am I to stabilize myself in this midst of this? Am I being selfish thinking of how my family affects me rather than thinking of how I can affect them?

Why can’t it all just go right?

Money Tip: Advertise for Free

Money Tips

Both rookies and veterans in the throes of side hustlin’ and freelancing can benefit from advertise their services or products for free.  Seriously.

Yes, I’ve heard it say before — several times — ‘in order to make money, you’ve got to spend money’.

But if you ain’t got no money to spend, then… um, how are you going to make that money?  Any thoughts? Ideas?

Free advertising.  It’s possible and the best part, it’s digital and that’s exactly where we’re at in society.  And before you give me the eye roll, site like Craig’s List are great sources for reaping new clients.

Ask me how I know!  If you like Craig’s or don’t trust it, fine. There are dozen of local online classified sites you can use to advertise yourself.  For nothin’!

A little advice: It’s going to take a minute for you to start reaping those waiting clients, so post often, post regularly.  Create a schedule and stick to it.  CraigsList’s posts expires after seven days, but if you renew your post every 3-4 days, you’ll keep your posts active longer and listed more currently.  CPictures say a 1,000.  Some them.  With every post you create.  There are an equal amount of license free photo sites online you use.  And don’t just think because you offer a service that you can’t use a picture.  I run a part time notary business.  That’s a service.  You know what my picture is?  A notary stamp.  Sometimes finding the photos are easy and obvious, sometimes you gotta be a little creative with it.  But do it.

Get a Google number.  I think they still offer these.  I’ve had mine so long, I don’t remember if they do or don’t.  But Google still offers these, make it your business number.  It’s free as long as you have a Google account.  Plus, those calls come to your phone, so no need to get a new cell phone or new service provide.

You got this, I know you do!

 

*Other ways: network, barter, reach out to people and small companies whose services or products compliment yours and see if they’d be willing work something out.  Get clever with it.

Side Hustlin’ Sunday: Mock Juror

I stumbled upon this side hustlin’ opportunity on The Penny Hoarder.  If you haven’t subscribed to them yet, I recommend that you do.  I’m a subscriber and I read their newsletters religiously.  Now, everything in it may not apply to me… and that’s okay.  I still read it, tho’.

And when I found this treasure of an opportunity, I had to re-share (since they had already shared it).  Become on online Mock Juror.  Doesn’t that sound like fun?  Well, it sounded like fun to me.   There are a couple of sites you can visit and sign up to become a mock juror.  The I signed up at JuryTest.net.  You fill out a form with the usual basic info, then a demographic questionnaire and then receive a confirmation email from them letting you know you’ve been added their system as a mock juror.  Their email states you will be notified as soon there in a case in your area/opportunity.   I will say that living in Los Angeles I don’t expect to wait too long.  I know our names means “The Angels”, but I also don’t kid myself.

The site is upfront with the expected amount time case may take to review and the pay out per case.  An average case for review as a mock juror lasts between an hour and two hours.  And the payout is between $20-$50.  I don’t know about you, but even on the low end, the payout is still more than what I make per hour at my regular full time job.   But don’t let me dwell on that.

For my side hustlers, try it out with me.  Worst case scenario, we don’t get a case.  We also don’t lose any money or any investments.

Typically, I would be spending the rest of my day inside, lightly cleaning, some meal prepping for the week, but I have to meet a client in an hour in Beverly Hills at a Coffee Bean and Teal Leaf.  And I’m likely to be there for a few hours, so to the rest you, enjoy your Sunday and getting ready for the week ahead!

Happy Hustlin’!

Food Fridays: Country-Fried Potatoes

Country Fried Potatoes

Since we’re talking about breakfast of champions… this is probably not one of them [laughs], but it’s delicious nonetheless.

I like to indulge on the weekends, especially if I’m not out running errands or meeting up with clients.  It’s nice to treat myself.  And what breakfast is simpler than two main ingredients?  A russet potato (one of those large ones that don’t even come in a bag with all of its friends) and grapes.  Right?  And it’s filling, which is even better.

