It’s all too easy to think that stuff we find fun isn’t work or doesn’t have a price tag on it.
Here’s what happened to me about twenty years ago. When I had to quit my job and started doing freelance PR work. I shortchanged myself not just a little, but a lot.
I’d have potential clients call me and we’d chat and then set up a meeting where I’d go through everything I’d do to help them and their business get noticed. Most of the time, we’d meet in a café or coffee shop and yes, I’d even pay for the drinks or meal. I’d spend an hour, sometimes more, with them, setting out my PR plan in a very detailed way, thinking they’d be so impressed they’d hire me on the spot.
That never happened.
All of them told me they’d, think things over and get back to me. None of them ever did but when I did a follow up call, I’d hear the same thing over and over again.
You gave me so many great ideas that I think it’s enough to get started doing my own PR so after much thought, I don’t need to hire you.
It made me angry about these time wasters and almost made me want to start looking through the want ads for a job. That was until one day I sat down and thought about who my anger should really be directed at. It was me not them.
I’d given away too much too soon. I needed to quit giving away so much detail about my PR plan…they’d get that later when they hired me. I also realized that this PR consultation was worth something. I was offering my expertise and the knowledge I’d gathered over years of working in the business and I should at least get paid for it.
I had a new strategy,
I’d meet with them but give them a brief outline. That way they couldn’t do everything on their own. I’d also charge for what I now called a one hour PR consultation. And yes, one hour and no more. Even if they didn’t hire me, I hadn’t wasted my time and come away empty handed.
If you’re in business or starting a business, get paid what you’re worth. Nothing should be given away for free unless you’re offering your services to charity. Don’t shortchange yourself because it can ruin your bottom line and even put your business in risk of going bankrupt.
Over at my writing site, I do a weekly round up of things I’ve been up to and it’s known at Friday Ramblings From An Author. I thought I’d try that on this site too, well, a month by month Ramblings to begin with just to give it a test run.
So here’s what I got up to this cold and snowy February.
This year I knew I had to get more organized about what had to be done, what should be done, and what wasn’t worth bothering with. In January, on I created a file on my laptop with the name of the month and the words to do. Inside I added everything I felt need to be tackled and when it was done I’d remove it from the folder. I’m not sure if it was the enthusiasm of the New Year kicking in or what, but when January 31st rolled around, it was empty. I changed the name to February and guess what, it’s already empty! I’m not saying I’ve found a magic formula for getting stuff done, but give it a try and see what happens.
A couple of things that were in the folder were launching BSGFreedomU, I hope you’ve checked it out. This week I added two more classes, one on productivity and the other on making money with affiliate marketing.A couple of things that were in the folder were launching BSGFreedomU, I hope you’ve checked it out. This week I added two more classes, one on productivity and the other on making money with affiliate marketing. Here’s the link if you missed it. https://budgetsmartgirlfreedomu.zenler.com/
Back in December I published Fabulously Frugal which gave me the idea for a whole series of 30 Day Makeover books. Last month it was about decluttering, this month it’s organizing. Yesterday I hit the publish button on that title and here’s the cover. Hope you’ll check it out and its just 99 cents.
One other thing I knew I wanted to do was get this site refocused and that happened last week. I hope you’re liking it and I’d love your feedback. Is there something you want to see, a question you have, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
One thing I do every month is check all money that’s coming in and money that’s going out for running my business. It gives me a clearer view of what I’m spending money on and if it was worth it for my business or not. I also check memberships I have and if they no longer serve me or my business, I cancel. It’s something I recommend you do as soon as you launch a business or even if you’re starting a side line business. My biggest problem has always been focusing on things that while they’re fun, haven’t brought in the biggest return money wise. This is a topic we’ll get more into next month.
My goal is to have something for you on this site five days a week. It might not happen straight away but it’s what I’ve set as a long term goal. Starting on Monday and every Monday, I’ll also be copying something I also do over at TWL, and that’s post something motivational. For this site it’s going to be a quote and image that I hope you’ll take with you for the week as you work on living the life you love.
