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Juggle Source Mug Hug

I couldn’t not post this mug! This is in reference to my Twelve Mugs of Christmas I posted in December. I’m actually a little disappointed in the quality, but still, it’s pretty special. It arrived last week on the same day I posted Juggle Source on social media, which was also pretty special.

I realized last week how much Juggle Sourcing I’m doing to build my business! I’m not building a factory or inventing a worldwide solution to garbage (although, I’d love to do that), yet with everything I have to learn, my little business feels mammoth at times.

Finding a bookkeeping program that is affordable and works well on a MacBook Pro has taken hours. After asking people and scouring the Internet, and being run through the ringer with QuickBooks, I finally settled on a trial version of FreshBooks accounting system. It’s a cloud based system that seems comprehensive, including a customer database, invoicing, expenses, time tracking, and proposal generation.

A person at FreshBooks answered the phone and answered my questions without sending me to a million other people. FreshBooks is substantially less money per month than QuickBooks, so I hope it brings me accounting happiness, especially since accounting by definition does not make me happy.

Another great experience I had was with Google. I was unable to create groups for my email through their GSuite. But their customer service is awesome and works through problems when you contact them through the GSuite Admin Console. I’ve had to connect with them a few times, and I’m amazed at how eager they are to solve my problems. It’s like having a consultant at my fingertips.

I’m making good strides in establishing Juggle Source. On to…

ONLINE DATING…

I’m making good strides there, too. Well, I guess that depends on how one interprets “good strides.” Like a turtle?

It is downright overwhelming to pour over the “matches.” I’ve slowed down from what I did in the first few days. Right now I’m kind of waiting for matches who contact me. I may step it up and initiate contact, but with starting Juggle Source, this is a good pace. EHarmony matches you with people that their system deems a good match, after you take a compatibility quiz. I posted a portion of the results under “2020 Invites Change”, about my masculine side a couple of weeks ago. But after I’d posted that, I read the personality assessment that they send new members. It’s quite lengthy, so it took me a couple of days to get to it.

I understood their assessment of my masculine side being stronger than my feminine side. Finally, some confirmation! But their bar chart showed my animus (new word for me) almost falling off the page, and anima (another new word for me) hardly noticeable. I guess their compatibility quiz didn’t account for my make up, fashion, or decorating sensibilities. As I read the report that includes explanations, there was one assessment (that I won’t share on social media), that was definitely not me. Additionally, the report considered me an introvert, and that I’m not very generous. Who is this person???

And that’s what I asked when I met with some friends the next day and then talked with a couple more on the phone. Is this me? Is this socially comfortable person a good acting job for an introvert? I was practically devastated by the results. In part because I didn’t want to throw a tantrum because I didn’t like the results, and in part because I wanted the profile that other members see to reflect who I think I am.

It helped to talk with my friends, so guess what. I asked eHarmony if I could retake the quiz.

I’d thought I’d answered everything sincerely and thoughtfully the first time, and I didn’t want to answer insincerely and sabotage genuine results. But as I took it again, I saw where I might have misunderstood a couple of questions. Another area I did change my answers was on their pictures. They could have been the culprit! There is a series of two pictures side by side and we’re asked to choose the one we like best. I remember thinking the first time, “I have no idea which picture I like better. They’re both fine!” So this time, if I had no favorite, I chose the opposite one that I’d chosen the first time.

The results made a lot more sense to me the second time around. My masculine side was still strong, but it wasn’t off the charts, and this time it showed that I am more of an extrovert, with an introvert slightly below that, which makes sense to me. The one piece that I highly objected to, but won’t share, wasn’t addressed, because the second time around they don’t provide explanations for the results. This time, the results just show up on my site.

I had my first meeting today with a very nice man, but we weren’t a match, in spite of what eHarmony said. The one thing that I do like about their site is that I can look at their profiles and have a sense of what type of a person I’m meeting. So, while I didn’t know if the man I met today was a good match for me romantically, I had a sense of whether he was a good person, which he is.

I have a friend who tells me about horror stories her sister has, but she meets men off of a site that gives her very little information about the person’s character, which I think seems like a waste of time. But that’s probably my masculine side speaking.

That’s all for now!

Joni

With excitement, a queasy stomach, and overflowing appreciation to the friends who have provided me with thoughtful feedback and a critical eye, I bring to you: Juggle Source. Nothing would be possible without God and his never ending encouragement. His word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. It has carried me through every valley and up every hill. I could not be more grateful to him.

