35 Ways to Invest in Yourself

35 Ways to Invest in Yourself

35 Ways to Invest in Yourself

(because you are worth it)

  1. Spend meaningful time with a friend.
  2. Save money.  You won’t stress when something unexpected comes up.
  3. Therapy and counseling.
  4. Massages, manicures, & pedicures.
  5. Surround yourself with people who love, support, and encourage you.
  6. Read.  If you’re not a reader, try audiobooks.
  7. Regular check ups with your doctor.
  8. Adequate sleep.
  9. Be generous with your time and money.
  10. Find a mentor.
  11. Laugh.
  12. Feed yourself spiritually.
  13. Eat real food.  You’ll feel better.
  14. Forgive others.
  15. Forgive yourself.
  16. Exercise. Engage in any physical activity that you enjoy.
  17. Spend quality time with your partner.
  18. Sunshine. Bask in it.
  19. Meal plan.  If you plan, you’ll eat better.  See #13.
  20. Pray and meditate.
  21. Get clear on what you really want.
  22. Have a few outfits that make you feel amazing.
  23. Time away from your family & kids. Take a break sometimes.
  24. Learn something new.
  25. Start assembling a team (trainer, chef, housecleaner, counselor, biz coach, etc.).
  26. Keep a gratitude journal. Write in it daily.
  27. Get an accountability partner.
  28. Connect with nature.
  29. Establish personal and professional boundaries.  Great book here.
  30. Organization (being well organized saves time and money).
  31. Have a purpose (what makes you excited to get out of bed every morning?)
  32. Play.
  33. Volunteer (helping others always makes you feel better).
  34. Use faith declarations and affirmations.
  35. Accept what is not within your control.

and an a bonus…

36.  Sex.  My husband tossed this one in.  It’s great for stress, sleep, your immune system, and a healthy marriage.

Here’s the challenge:  Pick out one thing and focus on it today.  Just one thing.

And then tomorrow, focus on one thing.

And so on.

Baby steps.

What’s your focus today?

3 Tips to Balance Work, Family, & Home

3 Tips to Balance Work, Family, & Home

 

Do you dream of a life of peace and balance? Do you need a few more hours in each day?  Is your life a juggling act of family, work, chores, cleaning, serving others, helping with homework or homeschooling, errands, and more?   Yeah, me too!

 

“How do you balance work, family, and home? “

 

I get asked that a lot. Before I jump into this topic, I think it’s REALLY important to let you know that I am flawed, messed up, and struggle daily.   In no way, do I have it all together.   My laundry piles up. I freak out. I can be a little selfish. Sometimes I’m not easy to live with. I embrace that. I’m continually working toward being more patient, loving, generous, and humble.   I’m beautifully flawed, gloriously messed up, and my struggles help me to rely on Him.

Sometimes, life is hard. With kids, school, extracurricular activities, work, & service, it’s impossible to do it all and be it all. Me….I’m a homeschooling mom and I also run a successful, home-based business. Sound crazy? I love my life, the freedom that it gives me, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  But it’s a real challenge. Here are 3 tips that help me maintain balance. Guess what? Xanax isn’t on the list. Amazing, huh?

 stripes

3 Tips to Balance Work, Family, & Home

 

1.  Create a rythym. Notice that I didn’t say “Create schedules.” Rythym is very different. A schedule tends to be more rigorous and needs to be enforced. It’s a process on a timetable. A rythym is a routine with a flow. There’s more flexibility. A rythym forgiving. You NEED forgiving.

How might this look in real life? When I get up in the mornings, I grab a cup of coffee and jump into my Bible and devo. That’s my routine, my flow. It happens if I get up at 7 a.m. or 9:30 a.m. It happens if I’m at home or on vacation. It’s just what I do. There’s no pressure to have it done at a specific time.

When you have a rhytym, you know what comes next. After dinner, everyone clears their plates, and child #1 loads the dishes. When the dishes are clean, child #2 unloads. It’s just our rhythym. Children thrive on rythym, routine, and flow.

