Thursday, 11 December 2014

Link & Mingle [13]

Hello, ladies! Welcome to round 13 of the Link & Mingle!
Meet our five amazing hosts:
Aspen | Aspen Jay
Stephanie | Wife Mommy Me Jenny | Escape&Inspire [ if you are interested in co-hosting this link-up, please email or leave a comment below ] 

Monday, 8 December 2014

Mommy Moments

Welcome to Mommy Moments! Last week we had some great new link ups! Let's keep it up by sharing and promoting Mommy Moments and the wonderful community we have here! I have enjoyed getting to know all the new mamas linking up and sharing their lives with us! I can't wait to hear more from you all again this week!

Motherhood has its seriousness and frustration as well as its laughs. That's why we are here. Life is much easier when traveled with companions! So mamas, let's join together in the spirit of motherhood and share our moments together. We want to hear the happy, sad, tough, terrible, hilarious moments that make being a mother the best job in the world!

The top viewed post this past week was It's a... written by Cara from The Building of a House and a Home as she shares with us if her 3rd on the way is a boy or a girl! If you didn't find out last week, be sure to stop by and find out what Cara is having. Congrats Cara!


The Not Quite Military Wife

A  Beautiful Ministry


Now, link up your post!
Post can include anything related to mommy-hood, children, homemaking, pregnancy etc. If you aren't a mom yet, feel free to link up your preparation for motherhood, your journey as you try to conceive, or even a post that would be encouraging to the other moms in the party!

Then, explore some of the other posts in the link-up and say hello to some new blog friends! 

Please, pretty please, we'd love it if you would tweet or share the link up on Facebook so we can all make even more friends!
We would also love it if you could add the Mommy Moments button to your post or blog so everyone knows where you are linking up! If you are not able to copy/paste the code on your page, please e-mail one of us and we would be happy to send you the code!

The Life Of Faith
<div align="center"><a href="" title="The Life Of Faith"><img src="" alt="The Life Of Faith" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

P.S. We will be having a new guest host every week! Want to be a guest host of the Mommy Moments Blog Hop? Send Faith a message at farmprincess14{at}gmail{dot}com. We would love to have you!

Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory
Colossians 3:17 
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Link & Mingle [Round 12]

Hello, ladies! Welcome to round 12 of the Link & Mingle!
Meet our five amazing hosts:
Aspen | Aspen Jay
Stephanie | Wife Mommy Me
Jenny | Escape&Inspire
  [ if you are interested in co-hosting this link-up, please email or leave a comment below ] 

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Win $125 Minted Credit

Minted is a website full of designers that make custom made stationary. Since there are numerous designers on the site there is no shortage of beautiful design work that you can get for your wedding invitations, holiday cardspersonalized artwork and so much more.

Mariam Naficy started Minted in 2007. She developed a passion for art after travelling the world and living in many different countries.She started Minted to bring you creative talent from all around the wold - helping to bring you high quality custom art pieces, and help great artists sell their work.

At Minted, designers submit work and it's voted on - then the best designs are open for you guys to pick them out and customize as you wish.

You can win $125 dollars in credit to spend in the online store on any product of your choice. Since it's the holidays you should definitely check out their line of holiday cards and artwork. Minted's new line of products are a brilliant way to interject family memories into gifts and cards this year.

Now you don't have to worry if someone's already gotten the same gift or card as you, as it's possible to customize any gift by adding family pictures, or specialized designs.

You get to choose everything from the size and colors of your prints and cards, to the photographs you include and the paper your cards are printed on.

You get to pick and choose everything for a custom experience based on your preferences and price ranges, with tons of extras like free recipient addressing for cards, AND the size and color of a frame for your prints if you want one.

Just in time to make Christmas special for one of you readers, Minted and I have teamed up to bring you $125 dollars in credit to their store, and I've thrown in a month of free ad space on this site. You can enter below.

The giveaway will run between today (30th November) and the winner will be announced on the 15th of December 2014.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Shepherd's Pie

Linking up with Five on Friday, Oh Hey Friday, Foodie Friday & Pretty Pintastic Party

I wasn't such a huge fan of Shepherd's Pie until I made it myself. This is the family recipe for it , it should be able to serve 6 medium size portions of  perfect, filling comfort food.

I hope you enjoy these 5 easy steps to a delicious meal , and if you make it - remember to take a picture of the final product unlike me, 'cause I forgot!!

