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Ask Crystal Anything Days!

This post may contain affiliate links.

I only have two pet sitting jobs today (woot!), so I can actually be around a computer pretty frequently Wednesday and Thursday!  This seems like the perfect time to rip off give my blogging buddy, J Money, and all of you awesome people an opportunity to ask me anything at all!  J was totally open with Ask J Money Anything Day!, and the post became epic since he added and answered the questions to the post as they came in.

Got Questions?

Today is all about what you all want to know.  Nothing is off limits.  Just leave your question below in the comments and I will add it up here along with my answer!  It can be about anything at all – blogging, other online work, marriage, friendships, pet sitting, side hustles, sex, drugs, rock and roll (hehehe)…ANYTHING!  Ask away!!!

To get us started:

Q:  Can I ask more than 1 question?

Yes!

Q:  What stupid human trick can you do?

I can roll my tongue and pull it back to make the shape of a three leaf clover.  I can also imitate Gonzo and have a pretty creepy evil voice that I used to annoy my younger sisters way back when…

Your Turn!

Q:  For a million dollars, would you skip the next year of your life? Like, you go to sleep tonight and then wake up 1 year later and missed everything?

Yes, especially if it’s tax free.  My reasoning is that after that one year, my husband and I could live off of the interest of that million dollars and what we already have for the rest of our lives.  I’d be 32 years old, my baby niece or nephew would be around 6 months old, and I think all of our friends would still be our friends.

The interest we could make realistically and ultra safely on the $1 million would be around $40,000 or more a year (that’s just 4%).  That’s about $3300 a month.  We would also be bringing in $1800 a month on our rentals still.  We can live almost like we do now for $5100 a month.

Our current mortgage is $990 a month.  Our property taxes on both homes adds up to about $800 a month.  That would leave us $3310 a month to cover the rest of our bills and fun.  And that would be if we were making only 4% and never wanted to touch the original $1 million.  So yes, I would totally sleep for a year for it.  Overall, it would waste less of my life and lead to “pretirement” (great term, J Money!) earlier than working like I do now online and for pet sitting for the 60+ hours a week that has become my norm.

Q:  Have you considered running a kennel again?

I’ve thought about it in passing, but there is way less overhead associated with being a traveling pet sitter like I am right now.  It’s nice to know that if I don’t have any pets to take care of a certain day, it doesn’t cost me anything out of pocket at all.  If I ever have kids or want to drive less, I may consider opening Crystal’s Cozy Kennels.  But as of right now, I can make $1000-$2000 a month by putting in 4-5 hours some days and none on others.

Q:  When does it make sense to spend money on something just to keep in touch with the world around you? Do you think attending non-credit courses are a better idea, even if they are only a bit less expensive? Have you figured the tax, travel, and extra costs of hobby jobs and found the same thing. It is a bit too costly just to interact, probably should be some type of pay back for your troubles?

I highly value and prioritize my human connections.  So if I’m ever feeling out of touch with the world, which leads to me being depressed and hollow, I start volunteering nearly immediately to feel better.  That costs me gas, time, and sometimes straight cash…but it is totally worth it to get me involved again.  If I wanted to learn something, I’d pay to do it.

I honestly think money has two main purposes – to ensure that I don’t have to live on what the government chooses for me in my golden years AND to make sure my years until then are as full as possible.  With that in mind, I make sure we are always saving something for our future.  The rest of our money is used to make our present as full and pleasant for us as possible.  I did that when we were making less than $30,000 a year after college and now that we make more than $100,000 a year consistently.  I will always prioritize human connections along with my future.

All of that said, if you feel disconnected in a negative way (not in the “yay, I’m not part of that daily crazy routine” way), then I’d totally suggest spending what you are comfortable with on classes or whatever may make you feel better overall.  I’m not suggesting spending all willy-nilly, but budgeting some spending on human connection and personal development can be EXTREMELY important for mental health, which affects your physical health as well.  Think of it as protecting your brain without having a doctor or medicine involved.  🙂

Q:  What are the affiliate networks you would recommend to use besides CJ?

I stink at affiliate advertising, so I don’t know which networks kick the most butt.  I hope another reader may chime in here below.  But, I will ask around for you and update this when I have some more options.  I also can suggest becoming an affiliate for specific products, ebooks, etc. that you would like to support.  It is way easier to help promote something you believe in.  Smart Passive Income makes like $50,000 a MONTH with just Blu Host sales…he likes them and does videos and posts about how to use them.

Q:  How did you get your clients when you first started dog sitting? We’re thinking of doing this but don’t know how to get started.

I sold myself hard on Craigslist.  I also posted 2-3 ads on Craigslist for about 7 days straight (one each in several categories like pet services, community, etc.) and set my phone alarm to remind me to renew them every 3-5 days.

In those placements, I listed out my experience from personal pet sitting, my volunteer work with animal groups, and put emphasis on my dependability and professionalism.  I also priced myself slightly lower than my competition in the beginning month to grab my first jobs and earn my awesome references.  Now I charge more than most of my competition but am busier than ever because I’ve built a reputation for amazing customer service for my human and animal clients.  😉

I still create a new Craigslist post once or twice a week and renew my old ones or repost when they expire.

Q:  Do you think you’ll always be a landlord? Is there anything you dislike about the responsibility?

Yes for the foreseeable future.  The responsibility is like having a serious part-time job, but I enjoy being a very thoughtful and direct landlord.  We fix our homes’ problems super fast, charge rents that are on the low end of the norm, and in return, our main tenant so far returns the amazingness.  Our rent home is very well kept.  I hope she stays forever.

