10 Things You Can For Yourself During Naptime

Some days you feel ultra productive. You work on your business during your child’s naptime. But what about those days when you’re drained? Self-care is very important especially as a freelancer. Self-care activities are positive stress relievers that relax you, inspire you, or recharge you.

Here are ten things you can do for yourself during your child’s naptime:

1) Meditate and stretch

My most important tip for naptime is to meditate and stretch. The whole routine can take less than 10 minutes, but it clears your mind and makes your body feel limber. I use the Stop, Breathe, and Think app to meditate. There are many meditations on the app that are five minutes or less. I usually do at least 10 minutes of meditation during naptime.

I do a simple stretching routine to keep my muscles from getting tight.

2) Take a nap

One of the most obvious things you can do is take a nap. A quick 20-30 minute snooze can give your brain a rest and recharge you for the rest of your day.

3) Read a book

Whenever I open a book, I take a tiny vacation. Try spending 20-30 minutes reading a book during your child’s naptime. It doesn’t matter whether the book is fiction or nonfiction, just choose something that interests you. I do almost all of my reading during naps and in the 10 minutes before I go to bed. I usually end up reading around 30 books per year. It’s possible to get a lot of reading done if you spend 20-30 minute each day doing it.

4) Take a bath or shower

As work-at-home or stay-at-home mama, we don’t get a chance to shower during the day without an audience. When your child takes a nap, you could spend some time relaxing in a hot bath or taking a shower. Having a peaceful shower that’s not rushed always makes me feel better.

5) Watch a show

Sometimes I’ll take a Netflix break during my daughter’s nap. I recently got through all seasons of Scandal. I don’t like having the TV on too much during the day and my daughter is not happy when a “Mama show” is on. I do my TV watching in the evenings or on weekends.

6) Get outside

If the weather is nice, I spend 20 minutes outside while Norah naps. I take the baby monitor outside and either read, do work, or just sit and enjoy the sunshine. Sometimes I walk laps in the yard to get a little exercise. If you have front porch or deck, try getting a little sunshine while your child is sleeping.

7) Have a snack

We all have those snacks that we don’t want to share with our kids. Get into your secret stash and have a snack during naptime. Whether your favorite treat is salty or sweet, it will be that much more delicious because you don’t have to share it.

8) Connect with a friend

Text or call someone and see how they’re doing. This is especially nice to do to other stay-at-home or work-at-home moms. The days can often be long and lonely so reaching out to each other is a good way to have a little adult interaction.

9) Work on a hobby or craft

This could be as simple as doing a little coloring in an adult coloring book or it could be as complicated as you are crafty. I enjoy knitting and I’m planning on learning how to hand-letter in the next few months. I like to have one activity I enjoy that doesn’t require screens.

10) Clean something or declutter

If my house is a disaster, I have a hard time focusing. Of course, there are toys strewn all around the living room for most of the day, but I like to take five minutes to tidy up while Norah sleeps. She destroys the living room as soon as she wakes up, but my sweeps help a bit. At the very least, they help me find the half-eaten snacks that she’s hidden in the couch.

When your child takes a nap, ask yourself whether you’d like to spend the time working or practicing self-care. Don’t feel guilty about your choice! Either way you are doing something good for yourself.

 

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Should Freelancers Trade Services?

As a new freelancer, it can be hard to find clients. While you can spend time working on your own brand, you also need to gain experience working with clients. However, I don’t think you should ever work for free. If you can’t get paying work or you have some extra time on your hands, you could consider trading services.

How does trading services work?

Trading services is where two business people exchange beneficial services instead of cash.

First, think about what you value. Even while trading services, you don’t want to work for something that has no value to you. Perhaps you’d like to do social media work for a local gym in exchange for a free membership. Maybe a free membership wouldn’t be worth it to someone else.

Who should you approach to trade services?

Online business owners and solopreneurs

Small businesses owners and solopreneurs are usually handling a lot of the administrative and marketing aspects of their business on their own. Sometimes they try their hand at making a website or just set up a Facebook page and have no web presence. Depending on your skillset, you could offer the following trades:

  • As a website designer, you may want to approach a copywriter to help you with your site. In exchange, you could spruce up their site’s layout
  • As a social media manager, you may want to offer your services to a photographer in exchange for images you can us
  • As a graphic designer, you may want to offer a new logo to a copywriter in exchange for a rewrite of some website pages.
  • As a virtual assistant, you can offer to send invoices for a marketing company in exchange for social media postings about your business a few times per week.

 

Local businesses

Some local businesses could use help, but may not have the means to pay for your services. You could offer your services in exchange for theirs.

  • You could offer your services for a monthly membership fee (like a gym or club).
  • You could offer your services in exchange for goods or food.
  • You could offer your services in exchange for displaying your business cards or an advertisement for your business.

Special events, conferences, summits

You could offer to do work in exchange for a seat at the conference, event or summit. There are many great online conferences and summits that you could have access to if you helped out with marketing, design, or administrative tasks.

How to get started

  1. Make a list of the skills you’d be willing to trade
  2. Figure out who or what would be worth your trade
  3. Create an email pitch to send to potential swappers

Sample email:

Hi Person,

I’m a content creator/website designer/virtual assistant. I wanted to see if you’d be interested in trading services? I was thinking something like X for X. Does that sound fair to you?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks,

You’ll never know what business connections you can make through reaching out and offering a trade. Trading services will add to your portfolio of work and could also lead to more paying gigs in the future. If you need more work, trading services is another way to get your name out there.

