Day 10- Natalie Sisson’s 10 Day blog challenge

Day 10- #10DBC

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This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 10

I think this whole challenge was valuable for many reasons including creating an overall plan, defining my why, and starting a regular habit which I have written about before.

I would have to say that my favourite day of the 10 day blog challenge was Day 7 where I described how I was going to actually get the work done. The Pomodoro method was really a game changer for me. I think I had heard about it before but I didn’t believe that procrastination or productivity was my issue at the time.

It is the ONLY thing that is wrong right now. I have a clear vision of what I want my life to look like and multiple potential business ideas that could get me there but yet I have taken few steps in the right direction. I am stuck in the vicious circle of self-doubt and self-sabotage before I have even validated my idea with real customers. I need to just get busy and do the work. My time is available right now and I need to use it effectively.

Maybe it’s like the concept of the curse of knowledge. I think I immediately assume that if I know something then everyone must know. Even though intellectually I know that can’t be true. Not everyone has 30 years of business experience and a MBA like me and I should be sharing that knowledge with new or struggling business owners. Somehow though I talk myself out of doing the work, every single time.

This challenge was the eye-opener because of how easy it was to write about my perfect day and the lifestyle I wanted to live but the posts like Day 4 were so confused sounding and highlighted the lack of direction on my business. Day 7 gave me a solid tactic to employ to work through that lack of clarity.

I’m glad I participated in this challenge and I thank you Natalie Sisson for providing the opportunity.

Jo

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Day 9- Natalie Sisson’s 10 Day blog challenge

Day 9- #10DBC

This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 9

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Finding the balance between work and play, the ultimate lifestyle business.

When I first started dreaming about having a location independent business I really thought that having all my worldly possessions in my backpack would be the ideal scenario. I even started down the path of selling and giving away all my stuff. Which was actually pretty therapeutic, as it turned out, I had way too much stuff and reducing the amount was actually very freeing in itself.

Then I tried out being away from home with a fourteen month contract on the other side of the country. I rented a furnished condo and had a whole new culture to explore. Overall the experience was amazing and it really gave me a taste of what it would be like to be travelling more. The thing that I enjoyed most was the lack of responsibility for home ownership and maintenance.

As a home owner for many years, it seemed like all my extra time and money went into fixing, upgrading and maintaining my home and yard. Renting the fully furnished condo opened my eyes to the amount of time it’s creates to not have any of that on my list. I immediately sold my house and bought a condo when I got back from that contract.

The problem that I had with being that far away was missing my family. I really lost touch with the day to day of my kids and grandkids and it wasn’t ideal. It made me realize that always being away wasn’t the answer but just having the option to be away was. I also realized that even when I paired down my belongs to the bare minimum it’s still a lot of stuff and I don’t want to be in a constant state of ‘moving’.

So now my ideal vision of my location independent lifestyle is having a few home bases around the world. I already have my condo in the beautiful mountain town of Canmore and I can’t see ever selling it. I do envision renting it out for the winter months while I head to warmer climates though! I also want a lake cottage so we can have a boat and a place for the kids to come out and visit on their summer vacations or to spend Christmas.

I would also like to buy a beach house somewhere hot. Maybe Costa Rica or Nicaragua, not totally set on the location yet but most likely in Central America somewhere. This would be something I could rent out when I’m not there to pay the bills and earn a little income. Then I would like to just spend some time travelling and see if any other place speaks to me and look for other income properties to invest in. I would keep the lake cottage as a non-rental family home base.

I think this plan would allow me to easily relocate from one place to the next and keep my overall schedule basically the same. Working in the mornings and playing in the afternoons. By going to the same areas every time the transition would be reduced and I could enjoy a little bit of familiar surroundings without being stuck in one place.

Seems like I need to get to work to pay for all of this!!

Jo

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Day 8- Natalie Sisson’s 10 Day blog challenge

Day 8- #10DBC

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This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 8

I spent this day doing some of the things I love most with some of the people I love most. This is the reason I want to have a freedom lifestyle in the first place.