One large russet potato is enough for the whole meal, just me.  You might not even finish it all.  Take your skillet with your choice of oil (I typically use extra virgin olive oil) and put it on medium heat.  While the skillet warms up, skin and dice the potato into cubes.  For more nutrients, keep the skin on after you’ve washed it, then dice it.  Dice 1/4 of a white onion and toss it into skillet (not a quarter cup of an onion, one quarter of the onion itself).  Season with black pepper, pink salt, oregano, garlic powder (you can use fresh garlic here instead) and parsley flakes.  It can take anywhere from 30-45 minutes to make sure the potato cubes are thoroughly cooked and has that nice golden brown color.  Stir frequently as not to burn the potatoes.  Relish in the smell, as I always do. Rinse off some grapes or whatever fruit you’d like to pair your potatoes with, and viola!

Goodness (and carbs) headed for your tummy.

*That pineapple in the background… I destroyed that later.  It was sooo good. 

Thursday’s Thoughts: Ingenuity is Hard

Because I don’t have an office outside of home for any of the work I do, I spend a great of my time at coffee shops.  But national chains and local mom-and-pop shops. And I have a few favorite spots that I like to hit up.  One spot I love to indulge in is this place called the Blu Elefant cafe.  It’s on Washington Blvd, about a block west of Normandie.  They started out as this cute, cozy ,eclectic throw back coffee shop with comfortable couches and old books.  Now they’ve grown in customers and size and they serve meals and hosts a number of open-mic nights.  Love it!  But I digress.

Coffee shops are where I meet with clients, recurring and prospects. Collect payments and help good friends out with their graduate school scholarship applications.  But recently, I’ve decided to add another element to my coffee shop rendezvous.  I am a traveling/ mobile notary.  Meaning, for a price, I will go to my client and provide notary services for their convenience.   But what if I had a temporary pop-up like spot every so often?  Y’know, a spot I was at where my clients could actually come to me for a chance?

So last month I decided to launch this little idea of mine called ” Discount Notary Days”.  In the state of California, notaries are only allowed to charge $15 at the most.  We can charge less, if we want, but no one becomes a notary for charity, so chances are, you will be charged the full $15.  Well, I said to myself and myself said “hmm?” (old joke, old joke… gotta watch the Kings of Comedy) what if I offered a reduced price on notary services one day a month on a Saturday, a day I am not working and plant root at a coffee shop for a few hours, say four hours from 9am-1pm?

Great idea, right?  If you won’ say it, I will.

This way I get to increase my chances of find more clients, they find me and I do I want to do — make some money (wish I had the “get ready to rumble” voice) !

My first Discount Notary Day was in January and my second one was this past Saturday.  Oh…my…damn.  Ingenuity is hard.  I see why only a select few people are successful. Things have to fall right into place for it to work out and whether it does or doesn’t, you gotta keep at it.  But they say practice makes perfect, right?

So, the first time I did it, I only advertised a week out, because I had just made up my mind that I was going to start this promotion in January rather than wait to February.  A week’s worth of notice wasn’t enough time to give people a chance to find me or even read the ad.  Where did I post this ad?  I was lazy.  I posted it on Craig’slist, BackPage, and my website.  Again, I had made the decision late in the game.  My bad.

How many clients did I get that day?  None.  But I got a lot of other work done.  I liked that.  And some take away lessons too.

So here comes February.  The mistakes I made and lessons I learned, I was adamant about incorporating them this time around.  The first time in January, I was also a little late getting there by 9am.   Like, 10 minutes.  I’m almost never late.  I hate being late.  Forget about what people say about LA traffic and being late being a norm.  If people want to be on time for something important, there’s a f’n way!  Trust me.  [Exhales].  So, February comes around.  This time I swear I’m not going to be late, because I don’t know the clients I missed if I’m not there, right?  I missed by bus two minutes in January, which was why I was late.  I saw that bastard pass me.  That hurt.  This time I was five minutes early for the bus. Not screwing that up again.

