Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Motivational Speaker

Holiday Pay Doesn’t Exist When Self-Employed: Less-Effort Income Can Fill the Gap

Filed under: 4-Hour Workday — by Glenda at 6:19 pm on Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Paula Lee Bright, Online Reading Teacher What do you do when a serious back injury leaves you unable to teach in the traditional classroom?

If you are Paula Lee Bright, you find another way to do what you love.

That spunk is what instantly connected me to her when we met at SOBCon (Succeeded Online Business Conference) in Portland last September.

Using various online tools online, Paula has created work for herself remotely tutoring kids who are struggling with reading to read; the kids who the regular school system dismisses as failures. She loves what she does.

Recently we chatted about working by the hour, creating less-effort-income streams and where to even start…

Paula: I am currently working only by the hour. My problem is that I love preparing for the hours I work, and I love the actual time implementing it with the kids.

Glenda: I love what you are doing and how you have created work for yourself after no longer being able to teach in the traditional sense. As Reverend Robert Schuller would say, you have definitely turned your scar into a star!

Paula: Now, in teaching my types of kids, prep is absolutely needed. But I’m so fascinated with my topic (kids who can’t read, or read badly) that it’s hard to tear myself away from the reading and preparing. There’s so much going on now in learning and teaching that there are new tools for me to check out every day!

Glenda: That is great you have found something you enjoy. So much happening in the field is definitely exciting and encouraging. My question is do you really need all of that time reading, preparing and checking out new tools daily? Could you spend even a fraction of that time on another task, such as product creation?

Paula: No, I don’t need to, although it does take hours a day, since every child is at a different time and place in their reading. I spend that much time because it’s my favorite thing to do! But, of course, I could work on something else. I know I could. Yet I don’t.

I know I need to create a passive income by writing a book on how to start a tutoring business online, writing a book for parents of struggling readers, or by creating a course about it. Yet none of those interest me. How can I gear myself up into wanting to do those things?

Glenda: Think of it this way, Paula…you are making money only when you are sitting at your computer with a child on the other end of Skype or whatever. Your income is limited by how many tutoring slots you fill. If you are having a bad pain day and can’t sit at your computer or laptop, you aren’t making an income. Or, if it’s a beautiful day and you want to go play outside, or if you want to attend a conference or go on a holiday with your family, you aren’t making money. Holiday pay doesn’t exist when you’re self-employed. Having several income streams makes financial sense and adds some stability.

Earning an income is the same as investing. You wouldn’t invest all of your money in one stock. Why invest all of your time in one income stream? It isn’t a sound business practice.

Paula: Glenda, can you believe that I have never, ever thought of it that way? You’re right.

Glenda: Start small. Rather than a book for parents, how about a booklet with reading tips and exercises parents can do with their kids and sell that for a few dollars?

Paula: You’re a genius. A booklet wouldn’t be hard at all. I think I could set up my main points in one sitting, since I know “my stuff”. And yes, I could use quite a few things that already exist.

Glenda: With all of your preparation work, do you already have content that could be repurposed into a sellable product? Perhaps by spending a couple of hours per week on it, you could have something to sell within a month or two. That would give you two potential income streams. Slowly grow from there.

Paula: That sounds so much easier than “writing a BOOK.” Yikes. No wonder I was too afraid to start. What got you going on the passive income?

Glenda: I know I have a limited energy level and I can output only so much typing with only my left thumb; that’s why I took a reduced course load in high school and in university, and why I implemented the 4-hour workday earlier this year (and am sticking to it). With that in mind, my potential per hour or per project income is restricted. There are only so many hours in a day.

Years ago, when flipping through a book entitled something like The Secrets of Millionaires, one short passage jumped off the page at me. Paraphrasing from memory:

Your time is finite. By selling your time, your potential income is limited. To get ahead, do not rely on selling your time.

Here is where creating a product once and then selling it repeatedly resonates with me. Many people call this “passive income”, but I consider that phrase a misnomer. Once the product is created, it still requires constant marketing; that is far from passive. I’d rather call this “less-effort-income”.

Paula: I don’t think that anyone who’s self-employed can earn money passively. You are absolutely right. We’re in charge of our own income, or in my case, lack of! But I can (maybe?) change that with just one small booklet to start. Wow!

Glenda: Exactly. Ideally, my income stream would be a combination of per hour or per project and less-effort-income so that I would be earning an income even when my energy is low or when I feel like playing hooky for a day or two. I don’t want to live the rest of me life constantly chained to my computer.

Do you have any more questions, Paula?

