The Gig Economy & You: How to Start Working for Yourself

So you’ve decided that you’d love to let go of the 9-5 and make it on your own, doing work that you’re connected to. But how? The moment I realized this is what I wanted felt great, and the moment right after I was filled with daunting questions.

If I work for myself, what the heck do I even do exactly?
If you’re not sure what it should be that you set up a business doing start listening to the people in your life.

What do they admire you for? What do they wish they could do like you? What do they pay someone to do that you do for yourself?
For example, I’m really bad with numbers. Not only that, but perhaps more problematically, I have very low confidence in my ability to work with numbers. So even when  I sit down and figure out the math on something I’m still very uncertain that I’ve done it correctly, and I don’t trust my own results. Come tax time this means I pay someone to do my taxes.
Friends who are great with numbers and confident in their abilities save the fees that I gladly pay to know for certain that things are done right, and if they aren’t it isn’t my fault.

My mom is amazingly creative, she has a scary good eye for color and is very crafty.  When I was growing up there were lots of quilts, dolls, and clothing I had that others admired and she made with her own two hands. I remember her having various business projects making things like wedding dresses, dance costumes, and quilts for others. What she was great at, and they couldn’t do themselves, she made a profit from.

That’s the key to this whole gig economy thing. Listen to what others admire about you, become conscious of the skills you have that are so natural to you that you almost forget they’re special.

Those skills are the key to monetizing yourself.

I have always loved writing. It never seemed like a special skill to me. It was just something I loved and others seemed to enjoy so I kept at it. Now here I am making it part of how I control my income – from the blog to transcription.

Even teaching is part of this for me. I love to talk, I like kids, I’m good at English and approaching a concept from different angles until I’ve made it make sense for someone else. It’s all communication and strong communication is what I excel at. I never really practiced those things, I never really realized that they were different for me than others. Yet so many people listen to me describe my teaching job and say “That’s awesome, I couldn’t do that.”

When you have something you love that others say they just couldn’t do, you can usually find a way to take that to the bank. Let them know they don’t have to, for a small fee, you’ll get it done for them!

Comment with a skill or a few skills you have that others pay for (even if they aren’t paying you for it, yet 😉

My first month as a Body love Babe on Anna Victoria’s Body Love App

I’ve tried lots of diet and work out programs through the ages. They all have something going for them, and all have one thing in common: participation is truly the key to success.

If you’re not following the food plan and doing the work outs you can’t really judge if the program was a success because you didn’t participate.

So this is the first time I can really start talking about the success of a program. I can speak to about the first four weeks of Anna Victoria’s FBG (Fit Body Guide) as I followed them and saw wonderful initial results. However I got busy with life and did not fully participate in the program after that.

Now I’m on Anna Victoria’s most recent release – the Body love app – and I am in love!

The format of an app versus a downloaded document is so simple but for me, it’s a total game changer. It kind of sucks to admit that I need a) that constant accessibility and idiot-proof format that the app allows, and b) the pressure of an ongoing subscription payment to remind me of my ongoing commitment.

On the note of an ongoing subscription payment – part of how I financially justify this is that I don’t pay for a gym so that helps. The program doesn’t require a gym, just some free weights and the odd time you’ll have to repurpose a dining room chair or the edge of our couch for dips, etc.

So I’m in my fourth week with this app and as I said, I am in love. I haven’t been following the meal plan very strictly but I have been making improvements by adding more vegetables, cutting back on soda and starches, and downsizing my portions. I have also been dedicated to the work outs because I love how easy they are to follow and the sense of accomplishment from seeing those little checks beside each workout on the calendar.

I’ll post when I do my four week progress pictures at the end of this week, as well as sharing my daily adventures through the instagram account @fitish.kitten.

What are your favourite fitness programs?

