Monthly Archives: February 2015

Read #20 books: 101 Weird Ways to Make Money

101 Weird Ways to Make Money
by Steven Gillman

In the hopes of owning my own business, I need to get out of debt and start saving! I’ve had more time than money lately so I’ve been looking for ways to bring in additional income on the side. This book caught my attention at the library yesterday and I decided to take it home. After flipping through it I found a myriad of potential profit-makers that have a “big upside and not much competition”.

From among the list of low-to-no-cost startups I’ve compiled my Top 7:

7. Virtual Assistant
Basic secretarial and computer-related work from home can earn you $15 to $35.
http://www.virtualassistants.com/

6. Home Organizing Consultant
If you’re neat and organized you can start your own business de-cluttering garages, bedrooms, kitchens, closets, or home offices!

5. Used clothing seller
You’d be surprised what vintage Levi’s go for on eBay these days. If you’re willing to do the research and scope out garage sales and thrift stores for deals then this could be a money-maker for you.

4. Used book seller
Many used books can be turned for a profit on Amazon, depending on the title and quality. You can get started right away by selling a book online. Once you get some momentum and experience you can invest as little as $100 into selected books. And unlike physical bookstores it doesn’t matter how many books you have or what genres; if you have the title they want at a good price then they buy it.
The Home-Based Bookstore: Start Your Own Business Selling Used Books on Amazon, eBay or Your Own Web Site by Steve Weber
http://www.amazon.com/The-Home-Based-Bookstore-Business-Selling/dp/0977240606

3. Diaper Cleaning Service
This idea may seem silly or super-gross to some, but I liked the idea of it for some reason. Many parents have been returning to cloth diapers in recent years, but they haven’t been returning to washing them. Now that cloth diaper services exist many parents prefer to have their dirty diapers picked up weekly, and it can even save them money over disposable diapers.
http://www.realdiaperindustry.org has information on the cloth diaper industry

2. Specialized Tutor
If you’ve worked in schools previously (or currently) the idea of being a tutor may have occurred to you. As a teacher and tutor myself I can guarantee that the most money is to be made in starting your own business. Tutoring companies are great for gaining experience, but they charge the families upwards of $50-75 per hour and give you $15 or $20 if you’re lucky. Why not go into business with families directly and undercut those larger organizations? The only downside is that while you’re building your name and customer base, you may run into difficulties with families who just want to go with a company they trust. Thankfully not everyone is satisfied with those “big-box” tutoring groups and there’s still space for independent tutors.
http://www.tutoringservices.com – free meeting place for tutors and clients

1. Pet Services
Pet services gets my number 1 because of the ease of access and the extremely low startup costs. The book actually breaks different pet services up, but I’ve rolled them together into my new temporary business. You’re looking at Minneapolis’ newest doggy poop scooper! I’ll be offering yard cleaning services, litter box cleaning, dog walking, pet sitting, and light grooming. You can do this too! All you need is a love for animals and a lack of squeamishness!

Here’s another great resource that lists 10 businesses you can start for less than $100!
http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/4951-businesses-ideas-cheap.html

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So far over the past 6 months I have cut our debt in half and gotten current on my student loans through focused effort and planning. That may be what others would call “progress,” but as always, rebuilding your finances takes longer than you like. Celebrating your accomplishments can be hard when you’re not yet arrived at your ultimate goal. It’s hard specifically not to get caught up with wanting things to be different than they are now, or wanting more money, or wishing you could make things happen right away. That’s living in the future, which won’t help us  gain anything except a vague yet persistent dissatisfaction. I’ve been trying to counteract my impatience to reach my goals by employing mindfulness techniques. When I remind myself that happiness is always accessible to me in the present moment, I can find things to be grateful for right now. Here are some tips for finding happiness in the present moment!

http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/6-tips-to-being-happy-in-the-present-moment/

Try #21 New Restaurants: Marla’s Caribbean

So who’s been to Marla’s Caribbean Cuisine in South Minneapolis?

