Category: Home Business

Web hosting revealed

When the internet started, I’m sure more than a few of us thought it would be a passing phase. Or at least something that most people would never need.

Well, as we all know now, the internet is here to stay. It’s now crucial to many aspects of our lives, especially if we’re looking for side income.

Serious bloggers and business owners must have their own websites, so now it’s just a matter of choosing the right web hosting company. Whew! What a daunting task, with hosting companies popping up left and right.

I just found a cool website, Web Hosting Geeks, that offers side-by-side comparisons for various hosting companies, as well as customer reviews. Their site also offers lots of information, including links to relevant articles about web hosting. If you’re considering switching companies, starting a new site on with a new host, or you’re just interested in keeping up with what’s out there, check it out.

Do you have multiple blogs or websites? How do you keep up with the latest companies?

The speed of life

Working toward being a self-sustaining business owner is definitely not for the faint of heart. My journey recently included starting to substitute teach again. The goal? To make some steady money while not forgetting I really want to solely be an entrepreneur.

So far, it’s been pretty rocky. My last part-time gig was as a call center representative, and my poor throat has never been the same. Working with a classroom full of kids has made my throat injuries flare up again, so this gig may be short-lived. High school kids are easier (I just shut up and let them work), but the jobs aren’t steady yet (still early in the Arizona school year, though).

Though my 3-year-old likes her preschool, we miss being together, so we taken a few field trips during the week anyway.

It’s tough. Sometimes it’s difficult to keep up, so remember that it’s the journey that counts…not the destination. Life is a highway.

Three is the charm

Running a business is hard work, as we all know.

Coupled with single parenting and attempting to work solely from home, I’ve had to make some tough choices. Now that my daughter’s three years old, we’re giving daycare/preschool a second chance, and it seems to be working. She likes the teachers, she asks to go to school, she hasn’t gotten a cold yet (knock on wood…but she’s been there 7 days), and now I have my time freed up a bit.

The great thing about her new school is they don’t run it like a typical daycare or preschool. The kids have a general structure, but then they’re allowed to decide what they want to do. The teaching style is Reggio Emilia, and is similar to Montessori schools. I think that’s one reason she likes it. Also, her main teacher “got” her immediately.

The next tough choice was whether to pour myself into my businesses, or work on a part-time job. For now, I’m going to work as a substitute teacher to take off some financial pressure. In my free time, or days when I can’t find an assignment, I’ll be blogging, freelancing, and/or working my direct sales business.

My goal? Besides raising a happy and healthy girl, I still plan to be an entrepreneur only. I’m just taking a detour for now.

Have you taken a part-time job while still pursuing your entrepreneurial dreams? Share with us!

My Desert Spirit: a new blog

With a new business comes a new blog, so head over to My Desert Spirit to see my latest project.

My Desert Spirit is a blog about starting a network marketing/MLM business. Similar to Crayon Writer, it’ll be my journey in the field. There’ll be articles about network marketing, sales, my personal goals and accomplishments, and of course some “product placement.”

The goal? To introduce people to Warm Spirit, the product line I’m selling. Hopefully the blog will generate new customers and new business partners. Also, I’d like to educate other MLMers through my own success and trials.

One thing I don’t like about the network marketing field is that I don’t hear enough about how people build their businesses. Often we hear about the great successes, or the super-power marketers who get 10 new recruits each day. My Desert Spirit will be about an ordinary person (well, maybe a little extraordinary) figuring it out daily.

There are only a couple of posts right now, but feel free to leave comments or email me suggestions.

Enjoy!

My new business

I'm a Warm Spirit consultant.

I mentioned a while back that I’ve started a new home business, in addition to my writing. Multiple streams of income are vital in today’s economy.

So I need your help.

First, check out the two images/links in the sidebar (under Crayon Writer’s Health & Wellness Business). I’m a direct sales consultant with Warm Spirit, and we have a wonderful line of nature-based, earth-friendly products designed for self-care.

I’ve included the online catalog, and if something strikes your fancy, click on my personal website to place an order (or just contact me).

I’m also going to start a new blog focused on my Warm Spirit journey. But I have a dilemma. Crayon Writer is nicely branded and I can safely say that I am the Crayon Writer. So I wonder if my new blog should have Crayon Writer in the title somewhere. I have decided, though, that writing about my direct sales venture is not a topic for the Crayon Writer blog.

I value your input, and I welcome your orders! If you’re also looking for an additional stream of income, let me know, or join me on my new blog. I’d love to have you as a virtual business partner.

New business venture

Freelance writing is definitely still part of my life, and I’ve recently decided to add another business to my life.

I strongly want to have a flexible schedule so I can spend time with my daughter. So a home-based network marketing business is a great fit for me right now.

I might have to start another blog now, but the next few months are sure to be an adventure.

Without going into much detail about the business (I’ll save that for another post or another blog), I would like to direct my loyal readers to the Donation button in the left-most side panel. Starting a new business takes a little capital, and I don’t think I’ve ever directly asked for folks to take notice of it.

So if you’re so inclined, click on it and donate away! Any amount will be a great help so I can hit the ground running. If not, no worries.

