failing forward

“Live the Life You’ve Imagined”

So many of us are waiting. Waiting for a new year. Waiting until we lose weight. Waiting until we have enough money.

But isn’t waiting just our way of deflecting insecurities, doubt and even (gasp) FEAR!

Of course it is.

We all do it. We delay the our own happiness because we are afraid to fail.

One of the things I love about my journey over the past year is that I am really delving into personal growth. Through blogging with MommyWurk and training I receive with Rodan + Fields, I have learned a concept called failing forward. John C. Maxwell coined the phrase in his book Failing Forward – Turning failures into the stepping stones for success.

He states that the difference between an average person and a person that consistently achieves success isn’t luck, it is how they perceive failure.

Live the life you have imaginedMy wish for all of us in 2016 is to stop the waiting game and to start living the life we imagine. How am I doing that? I started with a journal. I am using the journal to chronicle my wildest dreams as if they have already occurred. Then I reread passages every night in order to envision this amazing year.

How are you going kick off 2016? Are you going to stop waiting and dare to achieve those bigger than life dreams?

Peace, Love & No Fear,

 

Kristen

 

For support and motivation to live the life you’ve imagined, join our working mom team. 

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10 Side Jobs to Make money & Help Pay Off Debt

Image from lynnegolodner.com

There are times when we have to realize that our paychecks will only go so far. After penny pinching to make you budget work, you still might be living paycheck-to-paycheck. This type of lifestyle is bearable for a time but not ideal long-term. In order to accelerate your financial goals, additional income may be the resolution you need. But who has extra time? My response to those who approach me with such an inquiry is to ask them about their daily activities. If you missed one episode of your favorite show or had lunch at your desk twice a week instead of out with friends, could you commit 1-2hours/ week to get financial free? Let’s do it!

Seasonal Retail Jobs – Pet Sitter/Dog Walker

These two are self explanatory! My suggestion, sell where you shop and watch the animals you like best (cats vs dogs). You can even search for positions online!~

Image from getrichslowly.org

Home Health Aide

This position can also be called a Patient Care Technician an often require no training or experience. What is the ideal person great for this job? If you are looking for a flexible schedule and are patient enough to assist the elderly and/or disabled with everyday tasks, you can make this position work for you! There are a variety of companies that often post for these jobs and rightfully so! Many people who get these jobs, because they do not require training or experience, are not necessarily interested in working in this field long term…and their attitude on the job shows it! Get your attitude and patience in order, make sure you can lift a small person, and keep your personal vehicle serviced in order to pull off this type of employment.

Referral Programs

Companies such as Ebate, Liberty Tax, and ADT Security Systems offer programs you can join for no/low cost in order to make some extra money. They actually pay you promote their services with fairly easy to use tools and instructions. That means, you’d take the time to sign up and discuss what they have to offer to a potential customer – a neighbor who just suffered from a break in, has collectibles in their home to sell, or recently divorced without a clue on how to file their income taxes. There are other services that although you may use them for discount shopping, travel, or managing your health, if you were to refer 5 other customers you’d get your own service for free each month. This could provide you with automatic savings monthly which can add up very quickly.

Tutoring

You do not have to me a Math whiz or finance major to make some extra money as a tutor. We have to thinking of entrepreneurship as a way to help others do what you know how to do naturally. Tutoring is a good example of that. Are you bilingual? Are you aware of the many organizations looking for YOU? At times companies exclude other required skills like a degree and experience in order to hire someone with the language skills their industry requires. Offer tutoring first through your contacts in your industry or even businesses you frequent in order to build a great resume for tutoring. Not sure of how to get started? I obtained an English degree because I thought I’d be teaching high school English in the Chicago Public School system. Obviously my plans changed but I continue to offer my proofreading, editing, blogging, and content management services as a consultant.

