Need a Vacation? Take It!

We all need a little R&R, and that’s just what I did.

I was given the opportunity to go to Mexico for a week, and instead of saying no I said yes. The old me would have declined, saying I had too much to do.

What I have learned in the last couple of years is that time waits for no one. Don’t pass up opportunities, because they may never come around again.

Something I have also learned is to enjoy life to the fullest, as much as you can. I’m still working on that aspect some days, because I probably spend too much time in front of my computer. But living in Alberta the winters can be quite nasty, so there’s no reason not to get in the computer time.

I know once the weather warms up and my yard is no longer a mudhole, I’ll be outside most of the time. I’m anxious for warm spring days and warming soil so I can plant my garden.

Disclaimer: Links within this post are either to my own products, or products I endorse. I may receive a small commission should you make a purchase through an affiliate link, at no extra cost to you. My blog is supported through commissions and sales of my products. Plus, if you like what you read you can show your support by pinning this post, sharing on social media, or buy me a coffee.  Thank you for your continued support.

Now, back to Mexico. It was a great trip, although it was too hot for me. This body doesn’t do well in 35+ degrees Celsius. I’m grateful our hotel room had air conditioning.

We went on a few little excursions, with the highlights being (in my opinion) a trip down the mountain in a tuk-tuk to the bottom of a 200+ foot waterfall, and seeing a mama humback whale and her calf on our coastline excursion.

The bottom of the waterfall that can only be accessed in tuk-tuks, bikes, or on foot. No cars on those roads.

It was my first trip ever out of Canada, so was exciting and a little scary at the same time. Now that I have gone once, I think a winter vacation to other destinations may become a norm.

If you feel as if you have too much going on and can’t get away, remember this: the world will NOT fall apart if you take some you time. If you run a business, leave the duties in the capable hands of your staff.

If you don’t have any staff, then simply let clients know you’re taking some time to recharge. Automate what you can, and the rest will fall into place. You don’t have to be available 24/7, 365 days a year. That will lead to burnout, which can have serious long-term effects on your body and mental health.

My vacation time gave me time to think about my own way of doing things, and I came to a couple of realizations.

  1. Life is too short to not take time for your own happiness.
  2. Your business/job doesn’t control you.

More on what I figured out on my vacation in my next post.

The highlight when I got back: the arrival of my granddaughter less than a week after our return. I’m so glad she waited, especially since I had a message from my daughter while we were away that said “Don’t be alarmed but…”


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12 Services You Can Provide as a Side Hustle [EP 11]

Introduction

Welcome to Episode 11: 12 Services You Can Provide as a Side Hustle

When we think of side hustles, we often think about creating products, both physical and digital.

If you’re subsidizing a pension or other income, you may want to have daily interaction with others. If that’s the case, providing a service may be more suitable for you.

Not all services require you to be out and about, however. Some allow for face-to-face interaction with others, while some can be done remotely. You choose whatever you’re most comfortable with.

Now, before I get into the main part of this episode, I do want to let you, my listeners, know I will be scaling my podcast back to one episode per month until November. My blog posts will still be weekly, and will contain more side hustle information. It is a little change as I am working on creating a course, which I’ll get into more in an upcoming blog post. Plus, I’m taking a week’s vacation next month which I’m looking forward to. It’ll be nice to have some reprieve from the cold and snow.

Services

As mentioned, not all services have to be done in person. The following list contains some that involve little interaction with clients, while others are more face-to-face.