Carmen

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What makes Polyamory work for Us

  1. None of us are prone to jealousy and all of us understand our responsibility to cope with jealousy in a healthy way.
    Not being prone to jealousy doesn’t mean we’ll never look at our spouses with their boyfriend or girlfriend and think it might be nice if we had the same thing they have in a given moment.
    Instead, it’s committing to acknowledge those feelings and that jealousy ultimately is about us – not them. As an example: I need to remember, if I’m feeling jealous over something, that nothing between Ben and Maggie takes away from what I have with Ben or what I have with Maggie. Jealousy is sneaky and makes us feel like someone’s got it better than us when in fact we don’t mean to undervalue what we have.
  2. We’re all genuinely happy to see each other happy.
    I guess this goes along with the low levels of jealousy but it’s deeper than that. There have been many aspects of Ben’s life that brought him happiness outside of our relationship – the bands he’s jammed with, music in general, a whole University degree that just dizzy’s my little arts brain (he’s a computer scientist.) I’ve always taken pride in supporting his interests and hobbies outside of our relationship so I guess it was a natural extension to encourage him when sparks flew between him and Maggie. This is just another way he as an individual can experience happiness that compliments, not complicates, our happiness together.
  3. We’re so lucky we sometimes just sit around in amazement
    Seriously – it’s not that surprising that Maggie and I are compatible a partners. We found each other while both lost on a school trip and never let go of each other. We’ve been best friends for a decade and even when we did not see each other often we were always there to support each other. Our romance developing isn’t super surprising.
    But what are the chances that we would also be very compatible with each others husbands?
    Then again, people say Maggie and I are very similar while Ben and Tom are very different. It’s true that Ben and Tom have very different hobbies but at their cores, when it comes right down to values and how they prefer to live, they are not that different.However it happened, we’re glad it did!

Carmen

What Polyamory means to Us

First and foremost: who are we?

I am Carmen, and my husband is Ben.
Maggie is my best friend turned girlfriend, and Tom is her husband.
Tom and I are dating, as are Maggie and Ben.
Confused yet, so were we!

Polyamory is, at its core, the belief that we can love and choose to have meaningful, romantic relationships with more than one person.  It is broad and inclusive.

Individuals subscribing to this unifying idea may still choose to shape their relationships differently. Many people who subscribe to polyamory reject any sort of limitation. They choose to maintain as many relationships as they are personally able to commit to and do not allow the existence of any one relationship to limit the existence or scope of the others.

That’s not quite how we have chosen to express our belief in polyamory.

We call ourselves a “pod”. We are two married couples with five relationships between us: the two marriages, myself and Tom, Maggie and Ben, plus Maggie and I. We are all committed to these five relationships and are not interested in developing any more romantic connections outside of our pod.

We firmly and fiercely believe in our ability to love more than just one person, and in the value of supporting our spouses and each other in all of our relationships.

This is what polyamory means to us. We are a family and we support each other and each others relationships.  No one relationships is valued over the others – instead, we recognize that everyone’s needs are met more fully when we work together. For example, when Maggie is sick she might find Ben’s company more comforting that Tom’s simply because Tom is more practical whereas Ben is softer in how he looks after Maggie. Given that she didn’t ask to be sick, I make sure Ben and I are available and don’t hold Ben all to myself just because he’s my husband.

In return, Tom and Maggie have both been flexible when Ben or I were craving the company of one of them despite everyone having other plans.

Furthermore we all fulfill different roles within the house. The same as you can ask any monogamous couple who does more cooking and who does more planning, we are all working together to make our household function smoothly.

So there’s a little bit about my family and what polyamory means for us.

Stay tuned for more of our crazy adventures!

 

Carmen

The Value of Goals

When you work for yourself, chances are there aren’t a lot of opportunities for promotion. Or there are, but they look a lot different than your traditional corporate promotion and they don’t always serve as the most accurate markers of success and development.

For example, there are some limited opportunities for promotion with my teaching company in that some teachers are invited to take on non-teaching rolls with the company.  It’s a great way to add a little extra work and experience when you get these additional roles , however they may not satisfy the ladder climbing itch the way a traditional promotion does.

That’s why I want to take a second to talk about the value of Goals. Goals give us something concrete to work towards, encourage us to plan for accomplishment and to always have a plan we are paying attention to.  Reaching a goal gives us a moment when we can pause and celebrate our success.

Did you want to connect with a certain number of new clients this month – and successfully do so? Share that news with your partners or family and let them congratulate you.

Did you want to grow your social network reach by a certain number of followers and have you met that goal? Take a moment to thank those who follow you with a little #humblebrag post!

These goals help you stay focused and give your work purpose and meaning in the context of your life.