Just keep reading Crayon Writer, comment when you feel the urge, and enjoy!

Have you ever worked in a network marketing/direct sales business?

Diving into daycare

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Photo credit: Renee Yarter

Well, I finally jumped into the deep end. I enrolled my daughter, just three months shy of three, in a daycare center. She only went the past two days, but it’s such a difficult thing to do.

My daughter’s been home with me pretty much every day since she was born, and this separation is tough on us.

So why am I doing it?

I mentioned it’s time for me to get a day job so I can amass some money to properly fund my freelance business. And there’s almost no way to look for a job with a busy toddler at home. Her previous sitters, close family, aren’t able to watch her as much as they’d like, so here we are.

So far it’s okay. She tells me she likes school, and she clearly likes playing with all the kids.

But tonight she woke up from a bad dream, saying something about, “I want to go outside to see Mommy. I want to go outside. Where’s Mommy?” Almost broke my heart. The first day I dropped her off at the playground when everyone was out playing, and then I picked her up later when they were outside. So she firmly believes that Mommy is outside, and that if she just goes outside she’ll see me. So far it’s been true. Today I picked her up on their second playground outing.

Both days the teachers said she really wanted to go outside and kept asking to go. They assumed it was for playing purposes. I wondered. Now I know.

Luckily I only have her enrolled part-time, but I

may have to ease her into it a little more slowly. She’s okay, and isn’t crying much, but when she heads out to the playground you can tell that she’s looking for me and getting visibily upset when she doesn’t see me (I was peeking through a window to see how she was doing).

Long story shorter: Daycare is going to be rather hard for us to deal with. I feel horrible for abandoning my baby, but I also need to provide a secure home for her. Maybe when I get back on my feet we can go back to homeschooling, but for now daycare is a necessary part of our lives.

What about you? How has daycare affected you, your business, and your child(ren)?

Freelancing for (almost) free

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Is it ever a good idea to work for free, or close to it?

I just took on a project the past week that really took a lot of time, but there might be some benefit for all of my hard work.

  1. One thing I got out of it is a stronger desire to charge what my time is worth.
  2. I also dabbled a bit in a new program, In Design, so I learned something new.
  3. I worked on a souvenir booklet for a non-profit, service-oriented group, so maybe I did some good in the world too.
  4. Just in case, I also made sure the ad I bought for my business was placed in a prominent spot, so maybe I’ll get new business that way.

Time will tell. So, is working for pennies ever worth it? Maybe. Just be sure you have the time, and settle your feelings before taking on the project.

Time to stay on task

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Over the years I haven’t owned a watch because I never really pay much attention to time. I get up when the sun (or my daughter) wakes me up, and I kind of just know what time it is.

But if I were to finally get a watch, I’d definitely be sure it includes a stopwatch feature. With constant interruptions from my daughter, I need to be able to literally stop time so I can accurately time a business event (versus getting up and changing a diaper).

Why is it important for freelancers, or any business owner, to properly keep track of their time?

Whenever you take on a project, even if it’s work done for your own business (like accounting, marketing, or even brainstorming), it’s crucial that you know how long it’s taking you.

When you do work for a client, keeping track of how long it takes for each task will help you price future projects more accurately. Be sure to include time spent on the actual writing. But you also have to take into account researching, editing, talking to the client, and more.

Keeping track of time spent on your own business should be accounted for also. This way you can see more clearly how much time it really takes to run your business. Use this information to adjust your hourly rates. You’ll quickly be out of business if you only consider your billable hours when setting your rates.

How do you keep track of your time?

Can children learn writing and reading from television?

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Before my daughter was born, I decided we would not watch T.V. at all. I heard all about the studies that said T.V. was bad for kids, that there’s no real interaction, that it may affect their ability to pay attention, and other scare tactics.

For us, television has been a sanity saver. There are times when I can’t be my daughter’s only source of entertainment, and we both need a break from each other. My daughter gets to visit places she’ll never see otherwise, she gets to see all kinds of people, and she’s introduced to lots of different concepts. For instance, she’s never seen snow in real life. The other day I pointed out that there was snow on the mountains, and she said, “I can ski on that snow!” I don’t ski. I don’t talk about skiing. She learned that on television.

I tape record educational shows for us to watch together, and we interact with them together sometimes. Our huge favorite is The Backyardigans. While there isn’t a teaching curriculum, she (and I) love to sing and dance together. When she was younger we watched Teletubbies.

Why do I mention this here? Lately I’ve found some shows on PBS that are wonderful programs that teach reading and writing. My educational favorite is Super Why. My daughter watches them read words, sound out letters and letter blends, write letters, and sing the alphabet. I find her telling me, “S. Sssssssss,” or “Tuh Tuh. T!” I love how she’s getting introduced to phonics. She answers their word questions, sings the alphabet with them, and pays close attention when they’re spelling out words.

While I’m still working at home without daycare, television is also a way for me to get a few minutes to concentrate on work.

So if you’re looking for another way to teach your toddler reading and writing, or if you’re a work-at-home parent, maybe rethink the whole television ban idea. Television might not be so bad after all, when used wisely.