This little corner restaurant is been in the neighborhood since 2005, but I only discovered it this year, and boy do I wish I would have found this gem sooner! The owner Marla – who can be seen flitting around the restaurant nightly – puts out cooked-to-order Jamaican-Indian fusion dishes that will known your socks off!

A few weeks ago Remy and I took my mom and grandma out for dinner at Marla’s and we all had a wonderful time. Then a few days later we had to go again with our good friends Laura and Sarah! If you check it out be sure to try the “Da-Bulls” appetizer… it’s impossible to explain, but completely melt-in-your-mouth delicious!

Check out the accolades they’ve racked up!
Best Cheap Eats – City Pages 2008
Best Caribbean Restaurant – City Pages 2009
#4 -100 Favorite Dishes – City Pages 2010
Best Takeout – City Pages 2010
#4 – 100 Local Tastes – City Pages 2011
Best Takeout – City Pages 2011
Best Caribbean Restaurant – MPLS ST.PAUL MAG 2012
EP. 180 BIG TIME FLAVOR Featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives with Guy Fieri – 2013
Best of Restaurants – MPLS ST.PAUL MAG Picked by Andrew Zimmern 2014

Keep in mind that the jerk and the curry at Marla’s are smokin’ hot, so if you prefer your food with a Scandinavian (lack of) spice level then order yours extra mild!

Discover #28 ways meditation improves your life: Turn off the autopilot

                 ~ Day 20 ~
~ Friday, January 2nd, 2015 ~
Turn your car into a mobile classroom, a university on wheels.
– Brian Tracy

Cheyenne-
Completely my anchor habit for 20 minutes. I meditated on the qualities I need to become, repeating them 3 times each. Did back bending poses from Om Yoga. Held bridge pose, and bridge pose with one leg up both for 10 breaths. Finally held my headstand for a full 10 breaths!

Today’s action: Identify some passive time in your daily routine that you can put to better use,  be it by meditating, being mindful, focusing on gratitude or solving problems, or listening to something educational or uplifting. Then get set up, whatever that entails: downloading podcasts to your iPod, learning a meditation routine, etc., so that beginning today or tomorrow, you can start putting that passive-mind time to good use.

I already spend my time meditating during my drives to and from work! I shouldn’t be too proud, it’s not like I do it every day. But I recently mentioned to my partner Remy that I would like to focus more on meditating while driving. I said, “I feel like I spend more time being mindful than I do driving mindlessly on my way to work, but on my drive home I spend more time distracted by far. Isn’t that interesting? I’ve been trying to be more focussed and sustained in my meditation during my drives, because I feel like I do have some mental energy to expend. When do you have “autopilot” time that you could be using in a focused way?

I’ve also been listening to books on tape since October, including The People’s History of the United States, which I’ve really been enjoying.  It’s a history from the people’s perspective, the subjugated and oppressed rather than the conquerors. The story is inspiring, sad, empowering, and uplifting.  Back to Wake Up – 31 days to take charge of your life, I really like Matt Frazier’s encouragement to balance productivity and down-time. He says, “Again, I’m not overlooking the necessity to “just be” sometimes…” which is important to remember. He isn’t encouraging us to spend every single moment being productive, he is encouraging us to be mindful of how we spend our time – be it meditating, or listening to an audiobook or music. Most people need more “just be” time, and I really respect a plan that encourages time to just be with yourself.

Learn #15 Things: Let others be

                 ~ Day 19 ~
~ Thursday, January 1st, 2015 ~
Push Through the Dip
Nothing great is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me that you desire a fig, I answer you that there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen.
– Epictetus

Cheyenne-
Completed my anchor habit for about 20 minutes with Remy. Led a great sitting meditation, then warm-up, then sitting poses from Om Yoga. Felt great to do it together… But then afterwards Remy told me honestly that he doesn’t like it when I ask him to do yoga the night before – it makes him feel obligated and cranky about it in the morning. He shared that he’d prefer if I simply told him in the morning, “I’m going to do my practice and you’re welcome to join me if you like.” I guess I can understand not wanting to do yoga out of requirement. I would always prefer to do yoga when I feel it’s my choice rather than something I have to do. I want him to feel good about yoga so I’m going to try to take this approach moving forward.