  1. We’ll start with bookkeeping, which I have done in the past. One of my clients dropped off an envelope full of receipts and papers each month, and I entered everything into an accounting program. She was then able to hand the USB in to her accountant at year-end. One of my other clients preferred me to work in his office, which I did a couple days a week. In his case it made more sense as he had a lot more paperwork for me to go through.
  1. Another service you can provide, and make a decent amount of money at, is cleaning people’s houses. Now this only works if you like to clean. An aunt of mine used to clean for others on a weekly basis. She would clean their houses during the day while they were at work, which made it easier for both parties. When I worked for Family and Community Support Services, my clients were at home when I cleaned. There are pros and cons to the latter, however. One pro is the client is happy to have the company. A con is it took more time because they wanted to visit. Keep in mind the latter was also cleaning for senior citizens, so my being there made it possible for them to stay in their own homes for longer.
  1. Lawn and Garden Maintenance is another service you can provide if you enjoy working outside. Some people either don’t have the time or their own equipment to do their own. And let’s face it, some people would just rather pay someone else to cut their grass, trim the hedges, and even pull the weeds. I don’t mind mowing and trimming, but pulling weeds is not my favourite. My experience in yard care has been mostly my own, plus for elderly family members from about the time I was around 14.
  1. Snow removal can be done during the winter for the same clients, so you have the opportunity to earn income year-round. Businesses also need snow removal done, so that could be another option if you prefer.
  1. If you love animals, pet-sitting and dog-walking are two services you can provide. When people go away they aren’t always able to take their pets, and many would prefer to leave them in a familiar environment. By providing a pet-sitting service your clients will be more relaxed while they’re away.  Plus, you can enjoy the experience of taking care of turtles, snakes, birds, and other not-so-common pets as well as cats and dogs. Dog-walking is nice because it gives the dog exercise and breaks up their day, which results in less destructive behaviour than one left to their own devices day after day. A bored dog is often a destructive dog. Not only will you be providing the dog exercise, you’ll be saving your clients’ furniture.
  1. A grocery delivery service is another option, especially in a small community. Smaller grocery stores may not have the extra staff to deliver groceries during business hours, and are generally more than happy to pay someone per delivery. It’s an added-value service they can provide to their customers, which in turn encourages local shopping.
  1. Providing healthy home-cooked meals for seniors in your area is an option if you love to cook. Just think of the meals-on-wheels larger communities provide. In my experience it’s a service that used to be provided by the local hospital, but with cutbacks in services, it may not be available in a small community. My great-uncle used to deliver meals to the seniors in his community a number of years ago, which gave him some extra income plus provided healthy meals for them. 
  1. You could play an integral part in someone else landing their dream job by providing a resume writing service. Presentation and simplicity are key components of a resume. Prospective employers will often not look at a resume that isn’t broken up by white space. As with most things today you want to make it skimmable, yet highlight your client’s attributes so they have an increased chance at being hired.
  1. Copywriting is another service you can provide to businesses near and far. Once you know how to convey a sales message, the rest is easy. There are courses available to teach you how, and I have taken a couple; but the best book I have come across is called The Copywriter’s Handbook – 4th Edition by Robert W. Bly. And copywriting isn’t necessarily about being salesy. All you essentially need to do is address a pain point and how your client’s product or service will fix it. The bonus is you can work for more than one client at a time, and you don’t have to be tied to your home office to do it. Have laptop…will travel.
  1. If you love a variety of music, then offering a DJ Service could be right up your alley. With the world opening up again to gatherings, people are anxious to be able to celebrate life events together. You can decide if you want to book one event a weekend, or one event a month. And if you don’t mind travelling, you could book events further away. The nice thing about the digital age is there’s no longer a need to pack hundreds of CDs, but you can if you like.
  1. Party Planning is another option if you have a flair for themed events. Whether it be weddings, bridal showers, baby showers, bachelor parties, birthday parties, or whatever else people celebrate; it’s sometimes nice to have the stress of the planning taken care of. If you’ve enjoyed planning your own parties over the years, perhaps it’s time to do it for others for a little extra income. And just like a DJ Service, you decide how many events you want to plan in a month. Keep in mind not all events are limited to weekends, so you could easily do a retirement party during the week and perhaps a birthday or engagement party on the weekend.
  1. Clutter control is something we all struggle with at some point or another, and the older we get the more of it we seem to have. Home organization is so popular nowadays there are entire TV Shows about it. If you have found a way to combat the clutter and let go of material things, there is someone out there who could benefit from your expertise. It’s not so much that you’ll be physically helping them throw things out (although you can if you wish), but rather help them differentiate between keeping things for emotional reasons or practical reasons.

