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Why I Love Working From Home

Today we got our first real snowfall of the season.

Other years I would have been worried about having to go to work and drive in blizzards, icy conditions, and minus forty weather. Last winter I didn’t have to do any of it, and this winter will be the same.

I would have preferred different circumstances, but sometimes life deals us a crappy hand and we have to move forward. Ross used to always tell me he should be a kept man, but he didn’t live long enough to get that privelege.

All sad things aside, I love the flexibility I have. I can work when I’m most productive, not when someone tells me I have to.

I’m a night owl; always have been. Sometimes it seems as if I get the greatest ideas right before I’m ready to turn out the light. I have started making notes in my planner so I don’t forget the ideas by morning. And if I do forget, at least they’re written down.

I have started using a minimalist layout in my bullet journal. Well, maybe a little more than minimalist, but not as fancy as some of the layouts I have seen on Pinterest. The one I am using now seems to work for this stage of life. It gives me space for what I need to do, the goals I have, and the notes and plans I have for each day. It also has blocks for an affirmation, gratitude, and a word of the day.

I try to keep the word of the day positive, but sometimes I just want to say fuck-it. There are days that don’t go as planned, and that’s something we all experience. My dilemna is, do I write the word in first thing and try to focus on it, or see what the day brings and sum it all up with one word. What would you do?

Anyway, back to my daily planner page. I have it set up so I don’t have to write in it every single day. You know as well as I do there are days when life kind of gets in the way and the planning goes out the window. I have designed a printable which is available in my Etsy Shop that is just like the one I use. It works for me, and I’m sure it’ll work for you too.

Simple, undated, and has plenty of room for goals, to-do list, and all the things you need in a planner page.

I use an A5 dot grid notebook, but the Etsy listing is a US letter size. It’s easy enough to adjust the size if you’re using an A5 like I do. I also use washi tape to give it a little bit of colour, as well as a multi-colour ballpoint pen (a nice part of a surprise bag I bought at Chapters a few weeks ago).

Being able to work from home lets me utilize my resources and work when I’m most productive. And as I said earlier, I don’t have to worry about going anywhere in inclement weather. That in itself is a big bonus for me.

If you like what you read you can show your support by pinning this post, sharing on social media, or buy me a coffee.

Teaching as a Side Hustle?

It was summer of 2016 and an online friend told me about a platform she was using to teach others how to make homemade wine, cheese, and more. Enter Skillshare.

Disclaimer: Links included in this post are either affiliate links or links to my own products. If you purchase using an affiliate link I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you.

I have always enjoyed teaching others how to do something, but up until that point it had been in person or through my books and articles. I was both intrigued and terrified by the thought of teaching online.

After some persuading on her part, I bit the bullet and published a class titled How to Spin Your Own Yarn.

That class still earns me a few dollars a month, and I only had to do the majority of the work once. Of the 62 months since I first published, there have only been 9 months where my payments have been $0.00. I don’t consider that terrible, since I haven’t really done anything to promote my classes. The majority of the students found my classes through the platform’s search feature.

I only have two classes published at this point, the other being Make Your Own Weaving Sticks. I tried to teach my Creating and Selling Nonfiction course but was not happy with the format, so left it as a digital download in my Etsy Shop instead.

Are you a teacher at heart?

Whether you’re camera shy or not, teaching others is doable on Skillshare. In fact, because you do the videos yourself, you can do as many takes as necessary to get it the way you want it.

The lessons consist of short videos so your students can consume them in bite-size pieces. There’s nothing worse than trying to go back through a video that’s an hour long to find a segment you want to replay. By having several short videos your students can rewatch a step they may have not understood the first time, or missed because of a distraction.

Recording the lessons can be done with your phone, a camera, or webcam. I recorded mine using either a digital camera or my phone; I honestly don’t recall which it was now. You don’t have to have top of the line equipment; as long as it gives you a clear picture and audio you’re set.

Classes can be anywhere from 15 minutes to several hours long. They must be structured, have an introduction (this is basically where you tell your potential student what the course is about and what they will learn when they take it), as many lessons as it takes to teach the subject, and a conclusion.

As I write this I am using a 5+ hour class for a reference. One thing I have noticed is none of the teacher’s lessons are over 20 minutes. The average lesson ranges from 5 to 15 minutes, with more or less time for some of them. His entire class has 31 videos, which includes the introduction and conclusion.

