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How To Start A Proofreading Business And Make $4,000+ Monthly


Do you want to learn how to start a proofreading business?

Proofreaders are responsible for putting the finishing touches on written content, from blog posts, web copy, marketing materials, resumes and cover letters to academic articles, legal briefs, and much more.How To Start A Proofreading Business

This is a very flexible side hustle, and it’s a great opportunity if you enjoy reading or have been known to spot grammar and punctuation errors.

Today, I have a great interview to share with you. It’s with Ariel Gardner, who has been working as a proofreader, copy editor, and freelance writer. She’s been editing for me for nearly seven years, and I’m excited because she’s putting out her first course, Proofreading Launchpad.

Ariel started proofreading as a side hustle, and it’s become a very flexible full-time job that allows her to travel with her family in the summer. She went from earning less than $500 a month proofreading to regularly making $4,000+ every month.

In this interview, I ask Ariel questions about how to start a proofreading business. 

Proofreaders are in demand because business owners understand the need for error-free content. And as Ariel explains in our interview, Google favors error-free content in its search rankings.

So if you are interested in starting a flexible and in-demand side hustle, I ask Ariel questions you may be wondering about, like:

  • What’s the difference between an editor and a proofreader?
  • How much do proofreaders earn?
  • How long does it take to become a proofreader?
  • How can a new proofreader build their portfolio?
  • How can a proofreader find paying clients?
  • Do you need to have a degree to become a proofreader?

Plus more!

Today’s interview will help you get started on your path to becoming a paid proofreader. 

If you want to learn how to launch a proofreading business on the side of your job, while you’re in school, or with kids at home, this interview is a great place to get started.

You can click here to learn more about the Proofreading Launchpad course.

How To Start A Proofreading Business

 

Hello! Can you share your background, who you are, etc.? How did you start your proofreading business?

Yes, hi! I’m Ariel Gardner, and I’ve been working as a freelance proofreader, copy editor, and writer for about seven years.

Proofreading and editing are activities I’ve been doing since I was in high school. I was the editor-in-chief for my high school’s yearbook, and I remember spending countless hours proofreading articles written by classmates who didn’t care much about proper grammar or punctuation. I did a lot more than proofreading in that role, but I’d say that’s the first real practical application of my skills.

Even before that, proper grammar and punctuation were drilled into me. My grandpa (I called him Gaffer) was an English professor who had no problem correcting me at the dinner table. And he passed on one of the most important lessons about grammar and punctuation—it’s okay to break the rules once you understand them.

What my Gaffer meant is that writers make stylistic choices that influence the tone and meaning of their text—and that’s okay! Accepting this is difficult for new proofreaders because we’re so focused on following the rules. But I’ve tried to bring that nugget of wisdom into my work, and I think it’s why I’ve been able to work with such a wide variety of clients. 

Speaking of clients, everything started when I was back in college finally finishing my bachelor’s degree in English. I was working two jobs and had three children between the ages of 4 and 11.  I volunteered my proofreading services to my son’s preschool, and I did light proofreading and editing for some of their fundraising solicitations. Eventually they were paying me, but I had volunteered my services at first.

I must have mentioned that to you, Michelle, or maybe you knew I was back in school working on my degree in English, but you approached me about editing your blog posts. We were really tight on cash back then, and it was a huge deal to have an extra $300 to $500 each month.

A few other little jobs came my way, but I was still making only around $1,000 a month with my side hustle. After a couple of years of that, two life-changing things happened within months of one another: My dad passed away, and I was finally graduating from college. I was so threadbare at this point, working 80 to 90 hours a week between school, part-time jobs, and my side hustle. It was painfully exhausting, and I was missing precious time with my family. 

When my dad passed, he left me his paid-off house, and although I hate talking about my dad’s death this way, being able to sell his house meant my husband and I could pay off ours. It also allowed me to make the decision to pare down my jobs and spend the summer after graduation trying to see if I could turn my side hustle into a full-time job.

That summer, I built a simple website and started putting myself out there. If I didn’t make it that summer, I would figure something else out for work. But because I didn’t want to work a traditional 9-to-5 job, I put everything into finding clients. I pitched anyone I knew and thought could use my services. To my surprise, I quickly landed some gigs, like proofreading and formatting books of poetry, working with a non-profit, and editing the copy on my friend’s graphic design site.

I was adding to my skill set and developing new services for clients throughout that period. I was constantly growing my skills to match the needs of my clients, and it was around this time that I landed two more big clients: Millennial Money Man and Laptop Empires. These sites needed weekly help with proofreading, copy editing, and writing. It felt like a sign that I was on the right path. 

About six months after graduation, I was regularly netting $4,000 to $5,000/month. Eventually I quit all of my part-time jobs (phew!), and I was working as an independent contractor until early 2022, when Millennial Money Man offered me a salaried position. 

I guess I kind of do work a normal 9-to-5 job now, but it’s still flexible and allows me to teach others how to start proofreading and editing, and I love the people I work with.

Whoa, that was long! I guess I have a lot of big feelings about how I got started. 🙂 

 

What’s the difference between a copy editor and a proofreader?

Copy editors improve what an author writes. While they edit for correct grammar and punctuation, they also focus on consistency and concision. Copy editors can also rearrange sentences, restructure the text, change words, and so on. They can make much larger structural and stylistic changes, if that’s what the writer needs and wants.

Proofreaders, on the other hand, are focused on correcting spelling, grammar, and punctuation mistakes. They often ensure consistency within the text, like fonts, italicized and bolded words, and so on. 

Most of the time, proofreaders and copy editors are following specific style guides and ensuring the text matches those set guidelines.

If you were thinking about the order of work, it would go author, copy editor, and then proofreader. But this depends on what the writer needs, and not every client needs both a copy editor and a proofreader. Actually, most don’t.

 

How much money do proofreaders earn? 

Brand-new proofreaders generally earn around $15 to $25/hour, but pay can go up to $30 to $50/hour, depending on your niche and experience.

The highest-paying niches are in science, technology, and medicine, but you need to have a strong understanding of specific terminology and style guides used in each of those fields, if you want to proofread for any of them.

New proofreaders can leverage previous work or academic experience to get into those higher-paying niches. 

Proofreading resumes, CVs, and cover letters is also a high-paying niche (some pay $200+ for a review!) because it often requires a tighter turnaround time. 

In my Proofreading Launchpad course, I teach students that they can offer additional services, like light copy editing (think: fewer structural and stylistic changes and more edits focused on concision, sometimes called proof-editing) as a way to increase their pay.

 

Are proofreaders in demand?

What’s interesting about proofreading is that so many business owners don’t understand how much they would benefit from a proofreader. Proofreaders can edit anything from web copy, sales pages, emails, and white papers to academic articles, ebooks, screen plays, RFPs, grants, resumes, and more. 

I don’t think it’s an understatement to say that any published copy can benefit from the eyes of a proofreader. Not everyone realizes that, but there’s a lot of potential!

To your question, there is a demand, especially as more and more people are publishing content online. Google favors content that is accurate and error free. If a site owner wants to keep their pages to the top of search results, they cannot ignore the need for a proofreader or copy editor.

 

How can a new proofreader build their portfolio?

This might be a hot take, but I believe the easiest way to build your portfolio is to offer free services to someone in your close network. You’re gaining experience, confidence, and a reference or testimonial—all things new proofreaders need!

Once you’ve completed that first free job, you’ll have something in your portfolio and a reference. From there, I recommend two different paths: start actively looking for work on Upwork (or another freelancing platform) or pitch people in your broader network.

You’ll want to start small—I mean smaller, low-paying jobs—but as you develop a niche, expertise, and your portfolio, you can begin to up your rates and pitch larger jobs.

 

How long does it take to become a proofreader?

It really depends on what kind of help you need getting started. People with really honed-in proofreading skills may simply need help finding clients and setting up their business. And those who need to refresh their proofreading skills will require a little extra time.

But in general, you can have a client in about a month or less. That’s about how long it takes to get through the Proofreading Launchpad course.

I honestly believe that the biggest hurdle new proofreaders have to overcome is finding the confidence to put themselves out there and pitch their services. I know this sounds a little cheesy, but the sooner you face your fear of hearing “No,” the sooner you’ll find a client who says “Yes.”

 

How does a proofreader find paying clients?

There are lots of different ways to find proofreading clients, and some are pretty fun. I’ve already mentioned offering your services to those in your close network and through Upwork, but you can also network in Facebook groups for freelancers or in-person groups, like your local Chamber of Commerce.

My favorite way to find clients, though, is with a method I call “I found an error on your website.” The idea is that whenever you are on a website with a punctuation, spelling, or grammatical error, you screenshot it and send it to the website owner, along with a note that says something like:

Hi, 

I was visiting your website to [insert your reason], and I noticed some errors. I’ve attached a screenshot to point them out, and here’s how the corrected copy should read:

[Add the corrected copy.]

If you’re interested in having someone proofread more of your site and correct any other mistakes, I’m a freelance proofreader and would be happy to discuss how I can help you.

Sincerely, 

[Your name]

What’s great about this approach is that you’ve shown the business owner the value in having a proofreader. No one wants to publish copy that’s full of errors, and you’re highlighting that fact while also positioning yourself as an easy solution.

 

What skills do you need to be a proofreader?

There are really two sides to the types of skills you need as a proofreader.

The most obvious one is being capable of spotting and correcting mistakes. That comes from understanding those rules and knowing to apply them. I should note that applying those skills includes understanding style guides.

There’s also skill required in running a business, like marketing yourself, maintaining good client relationships, and so on. These aren’t proofreading-specific skills—they’re requirements for starting any kind of freelance work.

The Proofreading Launchpad course is designed to help you develop both of those skill sets: proofreading skills and freelancing skills. Your success as a proofreader depends, ultimately, on your ability to marry those two things. 

 

Do you need to have a degree to become a proofreader?

No, you don’t need a degree to become a proofreader.

There may be some jobs that require a degree, but that’s more likely the case if you want to get hired on with a larger proofreading or editing firm.

Just to be clear, if you are working as a freelancer, you do not need to have a degree. 

However, having a background in academia can help find certain types of jobs. For example, if you have a degree in a STEM field, you’ll be better-suited for editing journal articles, textbook copy, or research papers in whichever STEM field you pursued. You can bring up that experience as you fill out profiles on different freelancing platforms. 

So, while a degree isn’t required, it can help if you know how to leverage it.

 

Can you work from home as a proofreader? Is this a good freelance career?

For sure, on both of those questions! 

Proofreading is a great work-from-home career. You can easily start your business from the comfort of your home, but it’s also possible to work as a proofreader if you want to travel. My husband is a teacher, and we try to travel as much as possible when he’s on summer break, and I can bring my work with me when I need to.

As far as proofreading as a good freelance career, there are lots of one-off jobs and recurring work. This is an ideal situation for freelancers because you can build lasting relationships while also taking on exciting and challenging projects with new clients.

It’s also entirely possible to expand your services as you grow your business. You can start with general proofreading and advance to editing manuscripts or legal documents. Many proofreaders also go on to offer copy editing services, like I did. 

 

What specific steps does a person need to take to make money proofreading?

The first step is refreshing your proofreading skills. You began learning how to proofread as early as elementary school and learned more through high school. You might not remember everything, but it comes back over time.

Pay close attention to the content you are reading, from books to social media posts. When you see errors, make note of how you would correct them. That’s how you start dusting off those skills.

The next step is learning how to find clients. There are countless ways to do that, and it’s best to focus on one or two strategies to begin with. I find this keeps you from getting overwhelmed, and you can really master a strategy this way.

Don’t get overwhelmed in the beginning with the formalities of starting a business—building a website, forming an LLC, getting a business bank account, and so on. You’ve got to stay out of your own way and focus on finding people who will pay you to proofread.

When you first start, it can be as simple as asking a friend if they’d like you to proofread their resume as they begin job hunting. 

I don’t want to be reductive, but it’s really those two steps: refreshing your skills and finding clients. You can certainly break those down into smaller steps, and that’s what I’m teaching in Proofreading Launchpad.

 

Can you tell me about the proofreading course you offer? Why should someone take it?

I am really excited you asked! Proofreading Launchpad is designed to teach you the easiest way to start proofreading. I start the course outlining three main outcomes, which are:

  • You are confident in your proofreading skills.
  • You are capable of finding paying clients.
  • You are excited to get started.

The course is structured with those outcomes in mind, and I made sure everything feels very actionable. 

That’s what makes Proofreading Launchpad such a solid course—it’s so usable.

You’re learning all of the necessary skills, for both proofreading and freelancing, and how to apply them. I also lay out two very clear paths for finding your first paying client and the easiest way to build your portfolio, which gets you that all-important work experience that is so difficult when you’re brand new. There’s even a lesson on SEO, which is a must if you’re working with clients who publish content online.

This might sound strange, but my course also has a lot of heart. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to building a successful proofreading business (sure, there are some proven strategies, which I teach), but I am teaching you how to be adaptable and build strong client relationships from the beginning. 

 

Last, are there any other tips you have for someone who wants to learn how to start a proofreading business?

I have one major tip that I mentioned briefly: Stay out of your own way. Explaining what that means might sound a little woo-woo (I’m warning you upfront!), but I really believe in what I’m saying.

Starting a side hustle can be terrifying. You might be afraid of hearing “No,” that you’re not good enough, or any number of other fears. I’ve been there, and a lot of successful business owners I know have been there too.

When we are fearful, we often put things in our way to prevent us from dealing with whatever is scaring us to begin with. I mean, think about that for a second. If you were being hunted by a lion, you’d want to put distance and a physical barrier between the two of you. It’s the same protectionary response.

But the reality is that hearing “No” after you pitch a client isn’t the same as being hunted by a lion. One threatens your life; the other threatens your ego.

The sooner you accept that your fears are normal and aren’t trying to maul you, the sooner you can devote your energy to finding a paying client.

You can click here to learn more about my Proofreading Launchpad course.

Are you interested in starting a proofreading business?





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Finance

Easy & Affordable Way To Get Life Insurance


Do you have life insurance? Today, I am sharing my Policygenius review to help you find an affordable and easy place to find life insurance.