Here's what you'll need;

  • 1/2 lb mince
  • 1 medium size onion
  • 2lbs potatoes
  • gravy browning
  • black pepper ( to taste )
  • 1/2 a stock cube
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon italian herbs
  • 3 oz of cheeze
  • 1 tablespoon of ketchup
  1. Chop your onions finely , then peel and chop your potatoes into large chunks. Put the potatoes to boil.While your potatoes are boiling, brown your mince.
  2. Once the mince is brown, add the onions and cover them with water. Leave it to simmer.Your potatoes should be ready to mash at this point. Mash them. When you're done. Preheat the oven to 180 Celsius, or  350 Fahrenheit.
  3. Add half a stock cube, black pepper, a few drops of gravy browning, garlic & italian herbs. Replace pot lid and allow it to simmer gently.While your mince is simmering, grease the inside of the dish with a little butter on aluminum foil.Spread a layer of potato along the bottom of the dish, this will be your base.
  4. Layer the mince on top of the potato. Add another layer of potato on top of this. Grate cheese and put a layer of cheese on top of the potato.
  5. Cover this with cheese and put it in the oven for about 30 mins or until golden brown.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

How to Make Money Online

Whether you're a stay at home mom looking to make more money, or a student trying to pay your way through college, looking into working from home is definitely worthwhile. Here are 7 simple ways that you can make more cash today!

Design services:
If you are good with Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator or any other design program, you can design logos and images for people who are willing to pay you , right from your couch. The possibilities are endless, since you could make templates, printables, blog buttons, logos and much more, with little overhead costs. You don't even necessarily need to know code to design, which is a common misconception.

Simple Coding: 

Along with design services you can offer coding, if you understand how to code. There are many sites online where you can learn to code for free and you can practice on your own sites. Codecademy is one of the best.

Inbox Dollars, QMEE, Bing Search, Opinion Outpost:
While many of these sites are limited to people who live in the states, they are a viable source of income for those who qualify. You can earn cash from taking surveys and searching online. It's fairly easy money and really adds up over time - although it shouldn't be your only source of income.

Fiverr, oDesk, eLance & Amazon Mechanical Turks:
There are plenty of marketplace websites that are easy to use to help get your freelance career started. I already wrote a Guide to Fiverr that you can check out. The great thing about these websites is that you can do a great variety of tasks on there. Everything from transcription, VA services, web design and so much more.

Blog Sponsorship:
We all know that it's possible to make good money off of sponsorship. Whether it is affiliate marketing ( where you're paid by clicks & purchases from links that you include in your blog), blog-to-blog ads, or business sponsored ads on your page. You can even write review posts and do sponsored tweets. There is definitely potential to make enough to live on over time.

Writing Freelance Articles:
You can find freelance writing gigs that pay anywhere from $5 to $100+ all over the net. There are numerous job boards and freelance writing sites that you can subscribe to, and then simply choose which articles you're qualified to write.

Start A Shop:
If you're more into doing things with your hands, you can start a shop that sells things like prints, journals, handmade clothes, decorations... anything you're good at. Etsy is a simple place to start and you can really make money from handmade businesses if you plan well.

Have you ever thought about working from home? Do you think it's a possibility for you now?

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Grow Your Blog; Join Blog Love!

Recently I was made the admin of a blogging group, and I'd like to invite you to join us!

Even before being an admin, I was a member. Once I became a member of this group I saw the interaction on my page drastically increase and my social media accounts start to gain tons of followers.

Blog Love is a closed Facebook group where you can come and share your posts and get comments, shares, retweets and pins. Being a closed group means that you can only post if you've joined and been accepted - so click here to join.

Join and find an active community of women bloggers who you'll quickly come to know and love, whilst forming friendships.

Tired of writing posts that don't get comments? Add your links to our daily comment threads.

Written an awesome post and want retweets or re-pins? We have daily re-pinning and retweeting threads.

Blog Tribes are basically a group of women that are in your corner. They blog about the same niche as you and will encourage you on, sharing your posts, commenting and banding together. There are tons of different tribes so whatever you blog about you can find a tribe for it, or create a new one! Tribe Dares are weekly to bi-weekly. Molly from Redeeming the Day is in charge of them.

Also, don't miss this blogger opportunity - 

I'm planning a giveaway. I would love for y'all to participate! I'll be giving away a cash prize and some ad space. Each link is $5 each, or you can get 3 for $10, or 5 links for $20.  