Skillshare has a wonderful reference section, as well as a teacher handbook. They explain how to structure your classes, how to optimize the description with keywords, and how to record and edit. The handbook also covers class promotion, earning revenue, building your channel, and more.

A snippet of the Getting Started Menu.

As you can see in the photo above, the Teacher Handbook is full of information to help you record a great class. Plus they want you to succeed. If you do well, they do well.

Are you in?

You don’t have to teach classes about spinning or making weaving sticks like I published; you can teach anything you wish. From A to Z, any topic you pick, chances are there’s a class on it. And if there isn’t, then you can be the first to teach one!

The best part is you can sign up for a free trial and take some classes, set up a teacher account, and earn some extra cash for as long as your class is published. Like I said earlier, I have had only 2 classes published for the majority of the past 5 years and I earn a few dollars almost every month. If I promoted my classes more, I know my earnings would be much higher.

It’s nice to get the email from PayPal mid-month saying “Skillshare has sent you $$$.$$.” It’s one side hustle I really haven’t put any time into once the classes were published. It’s almost a set-it-and-forget-it type of deal. However, it’s better if you engage with your students and followers regularly. (I need to practice what I preach in this regard.)

Let me know in the comments if you are currently a teacher on Skillshare, or if it’s something you’re considering. And if you teach on another platform, which one?

If you like what you read you can show your support by pinning this post, sharing on social media, or buy me a coffee.

3 Steps to Creating an Information Product

Creating an information product is probably one of the easiest things to do, and can bring you the highest return.

Disclaimer: This post contains links for my products. I will receive full payment should you decide to make a purchase. The information does not guarantee financial gain simply by reading this post or my product. It takes time and effort to create an information product, but once done the possibilities of increasing your bank balance is real.

Before I get too far into the steps, you must first know what an information product is. In all honesty, this blog post is essentially an information product, because it will teach you how to do something.

An information product is designed to teach the reader/viewer/listener how to do something. It can be written, video, or audio. And the beauty of it is you create it once, and can sell it over and over again…even while you sleep.

I have been creating information products for at least three decades. When I started I didn’t even realize I was doing it. It wasn’t until up to about 10 years ago that I came across an article online (I don’t remember the title of it now) that talked about information products and marketing. It was then that the lightbulb went off, and I realized I could do that as a side hustle.

I started by writing articles online and when I realized people liked what I had to say, I took it a step further and began self-publishing my own ebooks, PDFs, print on demand books, and printable products in my Etsy shop.

My most popular articles have been on quilting, making and using weaving sticks, and how to earn money with side hustles. As much as I enjoy crafting, I enjoy helping others make the extra money they need/want for bills, vacations, or a new home.

This post will tell you what you need to do to create your own written information product.

Step 1: Come up with an idea.

This is where your brainstorming skills will come into play. Think of all of the things you like to do. Then think of all the things you are good at. Make a list of each, then pick your top 3.

Step 2: Outline your product.

Remember back in school when you had to write an essay? Your teacher probably told you to make an outline. It wasn’t because he/she wanted to give you more work (well, maybe that was part of it), but rather to help you stay on track as you wrote.

It’s quite easy to start writing about something, then stray off topic. The outline is there to keep you focused.

Step 3: Create your product.

This is the fun part. My guess is you already know a lot about your topic. If you don’t, it’s time to do some research.

You don’t have to write thousands of words, unless of course that’s what it’s going to take to get your point across. I do want to say the easier you make it for your reader the better. They’re going to want quick results, especially if they’re impatient like many people (me included).

Use words, short sentences, pictures, diagrams, and whatever else it takes to show your reader how to get from an idea to a finished product. For example, if you’re teaching someone how to make a macrame plant hanger you’ll include a materials list, cutting lengths, knot directions, and steps to make the hanger.

Since a lot of people need a visual to understand how the knots are made, take photos as you go along and insert them after the written part of each step. You could also include a video tutorial within the product, or link to it on your YouTube channel.

Conclusion:

Once your product is created, it’s time to market it. For a more in-depth look at the process of creating an information product, I have written a course which is available in my Etsy Shop (NotJustAlpacaDesigns) and priced at $19. Grab your copy today, and you will be on your way to earning passive income tomorrow.

Creating and Selling Nonfiction

If you like what you read you can show your support by pinning this post, sharing on social media, or buy me a coffee.