Category Archives: Work

10 reasons I’m building my own business

Yesterday I set up my goals. While merely stating them has power in itself, I also need tangible reasons behind the work that I put into them. Running a business is hard. It takes dedication, patience and hard work — even when you don’t want to work that hard. Having a reminder of why you run your own business is part of the process so you can keep your focus on what’s important.

Here are my top ten reasons for running my own business:

  1. Because I want my (unborn!) children to have the opportunity to be whatever they want (hopefully one of them wants to be an astronaut, cause I think that would be cool.)
  2. To take care of my health – including preventative activities that keep me healthy and happy.
  3. So when I do have to take care of my health, I have time and money to do that.
  4. To cultivate a relationship with my Polish family – including visits to the motherland!
  5. To help my mother enhance her retirement in any way possible.
  6. To help my niece and nephew transition to city life if they move to Toronto after high school.
  7. To raise my own family.
  8. To continue living in Toronto (or wherever I choose.) I don’t want economics to dictate where I have to live.
  9. To help social programs in my community and stand up against neighborhood bullies (like the recent decision to cast a permanent shadow on a school in my neighborhood.)
  10. To buy a cottage on Sharbot Lake and a retirement home in Trinity, NL.
October 2014, Trinity, NL

October 2014, Trinity, NL

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The Universal Truth

I think I know why I like writing so much. There are an infinite number of ways you can put a sentence together. There can be more than one answer. And when I don’t like a sentence, I can just make it disappear with a stroke of my finger.

A lot of you from Facebook may have noticed that I now work in finance. As far as I’m concerned, I’m still doing the same job. The only difference is the sector. To date I have worked in fandom, nuclear power, publishing, opera, dining (both fine and fast), retail, music, fashion, and television (very briefly as an MTV intern, for 24 hours. It was total bullshit.)

So why not add finance to the mix, I thought?

But why finance? It’s such a strange and frightening beast,  it’s belly filled with numbers like children’s bones.

Dragon by Eric Scales.

Dragon by Eric Scales.

In Richard Florida’s August 2014’s article in The Atlantic’s Citylab blog, The Increasingly Bloated American Dream , he quotes Slate‘s Jordan Weissmann pondering whether Millenials will “end up as the generation that shrinks the American home back down to size—not out of desire, but necessity.” Florida, an expert on urban studies and the creative class, recommends “a shift from sprawl toward smaller homes in denser areas and from homeownership to renting [as] a key element of the longer-run reset of the economy. “

I am part of that cohort. Now, I’m an early-generation Millenial, having been born in ’85. Some would argue that I’m not even a Millenial. Rather, I’m Gen Y. But I’m still facing the same realities.

An aging Boomer population still holding onto their jobs because they have either not saved enough for retirement, had their savings implode during the Great Recession, or both.

Debt accumulated through university and my spending habits in my early twenties.

Emerging out of a cocoon of indecision, uncertainty, anxiety and a lack of self-awareness.

The numbers. The numbers don’t lie. You can’t just switch them out for different numbers when you don’t like them. They either work out in your favour, or they do not. The numbers are only numbers until you put the words in front of them. Then they carry meaning. I carry lots of numbers and the burden is heavy.

Going into finance does not make me different from you. In fact, I did it because I know there are a lot of people like me out there. And, as a good friend once told me, you cannot help others if you cannot help yourself.

They say do what you love and the money will follow. I say do what you love, but also do what needs to be done, and the money will follow. What do you need to do?

You’re Doing It Wrong

If this is the only source of joy in your life while you’re at work, you need a new job.

prints-will-come

A Year Ago

How do you go to Las Vegas and not hit a pool?

That’s been the question on a lot of people’s minds since I got back from the glittering Sin City a week ago.

Don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t for lack of effort. I brought my bathing suit. I bought a new cover-up and a pair of flip flops. But when you’re stuck from 8 am to 7 pm in a conference room with 26,000 other people, it’s hard to get the time to hit the water.

What kept me from the pool? I was at convention for World Financial Group.

turning-point-sign-wfg

Today is Throwback Thursday. If I may, I’d like to explore roughly a year ago what my life was like.

My father had just passed away and I was in the midst of crisis. They say that everyone grieves in a different way. My grief sent me into a tailspin of emotion that was both horrifying and difficult to get out of.

A year ago I was fragile. I had to reboot. Slowly, over time, with lots of help from family, friends and professional advice-givers, I was able to do it. In March of this year I joined WFG to begin taking control of my finances. The company teaches its associates to build and save their wealth. I knew this was something I needed to have in my life. I love being a freelancer, but I also want to live a life that my father sacrificed his comfort and stability in Poland for. He knew that coming to Canada would enable me opportunities that I would never see in Poland.  I chose WFG as my path to ensure that this would happen. It’s also a company built on helping other people. This was something I was looking for in my life, even before my father’s illness took him. The mentorship and support was just the cherry on top of everything.

Cut to this year. Convention 2014 “Turning Point” started on June 24, the first anniversary of my father’s passing. Suffice it to say, it was a turning point in my life.

The people I have met so far through WFG have been an inspiration and a great source of support. Can you say the same thing about the company you work for?

team-united-LV

Although I didn’t dip a toe in a pool in Las Vegas, I certainly didn’t waste my time while I was there. It was worth the flight and the money which, all told, wasn’t even that much. Remember, they’re teaching me to save my money, right? 😉

 

Short term, medium term, long term

Goals. We all have them. Are they written down somewhere? Do you think about them frequently? How actively are you working towards them?

I have loads of goals. Health goals. Career goals. Creative goals. Family goals. Some of them I have voiced, others are merely thoughts in my head that bubble up now and then. They don’t all need to be planned out. But I think it’s important that some of them are because if they all remain intangible ideas that remain in the wishes category then how will they ever come to fruition?