Here’s a review of some software I did for my writing site, This Writer’s Life www.thiswriterslife.com and thought the product might be a good fit for BSG too as we’re now focusing on launching a business and I think this software could be helpful.
I’ve never reviewed products here at TWL before but I was
recently approached by a company to do just that. So disclaimer up front, I
received the product in exchange for an honest review.
What is the product and why did I agree to review it and
share it with you?
It a software program called PDFelement and it’s made by
Wondershare Software LLC. At first, I thought it might not be a good match for
TWL’s audience but after checking it out I realized a lot of you, like me,
could put it to good use in your writing life.
Since I began getting rights back to my books, I’ve been
using Adobe to convert the old pdfs to Word so I can then format them ready for
republishing. I can’t remember exactly what I’ve paid for it but as we all know
things quickly add up. PDFelement does the same thing but for a lot less. In
fact, once you’ve purchased the software, you don’t have any more reoccurring fees. So if like me, you’re publishing back titles,
or will anytime in the future, it’s going to be easier on your budget.
The conversion to Word and then into my self-publishing
template hasn’t been without its issues even with using Adobe so I gave this
PDFelement feature a test run to see how things compared. While it wasn’t
exactly perfect because there were still some gaps between words and
paragraphs, it was actually a lot better than when I uploaded the Adobe
conversion file into my template.
One feature I’m especially excited about is being able to
type information into the pdfs it creates. As many of you know I teach writing
classes and I’m currently putting together workbooks that I save as pdfs. Now
it means my students won’t have to print out the workbooks if they don’t want
to and can add text straight into them.
PDFelement also has a file of templates you can use…always
love templates because they cut your worktime in half. I was pleased to see
there’s a newsletter template. I gave that a test run and have to say I loved
it. When it comes to words and graphics combined together in a file…well, let’s
just say I’m not the best designer but it looked pretty good. I’m probably
going to start using it to send out to my students to keep them up to date on
classes and writing tips.
If any of you run a business…I know a few of you do, they
also have gift certificate templates and even W-2 Forms.
So, what did I think about the ease of installing the
software? As many of you know I call myself Ms. Untechy because anything in the
technical realm, especially connected with a computer, sends me into a panic.
The installation was fairly easy but I have to say it seemed a bit sluggish.
I’m not sure if it was my laptop or the fact there’s a lot to install but it
did take some time and then when the laptop restarted that took a long time
too. When I first used PDFelement, it immediately did an update to a new
As for ease of use when you first start out, there are
tutorials, but all in all, the icons are straightforward and self-explanatory.
It’s similar to a Word Doc so that makes things a lot easier…especially for me
because I hate having to learn everything from scratch again. You can change
colors, import images and there are different fonts. Depending on how
creativity you want to be, the sky’s the limit.
While I’m on a deadline from the company to get this review
published, I’ve not had time to play with all the things this software has to
offer, however, I’m really looking forward to exploring more and using it in my
own writing life and business.
I know many of you are probably Adobe fans, but if you’re
looking for a less expensive alternative for your writing needs, then at least
give it a try. Yes, you can sign up for a trial before you make a decision
about purchasing it. The link below offers you a 50% discount if you do decide
to go ahead and purchase it. That’s my initial review and I’ll keep you updated
the more I use it.
I’ve been telling you about the overhaul for BSG for a few weeks, and today it kicks into gear.
No longer will you find post on clipping coupons, pantry makeovers or anything you’ve seen before. This site is now geared toward ways to start a business, put a business you already run into high gear, or even just ways to make some extra income.
It will be focused on freedom and finding a way to live the life you dream about.
I’ve been working for myself for close to 20 years. It’s not something I set out to do. My last outside employer type job was as a publicist. I loved it but then things took a turn for the worst. There were things going on with the owner I had no idea about…well, it cut the story short, I quit and decided I’d put my fate into my own hands and launched a freelance writing/PR company.
