Day 13: ONE Thing To Help Mind, Body or Soul (15 Days To Freedom Blogging Challenge)

Today is Day 13 of the 15 Days To Freedom Blogging Challenge called out by Natalie Sisson!

The challenge for today is to choose ONE thing that I will do that will help my mind, body or soul. It could take a form of exercise, changing eating habits for the better, learning new things, etc.

I have been working on these aspects of my life for the past year as I decided that from now on my life is going to be different, more meaningful, with a purpose and focus. In April of 2014 I became a vegan, in May I began to practice yoga, in September I finished my first novel and in December I published it.

During that time I have also took numerous courses, online and off, read books, listened to podcasts and webinars on writing, editing, blogging, website design, social media, marketing, taxes and other aspects of business. I love learning new things so I have enjoyed soaking up all that knowledge.

But, because it’s just one of me, the end of the year ended up being very busy and stressful and I stopped doing yoga since I was dedicating every minute to my writing and the business side of it.

Now, that the craziness of the book release is over with (almost), I can tell that my body and mind are begging for yoga and meditation. Ever since I started this 15 day blogging challenge, I have also felt a new surge of determination to begin taking care of myself and bring the yoga and meditation back. I renewed my practice yesterday and am determined to stick to it as I enjoy it and can feel the benefits of it almost immediately.

OHM…

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Day 12: Unclutter Your Business And Your Life (15 Days To Freedom Blogging Challenge)

Today is Day 12 of the 15 Days To Freedom Blogging Challenge called out by Natalie Sisson!

The challenge for today is to decide how I would unclutter my life and business, get rid of things that fill up my spaces, weigh me down, and take those things/stuff and give them away to people that need them, sell them, etc.

This topic is near and dear to me as I’ve been decluttering my life for a while now, but boy, I still have a long way to go. Before I fell in love with simplicity, I used to collect whatever I was into at that point in time and I amassed quite a few collections. I have a collection of antique dolls (investment, really), a collection of shot glasses and other travel trinkets, I have a large number of books on a subject of doll collecting, dressing and repair, books on crocheting and jewelry making, real estate, and I have a large collection of CDs.

These are the things I can think of that can go immediately. I haven’t enjoyed or used them in a longest time and kept them really because of sentimental value (shot glasses collected with my husband) or a perceived monetary value (everything else).

As far as my business is concerned, clearing out my writing desk would be something I can and will tackle first. It has become a communal property of sorts and everyone is dumping their papers on it. I will be clearing it out and claiming my territory. Next would be paring down the old paperwork and organizing the new one.

 

Day 11: One Way To Have More Me Time (15 Days To Freedom Blogging Challenge)

Today is Day 11 of the 15 Days To Freedom Blogging Challenge called out by Natalie Sisson!

The challenge for today is to choose ONE thing that I’m going to do, ONE way that I will make more time for ME this year.

In this challenge, Natalie calls not just for finding time to do exercise or meditate, but to take time off every day or week or month to relax, treat yourself to small luxuries of life, read, sleep, whatever it takes to re-energize and feel a 100%.

An interesting thing about this challenge for me is that I already have a gateway trip that I make once or twice a month to a beach town where I hope to live one day. I go there and stay for a 3 day weekend and just relax, enjoy beautiful views and the quiet of nature.

What I actually DON’T have time for, or should I say don’t have the discipline to set time aside for, is the daily meditation and yoga routine. I work full time while growing my new business and taking care of my family of four. I can barely find time to sleep, least for other things. For example, last night I went to sleep at 2am (working on my book edits) and then woke up at 5am to take a web class on marketing. Needless to say, the rest of the day I felt like a zombie, but that didn’t stop me from working on edits of the Kindle version of the book.

SO, today, I accept the challenge to start my day right and manage my stress and improve my health. Without searching far, I choose to make yoga/meditation a part of every morning when I wake up.

Day 10: One System To Implement (15 Days To Freedom Blogging Challenge)

Today is Day 10 of the 15 Days To Freedom Blogging Challenge called out by Natalie Sisson!