Life insurance is extremely important.Policygenius Review

And, it’s probably something you can easily afford. In fact, many people are able to find life insurance plans for less than $50 a month – there are extremely affordable plans out there!

Yet, many people go without life insurance.

If you’re unfamiliar with what life insurance is, I want to start my Policygenius review by explaining what it is.

See, life insurance is money for your family for when you pass away. If you are the sole or primary earner in your family, then there are probably a lot of people who rely on you financially. And, if you are a stay at home parent, life insurance is still extremely important as well.

The money that comes from life insurance can be used to pay for funeral expenses, day-to-day bills (such as your mortgage or rent), to pay off debt, to hire help for the family (such as a nanny or daycare), set up college funds, etc.

Think about it like this: If you were to die tomorrow, how would your family be able to cover the bills?

According to the Insurance Information Institute, in 2020, 54% of all people in the U.S. had some sort of life insurance. However, many of those people don’t have enough life insurance coverage. That means their policy likely doesn’t meet the needs of their family.

This also means that 46% of people in the U.S. do not have any form of life insurance. That’s a lot of families who are not protected in the event of an untimely death.

If you don’t have life insurance or if you only have employer-provided life insurance, I recommend getting your own life insurance policy. That’s why I wanted to do this Policygenius review – to help you find an easy and affordable way to find life insurance.

If you have life insurance through your work, I still highly recommend getting your own life insurance policy as well. This is because the policy through your work usually doesn’t offer enough life insurance coverage, plus if something happens to your job, then you may lose your policy. 

Sadly, I have heard too many stories about someone who’s lost their job, completely forgot that their life insurance was tied to their work, and then passed away. They and their family assumed the policy was still intact, but instead, they were left with nothing. 

This is something that you do not want to happen to you or your family.

If you are looking for life insurance, one easy way I recommend is trying out Policygenius.

Policygenius makes getting life insurance easy. A quote takes just five minutes, and you can see comparable policies so that you can determine what is best for you.

You can click here to find a life insurance policy.

In my Policygenius life insurance review, I’m going to explain more about what they offer, how much life insurance costs, how Policygenius makes money, ratings and reviews, and more. If you have any additional questions, please leave a comment below, and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

Content related to my Policygenius review:

Here is my Policygenius Review

 

Who needs life insurance?

The reality is that not everyone needs life insurance. However, most people do. 

It’s recommended that you have life insurance if:

  1. You have a family. If you have a spouse and/or children who depend on you and/or your income, then you should have life insurance. In addition to covering any bills or debt that you may leave behind, a life insurance policy can help them pay off the mortgage, pay for their college education, and more.
  2. If anyone has cosigned a loan for you. For example, if you have a parent who has cosigned on your student loans, or if someone is a cosigner on your car loan, then you should have life insurance. This is because if something were to happen to you, then they would be stuck with your debt.
  3. If you are young and healthy. Even young people can benefit from life insurance, and the added benefit is that you can typically lock in a more affordable life insurance rate now instead of later. Because life insurance tends to get more expensive as you get older, buying a policy when you’re young may save you money. 

If you are looking for life insurance, I recommend checking out Policygenius. Policygenius makes getting life insurance easy, no matter what stage of life you are in. 

In just five minutes, you can get a quote with comparable policies so that you can determine which one is best for you. There’s no charge to get a quote.

 

What is Policygenius?

I’ve already talked a lot about the benefits of Policygenius, but it’s important that you understand what it is. Policygenius is a website where you can find life insurance.

They are not an insurance company, and there aren’t Policygenius life insurance policies – they simply help you shop for one!

This is a platform where you can compare different life insurance policies from many different companies. It’s a way to compare rates to find the best life insurance for you.

Policygenius has helped over 30,000,000 people shop for insurance over the years.

On Policygenius’ website, you can find life insurance policies from companies such as Protective, Banner Life, Lincoln Financial, AIG, Brighthouse Financial, Foresters Financial, Prudential, and more.

Policygenius also offers other types of insurance, such as home insurance, car insurance, disability insurance, renters insurance, long-term care insurance, pet insurance, travel insurance, jewelry insurance, vision insurance, and more.

You can compare rates for those types of policies in the same way you use Policygenius for life insurance.

 

What does Policygenius do?

You may be wondering why you can’t just purchase your life insurance directly from a life insurance company.

Well, you can, and some people do.

However, what’s nice about Policygenius is that you can shop around in one, simple place. Without Policygenius, you would have to contact each company individually and get quotes. 

That’s easier than it used to be because you can get quotes online, but it still takes extra time.

Plus, law requires that the final rate, whether you buy the policy through Policygenius or directly from an insurance company, is the same amount of money.

You aren’t paying extra to use Policygenius, and you aren’t saving money buying direct.

Policygenius actually helps you shop around so that you can save the most money, and they do all the work for no extra cost.

Policygenius Review for life insurance

How much does Policygenius cost?

Policygenius is free to use! There is no cost to shop for insurance on their site.

And, surprisingly, life insurance is much more affordable than you probably realize.

I did a quick search through Policygenius, and I was able to find a $1,000,000 policy for 20 years, for as low as $26 per month.

The monthly premiums are most likely much more affordable than you thought.

 

How much is a life insurance policy?

Many people skip life insurance because they think it’ll be too expensive. However, that’s far from the truth! Typically, you can find a policy that offers $1,000,000 in coverage for around $50 per month.

You can even find life insurance policies for less than $25 a month.

PolicyGenius has a life insurance calculator that will help you see how much it will cost for different amounts of coverage.

The cost depends on factors like your age, lifestyle, location, and amount of coverage you want.

 

What types of life insurance are there?

There are two main types of life insurance:

Term life insurance 

Term life insurance covers you for a set number of years, and it is typically the least expensive option. You can use a term life policy to carry you through your working years and while your retirement fund grows. Once you reach retirement age, you should have enough aside to cover you in case of an emergency. Most young families will be best with term life insurance.

Your term life insurance policy only pays out upon death, so there are no other financial benefits to it after that. Honestly, that’s all that most people need life insurance for anyway.

Whole life insurance 

A whole life insurance policy is one that covers you for your entire life, and because of that, it is much more expensive. It also may have a cash value, investment options, etc. Those are all reasons why it is much more expensive than term life insurance. There are many reasons to choose one type of policy over another, but a whole life insurance policy might be a better option if you have a dependent who will need long-term care.

 

How does Policygenius get paid?

If Policygenius doesn’t charge, then how do they make money?

See, Policygenius is an independent insurance broker. They get paid a commission for each life insurance policy that they sell, and it’s the life insurance company that pays their commissions. 

So, you do not pay PolicyGenius anything else – their insurance commissions are built into the price of the insurance policy that you are buying.

Policygenius does not give any preference over one insurer over another. Instead, they are there to give you the best life insurance policy options.

 

How do I get life insurance through Policygenius? How does Policygenius work?

If you’re reading this Policygenius review and are interested in using their platform to shop around, let me explain how it works.

You simply can follow these steps below:

  1. Head on over to Policygenius.
  2. There is a simple application that asks for information about your age and zip code, and you will need to answer some medical questions.
  3. Then, Policygenius will give you some coverage estimates. Here, you can choose your policy length (how many years do you want your life insurance policy to last?) as well as how much you’d like to be covered for.
  4. Next, you will choose one of the options for a policy, and fill out an application. Policygenius will connect you with a licensed agent so that you can get an accurate life insurance quote. Don’t worry, there are no sales pitches! When you’re talking to an agent, you can ask them any questions that you may have, what the next step is, and so on.
  5. Buy life insurance.

 Again, there is no fee to look or even buy your policy through Policygenius.

 

Do I need to take a medical exam?

You will most likely have to get a medical exam during the signup process. If you are healthy, you may be able to skip it, though.

You can ask the agent about this while you’re getting your quote.

 

Is Policygenius a good insurance company? 

Policygenius ratings are very good overall. The average Policygenius BBB review is a 4.7 out of 5. Google reviews of Policygenius are 4.7 out of 5.

There are Policygenius complaints, but that’s true for every company. I read through many of them to prepare for this Policygenius review, and here’s what I found:

  • Someone complaining that they didn’t receive a referral bonus
  • Another person complaining that Policygenius wouldn’t disable their account, to which Policygenius responded explaining they have to keep it because the person had a policy through them
  • Delays with the application process

I want to remind you how many positive Policygenius reviews there are compared to negative ones. On Google, out of 979 reviews, they still have a 4.7 out of 5.0 rating.

 

Policygenius Review

Life insurance is extremely important for most people, plus it’s affordable.

However, many people do not have it.

If you do not have life insurance, then I recommend looking into Policygenius as soon as you can.

Policygenius is an easy way to compare different life insurance policies and find the more affordable and best option for you and your family.

You can check out Policy Genius here.

Do you have life insurance? Why or why not? What else would you like to have learned in my Policygenius review?

 

*Statistic from the Insurance Information Institute





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Finance

How I’ve Made Over $1,000,000 With A Subscription Box Business


Do you want to learn how to start a subscription box business?

Here’s how you can start a subscription box business and turn it into a part-time side hustle or even a full-time income.how to start a subscription box business

Today, I am interviewing a subscription box expert, Sarah Williams. Sarah built a seven-figure subscription box business in only three years.

She is the CEO and founder of two 7-figure businesses, Framed by Sarah and Launch Your Box, where Sarah has worked with thousands of subscription box owners and those wanting to start a subscription box, providing in-depth training that takes them through each step of starting, launching, and growing their business. 

I recently asked Sarah to take part in an interview to answer some of the common questions you may have about how to start a subscription box business.

Are you wondering questions such as:

  • How do subscription boxes work?
  • What are some subscription box business ideas that a person could start right now?
  • How much does it cost to start a subscription box business?
  • How do you find customers?

If so, please continue reading the interview below to see the answers to the questions above as well as answers to other common questions.

If you are interested in starting a subscription box business, I recommend signing up for Sarah’s free workshop so that you can take the first step. This workshop will help you figure out what you put in your subscription box, create a plan for your subscription box business, and launch your box.

Related content:

How to start a subscription box business

 

1. Please give us a little background on yourself and how you got started. How much have you earned from subscription boxes?

My business started as a side hustle. I was already running a brick-and-mortar retail store when I made the decision to start a subscription box for the customers that came into my store every single month. I really wanted to create something exclusive and more like a VIP experience for them. 

The box was a huge hit and also grew my brick-and-mortar store because hundreds of local subscribers would come in and pick up their boxes.

During the pandemic, I made the decision to close my store because my subscription box business was booming.

Now, five years later, I have thousands of monthly subscribers and have earned over $5 million with my subscription box business alone.

 

how to start a subscription box business

2. How do subscription boxes work?

A subscription box is a curated experience in a box for a specific niche customer.

It’s packed and delivered to the customer on a regular schedule, and their payment comes out automatically.

A subscription box can be filled with food, clothing or accessories, candles or whatever you want.

It’s delivered once a month, once a quarter, once a week or however you want to set it up.

 

3. What do you like about having a subscription box business? What do you not like?

When you run an e-commerce business, your sales fluctuate up and down like a rollercoaster. We call it feast or famine.

A subscription box business is totally different.

You can count on sales coming in every month, making your goal simply to retain your subscribers. You already know how much product inventory you need each month, rather than guessing at it because it’s already sold. You don’t have to feel like you are selling every single day.

I love having a subscription box business because it has stabilized my business. I have a set amount of income I can depend on, and I’m able to make purchasing and staffing decisions without the stress.

Honestly, I don’t think there’s anything about my subscription box business that I don’t like.

 

4. Is there room for new people to start a subscription box business? How fast is the subscription box industry growing?

The industry is growing rapidly, and there’s always room for new people because there are so many potential niches for subscription boxes.

My advice for newbies is to not even try to compete with the big subscription box businesses.

Instead, they should focus on finding a specific area of interest with a cult-like following. If they can find the right niche, their subscription box is going to grow like crazy.

 

5. What are some subscription box business ideas that a person could start right now?

I always tell people to start with an idea that you are passionate about. If you have a hobby or a special interest, that’s the industry you should create your box for. Messaging, or understanding how to attract the right person and build your audience, is so important in the subscription box industry.

If you know your niche, you’re going to be able to speak to that so much better than somebody who doesn’t. It’s going to be easy to find your people. I’ve seen this happen often, with everything from planter subscriptions to guinea pig subscriptions to candle subscriptions.

Wherever your expertise lies, that’s the business to start your subscription box in.

 

6. How much money does a subscription box business make each month? Is a subscription box business profitable?

Your revenue really depends on your profit margin and how many subscribers you have. Here’s a basic way to think about it: 

If you have a $20 profit on your subscription, and you have 50 subscribers, you’re making $1,000 profit every single month. All you have to do is multiply that if you want more profit. 

Some entrepreneurs want a large subscription base of 30,000 subscribers or more. Some want to stay in the hundreds, because it’s more manageable for them to do it on a smaller scale.

As a subscription box owner, you can be profitable, no matter if you have 50 subscribers, 500 subscribers, 5,000 subscribers or 50,000 subscribers.

It’s up to you to determine how much your business makes each month.

 

7. How much does it cost to start a subscription box business?

I started my box as part of an existing business, so I didn’t start with X amount of money. My goal was to stick to a 30% profit margin at the beginning.

A new entrepreneur could start with $1,000, or $100,000. It really just depends on how many subscribers you are starting with and what your goals are. 

You’ll have product, packaging, advertising, payroll, fulfillment and shipping costs. The larger your subscription base, the more boxes you have and the more costs you’ll have, because you have to buy more products. But as you grow, your cost decreases per box. This is because you can buy in bulk with packaging and products. 

My main advice is to keep your box profitable, with a minimum of 30% profit margin when you start. I would also highly encourage you to increase that to 50-60% as you grow. 

 

8. How do you decide what to put in your subscription box? Where do you get the items from? How many products are typically in a subscription box?

Deciding what you’re going to put in your subscription box is one of the first things that you have to figure out when you are starting your business. You’ll have to really understand who your ideal customer is.

Ask yourself, “Who is your ideal customer? What things do they want? What are they thinking and feeling?”

We have a free workshop that we host called “6 in 60.” It takes you through a series of steps to plan out 6 months of subscription boxes in just 60 minutes. Once you can visualize what would be in your subscription box, you can then figure out how many products you’d like to include and where you will get them from. 