Home-Based Business

There are many options for home-based businesses to choose from. My advice would be to look into possible opportunities that come natural to you. Are you into making other women feel beautiful? Research Direct Sales companies such as Avon and Mary Kay. You can often get started for under $50 without requiring you to purchase equipment or stock. Are you a coffee lover who’s health conscious? Do you have a network of business owners and entrepreneurs? Are you looking to lose weight? Want to offer an innovative way for your church to keep in touch with contacts? Do you enjoy traveling and saving money while you shop your favorite stores? Believe it or not, you can promote all of the above products and services under one company! Join my team for my consistent support, training, and the possibility of residual income.

Image from anappleperday.com

Virtual Assistance

Although I’ve dabbled in virtual assistance, I did not know there was an actual term for it! These skills are for those who have a knack for customer service, email management, document management, organization, and the typical office duties of almost any company. I would suggest offer to ‘help’ and organization with an upcoming project and set an hourly rate that you would expect to work on the project with a projected end date for the client’s needs. This could be arranged based on your financial needs or the requirements of the project in question. You can then ask the client to be a reference and continue to build on your resume. This make cost you extra time on the phone, the need for a home office, or additional an additional data plan for your smart phone.

Virtual Garage Sales

Ebay has an interesting option for those seeking to get rid of the clutter in their home. Of course, their system is proven and shipping is attached to the entire process which makes it easier than ever to sale items online. There is no need to necessarily ‘market’ your product. Instead, just posting a picture detailed description can be enough for a customer. Another avenue is to join local Mommy groups on facebook where Moms trade, sell, and purchase items all the time. Some groups are sponsored by a local hospital, medical center, social service agency, church, or nonprofit. There have been times when a co-worker of mine was selling an item I was interested in for my daughter and the only way I knew was from her post online! We do not always have time to discuss everything we need or everything we have with everyone around us – this is where these groups are extremely helpful.

Image from kidspot.com

Etsy & Flea Market/Community Farmer’s Market

If you have a skill for making things that other people could or just find completely enjoyable, this option is one for you! Although many crafty people I know attend Flea Markets, they lack an online presence. Etsy is another option for posting and sharing your products and many customers are already waiting to buy crafts and unique gifts. This is also good for people who are not so social media savvy to get a full website together. It is also a great way to involve family and friends who are not local but still want to support your business – just send out the link to your Etsy page!

Well there you have it! My top 10 side jobs to make money & help pay off debt. Let me know if you pursue any of the above. I’d like to get your feedback at ladiSims55[at]gmail.com to celebrate with you as you pursue your financial goals!

~be blessed

Let me know how I can improve your world~

Dogs

Dear Dogs Who Live In My Home,

Dear Dogs Who Live in My Home:

I know life has not been easy the past two years. As our family has grown the time and attention you receive has decreased. It isn’t that we don’t love you. We do, but there are little mouths to feed, little books to read and we barely have time to pee.

Yesterday the two year old wanted to poop like a dog in the yard and I paused for a moment wondering if that would save us time, before I said “People poop in potties.”

So dear pups, as you can see I am a little batty: batty enough to have three dogs, two children two and under, a full time job and a blog batty

Please remember that I still feed you. I still bath you. I bought you those super nice foam beds so you wouldn’t get on the couch.

Speaking of couch… If you would cooperate a little I would have more time to spend with you. For example, stop chewing up the paper towels. The bigger the mess, the more time I have to spend cleaning it up and that is less time I can spend with you.

Also, the whole marking your territory thing is not working for me. Please stop. No, really I mean it. STOP.  You might be animals, but peeing in our house is only making me angry. All three of you are seriously old enough to know better and not old enough to have bladder control problems. We went several years without peeing in the house, so I know you can do it. I believe in you.

I do love you and when the boys are a little older they will play with you more and I will have more time to cuddle with you like I use to.

So let’s just agree not to make life harder on each other and I promise to give you more treats. Sound like a plan?

Desperate Puppy & Human Mother

Peace, Love & No More Dog Pee,

Kristen

What are You Worth?

Image from monster.com

Walking into my evaluation, I had no idea what to expect. My direct supervisor always seemed to have a hidden agenda. At the last meeting, I was seen as “border-line insubordinate” for my views and responses. I was often criticized for not doing something unethical and was never offered an apology when falsely accused.

