Empowering Myself via Side Income

Been a while. I’m in the midst of a financial revolution, you guys. Mainly, I have decided I resent having to pay my student loans and registration fees for conferences and swing dance events out of pocket, and I want to do something about it. While my side book business is bringing in marginal amounts each month, I can’t control what readers find interesting and worth buying.

Which, by the way, if you’re interested in a sample of my work, I just released a new short story that is free for Amazon Prime members, under my pen name. Otherwise, it’s $1.99. Would love to get your reviews on Amazon if you happen to read it! Reviews are so key for authors to reach more readers.

All that said, I’m becoming serious about forming a side business that brings in consistent work and funds. It’s something I’ve always planned to do (following my father’s example). The idea that I rely on one source of income is, frankly, terrifying. Who knows what might happen, what if I can’t work at my normal day job for some reason? What if I decide one day to have children, and I don’t want to pay for daycare? Can I set up a business now so that if I want to leave my day job, I have that as a backup?

So I’ve begun to put my feelers out there. I have an account on Fiverr.com where I promise to sketchnote some things for you. I’ve already got a couple bites, which is encouraging. I’ve also put up a mini-critique on Fiverr.com as a user experience designer. The idea is I would gather testimonials so when I begin to charge clients for more realistic amounts, I have customer credibility.

I also bit the bullet and enrolled in the Earn 1K course by Ramit Sethi. The lovely Veronica Erb  pointed me in Sethi’s direction a month or so ago. He’s a personal finance expert who understands that it can be difficult and/or impossible to change spending habits. So, if you know your habits, what you need to do is generate more income to cover those habits. Anything you can automate in generating that income is highly encouraged.

This isn’t to say I’m not making enough money at my job. I suppose I am, especially since I’m situated in the midwest. I’m more concerned that with all my activities, I want to get rid of my student loans as soon as possible. But I don’t want to use my paycheck because I already have the majority of that budgeted out. I’m doing my best to be responsible with my monies, and hopefully, profitable.

So if you know someone who is looking for a sketchnoter, an eBook formatter, or a website critique, send them my way. I’ll keep you updated on this crazy journey of entrepreneurial life.

Six Month Recap

Hey! So yesterday marked the year anniversary of my employment at WD Partners. I figured this would be a good time to reflect on some of the things that have happened recently, or at least since my last post in January.

Sketchnotes Field Guide for Sale

First, the Sketchnotes Field Guide book has sold fairly well! That’s exciting. People have been encouraging and enthusiastic, saying they were able to apply the methods in the book immediately, whether they read it or glanced through the pages. That is exactly the sort of thing a how-to author wants to hear. Feeling very grateful to all our readers, and to my co-author, Charlene McBride, for being such a great partner.

Our process to create the book, I’m realizing after the fact, was unconventional. We agreed to write the book together back in August 2011, and had a finished product in January 2012, without ever having met in person. The entire book was written via Google Docs, email, Skype meetings, and uploaded images. We used the same process when we joined forces with the fantastic Veronica Erb to run the Let’s Sketchnote! workshop at Midwest UX 2012. But wait! I’m getting ahead of myself.

Swing Columbus Performance Team

I joined the Swing Columbus performance team last fall, in November maybe, and the first quater of 2012 was a flurry of dance practices and competitions. We placed first at the Dayton Smackdown team competition, and the larger Hawkeye Lindy Festival team competition. All that hard work was worth the smiles on the faces in the audience, regardless of the outcome, but it was definitely nice to take home the trophies.

Speaking Engagements

On May 4th, I spoke at the Stir Trek conference about the topic Sketchnotes for Developers, i.e. Everyone. This was my first solo hour-long experience, which was nerve-wracking enough. Throw in the fact that I drew my entire presentation on 5 x 8 index cards and used the iPevo document camera to project the content on the movie screen (yes, movie screen. My handwriting was larger than the length of my body sometimes). Yeah. There were a lot of things that could have gone wrong. Such as me not having a lamp to illuminate my slides, among other things. Luckily a swing dancing friend was attending the conference and appeared at the movie theater with a tri-head floor lamp. It was fantastic.

On May 31, I led the Let’s Sketchnote! workshop with Veronica Erb and Charlene McBride. We prepared for the conference by writing the pitch together via Google Hangout and Google Docs, scheduling via Google Calendar, and sharing our sketches via the iPevo document camera. From the first inception (via Twitter), to writing the pitch, to running the workshop, I never met them in person over the four months I collaborated remotely with them.  In fact, the first time I met Charlene (even after writing a book with her!) was Thursday morning about half an hour before the workshop was slated to begin.

Ladies and gentlemen, in case you weren’t aware, we are living in the future.

The workshop went so well! People were stopping all of us, sharing their sketchnotes and asking questions about their difficulties, the remaining two days of the conference. It was great.

Keep Moving Forward

Projects on the horizon include picking up my historical fiction again. The children’s book is laid out in full, just waiting on the final illustrations and layout. So that’s exciting. Other than that, this post is getting too long. Keep smiling, keep dancing. I’m out.