My blogging has dropped off a bit not from lack of interest or potential content but mostly because I’ve been busy focusing on other things. After investing a lot of time in my Suite101 writing over the past year and a half, I’ve finally started seeing it snowball and really start to pay off. This has been very motivating so I have been working on more articles for Suite. My next goal there is to hit 100 articles by the end of the year. (I’m currently at 79.) There is also a huge uptick in Suite readership starting in August (end of summer) so I’ve been working on back-to-school and teacher related articles in preparation for that.
I’ve also been exploring how to get the most out of Examiner over the past two months and have learned a lot. I enjoy writing little newsy stories over there and am also seeing that pay off. So that is motivating as well.
I’ve tried lots of different things online and I’m happy to say that I’ve found two things that I really like and that seem to be paying off. I’ve seen so many writers come and go from Suite in the time I’ve been there. I think a lot of people who start writing for Suite want to make a lot of money right away and that just isn’t the way it works. But for those who do stick it out and make an effort to really study SEO and writing for the web, there is a good payoff. One of the best parts of being with Suite is the forums. There is a fantastic community there and a very active discussion board. That alone as been worth all of the work as there are a lot of knowledgeable writers there who are friendly and willing to help each other out. I think it is rare and something really fantastic.
David has been redesigning our business website. It has needed it for many, many months and he finally got around to doing it over the past few weeks. It isn’t completely done as he is still adding content, but it is a huge relief for him to get that monkey off his back.
I’ve written a few Examiner pieces about the New Economy and I think it is a topic everyone should consider. Work and business as we have known it over the past several decades is not (in my humble opinion) coming back. How everything will shake out in the years ahead, I have no idea. I don’t think anyone really does. We’re undergoing a significant shift in how people work, where they work, how long they work, how often they change jobs, how often they change careers, views on higher education and its value versus what it costs, competing globally with people who will do your job in some other country for a few bucks an hour, etc.
David and I are young enough to still have many, many years of work ahead of us. But we are old enough to have lots of experience. It is kind of an in-between place to be. We are not attractive to be hired for a regular job because we have too much experience. But we still have a long way to go before we could ever retire. So we try to think about what we can do over the next few decades to remain competitive and able to work in areas that we find interesting.
We’ve been on our own now for almost eight years. We have learned so much in those eight years. We’ve had fantastic years and horrible years. I think that is true for anyone who owns their own business. We’ve remained open to God moving us in another direction and David has applied for regular jobs from time to time in order to remain open to God’s leading. So far the Lord has left us where we are. We’ve tried things that didn’t work out. And we’ve stumbled upon other things that worked out very well.
Perhaps most importantly, we’ve tried to diversify our income streams. This is critically important for anyone who works for themselves and I think it can also be very important for those who do have a steady job. Having a little side business or income stream can be a tremendous way to build a little extra security and perhaps open doors in the event a main job is lost. We’ve built up a regular client base of over 40 different people and businesses from around the country which gives us a diverse group from which to get business. Some feed us work almost weekly and others only a few times a year. David has a long-term contract position with one client that “guarantees” us a regular income. And then when we add in work from Elance, Suite, Examiner, and other opportunities that come along… it all adds up.
We’ve also started doing some bartering. Our first barter was with the women who have done our wallpapering and some of our painting. We needed Caroline’s closet repaired (water damage) and painted and we wanted our office painted. They needed a website. So David designed a website for them and they did our painting. It worked out fabulously well for everyone involved. We are hoping to be able to do more of this in the months ahead as it is a great way to get things done without needing the cash to do it. (Bartering is alive and growing, btw. I just wrote an Examiner article about it.)
So that’s a little rambly chit chat about what I’ve been up to lately. I’ve been focusing all my spare time and mental energy on business related things at the expense of the blogging.