I won’t tell you it was easy because I worked three jobs while I got the business up and running. And of course, business changes and evolves and once I turned to writing books, the freelance writing sort of fell by the wayside. For ten years, I’ve also been teaching and tutoring aspiring writers.
So what will you see on the new face of BSG…I hope to help you live the life you dream about. There will be articles, interviews with other entrepreneurs, anything that helps you get on the money path you want to follow.
The first thing I want to share with you is my newly created BudgetSmartGirlFreedomU. It’s an online school I’ve set up with classes you can take to help you on your entrepreneurs journey. I’ll be adding more classes soon and here’s the link-
I’ve also added an affiliate link for you, so here’s your first way of maybe making some extra money. If you refer someone to the class and they sign up, you get 20% of the price of the class.
I also have two more schools at Zenler with affiliate programs so check them out. Even if you’re not interested in any of the classes you might know someone who is, and once again, it’s a way for you to make some money
I told you a few weeks ago that I was thinking of rebranding this site. After much brainstorming, I’ve decided that instead of focusing on saving money, it’s new theme should be making money. You can learn how to save at the store or whatever just about any where these days so I want to give you something different.
The site will show you ways to make money, be it a side gig, starting your own business, selling your arts and crafts…you get the picture. While there still might be the odd post or two about ways to save time, and yes, recipes you can easily make while you’re busy building your empire, its main focus will be about helping you make money and life the life you’ve always dreamed about. I also intend to set up an online school where you can take classes on various topics to help make you a success in whatever venture you choose.
I’ll have more details coming soon, but in the meantime, I’ll be overhauling the site. I hope to do the makeover sometime this week so things might look strange for a bit while the whole process unfolds. Here’s a sneak peek at the new header and tagline.
If you know anyone who is interested in being their own boss and master of their destiny, then I hope you’ll send them to the site where they can sign up and subscribe.
I know some of you love to make crafts (especially during the holiday season), so I asked my friend Sue to share one of her easy to make and very budget friendly Christmas crafts with you. Sue has her own craft blog and this month’s theme is homemade cards so go check it out.
If you’re on a tight budget, yet love to decorate your house for the holidays, you don’t need to spend a fortune. In fact I have the perfect thing you can make and all the supplies are from the Dollar Store. Can’t get any cheaper than that, can you?
The Dollar Store has a wire frame shaped candy cane and ribbons to make a cute and easy decoration. If you’re worried that you don’t have the skill to create it, don’t fret. Not only is it a cheap but I promise you this creation is super easy.
The only tools you will need are a scissors, hot glue gun and your own two hands. If you don’t have a hot glue gun, you could use any form of super glue. However, a hot glue gun makes it easier.
The first step is to wrap the end of the candy cane wire with ribbon. I chose to use a red ribbon that is decorated with white snowflakes. The end is wrapped kind of like a Christmas present. Tuck the ends of the ribbon under at the bottom and glue it to the wire. Then take the ribbon and wrap it around the wire three times moving up the wire as you go. After the third wrap, give it a shot of glue to make it stay together. Continue to do this until you get to the top of the candy cane. Then again glue it to the wire.
The ribbon has probably bunched up a bit in a few spots so take the ribbon and push it up to stretch it. Be gentle so you don’t rip the ribbon apart where you have glued it. It doesn’t matter if you can see the wire in spots because you will be covering that up with the white ribbon.
Once you are satisfied you have the red ribbon placed where you want it, it is time to do the same with the white ribbon. I first glued the end of the white ribbon to the red ribbon on the back of the wired candy cane. This time as you are wrapping the ribbon around the wire, you will want to leave a space between the ribbons to give it the stripe candy cane effect. Again after the third wrap give it a shot of glue to keep it tightly together. Continue to wrap and glue the ribbon until you get to the top of the candy cane wire. Then take the end of the white ribbon and tuck the ends under and glue it to the wire and red ribbon.