Typically, what I see from new subscription box owners is that they put too much in a box. It’s a problem because if there is too much, the customer can’t consume it before the next box comes. So you think you’re providing more value, but you are actually doing the opposite by giving them too much.

Starting out, you should either do one thing of the month, or at most, include three to five items in your box.

When it comes to buying the items you will include in your subscription box, there are a lot of different places that you can get your products from. You can find items at markets or you can buy wholesale on different websites. Some online wholesale marketplaces to check out include Faire, Abound and Tundra. You can also buy on global marketplaces like Alibaba and Indiamart

 

Is a subscription box business profitable?

9. How do you decide how much to price a subscription box? 

For me, this was easy. I already had a business and I knew what my average order value was in my retail shop. When people came into my store, they would spend between $40 and $50, on average. I priced my subscription box at $45, right in that average order value range. I also added some upgrade options as well. 

Again, when choosing your price, you have to take into account that you want to have a 30% profit margin.

You’ll also want to be aware of thresholds. For example, I could sell something all day long for $49. But the minute I price it $50 and cross that threshold, there is a new perceived value. 

You also want to be careful that you don’t overprice your box, or you won’t get the subscribers you’d like.

Spend some time thinking about what value you’re creating and price it right for the market and for your customer base.

 

10. How do you market a subscription box business?

The best place to market your subscription box is via social media ads on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok or any other major platform.

Digital marketing ads are so much better than billboards, newspapers and TV. Not only are they cheaper, but digital marketing is where it’s at.

It has changed over the last several years, and it has become more expensive, but it’s still the best, cheapest and easiest place to find your customer and market your subscription box. 

 

11. Can you list the steps needed to get start a subscription box business?

The first thing that you’re going to need to do is to build an audience. That’s the step that everybody loves to skip, because it’s the hardest. But finding your people is important. You can’t just create an amazing box and have nobody to sell it to. It will take some time, but build your audience first.

I tell my students that it will likely take 30 to 90 days to build your audience. 

While you’re building your audience, you’ll need to start working through the logistics of the subscription box. This includes getting your tech stack together. You’ll need to decide how you are going to sell your box and what platform you will sell it on.

You’ll also need to start sourcing products, create your packaging and figure out fulfillment and shipping. 

Now, these are all things that can be worked on while you’re building an audience. But you shouldn’t build those things first and then try to build your audience later because it takes time.

Get started building an audience yesterday, and all the logistical pieces will start to fall into place. 

 

12. Can you tell me more about the resource you offer? (if you don’t offer a resource, then please just skip this question).

The 6 in 60 Workshop is my method for curating 6 subscription boxes in 60 minutes.

By the end of this workshop, you’ll know exactly who your box is for & what to put in it, you’ll have a plan to curate your first 6 boxes, you’ll be ready to take the next steps to launch your box, and you’ll have curated 6 months’ worth of subscription boxes! 

Do you want to learn how to start a subscription box business?





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How to Get More Pinterest Traffic for Your Blog


Hey everyone! Today, I have a great guest post to share on how you can increase your Pinterest traffic to your blog. Ling sees over 100,000 monthly pageviews on her blog from Pinterest and she shares her best tips below, as well as in her new guide The Golden Compass To Pinterest Traffic. Enjoy her article below.

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Hi everyone!

My name is Ling and I created my first blog in the personal finance niche, Finsavvy Panda, along with a Pinterest business account in November 2017 when I was looking for ways to quit my job.

After reaching my first $18,000 monthly affiliate income with my first blog in the summer of 2019, I was beyond excited but nervous at the same time.

How to Get More Pinterest Traffic (Beginners Guide)

Excited because I would have never imagined earning this kind of income from home. But I was also nervous because all my earnings were coming from one blog. That’s when I started an anonymous lifestyle blog so I could diversify my online income and test my Pinterest strategies in different niches.

Today, I earn an annual net income of over $100,000 and it’s mostly thanks to the traffic I get from Pinterest!   

Prior to creating a Pinterest business account to drive blog traffic, I used Pinterest like how any regular user would to get inspiration and ideas for home décor, crafty gifts, DIY projects, and healthy recipes.

In fact, I used to flip preloved furniture as a fun hobby for extra money so I could increase my savings.

I remember bingeing content on Pinterest to learn how DIY bloggers would sand, paint, decoupage, and design wooden furniture. Learning from the DIY crafty bloggers on Pinterest helped me earn an extra $500 to $2,000 per month with a flipping hobby

This hobby allowed me to have fun and unleash my creativity, but I stopped refurbishing small furniture because the income was too active and linear.

Not too long after, I started a personal finance blog, followed by my lifestyle blog, and so far, I’m loving it because it can feel quite passive once you’ve put in the upfront work and effort.

Related content:

 

How To Get Consistent and Long-Lasting Traffic on Pinterest

After using Pinterest (from a consumer and business perspective) for several years, I am going to share my tips on how I consistently get over 100,000 monthly pageviews from Pinterest. 

You may even come across periods when Pinterest sends you over 10,000 pageviews in ONE SINGLE DAY like how it has happened to me several times in the past:

It’s true that some blog niches will do better than others on Pinterest. However, I still believe that almost any niche can drive a good amount of traffic. It depends on what you write about and how you spin those topics on your blog to make it “Pinterest-friendly”.

On top of that, if you want to succeed on the platform, it’s important to understand it from the perspectives of a real consumer and a business user.

Because I had so many readers ask me for Pinterest traffic tips over the years of my blogging career, I created The Golden Compass To Pinterest Traffic, a very comprehensive A to Z step-by-step guide, to help bloggers and content creators succeed on Pinterest.

This guide is a one-stop shop to help brand new and intermediate bloggers create Pinterest content that will get ranked for consistent and long-lasting traffic. They are the exact strategies I used for two of my blogs, which were both accepted into Mediavine, allowing me to diversify my blog income with display ads.

Today, I wanted to share some of my insights with you on Making Sense of Cents, so here are my 7 actionable tips to help you get traffic and succeed on Pinterest.

 

1. Make sure you have a solid foundation on Pinterest

Before you get started on Pinterest to get traffic, you need to sign up for a Pinterest business account and make sure you build a solid foundation.

From my experience working with bloggers, many people immediately pin out random images that link back to their blogs without setting up the basic things first.

These include:

  • Claiming your website on Pinterest
  • Setting up what they call “Rich” pins
  • Optimizing your Pinterest profile, boards, Pin images, and Pin descriptions

You can’t just create a Pinterest account and start randomly pinning your posts without optimizing your Pinterest profile and having some sort of strategy.

 

2. Choose a category or niche and try to stick with it

You need to have an idea of what you’ll be blogging about most of the time. That way, you can create specific content and narrowed-down topics that tailor to a specific audience.

I want to say it’s okay to go a bit broader with your topics at the beginning when you have no experience with blogging, writing, or using Pinterest. But when I say go “broad”, I don’t literally mean write about everything and anything especially when you can’t spin those articles around by making them relate to each other. 

For example, I don’t recommend writing one article about budgeting tips, the next article about chicken recipes, and then the next article about traveling in NYC. These three are not related and have nothing in common with each other. That will confuse not only your readers, but Pinterest will have no idea how to categorize you on the platform.

I understand that some of you may find it hard to stick to a dedicated niche, so here are my quick tips if you really want to write about everything. 

Suppose you’re a general personal finance blogger. You could turn that chicken dinner blog post into budget-friendly chicken dinner recipes under $X. You can also write about cheap travels in NYC. 

Alternatively, if you’re a travel blogger, you can spin those other articles around and write about budgeting for a travel fund, or the best chicken sandwiches in NYC. You get my point, right? 

Having said that, I still highly recommend narrowing it down and don’t stray too far from your main niche.

As you write more content, you’ll get a feel of what types of topics you want to stick to in your long-term strategy. This is important because you want to tell Pinterest what your focus is so that the platform knows how to distribute your content to the right audience.

 

3. Don’t neglect Pinterest SEO and keyword research

One mistake I see many new bloggers make, including myself when I was a beginner, is they neglect Pinterest SEO and doing proper keyword research in their niche.

For those of you who don’t know what this means, don’t worry. I can quickly explain this in simple English for you. 

“SEO” stands for search engine optimization and all that really means is writing blog posts that get searched by users and having them show on Pinterest.

Once you become a Pinterest business user, you’ll realize that Pinterest is more than just a social media. 

It’s also a visual search engine where many users look for inspiration and ideas by typing specific keywords or phrases into the Pinterest search bar. It’s no different from searching for ideas and solutions to your problems on Google.

For example, when I was using Pinterest as a real user several years ago to look for refurbishing furniture ideas for my side hustle hobby (before I even started my blog), I would type the following phrases into the Pinterest search bar:

  • How to prime and paint a coffee table
  • How to make chalk paint or DIY chalk paint
  • DIY farmhouse rustic nightstand
  • Black and white decoupage ideas for side tables
  • Lion head drawer pulls

These are called “keywords” and simply searching for those keywords on Pinterest led me to many DIY, home décor, and craft bloggers! These DIY and craft bloggers most likely did keyword research and wrote many blog posts based on all those phrases that I (real user) searched for.

After reading those helpful blog posts, I made purchases on items like an orbital sander, drawer pulls, decoupage paper designs, and many more products through the bloggers’ affiliate links. These unique links allow bloggers to earn a commission every time someone clicks on the link and makes a purchase.

Affiliate marketing is one method bloggers use to make money with their blogs. Michelle has a fantastic e-course called Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing that teaches you how to implement affiliate marketing strategies onto your blog. I’ve taken this course several years ago and it’s the resource that helped me earn my first full-time income with affiliate marketing. I highly recommend it if you want to learn how to strategically insert affiliate links onto your posts so that you can increase your conversions and bring in more income!

As you can see, there are many benefits to learning Pinterest SEO and doing keyword research. You can capture your audience, help them with a specific problem, and earn money with those blog posts using methods like display ads and affiliate marketing. 

I’m going to illustrate a couple of examples in the next point to help you prepare a list of blog post ideas for your readers!

 

4. Prepare blog post ideas using keyword research

By learning what users like to search for on Pinterest, you can come up with a list of profitable blog post ideas and prepare them in advance. This is how you can help your potential readers find and discover you on Pinterest!

To get started on keyword research, you have to first put yourself in the position of the user. Just like the example I gave earlier about myself when I was searching for DIY-related keywords as a real Pinterest user. 

What would you type into the search bar when you’re specifically looking for something?

Another quick and simple way to do this is to type the first few words into the Pinterest search and see what keywords show up in the autocomplete drop-down.

If you’re a travel blogger, you can type something like “things to do in…” and you’ll see the following suggestions from Pinterest.

You can write at least 5 different blog post ideas based on this one simple search:

  • Things To Do in Chicago
  • Things To Do in Nashville Tennessee
  • Things To Do in London
  • Things To Do in San Diego
  • Things To Do in Boston

And the list of “things to do in…” can go on and on.

Another example is perhaps you want to recommend essentials to your readers. In this case, you can type “travel essentials” and mark down those suggested target keywords as your blog post ideas.

Once you hit enter after searching for your keyword or phrase, you’ll also notice the colorful tiles underneath the search bar. These tiny tiles are additional or related keywords.

For example, “travel essentials” is a general keyword or phrase. But when you use the pink tile, “for women” example, this becomes what they call a “long-tail” keyword. Instead of writing a blog post about “the best travel essentials” (this is the general keyword), you can also write another blog post to target an audience of women using the long-tail keyword, “the best travel essentials for women”.

After blogging for several years, I can tell you that Pinterest SEO is essential. You can’t afford to neglect Pinterest keyword research if you want people to find your articles!

 

5. Know who your audience is

In my first two years of blogging, I made a lot of mistakes with my blog because I didn’t really know who I was writing to. 

Sure, you can “niche” down by only writing about personal finance and money topics like what I do on Finsavvy Panda, but truly understanding your audience is more than just “niching down”.

I always knew that I should be narrowing down and targeting a specific audience, but no matter how much I read or learned online about “know who your audience is”, I just didn’t fully understand that concept until more and more readers kept e-mailing me and asking me questions. 

It wasn’t until my third year of blogging, or even last year, that this really hit me in the head! 

Yes, doing keyword research is essential. But even after you have your blog post ideas ready based on your keyword research, you can’t blindly write without knowing who you’re speaking to.

Suppose you’re a male nutritionist and fitness blogger. Which audience are you tailoring your message to?

  • An unfit male who is overweight and wants a simple diet and exercise plan to help them achieve their weight loss goals.
  • An average-built male who wants to learn about a specific diet and workout plan to help them tone and build muscle.
  • A male who’s already fit and somewhat knowledgeable about specific diet plans but wants to go to the next level and bulk up even more.

As you can see, those are three very different audiences, and you can’t possibly write for all of them. The saying goes, “If you try to please everyone you’ll please no one”.    

This advice about “knowing your audience” may sound like common sense, but you’d be surprised that many bloggers don’t really know who their audience is. To be honest, I still struggle with this part but I’m always learning more about my readers and testing new strategies to see what works and what doesn’t.

To get started on knowing your target audience, use Google and Pinterest analytics to analyze your data. It’s so easy to neglect this part, especially when you’re not an analytical blogger. However, to my surprise, when I started using this data, I was able to better target my audience and readers for more intentional traffic.

The more intentional you are with your content, the more quality readers you’ll attract.

 

6. Make your Pin design and titles click-worthy

The first step to getting your blog posts found is doing proper keyword research on Pinterest and “optimizing” your Pin descriptions. Doing that alone will increase your chances of ranking higher on the Pinterest search engine, allowing people to find your blog posts.

But what good is it when your Pin is shown on the organic searches without a click-worthy title?

I want to emphasize that you will get traffic as long as your Pins are shown on the feed, especially on organic searches. However, you can increase your traffic further just by simply making small tweaks to your Pin designs and titles.

I’ve tested this by coming up with a variation of titles on my Pin designs for the same blog post. There are a lot of factors that cause more or fewer clicks to your pages. Those factors include the audience on Pinterest, search volume for your target keywords, the Pinterest algorithm, and many more. 

