What Happened to Winter?

OK, I may be gloating a bit. Living in Las Vegas comes with some perks, like great mild winters (except for that 2 day stretch where we had a frost warning that killed one of my palm trees). 1428880_Y01_13

So being outside in the backyard, watering the plants that aren’t on a drip system yet, and filling the pool, I realized its time to plan for Spring.

Last year, we bought a pool sweep called “The Pool Cleaner.”  This great tool has saved us hours and hours of work, sweeping the pool from the constant breezes that are just enough to keep small leaves, feathers and dog hair off the bottom of the pool.

To lighten our load even more, we wanted to get a handle on the garbage that floats on the top of the pool surface. This takes over an hour every day to keep the pool sparkling and inviting. To take care of that problem, we got two of the Swimming Pool Devil Dirt Leaf Skimmers. Not everyone loves these on Amazon, but I can tell you that although they don’t catch every little speck, they save us hours and hours of skimming the pool.

So we’ll be planning on putting up shade sails, and taking out the lawn in our backyard and installing pavers that we bought a cement mixer and forms to make our own. But that’s another article.

What are you going to do for your house this Spring?

Something For Nothing?

I will be the first to admit that you don’t get what you don’t ask for, but if the answer is no, or a reasonable counter, its something you should be honorable about.

In addition to things I do to make money online, I sell items on eBay. I have access to new and used items that may work for other people. For me its extra money, for them I tried to provide an item for a good value, pricing my item equal to or lower than anyone else’s similar item, including shipping as the determining cost. Despite that, there is always someone who is trying to get something for nothing.

I had an item listed on eBay. Its a nice item in really good condition. Its had a lot of people look at it trying to decide if they should buy.

piano stool - 7

About a week ago, I had a buyer who had asked a lot of questions, asked for additional photos and measurements. I complied, deciding the request was reasonable. The potential buyer stated they would be ready to purchase in 2 days when they go paid if I agreed to a lesser price. We agreed on the price and I waited. That day came and went and several days later, I get an email stating they’re ready to go forward but asked for ANOTHER favor… would I meet a friend of theirs who lives in the same general town as me so they didn’t have to pay shipping.

So now I’ve gone out of my way to answer lots of additional questions, take measurements, agree to take less money, and if they paid when they said, I would even go out of my way to deliver to someone else. Once the agreed to date passed, I believed my obligation to go out of my way for this person was done since they didn’t honor their agreement.

Should I be willing to jump through hoops to make this buyer happy, even though they didn’t keep their commitment? My response, good bad or indifferent was, since you didn’t act by the agreed upon date, I will still go forward if you pay the full price. They argued noting we agreed on a discount. Yes we did, but when you didn’t take action by the deadline, that deal expired.

When setting up your business, one way to create urgency is make something available for a limited time. If the buyer doesn’t act, then its no longer available to them at the discounted price. You can see this strategy all over the internet, and I believe its a good one.

Again, I have no problem with asking for something special because if you don’t ask, the answer is always NO. But if you come to an agreement for something you want and you don’t act by the time you say you will, the opportunity to get those special terms will be gone.

No, I didn’t get the sale…this time.  But there are other buyers out there. Will this lesson escape the buyer?  Maybe.

Will you use this strategy in your business?

Off To A Good Start

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Well, its already January 5th. What have you done towards your goals this year?

I have done 2 things towards my goal of making our house more our style.  We painted the entry wall a welcoming blue. This will be the wall that greets our guests and warms our hearts with photos of our family, of course featuring our granddaughter who is soon to celebrate her first birthday.

The second thing is to paint a wall in our bedroom that will better feature artwork and make the room more soothing. This is to enusre we sleep well, and have a relaxing enjoyable rest.

I’ve also sorted through all the things we’re selling on eBay to clear out things we no longer use and will use the money to improve our home, making it a two-fold accomplishment.

OK, I know its not much, but its a start.  What have you done towards your goals this year?

Planning 2015

New year resolutions are not my favorite. I admit that I have a hard time with follow through, just like everyone else.  So what will make this year different? I’m writing down my goals, posting them where I and everyone in my household can see them, and telling people about them so I will be accountable.

My goals include some improvements on the house we bought last spring, the typical lose weight and work out on a schedule, and most important to develop my business.

The first thing we did was paint an accent wall in our entry 20150102_094646yesterday. This will be a focal point with lots of family photos. Yes, I understand accent walls are becoming passe, but I’ve never been one to go with the trend and I desperately want more color in our lives, so I chose a rather bold blue.

