Tag Archives: day in the life

Don’t Hide Your Hustle: Johnna, Faith-Based Community Organizer

Welcome to Don’t Hide Your Hustle, a Finding Delight series that explores the myriad of ways to make a living in 2017. I’m asking folks to share how they hustle over the course of one work-day (which usually extends far beyond a 9 – 5 situation).

Today, I present you with Johnna’s story. As a community organizer, Johnna works with and for others in order to secure a better city for all – and she’s got the perfect positive attitude for such a task. She’s also a huge fan of a holistic approach to health, both for herself, and the readers of her awesome blog. Let’s check out her hustle!

Johnna, The Anxious Wonder Woman

Hello beautiful people! My name is Johnna and I’m a faith-based community organizer. If you don’t know what that means, you probably still won’t after you read this post. But that’s because it really just depends on the day and time of year. In general, I coach volunteer leaders from different congregations to build and use people-power to hold public officials accountable to doing justice in our city.

I also have a blog on health and wellness called The Anxious Wonder Woman. My health journey has been through a lot of ups and downs, mainly because I used to focus too much on my physical health instead of my mental health. When I started going to therapy, that changed. Now, it’s my mission to be open and honest about all aspects of my healthy lifestyle, including my anxiety. And I want to empower other women to think about their health in a way that is sustainable and holistic! Eventually I’ll use the coaching skills I’ve gained from community organizing to help individuals that want to improve their overall wellness. But for now, you can get it all for free on the blog since my job is more than enough for me. 😉

Today I’m going to give you a glimpse into my first day back at work from a 9-day vacation. Probably not the best choice on my part, but it will give you a good idea of how many things I manage to juggle in one day! So without further ado, a day in the life…

6:30 am – Wake up to take my temperature. I use a natural method of birth control, which means I need to take my basal body temperature every day at the same time. Usually I wake up after that. Today, since I’m still tired from jetlag, I decide to go back to sleep.

7:30 am – I read my email (I always start with the latest news from The Daily Skimm), drink some coffee, and eat breakfast. Oh, and I read any updates from blogs I follow. I do all of this in bed. There are no crumbs in bed, I promise! Coffee stains might be a different story.

8:15 am – I start getting ready for the day. Then I leave the house. I have a meeting at 10 at the Panera in town, but I decide to go ahead and leave so I can get some work done beforehand.

8:45 am – I send emails that I ignored while I was on vacation. Out of office email responses are so good for my sanity.

9 am – I have a phone call with the Executive Director of the umbrella community organizing nonprofit I’m a part of. They’re starting a new mentor program for second year organizers. My one year anniversary with this job is in August, so it was good to think about my strengths, the work tasks that really energized me, the things I still want to learn, and who I look up to in the network. Can’t wait to see how that goes!

9:30 am – Since I have some time before my 10 o’clock meeting, I decide to check in on the various Facebook groups I’m a part of for my blog. I also start finalizing the blog post I’m writing about my 9-day vacation to some West Coast National Parks. I put the notes I took during the trip into a WordPress page and do some research for the best SEO keywords.

10 am – I meet with someone from one of the churches I work with. This was our first meeting, so it’s mainly getting to know her and sharing some things about myself. Organizers actually call these meetings “1-1s”. Because, you know, you’re meeting 1-on-1 with another person. These 1-1s are essential to our work. It lets us dig deeper than the surface level Q-and-A’s that we typically get when we’re talking to someone. We try to really understand the underlying values and motives that drive us to do the things we do in life. It’s actually pretty hard to do, because it takes a lot of courage to ask the questions we all normally shy away from.

10:45 am – I drive to the office.

11 am – I do research for a community business that I’m meeting with later today. Currently, we are in our Investment Drive, when we raise the majority of our money for the year. We do that through investments from individuals in each congregation, but also by having meetings with different businesses in the city. That being said, the real purpose of these corporate visits are to build relationships of mutual respect with business leaders. The money is just a measure of how much respect we’ve gotten.

12 PM – The three volunteer leaders joining me for the corporate visit came an hour early to practice. I coach them on our organizations’ script, as well as what we can expect from the business and its CEO based on my research.

1 pm – We meet with a well-known hospital in the area. These corporate visits only last about 20 or 30 minutes, since the business leaders are super busy. This one was a little longer, but it was only because there were a lot of questions and answers.

1:30 pm – We always evaluate the corporate visits right after. Basically, evaluation is an important part of community organizing. So we do it after everything. After corporate visits, after big events, after research meetings…anything you can think of, there’s an evaluation for it right after! While this can get sort of tedious, it’s really important. You can’t improve if you’re not thinking about what worked and what didn’t.

2 pm – After my leaders leave, I take my own notes on the visit. Notes are also important to community organizing. There isn’t a lot of collective memory in this work unless it’s all written down. The point of a good community organizer is that the work can still go on without them!

2:30 pm – I order lunch because I realize I haven’t had any food yet. I’ve gotten pretty tired of the food within driving distance of the office, so I order Jimmy John’s. I think mainly because I saw someone get Jimmy John’s at the hospital we were just at. Subliminal messaging is pretty powerful, I guess!

