Tell us about yourself.
I always wanted to be my own boss, and I always wanted to be a writer. I started a Virtual Assistant practice in 2003 to become my own boss. The business was reinvented several times as I began to specialize in marketing and email marketing. Around 2009 writing non-fiction and marketing copy also became a focus. My business made it possible for me to work from home when my husband and I married, which provided a more stable home life for his youngest daughter.
I retired my business in 2018 shortly after my husband retired. I’m in the process of determining what semi-retirement looks like for me – but writing is front and center.
What inspired you to create your blog/business?
In retirement I picked up several new hobbies. It didn’t take long to realize that I would have more fun if I had a bigger budget! So, inspiration one is to create income.
Inspiration two is to keep me on track to write my first novel. The people I have spoken to about the novel are interested in the story. They keep me motivated to keep working on it. The blog gives me a way to stay connected with more people who will want to read the novel(s).
I’m still figuring out how I can put these two things together.
What is a typical day in your life?
My husband and I start the day off together. We like the flexibility of the retirement lifestyle and often do things on the spur of the moment.
I spend most mornings writing/working. Afternoons are reserved for my hobbies, looking after the house and gardens, or activities with my husband. Evenings are for relaxing, sometimes I do more writing. This is what I call the default schedule. It’s not set in stone, so we can change it at a moment’s notice.
We have a seasonal lifestyle. In winter I spend a lot of time quilting. In summer, the focus is on outdoor activities like gardening and camping. Writing is something I do all year long. Before Covid 19 we would be camping most of the summer, and spending time with family throughout the year.
How do you stay productive and motivated working virtually?
I set specific goals each week, block off the time to work, and remind myself often of the reasons I committed to creating this blog. Working virtually allows me to set my own schedule and work in a comfortable environment – what’s not to love!
How have your friends and family reacted to your project?
I haven’t shared it yet! I want to get the focus sorted out before I share it.
Family and friends tend to be supportive of my projects regardless of whether they can relate to what I am doing.
The 30 Day Blog Challenge has given me amazing support and feedback. Since I haven’t shared with friends and family, this kind of feedback has been essential to know if I am on track or not.
What has been the scariest part of having a blog and how have you overcome it?
Committing to it. I’ve considered having a blog in the past, but I didn’t believe I could stay committed. Fear of success/failure is also scary.
I feel like I am in a place in my life where I can commit to my own dreams of writing fiction. If not now, when? I don’t want to have regrets about not doing what I love, so my fear has a little less impact. I try not to be attached to the outcomes, and just keep moving ahead.
What have you gained from your business up until now?
My previous business gave me confidence and knowledge about marketing and business in general. I learned about how people work, and why they do the things they do. My life lessons up to this point are reflected in my writing. The common thread is that people want to do work that is meaningful and provides them with a good lifestyle.
What message do you have for students who are starting the challenge now?
Follow the lessons and keep up with the schedule. Put 100% effort into each day’s lesson.
Take a few minutes every day to acknowledge the effort you have put into creating a life you can love.
How did 30 day blog challenge help you?
The 30 day format was easy to commit to. The information is better than I expected – not just superficial “what to do” but in depth “how to” and “why”.
Knowing I had the support for 30 days meant that I had time to put things into place but not time to polish it. In this case, done is better than perfect. I can refine it later.
The support and feedback are really helpful. I never felt like I had to figure things out on my own, someone has always been available to help me figure things out. Feedback has helped me stay on track and given me more confidence that I can do this. Without the feedback I would have been second guessing everything.