Paula: Right now, I feel pumped and ready to GO! Oh, wait. Where do I sell this booklet?

Glenda: It depends on the booklet and your audience. If the booklet is something buyers might print out to use, then sell it on your site using e-junkie and PayPal. If the booklet is more for reading, consider offering it on Amazon.

Paula: Thanks, Glenda. You are a constant inspiration to me. And to so many others. I’m so glad that you do what you do to reach so many.

Glenda: Thank you, Paula. All the best working with these precious young people

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.

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iPad as a Second Screen Increases Typing Flow for Left Thumb Blogger

Filed under: 4-Hour Workday — by Glenda at 4:32 pm on Monday, February 20, 2012

My left thumb typing on a silicon keyboard Typing with only my left thumb is slow; painfully so when my mind is racing.

Using the WordQ software for word prediction and completion saves me keystrokes. A box with numbered words are suggested dynamically as I type; To finish typing a word, I type the corresponding number.

However, needing to be constantly changing my eye focus from the keyboard up to the word prediction box on my computer screen and then back to my keyboard hampers my typing flow.

word-prediction-box

When I am in my writing groove, I either keep typing and lose the benefit of having word prediction or I constantly look up at the word prediction box and lose the flow of words.

Enter the iPad as a second screen…

Using the free DisplayLink app and our home wireless network, my iPad quickly becomes a second computer screen. I then drag the word prediction box over to the second screen and place the iPad on my lap, within the same view as my keyboard.

Word prediction box on iPad on my lap

To change positions when needed, I prop up my iPad in front of my keyboard. All that I am moving – besides my left arm and thumb – are my eyeballs. It saves moving my head up and down.

iPad on desk as a second screen

Some professionals might say this is ergonomically compromising; but, hey, so is the way I type with my left thumb, which I have be doing for forty years with minimal ill effects.

i can even drag the document I am working on over to the iPad to view everything at once; saving me from looking up at my computer screen at all.

When I am working on a writing task, I am finding that having my word prediction box close to my keyboard increases my flow and, perhaps, even my typing speed. I am also sensing it is increasing my focus because I am on looking at my keyboard and my word box; the other distractions aren’t constantly in my face, tempting me.

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.

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The 4-Hour Work Day: A Work in Progress But Looks Promising

Filed under: 4-Hour Workday — by Glenda at 8:13 pm on Thursday, February 9, 2012

A large mug of mocha(Photo credit: Darrell Hyatt)

Feeling drained, tired, unmotivated for months – no amount of dark chocolate or extra large mochas helped for long – led me to implement the 4-hour work day at the beginning of 2012 in hope of renewing my health and regaining balance.

After attempting this work plan for a month, I am starting to get the hang of it. Although turning off my computer after four hours and going to do something else remains a work in progress

Simple Tools Keeping Me on Task

Staying on task for the four hours is relatively easy. Emailing myself a to-do list each night makes it that much easier. Before implementing the 4-hour work day, I typically started the day with a to-do list in my head. But I am finding having the list written down makes it more concrete, more tangible.

Each night I also email a list to iDoneThis of what I did that day. Seeing what I did accomplish is rewarding. Sometimes I add a note about how the day was or a highlight; like an abbreviated journal.

I am also using the stopwatch feature of the Vertabase Timer and an Excel spreadsheet to track how long tasks actually take me. I am not being anal about my time tracking because that would create yet another task and defeat the whole purpose. However, I am now getting a rough idea of how long some things are taking me.

Surprisingly, out of approximately 73 hours worked in January, I spent:

  • roughly 11 hours writing and replying to work-related email – and I still have 691 unread emails in my inbox; and
  • 19 hours writing blog posts – a post is taking me between two and five hours to write and proofread.

What those 19 hours of writing doesn’t capture is the amount of time I spend thinking about writing. As a writer – whether I am working on a post, an ebook, or text that will be converted to speech for a presentation – I am constantly thinking about ideas to write, words to write, messages to write. I am a writer; that is what I do, constantly. My mind doesn’t shut off when the four hours ends.

Foretelling the Rewards of Not Sitting at My Desk All Day

I am already feeling the benefits of a more compact work day. After having four colds in four months during the autumn, I am happy to report that I didn’t catch one in January!

However, there are still times when I feel totally wiped. Coming home from a dinner out with Darrell last Saturday, I was a little disappointed it was only 6:45pm; I felt like it was closer to 8:45. Rather than fighting the feeling with the childish rationale “I am an adult, I can’t go to bed this early”, I was in bed by 7:30. I guess that’s what my body needed at that time.

