Why It’s Good to Think Outside the Box

Do you ever have a “Why didn’t I think of this before?” moment?

I’ve had a few of them lately, and it’s annoying. And mostly because it’s been such simple stuff.

For example, I’ve been concentrating on making printables for my Etsy Shop and just came to the conclusion the same files can be used in Goodnotes or other notetaking apps. It looks like I have some listings to revamp.

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.

Sometimes we get too set in our ways.

I’m the type of person who likes things as they were. It’s hard for me to make drastic changes in life willingly. However, those changes have happened whether I wanted them to or not.

When Ross died I kept as much the same in the house as I could. His clothes were still there, everything on his nightstand, and so forth. It took a long time before I gradually started giving away/tossing his things. When I moved, I probably kept more than I should have.

Getting settled into my new place has been an adventure to say the least. Once I wrapped my head around the fact I could change the colours of the walls, replace the flooring, and make changes as I see fit, it has been easier to do.

Me and my wanting things to stay the same is interfering with how the yard is going to change this summer. I love the grass (over an acre of it I’m sure), but the practical me knows that space can be better utilized for growing flowers, fruit, and vegetables. I even have trouble changing things other people did.

The point I’m trying to make is we all too often get in our own way. Just because something has been done a certain way for ages doesn’t mean that’s the only way. The older I get, the more I’m realizing it.

In order to improve, we have to be willing to make changes.

Improvement doesn’t miraculously just happen. We have to make it happen. Whether it’s improving our health or financial status, we’re the ones responsible. And the improvements also mean hard work on our part.

Sure, we’d like to think things will just fall into our laps, but that does not happen. And if by some chance it does, the circumstances haven’t been the best to make it happen. (Ask me how I know.)

I’ve spent the better part of the last 2 1/2+ years taking courses, reading, and working to improve what I do and how to do it. I have also ventured into some unknown territory regarding my writing and creating, but I know better things are in store.

As we all know, everything works in theory. But in order to make it work for real we have to take chances and be willing to make changes.

No matter what we do in life we have to be willing to make changes; or at least accept that sometimes change is inevitable. Plus we have to work on being better versions of ourselves. I have a quote on my office wall that says “It’s not about being the best; it’s about being better than you were yesterday.” It’s a quote I refer to often, especially when things aren’t proceeding like I think they should be.

So when you’re stuck in your thinking, or in a creative rut, take a step back and think about what you can do to make things better. Write it out, talk it out, or colour it out. You never know what will present the “aha” moment you need.

New Year and 3 New Opportunities for Side Hustles

Happy New Year! I hope you’ve had an enjoyable holiday season and brought in the new year on a good note.

Now that the holidays are over and life is returning to somewhat normal, it’s time to get back to work. I’m enjoying writing for my 3 blogs, and am having fun creating new planners, colouring pages, and activity books.

The frost on the trees makes it look like a winter wonderland; so very pretty when it’s thick. The snow and frost are sparkling in the sun today. We had several days where it was overcast and didn’t get to enjoy the sun at all. (It’s days like those that my energy level goes to shit.) I’m very much a “need sun” girl. After spending a few November days in Vancouver several years ago, I realized a coastal home is not for me. I’ll take the minus 40 and sun any day.

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.

I know I haven’t talked much about side hustles for awhile, but with the beginning of a new year I’m going to give you a few ideas for them. I do have to say, one of my best resources is Printables by Number (John & Suzi Whitford). I have purchased courses and templates, and am very happy with the information that they provide. If you’re interested in creating a printables business as a side hustle, I highly recommend them.

If you’re not interested in starting a printables business, you can start with a blog. Blogging has been, and will continue to be, a lucrative side hustle. The key, however, is to stay consistent. If you want to know more about starting a blog, Suzi has a great free beginners course. The link is for an ebook, which I suggest you print out for offline reference. (I’ve been blogging for awhile, and I still refer to my copy.)

In addition to creating printables and having a blog, you can use your knowledge to create courses. The nice thing about a course is once you create it, you can almost set-it-and-forget-it. It doesn’t have to be a long course, and your lessons should be bite-size. In my experience as a student of online courses, I would rather have more lessons of shorter duration than one or two an hour or more long each.

Notice I said almost? Even if your course content is evergreen, you’re still going to have to do some updates over time. In Suzi & John’s Printables by Number Course they updated from the 2.0 to 3.0, just since I became a student. They realized they needed to include more information, and any existing students got the new version at no extra cost. (New students will get the updated version, which includes all of the updates.)

I’m partway through a course on Systeme.io and am learning so much. My next step is to create my own, but I’m torn on which niche (printables or yoga) I want to start with. I have invested in the software and accessories to create; now I need to make my decision and actually do it.