If you're low on cash sign up to give a month or more  ad space - it's free!!Giving away 1 month of ad space will get you a free link!

The giveaway will be from December 15th until December 30th and Winners Will Be Announced on December 31st.

You can sign up by filling in the form below.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Bible Verses for Pregnancy, Labor & Your Baby

When I found out I was pregnant, it made me want to be a better person. I've always been Christian, but I really found myself praying a lot more during pregnancy than I had previously. Another thing I did was read Scriptures to ease my mind during pregnancy. 

Here are some of my favorites for Pregnancy, Labor, After Childbirth and Raising Children.


  • Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7
  • Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart Galatians 6:9
  •  Be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead! Peter 1:6
  •  Stand still and consider the wondrous works of God Job 37:14
  • Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock.Isaiah 26:4

During Labor

  • Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things. And what you learned and received and heard and saw in me, do these things. And the God of peace will be with you.Psalm 63:6-8
  • The sovereign Lord is my source of strength. He gives me the agility of a deer; he enables me to negotiate the rugged terrain.Isaiah 59:1
  • A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. (John 16:21 )
  • The Pain that you've been feeling, can't compare to the joy that's coming. Romans 8:18

After the birth:

  • “I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him.  So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.” And he worshiped the Lord there. (1 Samuel 1:27–28)

On Bringing a Child Into This World:

  • Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”  Mark 9:36–37
  • Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one's youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; They will not be ashamed When they speak with their enemies in the gate.Psalms 127:3-5
  • Every good and perfect gift was from above James 1:17

On Raising Children

  • Discipline your children, and they will give you peace; they will bring you the delights you desire. Proverbs 29:17
  • Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4
  • Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.Proverbs 22:6

On How You Wish Your Children to Grow:

  • And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him. Luke 2:40
  • Father, teach my children “the secret of being content in any and every situation…through Him who gives them strength” Philippians 4:12-13
  • My children are blessed and will be mighty in the land.Psalm 112:2 
  • Father I pray that my child's mind is guarded by your peace Philippians 4:7
  • My children will fulfill God’s will and purpose for their lives Psalm 138:8 
  • My children are children in whom there is no blemish, but they are well favored. They are skillful in wisdom, cunning in knowledge, and understand science. Daniel 1:4 
  •  My children are not being conformed to this world’s system, but they are constantly being transformed by the renewing of their mind, that they might know what is the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God for their lives.Romans 12:2
  •  My children will flee from all sexual immorality and impurity in thought, word or deed, and they will realize that their body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.Corithians 6:18-19
I'll also be doing other posts like this including Prayers for your Baby, Prayers for Pregnancy, Bible Verses for Your Relationship and many others. 

If you want to read my posts on pregnancy & delivery they are here:
Labor & Delivery Story

what are your favorite verses?

Friday, 14 November 2014

End of Year Giveaway

Hi ladies! I'm planning a giveaway to celebrate my new blog design & domain, my birthday and the new year.I would love for y'all to participate! I'll be giving away a cash prize and some ad space. Each link is $5 each, or you can get 3 for $10, or 5 links for $20.  If you're low on cash sign up to give a month or more's ad space - it's free!!
If you would like to participate, just fill out the form in the below. I'll be accepting links until December 14th. I hope y'all participate! The total cash prize will depend on how many people participate.
The giveaway will run from the 15th to the 30th of December, with the winner being announced on my Birthday - the 31st since we could all use a little cash after being so extravagant after the holidays. 

1 link: $5
3 links: $10
5 links $20

Monday, 10 November 2014

Labor & Birth Story

at 6 months

I was adamant that this baby would come before my due date, so when my due date came and I still had no baby I was starting to get so frustrated. I had been getting contractions around every hour or so for the past 2 weeks and was officially over being pregnant.

I was uncomfortable on the night of the 22nd which was my due date. I kept feeling like I couldn't breathe, and that my stomach was really over-stretched, so I went for a walk. When I didn't feel any better I lay down and went to sleep at around 8 that night.

I woke up at 2 in the morning because I started getting contractions again. They were around 5 minutes apart but I wasn't in THAT much pain that I thought I needed to go to the hospital, so I just browsed the internet until it was time to get ready for that day. I had my antenatal clinic that day anyways so I was just going to go to that instead.