We can all learn something from my interaction with my partner this morning. We can make people feel negative thoughts or positive thoughts simply by demanding or leaving the opportunity open. Small differences in tone, demeanor, and word choice can make all the difference. When do you guilt someone you love into something because you don’t think they will do it unless they feel obliged to you?

Today’s action:

Do what it takes to keep your motivation strong. You’re over halfway through this program, but there are still a lot of actions to complete and changes to make. Catch up, get organized, review what you’ve done so far, and give yourself a dose of inspiration or an external reward.

Today I reviewed my notes and journals, and updated my business journal. I feel good about my progress, and I hope to do my weekly review this Sunday! I also took a nice shower and prepared for tomorrow by packing and organizing my work bag! Feelin’ great.

Engage in #24 acts of kindness: Forgive yourself

                 ~ Day 18 ~
~ Wednesday, December 31st, 2014 ~
         Perform an 80/20 Analysis
Learn how to separate the majors and the minors. A lot of people don’t do well simply because they major in minor things.
– Jim Rohn

Cheyenne-
Completed my anchor habit for 37 minutes. Meditated on the qualities I need to become – see Day 11 – for 5 minutes, then started my yoga. Decided to do a strength routine today, which included 3 sun salutations, the balancing poses (for Wednesday), boat post, some inversions, and twists. Boat pose is especially challenging for me. Most poses I tried to hold for 5 or 10 breaths, which added another layer of strength to the routine.

Warm-up and sun salutes each took 5 minutes, and the rest of the routine lasted 22 minutes. Did headstand instead of forearm stand and fell out of it the wrong way. Hurt my fingers. Made myself get back up and come down the right way before moving on. Was kinda scared I would hurt my fingers again. Did it anyway. Felt good.
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There’s a productivity principle borrowed from economics known as the Pareto Principle, which says that 80 percent of results come from about 20 percent of activities. Common examples:

✦ 80 percent of your business comes from the top 20 percent of your clients

✦ 80 percent of your fitness gains come from the most effort-filled 20 percent of your time in the gym or your running workouts

✦ 80 percent of the work you accomplish in a day comes from 20 percent of your work tasks

✦ You can clean 80 percent of your home in 20 percent of the time it takes you to do a full, detailed cleaning

The idea, then, is that you can drastically reduce the amount of stress in your life and time you spend on work, fitness, and just about anything else by focusing only on the 20 percent of activities that produce 80 percent of your results.

Today’s action: Use your 24-hour time inventory from a few days ago to figure out which 20 percent of your activities are responsible for 80 percent of your results in a given day as they pertain to your goals. For each of your one-year goals, identify the half dozen “majors,” and consider how you can increase the time and focus you spend on those activities, while eliminating, delegating, or at least reducing your time and energy expenditures on the “minors.”

80/20 Analysis

I feel like this is a little redundant for me. When I am focused I am usually focused, and when I’m not I’m not… And because of that I liked yesterdays exercise better: focus on what time you spend procrastinating and could cut out. I can do that. 80/20 is definitely true for my life, I probably do spend about 20 percent of my time getting 80 percent of my useful things done, but I spend ALL of that 20 percent on focused work. I just need to increase the percentage of my time spent on focused work… which is what yesterday was all about. I guess I can say generally that I am more productive at the beginning of the week, and after long spurs of unproductivity. I am more productive in the late morning and when I am home alone. There’s nothing I can really outsource… chores are really the only thing I do each day and we also can’t afford a housekeeper so I can’t cut that out. The other things like TV time and smoking can simply be eliminated, and I should have plenty of time with that alone. I don’t know if I’m thinking about it right but I just don’t get it. I’ll keep thinking on it though…

….

After feeling bad for a few days for not really doing the above journal, I ultimately decided to forgive myself for not doing it. It’s okay if every single topic in this book doesn’t resonate with me, and I am proud of myself for writing what I felt. Sometimes we just have to offer ourselves kindness and not force things that don’t feel productive or joyful.