Logo design by: Machele Brass. Her logo was exactly what I wanted in the one sentence I gave her: “I’m leaning towards a 50s look, but clean and sophisticated.” It’s driven every design aspect, and I couldn’t be more pleased. Thank you, Machele!

Day 12 Mug Hug

I have no plans that are set in stone today. If you read my blog, Getting There,  you know that contrary to what one might think, self discipline comes as hard to me as a dog faced with a rib eye (well, me faced with a rib eye, for that matter). Somehow, the “training” I’ve received over the years supersedes my natural tendencies, which is a darn good thing.

This girl and her red meat.

This girl and her red meat.

 

Last night we had our neighborhood Christmas party. That meant less time working and more time preparing for fun. I’ve grown fond of some neighbors, which I consider when I think about selling my house. In a market where prices seem ridiculously high or out of reach, I waiver between keeping or selling this gem in which I live. My neighbors are like stones that accentuate it. They rally for anything from removing a spider (one neighbor does not kill them. I let him do whatever he wants, as long as it’s gone. I’m not talking small spiders, I’m talking the huge ones) to diagnosing me with gout, not to mention creating my new business logo, which you will see very soon. In exchange, I cook an occasional meal or weed their yard, which when compared to removing a spider or sparing me from a doctor’s appointment seems equivalent to a $5 gift from 7-11. Actually, that’s not true. Right now it seems like that, but when I worked my full time scheduled job, showing my appreciation for help I received was no easy matter. This time has relieved me from the anxiety of giving, to the joy of it.

I have no shortage of tasks today. I’m going to do my best to stay focused on productivity. Yet, I can always rationalize spending time with a friend or my kids as productive, especially during the Christmas season.

Until tomorrow!

Press here to view the introduction of My Twelve Days of Christmas.

 

 

My hands are icicles. A few days ago I discovered that my TRANE XL80 furnace requires an upgrade kit. In car terms, isn’t that equivalent to a recall, that is typically covered by the manufacturer? I am annoyed at the unplanned expense, but gratitude skills are to be employed. I have a blanket, a roof, food, my health (oh, my health), and savings for the $855 repair bill, which is scheduled for this afternoon.

My house in the winter months has always been cold. I chalked it up to just being a drafty house. I had scheduled several NW Natural Gas visits to assess the heat efficiency, but work always seemed more important. March brought warmer temps, so I bagged the NW Natural Gas appointment altogether. Now that I think about it, they might have bagged me, due to all my canceled appointments. Sorry, NW Natural Gas. It was me, not you.

Ugh, is all I can say. This afternoon I’ll know the answer to the question that plagues me: Is it a drafty house? Or, has my furnace been broken for several years?!

Moving from fall into the holidays, I’ve had a lot to contemplate, both personally and professionally. Thanksgiving was emotionally difficult, but it forced me to be intentional in managing the holiday season. December has been a good segue regarding my new business. Here are some things I’ve learned as I engage in self employment.

REASONS WE REMAIN IN ONE PLACE

  1. Comfort
  2. Exhaustion
  3. Fear of the unknown
  4. Lack of focus

MY COMFORT

The side vinyl business has been great during the holiday season. Orders trickle in, but reluctantly, I’ve stopped promoting my items on social media. As my vinyl learning curve has slowed and I’ve become more proficient, I’ve discovered comfort in production that isn’t present in the drudgery of details that accompany creating a business. I’m reminded of my waitress days (yes, I want to use that old term!). I’d request closing down the restaurant, to be the last server on the floor. I knew the job like the back of my hand. Why not do that forever? Well, because it would limit my potential (in my case: make more money).

Creating a business from scratch is fraught with discomfort. Someone stole my intended domain name. See that saga here. Last week I spent hours on an Amazon issue. Well, I think I’ll do something more comfortable, like solicit more orders for pretty towels! Giving up entices my senses when success seems so distant. 

No words can describe how unprepared or the amount of effort that was required when I started my job as Principal’s Secretary. While I flailed to survive, not a speck of land was in sight. However, when I finally found land, I felt I could teach a course on how to get there.