Holding all else constant, I noticed that whenever I made tweaks to a word, phrase, or even design on the Pins for my anonymous lifestyle blog, my click-through rate (AKA traffic) on Pinterest improved significantly.

For the sake of simplicity, let me illustrate an example. I am going to deliberately use blogging and business titles as examples here because I know it speaks to you.

Which of the following titles (for the same blog post) entices you to click in and actually read them? 

  • How To Get Traffic on Pinterest in 20XX
  • How To Get Traffic on Pinterest and Monetize Your Blog in 20XX
  • The Ugly Truth About How Long It Takes To Get Traffic on Pinterest
  • 10 Pinterest Traffic Tips That Nobody Tells You About
  • 10 Reasons Why You’re Not Getting Any Traffic On Pinterest

Think about those Pin titles and ask yourself which one sparks the most curiosity.

You can also see one of my Pin templates used by my friend, Enoch from Savvy New Canadians. He made quick tweaks to the general pre-made template to target his personal finance audience and named his title “21 Easy Ways To Make An Extra $1,000 Right Now”. 

This is a better headline than a boring title like “How To Make Extra Money”, “Best Ways To Make Extra Money” or “21 Ways To Make More Money” because the word “Easy” speaks to a specific audience who’s looking for quick wins, and the term, “right now” emphasizes to the reader that he/she can do something about it immediately. 

Generally speaking, people are more likely to click in and read your post when you suggest something that’s relatively easier, quicker, and immediate.

You can use these Pin Savvy Templates to help you create beautiful and click-worthy Pins in just seconds. They are the templates I use to make over 100 Pins in less than 30 minutes hence saving me time and hassle.

 

Pin Design and Title Example Using One of Michelle’s Pin

When I was searching for “meatless dinner ideas” or “no meat dinners” on mobile, this Pin that Michelle used from the Pin Savvy Templates bundle showed up on the top searches on Pinterest. Michelle is ranking quite high on Pinterest with these related keywords about meatless meals on the platform as you can see in the screenshot:

This is what you’ll want to aim for – to have your Pins show up on organic searches when users are searching for keywords or phrases used on your blog post.

While designing your Pin, you’ll want to think about titles that will pique your readers’ interest because that is one thing you can do to increase your traffic on Pinterest when they find you on searches.

Click-worthy titles for Michelle’s blog post about meatless dinner can include:

  • 10 Insanely Delicious Meatless Recipes You Need To Try Now (To target the general audience)
  • 10 Budget-Friendly Meatless Meals Under $X (To target budget-conscious audience)
  • 10 Insanely Good Meatless Recipes – Kids Approved! (To target families with kids who typically don’t like veggies)
  • 10 Fast and Easy Meatless Dinner Ideas – X Minutes and Under! (To target people looking for quick and easy meals)
  • 10 Healthy Vegetarian Dinner Recipes You’ll Want To Make Forever (To target health-conscious readers. Health-conscious people know that just because it’s vegetarian, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthy, so you’ll want to call it out if it is.)

Noticed that ties back to the point I made above about targeting your audience.

Not only can you make your Pin designs pretty and click-worthy, but you can also see how you can attract a specific type of audience depending on what words you use in your headline.

 

7. See what’s trending on Pinterest

Look for some content ideas by using Pinterest Trends.

Pinterest Trends can be extremely helpful for bloggers in a number of ways. For starters, this tool can help you get an idea of what people are searching for on Pinterest. This is valuable information because it can give you an indication of what topics are popular and thus, worth writing about.

To get started on Pinterest Trends, go to “Trends” under the “Analytics” tab. 

 

Once you’re there, you’ll see a variety of different categories that you can browse through. If you’re not sure where to start, try looking at the “What’s surging this week” section to see what’s currently trending on Pinterest. This section displays trends with high growth in search volume within the last 7 days, so you can take advantage of this information to see what you can write about.

The great thing about Pinterest Trends is that these ideas are not necessarily seasonal for one time only. You can reference them year-round! For example, if you see that “Summertime Recipes” is currently trending, you could write a blog post about summer recipes even if it’s not currently summer. This is valuable information because it allows you to be ahead of the curve and write about topics before they become popular again next year.

Aside from seasonal topics, you can also use Pinterest Trends to determine what content is popular among your target audience. For example, if you’re a beauty blogger, you could check out the “Beauty” category to see what topics are being searched for by Pinners on the platform. This information can help you come up with blog post ideas that are relevant to your audience.

Many people overlook Pinterest Trends thinking it’s only related to seasonal or current events, but this isn’t true at all. As bloggers, you can create an unlimited amount of evergreen content based on the information found in this tool.

 

What To Do When You’re Not Getting Any Pinterest Traffic or When Your Pinterest Traffic is Down

It doesn’t matter what platform, channel, or social media you use to get traffic, you’ll always experience a shift in pageviews. This is very normal and every blogger goes through it no matter how new or seasoned they are. 

When Pinterest hits you in the face, the best course of action is to continue working on your blog. That includes writing new blog posts, updating your older content, learning how to use a tool, engaging with your readers, etc. 

You can’t control Pinterest’s algorithm, but what you can control is writing new content on a consistent basis. This actually applies to all channels regardless if you’re on YouTube, Instagram, Google, Pinterest, etc. They are always thirsty for creators like you to consistently publish new content on their platform. It is a tried-and-true long-term strategy that almost never fails.

In fact, in The Golden Compass To Pinterest Traffic, I cover every single step you need to take as a blogger to succeed when you’re not getting any Pinterest traffic or when your pageviews are down. There’s more to it than just optimizing your Pinterest profile, boards, Pin design, and Pin descriptions. I go through everything a beginner needs to know and implement all the way to strategizing your content on Pinterest.

These are the Pinterest strategies I use to get consistent and intentional traffic to my blogs, which allowed me to quit my job and earn an annual six-figure income online. 

About the Author: Ling Thich is the blogger behind Finsavvy Panda and Blog Savvy Panda. She also runs an anonymous lifestyle blog as a side hobby to learn and test different strategies. Overall, Ling loves teaching beginners how to start and grow their blogs on Pinterest. Outside of blogging, she enjoys staying active and exploring different cities.

What questions do you have about Pinterest? Do you use Pinterest to grow your blog? Why or why not?





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11 Years & $5 Million Later: What I Love & Have Learned About Blogging


It’s been 11 years since I started Making Sense of Cents, and I am still completely amazed that this is what I get to do for a living!

In August of 2011, when I opened my laptop and started this blog, I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t even know that blogs could make money.11 Years & $5 Million Later: What I Love & Have Learned About Blogging

This blog started as a hobby because I enjoyed reading other personal finance blogs and figured why not start my own.

11 years ago, I had no real dreams or goals for my blog. I was completely anonymous – I wrote with a fake name, and I didn’t even tell my friends or family about my blog. 

For the entire first year of blogging, only Wes and my sister knew what I was doing. 

A lot has changed since then! 

What started as a fun way to share my story has turned into millions of annual readers and lifelong friendships. And, I’ve earned a great income that allows me to retire whenever I want, and I love what I do.

11 years ago, I never would have guessed this for myself!

And, I have never been more grateful, especially lately.

Running my own business and being able to work minimal hours means I can spend as much free time as I want with my husband and our baby girl.

It’s a dream come true.

Because blogging is a remote job, I get to do it all with my family while we travel. That means I can spend time hiking, snorkeling, biking, exploring new places, and more. I also have the ability to sit at home and have a relaxing day knowing that my business runs in the background providing for us.

My blog has grown into a wonderful business that has allowed me to enjoy my work, have a flexible schedule, and earn a great living.

What has always been amazing to me is how little I knew about blogging when I started.

I’m definitely not a techy person, and I’ve never considered myself a writer.

I bring that up because a lot of people assume you need to be both to start a successful blog.

In the past 11 years, so much has changed for me, and it’s all because I randomly started Making Sense of Cents one day.

Blogging was something I started and worked on in addition to my full-time day job as a financial analyst, and around two years after I started this blog, I quit my day job to blog full-time (that was back in 2013).

Some fun stats about Making Sense of Cents:

  • My first blog post was published on August 10, 2011. You can read it here.
  • I have published 2,072 articles on Making Sense of Cents.
  • I have received 134,434 emails (this does not even include the countless emails I have deleted over the years, so the number is probably over 1 million, haha!). I haven’t included promotional emails either – the 134,434 are simply emails from my readers.
  • I have 67,410 comments on my blog posts. This was higher but I recently deleted over 5,000 comments that had broken links.
  • I’ve personally replied to over 21,488 comments.
  • It took me six months to earn my first $100 from Making Sense of Cents.

 

How and why I started this blog

I say this all the time, but I think it’s worth repeating: I had no idea what I was doing when I started this blog.

So many people think that you must be a tech wizard or have experience to start a blog.

But, that is so far from the truth. Many of the most successful bloggers I know have started on a whim. They learned as they went and made a lot of mistakes.

And, that is true for me as well.

I started Making Sense of Cents after reading about a personal finance website in a magazine. It started purely as a hobby to track my financial situation.

I had no clue that a blog could even make money, that people did this full-time, how to grow a blog, or what a blog post really was.

Back in 2011, I was working as an analyst at an investment banking and valuation firm. I had a stressful job filled with lots of deadlines and responsibilities that just didn’t interest me, plus I lacked any real passion or even somewhat enjoyment for what I was doing. I chugged along working the 8-5, Monday-through-Friday grind and didn’t see myself having an enjoyable future there. 

I completely dreaded the workweek, and I knew that the job was not for me.

Blogging was an outlet for my stressful day job, and my interest quickly grew, even though it was just a hobby. It gave me space to write about my personal finance situation, have a support group, keep track of how I was doing, and more. I did not create Making Sense of Cents with the intention of earning an income, but after only six months, I began to make money with Making Sense of Cents through sponsored partnerships.

A friend I met through the blogging community connected me with an advertiser, and I earned $100 from that first advertisement deal.

That one deal sparked my interest, so I decided to take my blog more seriously and learn how to make even more money blogging.

I now earn a great living from my blog, and it all started so randomly, not even knowing that blogs could make money.

Blogging completely changed my life for the better, and I urge anyone who is interested to learn how to start a blog as well.

Blogging has allowed me to take control of my finances and earn more money. It means I can work from home, travel whenever I want, have a flexible schedule, and more.

And, all of this happened because I started some random blog eleven years ago.

I made so many mistakes in the beginning, and I still make mistakes today. But, I continue to learn and improve, which has shaped this blog into what it is today.

I was so afraid to quit my job when I did, especially for a blog.

People thought I was absolutely crazy and making the worst decision of my life. 

Today, I’m going to talk about the 11 things that I love and have learned about blogging over the past 11 years. I feel like what I enjoy about blogging and what I’ve learned go hand-in-hand. I add one new thing each year, and I always have fun looking at my annual blogiversary post.

If you haven’t yet – please follow me on Instagram.

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Here’s what I love and have learned about blogging.

 

Sailing in the Bahamas earlier this year

1. I love being my own boss

When I first started Making Sense of Cents and realized I could make an income from it, I quickly learned how much I love being my own boss.

I love being in complete control of what I do, and becoming self-employed may give you that same feeling. I enjoy deciding what I will do each day, creating my own schedule, determining my business goals, handling behind-the-scenes work, and more.

I actually have a rule in my life/business about not doing anything unless I really want to. While I still agree to a lot of opportunities, I’m not doing anything that feels like a total drag or is against my beliefs. This has really helped improve my work-life balance, which is great because being able to choose how you earn a living amounts to making sure you love everything you do.

I honestly love each and every service I provide – writing online, promoting, networking, interacting with readers, and more.

Running an online business (and being your own boss) may not be for everyone, but it’s something I enjoy.

 

2. Having a flexible schedule changes your life

One of the best things about working for yourself and being a blogger is that you can have a flexible schedule.

I can work as far ahead as I want to, I can create my own work schedule, and more.

I love being able to work for a few hours in the morning, do something fun during the day (such as hiking), and then work later at night when I have nothing planned. I can also schedule appointments during the day, and it’s really no big deal.

I can work at night, in the morning, on the weekends – I can work whenever.

But, this can also be something you need to keep an eye on because having a good work-life balance is so important.

 

3. Being location independent is wonderful

Spending the last few years being location independent has been an incredibly wonderful experience.

I love being able to work from wherever I am, and it’s allowed me some of the best experiences I’ve had, like living in an RV and on a sailboat. All I need is an internet connection and my laptop.

The only problem with being location independent is that it makes it difficult to separate work from the rest of your life. You may find yourself working all the time, no matter where you are, and while that may sound great, being able to take a true vacation can be a hard task.

However, I’m not going to complain because the work-life balance I have right now is pretty incredible.

 

4. Remember, success takes time

Many bloggers quit just a few months after starting.

In fact, the statistic I’ve always heard is that the average blogger quits after only six months.

I completely understand – starting a blog can be super overwhelming!

But, good things don’t come easy. If blogging were easy, then everyone would be doing it.

It took me six months for me to earn my first $100 from Making Sense of Cents. If I had quit just before then, I would have missed out on everything I have experienced up until this point.

Remember, success takes time.

 

5. Don’t write when you feel forced

One thing I have definitely learned about myself over the years is that I write best when I’m not forced, e.g. when I’m on a deadline.

Instead, I always try to write content well before I plan on publishing it.

I used to write things the day before I planned on publishing, but I found that to be super stressful. Even a week in advance was too stressful for me.

I like to be at least a month ahead because I can truly write when I feel inspired, and I’m always happy to write this way.

Currently, I have about four months worth of content written in advance, and I would like to be even further out from that.

 

6. Get ready to learn

Everything about having a blog is a learning process.

It is still so new, and it’s not like you’ve learned these skills in school.

Blogging is not a get-rich-quick scheme, and anyone who tells you that it is (or acts like it is) is lying.

Blogging is not easy.

And, you won’t make $100,000 your first month blogging.

In fact, you most likely won’t make $1,000 your first month blogging.

Blogging is a lot of work, especially in the beginning. The industry is always changing, which means you must continue learning and adapting to the technology around you. This includes learning about social media platforms, running a website, growing your platform, writing high-quality content, and more.

This is something that I love about blogging – it’s never stale. There’s always a new challenge.