I headed into the meeting with my notepad, calendar, water, and pencil. I was 38 ½ weeks pregnant and afraid that I would have to look for another job while on welfare still sore after having my baby – of course they were going to fire me, right? I’d been overlooked for promotions; my work received little praise except in the presence of a few political leaders – which made me assume it was not sincere. Everyone I started with in this company had left or been fired. What was I going to do?

Image from disdblog.com

I walked into my supervisor’s office and sat down waiting for her to respond with her thoughts on my performance over the past year. I wasn’t concerned about my numbers; I’d doubled those with a full quarter left in the program year. It wasn’t my relationship with my clients I was worried about – many sent in raving evaluations. It wasn’t even my attendance; my boss came in at least an hour after I did daily! I had not taken more than 2 days off this entire year.

I’d put in 4 years of school for my BA, 3 yrs to obtain my Master’s, almost $70,000 of student loans, 6 years of loyalty to this company, placing my reputation on the line out in the community, yet was earning a salary I could never raise a family with. I wasn’t supported by the very leadership I was working for but because of my upbringing and personal convictions, I remained loyal and humble. I would even help new staff acclimate to our toxic work environment hoping that would influence change. It never did.

My evaluation should have been on my job performance and possibly my attitude in the workplace. What could I do better? I was hoping to get some constructive criticism but instead I received a document and was told to look it over at home, write down any comments or questions, and turn it in tomorrow…the day I was to be induced for labor – as if tomorrow would not be stressful enough.

It was in that moment I reminded myself of my value. I gathered my things and went back into my office. There was only 25 minutes left in the work day and I took that entire time to read through and type up my response to the evaluation.  There was nothing constructive in the evaluation that I could do, just to do “more” with less time. As I carefully typed my response, I reminded myself of my value. I knew my work was very professional and important to the company. I knew that if I had not carried the integrity I did, many of our partners would refuse to work with us and I knew that my clients were pleased.

Image from mariaeves.com

Sometimes we have to remind ourselves of our own worth. You are more than your paycheck, more than your assets, your car, and your rebellious children. We are worth more than our education or what others perceive of us. Why? Our value is not determined by other’s opinions, people change their minds everyday! We’re not perfect, always on time, or extremely fit and beautiful. Our worth is determined by us. Value yourself. You can always perform better if you so desire – that’s why our worth is so high – we can change, transform, and renew our thoughts and mindset. I could have chosen to focus on the negative situation and stress myself out causing complications within my body. But I chose to give myself an evaluation and remind myself of my worth. I came up with my own regiment of doing better – set my own goals to be more productive, and treated myself to a nice meal afterward. : )

~ladiSims

ladiSims1

ladiSims is a Workforce Consultant committed to “ Monetizing your Mission: Saving and increasing revenue for job seekers, entrepreneurs, and small businesses through empowering employment readiness, social media marketing, and discounted operations. She has over 6 years of extensive experience in social services, workforce development, small business development, recruiting and case management. She serves a variety of job seekers, including veterans and disabled adults, with finding employment and adjusting to career changes. Many of her clients seek to transition into new careers with financial and educational barriers hindering their success. ladiSims also shares resources, teaches Employment Readiness, and provides solutions for small businesses in her community. Born and raised in Chicago, IL, ladiSims has a passion for helping people progress towards their career, family, and entrepreneurial goals – she is also an advocate for education. Her BA degree is in English with a minor in African America Studies from SIUC where she also studied creative writing, journalism, and education. She also has a Master’s in Urban Planning and Policy (MUPP) with a concentration in Community Development from UIC. Her ‘why’ includes her daughter Charlotte, 2 moms, 2 dads, numerous siblings, faith in Christ, and the youth of ChiCity. Among her peers, she is known for simplifying complex issues, offering conflict resolution, and being able to connect with individuals of various socioeconomic statuses, cultures, skill sets, & educational backgrounds. ladiSims uses her ability to create and maintain strategic partnerships to influence both rural and urban communities. Find ladiSims on Instagram, Twitter, and Periscope for more of her shenanigans!