It should resemble a candy cane now. All that is left is for you to decorate it to your liking. I used a solid red ribbon and made a bow. Then I glued a silver bell on to the ribbon and glued red mini ornaments down the bottom front.
This candy cane design can be used in color that you wish. And with the supplies this cheap, several can be made to decorate your home or make as last minute gifts.
Wire candy cane- $1.00
Red wired snowflake ribbon (9 feet long)-$1.00
White wired Merry Christmas ribbon (9 feet long)-$1.00
Solid red wired ribbon (9 feet long)-$1.00
Silver jingle bells (9 count)-$1.00
Mini red glittered ornaments (16 count)-$1.00
This can be made in an hour and for $6.00. For that price you can’t go wrong. Give it a try.
Be sure to visit my blog @ suemcconnell.com and find other easy crafts you can make that are affordable. This month it’s all about homemade Christmas cards.
Over the years of running Budget Smart Girl, I’ve had lots of Canadian subscribers ask me about coupons and deals for them. Finally I have a site for you to check out. Here’s an interview with Theresa Bruce who runs CanadianFreeStuff…
Budget Smart Girl (BSG)-Tell us about you and your site?
Theresa Bruce (TB)-I first started out this free Canadianfreestuff back in 2000 as a hobby, and at that time loved getting free samples in the mail – Back in those days there were some fabulous free offers you could receive. My mailbox had something new and cool every week back in those days. Free T-shirts and other fabulous finds were hot back in those days. But the industry has changed so much – When it comes to getting Free Samples – It’s now being a Product Tester or Reviewer in order to get full sized free samples.
BSG-What gave you the initial idea to start a money saving site and when did you launch it?
TB-I started out Canadianfreestuff.com in order to help out other Canadians to save money – Free Samples and Coupons and free to enter contests. – Coupons were plentiful back in the day with huge savings like Buy 1 Get 1 Free on many everyday brands – but with the course of time, coupons are getting smaller for savings and now you have to do more legwork by either print coupons, or do a Mobile Rebate such as Checkout51 and Caddle.
BSG-How often do you update coupons and deals?
TB-We Blog approximately between 20-30 Money saving ideas every day of the week – a Mixture of Freebies, Mail-in Rebates, Coupons, Deals, and Contests.
BSG-Do you have a favorite money saving tip?
TB-My Favorite Money Saving Tip is to know your Prices. Example for me: Laundry is a good deal at 10 cents per load. This is my purchase price and I’m not “brand” specific. But if your brand specific and only, for example, buy Tide Free & Clean your best price might be $015 per load. To me, Points & Coupons are just “extra” savings. Now that I’m empty nester I don’t “coupon” much anymore. Now when I see my “Folgers” Coffee on sale for less than $6.99 I’ll simply purchase 3 of them, and patiently wait for another sales cycle to come along and purchase another 3.
BSG-Any other sites you recommend for the budget minded?
We’re almost mid-way through the financial summer makeover/challenge so how are you doing? Are you on track to meet the financial goals you set?
Here’s my update. I’ve been keeping track of money I spend and what I spend it on. It’s taught me a couple of things. One, there’s always room for improvement because even the most budget conscious of us will splurge once in a while. It’s human nature I guess, and yes, like a diet it’s sometimes a good thing because it stops you from going off the diet completely.
Second thing is that being accountable if only to myself, is improving my ability to be totally honest with myself about asking is this really a necessary buy? I’ve stopped myself from buying a few things that didn’t fit into that category. Most of the things I’ve purchased in the last few weeks have been necessities and items I think will help the bottom line in my writing/coaching business.
If you’ve not given this exercise a try, do it and see what happens and leave a comment with your results.
Here’s the expense tracking sheet I’ve been using so feel free to print it out and use it for your own use-