 

7. Stop seeing other bloggers as competition

Okay, so this isn’t exactly something that I’ve learned personally, but I want everyone else to understand it.

I have always had the mindset that there is room for everyone in the blogging world. However, not everyone feels the same way.

So many bloggers see other bloggers as enemies or competition, and this is a mistake.

I mostly see this in newer bloggers, and it can really hold you back because networking is so important if you want to create a successful blog..

Bloggers should be open to making blogging friends, attending conferences, sharing other blogs’ content with their readers (such as on their blogs, Twitter, or Pinterest), liking posts on social media, and more.

Networking can help you enjoy blogging even more, develop your skills, learn how to make money blogging, make great connections, and more. If you want to make money blogging, then you should network with others! After all, networking is the reason why I learned how to make money blogging in the first place!

The key is to be genuine and to give more than you take, which are the two main things I always tell people when it comes to networking. I receive so many emails every day from people who clearly aren’t genuine, and it’s always obvious.

I’ve made great friends who are bloggers and influencers, and it’s truly a great community to be in.

 

8. You don’t need previous experience to be successful

As you learned earlier, I did not have previous experience when I started Making Sense of Cents. I also didn’t have the first clue about what it took to become successful.

To become a blogger, you don’t need any previous experience. You don’t need to be a computer genius, understand social media, or anything else.

These are all things that you will learn as you start a blog.

Nearly every single blogger was brand new at some point, and they had no idea what they were doing.

I’m proof of that because I didn’t even know that blogs existed when I started Making Sense of Cents, and I definitely didn’t know that bloggers could make money. I learned how to create a blog from the bottom up and have worked my way to where I am today. It’s not always easy, but it’s been rewarding!

With blogging, you’ll have a lot to learn, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. It’s challenging, but in a good way.

 

9. You can make a living blogging

This is probably one of the best things I’ve learned since I first started my blog – you can actually make a living blogging!

No, not every single person will become a successful blogger (it’s NOT a get-rich-quick scheme), but I know many successful bloggers who started in a similar way as I did – blogging as a hobby that grew from there.

For me, I have earned a high income with my blog, and I have enough saved to retire whenever I would like. I am still working on my blog, though, as I enjoy what I do.

 

A few years ago on one of my favorite hikes.

10. I love actually enjoying what I do for work

Before starting this blog, I absolutely dreaded the workweek.

But, that is not the case anymore.

Blogging is something that I just enjoy so much, and it is a huge passion of mine.

I wake up and actually enjoy working every day. Sure, there are days when I may be tired or receive a rude message from a stranger (unfortunately, that’s just the online world for you), but, in general, every day has been amazing.

I enjoy writing new blog posts, talking with readers, researching and improving monetization methods, working with companies, being active on social media, finding new ways to grow Making Sense of Cents, and more.

 

11. The beginning will be tough

When you first start your blog, it will be hard!

After all, starting a new business involves learning so many new things. The difficulty you experience in the beginning is completely normal.

I receive so many emails from readers who tell me that they are afraid to start a blog, afraid to put themselves out there, etc., and they are looking for my top piece of advice about getting started.

My top piece of advice – just make the leap!

Nearly every blogger I know (even the really successful ones) was afraid to put themselves out there.

This is super normal.

However, you won’t know unless you try and finally make that leap.

Perhaps you can do things to motivate yourself, such as create a vision board or write out the long-term goals you hope to achieve with blogging.

Whatever you decide to do, don’t let fear hold you back.

 

What’s next?

Honestly, my main goal is pretty much the same as it is every year – get everything planned and scheduled for the next several months.

Being a new mom takes up a lot of my time (and I’m so grateful I get to experience it all!), so being ahead on work makes life a lot easier.

I am also working on finding new ways to grow Making Sense of Cents. I have thought about possibly starting a TikTok or getting into Instagram Reels. I feel like those are two great ways to grow right now; however, my time is limited. I also want to continue to grow my SEO traffic and find new ways to help my readers.

Speaking of my readers, I am so very grateful for all of you, and I am happy that you are all here.

If there’s anything you’d like me to write about on Making Sense of Cents, please send me an email at [email protected] or leave a comment below.

Thank you so much for being a reader of Making Sense of Cents!

 

There are many valuable, free resources for bloggers!

I am going to end this blog post with my favorite list of blogging freebies.

I didn’t spend any money in the beginning in order to learn how to blog – instead, I signed up for a ton of free webinars, free email courses, and more. You can definitely do the same!

  1. If you don’t have a blog created yet, then I recommend starting off with my free blogging course How To Start A Blog FREE Course.
  2. Affiliate Marketing Tips For Bloggers – I launched this free 36-page ebook to teach you all about affiliate marketing for bloggers.
  3. How To Increase Your Google Traffic (FREE Video Training) – This is my favorite free, SEO training, and it teaches you how to improve your content so that you can rank through SEO.
  4. The Free Blogging Planner – The Blogging Planner is a free workbook that I created just for you! In this free workbook, you’ll receive printables for starting your blog, creating blog posts, a daily/weekly blog planner, goals, and more.

I also recommend reading Best Blogging Courses & Resources That Helped Me Make $100,000+.

Are you interested in starting a blog or your own business? What questions do you have for me?





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Finance

Ask Me Anything – Making Sense Of Cents


Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you. Please read my disclosure for more info.

Hey,

Today is a new Ask Me Anything here on Making Sense of Cents!

Ask Me Anything is literally that – you can ask me anything. If you’re struggling to figure out what to ask, here are a few of the topics you may want to know more about:

  • Personal finance
  • Blogging
  • My life
  • Travel
  • RVing
  • Sailing
  • Being location independent
  • Business
  • Making extra money

And so on, and so on.

Seriously, ask me anything in the comments below, and I will take the time to answer every single one. Of course, please nothing inappropriate.

All right, go for it, ask away!

If you haven’t yet, please follow me on Instagram.

Here are links to common questions I’ve received in past Ask Me Anythings:

P.S. If you’re looking to see all of the comments and questions, make sure to hit “Older Comments” or “Newer Comments” below. The comments break apart in pages once there are over 50 comments.





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Finance

How I Started A $650,000 Per Year Litter Cleanup Business


Do you want to learn how to start a litter cleanup business? Here’s how you can start a parking lot litter cleanup business and earn $30 to $50 per hour.

Brian Winch makes a living (it’s a $650,000+ per year business for him) by picking up trash.

Brian has been featured here on Making Sense of Cents before in the article he wrote – Get Paid $30 – $50 Per Hour To Pick Up Trash.

I recently asked him to take part in an interview to answer some of the common questions that you’ve had about starting a litter removal business.

Are you wondering questions such as:

  • How much can a person earn with a parking lot litter cleanup business?
  • What are the pros and cons of having a litter cleanup business?
  • Why would businesses pay for a litter cleanup service?
  • How much does it cost to start a litter cleanup business?
  • How do you find customers for your parking lot cleanup business?

If so, please continue reading the interview below to see the answers to the questions above as well as answers to other common questions.

You can click here to learn more about Brian’s guide on how to start and run a parking lot litter cleaning business.

Related content:

How to start a litter clean up service.

 

1. Please give us a little background on yourself and how you got started. How much have you earned from your litter pick up service?

My name is Brian Winch. I’ve been cleaning up litter outside commercial properties since 1981. It’s not a glamorous business but it sure is profitable. It’s also almost as easy to do as going for a walk!

I was 21 years old in 1981 and working a full-time job as a shipper/receiver at a large sporting goods company. I didn’t mind the job, but couldn’t see a future for myself. I barely graduated high school, didn’t go to college or have any special skills. The likelihood that I had any opportunities for career advancement were limited. I recognized this and began thinking about starting a simple business based from home. But what? I didn’t have much savings. I certainly didn’t have any business education or skills. I began evaluating my personal strengths and what I would and wouldn’t like to do.

I grew up in a blue-collar working class family. My dad was a refugee from Poland after WWII. He worked many jobs that most other people chose not to do. He was a farm-hand, worked on the railroad, meat slaughterhouse, in a hospital as an orderly (male nursing assistant), then finally was certified as a janitor for the public school system. He could speak English well enough but needed assistance reading and writing it. I remember my mom helping him with his written assignments to get his boiler papers so he could operate the heating systems. My mom was a nurses-aid when she worked. She stayed at home to raise my 2 brothers and I when we were growing up. Both my parents took on extra work on the side. Mom babysat. Dad cut grass in the summer and shoveled snow in the winter.

My parents were great role models to me. I grew up with entrepreneurial leanings from an early age. While most kids back in the day had a lemonade stand I chose to offer something different. I was 5 or 6 when I set up a card table in front of the house, gathered some of my brother’s toys and began selling them to other kids in our neighborhood.

I didn’t sell many until my mom found out and shut me down. My brothers weren’t too happy with me. I can’t recall if I had to share my sales with them!

 

2. How are you able to make $650,000 a year? That must be a lot of parking lots!

I scaled my side hustle from part-time to full-time. I was content to operate a simple one-man operation where I was grossing over $100,000 a year.

My client’s began asking me to service more of their properties. There is only so much of Brian to go around, so I decided to grow by recruiting family, friends and ex co-workers to assist in the cleaning of properties. This has worked exceptionally well for us over the years as it’s a win/win proposition. My cleaning crew make good and easy money. We get a motivated and responsible workforce. I’ve had some of the same people for 20 years!

We now service between 150-160 properties grossing as much as $700,000 per year.

Some properties are serviced 3 days per week, most 5 days and a few 6 or 7 days per week. We maintain retail, office and industrial properties. Most are small to medium size developments where we can service each in the time it takes to walk them. It might take as little as 5 minutes for a small strip plaza, 20 minutes for a medium size property or an hour or more for a large retail town center.

We don’t clean large enclosed shopping malls as they are cleaned in-house. There are far more of the small to medium size properties that contract out their litter cleanup service.

 

3. What do you like about having a litter clean up business? What do you not like?

I always enjoyed being or working outdoors. My dad would take me along with him occasionally to help him out. One of his side gigs was cleaning up litter from the outside property of a neighborhood shopping plaza. We would show up in the morning before the businesses had opened and walk the sidewalks, parking lot and landscape and clean up any litter material we saw on the ground. We used simple hand tools to collect empty drink cups, cans or bottles, fast food or candy wrappers and cigarette butts. We disposed of the material we collected into a waste bin on site. My dad did this throughout the week to maintain the property litter free so each time he was there it only took him a matter of minutes to clean.

I decided that a parking lot litter cleanup service would be my choice to start as a side hustle while still working my full-time job.

Unfortunately for me, my dad passed away unexpectedly at the age of 61. I no longer had his experience or contacts to call upon. I did know that property management companies were the prospects for my service. I read as much material I could find about sales and marketing. This is back in time before the internet so I had to scour the bookstores and libraries.

I learned that banks and various levels of government published their own material on how-to business subjects. It’s so much easier to start a business these days!

I’ve been in the parking lot litter cleanup business for 40+ years now.

I don’t do as much cleaning as I used to but still get out there every morning because I love doing it. I love working outdoors in the early morning hours when parking lots are empty and traffic is light. The work is easy with simple hand tools. Almost as easy to do as going for an early morning walk – and getting paid to do it! I use and highly recommend a unique tool that allows me to easily clean up more litter in less time than other tools on the market and make more money.

I don’t like the psychology of people from all walks of life who feel it’s acceptable to discard their litter material wherever they please. I’ll never understand their mentality. But what I do know is their behavior is providing me and many others plenty of business cleaning up after them.

 

4. How much can a person expect to earn with a parking lot litter clean up business?

So how much money can you make? That depends on how much you desire to work.

Some people are interested in this service strictly as a means to make extra money on the side while keeping their full-time job. Others choose to scale to a full-time business like I did.

It’s your choice.

I’m not going to tell you how to operate your business. I often say, if you work your business, your business will work for you.

I know of people working only an hour or two each day grossing $1,500 to $2,500 per month. I know of others making over $100,000 per year working a 5 hour day.

You can do all the work yourself or recruit an army of people to do the cleaning for you. One of my students has over 300 properties across several states. I place no restrictions or limits as to how much money you wish to make.

 

5. Where do you put the trash that you collect?

We use simple hand tools to collect empty drink cups, cans or bottles, fast food or candy wrappers and cigarette butts. We dispose of the material we collect into a waste bin on site.

 

6. Why would businesses pay for a litter clean up service?

Litter cleanup is a duty that may be done by building operators employed by property management companies, landscape or building maintenance contractors or litter cleanup specialists. It’s a service required to maintain the exterior property from neglect just as other exterior services are necessary such as landscape maintenance, snow removal, parking lot sweeping, line marking, pressure washing and parking lot maintenance.

The tenants that make up a property pay into their monthly rent for these services. Property managers budget for these expenses to ensure their properties are well maintained so they will appreciate in value. Property management companies are contracted by the building’s owners to manage them on their behalf. The owners may be pension funds, insurance companies, REITS (Real Estate Investment Trusts) or other real estate investment syndicates.

This service is both recession-proof and pandemic-proof. Litter cleanup is not a service that can be cut back or eliminated without being noticed by the tenants, local community, and shopping public. When people started discarding their used masks in parking lots during COVID our clients made sure our service was maintained to keep their properties sanitary and safe.

Nobody likes to patronize a business with litter scattered about the exterior property.

 

7. Is this a service that can be done even in the cold winter months?

The parking lot litter cleanup business is not seasonal as some might think. People litter year round regardless of weather conditions.

I clean up more empty coffee cups during the winter months than any other time of year. Smokers toss their cigarette butts without regard to the environment. Snow may temporarily mask litter material in northern regions but will eventually appear in great volume if regular year round service is not maintained.

You dress according to the weather conditions in which you work.

 

8. What kind of business license, permits, or insurance are needed to start a litter pick up business? How much does it cost to start a litter clean up business?

The startup costs to enter this business are very low.

Your office is home based and your cleaning tools can be stored in your vehicle. You’ll need to decide on a legal structure for your business, come up with a business name, open a business bank account, determine what kind of business license, permits and insurance are required. All of this can be easily done online.