Mo Money, Mo Problems…to Solve!

Image from jobsamerica.info

Many times over, I have had the opportunity to revamp a budget for myself or someone else and have exposed ‘extra money’. This money, often times, is used for spending – we usually feel as though we deserve to spend it on ourselves. We do deserve to enjoy our income however I would encourage you to look into making plans for all money – including the seemingly ‘extra’.

Your ‘extra money’ can be something that you let run through your fingers or you can look to the future. If you think you are living paycheck-to-paycheck and do not have access to ‘extra money’, I have to ask about your spending. Do you eat fast food on a weekly or daily basis? Do you subscribe to cable or satellite TV? Are there things you spend money on monthly that are beyond the basic essentials? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the previous questions, you are able to adjust your budget and get some ‘extra money’.

Image from conor.cc

What can you do with ‘extra money’? You might want to first secure an emergency fund. Your emergency fund is needed for the ‘just in case’ moments that you and your family may experience. It should be at least 3 months of expenses for your household that sits without being touched unless there is an emergency!

Ever thought about investing? It is not just for the wealthy! Banking professionals and financial gurus will tell you that in order to start investing you have to first be financially set. Being set financially includes budgeting for your expenses and saving for a rainy day. Your ability to save is often the key to having a mindset of investing. You want to be able to set an amount aside without touching it for quite some time in order to invest well and obtain a profitable return.

Image from amazonaws.com

Investing can be done in a number of ways. You can seek out business owners who may be in need of funds. You can take courses or attend workshops from financial institutions on the basics of investing into the stock market. There are also opportunities in network marketing, an entrepreneurial stream, or a type of passive income that may require an upfront fee- this too can be counted as an investment.

It’s important to remember that you are not only on this planet to exist but to fulfill a purpose. There are many people in need and who may lack the very resources you have in abundance. You can make a difference with your ‘extra’ by touching others around you, even in simply giving in order to meet a need. I encourage you to also think about others when spending that ‘extra money’. Where else would it be more effective?

Image from forbes.com

This message is not only for my readers but myself as well. Of course my goal is to be financially free – paying off my student loans and medical bills, but that is not all. I’d like to be able to give on a larger scale – providing wells in foreign countries and meals right here in the U.S. I would also like to pursue passions that I feel blessed to be talented with in order to earn my income instead of working a meaningless, purposely 9-to-5 making someone else wealthy. I would like to see my child taken care of and out of the public aide system. I would like to leave a legacy for my lineage and not just a long line of debt they never acquired. I’d like to do my part in our economy and invest in small businesses and entrepreneurs. What are you looking to do with your ‘extra’?

~ladiSims

Feel free to tweet and share!

Wants vs. Needs: Prioritizing Your Budget for Balance

Image from helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com

Often times we can get caught up in our spending by confusing our wants and needs. What we’d like to do with our money and what we need to do with our money can sometimes be put into the same category. Sure, it would be great to shop whenever there is a sale, or go out to eat with friends after a stressful week at work, but what does it really cost? Our bills continue to pile up but when we look at our income, it seems as though everything should be taken care of.

Image from tqn.com

Our budget is not just a tool to keep an eye on what we earn but also what we spend. This is where a Spending Diary can help you understand where, when, and how much you tend to spend. Having a few drinks vs. not being able to pay your mortgage seems like an obvious issue, but is it really? Since much of our shopping can be impulsive and driven by emotion, we might not pay close attention. My initial response to emotional spending or retail therapy was to simply stop doing it! I would feel like I deserved a treat with all of my hard work to earn the money. It can’t all go to bills; I have to be able to enjoy my income right? No! This must end, I thought. I have to get a hold of this spending now or else I will be in a lot of debt! I know! I’ll just stop spending out of my emotions all together – if I do not need clothes, I won’t buy any just because there is a sale. If I am hungry, I will prepare meals to take with me – no need for bars or restaurants when it is much cheaper to eat and drink at home…right?