 

2.  Outsource. Mama, if you can afford it, pay someone to do those things that you just plain don’t like.   When I reached a certain income level, I decided that I would get a housecleaner 2x a month. I rewarded myself. I’m paying someone else which is helping them. And it stimulates the economy.   Seriously. As a female entrepreneur, I love that I can support other women who need income. It’s a blessing to me to be able to bless someone else.

If money is tight (and I get that), try this:

  • Consider bartering and trading.  Make an arrangement with a friend or neighbor. She plans freezer meals for one week and does yours. You reciprocate the next week.   I have a friend that actually trades off homeschooling with another mom.
  • Negotiate with your husband. If he does A for you, you’ll do B for him. Try it!
  • Pay your children. I often pay my 14 year old to do tasks that I simply don’t want to do. He earns his own money which means that he’s not always hitting me up. Well, he still hits me up but you get the picture.

If you are a working mama, place a dollar amount on your time. If you make $30 an hour and it takes you 5 hours to clean the house, it’s much more cost effective to work an extra 2 hours and pay someone $60 for a housecleaning. You’ve saved 3 hours!

 

 

3.  Use a planner. Lovelies, find a planner that you love and embrace it. Really and truly. A good planner can rock your world.   I use the Day Designer by Whitney English. I use it for both business and personal things. Because of the nature of my work, personal and professional are intertwined so I just roll with it. My Day Designer acts as the following:

  • Monthy planner
  • Daily planner
  • Blog editorial calendar
  • Birthday reminder
  • To-do list
  • Gratitude journal
  • Meal planner
  • Small prayer journal
  • Bill payment reminder

I rely on washi tape, stickers, and Staedtler markers. This stuff keeps it cute. I find that if I decorate and make it colorful, I’m more likely to fully utilize my planner. Yes, I realize that this looks like the diary of a tween girl. I carry it everywhere. My planner is seriously amazing and helps keep me organized.   Organization = sanity.

I’m old school and need a paper planner. That’s me. If you prefer to go digital, there are many options. Find what works for you and work it!

 

stripes

 

So there you have it. My three tips for balancing work, family, and home.

  • Find your rythym.
  • Outsource as much as possible.
  • Use a planner.

Beautiful woman, you’ve got this! I know you do.

 

(FYI…this post contains a few Amazon affiliate links. If you click and purchase, I make a wee bit of coin. Maybe enough to buy some more washi tape. )

How to Create Amazing Social Media Graphics (without PhotoShop)

How to Create Amazing Social Media Graphics (without PhotoShop)

 

social media

 

As a creative and an entrepreneur with a website (Welcome.  I’m glad you’re here), I often get asked how I create my social media graphics.    Well, first of all, I don’t use Photoshop.  I wish!  I know it’s an amazing program but it’s just beyond my scope.  If that sounds like you, you are in the right place. I’ve created nearly all of the graphics on my website.  I’m NOT a graphic designer.  I’m just a homeschooling mom.   I’m gonna tell you exactly what I do and, just because I like you so much, I’m including a video tutorial.

I thought about telling you WHY you need to make fun, cool graphics but you probably already know. Likely you have your own business (or aspire to have your own business).  Graphics allow you to make yourself and your brand easily identifiable.  And as a small business owner, you’re probably wearing many hats.  Until you can afford that uber hip graphic designer that uses Photoshop, take a look at my favorite graphic design tools.  You’ll be surprised at how simple it can be to create gorgeous graphics that show your awesomeness.  Oh, and that uber hip graphic designer that you’ll hire someday…chances are, she’s already ditched Photoshop and moved on to these, too.

My 2 favorite graphic design tools:

1.  PicMonkey.  I started out using PicMonkey a few years ago. This is a great resource with a small learning curve.  You can use this to edit your own photos, design new graphics or a combo. I have 3 PicMonkey portfolios that you can check out: product images, Facebook headers, and inspirational images.   These are just a sampling of what I’ve done. Here’s what you can do in PicMonkey:

  • Crop images.
  • Add frames.
  • Add a variety of texts.
  • Add filters (think InstaGram).
  • Add banners and graphic icons.
  • Add stickers.
  • Make collages.

You can use many of the features in PicMonkey for free.  It’s totally worth it to upgrade to the Royale account.  It’s $33 a year or $4.99 a month.  You get tons of extra features but my favorite perk is NO ADS.