The challenge for today is to choose ONE task I am going to outsource in the next two days. I am to pick a repetitive but a necessary task and outsource it.

Phew, that’s kind of hard, since I’m a perfectionist and have to do it myself if it’s to be done right. BUT, since officially starting my new business in October in 2014, and taking on many tasks and “hats”, I have also realized that doing it all myself is a really quick and sure way to burn out and run my business into the ground.

I am a writer and as such I know that I can’t and shouldn’t do it all myself. While working on my first book, I came to terms with having to hand my work over to those who know how to do certain tasks better than I do. My first outsourced task was the most expensive one, but also a very important one – editing. I found a trusted editor through my writers society and he edited my first novel. It was one of the best things I have ever done. I knew that a professional eye will now be on my book to make it the best it can be, and it also took a huge pressure off of me and allowed me to focus on marketing meanwhile.

The second task that I outsourced was to a cover designer. I found the most talented lady from Bulgaria and she absolutely gets me. Her cover for my book has been gathering nothing but ooohs and aaahs and I have already secured her to design the covers for two other novels I’ll be releasing this year.

At last, just the other day I have outsourced my third task and it’s to do a line editing on my novel. I posted my first job ever (!) on Elance and I’m suppose to get the results tonight, wish me luck, as I’m on a tight timeline with this book. If I like how this job is done, I might have another addition to my novel-writing team.

One of the tasks that I have on a daily basis, that takes my time but isn’t at all complex, is to re-post tweets of the group I belong to where we help each other with promotion. The problem here is that the person that would have to do this work for me would have to access both my FB and Twitter accounts. I have no idea how to make it work without giving them my logins and passwords. I know that in the Hootsuite Pro I can invite a person as a member of the team and they can post tweets for me, but the particular task that I need involves more than just that (unless I’m over-complicating things here). If anyone has an experience in outsourcing something like that, please leave a comment below…

Day 9: One System To Implement (15 Days To Freedom Blogging Challenge)

Today is Day 9 of the 15 Days To Freedom Blogging Challenge called out by Natalie Sisson!

The challenge for today is to choose ONE system to put in place that will help me streamline my life and business and make it more efficient. Additional requirement is to list one awesome tool that I either have been using already and love or plan to use to change my life.

I looked through the list of systems that Natalie mentioned, which are:

Google Everything (Drive, Gmail, Calendar, Docs)

SOP – Standard Operating Procedures

Asana – project management and team management tool

Dropbox – cloud storage for larger files

PayPal – payment solution

InfusionSoft – CRM, email, campaign and affiliate management tool

LastPass – password management tool

 

As I already use Google everything, Dropbox and PayPal, I was looking into how SOP, Asana, InfusionSoft and LastPass could work for me.

Off the bat, I would have to say No to InfusionSoft, at least for now, as I simply can’t afford the system at $200 and up a month. Until my business grows to these levels, I will use a number of tools to substitute it: Mailchimp, E-junkie/Gumroad, Excel.

LastPass would be next to go as I already have a password management in place.

So that leaves me with Asana and SOP. I signed up for Asana and played with it a bit and it’s a great tool (coming from many projects, I can appreciate what it offers), but since it’s just me on the team for the nearest future, I’m afraid that I will be using a tugboat to catch one fish, if you catch my drift. I will keep this tool on a back-burner though, tracking my current project to see if the usefulness of the program will convince me to stick with it, but for now…

The WINNER is SOP! (or should I say the WINNERS are SOP?) Anyway, in my daily work in IT, I see an utmost importance of SOP in the daily life, especially when a new employee/contractor comes on board AND for existing employees, when the process doesn’t take place often.

For me personally, since I’ll be releasing a book every 6 months on average, concern is that I’ll forget some of the intricacies of formatting, setup, etc of the book files, so I definitely want to document these processes. Same goes for e-mail campaigns, SEO, etc. Creating SOP will benefit me in a long run as I begin to outsource some tasks (hired my first outsource last night, WOOT!), as well as me using the procedures as a basis for non-fiction books and courses I have in mind.