Image from cloudfront.net

After about a month of not spending outside of my essentials, I became angry and felt like I was missing out on something. People were shopping sales and bragging about the nice meals they had at lunch while I stuck to my brown bag all month. Sure I was saving money but at what cost? This is why I determined that my budget was essential to my balance in finances. My budget included the essentials to my household but nothing was attributed to my ‘wants’. Although this is extremely fiscally responsible, this is not a long term solution. If you are working a full time job and only spending on basic essentials and nothing else, you miss the joy of your labor. Just like everything else in life, a balance is necessary to make sure you are being responsible but enjoying your income as well.

Image from ehowcdn.com

Since I was in a lot of debt (student loans, car payments, credit cards, etc.) a one point, going on such an extreme change with my spending for a month was actually a good thing! I would recommend it as an exercise from time to time in order to get your finances under control. I was able to catch up on some bills and really hone in on what was becoming an addiction for me. According to my Spending Diary, I ate fast food almost every day but spent the most on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. I also saw from my notes that I would often eat out after shopping for a long period of time, even after buying groceries! With this information I was able to note my behaviors and adjust. Instead of eating out so often during the week, I would pick 1 day a week (this later became 3 times a month) to go out and invite friends and/or co-workers. That way I’d have something to look forward to and could indulge with company – making it seem longer.  As far as sales, I would maintain a list of items I needed for a couple weeks in anticipation of a sale (there’s always a sale) and then go shopping for everything on the list.

Image from funtobefrugal.com

You can do similar activities in order to get yourself in financial shape! I urge Moms to be on the look out for their household behaviors and adjust as needed, a little tweaking could go a long way! You may be able to set an allowance for weekly or monthly spending. You may see an area where you’d like to invest into a way bring more money into the home just for retail therapy so you don’t touch household expenses. Maybe you have a business and are spending too much out of your own pocket to keep it running – have you sought out business financing? How did your Spending Diary help you adjust your budget for the better? I’d love your comments and feedback!

Liked what you read? Feel free to retweet and share~

ladiSims1

ladiSims is a Workforce Consultant with 6+ years of extensive experience in social services, workforce development, small business development, recruiting and case management. She serves a variety of job seekers, including veterans and disabled adults, with finding employment and adjusting to career changes. Many of her clients seek to transition into new careers with financial and educational barriers hindering their success. ladiSims also shares resources, teaches Employment Readiness, and provides solutions for small businesses in her community. Born and raised in Chicago, IL, ladiSims has a passion for helping people progress towards their career, family, and entrepreneurial goals – she is also an advocate for education. Her BA degree is in English with a minor in African America Studies from SIUC where she also studied creative writing, journalism, and education. She also has a Master’s in Urban Planning and Policy (MUPP) with a concentration in Community Development from UIC. Her ‘why’ includes her daughter Charlotte, 2 moms, 2 dads, numerous siblings, faith in Christ, and the youth of ChiCity. Among her peers, she is known for simplifying complex issues, offering conflict resolution, and being able to connect with individuals of various socioeconomic statuses, cultures, skill sets, & educational backgrounds. ladiSims uses her ability to create and maintain strategic partnerships to influence both rural and urban communities. Find ladiSims on Instagram, Twitter, and Periscope for more of her shenanigans!

Birthday Traditions

So, Super F recently turned 7! When he was first born, everyone told me how fast the time would go, that I’d blink and he would be all grown up. At the time, changing diapers, round the clock feedings, and typical parental exhaustion seemed never ending and I often thought those people were crazy. The days seemed like they dragged on and I couldn’t wait for Super F to reach each new milestone. I’m here to tell you, they were right!

happy-birthday-2

Anyway, I wanted to share our birthday tradition with you. I always take his birthday off work to spend with him and my husband. It’s a family day and we start out by going out to breakfast, followed by a trip to Toys R Us so Super F can get his birthday crown and balloon! He gets to pick out a new toy and then we head home so he can play. I’m sure this tradition will come to an end at some point – he’s not going to want to shop at Toys R Us forever!