When I was getting ready, my water broke. Richard was so excited and freaking out asking me if I was okay. I was still bustling about tidying and getting things ready as well as making breakfast. My ride to the hospital arrived and I ended up not even eating the breakfast I'd spent so long making.

I got to the hospital and I was so sure that I wasn't in labor yet because it wasn't hurting that badly, I was just short of breath and feeling pressure in my lower back and all across my stomach. When I got to the labor ward it was change of shifts, so I had to wait an hour before even being seen - and Richard had to wait outside.

The nurse who checked me out said to me, " You know, since you've come in I haven't really seen you get any pains"
"Just because I'm not crying and pulling faces doesn't mean I'm not in pain, Nurse" I replied
"You're not in labor, if you were - you'd be in more pain"

She examined me and told me I was four centimetres dilated, and admitted me straight away.

They moved me to what they call 'First Stage', where there were a few other women in beds being monitored too - while we waited to dilate further. While I was in first stage they told my Mum and boyfriend that they could come in, one at a time and talk to me.

Since they were checking my blood pressure and monitoring the baby every 30 minutes it didn't leave much time for them to get to talk to me, since when the doctors were examining me they wouldn't let my family come see me.

My mom went home, and Richard went to get a bite to eat when they heard that now I was 3 centimeters instead of four centimeters dilated. Yep - I was actually going backward.

Since my waters had only been trickling out and not gushing - a Doctor came and broke my waters to speed up my labor. Then they told me to walk around - trust me... it's really not the nicest feeling.

Almost immediately after she broke my waters the contractions got worse. I would say about 7 on a pain scale, but it was manageable as they were about 7 minutes apart lasting for a minute the same as they had been for most of the day.

I asked for something for the pain, and they examined me again - told me I was 5 centimeters and gave me an injection in my IV line. I was warned that the injection wouldn't take away the pain of the contractions but make me drowsy and possibly speed up the labor.

At this point I hadn't had anything to eat in almost 24hrs and I was super tired, hungry and nauseous. Right after getting the injection I went to sleep.

I slept for maybe an hour and a half, and woke up at about 3pm. I  couldn't believe how much pain I was in so suddenly. I guess the nurses didn't believe me either, because it took them 20 minutes to come and check how dilated I was again.

By then, I was 8 centimeters dilated. I tried standing up and holding over by the side of my bed which was helping me bear through the contractions which were increasing in pain and getting a couple of minutes closer together. They told me I'm not allowed to stand and to go lay down.

I got so frustrated. How can they tell me to do something that makes it even more painful? Within 20 minutes I was literally writhing in pain in my bed and feeling this strong urge to push. I'd been told not to push before my body was ready so I was trying SO hard not to.

I yelled for the nurse and told her I really feel like I need to push so she checked me again. It was all systems go from there. I was fully dilated and they wheeled me to a private room immediately so I could deliver.

You could say that I started to freak out a little bit then. Neither my mom or Richard were there and at least one of them should have been there. The midwife was there telling me to push and I didn't want to have this baby without the father there to see his child being born.

A doctor asked me if there was anyone I'd like to call. I gave them my mom's number, but she wouldn't answer her phone and Richard had just gotten a new number the week before so I couldn't even remember it properly.

It just so happened that he had come back just in time and was in the waiting room when I sent a nurse out to look for him.

The labor went pretty quickly after that. He was in the room with me for about 15 minutes before our daughter was born. I got to name her and he cut the cord, then my mother took her away and dressed her.

Maya was born at 4.10 pm on the 23rd of September.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Things You Shouldn't Ask a Pregnant Woman!

written on the 22nd of September
 Being pregnant has been a wonderful experience, but at this point I'm kind of over the waiting period 
and anxious to have my sweet little baby in my arms.  Maybe I'd be less 'over' being pregnant if people didn't ask so many questions all the time? I can guarantee you that every heavily pregnant mama is TIRED of hearing these things and wishes that she could have a parrot on her shoulder to answer you instead.

"when are you due? "
I know you're only being considerate, but you're the 5th person to ask me that today.
Also, when I tell you when I'm due please don't say any of the following:

"OMG you're so pregnant!"
I am more aware of this fact than you are, considering I am the one carrying said child. I feel very pregnant, and I don't need you to tell me that I am. Right after you say this, it's likely that you'll comment on the size of my bump.

