Category Archives: Career

Everything You Need to Know to Find Your Blogging Niche

*This post may contain affiliate links.*

Finding your blogging niche is one of the best and most powerful ways to grow your audience and start making a profit from your little corner of the internet. Admittedly, I’m interested in LOTS of things (you probably are too) and I’m still working on whittling down what I include on my blog. However, over the years I’ve come to realize that my posts about books, career, travel/packing, and life management systems (like capsule wardrobes and meal plans) perform the best…and not just that…I enjoy creating them, too. They’ve become my own lil “lifestyle” niche! Sure there are other things I’d love to write and share about. But they’re better left outside of Finding Delight. 

So, what are some of the steps I took to find this mystical niche? Read on for everything you need to know.

I Looked Closely At My Interests And Passions

To find your niche, you first need to look closely at your interests and passions. You’ll feel far more fulfilled when what you’re researching and writing and SHARING align with what you love. So, one thing I did when trying to find my blogging niche was write out a MASSIVE LIST of everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) that I was interested in, passionate about, or enjoyed doing/researching. Then, I went in with a few highlighters to start identifying some themes. 

I Looked At My Skills and Talents (And My Weaknesses Too!)

Next, I evaluated my skills and talents to figure out how to best use them for creating blog content. Of course you should love your niche, but you need to be good at it too. For example, there are a lot of systems I’ve successfully put into practice in my own life to eliminate decision fatigue. I would say I’m skilled at creating them. So I started working them into my blog posts. Not just because I enjoy coming up with them but I’m good at it.

Finding your niche means knowing your weaknesses, too. I love the idea of posting elaborate recipes on my blog (I even did a fair amount of recipe posts back in the day) but I’m just not that great of a cook. I don’t have the patience for taking process photos as I create a dish because cooking itself is already taking up all my concentration. I don’t enjoy it because I’m not that great at it! (I do think there are some exceptions to this wherein you blog about something you want to learn about a la Julie and Julia or if you’re charting a fitness journey. But overall I’d say steer clear of finding a niche based on a weakness.)

I Figured Out What Problems I Could Solve For Other People

I started to think about what problems people were facing and how my blog posts might be able to solve them. Now I know this sounds high and mighty but think about it! When you type something into the search bar of Google, what are you looking for? Usually a solution, right? It might be how to DIY a really expensive piece you fell in love with at Anthropologie or home remedies for seasonal allergies or even the answer to some obscure celebrity-gossip query.

Solving problems for people is a key aspect of your niche. It’s also an almost guaranteed way to increase readership. (When people are searching on Google or Pinterest for an answer–they might just click on YOUR solution!) But I also wanted to take current readers into consideration when evaluating the type of problems I could solve. 

I’ve conducted two reader surveys on my blog over the years. Both of which asked readers to answer,

“What challenges or frustrations are you facing in your life right now?”

Many of their answers went on to become topics I tackled in future blog posts!

[Related: Librarians solve people’s problems every day! USC has an awesome library science degree if this is a path that speaks to you beyond the world of blogging –  learn more on their website.]

I Learned From My Competition

Your competition can be used to your advantage. When identifying my specific niche within lifestyle blogging, I began to look at other blogs less as something to emulate and more for what I could do differently than them. What could I do better? Not really in a competitive way…or in a wishing them ill-will sorta way. But my life experience and expertise and passion are uniquely mine. So my niche and my blog should be uniquely mine, too! I want ALL of our blogs to succeed because of who we are and what we love. Not because we’re trying to tick a bunch of boxes of what a blog “should” include. Make sense?

I Constantly Experiment

When you think you’ve figured out your niche, run tests and experiments. No one needs to know about these tests and experiments…they’re just for you! They will help you to figure out whether your ideas are something that should be pursued in the long term. Whether your readers will love it, if your traffic will grow, and most importantly, if you will enjoy it. If you find some posts in the new niche are meeting all of the above — take note! And then look into ways you can double down on that sort of content. 

But don’t be afraid to drop something that hasn’t worked and move on to the next experiment. You might decide you want to start reviewing brunch locations everywhere you travel to…and then find you’ve started resenting an activity you once enjoyed. Or what about a crochet tutorial that you spend hours photographing and uploading…only to find it got 5 views? 

Not everything will work, but you won’t know until you try! And you can always move on to the next great idea!