3 pm – My lead organizer and I catch up. We have a big 5-day training starting tomorrow, so we need to get organized and on the same page about what needs to happen for that.

4:30 pm – I work on some social media for my blog. Specifically, I plan Facebook posts and interact with others on Instagram.

5:30 pm – I write a rough draft of some blog posts and comment on other blogs.

6 pm – I have another 1-1. This time it’s with someone who has been a leader at the church for longer. I’m new to working with her church, though, so it’s another first meeting.

7 pm – I talk on the phone with a friend on the drive home. This is someone I’ve been meaning to call for a few weeks now, because she’s going through some problems in her relationship. We’ve texted, but a phone call is the only real way to talk through those sorts of things. I tend to make calls, with my phone on speaker, while I’m driving. I know, I know. That’s bad. But I like to take advantage of all the time I can! As soon as I got home, I eat dinner really quickly.

7:30 pm – I make some calls for work. Since many of my leaders work during the day, I have to find time for evening calls a few times during the week. Weekend calls are also the only way I can reach some people.

8:30 pm – I do yoga for stress and anxiety.

9:30 pm – I work on this blog post and respond to emails! My boyfriend watches TV while I’m on the computer. He interrupts me for a bit because he loves cuddling. Ever since I started my blog, I think he feels a little ignored. 😛

Thanks so much for sharing your hustle, Johnna! Do you guys have any questions for her? Do any of you work in a similar field?  

P.S. Are you a hustler willing to share your story? Let’s chat! I would love to know how you’re making money while following your dreams in 2017. Shoot me an email — ebeth.berger@gmail.com. Thanks!

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Don’t Hide Your Hustle: Lucy, Graphic Designer

Welcome to Don’t Hide Your Hustle, a new series on Finding Delight that explores the myriad of ways to make a living in 2017. I’m asking folks to share how they hustle over the course of one work-day (which usually extends far beyond a 9 – 5 situation).

Today, I present you with Lucy’s story. She runs Salt Design Co. with her best friend and together they guide small businesses through a multitude of design and branding conundrums. Her passion for connection and communication shine through, even though most days she’s working from home! Let’s check out her hustle…

Lucy, Salt Design Co.

Hey! I’m Lucy, a brand designer and strategist. I’m a British-Canadian, with the accent to boot. Just over 18 months ago, straight out of school, I founded my business with one of my best friends. Since then I’ve gone from freelance graphic designer and part time nanny, to a fully fledged business owner. I spend most of my days in my pyjamas or gym kit (because I’m going to work out at some point today…. right!?) and am just getting used to the weird routine that comes from working at home. Today I’m sharing a random Thursday with you, complete with 6am emails and 6pm cocktails! This is a pretty typical day in the life for me, and I can’t wait to share it with you!

6 am – Woke up to my alarm with a jump. Didn’t sleep too well last night, and even though I normally have to wake myself up with multiple alarms (1 set every 5 minutes kinda thing) I woke up instantly today. Honestly, not a good sign for me! That’s a true indicator that I wasn’t sleeping deeply, and I know I hadn’t been all night.

6.30 am – Breakfast! Time for some eggs and avo with toast. One of my fave parts of the day, because I set my laptop on the kitchen counter and have 45 minutes to myself to watch tv and eat yummy food.

7.43 am – Got distracted, looked at the clock, and realized it was most definitely time to move my butt! I casually switched from kitchen counter to couch, and started replying to emails at 7am. Maybe not such a good move….

8.56 am – Continued to work, and that’s ok. I don’t mind getting things done if I’m up early. I feel more productive and accomplished that way. Now, though I’m going to have a little workout, maybe do a 10 minute meditation (a new habit I’m trying to create) and glug down lots of water.

9.04 am – Ok, I’m actually putting the computer down now! LOL

10.18 am – Back to work! I don’t like to waste too much time after I workout, so I tend to jump in the shower, put some comfy clothes on, and get back to it (even with wet hair). First up, checking in on my newsletter for the week and scheduling some Facebook and Twitter posts. Then I need to get on with some strategy documents for a brand project I’m working on! I promised to send them over tomorrow, which means I’ve got today and today only to get them done!

12.12 pm – Despite a few Facebook messages with some other designer friends, I managed to get 2 straight hours of work done on a strategy document and mood board.

12.35 pm – Finished eating and decided that NOW is the time to get out and enjoy the sunshine! I’ve got lots of work left to do, but a latte and some Vitamin D are only going to help. Plus, it’s about time I got dressed and dried my hair…

12.59 pm – Back at my desk and thinking of ALL THE THINGS that have to be done. Contemplating the fact that I could work on Saturday as I’m at a photoshoot tomorrow… but a workout and lunch with friends sounds way more fun, so I’ll just have to get as much done today as possible.

13.15 pm – Stopped working briefly to do a little Instagram stories sesh. Wanted to share with our followers what a brand strategy document is, and what we use them for! Took me a while, mainly because I get fussy about how I look (story of our lives right!) and I also always think my voice sounds weird.