Other days I make it through the entire day without hearing, “Dear, you look tired. Go take it easy.”

I wish I could figure out the pattern. I have been more tired than not for as long as I can remember. What are my energy zappers? Is it related to my cerebral palsy? I don’t know. Perhaps it will be one of my lifelong questions.

A glimpse of a better work-life balance is beginning to peek through. After sitting on the shelf, taunting me for a year or more, I finally measured and cut the spool of purple cord that is destined to become a door pull. Macramé – a hobby that doesn’t involved the computer – what a concept!

Last Friday afternoon Darrell and I played hooky and spent a few hours down around the south side of False Creek. It was such a beautiful, almost-spring day! We even met up with a friend who we hadn’t seen in well over a year.

Saturday evening – if things go as planned – we will be having dinner with my cousin and my uncle (who I haven’t seen in years!) I am hoping this is only the beginning of reconnecting with local friends and family.

Glenda wearing handknitted toque and sweeter with False Creek and mountains in the background(Photo credit: Darrell Hyatt)

After starting the year on empty, I am now feeling about $5,000-$10,000. I am curious: what does “feeling like a million bucks” actually feel like?

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.

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Enough of Others’ Success Strategies! 2012 is the Year for Mine, Based on Balance

Filed under: 4-Hour Workday — by Glenda at 5:35 pm on Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Stylized woman balancing two candles - made in black metalSince choosing this self-employed, solopreneur route – or, more accurately, having the decision, more or less, made for me – I have spent much time reading, observing and listening to how other entrepreneurs and business owners have found success. Strategies, methods and formulas that have and haven’t worked have caught my attention. I have tried implementing a few, and have discarded many others that didn’t fit or make sense for me.

Last week I watched a news clip on our local self-made billionaire Jimmy Pattison, the sole owner of the third largest private company in Canada. His net worth, according to last year’s Forbes’ list of billionaires, is $5.8 billion. When asked for advice on how to get ahead, he typically responds by asking, “What time do you get to work in the morning?”

Oops! Dragging my butt from my warm, cozy bed – where nothing is hurting and I am not constantly fighting against gravity – is not the easiest thing I do in a day. But, in my defense (assuming I need one), that is where I do my best thinking, planning and even writing. Many blog posts and other content get partially written in my head while laying in bed. That is what works for me.

Interestingly, on the same day as watching the news story, I came across successful internet marketer Clay Collins’ bio page. He admits that he needs eight hours of sleep, preferably 10 hours, and that he cannot drag himself out of bed before 10AM. (I’m liking this guy already!) He goes on to explain that he can only get one thing done all day, i.e., writing a blog post, responding to emails or scheduling a week’s phone appointments all on one day. He doesn’t switch between umpteen tasks in one day.

If Jimmy and Clay are the extremes along one continuum, I am definitely leaning toward the Clay end. Who needs billions anyway?

Another continuum i have discovered has to do with work or effort put forth. Years ago, when flipping through a book entitled something like The Secrets of Millionaires, one short passage jumped off the page. Paraphrasing from memory:

Your time is finite. By selling your time, your potential income is limited. To get ahead, do not rely on selling your time.

Given my limited energy, this insight makes so much sense! In other words, rather working by the hour or by the project, create something once and then sell it repeatedly.

That is the concept behind “passive income”; a concept I am still having trouble believing. Once created, the product still needs continuous marketing. How is that passive? For example, having my book available on the Amazon Kindle is not enough. I need to keep mentioning, in different places and in different ways, that the book is available in order to make a sale.

To me, that isn’t truly passive income, but rather “less-effort income” (if you ignore the four years I took to write the thing). But now that it is written, I can sell it countless times and the income generated is limitless. That appeals to me!

People are making decent money from passive (or less-effort) income; Pat Flynn is grossing each month what is my goal for the year. Seeing his monthly numbers do not discourage me (not totally), but rather shows me what is possible and confirms that my goal is not crazy, is not unattainable.

By implementing a four-hour work day (which is taking some practice to get the hang of) and by balancing per-hour work with less-effort income, I am confident I can generate enough of an income to become financially self-sufficient. By repurposing existing content, I  will soon have a few more ebooks available on the Kindle. And, as soon as I can draft the sales page, I will be launching an accessibility review service for blogs and websites. Details coming soon!

After being at this solopreneur game for nearly fourteen years, I am now confident that I now have my own strategy, plan or formula that will work for me.

2012 is going to be a good year because that is what I am choosing to make it.

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.

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