What steps did you take to find your blogging niche? Any content ideas you love in theory but just didn’t work in practice? SPILL! 

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3 Actions to Take if You’re Falling Out of Love With Your Job

*This post may contain affiliate links.*

Does your job keep you up at night because you’re thinking about the horrors the next day will bring? Does the thought of clocking in give you a queasy feeling? If so, you may feel as though you’re trapped, but I’m here to tell you that there is a way out. 

Falling out of love with a job happens. Here are some ways to break free — 

BRAINSTORM your perfect job

A wise person once said if you can find something you care about and mix it with something you love doing …bada bing, bada BOOM… you have found your perfect job. Sadly, not many of us approach our career in this way, and this is often what leads us to get stuck in the first place.

Luckily, there’s still time to work out what your task preferences and passions are in terms of work. This will help narrow down the field. For example, you may feel passionately about educating others and facilitating learning, while the sorts of tasks you enjoy involve visual creativity. If so, then a suitable combination might be an art teacher or a graphic design artist that works in the education sector. In terms of freelance work, you may want to explore creating infographics. 

What this example demonstrates is how identifying your passion and your preferred tasks  will put you in a much better position to brainstorm jobs which combine the two. Making the work meaningful AND rewarding.

FIND your perfect job

Of course, once you have a perfect job to work towards, you need to plan how to get there. This may involve starting a job hunt as you inch towards a completely new career. It could also mean speaking to your superior about taking on tasks at your current job that better fit the bill. 

If seeking further education is necessary to make your perfect job a reality, some great options that allow you to work while you do so. Just a quick google search for options in my own area led me to the online degrees available at https://businessdegrees.uab.edu/ but there are options all across the world.

Another great way to find them besides a google search? Seek out someone employed in your perfect job and ask them the steps they took to get there! Do they recommend a specific school or certification? Most people love talking about themselves so don’t be shy. 

CREATE your perfect job

Finally, if you are falling out of love with your job, starting a side hustle (lots of great ideas suggested here –  https://www.ryrob.com/ or your own business can be a fantastic idea.

In fact, doing so could provide you with the opportunity to see if the combination of your passion and preferred tasks are actually a good fit, as well as giving you the chance to work towards something that has meaning for your life and that you control.

A few years ago, I realized I was passionate about helping small businesses communicate their brand and that I loved writing and creating marketing materials. Unfortunately, I was already employed at a job I wouldn’t describe as perfect. Instead of looking for a different job that would fulfill my passion + preferred task criteria…I just started doing it. I found businesses and people to work with, offering my services until I found a way to make it stick. At the time, this side hustle was a perfect way for me to stay in love with the not-so-perfect job. And now, I KNOW that combination is a good fit! 

So, if you find yourself falling out of love, make the first move. Ask yourself – What do I care about? What do I love doing? The rest will follow if you let it!

Have you ever fallen out of love with a job? What did you do? Are you dealing with this now? Sending you love and motivation! xoxo 

5 Ways to Foster Creativity in the Workplace

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When working, creativity is my most important tool. It guides me through the challenges of a complex project. It helps me refresh my approach to explore new solutions.

But, creativity doesn’t appear out of nowhere. It’s not the kind of thing you can summon into life as soon as you’re sitting at your desk. Creativity is not a skill; it’s a state of mind – but that’s not to say you can’t train your mind the same way you might train your muscles. So what are some ways we can foster creativity for better workplace performance?

Clutter-free offices free up your mind

The mind wanders when you sit at your desk. Imagine you’re a writer. You’re at your desk, your fingers floating above the keyboard as you wait for an idea to appear. Your eyes instinctively scroll past the contents of your office. The desk is filled with discarded coffee mugs, piles of documents and books that lie flat on top of it all. The shelf behind you spills contents onto the floor: More books, dusty knick-knacks, some stationery still in the packaging and an open bag of chips. Yikes! Messy offices lead to a clogged up mind. Conversely, a clutter-free workplace can do wonders for your imagination.

Sensory experiences improve the imagination

Sensory experiences enhance creativity. Listening to music can take your mind on a journey of self-discovery, emotional enlightenment, or merely melancholy – depending on your playlist. Similarly, the smell of fresh flowers or manipulating gooey playdough can open new horizons. Without senses, the mind doesn’t know how to experience its surroundings. Consequently, sensory deprivation, as a result of a health issue, can represent an obstacle. However, not all situations are without a solution. Perhaps, instead of a downfall, we can view hearing aids as a way to boost creativity. Glasses or dedicated eye surgery as a means to improve our view–not just literally but figuratively, too. 