13.48 pm – I’m browsing Pinterest to find the perfect peach colour for my mood board. Pinterest is life!

14.32 pm – Still sat at my desk – I’m sorry to say design days aren’t all that interesting! But in about an hour I’ll be off downtown for cocktails with a friend! Yay!

16.30 pm – Popped into my old office to drop off some flyers – I’m hosting a workshop next month and we’re marketing our butts off!

17.00 pm – Drink time! Gin and Tonic for me, please.

20.00 pm – 2 drinks, and 3 appies later, we’re heading home. I walked part of the way with my friend to make the most of the exercise, and also this sunshine that is only just gracing us here in the Pacific Northwest!

20.30 pm – Home! Yay! Watching the last episode of Season 5, House of Cards with my boyfriend, and then getting an early night. Anyone else as addicted to that show as us!? It’s both horrifying and gripping.

21.45 pm – Bed time. Hopefully I’ll sleep better than I did last night….

Thanks so much for sharing your hustle, Lucy! Do you guys have any questions for her? Do any of you work from home or run your own business?  

P.S. Are you a hustler willing to share your story? Let’s chat! I would love to know how you’re making money while following your dreams in 2017. Shoot me an email — ebeth.berger@gmail.com. Thanks!

 

Don’t Hide Your Hustle: Emily, Career Coach

Welcome to Don’t Hide Your Hustle, a new series on Finding Delight that explores the myriad of ways to make a living in 2017. I’m asking folks to share how they hustle over the course of one work-day (which usually extends far beyond a 9 – 5 situation).

Today, I present you with Emily’s story. Emily blogs about all things career over on cultivitae.com. After a whole lotta long days, she turned her career coaching side-hustle into a full-time gig and now travels the world by day and works by night (thanks to wifi and time zone differences). Let’s check out her hustle!

Emily, Cultivitae

Hi, everyone! My name is Emily Liou and I am the founder of CultiVitae, a career coaching company that helps millennials in transition reach their career goals. I started CultiVitae (which means Cultivate Your Life, a play on words from Curriculum Vitae) because I wanted to empower the underemployed and help others navigate through one of the largest aspects in our lives: career!

When I was in college, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I just chugged along and eventually graduated while thinking the world was going to be my oyster! That thought quickly faded in my first sales job when I realized selling expensive undergraduate programs for an online university wasn’t my jam. I could have really used a career coach back then but didn’t realize they existed.

Luckily, I fell into recruiting shortly thereafter. As a recruiter and HR professional, I was able to be on the other end of the interview table for once and that was so enlightening. I recruited for Fortune 500 giants to Silicon Valley startups and saw firsthand what companies were looking for – but most importantly – not looking for.

One of the things I wanted to do as a recruiter was give advice and feedback to everyone who wasn’t given an offer or an interview. But I couldn’t. It wasn’t my job and we were trained to give a politically correct canned response. Fast forward six years later, I started to consult on the side. From giving free career advice to my friends to eventually building a following out of trusted referrals, CutiVitae was born. (Here’s an article I wrote an article about the 5 steps I took to turn my hobby into an online business.) In my first year, I helped over 150 professionals all over the world figure out how to conquer their dream jobs! It is extremely rewarding and my favorite job yet! Here’s a day in my life…

Friday

1:35 pm – Just landed in the Keflavik airport in Iceland! One of my favorite things about owning my own business is the freedom to work anywhere with reliable wifi connection and a laptop. Because of this, I can take advantage of cheap air flights. $300 round trip ticket sale from LAX to KEF? Yes, please! I can’t wait to blog about my adventures over on my travel blog Happynfull.

2:00 pm – Just got my luggage and bought a bus ticket to take me to the city Reykjavik (thank goodness for autocomplete). 

2:05 pm – Stepping outside of the airport terminal… what is this white fluffy stuff falling from the sky? Oh my goodness it’s snow! My SoCal/Arizona background can’t contain my excitement. This is the first time I’ve seen snow falling from the sky!

2:15 pm – As we take off from the airport, I can’t help but stare outside my bus window and look at all of the beautiful snow pile on the ground. The terrain out here is so beautiful with so much open farmland. I admire the hairy horses and sheep, and take mental snapshots of the rocks that are stacked on top of one another for what seems miles and miles.

2:30 pm – Just realized this bus has wifi! Woohoo. I thank T-Mobile again for giving me free international data. I boot up my email and see I have 3 new client meetings scheduled and questions from 2 clients about their job search strategy needs. I respond to each of them just in the knick of time as I hear the bus driver shout out we have arrived at my stop.

3:00 pm – I check into my Airbnb. I admire the Scandinavian design. Everything here is bought from Ikea but I love the simple, clean lines. I am admiring the kitchen when I realize our host was gracious enough to stock us up with fresh ground coffee beans and a French press. Woohoo! I know I will be depleting this fast.

3:30 pm – My fiancé and I are starving. We decide to explore the town a little in search of food. It stopped snowing but since we’re cold, a restaurant called Noodle Station catches our eyes as we see people slurping noodle soup through the window. I order a Vegetarian noodle soup dish because the meat is $6 more and I already feel like $10 for a bowl is expensive.