And yes, I know I’ve talked about printables, blogging, and courses before, and they’re not an opportunity you haven’t heard about. But, any one of them can be a new opportunity for you. And with the cost of living on the rise, and the expense of Christmas weighing heavily on many, it’s the perfect time to invest some time in yourself.

Don’t wait until you’re in dire straights and need thousands yesterday. Take the steps now to start building something for yourself. Whether you want to retire early, start an education fund for grandbabies, or just take a few more vacations a year, investing in yourself is never a bad thing.

I recently invested in some software to create activity books and puzzles, and have created my first. I’m still learning the ropes on the platform I’m using, and would love your feedback. Click on the photo below (or the Activity Book in the sidebar) and let me know what you see. I’m not sure if my funnel system is set up right; so if it isn’t I want to know so I can fix it.

Once again, I’d like to wish you a Happy New Year! And may the year ahead bring you happiness, joy, and prosperity. Enjoy each day and be grateful for the good it brings.

Getting Started with Your First Book

Alas, the flooring is all done!

I still have to install the transition strips, but that’s a project for another day. It will be done by the weekend however, along with my spare room being painted. That room now sits completely empty, except for the paint can in the middle of it.

My thought was to put everything back and paint in a month or three, but my boyfriend convinced me now is the perfect time. I have to admit he’s not wrong. And it will be nice to have one more thing checked off the list.

My office was the last room to be done, and I have to say this is much nicer than the carpet that was in here. Moving my chair is now effortless. In fact, I have to be careful because it rolls too easily. I somehow foresee myself forgetting, and rolling back into the bookshelf when I push myself away from the desk.

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.

If someone had told me a year ago that I would be installing vinyl planking I would have told them they were nuts. Even when I picked out the colours I didn’t see myself doing any of the installation; yet here I am with some new experiences under my belt.

Granted I didn’t do the entire house alone, but I did enough to know it’s not something I’d want to be doing full time. Kudos to the professional flooring installers; they are definitely worth the money they charge. (I had the linoleum in my bathrooms installed by a local flooring company. That was NOT something I was willing to tackle.)

Don’t be afraid to take on new challenges. Or try new things. If it works out that’s great! If it doesn’t, then at least you can say you tried.

Writing a Book

The same goes for writing. If you want to be a published author, you first have to write your book. It is scary in the beginning, and all the self-doubt can be paralyzing.

But don’t listen to the negative thoughts in your head. Or for that matter, to the naysayers in your circle. Do what makes you happy, and if that involves writing a book, then go for it.

It doesn’t matter if you write fiction or nonfiction. The goal is to get your story/knowledge out there. Take a few minutes and do some brainstorming. Write out your ideas, or use a mind map to get your ideas out. The latter is a great tool to use if you’re more visual.

The Process

Once you have some topics/story ideas, work on your outline. For the sake of simplicity, I’ll concentrate on nonfiction in this post. Although I also write fiction, I take a different approach to it than I do my non-fiction.

If you’re having trouble with your outline, consider turning it into a series 10 questions your audience wants answered. Each question is a chapter and every subtopic is a supporting question. For example, your might have an outline that looks like this:

Chapter One: What Is Calligraphy?

  • Where Did Calligraphy Originate?
  • Why Do People Use Calligraphy Today?
  • What Can I Do with My Finished Calligraphy Work?

Chapter Two: What Supplies Do I Need?

  • How Do I Know If I Picked the Right Pen?
  • Do I Need to Use Specialty Paper?
  • Which Ink Should I Buy?

You can use as many questions as needed in each chapter to share your information. Some chapters may need several questions to cover all of the points you want to share while others may only need three or four questions. Don’t get hung up on how many questions you have right now.

When you’re finished with your outline it’s time to flesh it out. Answer the questions as thoroughly as you can, without boring the reader. Keep your tone friendly, and it doesn’t hurt to add a little humour in as well.

Once you’ve finished your first draft, it’s time to polish it. This is where your editing comes in. Sometimes it helps to take a step away from it for a few days or so, and look at it with fresh eyes. You’ll find sentences you want to reword, or you may omit entire paragraphs.

It’s all part of the process, but is a necessity if you want to create a book others will want to read and learn from.

For a more detailed look at writing nonfiction, you can pick up my 12 Module Course here. If you have any problems with the download please contact me. It’s a small price to pay for a course that can be the beginning of a regular stream of passive income for you.

The hardest part to anything new is getting started. Once you take the first step (even if it’s a baby one) the rest will fall into place.

What’s something you’ve done that scared you to death at first? Let me know in the comments below.

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