Smile!

So, here you are, ready to work, but you can’t get your mind off an awkward conversation you had with a friend. You’re still angry about it, and somehow, it remains at the front of your mind. Or maybe it was an altercation with a rude client that occupies all your thoughts? Whatever happened, it’s time to let your mind break free. Take a deep breath and smile. Yes, you read that right: smile. Studies show that the act of smiling can actually trick your brain into thinking you’re happy. (Fake it ’til ya make it!) Consequently, you’ll find the anger, the frustration and all the thoughts about what you could have said will gradually disappear leaving room in your brain for those creative juices to start flowing.

Exploratory mindset and inspiration

If you don’t see or try anything new, it’s fair to say you won’t be able to create anything new. Same old routine leads to same old ideas. As a person seeking creativity, you need to push the boundaries of your comfort zone to explore what is happening on the other side. For some people, this might mean traveling abroad. For others, it could be trying out new activities or going to see films and plays you wouldn’t normally choose. The more you see what you’re not used to, the richer your mind becomes.

Don’t believe the unhealthy artist cliché

Finally, if you’ve been loving the idea of the recluse artist who lives only on coffee and the occasional cigarette, it’s time to reconsider the habits that foster creativity. Indeed, the food you eat affects your brain health. Avocados, for instance, improve cognitive function, both memory and concentration. Beets help with mental performance. Blueberries protect your brain from degeneration and stress. (An idea my mom espoused on a recent visit and now my husband says “PREVENTCHA DEMENTIA!” whenever I pull a tub of bluebs out of the fridge, lol.) In short, a healthy brain can process new ideas quicker and better! So, look after your main creative tool by feeding it right!

How do you deal when you’re in a creativity rut at work? I’d love hearing your tips in the comments!

Forget whistling…SMILE while you work!

When it comes to enjoying our daily lives, often it’s the smallest things that have the most positive impact. Earning your paycheck after working for two weeks is great, but that smile and warm hug from someone you helped could make your entire week (and more!). These little moments are the things to truly live for. They can help us stay positive and learn to find delight.

For this reason, I’d love to know – how many things make you smile in a day? Would counting them somehow impede your natural tendency to smile? Would simply adding more things in your life to help you do so improve your life even in the small matters? There are many things to give you that toothy grin, but the following can help:

Something To Love

It’s important to keep something you love around you at all times. Of course, family is usually the first thing people think of when the word ‘love’ comes to mind, and so in these instances, it might be worth keeping a picture of your loved ones on your work desk or kicking it old school with some wallet-sized prints.

Continually reminding yourself of who you love in any given day might not only feel wonderful, but it can help you remember the reason for your daily efforts in the first place. Experience a bad day at work? Simply seeing your newlywed wife’s photograph might help you get through it that little bit easier. 

Something To Excite

It’s important to stay excited in life. This might mean looking forward to a vacation, becoming part of a new community, or anticipating the moment you break a fitness PR in the gym after work. When you have things to look forward to, you will feel much more infused with positive energy, and it also helps you stay engaged in the world around you.

Something To Laugh

Something that makes you laugh can be essential to keeping your mindset happy and open. Laughter has the wonderful ability to connect people and help them forget their issues. This might be as simple as telling your boyfriend a silly joke from time to time, checking out stand-up comedy and finding some favorites in that field, or spicing up your office with things that help you crack a grin. (These novelty desk plates are always a crowd favorite.) Laughter shows us that the world isn’t as self-serious as we thought, and can honestly lift our spirits quite unlike everything else. 

What little things make you smile throughout your day? Do you consider yourself a happy person? Do you think surrounding yourself with things to love, excite, and laugh about would make you a more effective worker? Why or why not?

Office Design Tricks to Up Your Productivity Levels

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The place you choose to work makes such a big difference to your productivity levels. Thankfully, if you work from home, you have maximum creative control to design your work-space exactly as you see fit. (Score!) In this post, I’m gonna lay out some aspects of home office design that will make your home work-space a hive of productivity. Many of these changes are simple and don’t require a huge investment, while others may take a little more time and expense. Find the fixes that work best for your working flow and budget…

Light the Way

Office lighting can make such a big difference when it comes to your productivity. Bad lighting can lead to headaches, fatigue, eye strain, and tiredness. Conversely, natural light can play a big role in boosting your mood. So consider positioning your desk nearby a window where it is going to attract as much sunlight as possible. Rather than having one main overhead source of lighting, having a lamp or two allows you to adjust the brightness as necessary.

