Yes, I get that a lot. The minute folks hear I work from home, for myself, they want to know how I maintain a routine. Here' the gist of it:
And all of these are pretty much non-negotiable unless something major, say a work commitment or travel, occurs last minute...
1. Waking up at the crack of dawn - I adjust this for time differences but it has been a steady 6 am for a while now. Have no trouble waking up early and usually beat the alarm clock by 5 minutes or more. Of course, the trick is to sleep on time and give your body enough rest. I sleep by 10-11 pm to give myself a good 7-8 hours of shut eye.
2. Exercising - I know I do not have the willpower to pull myself away from work during the day to exercise so instead I wake up early and take time folding in the fitness that best works for me - walking! I do a two hour walk along nearby neighborhoods or at the hike trail near my home which gives me a little over 10,000 steps on my Fitbit - quota for the day achieved.
3. Cooling down - Once I am home I take time to cool down as well as hydrate with plenty of water. Currently off coffee so a glass of warm milk is my morning beverage. No sugar, no flavor, just whole milk. Takes about a half hour. The husband is usually up by this time so we get to catch up on our day ahead.
4. Shower - Again, there have been days where pulling myself away from work was a big no and I'd work all day before realizing it was 5 pm and I had not showered yet. Exercising takes care of that. I come back home all stinky and sweaty so a shower is not negotiable. And I get ready for the day so I am dressed and all set for work mode. Half hour on this.
5. Breakfast - Another great part of exercising is I am hungry by the time I get home, cool down and shower so I head straight to the kitchen like clockwork and whip up a breakfast smoothie, sandwich, bowl of cereal to get me going. Half hour for this as well.
This routine usually gives me about a half hour to spare before I start my work day 10 am. I use that half hour to read a magazine I subscribe to or book from the library.
So, what's your morning routine?
Who knew this existed! Glad to see the initiative though and hope it encourages more folks to read. I consider every day to be reading day for me - have a steady stream of loans from the local library and an even longer wishlist waiting to be requested. Not to mention the really good narrative and feature stories available online these days. Education and literacy are important to me and I have been involved in efforts to encourage reading in organizations I have associated with. Some of my favorite books are childhood reads - books my parents got me so I could read adventure stories and imagine escapades of the Secret Seven and Famous Five. Over time, I developed my own reading tastes - went through a phase where Isaac Asimov was my God and then another where romance novels were above everything else. As I did more writing and editing work, I read books that were related - like the Elements of Style or Bird by Bird. And autobiographies as well as self-help/life improvement books took up much of my reading time. I did go through a slump where reading took a backseat and hated that - took a while to get back into the groove again but so glad my love for reading is now a big part of my life. I hope wherever you are, that you are able to enjoy reading and to encourage other stop read as well.
A meeting with a girlfriend today resulted in this topic of conversation. Oh, also, Happy March! So, financial freedom...what does that mean to you?
To me, financial freedom means the freedom to choose how I earn my finances, who I work for or with, what I do with my finances, when I want to work or not, and why, and where. Does that mean I always have the finances to practice that freedom? Not necessarily. The last few months have been financially restricting. For one, I moved coast to coast so that involved a whole new landscape in terms of type of market, work available, clients, networking, gigs, etc. For another, the time taken to adjust, relocate, apartment hunt, get settled in means a halt in my regular scheduling and dipping into savings for the time being. So while I had the freedom to not work for a while, and choose how I used my finances, to say that I always had the finances to support that situation would be a lie. A regular paycheck would have helped. No doubt. But then it would not give me the freedom to choose to move where I want, when I want and take a break for the 'time being' so I can settle into my new place. To say that financial freedom is all about the money would be wrong. Its more about the freedoms you enjoy because of the money, how much ever that may be to support the lifestyle you maintain. To assume that the amount of money we are talking here is the same for any two individuals would be naive. To assume that the amount of money at which financial freedom is a possibility for me in my last city and now in the new one I call home is also the same would be wrong too. So I guess, to answer my girlfriend, to me, financial freedom is the freedom to support my lifestyle in a given geographic area, dependent on my financial stability at that time. And the degree to which I enjoy (or don't) that financial freedom will vary widely dependent on many related factors at that time and place in my life. What does financial freedom mean for you? Comment below, if you'd like to have that conversation...
Most of my colleagues talk about how it is difficult to get started with a story sometimes. Or even build an introduction that ties together the rest of your copy perfectly. Here are some tactics I've used that I hope are useful to you as well:
1. Throw out an element of shock that immediately gets the reader hooked.
2. Use an analogy to help readers understand the similarity and relate to the story.
3. A play on words is always great, also a sign of a true crafty wordsmith.
4. Repetition. This one should be used carefully, or it will reek redundancy.
5. Include one truly memorable word that piques interest.
6. Introduce an element of mystery to encourage reading on.
7. This one's simple - a question or a declaration leading into your piece.
8. Address something that is a universal concern like love, money, sex, food, work.
9. Another often observed trick - a pithy quote.
10. Keeping it simple and memorable. Don't unload a barrage of technical terms or hifalutin phrases all at once at the very beginning - readers will turn away!
What are your tips and tricks to grab your readers' attention?
Attended a lunch and learn event today hosted by the LAX Coastal Chamber of Commerce and LAX Coworking featuring Jory Rosen of J. Rosen Group. The topic was best business tips for 2016 and it was a good session to hear someone with so much experience speak so frankly about what works/not in the business world these days. Here's a quick rundown of the notes I took, not necessarily verbatim but what I took away - I've actually typed them out to print and stick up by my work desk at home - wise words to remember.