Oh, my PicMonkey links are affiliate links which means that I make a wee bit of money if you purchase.  Enough for a Starbucks coffee.  But only a Blonde. Not enough for a Chai Latte.  Still, I thank you.  

Here’s a quick little tutorial that shows you how simple and quick it is to make a nifty graphic.

 

 

 

2. Canva.  Oh my goodness!  I have a new-found love for Canva.  I started off with PicMonkey and then began dabbling with Canva but just couldn’t feel the love. Canva overwhelmed me.  But I stuck with it and now I adore Canva.  I feel like a beginner but I’ve made some awesome looking stuff. Check out my Canva portfolio.   With a little practice, I think you will love it.  Stay tuned, I’ll be doing a Canva video tutorial soon.  Here are some of the reasons why Canva will rock your socks off:

  • TONS of banners and graphics.
  • Use your own custom colors.
  • Easily layer images.
  • Crop images as you are editing.
  • Save image templates for later (see the last 3 graphics in my portfolio).
  • Pre-set templates for Pinterest, Facebook headers, letterhead paper, etc.
  • Beautiful templates.

I made all of the graphics on this page in Canva.  See how I put my own images inside of the little computer screen?  It’s easy.  

 

 

 

Canva is free. You can purchase stock photos, images, and fun little graphics for $1 each.  Honestly, I’ve never had to do that.  I upload my own photos and Canva has enough free stuff to meet my needs.  If I had to pay, I totally would.  In fact, if Canva charged $10 a month, I’d pay it.  What they give for free is just amazing.  Nothing is free these days, right?  So head on over and start using Canva!

I hope this was a big help for you.  Now, jump right in and get started.  I’m expecting you to create some pretty amazing things!

What does freedom look like?

What does freedom look like?

Hello, lovelies!  I want to take a minute and tell you a little bit of my story.  This might seem like a weird time but it’s on my heart this morning so here goes…

One of the reasons that I begun sharing and selling essential oils was freedom. That’s my why.  I didn’t know this when I started 3 years ago.  In fact, it took me over 2 years to realize it.  Freedom.  You see, I am passionate about all things natural.  A person isn’t truly free if their health is compromised.   Sometimes it’s lifestyle choices and lack of knowledge that keep us in bondage.   That isn’t what God intended for us and there is a better way.  Knowledge is power.  I believe that.

Economic Freedom

At first, sharing essential oils came from a love for the oils and a desire to empower others. I wanted to share something amazing that I had discovered in an effort to help others.  After a while, I started making money.  This was both surprising and, well, kinda fun.  I was a mom and a social worker who worked with non-profits.  Making money was new to me.  While money isn’t everything, LACK of money sucks. Having to check your bank balance before going to the grocery store. Losing a home. Having to quit homeschooling and put the kids in school to get a “real job.” I’ve been there and it’s hard.  It’s hard on a marriage.  It can be hard on your faith.

In the past, I hadn’t made real money.  Now I was. This new income created some pretty cool desires and passions. In the past, I struggled with money.  I had money issues and held some really messed up views toward money.  This was my thought process:

  • Money is inherently bad.
  • People who had money were greedy.
  • Money is  the root of all evil.
  • You couldn’t have money and be a Christian.
  • Poverty is noble.

Friends, this is some messed up thinking.  Fortunately, something clicked within me and I realized how twisted and damaging my thinking was.   It happened when my hard-working neighbors lost their home in foreclosure. When they purchased their home 14 years ago, the wife told me, “This is my dream house.  I want to die here.”  I live in a very modest neighborhood.   Her dreams were small.  But even that small dream was lost.

I remember the day when my 9 year old daughter called me and told me that they were moving.  Right in the middle of the grocery store, I cried.  At that point, I realized that money could fix some problems.  If I had $10,000, I could fix their immediate problem and they could keep their home. That became one of my goals.  I want to have enough money to give BIG.  I want to live a life of radical generosity.  If God calls me to help someone in a huge financial way, I want to be able to do it.   Living a life of radical generosity requires earning radical income.  Money isn’t evil. It can’t be evil  It’s just a thing.  It’s neutral.  I can use my money to glorify Him.  That’s when it gets good, right?