Alabaster Mini Orb Lamp // Globe String Lights // Petite Perla Chandelier

Ergonomically Check Your Chair and Desk

If the position of your chair and desk ends up leading to neck and back pain, this is inevitably going to impact your productivity levels. There are a couple of quick ergonomic checks which are easy to perform. First of all, the top of your computer screen should be around eye-level. Your feet should either be able to rest comfortably on a foot rest or on the floor. Make sure that your chair is slightly reclined to minimize lower back pain. Investing in a good-quality chair is one of the best purchases that you can make for your office.

Mesh Desk Chair // Gaiam Balance Ball Chair // Adjustable Foot Rest

Sights, Smells and Sounds

Your senses all come into play when you are creating a comfortable office space. Starting off with what you’ll spend the day looking at — the room color. Studies have shown that the color blue helps with productivity. But whatever you choose, make sure it’s a shade which isn’t too harsh on the eyes. You can also hang some pictures to give yourself something fun (and maybe motivational) to look at during the day.

Interior Paint in Blue Bayou // Calming Art Print // Ayo Mirror

You may never have thought much about the smell of your office, but the right scents can actually help to focus your mind and boost your mood. Fresh flowers are a great way to provide a scent in a natural way. It is worth going for some which you can easily smell such as Alii Hawaiian Tropical flowers. Another option is to use candles or essential oils. Otherwise, you could always try simmering a few herbs and spices in the kitchen to fill your whole house with pleasant smells.

Hawaiian Flowers // Stress Relief Candle // Stone Essential Oil Holder

The type of noise which works best for your productivity levels varies from person to person. Some people prefer complete silence. In which case, it is worth looking into soundproofing options in the room. Others like to have some background music, so it check out wireless speakers so you can cut back on the need for wires criss-crossing around the room.

Sound Proof Panels // Noise Cancelling Headphones // Wireless Speaker

Clutter Clearing

While you may create a lot of clutter in the creative process, you should make it a habit to store away the things that you need and throw everything else away. Mess is generally not helpful when it comes to productivity levels. Make sure that you have enough storage systems to contain everything comfortably. And don’t forget your digital clutter as well. The best way I’ve found of keeping on top of your clutter (actual AND digital) in a home office is to schedule time each week to organize. Pick a day and time and jot it down in your diary weekly. You’ll likely just need a half hour or so each week to go through papers, computer files, etc and get it all sorted. Consistency is key!

Poppin 3-Drawer File Cabinet // Paper Organizers // Wire Wall Grid

Bring in Nature

There are plenty of ways that you can bring nature into your indoor office space. We already talked about fresh flowers, but house plants are also a great option. They will last longer and are usually straightforward to maintain. Open the window on a regular basis to allow fresh air into your office space. If you can’t see anything natural outside, the next best thing is to put up some “nature pictures” – think: a picture of you and a loved on a recent hike in a pretty frame on your desk or a painting of the sea!

5 x 7 Frame // Gradient Cement Planter // Mid-Century Turquoise Planters 

Achieve an Optimum Temperature Balance

Achieving the right temperature balance is one of the best ways of boosting your productivity levels. Studies have shown that people tend to work better when it is a little warmer inside, but you don’t want to make it SO warm so that you feel drowsy. A smart thermostat will give you maximum control over the temperature in your office. And you can always bring in some extra heaters or fans when you feel like you need to adjust the temperature up or down.

Nest Thermostat // Urbanjet Desk Fan // Portable Radiator

As you can see, there’s a lot to think about when it comes to creating a work-space that provides maximum productivity levels. Essentially, you need to create an environment which works best for you. No two people work in the same way, so it is important to learn as much as you can about your own working habits. Good luck!

Do you work from home? An office? What changes have you made to your working space to increase productivity? 