I spent the day out in the forest in my beautiful home of Alberta enjoying one of the last nice days of summer. The leaves are already turning yellow and the nighttime temps are dipping below zero and it won’t be long until the snow starts falling.

I went quadding and sat around the campfire. Played some games and hung out. My sister, cousins, two of my children and three of my grandchildren were all there and we got some really quality unplugged family time.

There’s no cell service out there and so no can stare mindlessly at their phones instead of interacting. The kids have to play outside and make up games just like when I was a kid. They got to roast hotdogs and play in the dirt.

This is what it’s all about and the whole reason for building a business and life that allows me to have more days like this.

Jo

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Day 7- Natalie Sisson’s 10 Day blog challenge

Day 7- #10DBC

This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 7

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Beating procrastination and overwhelm.

Taking action towards your goals seems like a pretty straightforward and obvious thing.

If you want to lose weight then you need to burn more calories either by eating less or moving more. In order to eat less you need to create a plan to take action toward removing temptations from your cupboard or fridge and eating foods that keep you full longer. In order to move more you need a strategy that will add activity to your day like signing up for a yoga class or setting timer to remind you to get up every hour and exercise.

When it comes to taking action towards my entrepreneurial goals I seem to forget all the tried and true strategies and waste a lot of time procrastinating and I don’t think I’m alone either. There seems to be a built in sabotage switch that fills some would be entrepreneurs with self doubt, limiting beliefs and a ‘it won’t work so why try’ attitude.

I think some of this comes from not having a clear path to follow. The road to successful entrepreneurship is long, winding and poorly marked. It becomes frustrating to put in a huge effort and not see results right away. People aren’t very good at delayed gratification in most cases so years of hard work for an uncertain reward takes some serious guts. Many quit when they are on the brink of a major breakthrough.

My commitment has been shaky at best as I spend countless days trying to find the ‘best’ path but as I now realize, I’m not going to find the best path if I don’t choose the next one to try. I have tried a couple and they weren’t my thing so in fact I have already weeded out some errors and am that much closer to success.

My one imperfect action for every is going to be to complete at least 3 Pomodoro sessions of 25 minutes each for the next 30 days in a row. Whether I think it’s ‘working’ or not, I will persevere and take stock when it’s done. I will lay out my plan for the 30 days on day 1 and then execute without second guessing myself.

If nothing else happens it will get me into a routine. Hopefully it’s more successful than that and I can actually find some wins and positive direction for the next 30 days.

Cheers to imperfect action!

Jo

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Day 6- Natalie Sisson’s 10 Day blog challenge

Day 6- #10DBC

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This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 6

Today’s blog response is about finding my tribe. I have spent the entire day trying to figure out who I would want a chance to speak with and ask a few key questions, given the chance.

Not sure about this one, so I’m going to start with the questions.

The things I would like to know are:

1. When you first started earning money online what did you waste the most time doing and why?

2. If you were starting out today what online business model would you choose?

3. What is the most important investment you have made toward your online business?

Now as far as who to ask….

I would ask Jill Stanton, I am a member of her group and have emailed with her before, and I hope to get a chance to have a conversation or two when I attend the ScrewU Live event next month. I love her no BS approach and genuine personality that comes through. I am really looking forward to meeting her and attending that event.

I think having a chat with Natalie Sisson would be great. I wouldn’t be doing this blog challenge if I didn’t admire her business skills. I also really resonate with her career path. As I listened to her TedX talk, I could totally relate to the feeling of ‘having it all’ but not being very happy and then jumping into something that was even more time consuming. I did exactly the same thing.

I would also really like to speak with Justin Cooke of Empire Flippers, I have listened to their podcast for a long time and I like his approach to the lifestyle business and I’m really interested in the whole site buying and selling business model.

This challenge definitely made me think about mentorship. I think it would be good for me to give this more thought and identify some role models. It might help me see a clearer path for my own online journey and maybe I could even gain a mentor.