Conclusion

As I went through my list, I thought of at least another dozen services any side hustler can provide, from small engine repair to handyman services. It really doesn’t matter what service you can provide, because chances are there’s a need for it in your community. And because it’s your side hustle, you determine to what extent you do it. As with anything else be sure it’s something you enjoy doing, otherwise it just becomes another job.

Now, as mentioned at the beginning of this episode, I’ll be scaling my podcasts back to once per month until November. I’m excited to be working on something that will help fellow side-hustlers, so please stay tuned. And as I said, the blog posts will still be weekly so don’t forget to subscribe to the RSS feed.


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How to Turn Your Woodworking Skills Into a Hot Tub [EP 10]

Do you enjoy sitting on garden furniture you have built? Do others marvel at your arbors, trellises, and other garden structures you’ve made?

If you’re handy with a saw, hammer, nails, and other tools, you could turn your skills into enough cash to add a hot tub or pool to your own space.

With so much time being spent at home and in our own backyards, it’s nice to have some comfortable seating, protection from the sun, and a place to grow fruits, vegetables, and flowers. 

I’m going to start with garden furniture, then move on to structures and decor.

Disclaimer: Links within this post are either to my own products, or products I endorse. I may receive a small commission should you make a purchase through an affiliate link, at no extra cost to you. My blog is supported through commissions and sales of my products. Plus, if you like what you read you can show your support by pinning this post, sharing on social media, or buy me a coffee.  Thank you for your continued support.

Garden Furniture

The first step to being able to enjoy a backyard space or deck is having comfortable furniture. There are many types available in department stores, but it never seems to last as long as quality homemade furniture. 

Wooden furniture is, after all, made from trees that have withstood wind, rain, snow, and frigid temperatures. Or in the case of cedar, it has withstood humidity and has natural insect-repelling properties which will keep the bugs from claiming your furniture as their new home.

Other woods can be used as well, but will need protection from the elements. You can apply paint, stain, or even linseed oil to protect them, depending on intended use.

If you have the tools and access to scrap iron and steel, you can make furniture from them as well. There’s nothing saying your furniture has to be made from wood alone.

One thing to keep in mind if you enjoy building and creating outdoor furniture (or furniture of any sort for that matter), is you should have a space designated to it. Perhaps a bay in your garage, or a separate workshop. A room in your basement is good too, just don’t build anything bigger than you can safely take out via the stairway. If you have a walkout basement you’ll have a few more options.

Plus, it will be dusty, dirty work. And if you’re making anything that requires using spray paint, proper ventilation is a must. Having a space away from your main living area will help keep the dust and dirt out of your supper and sofa. 

Some types of furniture you can make are:

  • Adirondack Chairs
  • Bench Swing
  • Picnic tables – hexagonal, round, square, or rectangular
  • Snack Bar with stools
  • Porch swing
  • Chaise Lounge
  • Hammock stand

They can be made in both adult and child-size, which will thrill the littles if they have their very own outdoor furniture.

Garden Structures and Decor

Garden structures and decor lend themselves to be made from a variety of materials; not just wood. Scrap iron, copper, aluminum, PVC pipe, wire, and even wire cattle panels can be constructed into practical and decorative garden decor. I added a 16 foot by 4 foot cattle panel to the south side of my deck, and it will act as the trellis for my Virginia Creeper, plus other annual vining plants.

I have plans to add an arbor for climbing roses, and a few bench planters so I can enjoy different parts of my garden at different times of day. I’m not a professional woodworker by any means, but I think I learned a thing or two when I built my deck. 

Recycled materials are also great additions to gardens, such as wood pallets, old bed frames, crib springs, bathtubs, barbeques, tin cans, tires, metal tubing, picture frames, tea cups, and more. Chances are, if it can be recycled, you’ll find a use for it in your garden furniture and decor side hustle.