MY EXHAUSTION

As I inch closer to starting my new business, I realize that I’m starting again. One of my hashtags is #constant renewal. I think I was born with a growth mindset, long before it was taught in schools. I am grateful for my teeth, my hair, and my growth mindset. On the other hand, constant renewal can be exhausting. This last month has been a relief from exhausting. If I were three I might stomp up and down and refuse to hand it over.

We all want more time. Even when I’m overwhelmed with the tasks of work and home, the flexibility I’ve had has made life more manageable. 6:30 am finds me in my PJs working from home, or driving to deliver a Christmas surprise to my son’s doorstep. None of my early mornings have me pulling into the parking lot at 6:25am and facing the demands that began as soon as I opened the door.

On Sunday morning I stood in front of CBS Sunday Morning (my favorite) with my hands wrapped around a hot mug of coffee (with chattering teeth). I picked up a friend for church and returned her home. I then ran errands for a friend, and in the evening I worked. I thanked God for a day that I could fully embrace without a battle against resentment or frustration. I didn’t have to wrap up the day by 9pm (of which I was rarely successful) in preparation for a 5am wake up that would have me out the door by 6:15.

MY FEAR

Fear has also justified the focus on my vinyl business. What does a day in the life of the new business look like? Will my idea convert to a practical reality? Am I capable to produce and deliver the very thing I am selling? Is my hard work, belief in my idea, and faith enough? Are financial security and personal well being possible with this endeavor?

MY FOCUS

I have to remind myself daily to zero in. I’d rather socialize, decorate, cook, write, read, discuss, enhance, engage with my kids, and understand today’s politics than hunker down on a work project. There. I said it. This person you think I am is a facade, masquerading as an ambitious person. I am ambitious, in that I want to do everything. But I am challenged to focus on the most essential objective: Will this task move me toward financial well being? God gifted me with a curious mind and a generous heart. I produce a lot, but I’m not always producing what pays the mortgage.

There is a current trend that encourages us to work doing what we love. I believe God desires that every single one of us live vibrant, balanced lives. That no person, regardless of the wealth or social status they were born into deserves anything but the best. An oppressive work situation is not ideal. If possible, we should find employment that allows us to receive, as well as give. We should manage a life that provides us with the best case scenario, within our circumstances. We should take care of self. However, that means sacrifice of self. It means saying NO to the things we enjoy, which requires more discipline from some of us than others.

I’m not a 100% certain, where is “there.” But when I walk with my creator, any direction is the right direction, and ultimately, that’s where I’m headed.

It’s day 7, Sunday, the end of my first week of unemployment, or self employment. At the beginning of Week 2, I’m not sure what name it deserves.

I wish I had a map for this journey. Next to my OREGON map would be my INCOME WITH SERENITY AND FLEXIBILITY map. That’s where I want to go, but I haven’t seen that map. I think I have to navigate to this destination on my own (always with God in my pocket). If you’re following this blog, use caution not to take anything too seriously. I’m not sure which turns I’ll take, except to consider each intersection carefully, looking both ways before I cross the street.

An important part of this experience is to confer with wise and experienced people. Some of those people are friends who have a ton of knowledge and experience in owning their own business or consulting businesses. I talked at length with one friend last week who helped me identify some things that caused me to adjust my plan. As I sat down to begin and write out a business plan, knots began forming in my stomach, and I thought, “Dang. This is hard.” I began to question everything, and wondered if it’s possible to reach the destination I’m seeking.

I thought the same thing as I realized how lonely I feel during the day. I miss my co-workers and the camaraderie I had with them. When I was working, I longed for some breaks when I wasn’t interrupted and could focus for more than five minutes on a task. Now I long for an interruption after I’ve worked five minutes on a task. I want it all. I recognize the discipline needed to stay focused, the creativity it will take to feed my spirit with the energy I get from others, and that all of this has to be intentional in order to co-exist. I mentioned this aspect of working at home to my neighbor who is an at home dad. He said he finds that he spends a little more time talking with the cashiers at Safeway than he used to. Nothing against the Safeway cashiers. I’ve been going to the same Safeway for over 20 years and I would miss them if I moved. But I’m determined to be intentional and use my creativity that doesn’t include the Safeway cashiers. And yet… isn’t it just great to connect with people? I think I love them.