Nine Activities to Break Up the Day When Working from Home

After I’ve worked from home for a few hours, I tend to get fed up with my surroundings, and need a change of scenery. You too? There are definitely benefits of having a place in your home that allows you to get shiz done. Whether you work for yourself, remotely, or hustle on the side. At the same time — when you wake up, punch the clock, and fall asleep ALL within a few steps of each other? It can get a little monotonous! So let’s talk about how to break up the day when you’re hard at work in your humble abode…

Stand Up Every Hour

To protect your lower back and improve circulation, stand up and stretch every hour. I use the Pomodoro app to set timers for work and when I need to peel myself out of my office chair. (I love a good power hour followed by a 15 minute break!) Oh, and if you’re feeling uninspired, use the time to get some fresh air (outside or open a window). The fresh oxygen is great for your body and brain! 

Coffee Break Around the Corner

Instead of having coffee at my desk, I like to take a walk to the ventanita up the street for a freshly brewed treat. Breaks like these give you something to look forward to when you are hitting a wall. Plus, motivating yourself with a coffee…or a healthy smoothie or a cupcake(!) or whatever treat might be close by is a great way to incentivize the big push you need to meet a looming deadline.

Check the News

Instead of checking the news on my computer or phone, getting a newspaper to flick through or flipping on the TV for a few minutes allows me stay tuned in to current events throughout the day. WITHOUT getting sucked into the inevitable internet rabbit holes.

Five Minute Yoga Routines

No matter how small your home office is, you can always find a spot to unroll a yoga mat! Look on YouTube for a few yoga stretching routines you can complete in five minutes or less. Bookmark your favorites so you can return to them whenever you need to stretch, restore your breathing, and energize. Your attention span will thank you!

Call Your Friend or Colleagues

For a complete break, return that phone call to your mom or give your friend a ring to hammer out weekend plans. Want to stay on task but still have an excuse to pace away from your desk? If you generally collaborate with your colleagues through email or Gchat, switch it up and call them instead. You can talk about the project you are working on, ask about the next steps, or simply clarify issues. 

Water the Flowers

One thing I really want to start getting more into is houseplants! And I’d like to keep up with their maintenance by choosing a set day and time to go around the house and tend to them. This would give me a short break, a reason to unchain myself from the desk/computer, and a sense of accomplishment. You can create your own schedule based on the watering and care needs of your plants. For example, Hawaiian flowers (my current obsession) need less water less often to stay healthy and bloom, while some houseplants need attention every day.  

Plan Your Office Redecoration

Feeling like your home office needs a reboot? Take some time to brainstorm how to improve your home office to suit your needs better. Think about the colors you want to use, the carpet, look for inspirational images and quotes, and think about ways of improving your lighting. You might even download an online app that allows you to design the perfect space online. Get ideas from blogs and magazines, and use your imagination. My current set-up is fine for now but I love daydreaming and planning for a future office overhaul! 

Complete a Mandala

While you might think that coloring is for kids, it is actually a super relaxing activity. You can print a mandala (for free!) and get your crayons or colored pencils out to complete and design it. Sometimes when my work is feeling more monotonous than creative (think: spreadsheets and analytics), I like to bust out the art supplies for a little bit to break up the monotony. 

Watch Funny Videos

For some fun and energizing entertainment, save your favorite YouTube videos for when you need a pick-me-up. Get a collection saved on your desktop or bookmark bar, so you can access them when you need them.  A bit of laughter goes a long way. It will help you release stress  so you can carry on with your daily work more focused and motivated. I’m starting a new playlist for this very purpose! So far I’m feeling this one and this one.
LEAVE ME LINKS TO YOUR FAVORITE FUNNY VIDEOS IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! 

Thanks so much for reading, friends! Happy working (and breaking!!) ❤

How to Beat the Monday Blues

Friday: a day for jubilation, relief, and anticipation for the weekend. For those of us who work all week, Friday can’t come soon enough!

Monday: a day to ask yourself one important question: where did the weekend go? For those of us who work all week, Monday comes around again far too quickly. Bah!