Jo

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Day 5- Natalie Sisson’s 10 Day Blog Challenge

Day 5- #10DBC

This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 5

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Here we are halfway through the blog challenge and I’m feeling pretty good about my responses so far. I think yesterday was a huge challenge for me and by rereading the post its totally obvious what a scattered mess my brain is right now. No wonder I’m not making much progress.

Today’s post is about setting up for success by creating a schedule that I can follow to get things done.

For me, I have no shortage of time to work on my business. I have spent the past three years completely overhauling my life to create space and time to do my life’s work. There are some other blog posts about that in this feed as I transitioned from the corporate world to contract work.

I have taken that pursuit to the fullest by selling my house, selling or giving away most of my possessions and setting up my home base in condo where I can literally leave for months at a time and not worry about anything.

I am really lucky to be at a stage in my life where I am an empty-nester and really only have myself (and my hubby) to look after. When I consider the contrast of my twenties when I was raising four kids alone, going to university full time and holding down two part time jobs, it’s staggering to me.

Therein lies the issue, I think. I feel like I have all the time in the world and so end up spend too much time in my own head, researching, prepping, strategizing, second guessing, doubting and starting the whole process over.

I need to starting DOING.

Despite my previous description, I am not lazy about working. Once I decide on a direction, I am impossible to stop. I actually love to work, it’s part of my identity and it really lights me up when I am doing some that I consider valuable. What I’m doing right now though, is jumping from one plan to the next without committing.

I liked the part in Natalie’s video today where she described the pomodoro method of productivity. I’m starting that today. 25 minutes of solid work, using a timer, followed by 10-15 minutes of break time. Rinse and repeat. She also suggested having a top 3 list of what must get done.

I am going to schedule a minimum of 6 pomodoro sessions daily on workdays, which for me is usually Monday-Wednesday and then Friday, the first one starting at 9 am. I might have adjust around client calls but I rarely have more than 2 a day so it shouldn’t be an issue. I will dedicate the first sessions to doing my contract work since that is where my bread and butter lies at the moment. In reality that should take me no more than 2 or 3 sessions daily.

The remaining 3 sessions will be about creating my next stream of income. After pondering yesterday’s post I think what I need to do is create an authority site (topic TBD). That feels right to me at this moment and it will either be on my current (http://onthegobookkeeping.com) site or I will start from scratch. Likely both. I know there’s money to be made that way and I know it’s a mid to long term investment of time so I need to get to work.

I will immediately start posting one blog post per week on my OTG site and since I have several topics already picked out that should be pretty straightforward. For the other site, I need to narrow down the topic and I’m leaning toward something in the slow food movement niche, it’s a huge passion of mine and a growing market but I will spend my pomodoro sessions mapping that out.

I am going to trust the process and believe that when I have really dug in and started producing the work, the direction will become more obvious.

Hope so!

Jo

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Day 4- Natalie Sisson’s 10 Day blog challenge

Day 4- #10DBC

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This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 4

What is my superpower?

This is a tough one. I think if I could really pinpoint this then I would be miles ahead.

I do have plenty of talents and skills but where’s the sweet spot between what I can do and what I love to do and what I can get paid to do? That’s really the million dollar question, isn’t it?

What can I do well?

I think one of my best talents is solving complex problems. I seem to be able to cut through the noise and get to the heart of the matter. I love to solve problems and I have a true compass that keeps me focused on the actual problem rather than the symptoms. I am particularly good at using technology to solve business problems by automating systems and creating new processes.

Some of my favourite work projects have been to lead a project team of IT professionals and business consultants. I pretty good at reading people and figuring out their strengths and weaknesses in order to get the best from them on a project team.

Maybe along the same lines as problem solving is my ability to prioritize and organize to accomplish large complex projects. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, it actually motivates me to get more done. The longer my list is, the more I can get done.

What do I love to do?

I love to read and learn something new everyday. I like books about history, other cultures and sci-if. I’m a Gen X’er and during my lifetime technology has advanced by leaps and bounds and I am totally fascinated by it. When I was a nurse I gravitated towards ICU because of all the machines and technology.

