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Planning for My Self-Employed Maternity “Leave”

I love being self-employed.  I think I will enjoy retirement even more in the future, but if I’m not financially independent, self-employment is the only craved income path for me.  My Pros of Self-Employment I enjoy the flexibility, the control, and the income diversification that comes along with having 150+ clients in pet sitting and a few streams we have for making cash online.  When I worked for the car dealership software company from 2005-2011, they could have fired me at any moment and I would have had my personal main income stream cut off all at once.  Being self-employed has, strangely enough, made me feel more financially stable overall. My Cons of Self-Employment BUT, there are some WHOPPING downsides.  I truly miss the 100% matching up to 6% in my old 401k.  I also miss being able to take a vacation without coming back to a pile of things to do since everyone in my old department could cover each other’s work.  And, I definitely don’t have any paid maternity leave options now (I’m not sure if my old job had them or not because I left WAYYYYY before we ever thought we even wanted to have kids). Planning … Read more

*GULP* I am Management…

Our team member in Crystal’s Cozy Care Pet Sitting asked for a heavier schedule regularly.  Since we want her to stay with us for as long as she possibly can, we got right on that! We’re basically using October as a test month to see how big of a hit our overall income will take if we fill in her schedule first and just cover a couple of weekday regulars and the few outliers during the busiest times. So far, the experiment is going well.  We are taking a monetary hit, but not as bad as expected.  Plus the decrease in work hours allowed me to catch up on the background parts of running the business, which needed to seriously happen soon anyway. BUT MANAGEMENT AIN’T NO JOKE! Time Management for Management… I honestly thought that having fewer pet sitting jobs would leave me a little extra time to blog or to catch up with chores in our dirty house.  Nope.  All of the extra time has been used on managing the assignments, creating checklists, attending pre-meets, staying in touch with our clients, and doing my side of the record keeping.  Taking time on those tasks has led to more … Read more

3 REAL Ways to Make Money from Home AND How to Get Started IMMEDIATELY

3 Real Ways to Make Money From Home and Get Started IMMEDIATELY | Legitimate Work from Home Jobs

Yeah, I know there are gazillions of posts about making money from home.  How is this one different?  Well, my husband and I make $75,000+ per year doing these three things.  On top of that, keep reading to see how to get started right now! 1.  Blogging The most frequently asked question I get about my online income is, “How do you make money blogging?” You make money through advertising deals, selling products and services, or using your blog experience to get other jobs online too. You can get the traffic to sell ad space, your products, and/or your services by growing your site. So first, you need a site and you have to start writing. To start a blog, you’ll need to choose a domain name (like and buy it.  I used Go Daddy to buy my URL and it costs about $15-$20 per year.  You will also need a website host (a company that uses its internet servers to support your site). I use Bluehost for all of my secondary sites (smaller ones, $6 a month for all of them combined) and Pagely for my big one since it’s too large to fit in a discount host server … Read more

Suffering from Burnout? The Signs and Ways to Recover

Have you ever worried you were suffering from burnout? It's a REAL thing and knowing the signs of burnout is one of the most important steps for keeping your mental health and physical health from deteriorating. I'm pinning this to remind myself!

A person can be their own largest liability.  Ever work yourself into a tizzy?  Been too exhausted to do your best?  Think you’re ready to quit even though it’s the best job you’ve ever had? Could you simply be burned out? Burnout is a HUGE differentiating factor between success and failure in many fields, especially pet sitting.  I’m starting to understand the full ramifications from my own experiences, stories from other pet sitters, and from attending the 2016 Petsittingology Conference. Signs of Professional Burnout These are a combination of signs I’ve either noticed or found at the Mayo Clinic online: You become more cynical and pessimistic than usual. You start dreading calls and texts offering you new business instead of being excited. It’s hard to want to go to a job and/or it’s hard to start when you’re there. You start spending less time at each job or task. You start to justify a worse work ethic. You start eating and/or drinking more to cope. Your sleeping or eating habits are changing for the worse. You are developing unexplained aches and pains. Luckily, even if you are suffering from burnout, there are ways of bouncing back. Ways to Recover from … Read more

How I Created a $30,000 Per Year Pet Sitting Business for Less Than $600

It is hard to believe that you can start such a successful business for such a small investment. This is an amazing way to make money at home and be a work at home mom. Plus, you can do this as a side hustle, in addition to a regular job! Repin this, it's an excellent business idea.

When I first started Crystal’s Cozy Care Pet Sitting at the end of February 2014, I was aiming to just earn extra spending money on the side – like a few hundred a month.  I ended up making $750 in March 2014 and it’s just gone up from there.  It’s now grown into a full $30,000+ per year business! How? Because I’m awesome.  😉  But seriously, it’s because I treated it like a “real” business and not just a hobby.  I also kept costs down to a minimum for the maximum gain. My Business Basics Here are the basics for Crystal’s Cozy Care Pet Sitting: Pet Sitting Insurance – $400 per year Website Hosting (I already had unlimited hosting through Bluehost) – $70 a year Website Domain Name (included free in a new Bluehost package) – $15 a year Business cards (use my referral links to automatically get a discounted rate) – $23 for 1000 cards Advertising on Craigslist – $0 Advertising on – $0 Advertising via Car Signs (magnetic) – $25 for two Advertising via Yelp – $0 Advertising in my neighborhood’s newsletter – $50 per newsletter (wasted) Advertising via Tshirts – $2 (received two nearly free tshirts in exchange for reviewing … Read more

Personal Finance Tips for Young Professionals Just Joining the Workforce

Dan Raiford is a Finance and Economics double major at Baylor University. He is a freelance personal finance writer and is planning to start his own blog soon. If you are getting ready to enter the workforce, there are some personal finance tips that can help prepare you for your future. While you may think that you are young and you do not need to save money, you are wrong. It is vital to your financial health that you start to save money early on and practice money managing, so that you will succeed in the future. Below, I will go over some personal finance tips for any and all young professionals who are entering into the workforce. Budget Your Money It doesn’t sound fun, does it? I don’t think so either, but it is something that must be done. You should sit down and create a budget for yourself and learn how to manage your money better. When you sit down to create your budget, start with your necessities first. When I mention necessities, I am talking about things such as your rent or mortgage, utility expenses, and food. Once you have all of your necessities out of the … Read more

Budgeting in Self-Employment

The ups and downs of income when you're self employed are so hard to navigate. Here's a solid approach to budgeting in self employment and striking out on your own with a plan in place. I'm glad I'm not alone!

I thought it would be fun to update this post exactly 5 years after I originally wrote it…let’s see what’s changed… Yes, even though blogging was/is officially paying me more than my day job ever did, I budget in self-employment.  Specifically, I really dislike the idea of irregular paychecks and we strive to make it less stressful. My Paycheck Plan 5 Years Ago I had been building up a blogging income account at ING (now CapitalOne 360).  My hope was to get it to $10,000 by the time I quit my day job so I’d have more than enough padding on months that I don’t bring in enough.  I made it to $9200 as of July 15, 2011 and I took it right over the $10,000 mark with the last paycheck I received after giving my 2 weeks’ notice. I was planning on paying myself a biweekly paycheck directly from this accout so we would never experience a budget crunch at all.  In order for this plan to have worked, I decided to pay myself $1500 every two weeks. How It Has Worked for the Last 5 Years I’m going to pat myself on the back.  This plan has been slightly adjusted as our income fluctuated over the … Read more