Time Freedom

Over time, as my business grew, I discovered time freedom.   My hard-working husband owned his own business in the construction industry.  He worked long hours and provided well for his family. Financially, we were o.k. Until the crash of 2008.  For years, he worked hard.  Yet, it was lost so quickly.  It was rough but we persevered.  6 years later, in 2014, my husband was able to sell his business and retire.  My income had more than replaced his own income.  His job was very stressful so this has been a HUGE blessing for him.

We homeschool. My husband is a musician and has time to pursue his dreams. We travel. I can pick up and work anywhere. Our schedules are relaxed. We have time to help others. We have time for each other and our kids. We have time for ourselves.  Time freedom.

I absolutely LOVE what I do. I’m passionate about natural health and helping other women dream BIG and pursue their own passions. I love servant-leadership and helping others. It’s my thing. I’m blessed that “my thing” is also my job and provides income.

If you’ve read this far, this likely resonates with you on some level. A business in natural health is not for everyone. Don’t get me wrong…I believe that every home needs oils. That’s a given. But the business part isn’t for everyone. If you are curious, I’d love to chat with you. If not, I love you and am grateful that you’re here.   I’m all about love.

What does freedom look like for you?

This is not about my business. Working as an entrepreneur with a direct sales company is the vehicle that I drove. It might not be yours.  This is about you.   Think long and hard about your own dreams and desires.

  • What are you passionate about?
  • If money were not an issue, how would you spend your days?
  • What do you dream about?
  • Who would you chose to spend your free time with?
  • What do you think about at night before going to bed?
  • What gets you fired up?

With all my heart, I believe that there is a way for you to make money doing what you love. Creating. Giving. Serving. What would your life be like with time freedom and financial freedom?   I believe that you were made to do some pretty awesome things and that God wants to give you the desires of your heart.

Freedom is my why. I want freedom.  I also believe that true, lasting freedom comes from Jesus.  He gives life to the dead and heals the broken.  His love is plentiful and His mercy knows no end.  He is your father and, like any good daddy, wants what’s best for you.  Let’s celebrate this today and everyday.   This is real freedom and real contentment.

Cherish the freedom that you have and continually work toward preserving freedom for yourself and others. I’m grateful to have the freedom to homeschool, pursue my dreams, travel, vote, and openly worship.  Happy July 4th, friends. 

21 High Mileage Questions (or Questions to Keep a Conversation Going)

21 High Mileage Questions (or Questions to Keep a Conversation Going)

Do you have a desire to become a better conversationalist or, at the very least, keep a conversation going?  As humans, we engage and converse.  Some are better at it than others.  And some people are absolutely gifted conversationalists.  You probably know a few people like this.  It’s just a pleasure being with them because they are genuinely interested in YOU.  Fortunately, the art of conversation can be learned.

If you are in health coaching or direct sales, like I am, it’s absolutely crucial that you discover the art of asking high mileage questions.  These are questions that prompt true thought and engagement and not just simple, rote, responses.  These questions help you connect and truly build relationships.  They take you deeper.  They are powerful.  But what really gives them power is when you actively listen.

I’m going to make a confession….I detest small talk.  It drives me crazy.  I’m absolutely NOT wired that way.  I crave deep, genuine conversations.  If you meet me or we’re just hanging out, expect that the convo with get real.  Quickly.   If you need a few questions to keep a conversation going, here’s my list.  Many of these focus on improving your health or goal-setting.  Try these with your spouse, best friend, teenager, coaching client, those you mentor, or during a wellness consult.  And be prepared to listen.

 

High Mileage Questions

  1. What are you grateful for?
  2. What’s the best thing that’s happened this week?
  3. What have you learned this week?
  4. What’s been your biggest challenge this past week?
  5. What’s your gut feeling about this?
  6. What does a good day look like?
  7. When do you feel your best?
  8. What’s your biggest obstacle?
  9. What does your dream life look like?
  10. What would it feel like if….?
  11. What does success look like?
  12. What should your next step be?
  13. What would you do if money were not an issue?
  14. What are your fears preventing you from doing?
  15. What would it take for you to…?
  16. If our roles were reversed, what advice would you give me (you)?
  17. What bothers you about…?
  18. What’s stopping you from taking action?
  19. Why is ____ important?
  20. What’s next?
  21. How can I support you?