I love to travel. Nothing lights me up like planning a trip to somewhere that I’ve never been before or sometimes back to where I didn’t get enough time to explore. I’m a big fan of travel without an itinerary so I can have the time to explore and discover without a schedule.

I love to cook. I’m very happy to spend the entire day in the kitchen making everything from scratch and using fresh local ingredients. I am rarely more happy than when I am hosting a dinner party and watching everyone enjoy the food and company. I have a four grown children and four grandchildren and so I regularly have 12, 14, 16 or more, for dinner and it’s an absolute joy to me.

What can I get paid to do?

I have had a strange and varied career. I have been a daycare owner, data entry clerk, customer service representative, collections manager, VP of Administration, project manager, general manager, registered nurse working in cardiac ICU, business consultant, bookkeeper and tax accountant.

I have worked in daycare, transportation, healthcare, government and agriculture.

Whenever I take on a project or a job, I always go all out and do the absolute best I can do. I have usually succeeded in my ventures and often people think I am totally crazy to have left positions that seemed perfect to them.

I really have a mindset though that just detests repetition. When something feels ‘done’ to me which usually means I have learned what I can and reached the goals I set out to reach, then I have to move on. I see no point in wasting my time if the challenge is gone.

Currently, I am working as business consultant for an indoor agriculture company and totally loving the project. Everyday I am challenged to create something from scratch like an operating procedure or customer information package. I am also learning something new almost daily like patent laws or how to make hydroponic solutions.

Where’s the sweet spot?

Obviously this contract will end at some point. Though that company has uttered the ’employee’ word which caused me to nearly panic as that sounds like jail to me. So I am starting to strategize about how to alter my contract to create a long term business out of it. Possibly for other similar companies as well.

The trouble of course is that while this project is great there’s every chance that it will become more work than fun as that is what has happened to every other thing I ever done.

I also have a bookkeeping business which is easy for me and pays well but not particularly interesting. My plan is to outsource the work once I have a reasonable portfolio to pass along.

So where to next turn my attention and try to build something sustainable that can support my freedom lifestyle??

If you have some thoughts, I’m all ears.

Jo

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Day 3- Natalie Sisson’s 10 Day blog challenge

Day 3- #10DBC

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This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 3

My Perfect Day

I have heard of this exercise before and I think I might even have written a post about this before but over the course of the past few years my vision has become clearer so I will give it another go.

My perfect day begins by waking up to the sound of birds chirping as the sunrise begins and in the distance the waves roll in over the beach. I’m feeling fully rested and ready to start the day but since I’m a slow starter, I begin with a cup of tea and a few minutes of quiet time out on the patio looking over the ocean.

After my tea, I head out for a brisk walk down the beach for 20 minutes to get the blood flowing.

As I return to my beach house, my personal trainer arrives and I do my daily workout for 90 minutes. Sometimes it’s cardio based like Zumba or Crossfit, sometimes it more stretching Pilates or yoga and sometimes it’s weight training but it’s always a surprise.

After that I have my breakfast of fresh fruit, eggs or yogurt and bran buds. Then shower and get dressed.

By 9 am I’m in my home office and working on my daily priorities for 3 hours, whatever is on the to do list. These would consist of client meetings, project updates, the real meaty stuff that needs to get done, basically anything that requires a full office set-up with white board, computer, printer or a quiet uninterrupted space.

Then out for lunch with friends, colleagues or my husband. A really nice leisurely lunch with time for catching up and connecting while sitting outside on a patio somewhere.
After lunch then out around my little town to run errands, check out the market, get a pedicure or whatever’s on the list for the afternoon.

Now it’s close to 4 pm so walk or bike back to my house to have a quick dip in the pool, pour a glass of wine and do a couple more hours of work. This time the less formal kind. Things like team calls or one on one calls with staff to chat about strategy or do some brain storming about issues or any kind of more creative work. I would also create my do to list for the next day.