4:30 pm – We head to the Tourist Centre and chat up a nice man who says he is off shift but would be happy to help us. What customer service! 🙂 We tell him how many days we are here and he looks up the weather conditions and helps us plan our itinerary. Apparently, 3 of the days are going to be rain/snow so those are good city/museum days (and also working inside the Airbnb or a coffee shop). There are 3 days of sunshine so I plan on taking full advantage of the good weather. I look at my calendar and rearrange my schedule to plan accordingly. Luckily, my calls are already pre-scheduled on the bad weather condition days.

5:00 pm – We decide to explore for a few more hours just to get the lay of the land. I find a bookstore and am inspired by the design and layout. It reminds me I need to update my social media and I snap a photo for Instagram.

 6:30 pm – Tired from our flight and the cold, we head back to our Airbnb. One of my biggest goals this week is to rebrand my website. My graphic designer just sent me back my logos so I update my website with the new colors to match. 

7:30 pm – Website looks a lot cleaner now! I quickly save before I lose all of my edits. Next on my list is compiling my weekly newsletter. I send out to my subscribers every Sunday. I just received 23 new subscribers so I’m happy about that and want to make sure I deliver the most useful content!

8:30 pm – Happy with my newsletter, I decide to tackle a client’s resume. I put on my Spotify playlist and the first song that comes up is Ryan Leslie’s “Gibberish”. I am so productive when I’m in my groove. 

9:30 pm – Woohoo! Finished the resume edits. I email it over and realize I have 5 unread emails. I respond to these, too. I’ve learned I’m most productive by limiting the amount of times I open my email each day, but when I do open them up, I respond in chunks. 0 unread messages is my favorite thing! Well, only after receiving messages. If it were always at 0 I’d be discouraged. Keep the emails coming! 🙂

10:00 pm – The flight was exhausting and I didn’t sleep well. I decide it’s best to shower and get ready for bed as we have an early departure tomorrow for a tour taking us to the Golden Circle to see waterfalls, geysers, and a national park.

Saturday

4:00 am – Oh no. Jetlag. I can’t seem to sleep so I decide it’s a good idea to work on a client’s resume. It’s actually quite a therapeutic thing. This time, I put on Light’s acoustic album hoping it will help me sleep.

5:00 am – Very much still awake. I decide to work on another client’s LinkedIn profile audit.

5:30 am – Woohoo! Just finished. OK. I really should go to bed.

7:30 am – Waking up very excited as today is our 7 hour tour to explore Iceland! Feeling good that I got out several clients’ requests so I can focus on photographing this beautiful country for the rest of the day.

Thanks so much for sharing your hustle, Emily! Do you guys have any questions for her? Do any of you hustle while traveling the globe?  

P.S. Are you a hustler willing to share your story? Let’s chat! I would love to know how you’re making money while following your dreams in 2017. Shoot me an email — ebeth.berger@gmail.com. Thanks!

mid-week round-up

How have you been, guys? We had a fantastic time in Savannah celebrating the wedding of our friends Katie & Marc! It was so much fun getting to spend time with them, along with other friends and my family, and experiencing a bit of such a great Southern city. (I’m thinking of writing a post about some of the restaurants we enjoyed while there, if y’all are interested!) They had a beautiful garden ceremony in historic downtown and the reception was at a restaurant overlooking the river. So, so magical! Now that we’re back to reality, I’m slowly but surely getting unpacked and slogging my way through a very full inbox. Beam me back to champagne toasts and Spanish moss, plz!

Links for you…

A horchata-inspired protein shake perfect for summertime breakfasts.

How water affects people attempting to cross the Mexico – U.S. border.
It’s expected that anyone crossing the border will lose access to clean water. Bonds compares the journey to the Hunger Games — and the audience is everyone who watches, especially during this administration, without doing a thing. “You’re hunted,” she says. “Maybe water falls from the sky if you’re lucky on that day. You’re going to die or almost die trying to get here.”

Related: Border Angels leaves dozens of gallon jugs of water in the desert along high-traffic migrant paths. DONATE HERE.

Hulu’s adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s novel lays bare the horrors of collusion with the patriarchy.

So many cute things in the new Cupcakes and Cashmere online store. (Especially these earrings, this candle, and this pillow.)

An open letter to the creators of S-Town.

Books Through Bars distributes free books and educational materials to prisoners. (I love that they have an Amazon Wishlist so it is super easy to donate!)

Related: I’m near the end of Season One of Prison Break and if those dudes don’t bust out soon I SWEAR TO GOD.

Gorgeous copper flatware would certainly elevate your next dinner party (or weeknight meal).

A day in the life of a food vendor.

What began as an attempt at a simpler life quickly became a lifestyle brand. #vanlife
Scroll through the images tagged #vanlife on Instagram and you’ll see plenty of photos that don’t have much to do with vehicles: starry skies, campfires, women in leggings doing yoga by the ocean. Like the best marketing terms, “vanlife” is both highly specific and expansive. It’s a one-word life-style signifier that has come to evoke a number of contemporary trends: a renewed interest in the American road trip, a culture of hippie-inflected outdoorsiness, and a life free from the tyranny of a nine-to-five office job.