"Can your bump get even get any bigger/smaller?"
Usually people comment on how large your bump is.. but for  a long time I didn't really have much of a bump, so people would comment on how small it was. It's equally as annoying to be told that you hardly have a bump as it is to be told that you have a huge bump since both of them feel like unwarranted criticisms.

"When is that baby going to come out?"
When. It. Is. READY..!!
I'm patiently awaiting it's arrival too. I can't rush it. Just trust that when it is coming/ has come I will tell you.

"What are you having?"
Since we waited to find out the gender, this has to be one of the most awkward questions to get asked, because you can literally only say 'we don't know yet'. Then follows the conversation of why I should find out, even although it was our choice to be surprised.

"Are you having a shower?"
There are 2 ways to look at this. If I am now 40 weeks and I haven't told you about having one - I've either had it and you weren't invited or I'm not having one. 

Hint Hint: I'm not having one. We don't know the gender so it'd be hard to get clothes that are gender appropriate. 

"What are you naming it?"
If he's a boy, we're definitely naming him after Richard. If she's a girl there are about 6 options that I know I won't be able to decide in between until I actually see her little face. 

 It's not so bad that you want to know his/her name except for the fact that we are STRANGERS to each other and I don't ask you the names of your kids.

"Are you getting contractions?"
This is most often heard from Richard or my mother who will call from work to ask if I'm getting contractions. I know they're just anxious but I wish everybody would just rest assured that if something IS happening I'll call YOU..

For those of you with kids, what did you get tired of hearing whilst you were pregnant?

As someone who's not pregnant do you think it's appropriate to ask random pregnant strangers these questions?

Monday, 13 October 2014

How Much of Yourself Should You Share Online?

In this digital day-and-age practically everyone is sharing every thing. It's not just teenagers any more, but mom's are facebooking pictures of their kids and aunts are sharing instagrams of their meals. Business owners even have twitters for their businesses now.

It's a 'social' age, where we are constantly being bombarded by images, links and content that we previously wouldn't have, before the advent of so many electronic devices and forms of social media. 

We literally have thousands of people in our pockets, or on our phones which just so happen to be in our pockets.

The lines are getting blurred of what is 'acceptable' to share on social media. As more people bare more of their bodies, bikini and scantily clad workout selfies rise. We share pictures of our homes, family, food and everything in between. 

When it comes to sharing your life, there has to be a line of what you would put on line, and what you would keep private. You should especially note that things are hard to properly delete from the internet and can end up in the hands of perverts, stalkers and future employers to name but a few.

Recent hacking into iCloud and spreading nude photos also should raise red flags for you, that if you have risky pictures, or confidential content maybe your phone isn't as safe as you thought it was. 

Bearing that in mind - here are my top 3 tips to sharing yourself online.

Go with your gut:

Everyone is difficult in what they are comfortable sharing online. Whether it's a picture from the beach, or a politically risque tweet, if you have to spend a while thinking about if you should post or not, then I say - don't post it. 

It's important to think of what you want to be associated with in the long run - especially if you have an online business or would like to start one.

Also I'd say think twice about where/when and what kind of photos you are posting of your kids - you literally don't know what weirdos could be out there.

Let you shine through

If I follow you on some sort of social media like Twitter or I'm friends with you on Facebook, chances are I know you or I want to get to know you better. I should be able to look at your profile and get glimpses of what you're up to, laugh at things you've said and comment on content that you are sharing. Being 'too professional' or boring will mean you have less followers, but I do believe there is a happy medium of sharing just enough.

Don't be obscene

Certain pictures, language and content is best left for the privacy of your own home. Like I said - think about what you want to be publicly associated with, and go from there. Yes , most of us dropping the occasional F-bomb happens, but your Facebook wall or your Twitter feed shouldn't be constant cursing, lewdness or nudity - it's honestly a turn off.

What do you think about sharing yourself online - how much is too much?
Do you have any rules/ tips on how much you share?

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

5 Things Having a Crappy Boss Taught Me

This is a guest post that was seen on the Alisha Nicole.

I worked in a Bailiff's office as the Office Manager for a while, and I had the most terrible experience with my boss. We weren't a good match in terms of energy and I eventually left. We parted on good terms and Josephine taught me a lot, both through her mistakes and through the shining moments of guidance she did provide - however few and far between they were.

 Here are the top 10 things I learned while working for her.

Be Patient
There were times when how demanding Josephine could be made me just want to tear my hair out and SCREAM! Also, clients and debtors were extremely difficult at times.