Yes, it’s those Monday morning blues! Studies show, above all other days, Mondays can bring about feelings of depression, stress, and anxiety issues. Just the mere thought of a Monday can ruin our weekends… how can we relax when we know it’s coming? Well, fret not as I’m here to help. Coincidentally writing this on a Monday (so obvi I’m writing from a place of experience, lol), here are some tips to help you get over those dreadful blues:

  1. Make the most of your weekends. We often bemoan the fact we haven’t had time to do everything we wanted, but chances are this is your own fault. Even though weekends are supposed to be about relaxation and enjoyment, that doesn’t mean planning goes out the window! A little forethought goes a long way. Stop spending the day in your pajamas – unless that’s your ultimate weekend goal – and plan out what you’d like to do during the two days you have off from work. Start checking things off the list! (Related: How to prioritize your passions.) Then, when Monday does finally roll around (far too soon!), you will at least have some satisfaction that you made the most of your limited time off!
  2. Make Monday fun. Okay, so you have to go to work! That sucks (even if you love your job–they call it work for a reason!), but Monday can be fun too. Plan to do something enjoyable every Monday, whether that’s a fancy lunch with your colleagues, a game night after work with your friends, or some other activity that will improve your mood when you get home in the evening. Even penciling in your favorite recipe on your meal plan or packing a treat in your lunchbox, small additions to your day, could have you looking forward to Mondays. Pretty soon, Monday will be the best day of the week – unlike those Terrible Tuesdays, Weary Wednesdays, and Turgid Thursdays! (We’ll have to tackle those in another post, lol.) 
  3. Get your sleep. Partying hard on a Friday or Saturday night is fine, but that shouldn’t be the case on a Sunday. You need your z’s to think and feel better when Monday morning finally arrives. You will feel better about the day after a good night’s sleep, and you will wake up refreshed, vibrant, and raring to go! And your clients and co-workers will thank you. No one likes a Grumpy Gus on Monday mornings…we’re all in this together!
  4. Streamline your morning. There is so much to do on a Monday morning – doing your hair, sorting out your makeup, choosing an outfit, and so on and so on. Such a drag! Still, you can take the muddle out of your morning with a few stress-free tips, giving you a fighting chance after the alarm clock has rung it’s miserable chimes.
  5. Improve your workspace. If your workspace gets you down, work out why it might be holding back your productivity and joy. If it’s feeling dull and lifeless, fill it up with personal items and colorful flowers. If you’re trapped in a place with little ventilation, grab yourself some green plants or an air purifier — read about the benefits suggested by Adam Kemp Fitness, they’re pretty convincing! If there is work piled up on your desk on a Monday morning, leaving your brain feeling cluttered, make a point to clear through work on Fridays (or at least give your desk a proper tidying before you leave for the weekend!). Your space won’t seem so miserable when you return.

Do you suffer from the Monday blues? How do you tackle saying goodbye to the weekend? Let us know in the comments below!

P.S. Bonus tip — Meal Planning for Beginners in 7 Easy Steps

Collaborations Can Take the Loneliness Out of Working from Home

*This post may contain affiliate links.*

If there is one thing I hear most freelancers complain about, it is working from home. Sure, not needing to leave the house for work might sound fantastic at first. After all, you can create your own schedule and even stay in pajamas all day if you want! (Plus, you don’t have to deal with a horrendous commute twice a day.) Sounds like the dream, right? Well, not always. In fact, you may find working from home lonely and isolating – longing for someone to chat to throughout the day. Even as an introvert, I’m right there with ya! And no, chatting with my clients via email or on Slack doesn’t count! 

So, how to cope with the loneliness of working from home? One simple solution is to collaborate with other people who are self-employed. That way, you can work with others on some cool and exciting new projects.

Not too sure how to collaborate with others or how to find people who might be willing to team up with you? Here are some great ways to do it!

Side Hustle in Reverse

Lots of people choose to work for themselves, either freelancing or starting a small business, as a side hustle. Since you’re already working for yourself (or at least working remotely), consider taking up this idea in reverse. If you’re interested in a specific industry, why not pursue a part-time job outside the home? This is a great way to meet new people while also learning new skills and broadening your networking scope. After writing for a client in the wine industry a couple years ago, I decided I’d love to learn more about wine. I looked into some classes near me but settled on applying for a job instead. A couple nights and weekends spent in a wine store is a small price to pay for tons of on-the-job training and a chance to spend time with actual people…instead of just my computer screen. (Oh, and I get a paycheck, too!)

Find Tools To Help You Collaborate Remotely

In some cases, you won’t be collaborating face-to-face. Depending on the project you want to work on, you might have to work with people remotely. There are lots of tools that can help you with this. Set a time to check in via Skype or FaceTime so that you can have some proper conversations about your work. This will be a lot more effective than messaging via gchat or email. To ensure you can schedule in these calls, you might want to find out more about scheduling tools and platforms. These can help you arrange meetings and also schedule your work. Sticking to schedules and sharing those schedules with others I’m working with (clients AND collaborators) has gone a long way in helping me feel like my home-job is a REAL job. 