Love the idea behind this craft project subscription box!

Buckets of opportunity in Rural America.

Crime, addiction, and religion meet at the greyhound race track.

P.S. Here are a couple Finding Delight posts you may enjoy — Meal Planning for Beginners in 7 Easy Steps and It’s All an Illusion.

Don’t Hide Your Hustle: Deanna, Associate Designer

Welcome to Don’t Hide Your Hustle, a new series on Finding Delight that explores the myriad of ways to make a living in 2017. I’m asking folks to share how they hustle over the course of one work-day (which usually extends far beyond a 9 – 5 situation).

Today, I present you with Deanna’s story. She is a super talented artist working in the fashion industry in New York City. Deanna is a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology and her first book illustrations were recently published in The International Fashionista’s Lookbook Diary. Let’s check out her hustle!

Hi! My name is Deanna and I’m a fashion designer and illustrator. I work full time as a designer for a brand in NYC. On weekends and during the evenings I work as an Illustrator and take on side projects and commissions. It’s not always easy but you’ve got to make time for the things you love. Follow along for a day in my life from early 2017…

6:00 am – My second alarm goes off and it’s game time. I rush to have breakfast and do the essentials. There isn’t time for much else. My lunch and bag are set from the night before.

7:15 am – I rush to the bus stop. There’s this great app that tells me how many minutes away from the stop my bus is. Somehow I am always just on the verge of missing it. I have to sprint 4 out of 5 days a week—not the most ideal thing to do with a full stomach of breakfast. I usually make it. I’ve honed my bus-chasing skills over the years. It’s a pretty long commute so I can catch a nap occasionally. Otherwise I answer emails and set up my illustration Instagram posts for the day. I’m also trying to grow my Pinterest so I send a few pins to a Facebook Pinterest group I’m a part of.

9:00 am – The work day starts. I check my emails and get started right away. I finish up some technical sketches and confirm details with the pattern-maker.

11:00 am – I’ve finished up all the technical work I had to do so I can finally get started on the fun stuff! We’re starting our SS18 line today and the creative director has left me a folder of images she wants to use for our inspiration board. The board takes up a good chunk of a whole wall!

12:00 pm – I’m still sorting the images and grouping them by trend category. There must be around 100 images cut out. Now it’s time to pin them up on the wall. I need a small stepladder to reach the top. As I’m ¾ of the way through with the images it becomes apparent that there’s no way I’m fitting them all on this board. I double back and try to condense things. I still haven’t gotten the knitwear up or any of the fabrics.

2:30 pm – Time for lunch. It’s freezing in NY so I eat my packed lunch in an indoor seating area around Bryant Park. I sift through my emails and set up my Instagram post. (I get most of my illustrations commissions through Instagram so it’s important for me to keep it updated.) Afterwards, I’ve still got enough time left to shop in Kinokuniya for a last minute birthday present. On my walk back I realize the Calvin Klein runway show location is on my block. Darn! I can’t see inside. They’ve got the windows covered. There are a few girls who look suspiciously like models standing outside smoking but the show isn’t for a few more days so who knows!

3:30 pm – Back inside. Instead of continuing with the inspiration wall I’m instructed to finish off a tech pack on the computer. I’ve already completed the sketch of the jacket so I work on the details. I add in the lining construction information, too. I don’t mind the change. It’s pretty quiet and I find it easy to concentrate.

5:00 pm – I’m getting hungry again. I have some carrots with me. Talk about breaking the silence. I look through WGSN and check out some of the runway shows on Vogue. I’m working on the Spring/Summer line but there are some amazing references in the Fall shows that are going on right now. I take notes and start to sketch some concepts roughly. I also take a moment to put my Instagram post through.

6:00 pm – It’s time to clock out but I hang around for 15 minutes to finish up and talk with a co-worker. Then it’s off to the bus stop. Passing through Times Square during rush hour is not fun. There’s a huge line for my bus but I manage to get a seat. I reply to Instagram comments, a few emails that came up, check Pinterest a bit and then fall asleep.

7:40 pm- The walk home is COLD. I call my mom to make it go faster.

7:50 pm- I’m home. Time to make dinner, a vegetable and chicken stir-fry (again), eat and shower. This part of the day always seems to go so fast.

9:00 pm – After I’ve been home a bit I boot up my laptop. There are a few bills to pay. Then I’ve got some art to finish off in Photoshop. I usually start my sketches by hand and then digitize them for a cleaner finish. Today I’m working on a fashion illustration for a friend. I recently finished up a big commission that took several weeks so I finally have a small break to do a personal piece.

11:00 pm – I watch a quick show with my husband and then start making my lunch and setting up my bag for tomorrow.

11:50 pm – I brush my teeth and finally make it to bed. I’ll hear the morning alarm again all too soon!

(Illustration by Deanna Kei.)