It’s just been a week, so I’m doing my best to grant myself a break. I’m in this weird place of knowing I’m in this season by choice and I’m on a mission, but I want to enjoy it, too. Like I’m heading down the road, but feel guilty when I stop for an ice cream cone. I want to write, but feel guilty if I do that, and read my bible, and make a dinner for a friend, get my hair done, and ride my bike. I want to free myself of those guilt emotions and find peace as I enjoy life and earn a living.

I’m working to sort out those emotions, but I recognize how easy it is to slip into patterns that I could regret. It’s been really hard to get myself to bed in time to get myself up around 5, the time I used to get up when I reported for work at 6:30. On days I rode my bike, I got up between 4:30 and 5. Because of that schedule I’ve earned an undeserved reputation of being a morning person and self disciplined. When one behaves so responsibly, it’s hard to convince anyone otherwise, but the truth is that I am not a morning person or self disciplined. I am determined, and that’s what drives me. I love to be up, so I guess I have to get up. Once I’m up, I love mornings and the solitude or productivity a morning gives me. I love to be productive, so I must get myself to bed. But I could watch TV, read, write, work on my t-shirt and party accessories business all night if there were no consequences to doing that.

WEEK ONE was getting my feet wet. WEEK TWO is stepping in a little deeper, with a little more knowledge, and committing myself to improved behaviors that will push me closer to: INCOME WITH SERENITY AND FLEXIBILITY.

Below is what I was able to achieve last week toward my business idea:

  • Discussed business idea with a few friends and listened to feedback.
    • This was invaluable. The business idea is the same, but I believe I’ve refined it after a couple conversations.
  • Met with graphic designer (friend) about logo idea.
  • Contacted insurance about commercial insurance for my business and car.
    • I think insurance will legitimatize my business and give customers assurance that their assets are protected. Also, since I’ll be using my car for business, it’s important that I am protected if something were to happen in the course of a work activity. I don’t want gaps in my insurance. Most auto insurance doesn’t cover personal vehicles when they’re used for work activities, and when people use their vehicles for business and only carry personal insurance, they’re putting themselves at risk.
  • Researched how to write a business plan and began writing it.
    • I Googled this and am going through each of the sections. The first is the Executive Summary. As I go through each section, I’m prompted to sort through and make decisions about each area, for example, pricing, scheduling, etc.
  • Researched and signed up for a scheduling system. I signed up for G Suite, but am not confident that’s the way to go.
  • Worked on design ideas for Christmas products for sales.
    • I worked in my Silhouette for some Christmas ideas to sell and worked on a product for a friend.
  • Worked a Nike Offsite event.
    • This was such a treat. The company with whom I worked was such a pleasure. From the collaboration and exploration of how to achieve the end goal to working with the personnel at the event. I got home around 11, and I used that late job to justify getting to bed late and getting up late. I’ll take anything I can get to justify a sleep in!
  • Exchanged emails with a friend for a Day Of wedding coordinator in August.
  • Purchased a Legal Zoom membership.
  • Spoke with attorney (referred to through Legal Zoom) about an LLC and trademarking my business name.
    • I learned that an LLC is the way I want to go because it will separate the business from my personal assets and protect me.

Some things I did that were not work related:

  • Read the bible.
    • This makes getting to bed early(ish) worth it. I’m at Job in a whole bible reading plan. I’m in year 2. Yikes. I loved the exchange between Job and Zaphor. Zaphor thinks he has the answers for Job, and when you read what he has to say, it seems Zaphor does have some good answers. But Job puts Zaphor in his place and tells him to mind his own business. What joy to see that people are people, in today’s world, and before Jesus’s time.
  • Made a Bday dinner for a friend.
    • So fun to make a meal for a friend and enjoy the process.
  • Yardwork, made a small dent in cleaning out Bridgette’s old bedroom, rode my bike, walked Winky, talked with friends on the phone, put up some fall decorations, went on a couple of walks with friends, took car in for service, got hair cut and colored, football game and food prep for the tailgate, and… drumroll please, went to Chick-Fil-A for the first time… and now I know. The chicken strips were so moist and succulent and the lemon slushy thing is to die for. They squeeze their lemons every day!

I gotta tell you. The work stuff I did is the stuff that gives me knots in my stomach. It’s like turning down a gravel road without street lights. The other stuff are things with which I’m familiar, so no knots. But knots and all, I’m not giving up. If it’s like anything else, the more I experience it, the less scary it will be. I’m counting on street lights in my future.

Now, on to Week 2!

To read about what got me here, read My Unexpected Season.