Work In A Coworking Space

Even if you don’t fancy collaborating with another freelancer, working from a co-working space a few days a week can feel like a breath of fresh air for most extroverted work-from-home folks. These spaces are just like offices, only usually a lot more casual, and give freelancers the chance to work around others. Most of them require you to pay a monthly fee, though there are some free ones out there. (Some even have office kitchens so that you can enjoy coffee and snacks! And you know what you miss most about an office is the snacks, lol!) 

Attend Networking Events

Most cities and towns have regular events that are aimed at small business owners and freelancers. You will find that there are a lot of casual events to help freelancers connect with others in the area. These are great for meeting new friends and collaborators. But there will also be a lot of professional networking events as well, which will be the best bet for you if you’re looking for a serious collaboration that could blossom into a new professional venture. It’s worth getting in touch with your local business network to see if there are any events coming up. You can also have a look on the Meetup website for what’s popping off in your area.

Use Social Media

If you want lots of chances to connect and collaborate, you could consider joining social media groups designed to bring together folks in your industry. Think: A Facebook group for yoga instructors or a message board for copywriters. Looking to branch outside your field on a collab? Instagram and Twitter are great platforms to link up with like-minded people in your area. Either way, social media is a great place to gain feedback from others, ask questions/for help, and share online resources. There are so many ways to connect online if you open yourself up to the possibilities. My very first work-from-home position came about through interacting in the comments section of a blog! 

Consider Becoming A Mentor

If you would prefer to work with someone on a one-on-one basis, you might like the idea of becoming a mentor to another freelancer. You can take a newbie under your wing and help them on the road of self-employment. I’m sure that there will be lots of things that you can teach them about. For instance, you might want to give them some tips and pointers on budgeting or time management. Not only will this give you some human contact through the week, but it will also feel rewarding!

How do you guys take the loneliness out of working from home? Any paths to meaningful collaboration I’m missing?

P.S. Want an inside look into someone else’s “hustle”? I have a whole series dedicated to just that!

P.P.S. Have an idea about how you and I could collaborate? Let’s chat! Drop me an email – ebeth.berger@gmail.com – don’t be shy!!

Acting Like You Know What You’re Doing!

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No matter what you’re up to in life, no one wants to feel like they don’t have things together. At work you want to come across as a professional with plenty of experience…even if you can’t get that printer to work. Within your family you want outsiders to see you as the head of the household…even though deep down inside, you still consider yourself a kid. And that hobby you picked up a couple years ago? You want to be the best at it…even though you can only commit an hour or two here and there.

Adults juggle many responsibilities. It’s impossible to know what we’re doing 100% of the time. So let’s all let out a collective sigh now that we’ve got that weird and impossible burden off the table. And instead, let’s talk about the ol’ adage — FAKE IT ‘TIL YOU MAKE IT. How do we create the careful balance between having our shit together and not caring when we don’t? I believe that looking like you know what’s up (aka fakin’ it til you make it) can go a long way. Let’s break down how to achieve this —

Sounding Like You Know

Sounding like you know what you’re talking about when you, well, don’t, isn’t always easy. But if there’s one thing over a decade of competitive speech & debate taught me, it’s how to string together some bullshit. Here are my top tips:

1) Charisma is key. A charming personality with a positive attitude can create a sense of know-how pretty quick. Be nice to those around you, crack a joke or two, and remain confident.
2) Remove verbal filler. Work towards flowing sentences without the ugh’s and um’s. This will take practice, sure. But what are you doing on your commute that’s more important? Instead of screaming obscenities at fellow drivers, choose a topic and start talking (out loud) to yourself.
3) The wonder of word economy. Ever notice how the people who babble the most sound like they know the least? Adding a bunch of filler when you’re fakin’ it ain’t gonna fool no one. Stick to what you do know (or believably “know”) and skip the rest.

Here’s the thing, if you don’t know how your presentation skills impact leadership success, then it’s time to brush up on your public speaking.