Natalie also asked to mention a tool that we currently love, that makes our lives easier. Hands down, for me it’s Scrivener. Even though I don’t use it yet to write the books in, it was an immense help when came to formatting my book for Kindle. Big shout-out goes to my writer friend and accountability partner Kayla Thomas for this incredible tip!

What systems do you have in place for your business and life?

Day 8: Three Goals This Year (15 Days To Freedom Blogging Challenge)

Today is Day 8 of the 15 Days To Freedom Blogging Challenge called out by Natalie Sisson!

The challenge for today is to choose 3 goals for this year and place them on a calendar along with a time off and other events.

This challenge was an easy one for me because just last week I worked through Natalie’s business plan and marketing plan worksheets (Thank you, Natalie!)

Goal # 1

Write and publish a non-fiction book to help writers with the technical and business side of a business process. The goal completion date is March 31st of this year. This will be my first go at a non-fiction book (I do write manuals and procedures at work all the time) and it will be important for me for these reasons: see if I can apply my current technical experience in a book format, practice book formatting where images and screenshots are involved, see if I can adhere to shorter timelines.

Goal # 2

Complete a re-write of a novel and publish on Amazon in e-book and paper formats by July 31st. This will be my second novel and I will be employing what I have learned while stumbling through the start to finish process with my first novel and see what can be improved, automated, outsourced. Completing this novel is important to me for several reasons: growing my book backlist, streamlining my processes, growing my audience, learning further about tools and techniques involved in the process.

Goal # 3

Write, re-write, complete and publish my 3rd novel on Amazon in e-book and paper formats by December 11th. This book is second in a series and I have made promise to my readers that it will come out in December 2015. Completing this book on time will be keeping my promise to readers and to myself. Additionally, it will be important for many similar reasons in the Goal # 2.

 

Besides the goals mentioned above, I have several live events that I will be attending this year that I’m really excited about. In April, I will be going to WonderCon where my writers society has a booth and I will have a chance to meet my readers and hang out with people who are crazy about fantasy, sci-fi and paranormal. I am also totally planning to dress as Tardis from Doctor Who and go to a costumed masquerade!

In November, I will be going to LosCon where my writers society has a booth as well and I will have another awesome chance to hang out with readers and lovers of sci-fi.

I will also try to go to Los Angeles Festival of Books to meet readers and writers of all genre. And, if all works out, I will have a meet and greet at a local library to introduce more readers to my first novel.

Phew, busy and exciting year!

Day 7: ONE thing to focus on (15 Days To Freedom Blogging Challenge)

Today is Day 7 of the 15 Days To Freedom Blogging Challenge called out by Natalie Sisson!

The challenge for today is to choose just ONE thing that I would focus on to see it through to completion, be successful at starting it and actually finishing it.

WOW, that’s a hard one, Natalie! I’m known for reading 2-3 books at the same time, taking a few different classes in the same month and being equally interested in at least 2 projects at the same time. At the same time, I have noticed lately that I haven’t been enjoying what I read as much or haven’t been grasping the concepts I’m learning as solidly as I used to and I know where the problem lies. I’m too scattered and therefore lack focus. I’m missing that ONE thing at a time focus that Natalie is calling for in this challenge.

I thought on this the whole morning, really giving it importance and time I think I haven’t given before, to distill what is that I do and why I do it. I write novels, but also how-to books about business of writing and technical side of it. I am also working on tips to help people pay off their debt and simplify finances, get rid of clutter and simplify their environment, minimize stress and simplify emotional load.

I personally love reading novels and non-fiction, learning from books, classes, webinars, podcasts and passing what I’ve learned to others.

So, after looking into what I really do, here is my ONE thing to focus on: Give Value Through Knowledge and Entertainment.

Even though my initial goal was ‘build a location-independent business that supports me and my family”, I think giving value is ultimately what will help this business succeed, because I will work on making many lives better, not just my own.