So try using some of these high mileage questions in your coaching, mentoring, or personal conversations the next time you want to get deeper.  It’s good stuff.  Be prepared to go deep!

How I Make Money Working From Home

How I Make Money Working From Home

Fourteen years ago, I knew I had to figure out a way to work from home.    I was pregnant and my husband and I were expecting our first child. I was working for a large non-profit organization and had an hour commute each way.   The thought of leaving our precious little baby for 8 hours a day was saddening and overwhelming.

It was time to make some tough decisions.

I have a MSW (Master of Social Work) degree and, for the past several years, had worked with non-profits.   My real passions were helping others, alternative health, and natural living.  For the first few years as a mother, I found a new position and worked part-time running a food ministry.  This fulfilled my need to help others and I was able to take my son along with me.  It was a challenge but I made it work.   Then I became pregnant with our second child.  At this point, I knew that we wanted to homeschool our children and taking two children to work simply wasn’t an option.

For the next several years, I juggled a variety of work at home jobs.  I did some grant-writing, worked for an internet research company, and ran a small, home-based non-profit.  None of these were my passion or my love but they provided an income and allowed me to stay home with my children.  I was grateful for that.

In 2011, I was hanging out with another mom at a homeschool event and my seven year old daughter commented that she was experiencing “occasional head tension”.  Because that’s how 7 year olds speak, right?  My friend pulled out a little glass tube of essential oils and applied it to my daughter’s forehead.  Within minutes, her she was better. Being natural minded, I was familiar with essential oils and used them in our home, mostly for cleaning.   My holistic doctor heavily promoted oregano and I kept this essential oil powerhouse handy.  But I had no idea of the true power of essential oils.  I was intrigued and started doing a bit of research.   I purchased a kit of essential oils. That $150 radically changed my life.

I had never done any type of direct sales.  No Tupperware.  No Amway. For the first few months that I had my oils, I used them and loved them.  I told my friends and family of my experiences and people were interested.  The problem came when they asked me how to buy the oils.  I was a social worker and a mom, not a salesman.  I helped people; I didn’t sell them stuff.   I decided to give it to God.  I prayed hard and diligently.  In March 2012, I felt complete peace and knew that sharing the oils with others was my mission and my ministry.

During the past two years, I have shared the oils with my friends and family and have a local team of like-minded women that share with others.   Most agree that this is their mission and ministry.  I also have used the internet to increase my business.   With a website and social media, you have the ability to reach millions of people and build a business from your own home.  I choose to use the internet to tell others about the benefits of essential oils. Now I have team members and customers in 46 states and other countries.  My online business is flourishing and I absolutely love it.

Since that day in March 2 years ago, my business has grown and I just achieved the rank of Platinum.   In case you are curious, here’s a chart that shows the monthly pay and average time it takes to achieve that level.  I will tell you that I am a very average Platinum.  In this case, average is good.  I expect to hit the Diamond rank this year.  At that point, my husband will be able to retire from his physically demanding job and pursue his own dream of making music.   He is already “semi-retired” but we are both looking forward to the day when he can just walk away and wholly pursue his own passions.

 

 

 

I work about 25 hours a week and still homeschool my 9 and 13 year old.  Finding balance can be a challenge but I absolutely love what I do and wouldn’t have it any other way.  In my wildest dreams, I could never have imagined that I would have my own business and earn a fantastic income while living out my true passions of helping others to discover a better way to live naturally and improve their families health.

I recently enrolled at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and am pursuing certification as a Holistic Health Coach.  After that, I think I would like to become a certified Aromatherapist.  I love learning new things and I know that this will only help me to better serve others.

You can make a living by doing what you are passionate aboutThat doesn’t have to be a dream. Sometimes, you just need to brainstorm, think outside the box, and be willing to get outside of your comfort zone.  God has planted certain desires and dreams inside of you.   Make the choice to discover your passion and figure out a way to make it happen.  Pray hard and expect miracles!