Landlord satisfaction is directly associated with your tenants.  If we had nightmare tenants, I’d sell my rent house instead of dealing with it long-term.  I know me.  When our current, awesome tenant decides to leave, I will be vetting all future tenants like an internet stalker…I need reciprocation of respect for my property in exchange for keeping things as handled and fair as possible.

Q:  If you could do one thing over in your life, would you and what is the one thing?

I would go back and be a better big sister.  I was a very self-involved teenager and young adult (which is normal but still one of my only regrets), so I blew off my little sisters when I went off to college.  They were 10 years old and 5 years old.  I am just now reconnecting with the older of the two, who is now 23 years old and is pregnant with my first niece or nephew.  🙂

Q:  What was your biggest financial mistake and what advice would you give others to help them avoid it?

My biggest financial mistake was investing in a “friend’s” business when my husband and I were around 23 years old.  We ended up wasting $15,000.  Ouch.  But we didn’t invest more than we could have afforded to lose, so yay for small blessings.  We still bought our first home with 20% down, so I’ve learned to stop beating myself up for it.

Q:  What sort of websites/facebook groups/etc and/or how/where (haha) do you look up what to charge for contracting? I am a site editor for a blogger, but I want to expand a bit so I don’t have all my eggs in one basket but am unsure what to say I charge when looking for new business. Enough so I don’t look cheap and know I do quality work, but not so much no one takes me on.

For my online ad job, I picked a rate that seemed high but would make my time worth it.  I’ve kept that rate forever (25%).  For my other online work, I asked around for the normal rates for a service, like commenting for hire, then I priced myself higher and offered extras like post promotion.  For pet sitting, I priced myself lower than the others I could find on Craigslist until I completed 2-3 jobs well, then I listed my references and raised my prices a little.  After 4 months and when my schedule was getting full, I raised them even more.  Now, 7 months after starting, I am one of the better paid pet sitters in the area.  Some guess and check won’t hurt.  🙂



FYI:  I worked at a dead end cubicle job from 2005-2011 for about $30,000 per year.  I went self-employed in July 2011 and make between $70,000-$90,000 through blogging, professional pet sitting, hubby's reffing, and our rental home.  If you’d like to start your own site (link to my free step-by-step guide), I highly suggest checking out Bluehost (my referral link with a nice discount for you, PLUS a free custom header banner from me!).  Please contact me any time at budgetingfunstuff*at*gmail*dot*com with questions or just to brainstorm! I’d love to help!
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17 thoughts on “Ask Crystal Anything Days!

  1. Yeah girl, work it! 🙂

    Here’s my question for you:

    For a million dollars, would you skip the next year of your life? Like, you go to sleep tonight and then wake up 1 year later and missed everything?




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  2. Haha… good one. The old me would have too, but now with kids I couldn’t do it 🙂 I’m also deathly afraid of, well, dying super early so one year in that case would be pretty significant!




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  3. @J Money, yeah, missing a year of your kids’ lives sounds awful. I’m not really worried one way or another about when I die. Whether I die later today or 60 years from now, I can’t control it much and can just be content with the fact that I have very few regrets.

    @lurker, answered above fully. In short, yes if I decide I want to travel less. 🙂




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  4. School has started again. The morning rush and the quiet neighborhood during the day is nice, yet spooky. From 5:30 AM to about 7:30 AM there is such a rush of activity, that even I have to get up to watch. By 8 AM everything is just eerily quiet, until the lawn guys, contractors for the new house or the demolition for the burned down house starts up. Do you ever wish you were one of those hectic people scurrying off to drop off their kids and rush off to work? I know the answer will be no, never want to be in that race again, but sometimes it feels like I am an outsider watching an ant farm busily going around trying to build another mound. That’s when I think about going back to community college or something, just to keep in touch. Then I see tuition costs and decide to just finish up a project around the house. I guess my real question is, when does it make sense to spend money on something just to keep in touch with the world around you? Do you think attending non-credit courses are a better idea, even if they are only a bit less expensive? Have you figured the tax, travel, and extra costs of hobby jobs and found the same thing. It is a bit too costly just to interact, probably should be some type of pay back for your troubles?




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  5. @retired, excellent questions!!! I answered in the post, but to summarize, I think mental health and human connections are truly important and deserve to be prioritized even if some spending is required…




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  6. Whoa… I’m glad I popped over here just on a whim or I would have missed this. I told you that your blog never shows up on bloglovin’ for me, right? Consequently I always miss your new posts. I’m not 100% sure but I’m thinking there are two other blogs that do that to me too, but I’m still confirming this. I should qualify… it may come up but it’s a blank page and there’s nothing to read and I can’t tell which blog it is for.

    OK, my questions:
    1. What are the affiliate networks you would recommend to use besides CJ?
    2. How did you get your clients when you first started dog sitting? We’re thinking of doing this but don’t know how to get started.




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  7. I’m part of the 85. But when I click on a post in it the page is white. Same with when I read it in the blog reader, scrolling forward from blog to blog. It’s very strange. I thought the same thing was happening with Escaping Dodge but it seems to be okay. I’ll try the home page trick… ha ha.

    Thanks for your responses to my questions!




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  8. @Khaleef, answered, thanks!

    @debs, weird! I can’t see it either after I click on it, but it gives me the message that “the owner” didn’t approve it to be viewed on their site. But I have. Weird! I’ll keep trying…




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  9. What sort of websites/facebook groups/etc and/or how/where (haha) do you look up what to charge for contracting? I am a site editor for a blogger, but I want to expand a bit so I don’t have all my eggs in one basket but am unsure what to say I charge when looking for new business. Enough so I don’t look cheap and know I do quality work, but not so much no one takes me on.




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  10. @Helen, answered above! In short, try a rate that seems fair to you. Then start raising it for new clients until you start getting balked at. That’s when you know you’ve hit the happy medium.




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