The bus was 30 minutes late!  Ugh! Definitely an FML moment.  

That in turn made me 25 minutes.  Ouch.  Who knows who I missed.   But I was determined to still go and camp out at Coffee Bean for my committed hours.  I am a woman of my word.   In January, there was no way for anyone to know I was the Notary providing discount services.  This time around, I create a removable label that clung to the back of my laptop, so when people walked in, my computer said “Notary Public”.   I sat near the entrance, like I did in January.  I had cash and plenty of singles like last time.  This time, I printed additional Acknowledgments and Jurats, in case they were needed.  I didn’t do that last time.  And I advertised a little more than two weeks out from the date I committed myself to.  I picked the date early so I could incorporate other clients and plans around the date without later having to fumble and possibly cancel. 

My tardiness aside, February’s execution Discount Notary Day was much better in preparation than January’s.  And that made me feel good.  How many people did I get as clients this past Saturday?

None [laughs].

But I felt better.  I felt like I was absorbing everything I was doing.  I felt like I wasn’t just aimlessly shooting hoping to get a hit.  I was paying attention to the circumstances, the foot traffic and my own efforts.  But being successful, even at the smallest thing, takes much more work (and time) than I think most of us realize.  Preparation is half the freakin’ battle.  But successful I am determined to be.  Watch and see.

And so will you be.

Wine Wednesday: Mentor & Me

I don’t know if he’d call himself my mentor, but I definitely would.  Whether I’ve ran with his wise advice or not.  Mostly not, for the same reasons most people don’t attempt to venture into anything for themselves: fear.  And I haven’t talked to him in years.  Years!  He’s been dealing with some family issues.  I found out his mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s not too long ago.  And to prevent any of his relatives from dumping her in a home and forgetting about her, he closed up shop in Texas and headed back home to Indiana. And he’s been there for at least the past two years.  Taking care of moms.

And we had a wonderful time of catching up — well long overdue — last week and into this week.  And I realized how much I missed talking to him.  No, it was never sexual.  More like parental.  He’s always said he saw a lot of himself in me, even since I was 17.  My desire for success and to be good enough, according to him, has never waived (which is nice to hear).  And there’s no better advice I can get from a fellow hustler, a business owner in his own right.

As we chatted and caught up, he reminded me that there are going to be lots of things I may have to endure in order to get on other side of the mountain where I want to be.  Yes, I may have to work for someone else a little longer, because it takes care of the necessities — bills, rent, food, savings, etc. And yes, I may have longer working days than my counterparts, because aside from the work I do for an employer, I then turn around and work for myself.  And yes, I may have to continue to make some sacrifices to ensure the future I want.  I’ve missed births, weddings, big birthday bashes and just ol’ regular get-togethers.  All this is to be expected.   All this I know.  But there was one thing he did say that perked me up about my efforts so far.  He truly believes with all that I am doing, I am truly on at the precipice of greatness.  If I can just bear continuing my hard work and efforts a little longer, I will begin to see the fruits of my labor.  And that I need to slow down the deadlines of my expectations.  He says I have very high standards (well, duh!) and with high standards comes longer waiting period for success.   If it didn’t take much to make be happy and feel successful, I would’ve hit that marker a long time ago.  But wanting more — to be more, to do more, to have more, to live more — requires more time to achieve it.

So, I’m gonna hold on to that.  Hold onto the belief that my time is coming because I am putting in the time and energy to go after what I want.  And in honor of the wonderful phone reunion I had with my mentor, I decided to enjoy Marsala Sweet.

Marsala Sweet

It’s a brandy wine (that’s what it taste likes).  Wine infused with Brandy.  Very dangerous – very good!  18% alcohol by volume.  I know wines can get you buzzed and on rare occasions, get you F’ed up.  But this bottle is that occasion all on its own.  But I didn’t have it all.  After all, I’m a 33 year old woman.  I have responsibilities.  I got work in the morning!  But it’s sooo good.  And I got it from Trader Joe’s, which is to say, I got one hell of a deal for it.