Taking deep breaths, and really assessing if it was worth it to get worked up over helped save me a lot of stress. After all, it wasn't my business and at the end of the day when I go home it's none of my concern!

Within your own business it's still important to be patient with both yourself and customers/clients in order to be successful.

 Be Open To Change
As a younger person, we can always think that we're right, but Josephine was notoriously stubborn in her ways as an employer. It wasn't just a case of protocol or rules, but that she wasn't open to trying anything else.

When you have a business you should definitely be open to change, and carefully assess what's working for you and what isn't.

The Importance of organization
If you don't have systems in place in your business and your  life you will literally go INSANE. Simple systems and filing methods will save you and your assistants ( if you have any) so much time in the future when you are trying to reference things.

Be Approachable
Whilst a certain distance should be kept between employee-employer to remain professional, that doesn't mean if you're the boss you get to be an actual douche because you have authority. Whether you're a boss, business owner or  an employee you should be approachable. People will be willing to do more for you if you are nice!

The Importance of a Cohesive Brand
Having a brand is important not only for customers, but employees. Having templates to go to helped keep the office running consistently no matter who was working there and it meant that clients and debtors received correspondence that looked professional and was all well formatted and similar.

Promotion Is An Art
I'm not saying you should work for free, but you definitely see an increase in your business if you offer a time limited small discount, or a valuable offer vs cold calls and salesy emails. Promotion is a tricky thing, but there are ways to capitalize upon your business if you get creative. It also takes investment!

Know Your Files
Even if you need to consult a lawyer or your accountant to find out how long you should be keeping your business related files for tax purposes - do it.

You don't want to have clutter that you don't need to have in your office. I suggest keeping digital copies of all the necessary files and storing on an external hard-drive to avoid clutter - especially if your business is paperwork or document heavy.

Don't Give Your Services for Free All the Time
The whole reason clients came to us was that they were owed money. The majority of which was store credit/accounts that was unpaid  or personal loans still owed.

 The sheer number of files in that office let me know that credit is never a good thing to give OR owe, since you end up owing more in the end through interest etc.

 Persistence is Key
People with debts are always loathe to pay them, but in many cases simply getting on that person for a long enough period of time proved that persistence is the key to good business. I had to call the same people over and over and over again - it can be boring doing the same tasks so repeatedly but trust me, it does pay off in the end.

 Sometimes the Customer Isn't Right. 
As a business person you have to realize that sometimes your customers are clients aren't always right, or at the very least they are unclear about what they want and what they expect of you. One of the quickest ways to get unhappy in your business is to bend over backwards for clients who just aren't a good match for you, and aren't paying you well.

Having clear documents that outline your process, fees and exactly what is is expected of both parties is completely necessary to a good working relationship.

Tell me in the comments below what working for others has taught you about running your own business!

Monday, 6 October 2014

Everything In It's Own Season

We're grown people. It's unrealistic to think that everything is all sunshine, daisies and sparkles because - let's be honest, It's not.

In the real world life deals you crappy hands. People die, we lose jobs, accidents happen and none of that can be planned for.

It's more realistic to think of life as a garden. Everything has it's own season.

There's a season for Cherry blossoms, and one for orchids, holly and even for daffodils. Think of all the things in your life like flowers or plants. 

for example;
Cherry Blossoms:Work
Orchids: Love Life
Daffodils: Finances
Holly: Friends

There will always be negative things that spring up in your life and those are weeds. If we get rid of the negativity periodically, the garden will remain beautiful even although those bad things have happened.

Insects [negative people] also try to feed on the lovely parts of our life, so we make an effort to get rid of them when the time comes as well.

Each season there are different flowers that flourish and other ones that take a back seat. We can be assured that something will always grow, and work around that, rather than trying to make a one season plant last the whole year round.

The key is realizing that everything needs attention. The garden will be more beautiful the more time you spend tending to it.

You are like an evergreen tree - enduring all the seasons with patience and grace.

"endurance is patience concentrated" - Thomas Carlyle *click to tweet*

Someone that comes to mind every time I think of endurance is my grandmother, Ma.

She's 93 years old, has 10 kids and has outlived 2 of them so far. She has cancer and her mind isn't what it used to be, but every time you ask her if she's okay, she'll say " I'm just here, holding on". No matter what life's thrown at her - she still sees it as something to hold on to. Even though she can barely see since her eyes are so bad, she's housebound and dependent on in home care - she still endures.