When you think of “PUBLIC SPEAKING” you might imagine standing at a podium addressing a crowd. Which might not be your reality in the slightest. In fact, you might break out in a cold sweat just thinking about it. But the same tips & tricks used by the top speakers in the world can benefit you in a simple day-to-day conversation.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the importance of active listening in this point. React to other speakers, nod where you’re supposed to, and let other people dominate a topic if you’re not sure about it. Active listening ensures others will still remember you as part of the conversation even if you didn’t have much to say.

Looking Like You Know

In competitive speech & debate we absolutely faked it ’til we made it in the looks department. Heck, I was wearing business suits before I fully understood ANY business concepts. Why? Because a blazer can give you confidence…and when you’re a 15 year old braceface standing in front of a room full of strangers you need all the confidence you can get!

If you look like you have confidence, even when you’re churning up inside, people start to look at you with a lot more respect. So how do we fake this confidence?

1) Hold your head high and draw your shoulders back. Take strong steps so it looks like you’re walking with purpose and pride.
2) Control your face. Your facial expressions are something you might need to work on. A lot of the time we aren’t aware of what our faces are up to when in conversation, as reactions are involuntary. So when you’ve got a few spare minutes, practice reactions to possible scenarios in the mirror. If you’ve got an important client you’re meeting tomorrow, it’s time to make sure your face is friendly, with plenty of eye contact.
3) How the outfit makes you feel. When dressing for confidence, consider how the outfit makes you feel instead of how it looks. Does it make you feel like the best version of yourself? Will it help you create the person you’re trying to be? I don’t think clothes have to be expensive or even necessarily “stylish” to accomplish this. 

Acting like you know what you’re doing is a blip on your journey because, before you know it…you’ll know what you’re doing. The “fake it” only exists to proceed the “make it,” right?

So project confidence, with your posture on point and a smile on your face, and you’re halfway to becoming the person you’ll be in the end anyways. You got this!

Do you have any fun FAKE IT TIL YOU MAKE IT stories? How did you act, sound, or look like you knew what you were doing? What happened in the end??? SHARE BELOW! 

Creating a Job Around What You Love

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Many of us have a desk we spend time at, with a computer on top of it and everything we enjoy using in the drawers below. While some folks may consider their desk a sanctuary, others may count down the hours until they get to clock-off. No matter the position you’re in, there’s something you love to do. Whether that’s a bit of knitting after a stressful day, or taking beautiful photographs in your spare time, there’s a lot you can get out of your passions. So make sure you do! It’s time to capitalize on your hobby and start creating a job around what you love. Let’s chat about how…

Dedicate a Website to Your Passion

Websites are getting easier and easier to make because of all the wonderful information you can access (for free!) out there. There are entire free programs dedicated to teaching the world about coding, so you’re in for a win when it comes to designing your own website. And you’re going to need one!

Websites make sure all of your information, content, and products are kept in one neat place for people to find. If a customer has to chase you over multiple media channels, they’re going to give up at the first hurdle. It also presents your business as a little less legitimate at the end of the day; having to follow a digital trail does not instill a sense of security for people’s payment details!

Write Up Some Goals

Your goals are what will keep you churning out quality content and products you enjoy making for months and years to come. Set a short term goal and a long term goal for your business and put systems in place to achieve them. Keeping sight of how you want your life to look in six months, 3 years…even ten years(!) will keep you from stagnating, and your passion will stay your passion.

So maybe you want to reach $500 by the end of the month. If so, make sure you work as much as you can towards that one goal. I’m talking laser focus! While it may feel like a drop in the bucket towards the annual salary you’re used to, when you’re first starting out it’s a milestone. And it’s absolutely achievable. AND it will give you a lot more motivation to keep going and start bringing in an amount with a few more zeros.

Always Look to Expand

At the end of the day, expansion is simply another goal to reach towards. If you’re making enough money to support yourself in the field of your passions, perhaps it’s time to set your sights higher. But what if you don’t have the funds? What if you’re not sure whether you can make the right amount of money to hire on someone else or pay for a marketing campaign?

Don’t worry, there’s plenty of funding sources out there that pay out and pay off. Ladies, consider taking out a women’s small business loan with a trusted company; it’ll keep you motivated to keep earning, and can give you the leg up you’re looking for. Sometimes a small amount of debt is worth it to keep the headaches of financial uncertainty from straining your passions!

Creating a business around your passion is a fun step forward in total self employment. Would you try it? Have you? Tell us about it!