Do you have any birthday traditions in your family? How do you celebrate your child’s special day?

Briana

image credit: businessinsider.com

kindness

Being Kind

As a working mom, when you see other working moms struggling how do you extend them kindness?

The world today is filled with judgement. It is filled with opinions. Although there are many moments that we can be kind, do you choose to be.

Not to long after I had Baby C2, I was struggling to get the baby and H in the car. It was hard to keep H from running in the parking lot and the baby, along with all of my baby gear, had my hands full.

Two other moms saw me struggling, and they helped me with H. They also shrugged off his screams and temper fit. As I apologized they graciously said, we are moms we have been there.

It was nice. They made me feel normal and not alone.

I hope I can return the favor for a mom one day.

How have you passed along mom kindness?

Peace, Love and All You Need is Kindness,

Kristen

unnerving

I am Raw

Warning: Today’s post is not an upbeat working moms can conquer the world post. Today’s post is raw, sad, and just not fun. I am sorry, but this is how I am feeling now and I think the topic is important. So here we go….

As a working mom, nothing is more important than trusting the people or facility that is taking care of your children. When things don’t go right it is unnerving.

Yet, here we are in the US of A with numerous recent stories of children dying in day care facilities:

There are more, but I couldn’t read any more of the articles. These deaths aren’t fluke accidents, These are deaths contributed to by negligence. It is criminal. In a day an age where our country even profits off of fetal tissue (see Planned Parenthood story – this is the stuff of nightmares), I guess I shouldn’t be shocked, but I am. Our government even funds this gore.

I know that not all child care facilities have these issues, but do you really know what is happening with your child? Despite working, I try to be very involved with my kids’ day care. Fortunately, it is close to my work. They have all the proper licensing and even extra accreditations, but that doesn’t stop things from going wrong. Recently, I have noticed that Baby C2 was not being fed regularly. This very basic function was not occurring as it should. In the span of just one week, they fed him breakfast over an hour late. They only fed him 4oz of milk between 8:30 and 1:00 (it was also bad milk because it had been sitting out for more than an hour). He normally consumes 12 oz. in this time frame and he did have enough milk to meet his required needs. They also completely skipped a bottle on another day. I ended up feeding it to him an hour late because I realized that they did not give it to him. There have also been other incidences that have left me questioning decisions and care lately.

As any concerned parent, I have had numerous discussions with management, the teachers and anyone who will listen about my concerns. I follow up with them. I check on both boys. I stop in more often, but is it enough?

So that is why today, I am raw. I want to take my children and run home, but if I did we wouldn’t have a home to run to for long. Like many of our working mom readers, my salary is needed. So here I sit, my children’s names on waiting lists for other facilities wondering if any school will ever be good enough to take care of even the basics. These days it is always about how they can teach them to read by age 3 and add or subtract by age 4. Those are great bonus attributes, but I don’t need my children to be geniuses. I just need you to keep them alive. You know, the basics.

Peace, Love and Being Raw,

Kristen

Image Credit: Youtube.com Lava Kayaking

Thumbs up

Thumbs Up

I scan the parking lot as I get Baby C2 out of the van. I see Andy struggling with H. Not sure what is going on, I give Andy a thumps up. He gives it back. H must be acting like a typical toddler, but otherwise all is good in the neighborhood.

This scene plays out a lot of ways on a lot of days. As parents, especially working parents, Andy and I have had to develop the art of silent communication. We try not to yell in our family, we don’t want to alarm our children and sometimes we are in a big hurry. Our thumps up, down or sideways signs helps us both know what is happening and if we need to change course or the other person may need help.

I don’t remember exactly how it started. I know that we used it a little bit prior to having kids. Now it feels like we use it every day. When one of us gives the sideways thumb it means things are going south. When it is a thumbs down, we (as Dee would say) stop, drop and… run for help.

Do you have a code for your family? How does it help you communicate?

Peace, Love and Show Me Your Thumb,

Kristen

Image Credit: Grist.org