There’s another layer to add to that, though. Priorities.

Goals and priorities have to go hand-in-hand like peanut butter and jelly otherwise things don’t move forward. Or they move forward in one direction but not in any of the others.

So it’s important to also decide what’s a priority in your life. In May I made a priority list for myself.

My priority list for May was:

  • Continue my Springstreak
  • Pass my LLQP exams
  • Build my business
  • Say “no” more often
  • Spring cleaning

I managed to do 3/5 of those goals for the month of May. My springstreak fell off woefully. I didn’t build my business very much through the month, but I did pass my LLQPs and I learned how to say “no” more often. Okay, the “no” thing is an ongoing habit which requires me to prioritize a little better. To build on that, I decided to stop using my paper agenda and move to Google Calendars for all of my scheduling needs. As much as I love using my pretty paper agenda, it’s not very efficient. It doesn’t give me reminders and it’s easily avoidable if I don’t want to think about what I need to do for the week. It can keep sitting in the bottom of my purse for days if I don’t want to see it, which leads to crazy problems. So I’m growing up and learning how to use the right tools to keep my life in track, which helps me with the fourth goal.

And truthfully, by passing my exam I did build my business. Without my insurance license, I can’t move forward, so it was necessary for me to prioritize that as my next step in building my business. By the way, I passed my provincial exam on May 30th, so I just made it under the wire. I guess you can say that 4/5 goals were met.

And even though I did not continue my springstreak, I have been making steps in my health. I had a full check-up done with my family doctor and I’ve been tracking my food with an app on my phone. I notice there’s a lot of unnecessary sugar in my diet, so I’ve been keeping my eye on where I’m consuming my sugar. There are many places where it hides.

Finally I did a massive clean in May. There was scrubbing, sweeping, dusting, bathroom cleansing. All the good things. And it felt really good to get it done.

This week I completely forgot about all of my priorities other than working. I need money to pay the bills and I got a job that does can help with that. Unfortunately, it changed my whole schedule around completely and I lost track of other things. Which led to me finding my tomato plants looking like this this morning:

tomato-plants

Alarmingly sad. I hadn’t touched the watering jug all week. The poor things have been starving for water for days!

I’ve since watered them and will monitor their progress closely, but I’m upset with myself for having forgotten so completely this week because I was wrapped up in the day-to-day of life. I did the same thing with a bunch of dried chickpeas. I set them in water to make hummus this week. Today I opened the box to find they had turned into mush.

My lesson in all of this is that I can’t ignore the medium and long term goals when I’m trying to juggle the short term ones as well.

So I have a new job that takes up a lot of time. That’s fine. But I can’t ignore the rest of life, otherwise those other goals I set out for myself will never come to fruition.

Happy May Day!

It’s the beginning of a new month and I’m thinking about what I want to accomplish in it. May is a good month to set some goals. Here’s what I’m thinking about:

Continuing my Spring Streak

I’ll be honest, I’ve been very lax on my spring streak the last two days. April showers finally arrived in Toronto, killing my motivation to be active. But I have 18 days left in my Spring Streak, so I need to pick up the pace again!

Pass my LLQP Certification and Provincial Exams

In March I became a training associate with a company called World Financial Group. WFG teaches financial planning concepts to middle-class individuals and families to help them build their financial wealth. I’ve learned a lot over the last two months about saving money and investing in your future. Now I’m nearly ready to become certified and start building my business as a licensed associate!

Build my Business

The appeal of WFG for me is that it’s a business that you build on your own. There’s a lot of support, but a lot of the work is on your shoulders and I have my work cut out for me! I’m already busy with activity, but I have plans as well, including setting up a seminar in my neighborhood on how money works and launching a blog called BecomeSolvent.com. It’ll focus on financial planning, personal development and I’ll probably throw in a few puns in there too.

Say “No” a little more

This week especially I’ve had a hard time saying no to things. Consequently I’ve been overbooking myself and cancelling a lot on people. I don’t like to do that. I want to be a person who keeps her word because trust is an important value. If people don’t trust you to show up for things, what’s going to happen? They won’t invite you out anymore, they won’t expect you to show up, they won’t want to hang out! So this is my pledge to be more honest when I’m making my plans. When I make plans I need to see the big picture. I need to see whether I can actually fit something into my schedule.

Spring Cleaning

This winter our apartment has turned into a cluttered mess. We’ve gained an extra desk and lost some space in the process. We’d like to paint and put up sound dampening foam in the living room because Phill is building studio space into our home. I’d like it to at least look nice. There’s a bunch of areas that need to be decluttered first before any of that can happen: closets, bookcases, drawers, even the balcony needs to be decluttered.

These are my priorities this month. They all tie into the bigger goals I have in my life: losing thirty pounds this year and becoming a full-time WFG associate and making our apartment homier.

Designer for Hire

Designing takes a lot of time and practice. Lately I have been scouring Youtube and design blogs for tutorials on a variety of topics as I set out to create my first WordPress theme for a client (never mind that said client is my sister!)

Projects such as this can be daunting because of all how many steps there are to get from point A to point B. What I keep reminding myself is that I must be patient and work on one step at a time. I can’t start coding anything unless I have a design. I can’t design anything unless I have an understanding of what is expected from the client. And so on and so forth. So I must patiently take the time to go through each step so that when we do get to point Z (cause, who are we kidding, there’s no point B when it comes to building a website!) we’ll have crossed off all of the steps in between.

Along the way, I think a style will emerge. My style. As I do more of these projects I’ll have a broader understanding of what my “look” looks like.