Thanks so much for sharing your hustle, Deanna! Do you guys have any questions for her? Do any of you work in the fashion industry, too?  

P.S. Are you a hustler willing to share your story? Let’s chat! I would love to know how you’re making money while following your dreams in 2017. Shoot me an email — ebeth.berger@gmail.com. Thanks!

Don’t Hide Your Hustle: Amy, Infant & Child Sleep Consultant

Welcome to Don’t Hide Your Hustle, a new series on Finding Delight that explores the myriad of ways to make a living in 2017. I’m asking folks to share how they hustle over the course of one work-day (which usually extends far beyond a 9 – 5 situation).

Today, I present you with Amy’s story. Her clients are the teeniest of tiniest and she helps parents regain the sanity that comes with a good night of sleep. She has a strong background in maternal and child wellness and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Clinical Therapy. Let’s check out her hustle!

“An Infant & Child Sleep Consultant, what in the heck is that?” Well, for starters, that’s me, Amy Douglas of Baby Sleep Central. I get that question a lot when I excitedly announce my career of choice. In a nutshell, I help sleep deprived parents of babies and toddlers take back their sleep. This involves helping little ones learn to love the act of sleeping, while also uncovering any potential issues that could be bothersome or disruptive to children. Boy, I know what you might be thinking… “Sleep is so boring!” To the contrary, I can talk sleep for days and my head starts spinning with wild ideas when I connect with new clients. I was once an exhausted parent myself. My first born was anti-sleep (or so I thought) and preferred to throw angry parties in his crib about 10 times each night. Flash forward to today – nothing brings me greater joy than helping families like mine restore their sleep. And not just in my wonderful city of Columbus, Ohio, but all around the world. So how do I accomplish this? Well, there are no two days alike, but let’s take a recent Friday as an example!

7:30 – 8:30 am – Wowzers! This day has me out the door early (so much for working from home and making my own perfect schedule – ha!). I find myself in a nearby suburb picking up some tasty gluten-free pastries for a local pediatrician’s office. They’ve recently been referring sleep deprived parents my way, and I’ve been wanting to thank them properly. Eh, doctors eat pastries, right? Too late, I’m here with the staff and they seem really excited. Phew!

9:00 am – In the last half hour I’ve rushed home to relieve my husband, so he can get to stepping! He mainly works out of our home, but he is very diligent with timing – that’s the key to success my friends! It’s a preschool/daycare day, and I’ve gotten the kiddos fed, dressed, and out the door in quite a jiffy. I won’t get to spend much time with them today, so I hug them long and hard at drop-off. Don’t worry, tomorrow I have a plan for us to bake and decorate sugar cookies. Geesh, what’s up with me and the sweets today?

9:30 am – Driving to Powell, Ohio while listening to my favorite Podcast: Momcast. I was a guest on their show last week discussing sleep hacks, and man – I wish I had one of their sultry radio voices. I sound like a chipmunk in comparison. Hey, at least I had a ball!

10:00 am – 12:00 pm – These 2 hours are spent doing something I especially LOVE to do. Once a month I visit my favorite local coffee shop and host complimentary mini-sessions with parents and professionals. This allows me to give back to the community and offer free tips and advice when I can. But more importantly, this time is for individuals to give me a glimpse into their world. I often hear personal accounts of how lack of sleep affects day to day activities, influences parenting decisions, and even impacts careers or relationships. Sleep deprivation has no boundaries, folks. The info shared is confidential, but it dances around in my brain as I determine if we’re a nice fit for each other for future consulting services.

12:00 pm – Commuting back home. Borrrrring.

12:30 pm – Nourishing my body with real food. Soup and salad, though it may be hard to believe me based on my documented love for sugar.

12:30 – 2:00 pm – Did I mention I am a part-time student? I spend this time submerged in my Abnormal Psychology textbook. I’m inching closer towards a Master’s in Clinical Therapy. It’s certainly a work in progress; taking 1-2 classes at a time will have me there in about 100 years. Never give up, folks!

2:00 pm – Yes, time for an appointment! I have a follow-up call with a family I’ve previously helped. Baby was sleeping through the night, but due to recent illness and holiday travel, they feel they’ve veered off course. It happens. And I advise them how to get back to a good place with sleep – for once and for all!

3:00 pm – Catching up on social media and e-mail responses. 12 messages have been ignored for hours, eek! After further review, it’s not bad – a couple new client inquires, and a few spam too (boo)!

4:00 pm – I’m back at it again! Driving 20 minutes north for an In-Home Sleep Consult session. Some people like driving; I’m not one of those people. I’m anxiously awaiting the invention of the flying hover-board and thought we would have that by 2017.  

4:30 – 6:30 pm – I’ve arrived safe and sound. Dearest toddler is in and out of his parent’s room all night long. He’s lost his blankets, he needs another drink, and he’s too tired to sleep. Yep – you read that right! I have a real soft spot for the toddler crowd. I go easy on him, and help his parents create a gentle plan they can self-implement. No question goes unturned before I head back home to see my family.