The biggest goal to help me stay on track with plans for my business is 2-fold.  I will set aside a monetary incentive, say $10 a week that is a carrot and a stick. If I make my goal, I get to spend the money on a plane ticket to visit my family in Atlanta.  If I don’t make my goal, this is the painful part, I have to donate the money to a political party that I have no use for, or even worse, to a political candidate that I would never ever support.

So as I write my goals for the new year, what is on your plan of things you want to accomplish this year and what is your plan to help you stick to and accomplish your goals?

Choosing The Best Gift

Do you have a hard time deciding what to get someone you don’t see very often? Me too.

We’re off to spend the holidays with friends who have a child whose about to turn one. However, their house is already over flowing with furniture, kitchen appliances and the like, linen closets that are jammed and a stocked pantry. I’ve been racking my brain on what to get them for Christmas, and this is what I finally came up with.

I’ve know them for quite a long time, and they know my children. So I’ve decided to give them something no one else would think of … a weekend away to be a grown up and remember why they fell in love. I’ll go stay at their home, take care of their daughter, feed the puppies and let them be free to enjoy being a couple. I don’t think you can put a price on that.

Of course, I’m taking home made cookies, a few goodies for their daughter, treats for the puppies, and will help make Christmas dinner. But if you can’t think of a thing someone needs, and want to give them something that’s had to put a price on, why not volunteer to be the nanny and housesitter for a weekend?

What’s your favorite thing to give as a gift when you don’t know what else to give?

To Cook Or Not To Cook?

Yes, that is the question at Thanksgiving.

I have two grown sons, both married and living in separate states.  Its not always convenient for them to come to see us or for us to choose who to spend the holidays with.  This is the first year that we’ll have to make this choice for Christmas as well because I also have a granddaughter who will experience her first Christmas and, of course, we want to be there to see the look on her face when presents are opened under the tree.

So with it being just the two of us, and of course our two furry children, 100 lb akitas, Awa and Hiro, we have to decide whether to cook a turkey with all the fixin’s for just us or go out to eat.  The last few years we’ve gone out not wanting to deal with the mess and all the leftovers that we never seem to finish.  But being Las Vegas, the home to hundreds of restaurants, we’ve had to pay exorbitant prices for dinner, make reservations and still had to wait an hour to be seated because that’s the way it works here, and of course, had less than stellar meals when all we hoped for was a small traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

This year, as if it wasn’t already obvious, I’ve decided to cook at turkey.  Thinking back to the better turkey’s I’ve made, this is the one I chose for this year’s endeavor.

Champagne Turkey
World’s Best Thanksgiving Turkey

It truly is one of the best turkey’s I’ve ever made and we’ve ever eaten.  It will be accompanied by mushroom stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy, candied yams,cranberry sauce with whole berries, and either steamed broccoli or roasted garlic brussels sprouts (I haven’t decided). Will I save any money doing it this way?  Probably not, but we’ll have leftovers for at least a week and bits and pieces I can make into soups and such, not to mention turkey sandwiches until I can’t eat them any more.  And of course, the puppies will benefit a bit as well.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. When you look at the people around you with less, be grateful for what you have and truly thankful for all the wonderful people in your life.

My 12 Month Goals

Do you set goals?  I confess, I’m not good at writing down all I want to accomplish.  And yes, I know this is something people normally do on January 1st, or at least, sometime in December for the next year.  But all kinds of things are changing for me, and in order to not waste my time (I’m no spring chicken, you know), I’ve decided to write my goals for the next 12 months.  Hopefully, my goals will inspire you to set some of your own.goal post

GOAL #1

Blogging will be my full time job.  AND, my goal is to make at least $5,000 per month by the end of 12 months.  I will post my income reports monthly (and yes, I intend to have more than one blog.)

OK, I know lots of people want to do this, but I have recently quit doing what was my full time job.  I sold real estate.  Yes, until recently, I was one of those terrible people, lower than a used car salesman (no offense intended), who either dragged people around in my car showing them endless homes they said they want and helped them buy something they absolutely didn’t want.  Or I helped sellers sell their houses for more than market value (if I could) while working with people who loved their hot pink walls, blood red carpet, and harvest gold appliances from the 1970’s, while refusing to clean up after their pets, pull their weeds, wipe catsup off the dining room walls or clean bathroom mirrors and close the toilet lid.

Now, I’ve given all of that glamorous lifestyle of spending hours on the phone, even more hours on the computer writing contracts and marketing houses, taking photos of dirty houses and weed filled yards while their friendly dog kept jumping up on my leg, chasing buyers and sellers for signatures while we’re in escrow, dealing with inspectors, appraisers, title companies, loan officers and underwriters who wring their hands gleefully while driving me crazy.