Then dinner with my husband, usually at home, something that I cook myself with all fresh and local ingredients. After dinner, some kind of activity with my hubby, such as bike riding or out on our boat for a tour of the bay and a little fishing.
At the end of the day, settle in for a movie or show at home and then in bed by 11 pm.

Perfect.

Jo

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Day 2- Natalie Sisson’s 10 Day blog challenge.

Day 2- #10DBC

This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 2

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Why is the freedom lifestyle so important to me?

The freedom lifestyle is my personal goal because I believe that time is our most precious commodity and we should never squander it.
I think that time spent sitting in a cubicle or even an office working on projects that are pointless or useless with people you don’t like is an absolute sin.
It seems like most people have been conditioned to believe that it’s possible to save up their time and spend it all at the end of their lives. This is the premise of retirement. Our culture has led us to believe that if we work hard for 30 or 40 years, sacrificing our own happiness, then we can have complete freedom when we retire.
The fallacy of this becomes evident when we get to this promised land of retirement and we no longer have our health, our families or enough savings and by then it’s too late.

Or maybe we don’t even live that long!

I think this is the ultimate form of procrastination or maybe delusion. We tell ourselves that it’s okay to suffer now so when can reap the rewards later, we’ll be happy when we’re rich or we’ll travel when we retire. What if that never happens?

What if tomorrow never comes?
I’m not saying that we don’t have responsibilities to be productive and contributing members of society, we certainly do. We can’t be free if we aren’t able to provide for ourselves or our families. Being free includes being self sufficient.

I’m saying that freedom is about choices. Being free means choosing the form that our work and play takes so we enjoy both. Choosing how and with whom we spend our precious time. Choosing a lifestyle that brings happiness and contentment.
I think it’s our responsibility to live everyday of our lives to the fullest, whatever that means to us.

No regrets.

Jo

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Day 1 #10DBC

Day 1 Blog

This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 1

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Day 1 of the #10DBC is about what challenges I am facing in creating the lifestyle I want.
My ideal lifestyle is where I have the freedom to travel and be wherever I like, whenever I like. That means my source of income needs to be portable and I need enough of that income to pay for the trips and adventures along the way.

So what are the challenges I’m facing that prevent me from living that ideal lifestyle?

1. Procrastination
I’m putting this at the top of my list because it’s definitely the challenge most responsible for me not being where I need to be. This is a challenge that affects multiple areas of my life from work to fitness to relationships. I spend a lot of time ‘getting ready’ to start things. I make lists, I do research, I buy office supplies, etc. Then when I run out of planning activities…I watch Netflix, I hang out on Facebook, I check my Pinterest boards…hundreds of distractions are available to prevent me from actually doing the work I need to do. I’ll start tomorrow!
In the past couple of years I have managed to create a lot of extra time for myself to get things done (by leaving my 9 to 5 and becoming a freelancer) and yet I’m still not where I want to be in my career and I can truly only blame procrastination.

2. Not sure what my business niche to focus on
I have spent the past 18 months struggling to determine exactly what it is that I want to offer the world as a way to make my living. I have many skills and talents and multiple areas of expertise but I can’t seem to choose one or the other. I have dabbled in affiliate marketing, business consulting, bookkeeping and currently am trying to pivot my bookkeeping service business to a course based/subscription business model.
I’m sure my lack of commitment to a single niche is holding me back from really getting traction in any area.

1. Inability to balance priorities
I am an all or nothing kind of gal. Once I finally decide what I need to do (see point 2 above!) I have no ability to balance work and life in order to make headway in multiple areas.
For example, right now I have a consulting contract which really lights me up. The business area is so interesting to me and there are so many things that I need to get done that I am neglecting my bookkeeping business and my fitness goals and my family. It’s all consuming to me and I know it’s dangerous to have all my income coming from a single contract and I should be working on other contracts or sources of income.
It’s not the first time that I have done this either. My last contract was also fantastic and I went all in and did very well but when it ended, rather abruptly, I was unprepared to move to my next assignment because I hasn’t cultivated any leads. That led to several months of earning nothing.

So there it is!

Looking forward to day 2!

 

 

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