6:30 pm – Picking up fast food for the kids. Hey, I’m not perfect. Wendy’s it is! I get nuggets (that’s “chicky nuggies” according to my 2-year old) and I’ll round those out with steamed carrots and blackberries from home for a complete meal. Voila! Praying my husband already ate, because I forget I own a crock pot sometimes.

7:00 pm – And, he is amazing. He not only picked up the kids from daycare with his tight schedule, but he’s also prepared dinner for us both. We eat, talk about our day, and we laugh. Always.

7:30 – 8:30 pm – Connecting with my kids for a bit before my husband and I divide and conquer bedtime duties. The toddler wants rocked by Daddy, and the almost 4-year old is in full on diva mode wanting his mass-sausages (I don’t have the heart to correct him to say massage. Before long he’ll be saying it the right way. And I’ll be so sad!). They are great sleepers, and we won’t see them again until 7:30am.

8:30 pm – Circling back to social media and unfinished email business. (Follow Baby Sleep Central on Facebook & Instagram for free sleep tips and some laughs!) There just aren’t enough hours in the day!

9:00 – 11:00 pm – Sometimes this chunk of time is spent video conferencing with clients in other countries (Australia later this week!). That pesky time difference sometimes has them waking up to my going to sleep. Tonight, is NOT one of these nights! Instead, I get to relax with my husband. I make a very tough decision to “put my phone to bed” at 9pm, and not look at it until morning. We watch This is Us on Hulu (please tell me you all watch this) while I draft out a new blog post.

11:00 pm – Aww, shucks. It’s bedtime, but I was going to prep some cookie dough in advance. Nothing a little Pillsbury can’t fix in the morning. It’s off to Sleeper’s Town I go, and I rest my head on lavender sheets. Tomorrow is a new day –  a slower one for work, but much busier with the ones I love.

Thanks so much for sharing your hustle, Amy! Do you guys have any questions for her? Do any of you work with parents or cater to teeny-tiny clients, too?  

P.S. Are you a hustler willing to share your story? Let’s chat! I would love to know how you’re making money while following your dreams in 2017. Shoot me an email — ebeth.berger@gmail.com. Thanks!

Don’t Hide Your Hustle: Megan, Book Coach

Welcome to Don’t Hide Your Hustle, a new series on Finding Delight that explores the myriad of ways to make a living in 2017. I’m asking folks to share how they hustle over the course of one work-day (which usually extends far beyond a 9 – 5 situation).

Today, I present you with Megan’s story. She’s a book coach and literary agent whose passion for the written word runs deep. With a baby on the way, Megan is not only juggling her expanding career but an expanding family as well.  Let’s check out her hustle!

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Hello!  My name is Megan Close Zavala and I am a literary agent and book coach. While I do still represent clients from time to time, I am currently focused on my coaching practice.  Just like a health coach helps their clients find ways to make their bodies the best that they can be, I do the same with authors and their writing.  I also provide editorial services, so I am often busy proofreading and copy editing various documents.  When I’m not reading for work, I’m reading for fun, and I love what I do!

7:30AM – Wake up and have breakfast.  Secretly wish I hadn’t given up caffeine when I got pregnant.  I usually try to give myself a few minutes before I start looking at emails, so I go on Facebook for a while.  I also like to read something more substantial than Facebook in the mornings, and it is usually a writing- or publishing- related magazine.  Today I’m reading Writer’s Digest and Publisher’s Weekly.  In addition to helping me wake up and get into the right mindset, magazines always give me inspiration for services to offer, blogs to write, and ways to help my clients succeed!

9:00AM – Now it’s time to really get to work.  I look over my to-do list for the day, in case there is something urgent that needs to be attended to first thing.  Luckily, today there isn’t anything super pressing, so I begin to sift through emails.  I respond to a few client emails and a few requests to appear on folks’ podcasts or blogs.  I look over my calendar to make sure I know what I’m supposed to be doing for the rest of the day!  Then I spend some time updating my social media, especially Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

9:30AM – Call two potential clients to give them quotes on services that they have requested.  Potential clients are able to schedule calls with me through my website.  I post my starting rates there, but very few projects are exactly the same.  Once I finish my calls, I invoice the clients for the agreed upon amount.

10:00AM – Draft two guest blogs.  One is on how publishing a book can help entrepreneurs and small business owners grow their business, and another is on keeping yourself on track when it comes to finishing your novel.  I really like doing these – I think they’re helpful for people who read them, and it’s fun to get to be the writer once in awhile!

11:00AM – Phone call with monthly consulting client.  We discuss his latest pages and some steps he can take to improve them.  He needs to work on his dialogue – he is having difficulty giving each of his characters a distinct voice, and we brainstormed some ways that he can get through that.

12:00PM – Work on improving website.  My new website just launched, so I am constantly trying to improve the copy and fix little issues I find along the way.  There is always something to do!

12:30PM – Begin proofreading for client.  Proofreading is basically just looking for punctuation, grammar, or spelling errors, and is less involved that some of the more in depth editing services I offer.  