This goal I’m starting today.

GOAL #2staring at the scale

I will finally lose the weight I have repeatedly worked hard to lose, yet amazing regain.  I’m going to use this as a focus for one blog.  There’s a fluff woman’s magazine called “Woman’s World.” It comes out once a week and you can find it right next to The Enquirer in your grocery aisle.  I call this magazine fluff because that’s mostly what it’s filled with…articles that are just fluff.  However, their articles on the latest diet techniques are always amusing if not intriguing. So I plan to try each of their diets for the week that its published and publish my results, trials and tribulations, successes and fails, for all to see.  Now as someone who has gained and loss a tremendous amount of weight over the years, over and over again, I don’t believe any of these diets will hurt me, but I do intend to put them to the test.  I will officially begin this quest starting October 1st.

 Goal #3

This is the last goal I’m planning for the next twelve months, because I think these will keep me more than busy, I Paint_can_with_brushwill do some renovations on the house we just bought.  We didn’t buy a new house, in fact, its 47 years old.  An investor had bought it and done some major renovations to it including paint, carpet, granite countertops in the kitchen and baths, new appliances, and cleaned up and freshened the landscape.  But of course, we need to make it our own, changing paint colors, changing flooring, adding solar panels to generate power, and changing some of the landscape to make it more efficient and drought tolerant.

OK, so those are my goals for the next 12 months.  I’ll post updates on separate sections of this blog, telling you how I’m doing on my income blog, my weight loss journey, and the house alterations.

What are your goals for the next 12 months?

Are you where you want to be?

looking with binocularsI just watched a video from a very smart marketer who coaches people (mostly women) on how to follow their dreams, build a business, and become what they want to be. Her message was about your ten year plan.
Let’s say you have an idea for a business, and you think it will be successful but you are afraid to give up what you have to get what you think you want. Should you do it?
So envision yourself in ten years. Will you look back and regret not taking the chance to do what you want? If the answer is yes, you’ll regret it, then you should absolutely go for it. That doesn’t mean throwing up your hands and walking away, blindly jumping into your new vision with both feet. It means plan your exit and your future at the same time.
I believe this is good advice. I know where I want to be in ten years, sitting on a beach, writing and encouraging others to do the same. I have an advantage that I am winding up a career I no longer find inspiring. This is my opportunity to focus on what I want for the next ten years of my life. However, even if I wasn’t in this unique position, I would make a plan to get where I wanted to be in ten years, even five years or less.
So what’s holding you back?

How to pick your passion for your blog

Blogging is difficult if you’re not sure what to write about. Everyone says write about your passion. But what if you don’t know what your passion is?
There are several things you can try to find your passion for blogging. First, do you have any hobbies that you do all the time or want to try? Working on cars or motorcycles? Crocheting? Painting? Beading? Cooking?
Do you have any sports you play or follow? Do you get together with your girlfriends to go dancing? Play Volleyball or Softball? How about golf, bowling or swimming? Do you get together with a bunch of friends and play football?teach-something
What are you good at or really enjoy? Do you read a lot? Watch a lot of movies? How about just make sure your kids are focused on their activities? What about their school work, helping them study? Can you recommend their school over another in your area?
Do you like what you do for work but not how your employer gets it done? What would you do different? Are there solutions to what they can’t seem to figure out, but they could if only they’d listen to you?
These are just a few ideas to get you started. If you like some of these things, chances are others do as well.
Next we’ll talk about how to find out how many people like the same thing you do.

New Grandmother

TianaI now have a new granddaughter, my first. I know this is not a new experience, but it’s a new experience for me. This makes me think about new beginnings.
A child n being born has its entire future ahead of it. They can grow up to be pretty much whatever they choose. Of course it all helps with loving parents who will encourage, support and let them try and sometimes fail at all kinds of different experiences.
I plan to also use this new beginning to shift my focus from doing part time online marketing and part time real estate. With the focus and encouragement of professional online marketers and bloggers, I plan to use their experience, encouragement and skills to help me focus on my new career in 2014.
Now I will be the first to admit, other than writing lists of things to do, errands to run and food to buy, I’m not the best planner. But the reality is, without a plan of some sort, I’ll never get anywhere.
I’ve begun to experiment with a marketing campaign on facebook. My next move is to focus on a blog that goes with my Facebook fan page. Then I’ll pin from it on Pinterest, and tweet shortcuts to my blog articles as I write them.
So pick a mentor, make your plan and start. It’s really not that hard.

Experiencing life while making a living online

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