1. Always exude confidence, everywhere, all the time.
2. Love what you do.
3. Do it the best way (not the fastest or the cheapest).
4. Be remarkable - be flamboyant if you need to, to stand out, be visible, get attention.
5. Review what you are selling, what people want, and if what you are selling is still relevant.
6. Make it easy for people to do business with you, buy from you, spend money with you.
7. Do give away advice or entry to events etc. to get clients in.
8. Ask for the sale, don't dilly dally.
9. Ask for referrals.
10. Always send thank yous.
11. Ask for testimonials.
12. Forget the office - go to your client to see them in their own environment.
13. Always keep learning.
14. Find a mentor.
15. Learn from your mistakes and bounce back, don't fall down.
The big one for me was to go to clients - I work freelance most times and my clients are almost always solo entrepreneurs like me working from home or coffee shops so going to where they work is pretty much where I work out of. In other cases, they are in a whole other city or country even so going to where they are is not so much an option. And I did think, for the longest time, that meeting in a mutual place, neutral to all parties involved, is the best arrangement, so nobody has home base advantage, but I can see the intent in that point and hope I can use it to my advantage some time. Hope these are useful to you as well. Good luck!
The end of the year is a great time to get rid of the clutter. I usually use the last few days of the year to clear out any mess and clean up my home, desk, laptop, purse of unnecessary things that simply don't belong. Most of it is waste, some of it has to be organized and quite a bit of it finds a home at a donation center. I enjoy starting the new year on a somewhat clean slate. It is difficult to say there is nothing carried over as there is continuity to what I will do in 2016 from where I was in 2015, but giving myself the gift of a clean space to work in, a neat desk to arrange my thoughts and a laptop free of all sorts of downloads and lists means starting out without any obstacles in my path. Paving the way for your success is in your hands. Making sure everything around me is just what I need, and anything I do not need is put away, is my way of ensuring I reach that path to success a little faster. Having moved to Los Angeles recently, I now find myself in an apartment that doe into afford me a designated desk area - then one end of my dining table will suffice for now. But having just my laptop, phone, notepad, diary and coffee cup around me gives me a sense of openness and organization to work unencumbered by too many things. This is my little routine every new year and it always works like magic. A fresh start for a new journey. Do you have any clutter tricks you'd like to share?
Its a brand new year and I am excited to start on a high. More about that and other new announcements in the coming week. Meanwhile, I am taking this first day of the year to enjoy some rest and relaxation from a fun yet hectic holiday season. While I vegetate in my cozy apartment, I am leisurely filling in some of my goals for the year onto my 2016 American Express Appointment Book which I so love - its my NYE gift to myself every year. It is going to be a fantastic year and I can already feel it. I wish you, wherever you are and whatever you do, purpose in your direction personally and professionally, good health, prosperity, happiness and the warmth of near and dear at all times. To also keep me somewhat on track, I have embarked on this 31 Day challenge and hope you will join in too. Here's to an amazing journey ahead and may this year be the best one yet! Onward bound!
I wouldn't be writing professionally today if not for parents that encouraged me writing and reading as a child. Nurture the writing talents in your kids with these fun tips courtesy BIC in Shelton, CT.
You might not know it but the number of staffing firms representing freelancers in the corporate environment has increased over the past few years, keeping up with the freelance demand and supply in the workplace. Gone are the days when staffing firms were only for permanent or full-time employment. Many staffing firms today, especially freelance staffing firms, are focused on solely project-based, temporary, seasonal and part-time employment opportunities. For freelancers, it not only opens up the avenues for applying for freelance positions but also puts you in the playing field with an agency representing you and promoting your skills actively to their audience. Sometimes this audience does happen to be large clients that a single freelancer might never have been able to approach. So while you might have other channels you actively pursue to attract freelance gigs, do not write off staffing firms, especially those representing the creative fields. A simple search for creative staffing firms or agencies in your area should pull up a few viable results. Reach out with an introduction or complete their talent forms on their websites and rest assured, if what you have to offer meets with some of their client needs, they will get in touch. Some of my best work, by which I mean, both, well-paying jobs as well as challenging roles and those with brands and big name clients, have been because of my agent at a creative firm representing me on the right roles. Some of these staffing firms also offer national presence so no matter where you move to in the country, and if you are lucky, even internationally, they are happy to represent you and send work your way. Of course, the personal rapport you share with your agent also weighs in. Refusing every opportunity they send your way is a surefire sign they won't be thinking of you top of mind when a new client comes through. Be open to exploring opportunities your agent thinks might be a good fit - you never know, you could end up enjoying something you had never considered before! Here are some based in L.A for easy reference:
The Creative Group
(These are not affiliate links and I don't get anything out of mentioning these companies, they came up on my search and I figured it wouldn't hurt to share this information with other freelancers)
It has officially been a month since I moved from Atlanta to Los Angeles. This day, a month ago, we drove into L.A in our car with a trailer towing along carrying our belongings. We lived in an AirBnB rental for close to a month, during which time we tried to find an apartment we liked, could afford and wanted to call home for the long haul. Happy to say we have moved into one such space now and are busy unpacking. Professionally though, this move has meant leaving behind everything I had built over almost 10 years in Atlanta and building new professional connections and networks. Much of that has happened online with virtual introductions and emails. I have only yet started meeting with folks in-person to see how I can continue freelancing, editing and writing in this new city. I have a few things lined up but as always, you never know which ones come through and which will fall away, along the way. Keeping my fingers crossed for some promising projects in the near future. Stay tuned here for updates!