And if you’re doing some hard pruning of trees and shrubs, you can turn the logs and branches into planters, baskets, or stools for around a fire pit. I’m excited about the snow melting because I had some large trees taken down in November, and I’d love to see what I can make from the trunks. I foresee a bench for sure, but it may have to stay where I make it. I just don’t have the equipment to move anything too heavy.

The list of structures and decor is quite a bit longer than the furniture, and I know my list is only a portion of what is out there. You can choose from my list below, or create your very own. At the end of the day, it is really based on personal preference. When you’re creating a custom project for someone else, give them parameters. Within your scope of abilities and preferred materials.

Granted some projects are much bigger than others, and this is just an overview of the possibilities. 

Now for the list, in no particular order:

  • Decks
  • Arbors
  • Gazebos
  • Planter boxes
  • Raised garden beds
  • Pergolas
  • Trellises
  • Fences
  • Potting benches
  • Garden sheds
  • Greenhouses
  • Playhouses
  • Birdhouses
  • Bird feeders
  • Butterfly feeders
  • Bat boxes
  • Windchimes
  • Bird baths
  • Bench planters
  • Sandboxes
  • Garden Tool Caddies
  • Windmills
  • Stepping stones
  • Lanterns
  • Candle holders
  • Fire pits
  • Fountains
  • Fruit and vegetable markers
  • Games
  • …and so much more.

Now, just to give you a few ideas of what you can make with different materials let’s start with trellises. As I perused Pinterest I saw so many ideas I wanted to go outside and start creating. My issue, however, is there is still a lot of snow in my way. Plus it’s only about 5 degrees celsius today, so it’s a little too cool to be building anything outside. Well, in my opinion anyway.

Trellises can be made from wood, metal, old steel wagon wheels, wooden wagon wheels, cattle panels (as mentioned earlier), old wooden screen doors, branches and twine, bicycle rims, round bale feeders, old chandeliers (lights and glass removed of course), lattice, and more. Add chicken wire to an old screen door frame and you have the perfect trellis for vines, roses, and vining vegetables. Use your imagination and you’ll have friends and neighbours wanting to buy them from you.

Bird feeders are a great small item to make, and teacups and saucers are the perfect medium. And who doesn’t have a box or three of them handed down from generation to generation. If you don’t have your own teacup collection to use, check out thrift stores and garage sales. A little bit of glue, wire, and a bag of birdseed and you’ll have customers from near and far.

Raised garden beds are another way to turn your love of woodworking into a side hustle. With the increased interest in gardening over the past two years, raised beds have become very popular. They are ideal for anyone with a small backyard, or a balcony. Some are designed to sit on the ground and be filled with soil, while others are basically a box on legs, which is perfect for those with only a small patio or balcony. Upcycled materials such as washtubs, buckets, and even rocks can also be used to build a raised garden bed. Keep in mind the labour involved in building with rocks, and be sure to charge accordingly. 

Wind chimes can be made from branches, beads, wire, shells, metal, copper pipe, and even wood pieces. Light nylon rope or fish line can be used to tie the pieces together. Glass beads can be hot glued to a fish line and attached to either a branch or set inside a larger picture frame. You could easily make a few of these in a weekend and sell them on Etsy or advertise in local Facebook groups.

Garden markers can be crafted from oversized popsicle sticks (available in the craft aisle of your local Dollar Store) and either painted or coloured with permanent markers. To keep the paint and ink from washing off, use a clear coat to protect them. Painted rocks make perfect markers because the wind won’t blow them away, and your canine friends won’t steal them and chew them to bits.

TedsWoodworking Plans and Projects

Conclusion

The lists and ideas above just go to show you what can be done with a few materials and an imagination. If you’re anything like me, the ideas will just keep coming and you’ll be chomping at the bit wanting to get started. Creating decor for a garden space can be fun and lucrative. The possibilities are endless, and I’m sure I’ve only touched on a small number in this episode.

If you have any questions about gardening, feel free to visit allingardening.ca and contact me via the contact page.

Join me next week when I talk about services as a side hustle. Most services are provided in person, but there are a few that can be done remotely as well. Tune in next week to learn more.

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