1:00PM – Take a quick lunch break and watch a couple episodes of Forensic Files on Netflix.  Contemplate taking a nap (I’m seven months pregnant), but decide I better keep going with my day!

2:00PM – Complete proofreading for client.  I will send her the final, clean version tomorrow once I take one last glance at everything.

2:45PM – Prepare for a podcast interview by re-reading the questions they sent over and doing some research on the podcast and my interviewer.  Put on a nice scarf and some perfume – I find that when I feel professional, I’m more likely to come off that way!

3:00PM – Podcast begins.  I’m grateful I gussied up a bit because the first section was done via webcam.  Give myself a pat on the back for changing out of pajamas!  I get to talk about my circuitous path to becoming a book coach, give some advice to writers, and make a great new contact.

3:35PM – Podcast is over.  I give myself a little break and then start going through emails that have built up throughout the day.  I receive an invitation to appear at a writers’ conference but have to turn it down because it is only a few days after my baby is due.

4:00PM – Read through material sent over for a 1-on-1 coaching session tomorrow and take notes.  Clients who do coaching sessions send me their book project (in whatever form it is currently in!) in advance, I review it, and then we discuss what is great and not so great when we talk on the phone.  These are really gratifying to do, and a lot of time these folks turn into monthly coaching clients as well!

5:30PM – Take a marketing webinar.  No matter how much I think I already know, there is always more to learn.  I always take advantage of free webinars or interesting newsletters that I get introduced to.  This webinar talks a lot about Facebook ads, which is definitely taking some time for me to master!

6:15PM – Wrap up my work day.  Respond to last emails, clean off my desk, and do some necessary filing.  I find it’s much easier to start the day with a smile on your face when your desk is not a total disaster zone.

6:30PM – Curl up with The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, my pick for book club.  I am hosting on Sunday, so I want to make sure I finish reading in time!  Start brainstorming food ideas for our meeting.

7:30PM – Dinnertime (breakfast burritos!) and hang out with my husband.  Talk about baby stuff.  Learning how to balance my time has been a big hurdle to get over, and time management is always a struggle.  But I have gotten a lot better at it, and I think the time I spend on each area of my life is more meaningful than it used to me.  We watch a little TV and I check in on the Facebook groups I am part of.

10:30PM – I put together my to-do list for the following day.  This helps me feel organized when I go to bed, which has helped to prevent many sleepless nights of lying awake thinking, “Did I do that?” and “When is that due?”  Tomorrow I will be doing more coaching calls and work on the website, and I am going to pitch some article ideas to a few different periodicals.  I’m also hoping to get more of my webinar slides completed for an upcoming presentation!

10:45PM – Read more of The Nightingale – it’s really good!  It’s so nice to be able to actually give myself some time to read “for pleasure.”  Husband reads his book, too: my idea of marital bliss.

11:30PM – Finally fall asleep.  I look forward to starting another busy but enjoyable day helping authors!

Thanks so much for sharing your hustle, Megan! Do you guys have any questions for her? Do any of you work in the literary world? Would you like to?  

P.S. Are you a hustler willing to share your story? Let’s chat! I would love to know how you’re making money while following your dreams in 2017. Shoot me an email — ebeth.berger@gmail.com. Thanks!

mid-week round-up

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Happy Wednesday! I can’t believe it is already March. Did the month come in like a lion where you’re at? I hope you have a great day, whatever you’re up to, and here are a few links to explore (or bookmark for later)…

Rachel Dolezal was exposed as a white woman who had deceived almost everyone she knew. Why did she do it?

15 beautiful illustrations perfectly capture how it feels to be in love.

As automation reduces the need for human labor, some Silicon Valley executives think
a universal income will be the answer — and the beta test is happening in Kenya.

Tucking this podcast away for a rainy day.

A go-to meal for any time of day — but especially yummy at breakfast.

Everyday carry with the Tom Bihn Side Effect. (I totally want one now!)

Related: 3 Ways to Pack Your Tom Bihn Synapse 19

A shirt for those who dream big and hustle hard.

Related: Don’t Hide Your Hustle: Katie KelseyLatasha

10 days along the border.

I’m considering starting a Whole 30 this month and this cookbook came highly recommended.

The enduring portrait of Myspace Tom, the Mona Lisa of profile pictures.

When a woman deletes a man’s comments online.
“It is no surprise to me that online debate has become the international sport of cis white men. Those who are least likely to be negatively impacted by the outcomes of discussions regarding the rights of marginalized people, who are driven by little more than ego and the risk of slight discomfort if society is made more equal, can gleefully jump from post to post, forum to forum, challenging the heartfelt pleas of those most at risk. “Well actuallys” are flung at those working for justice and equality like drive-bys of apathy. And those who are fighting for their lives are then forced to battle each challenger bearing advanced degrees in Google and entitlement in order to prevent the outright dismissal of their lived experience.”

Long-distance Uber & Lyft drivers’ crazy commutes, marathon days, and big paychecks.

P.S. A few Finding Delight posts you may have missed — 10 Ways to Take a Time Out and Practice Self Care and I Stopped Paying Women Compliments On Their Appearance and Here’s What Happened.