I encourage people to start as a side hustle while working a full-time job. This allows you to boot-strap your business. You continue to have the income generated from your job to pay for your living expenses, while using some savings to pay for startup, then reinvesting the income from your side hustle business back into it to grow.

I would estimate $500 depending on how you’re set up with a home office.

 

9. How do you find customers for your parking lot cleanup business?

Once I refined my elevator pitch (a sales pitch of sorts) I began cold calling property management companies that I found listed in the Yellow Pages phone directory.

My goal wasn’t to sell them anything. Just to find out the decision maker who I could send more information to. I began to refer to this as “warm calling” as there’s no pressure on either party in this introductory call to conclude a sale. I would briefly introduce myself then explain how my service would be of benefit to them. To whom should I speak to or send information to? I would ask. It’s so much easier today as all one has to do is an online search for property management companies.

Some people tell me that they aren’t good at sales. Well, I’ll tell you that how good you are or become is a matter of attitude. I have an introverted personality. It’s against my nature to strike up a conversation with a stranger. But I have no problem sharing a positive experience with someone. I found the motivation to have a conversation with my prospects by realizing that all I have to do is share how I can solve their problem.

Everyone has had to sell another person something as we go through life. A child will find all sorts of reasons as to why they deserve a new toy or raise in allowance. A teen will muster the courage and determine the appropriate time to ask another out on a date. A young adult will learn how to conduct themselves in a job interview. You see, sales is a learned experience. We all get better with practice.

I think I made about 4 calls when a prospect expressed his desire for me to quote on 5 day per week litter cleanup service at 3 of his shopping plazas. I promptly visited the properties to gather information on pricing then submitted contract proposals. I recall how happy I was when he accepted my proposals and returned to me executed contracts. I began my side hustle outside of my working hours. I was employed from the hours of 2 pm – 10 pm. I would do my business marketing in the morning hours before I went to work and clean my properties after work. I did this for about 3 months until I started making more money from my part-time side hustle than my job as a shipper/receiver. It wasn’t too difficult for me to serve my boss with my 2 weeks notice.

 

10. If the litter cleanup business can be so successful, then why are you sharing your knowledge?

I decided to share this simple low cost business from home with others. But I wanted to share it with people who are like me when I started out. I had the passion, patience and persistence to make this business successful, but not the deep pockets, education and skills. I can teach the latter two. The cost had to be affordable but not prohibitive.

I ruled out franchising and anything that would have you on the hook financially indefinitely with fees of any sort. This business can be quickly learned and operated without the need for you to keep paying me for the business model.

I’ve been told that I should sell my knowledge in a course. It seems everyone is selling an online course these days for $997, am I right? I settled on a book, which is more of an instructional manual, with your choice of either ebook or hard copy. I enjoy helping others who like me needed a helping hand to start and operate a simple service business that you can feel proud of. My contact information is in the book should you wish to reach out to me for any help. No extra charge. I know my dad would be in agreement.

 

11. Is there room for new people to start a litter clean up business this year?

There is plenty of room for many people to start a litter cleanup business across the country. The fact is I have nothing to lose by sharing my knowledge.

You can’t compete with me in my market. I choose not to operate in yours.

My primary source of income is generated from my cleaning business. Not from book sales.

My business model has been successful for 40+ years. We clean up litter with unique tools that provide our clients better service at a lower cost.

 

12. Can you list the steps needed to get started with a litter clean up business?

The following is a step-by-step Business StartUp Checklist that I have in my book, Cleanlots – America’s Simplest Business. I have condensed the information down to just the tasks:

  1. Choose and register your business name
  2. Buy a domain name, set up an email address
  3. Get a business address and phone number
  4. Create a legal business entity
  5. Request an EIN
  6. Open a business checking account
  7. Obtain licenses and permits
  8. Get insurance
  9. Find an accountant

 

13. Can you tell me more about the resource you offer?

To learn more about the parking lot litter cleanup business opportunity please go to: Cleanlots.com. There’s a free guide that you can download about considering this side hustle opportunity.

There’s also a brief 3 minute video that you can watch to understand how the work is done and see for yourself that it really is almost as easy to do as going for a walk!

Are you interested in starting a litter clean up business?





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Finance

How To Simplify Your Financial Life


How can I make my financial life better? How do I become financially minimalist? These are excellent questions if you’re interested in learning how to simplify your financial life.

We all know that managing your financial life can be overwhelming.How To Simplify Your Financial Life

Between saving for retirement, paying bills, managing your debt, saving for things in life you want, and so much more, your finances can take up a lot of your time and brain power.

Due to this, I think it’s a great idea to learn how to simplify your financial life so you can have less stress and spend more time on the things you truly enjoy doing.

Taking a minimalist approach to personal finance will mean different things to different people. Some people will want to get out of debt, while others simply want to create a better process for paying their bills.

Overall, learning how to simplify your financial life means you are reducing financial clutter.

The benefit is that you don’t feel so bogged down by money. Maybe it’s stress related to debt, being unable to keep track of when your bills are due, forgetting to actually pay bills, etc. 

Money is something we all need to live, but money can be a huge stressor. Fortunately, there are ways to organize and simplify your finances so that you can reduce stress and stay on top of your money.

Of course, not every action on the list below will apply to everyone. It’s all about finding what works for you – remember, personal finance is personal, and we all make different choices.

My hope with this post is that everyone reading will be able to find a couple of tips that they can immediately apply to their financial life. 

As you begin to take control and simplify different aspects of your financial life, you may find that it gives you the confidence and skills needed to make even larger changes. That could be paying off debt, starting a side hustle, preparing for retirement, and so on.

Many of the ideas on this list are ones I use to organize my life and finances, and I can tell you that I would be so overwhelmed without them. Surprisingly, the ones that help me the most, like setting reminders, are the easiest to get started with.

Now that you understand why it’s important to simplify money stressors, let’s get started!

12 tips for how to simplify your financial life

 

1. Get rid of your debt

This is one of the most difficult steps to learning how to simplify your financial life, but it can have a huge impact. 

Whether you have student loan debt, credit card debt, car debt, or whatever else, paying it off will make managing your finances easier as you will have less debt to stress about.

When thinking about all the mental clutter we have, debt can be a huge contributor to that clutter. Debt can cause a crazy amount of stress, and eliminating your debt has endless benefits. Paying off your debt will lead to reduced expenses, and that means you can set more aside for your long-term financial goals, like through investing or saving for retirement.

 

2. Slim down the amount of credit cards you have

Okay, so I understand that this is a hard one if you like to take advantage of credit card rewards – I know I do!

If you are not interested in credit card rewards, then slimming down to just one or two credit cards can save a lot of hassle and time.

By having less credit cards, this means that you’ll have fewer credit cards to keep track of and fewer credit card bills to pay.

 

3. Organize your finances

Most Americans are managing many different accounts on a daily or weekly basis, from checking accounts, savings accounts, credit cards, student loans, their mortgage, car loans, etc.

One of the most helpful things you can do if you want to learn how to simplify your financial life is to start using a platform like Personal Capital.

Personal Capital allows you to aggregate your financial accounts so that you can easily see your financial situation. You can connect accounts, such as your mortgage, bank accounts, credit card accounts, investment accounts, retirement accounts, and more. 

And, it’s free!

Personal Capital makes it easy to see your whole financial picture with just one login. This is great because you can use their website to get a quick and easy snapshot of your financial situation.

 

4. Have less clothing options

This may not sound like a tip for learning how to simplify your financial life, but some of the most successful and wealthy people out there have a very limited set of clothing options. That’s because they realize this isn’t a place to devote time and energy.

By having a smaller wardrobe, you’ll have more time to focus on other things in life, and this can help you to save time and possibly even money. You’ll spend less time getting ready in the morning and less time shopping too.

You can start by looking at the items you wear the most and get rid of the one you haven’t worn in months. It can feel really good to clean out your closet! You can then start to build your wardrobe around the items you know you love and will wear more often.

 

5. Pay expenses annually or semiannually

There are some bills that you have to pay each and every month, but you may be able to eliminate some recurring bills, either by paying them annually or semiannually.

You can pay bills like car and homeowners insurance every six months or once a year, and you will probably qualify for a discount for setting up this type of payment option.

If you switch from monthly payments for just two bills, that’s two less to worry about each month!

You will probably have to adjust your monthly and yearly budget to do so, but looking at and adjusting your budget is always a good thing to do anyway.

Plus, many companies, such as home and car insurance, will give you a discount if you pay in advance.

 

6. Automate your income, bills, and payments

Automating my bills saves me so much time, and I’ve been able to eliminate a bunch of reminders because my bills basically pay themselves.

This is one tip that you can implement in your life in just a couple of hours (or less), and automating your payments gets rid of a lot of financial clutter.

Plus, your monthly bills are probably somewhat similar from month to month, so you can easily see if something seems incorrect.

Here are some ways to automate your bills:

  • Direct deposit your paychecks
  • Auto pay your monthly bills (such as electricity, gas, water, sewer, internet)
  • Auto pay your monthly credit card payments

Even though I check through all transactions and expenses, I still automate many of my actual payments so that I never have to worry about forgetting anything. Most of my expenses are similar from month to month, so I can usually just check the payment to see if everything is correct.

 

7. Start a cash budget

Setting up a cash budget is an excellent idea if you are struggling with credit card debt or want to be more strict with your spending.

A cash budget is when you pay for the majority of your purchases in cash. Of course, there are certain expenses that don’t allow for cash payments, such as a mortgage payment. But, the idea is to pay for as much as possible with cash.

Many people like having a cash budget because it can help them easily see how much money they have to spend in different categories each month, instead of doing calculations throughout the month and tallying everything up at the end.

You’re also learning how to simplify your financial life because there aren’t credit card payments, balancing your checkbook, or making sure your debit purchases match what’s in your account.

 

8. Invest in funds

One way to simplify investing is to invest in funds, instead of individual stocks.

When investing in individual stocks, you probably spend a lot of time researching and tracking individual companies for each stock you add to your portfolio. You also have to spend time making sure your portfolio stays balanced and aligned with your long-term goals.

However, funds are much simpler and can keep you more diversified. It’s a way to learn how to simplify your financial life while helping you develop a healthy investment strategy.

Remember, investing is important because it means you are making your money work for you. If you weren’t investing, your money would just be sitting there and not earning a thing. Plus, the earlier you start investing, the more you’ll end up earning because investing is long-term financial planning.

You can learn more at How To Start Investing For Beginners With Little Money.

 

9. Place reminders on your calendar

I have a ton of reminders on my phone’s calendar because I have a horrible memory. I highly recommend this if you want to learn how to simplify your financial life because reminders are so easy to set up!

I know this first hand because if there is something coming up that I know I will not remember, I will create a reminder. This makes managing my life easier because I don’t have to worry about forgetting things, missing payments, and so on.

Here are some of the reminders I create:

  • When it’s time to pay estimated quarterly tax payments
  • Renewing license plate tags for our cars
  • Paying semiannual bills, such as car insurance
  • Business tasks and to-do lists

You can use your phone to remind you about all sorts of things, like when it’s time to pay bills, take medications, bring back library books, call a friend, and more.

 

10. Create an emergency binder

Creating an emergency binder organizes all of your family’s information in one place. It makes finding any piece of information quick and easy, and you’ll probably refer to it often.

An emergency binder is a way to store financial information, like bank account numbers and passwords. You can store insurance information, personal details about you and each member of your family, information about bills, and more.

This helps to simplify your finances because you’ll have everything in one easy to find place, instead of having to search multiple places for information. Plus, if something were to happen to the person who is mainly in charge of a household’s finances, it makes it much easier for the next person to take control.

I know there are many, many families who would be very lost if something were to happen to the person who usually manages their financial situation.

Accounts could get lost, passwords would be unknown, bills may be forgotten about, life insurance documents may be difficult to find, and more.

It’s best to keep a family emergency binder just in case something were to happen, even if it’s something no one ever wants to think about. Having one just makes life so much easier, and it’s one of the smart money moves you should make this year.

I recommend checking out the In Case of Emergency Binder if you want to learn how to simplify your financial life and organize it for future situations. This is a 100+ page fillable PDF workbook. The In Case of Emergency Binder was created to remove significant complications from the process and help you actually get your important information ready. 

 

11. Skip the paper bills

Paper bills can lead to a lot of physical clutter in your home. If you can, I recommend switching to online billing and getting notifications to your phone and/or email inbox.

An added benefit is that many companies will give you a small discount when you decide to go paperless on your monthly bills.

 

12. Cut expenses out of your life

Think about how many different expenses you have in your life. There’s groceries, your mortgage or rent, car payments, medical insurance, car insurance, cell phone bill, credit card bills, childcare, streaming services, cable, internet service, and more.

While you can’t cut out all of those expenses, there may be at least a couple you can work to eliminate all together. 

If you want to learn how to simplify your financial life, you may want to look at various expenses in your life, such as monthly subscriptions that you may pay for and cancel ones you don’t need.

 

How to simplify your financial life – Summary

There are many ways to simplify your financial life. By doing so, you may be able to lower your stress and even save money.

As a quick recap, some ways to simplify your financial life include:

  1. Get rid of your debt
  2. Slim down the amount of credit cards you have
  3. Organize your finances
  4. Pay expenses annually or semiannually
  5. Have less clothing options
  6. Automate your payments
  7. Start a cash budget
  8. Invest in funds
  9. Place reminders on your calendar
  10. Create an emergency binder
  11. Skip the paper bills
  12. Cut expenses

What do you do to simplify your financial life? Do you think that managing your finances is easy or difficult?





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Finance

New Parent Must-Haves and Best Baby Gear


Are you wondering what to buy when you’re expecting your first baby? Are you looking for the best baby gear?

Whether you are currently pregnant or if you are a new parent, there are so many things to think about and research.best baby gear

Marlowe, my first child, was born less than one year ago, and I am constantly researching questions about the best baby gear. 

When I was pregnant, it felt like all I did was look up the top things a baby needs.

I remember looking up everything from what the best strollers were to what I could do financially to best prepare for a baby. There are so many companies to buy the best baby items from, and everyone has an opinion on what’s best. 

Because I was so overwhelmed in the beginning, I decided to put together a blog post that outlines must-have baby items for first-time moms, plus the best baby gear whether it’s your first or 5th child!

