February is when I feel I officially start a new year because that’s my birth month. I share a birthday with my dad, Morgan Harper Nichols, and Rosa Parks which I’ve always found interesting and fun.
So we're going to do a review and round-up of some highlights. This will be a long one so grab a coffee and snack.
*This post contains affiliate links, so I get a small percentage if you buy any of the products or services I love.*
FUN & Friends
As a part of an early birthday gift to myself, I bought artwork, a calendar, a mug, and a new notebook from Morgan’s company, Garden 42.
I also celebrated with two wonderful friends I hadn’t seen in a while with brunch, coffee, and running errands -- or side quests. It usually devolves into that somehow.
I wish I’d taken pictures, but I’ve never been very good at doing that, even when I think of it.
The takeaway from that is: Take more pictures of friends and good moments.
FUN & Learning
Since I’ve quit my full-time job, I’ve had the opportunity to listen to podcasts throughout my days again!
Learning gives me so much joy and helps with my creativity. It gives my brain something to mull over and sparks ideas.
My most recent podcast has been Studio 78 by Nache Snow. I found her through Clubhouse months ago. She had a guest Saratta Speaks. They discussed a host of topics, but when Saratta started talking about Pinterest, I took interest. Adding Pinterest strategy as an online business has been on my list of to-dos, and Saratta spoke on her success with it.
While I can Google with the best of them, sometimes you want that information consolidated, simplified, and laid out. She has an inexpensive masterclass I bought, and it's jam-packed with value. I loved it!
Pinterest marketing is a long-term business strategy, and I do plan to be here for a while.
If I can develop a system to help other indie authors, even better. I always like to look at things in the sense of “Can this help somebody?”
In addition, I joined a membership group, The Changemaker’s Den. I highly recommend this group as Martha Krejci, my mentor, teaches in-depth workshops that touch on the social media tactics that are current NOW and as they shift. There are 4 workshops a month, and she offers exclusive business opportunities to people in the group. The first month is $1 and then $37/mo after. Martha always prices her stuff for accessibility and impact, which is amazing. If you sign up through my link, that’s an affiliate, but I’d share it with you anyway because it’s good stuff!
I also signed up for a monthly Instagram membership, but I don’t think I’ll continue that. In comparing it with the Changemaker’s Den, I get way more value there.
FUN & Biz
I bought a few things for work — yay, tax write-off!
My computer camera is the worst. I have plans for courses, and I do Zoom meetings with clients and such, and while I could use my iPhone, I don’t always want to. I prefer having the whole thing in one place. After certain calls and all workshops, I save those to a hard drive.
Being able to do that from my MacBook makes things simpler for me. I need simplicity.
I love this thing. It has seriously upped my writing productivity since I’m not stuck at my desk. I help my mama with her at-home daycare — something she’s been doing my whole life. When the babies are playing on their own or napping, I can keep an eye on them while I work. I can also prop it up and do a poor girl's standing desk situation.
I can use it in a work away from home context too. Maybe when it's warmer, I'll do more writing outside.
I received this laptop backpack for my birthday from my mama, and it fits everything: MacBook, iPad, all the cords, and extra tech stuff I need to keep together. My big planner and pens and notebooks fit too. It honestly has so much space I don’t know what to do with it.
It’s horrifically gray though so when I found Kliggco on Instagram, I decided to accessorize. In anime, you always see the characters have cute, little charms on their bags, and I loved these keychains in her shop. I couldn’t decide between the two at first, but I think I’ll gift one to my friend.
But for the biz aspect, having pretty things around and having the choice of how I decorate my space and environment is such a morale boost. My last job wasn’t the worst, but it was ugly. And it didn’t have windows.
We’ll leave it at that.
But I’ve been able to get all of my client work done in a much more timely fashion, and it’s served to help me think of myself as an entrepreneur. As a professional freelancer and my own boss. I make these decisions. I decide what my business looks like.
I used to think that would freak me out and be too much pressure. But I’ve had a lot of mindset shifts over the past couple of years thanks to my mentor, and having the responsibility is freeing.
Because I choose. I decide. I’m a sovereign being, and what will be is up to me.
It’s a whole “taking my power back” moment, ya know?
BIZ & money
Speaking of power, let’s talk money.
I’m not yet making my former monthly income or hitting my baseline goal. In January, I earned 16% of my former full-time job which wasn’t a lot to begin with.
February, I earned 51% percent of my former monthly income and 81% of my base income goal. All of that was for work I'd done in the previous month.
I also entered into a contract for a medium-sized project that will fully manifest in September and is more in line with the kind of VA work I want to do with indie authors and publishers.
I have one consistent client so far, and I like the work for him. It’s been interesting because neither of us was familiar with VA work actually, and it was kind of a “here, go do this”, and I figured out how.
I strive for competence and have a “figure it out” attitude. He’s good about answering questions though, and we’re familiar enough with each other that it works.
I’ve applied for several VA jobs, and one I’m particularly excited for if I land that one. If it’s for me, it’s for me, so no stress.
I have several writing projects on the planner including books, and a few exclusive workshops for my group as well as courses.
The takeaways: Shift to a retainer/upfront payment from clients. Going forward, my contracts will require a percentage payment before the work starts. I like project-based work more, especially writing-related.