Accomplishing goals also provides the opportunity to set bigger and more ambitious goals. Much like being given a bigger role in a traditional company, feeling that bigger goals are possible for you satisfies a sort of constant growth and promotion desire.  For example, if my first goal is to reach 100 followers on instagram by the end of the month and come the end of the month I have 125 followers, perhaps my next goal will be to reach 250 in a month. Seeing success will allow me to make data-based decisions about my capabilities and see my capabilities grow through my data.

Without goals we are working solely to make money and pay bills. Ultimately this is unavoidably important but it isn’t enough to motivate us. I want to pay my bills comfortably as much as the next person but working from home and not knowing why I’m doing it other than to continue existing becomes lonely, tedious and isolating.

We crave purpose, meaning and accomplishment and we can infuse our gig-to-gig life with these elements when we set and aggressively pursue goals that mean something to us!

What are your goals? How do you measure success?

Carmen

Weakness and Persistence

So I’ve talked about setting my mind to losing weight then gaining it instead.  Now let’s talk about the first challenge of weight loss:

Feeling weak.

I get on the treadmill and after 5 minutes I’m day dreaming about the moment I can put my butt back down on the couch.

I turn on my fave fitness app and feel my body struggle to complete all the moves.

But my mind is on my side. I know that the only way to get stronger is to do the things I struggle with until I don’t struggle anymore.

I’ve learned this after years of struggling. You can’t wish it away.

What does persistence mean?

Doing things that are uncomfortable 

Like staying on the treadmill and continuing the workout when I’m embarrassed of how much I struggle.

Eating new foods.

Trying new activities.

Doing things again, and again, and again...

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could eat well and be active for a day, or like… a week… and poof, that hard work would be rewarded with the bodies we were trying to build.

I wish. But it doesn’t happen like that. You’ll have to keep working even when you feel like there’s no results.

As they say, Trust the process.

Insisting on Support, Ignoring Temptation 

I love when my husband makes delicious homemade bacon cheeseburgers, or my partners take me to a favourite restaurant on date night… but these things don’t support my goals and I’m still really bad when there’s temptation in front of me.

I wanted my fitness journey to be something I could do all on my own without asking anything from anyone else. But that’s just not feasible when I’m in three relationships. I have to let the people I’m with be a part of this, invite them to make healthy choices and enjoy healthy meals with me.

Or sometimes it means asking them to get out of my hair for an hour so I can work out.

Here it is, only the beginning of posting honestly about the journey  I’m on.

What are your biggest setbacks for your goals?

Carmen

 

Since Dying my Hair Blue

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1. Almost as reliably as people ask if my tattoos hurt, they ask if my hair is real.

Yep. Grew it myself.

2. I’m more confident.

There isn’t a lot of room for self doubt (and it’s hard to sneak passed anyone) when you have the brightest hair in the room.

3. I clash with a bunch of my clothes.

I put on my favourite bright red hoodie and cried a little. Good thing I always liked black.

4. I’m stubborn about it.

I always said it’s just hair and if I came across a job or something where it wasn’t appropriate, I could just change it to something more neutral. But I’m a little more attached than that so if someone doesn’t like my hair, they don’t like me.

5. It takes work.

Expensive products that are time consuming to use. Not to mention the time I spend cleaning the shower after I use it. I go to the hairdresser to get it coloured but I use a pigmented conditioner to maintain the vibrancy in between salon visits. With bright hair like this there’s no time to be lazy or it gets looking kind of sad. I don’t need the whole world seeing it on my head when I’m lazy!

6. It’s like a no-effort accessory

At least after all that work and money it makes me look ready to go with very little effort – take it down and brush it, and I’m good to go.

7. It’s really fun to style.

Plus when I do more than take it down and brush it, I have a lot of fun putting it in new styles to show off the colours.

8. I’m easy to find in a crowd.

Yeah, like I said… kind of hard to sneak passed anyone.

9. Do not try this at home.

Blue shower. Blue floors. Blue walls. Blue hands. Blue face… just leave applying you’re bright fantasy colours to the professional. A little maintenance like a pigmented conditioner is do-able but creating this look all on your own is not – especially not if you need bleach.

10. Trust your hair dresser

I never asked for blue hair. One day my hairdresser suggested that it would look nice with the purple and pink I already had and I totally trust her so here we are!