There's always something to smile about, and you can be damn sure that she'll be at her table reading her super large print Bible every SINGLE day. Feeding her soul with the Lord's word every single day - in her own way , tending to her garden. 

Over time she's learned that life's a garden - there's always beauty and there will be good times and bad. Each day you live you are blessed.

What will you weed from your life after reading?

How is your garden looking these days?

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Getting Your Inbox to Zero and Keeping it There

I'm one of those people who just loves organizing. Emails are one of those things that constantly need attention and can get out of hand if you don't have a system in place.

Here's what I do to keep overflow at a minimum;

Unsubscribe from all of the unnecessary social media updates.
These really aren't necessary for me 98% of the time. I usually check my social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook before I check my email, so I see that someone new has followed me, replied to me etc.

Utilize the Priority Inbox (on Gmail)
One of the things that makes it extremely easy to keep on top of emails is the automatic separation that gmail does.
I subscribe to quite a few newsletters, so they go in the updates category. Important emails go straight into primary and there are other labels such as social, where your social media notifications can go (if you don't feel like turning them off)

That way, when I open up my email I can instantly see the ones that are important and reply to them first, getting around to the newsletters when I have time.

Categorize by labels; 
If you use your email for different things like a business , blog and social media it can get kind of crazy. Right now I have the labels
- Sponsorships
- Freelance Work

Color Code
Within the labels I use a color code so I know what has to be done with each email, if I can't respond immediately.

Within Freelance I use red for the projects I'm currently working on, and green for the ones I'm awaiting a response to. Once I've finished with the project I take the red star off or delete the message to keep my inbox low.

For sponsorships I also use different colored stars for things like guest posts, correspondence etc.

Deleting frequently;
There are things you keep to read again, and really never read. Each day when I have gone through my email I try to delete as many things as possible that don't need a follow up action. Usually I don't like to have more than around 25 opened emails just sitting around at a time.

If you're not sure whether you might want to delete it yet, or you're awaiting a response but want some more room in your inbox, you can archive the email and when a response comes it'll come right back to your inbox.

You can also retrieve emails from your archive if you need them for future reference without them cluttering up your inbox.

Automating Content:
If you're a freelancer, automating can help you save time. For example every time someone purchases one of your consultations, you can automatically send a autoresponder with a thank you note or a quick survey for them to do before you can begin. While it doesn't necessarily make your inbox emptier.. it does make it easier and mean that you potentially have less to reply to.

You could also have an autoresponder that lists your office hours &  FAQs or similar work, like Lisa does. 

Is your inbox out of control?

if you're on top of your emails, what do you do to stay there?

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Why Commitment is worth Twice as Much as Skill

In today's world it can be really disheartening to turn on our computers, open our newspapers and read our emails.

We're constantly bombarded by the idea that we should be really great at something, or not do it at all. 

We should have an inherent skill for design, writing, making money, living well and the list goes on and on. It is really hard not to feel inferior when you see the best parts of everybody online.

On Facebook we see school friends totally owning being a stay-at-home mom of four with what seems like no worries, on Instagram we see designers doing work that we could only DREAM of doing, and on Twitter we see people getting endless retweets on mediocre content.  

The thing that we forget is that the reason it seems like those people are more successful than you is that we're seeing where they are at right now, not where they have been. Behind that Facebook post is many nights of tears for the winning stay-at-home mom. The instagram photo took painfully long to set up and the client dictated countless revisions. That person that is so Twitter famous spends way too many hours on the site.

We see snippets. We don't see all the behind the scenes stuff. Ask anyone that 'seems' successful and they'll tell you that hard work is what got them there... [ unless of course they're trying to sell you something - then they might brag about how easy their life is because of it ]

It can feel like a struggle, especially in the freelance world, but in life in general - but the most important thing is commitment.

Committing to what you really love to do is so much more valuable than being automatically great at something, whether that be blogging, your dream job, your hobby, side hustle or whatever else. 

However much you commit, you'll see the results come back to you.

"The quality of a person's life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor" - Vince Lombardi *click to tweet*
It's commitment and not skill that will get you through those rough patches where the money's hardly enough to live on, or the hours you are working are atrocious. You can develop skill if you're committed and you'll have some damn good experience along the way.

Tell me in the comments what you're committed to, or if you've gotten lost along the way what will YOU recommit to after this post?