My hope is that I can answer many of your questions, so you don’t have to spend nearly as much time researching things as I did.

And, I definitely think this will be helpful because I have been writing, researching, and gathering information for this article ever since I found out I was pregnant. I quickly realized that there wasn’t one easy-to-read guide for new parents, and that’s where this article comes in.

The areas we will talk about in this best baby gear guide include:

  • Pregnancy, birthing, and new parent courses
  • All about different baby registries
  • How to get a free baby box
  • Pregnancy and new mom gear
  • Best baby gear
  • Baby bath and diapering essentials
  • Baby sleep essentials
  • Breastfeeding gear
  • Baby clothing
  • What you need to financially prepare for a baby
  • How to take maternity leave when self-employed

Now, you definitely do not need everything on this list.

Babies don’t really need much other than food, sleep, and some clothing items. So, no matter your budget, please remember that your baby will be happy and healthy! Also, for every expensive baby item, there are also great budget-friendly baby items as well!

Note: Remember, I am not a doctor or nurse or anything whatsoever remotely related to that. The below is simply what I personally used and liked. I am completely new to being pregnant and becoming a mom, so I am not an expert.

Best Baby Gear & New Parent Essentials 

 

Pregnancy, birthing, and new parent courses

Before we can even get into the best baby gear, let’s start with your baby’s birth! I took birthing courses from Mommy Labor Nurse, and I highly recommend them. She has three courses: Natural, Epidural, and C-Section. I enjoyed these courses so much that I asked to be an affiliate for them afterwards.

Through my link, you can get 10% off using my coupon code CENTS10.

She also has a free birthing workshop that you can sign up for here.

Her courses are extremely helpful, and they go over everything that you could possibly need to know when it comes to having a baby. Her courses can help you:

  • Create a birth plan
  • Understand what your body does during birth
  • Know when to head to the hospital
  • Pain control tips
  • What happens if you have to go natural (even if you planned on an epidural!)
  • What the process is for a c-section
  • How your partner can prepare and help you during the birthing process
  • How to prep for postpartum
  • Even new baby tips for after you have your little one

I also read Expecting Better by Emily Oster, which I found very helpful as well. This was a very non-judgemental pregnancy book, which I really liked. I felt like way too many of the pregnancy books seemed judge-y.

My friend Natalie Bacon also has a wonderful community called Grow You, which is specifically for moms. I was a part of this for the last several months, and I really enjoyed it. This membership comes with mindfulness workshops, tons of tools and resources, live group coaching, and more.

 

Signing up for baby registries

I only made two baby registries, but I only really used one of them – the Babylist registry (this will make more sense in the next section).

The reason I used and liked Babylist so much is that you easily create a registry that pulls the best-priced products from multiple websites. My friends and family could then shop from different stores but still find all of the best baby gear I registered for in one place and at the best price. I also like Babylist because it gave me a newborn checklist to make sure I had everything I needed for the first couple of months.

Here are different baby registries you can check out:

For many of these, you will receive a completion discount once your registry is filled out. This is a coupon code for a discount, such as 15% off your total purchase, that you can personally use to buy any items that you might not receive at your baby shower. This can save you a decent amount of money!

 

free baby box

Here’s what I received in my free Babylist box.

Get a free baby box

If you are newly pregnant, this is a fun and exciting way to get some of the best baby gear.

Baby boxes are typically sent out when you create a registry, and these boxes are often filled with free baby samples, such as newborn laundry detergent, baby bottles, toys, pacifiers, baby onesies, and more.

I got both the free Amazon baby box and the free Babylist baby box, and they were great! I simply created a registry through both sites, and I received the free baby box once someone purchased something off my baby registry. The Amazon baby box is sent out to Prime users who create a registry and have $10+ of purchases completed from the registry. I simply bought one item I knew I wanted, and then I was sent the baby box for free.

Walmart and BuyBuyBaby also give you the option to get a free baby box for signing up for a free baby registry as well.

 

Pregnancy and new mom essentials

Here are the pregnancy and new mom essentials that I have used:

  • Prenatal vitamins – I took the Nature Made Prenatal with Folic Acid + DHA throughout my pregnancy and while I am still breastfeeding.
  • Pregnancy body pillow – There are all different kinds of shapes and sizes, so it really depends on what you are looking for. I really enjoyed having a pregnancy pillow in the first trimester when I was really nauseous and would toss and turn all night. But, I stopped using it in the second trimester and just used a normal pillow.
  • A nicer pillow – Instead of a pregnancy pillow, I got a better pillow overall. This really helped improve my sleep. I got the Zoey Curve Pillow. Pricey, but it is very comfortable and it has a curved design. Also, this is a pillow meant for those who sleep on just one side, which if you are pregnant, you are probably doing a lot of.
  • Maternity bras and clothing – Kindred Bravely (I highly, highly recommend their maternity yoga pants!) and David and Adley are the brands that I wear.
  • Compression socks for travel – I did a 35-hour road trip when I was 32 weeks pregnant. The compression socks saved my legs! I recommend having your own pair if you have a long trip planned.
  • Baby shower and maternity photoshoot dresses – If you are looking for dresses for a maternity shoot or your baby shower, I recommend these websites to look at for ideas: Pink Blush Maternity, Baltic Born, and Amazon.

 

must-have baby items for first time moms

Marlowe playing in her Lovevery Play Gym

Best baby gear

Are you wondering what do new moms really need for baby? The items on the list below are my essentials. This is the best baby gear that we’ve used from day one.

  • Pacifier – Wubbanub pacifier, hands down, is Marlowe’s favorite. She also likes the BIBS and FRIGG pacifiers.
  • Doona stroller and car seat – There are many, many different options for strollers and car seats, and they can all be great! The main difference is that they all have different situations in which they work best. For us, since we travel full-time, the Doona made the most sense because it is made for traveling. It converts from a car seat to a stroller in just a few easy clicks. The downside of the Doona is that it has a short usage life, as it will only fit your baby until they are around 1 to 1.5 years old. There are travel systems, infant car seats, double strollers, convertible car seats, and more. It’s a doozy, and once Marlowe outgrows her Doona, I will be back in the research phase. Other popular strollers include the UPPAbaby, Chicco, Nuna, Mockingbird, Graco, and the Babyzen YOYO.
  • Swing/rocker – 4moms mamaRoo 4 Multi-Motion Baby Swing. Marlowe absolutely loves this swing! This is good from baby’s birth until your child reaches 25 pounds or can sit up unassisted, whichever comes first. The seat has five different motions such as car ride, wave, and rock-a-bye, as well as white noise sounds.
  • Play gym – We have The Play Gym by Lovevery. She plays with it every day, and we also subscribe to the subscription boxes as well. Their toys are great, and they’re also beautiful!
  • Baby life jacket – Salus Bijoux Baby Vest. If you plan on having your baby in or around the water often, then this is the most popular life jacket. It is pricey, but there is a reason: Babies can stay in this life jacket for a long time and be comfortable. Marlowe wears hers all the time, and she hasn’t had one complaint yet.
  • Baby carriers – There are so many different baby carriers out there, and it’s more about personal choice and cost. Having one has been a huge help traveling and bringing Marlowe along throughout our day. Some of the most popular options are Solly Baby, Baby Tula, Boba Wrap, Ergobaby, Artipoppe, Graco, and more. A really affordable one is the Infantino.
  • Baby essentials that are beautiful – Mushie. From dinner plates, to silicone bibs, swaddles, toys, sheets, and more, Mushie makes baby gear in beautiful colors.

 

 

Baby health, bath, and diapering essentials

There are many different diapering and bath brands. This is definitely not a full list. This is simply what I use and what has worked for me:

  • Diapers and wipes – Pampers. There are many different kinds of diapers and wipes, but we have been using Pampers Swaddlers for the most part, and we haven’t had any issues.
  • We use Aquaphor diaper cream ointment. We have tried others but they didn’t seem to work for her.
  • Frida – From postpartum recovery items to new baby items (such as the Nose Frida), Frida has quality items that I recommend.
  • Baby sunscreen – ThinkBaby is what we use, and it has great reviews from dermatologists.
  • Baby shampoo and soap – Tubby Todd is what we use and I recommend it. It smells great and is gentle on baby skin, and I also recommend the all-over ointment lotion. These are the best baby products for the skin.

 

Our boat bedroom with Marlowe’s Snoo.

Baby sleep gear

Oh, baby sleep – what every new parent hopes for!.

Like many babies, Marlowe’s sleep was very rough in the beginning, but thankfully she quickly got the hang of it. She has been sleeping through the night for several months now.

Here are my recommendations for the best baby gear for getting your baby to sleep:

  • Bassinet – Snoo by Happiest Baby – This is the bassinet that we use, and it is very popular. Yes, it is expensive, but you can also rent one. We actually decided to rent one because we don’t have the space to store it if we decide to have another baby. Marlowe has been sleeping through the night for months now, and I definitely think that the Snoo has helped. We kept it on the weaning function the whole time as well, so we didn’t have to worry about her preferring it over a crib too much.
  • Sleepsack – I LOVE the Dreamland Baby Sleepsack/swaddle. Marlowe has been sleeping through the night ever since she started wearing this. She sleeps a solid 10-12 hours without waking up, and it is wonderful for all of us.
  • Travel crib – Guava Lotus Travel Crib. This is the travel crib we have. It fits into a backpack and can be used on a boat, in an RV, while traveling via hotels and Airbnbs, at airports, and more.
  • Baby monitor – The two baby monitors that I looked into are the Owlet and the Vava. What I like about the Vava is that you don’t need wifi in order for it to work.

 

Breastfeeding gear

Breastfeeding can be a struggle for many new parents.

Remember, every parent has to do what works for them, and the main goal is to keep your baby fed and healthy. No judgment here on how you decide to feed your baby!

Because I am able to breastfeed, here is some of the gear I’m using:

  • Spectra – S1 Plus Electric Breast Milk Pump – This is the electric breast pump that everyone seems to have, including me. It is also portable and rechargeable, which is great because I don’t have to be near an outlet in order to pump.
  • Willow wearable breast pump – In addition to the breast pump above, I also recommend a wearable breast pump if you plan on pumping often. I only had the Spectra breast pump during the first two months, and then I quickly got tired of being stuck in one place multiple times a day. The Willow completely changed this for me. I can now work while I pump, make dinner, eat, take care of Marlowe, and more. If you’re looking for a more affordable wearable breast pump, I have heard good things about the Momcozy.
  • Breastfeeding pillow – I have the My Breast Friend nursing pillow, and I have no complaints about it. It’s comfy for both me and the baby.
  • Baby bottles – Dr. Brown’s Natural Flow Anti-Colic Baby Bottles – These are the baby bottles that we use.
  • Formula – I have not used formula (other than the first day at the hospital while waiting for my milk to come in), but there are plenty of great formula brands out there. Here is a really helpful article on the Best Baby Formulas.
  • Other items you may want include nipple cream and breast pads.

A quick note about breast pumps: If you have insurance, you may be able to get a free or discounted pump through your insurance. I definitely recommend asking as it can save you a large amount of money.

 

Baby clothing

There are many, many different stores to buy baby clothing from. Below are some that I recommend:

  • Old Navy
  • Target
  • Carter’s
  • Kyte Baby
  • Once Upon a Child – this is a secondhand store where you can find many great deals on baby clothing and gear
  • Caden Lane
  • Spearmint
  • Copper Pearl
  • Little Sleepies
  • Posh Peanut
  • Free Birdees
  • Little Poppy Co – they have the most adorable bows

 

When should I start shopping for baby?

This is entirely up to you!

Some people will run out and buy a couple of things right away, while others will immediately start buying the best baby gear. 

One of the first things we bought were tiny swimsuits for Marlowe because we were in the Bahamas and couldn’t wait for our little beach baby, haha! However, once I filled out our registry, we waited to see which items were purchased before buying anything else. Fortunately, we got pretty much everything on our registry.

Whether you decide to start buying the best baby gear now or later is up to you. But, you can save money if you see what’s purchased from your registry. Also, borrowing baby gear from friends and family can be a great way to save money.

 

best baby gear

Everything you need to financially prepare

If you are looking for a financial guide for new parents, then I recommend the New Mama Money Plan. I have read this from beginning to end already. Some of the topics discussed include:

  • How to create a budget for your baby’s first year (this includes what you will need, common medical expenses and estimating birth costs, and more)
  • Maternity leave
  • Planning your baby registry
  • Understanding your insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Estate planning

This is a great resource for anyone who is about to be a new parent.

There are worksheets included to help you create a budget for your baby and answers to baby-related money questions (such as what baby things do you actually need? What hand-me-downs are safe? How do you plan and afford childcare? How much will the birth cost?). That’s just a bit of what the worksheets include. It was really helpful and nice to have everything in one easy-to-find guide.

You can click here to learn more about the New Mama Money Plan.

 

How to take maternity leave when self-employed

Are you self-employed and pregnant? Are you wondering how to handle maternity leave when self-employed?

Here are some tips for planning how to take a maternity leave:

  • Set something up with your clients. If you have clients, then I have heard of many business owners working ahead as much as possible to have all the work they’d do during their maternity leave completed in advance. This can be a great way to guarantee income. While it will require more work upfront from you to make up for missed income months, it can be a way to not miss out on any income.
  • Create a savings fund. Many self-employed parents create a savings fund that is specifically money set aside for the months they are not working during maternity and paternity leave. This can take some of the stress off of you, as you know how much time off you can afford to take.
  • Find ways to make passive income. If you have the time, finding passive income ideas can help you make money while on parental leave without having to dedicate as much time towards it. There are many options, and you can learn about them in 12 Passive Income Ideas That Will Let You Enjoy Life More.
  • More money talks with your partner. Because self-employed maternity leave will affect your partner too, it’s important to have some serious conversations about how you can work together. Maybe that’s creating a stricter budget, paying down high-interest rate debt, or them helping you work ahead.
  • Short-term disability policies. Because pregnancy counts as a pre-existing condition, you may be able to take advantage of a short-term disability policy. They won’t work for everyone, so do your research. It will also take some long-term planning because you will probably have to pay into a plan several months in advance before you can use it for your maternity leave.
  • Have a plan for going back to work. Your life will be very different once your baby is born, and figuring out how to go back to work is just as important as how to take maternity leave. Think about things like childcare, which clients and tasks will take priority when you get back, and so on.
  • Hire someone to manage your business. Some business owners may decide to hire someone like a virtual assistant to answer emails and keep day-to-day things running smoothly while they’re away. Or, maybe you hire another freelancer to take over your work for you.
  • Be easy on yourself. I’m already learning that having a child means I need to be easier on myself. There will be times when you get it right, but there will also be times when you feel like you’re doing everything wrong. That’s a lot to handle when you’re worried about your baby and your business.