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Do You Want to be An Employee or an Entrepreneur?

So, you have a great idea, product, or service to offer the world and you want to start your own business? Fabulous! There’s a lot of technical and logistical issues that you will encounter as you begin your new venture, but first things first, are you ready to start your own business?

The first question you need to ask yourself is:

1) Do you want to be an employee or an entrepreneur?

This question seems painfully obvious and most people will answer “entrepreneur!” without hesitation. However, you will need to dig deep to discover whether you really want all of the responsibility and stress that comes with running your own business.

Your Work Ethic

There are many perks to running your own business including setting your own hours and choosing what type and amount of work you do. However, there are many downsides as well. In a survey of 10 entrepreneurs, all worked more than 50 hours per week and many worked up to 70 per week. That’s a lot more than your standard 9-5! If you enjoy hanging up your hat at the end of the day and putting work totally out of your mind, you want to be an employee, not an entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurs make sacrifices in their personal lives in order to make their businesses succeed. As with most things, it gets easier and less time consuming to run your own business the longer you are doing it, but the first years can be the most difficult. Over 40% of small business fail within two years. Can your personal relationships handle the stress of potential failure? If you don’t think so, you may want to stick with being an employee.

How do you feel about living on less? You might have to get used to it if you become an entrepreneur. It may take up to two years, after starting your business, before you can pay yourself a salary. Can you afford to work that long without pay? Would you even want to? If you’re dedicated to your business, is it possible to start it as a side hustle while working a full-time job? If you don’t have the energy to work on your side project at the end of a long day, you may not care that much about it or you may not have the work ethic that being an entrepreneur requires.

Problem Solving and Critical Thinking

When running your own business, you will ultimately be in charge of all day-to-day operations. You can hire someone to handle administrative issues such as bookkeeping and tax preparation, but that may not be feasible until you start getting customers. Any amount of business sense will be a boon to an entrepreneur, but the most important skills in determining whether you are suited to be an employee or an entrepreneur are critical thinking and problem solving.

While working for someone else, is your natural inclination to take problems or solutions to your supervisor? If you take problems to your supervisor and expect him or her to decide how to handle it than you may be better suited to be an employee. With the empowerment that running your own business brings, you may become more comfortable with problem-solving, but it may not come easily. A person who is naturally inclined to brainstorm solutions before asking their boss for help would do better on their own.

Assuming that you don’t have a business partner, you are going to be your own main resource for problem solving and critical thinking. You’ll need to be a fount of knowledge and ideas. Thankfully, there are thousands of resources at your disposal specific to whatever type of business you want to start. You will need the motivation to look for resources that can help you and the critical thinking skills to put what you learn into practice and modify advice to apply to your situation.

Your Personality

While it doesn’t take a particular personality type to be a successful entrepreneur, it does help to be realistic about who you are. A self-motivating personality is a good fit for entrepreneurship. Your success will have a lot to do with how hard you’re willing to work and how much effort you put into your business. Even if you have the support of a team, you’ll need to have the vision to carry your idea out. In the same vein, it’s better to be a leader than a follower when running your own business.

There is no right or wrong response to the question “do you want to be an employee or an entrepreneur?” Your dream job may be working for yourself or it may be working for an established company. Spending time thinking about what option is the better fit for you is crucial before deciding to start your own business. If you have self-awareness and can take an honest look at your strengths and weaknesses, you’ll discover the right choice for you.

 

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What I Do After I Write a Blog Post

I’ve previously talked about my blog writing process. After I write the post, I do a few other things before publishing it. These steps make the post into shareable content.

Find an image for the post

I got to Librestock to find an image that complements my content. For my posts on freelancing, I like to find images of offices, people working, and computers. I also like photos of nature scenes. Sometimes I include pictures of my family, but only in the parenting posts.

Create a Canva graphic

I edit the image in Canva to create a “Pinnable” image. I do this by taking a template that I made of the blog title and my website address. I change the image, add the new text and insert it into the end of the blog post.

Write social media posts

I post every new blog entry once on the Freelancing Mama Facebook page. Sometimes I share Freelancing Mama’s post on my personal Facebook page. I also tweet each post three times within the week that it was published.

Schedule the blog post

I schedule each blog post at least one day in advance, but sometimes posts are scheduled a few weeks in advance. One of my goals for 2017 is to have content scheduled at least one month in advance.

Post on Facebook group

Once the post goes live, I post my link in a variety of places. There are several freelancing and blogging groups that allow people to share their content once per week on a certain day. I take advantage of this and post my work in the threads. Usually, this results in 2-5 people sharing my content. You can find groups by searching Facebook for your topic of interest and choosing the Group tab to see what exists.

Pin my post

My next step is to pin my post. I do this by using the Pinterest Chrome add-on. I hover over the pinnable image that I include at the end of my posts and then add my blog. I have a Pinterest board for the Freelancing Mama’s posts. I typically add more to the description field before saving the pin.

Repost on Medium*

Medium is another blogging platform. My husband primarily uses it for his writing. I read Medium articles every day, but only post some of my work there. One reason for this is that I don’t want to negatively affect my website’s SEO rankings. Duplicate content can lower your ranking. The second reason is that I want to keep a consistent image on that site as a social media marketer / freelancer. On my own blog, I also write about parenting and being a stay-at-home mother.

I’m a relatively new blogger and don’t do this as a career so this is a basic list of resources. As I learn new things, I’ll continue to add to this procedure.

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