You can read more at How To Take Maternity Leave When Self-Employed – What You Need To Know.

 

What is the best baby gear?

I hope you enjoyed my list of the best baby gear that I have used and enjoyed.

This obviously isn’t a complete list because all babies and parents are different! So, what may have worked for me may not work for you. There are so many great options out there, and this list could go on and on.

Also, I know how easy it can be to get overwhelmed as a new parent. I have been looking over this list, and it seems so long!

You can easily accumulate a lot of stuff for your baby, and there are a ton of baby items that I have that I haven’t even included in this list (such as a baby bathtub, diaper bag, crib mattress, crib sheets, changing pad, and more!). 

What else would you add to this list for new parents? What’s on the top of your best baby gear list?





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Finance

Learn How To Get Started Today


Did you know that you can make money as a bookkeeper at home, even if you have no experience or degree?

Online bookkeeping jobs can be a great way to work from home, and remote bookkeepers are in high demand too. If you’ve been wanting to work from home and want to earn $40,000+ each year, bookkeeping could be perfect for you.How To Find Online Bookkeeping Jobs

As a bookkeeper, you are responsible for helping businesses take care of their finances, such as by tracking receipts and spending. 

This is a job that can earn you over $40,000 a year, with a lot of room for growth. So many different types of businesses are looking for bookkeepers, so this can be a great career option to get started with.

And yes, bookkeeping is definitely a skill that you can learn from home!

What’s great about bookkeeping is that you can learn the skills you need from the comfort of your home, and then you can also work the job at home. It’s very flexible as well.

Entry-level online bookkeeping jobs are excellent for stay-at-home parents, teachers who are off for the summer, college students, professionals who want to make more money on the side of their job, digital nomads, and more.

If you are looking for a new job or even just a part-time work-from-home gig, this may be something that you want to look into. Learning how to become an online bookkeeper can be a great long-term career choice too.

Plus, as an online bookkeeper, you can work from wherever – you just need an internet connection and a laptop.

If you are interested in finding online bookkeeping jobs, I recommend signing up for this free workshop all about finding a virtual bookkeeping job. Here, you will learn how to start a freelance bookkeeping business. You can sign up for free here.

Today, you will learn how to become a virtual bookkeeper, how to find online bookkeeping jobs, how to learn the skills needed to become a bookkeeper, and more.

Content related to online bookkeeping jobs:

What you need to know about online bookkeeping jobs.

 

What is a bookkeeper?

A bookkeeper is someone who helps manage and track the financial side of a business. They will typically keep track of sales, expenses, and produce financial reports.

Those with virtual bookkeeping jobs work remotely from home, and they do not physically need to go into the office. Bookkeeping is an excellent option for remote work because all of a bookkeeper’s work can be done online or with computer software.

If you are a freelance bookkeeper, you may have several clients, or just one. It simply depends on what type of bookkeeping business you want to run.

 

How a bookkeeper explains the job

If you’re looking for freelance bookkeeping jobs from home, it might be helpful to learn how a professional bookkeeper describes their job. This can give you a better idea of what the work will really be like. I always enjoy hearing people explain what they do in their own words. 

I interviewed a professional bookkeeper in How To Become a Bookkeeper, and I think they described the job best:

“Think of bookkeeping like caring for your household finances… but on steroids.

Every business is required (and should) track every dollar that comes into their business or goes out. In theory, this seems pretty darn easy. In practice, it just isn’t so.

Most entrepreneur/business owner types are excellent at what they do: carpentry, dentistry, carpet-cleaning… you name it. However, most of them are clueless when it comes to tracking their finances. Enter the bookkeeper.

The bookkeeper is the person business owners rely on for accurate financial information. Business owners want to be able to focus on what they are good at, and delegate the tasks they are not so good at. Bookkeeping is a prime example of a task that savvy business owners outsource to others.”

 

What’s the difference between a bookkeeper and an accountant?

It’s important to know that bookkeepers are not accountants, although many people confuse the two or think it’s the same job. 

Both are very important jobs and do a great deal to help business owners, but they are not the same.

Accountants are required to have a bachelor’s degree, and many of them complete additional coursework or certifications. Their training is why they are responsible for providing financial analysis and insights.

The work a bookkeeper does may be passed onto an accountant for tax purposes or to help a business owner make larger financial decisions.

Also, you have probably seen the title CPA – that stands for Certified Public Accountant. This is an accounting professional who has completed licensing standards for their state. This is not the case for bookkeepers.

Bookkeepers, however, do not need any specific education or training. That’s why part-time online bookkeeping jobs are great for so many types of people. There are some skills required, like understanding how to create and use spreadsheets or using specific types of software, but these are skills you can learn on your own time. 

Plus, you don’t have to spend four years going to college or paying for a degree to become a bookkeeper.

 

Can I work as a bookkeeper from home?

Yes, bookkeeping is a perfect work from home job! This is because you really only need a laptop or computer, plus an internet connection.

As an online bookkeeper, you can typically work from wherever. I’ve met people while traveling who work as online bookkeepers as a way to work while traveling – it’s just that flexible!

All of the most popular bookkeeping software that you would use is all online, and most companies keep digital copies of financial documents you would need to access online as well, like receipts and payroll.

 

What does an online bookkeeper do? 

As a bookkeeper, you may be completing tasks such as:

  • Recording financial transactions
  • Categorizing and organizing financial information, such as filing receipts
  • Producing financial statements
  • Bank statement reconciliation
  • Budget management
  • Creating financial reports
  • Handle invoices
  • Cash flow management
  • Manage payroll

And more. The online part simply comes from the fact that you are working remotely and not going into an office. 

But the exact tasks you do depend on what your clients or company is looking for.

 

How much do online bookkeepers make?

Pay for online bookkeepers varies just like the type of work they do varies.

This is because it depends on how many hours you put towards it each week (do you want to work part-time or full-time, for example), what you’re doing to grow your business, and more.

As an online bookkeeper, you may be able to earn around $40,000 or more each year. This is typically around 12-16 clients. Per hour pay may range anywhere from $60-$100/hour.

It’s not uncommon for a bookkeeper to make approximately $300 a month for one client, and that’s working around 4-5 hours a month total.

 

Can I be a bookkeeper without a degree? How do I become a virtual bookkeeper with no experience?

There are definitely online bookkeeping jobs with no experience needed, and you don’t need a degree to get started either.

That being said, you will need to learn how to do this job correctly, and one way is to take an online course. Yes, that means that you can learn how to become a bookkeeper with no experience.

The skills you may need as an online bookkeeper may include:

  • Organization skills – As a bookkeeper, you need strong organization skills to organize and categorize numbers. Organization skills are also a must when you are working with multiple clients.
  • Understand numbers – Now, you don’t need a degree in finance, but you should at least be comfortable with numbers and be willing to learn how to correctly do a company’s bookkeeping. Most bookkeepers use fairly simple math.
  • Attention to detail – As a bookkeeper, you will be dealing with a company’s financial details, which means that you need to be able to pay good attention to all of the different details.

With training, you can learn how to become a bookkeeper, how to find bookkeeping clients, and how to run a bookkeeping business.

I recommend checking out this free How To Become An Online Bookkeeper Workshop to see if this interests you.

 

Who hires online bookkeepers? 

Typical clients for a virtual bookkeeper are usually small to medium-sized businesses.

Many business owners have no idea how to track their finances, and this is where a virtual bookkeeper comes in!

As an online bookkeeper, you may be working directly for a company full-time, or you may have many smaller part-time clients. It simply depends on what type of business you want to run, or if you want to be a full-time bookkeeping employee for a company.

 

What companies hire online bookkeepers? 

There are many different places to start when it comes to finding online bookkeeping jobs. These include:

  1. Fiverr – For freelance bookkeeping jobs, Fiverr.com can be a place to start for entry level bookkeeping jobs. You would be posting your bookkeeping services on this website, sort of like an advertisement for your bookkeeping business.
  2. UpWork – With UpWork, you can find beginner bookkeeping jobs. At the time of writing this post, they had 954 bookkeeping jobs posted on UpWork.
  3. Flexjobs – Flexjobs.com lists bookkeeping jobs. I did a quick search and found 11 pages full of different bookkeeping jobs that they have listed.
  4. Craigslist – By searching available jobs and gigs, you may find bookkeeping jobs. Local businesses need bookkeepers too!
  5. Indeed – Indeed lists virtual bookkeeper jobs, and even goes a little more in-depth and lists the salary range as well.
  6. Ziprecruiter – Ziprecruiter has 13,334 online bookkeeper jobs currently posted on their website.
  7. Belay Solutions – Belay Solutions hires for remote positions, such as bookkeepers. Job duties include paying client’s bills, bank statement reconciliation, budget management, and more.
  8. Accounting Prose – This is a bookkeeping and payroll company that hires virtual bookkeepers.
  9. Intuit – Intuit (Quickbooks) hires Quickbooks Live Bookkeepers to help small businesses manage their finances. The jobs they offer are typically around 20 to 40 hours each week.
  10. Accounting Department – This is a website that hires bookkeepers as full-time W2 workers, with benefits. The company is virtual, but they ask that you live in the United States.
  11. Bookminders – Bookminders hires part-time work from home bookkeepers. You may be working for small business or non-profit companies. They do require a bachelor’s degree and at least 5 years of experience in the finance field. Plus, while it is a remote position, you do need to live within 45 miles of a local Bookminders’ office (so that you can attend training and client meetings). Current offices are located in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Baltimore, King of Prussia, Cherry Hill, Annapolis, D.C., and Austin.
  12. Backyard Bookkeeper – Backyard Bookkeeper hires bookkeepers for anywhere from 10 to 30 hours a week (it’s up to you). You can work from your home, but you may have to visit clients occasionally as well. This is a part-time bookkeeping position that pays around $16 to $24 per hour. You do need to be a resident of Utah.
  13. Guru – This is a job board where you can list your bookkeeping services.
  14. Remote.co – This website lists remote bookkeeping jobs from individual companies or with consulting firms.

Below is a screenshot of online bookkeeping jobs that I found on UpWork.

how to find online bookkeeping jobs on Upwork

I scrolled through all of the websites above, and there are many, many different options when it comes to finding online bookkeeping jobs.

 

Which bookkeeping course is best? 

If you’re interested in becoming a bookkeeper, you may want to take a course to jumpstart your career, and the most popular online bookkeeping course that I know of is Bookkeeper Launch

The course is around 60 hours long and over 12,000 people have taken this course!

Bookkeeper Launch teaches you how to start your own online bookkeeping business from scratch.

This course will teach you how to find bookkeeping jobs from the very beginning, how to set up and market your business, actual bookkeeping skills (such as how to prepare financial statements and other tasks you may be doing for businesses as a bookkeeper), and the course is perfect for anyone who is brand new to the career.

The course is self-paced too, which means that you can take the course as quickly or as slowly as you would like.

This bookkeeping course also comes with:

  • Unlimited email support
  • Live weekly question and answers sessions
  • Support group with over 6,000 students

This course also has a 30-day guarantee. So, if you are not 100% happy with the course, you can get a refund.

I have heard great reviews about this bookkeeping course from many of my readers, and I know of many people who have found bookkeeping jobs because of what they have learned through this training.

 

Is it worth it taking an online bookkeeping course?

Yes, I definitely think that taking a bookkeeping course is worth it.

The course mentioned above teaches you bookkeeping skills, as well as how to create and set up your bookkeeping business.

This is extremely valuable information, especially for someone new to the topic of bookkeeping, as you will learn exactly what to do and what not to do.

This can save you hours and hours of time, as well as eliminating any guessing as to how to correctly run a bookkeeping business.

 

What are the pros and cons of bookkeeping?

As with any job, there are pros and cons to becoming an online bookkeeper.

Positives of becoming a bookkeeper:

  • It’s affordable to start a bookkeeping business, as all you really need is a laptop or computer and an internet connection.
  • You can work from home or while traveling.
  • You can create your own schedule, which can be great if you are a stay at home parent or if you simply want to be in charge of your own hours.
  • You get to decide who your clients are and who you work with.

Negatives of becoming a bookkeeper:

  • Although you may be able to create a flexible schedule, there still may be deadlines for you to follow. This is all dependent on the client.
  • You will need to learn bookkeeping skills in order to be helpful to your clients.
  • It is still a job, of course 🙂 This means that you will still have to work. It is not a get rich quick scheme.

As you can see, there are many great positives of becoming a bookkeeper.

 

How do I become a virtual bookkeeper?

I recommend reading How To Become a Bookkeeper to learn more about how to become a bookkeeper.

To see if you are interested in becoming an online bookkeeper, I highly recommend first signing up for a free workshop all about finding a digital bookkeeping job.

Here, you will learn how to start a freelance bookkeeping business. You can sign up for free here, and this is a great introduction for someone who is thinking about starting a freelance bookkeeping career.

A very quick step-by-by process of becoming a bookkeeper may include:

  1. Learn bookkeeping skills, such as how to organize financial transactions
  2. Understand how to use bookkeeping software, such as QuickBooks
  3. Create your bookkeeping business, which may include creating a simple website that displays your bookkeeping services, making business cards, and more
  4. Finding your first bookkeeping client
  5. Getting paid.

You can do it!

 

How to find online bookkeeping jobs

I hope you enjoyed today’s article on how to find online bookkeeping jobs.

As you can see, there are many different ways to find online bookkeeping jobs, from working for a company full-time, to managing several clients while running your own business.

The pay and the hours can vary, so it simply depends on what kind of virtual bookkeeping business that you want to create and run for yourself. Everyone is different, so choose what is best for you!

Are you interested in finding online bookkeeping jobs? What other questions do you have on how to become a virtual bookkeeper?





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