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Posts tagged with: help

How I Make Money


There have been several comments lately questioning my income. While I have talked about what I do several times over the years I’ve been here, I figured it was time for a refresher, especially in light of the high unemployment rates and people looking for alternative ways to make money.

I’ve had 3 careers in my life…I’m in my 40s.

Started Out in Social Work

My first career was as a case manager using my social work degree at age 21. I worked managing dual diagnosed (this means the adults living in the homes had a combination of emotional, mental and even sometimes criminal diagnosis and were not able to live independently as a result) adult group homes in Chicago. Social work is my passion and I knew in 8th grade that it was the path I wanted to take.

Unfortunately, making money and social work do not go hand in hand. And I quickly realized that I couldn’t even afford to buy a car on my salary. I can’t remember how much my full time salary was, but it was somewhere in the low to mid 20s back in the mid-1990s.

While working as a social worker, I found the redundancy of the paperwork, well boring. So I wrote a small database program on my own laptop to streamline it for me. I shared it with the agency I worked for and that became the turning point. They added it to the tools they used agency wide and eventually helped me sell it to a larger state agency. The light bulb went on then.

Got My Masters in Computers

Up until this point, I had little formal computer training. I just kind of figured it out as I went. (I even built the laptop from sourced parts that I wrote the database program on.) But I decided that if I was going to change careers in order to support my social work habit, I should get some education.

By my mid-20s, I moved back to TX from IL and was back in school part time getting some background courses in and took the GRE. Meanwhile, I transitioned into the corporate world supporting executives and doing tech support. Don’t ask me how I got hired for those jobs because neither my work history or education would have led anyone to believe I could work with computers. I worked through temp agencies for a while and I suppose the “testing” they did gave an indication that I was competent.

In 2000, I enrolled in a full time Masters of Science program with an emphasis of Information Systems. At the same time, I got my first “real” IT job developing and supporting VoIP technology. I think my initial salary was right around $40K even before I had my masters. I remember feeling SO rich, especially since in my childhood, $40K was my ultimate goal. It equated millionaire in my mind for some reason.

It was this job that gave me a taste of working from home when I moved from TX to VA after I got married. I put in my notice to quit but they asked me to stay on and work from home with some travel requirements. Deal! And of course, I loved it!

A Couple of Kids Later and I’m on My Own

Several years and a couple of kids later, I told the company that I couldn’t travel anymore. When it was just my daughter, I just took her with me and found daycare wherever I went. But with a 1 year old and newborn, it was just too much. And I wouldn’t leave them.

They kept me on for another year, but ended up letting me go. Which I completely understood although it was devastating at the time. I enjoyed my 6 months of unemployment while I figured out what I wanted to do. I quickly realized that being a stay at home mom was not it. I adore my kids, you all know that. But I needed more.

It was a late night internet search that led me to Virtual Assistant. And I guess you could say, the rest is history. I’ve been marketing myself as a high tech VA for 14 years now. And I LOVE what I do. I love the variety, the freedom to control my schedule, the ability to literally work from anywhere and the challenges of continually learning new software and honing my skills.

Pandemic Growth

Initially, the Pandemic was very bad for business. People just didn’t know how to react. So clients cut back or just shut down altogether, waiting to see what would happen. But as we get further into this new “normal,” people and their businesses are adapting and evolving. That is where I come in and how business has really grown.

I create and update websites, advise on strategies for marketing and growing their mailing lists, integrate various software to support business back end and so much more. I work in the background to create marketing content, advise on launch and event strategies and walk clients through moving their business online, sometimes for the first time.

And thankfully, after 14 years in business, I have lots of clients who send me referrals. Some come just for a quick question or project and some require regular hours every week or month. Every week is different.

I have offered this before, but if you are in a place where you just don’t know what direction to take with your own business or are looking for “online” work to replace or add to your current income, I would be happy to jump on a call with you and see if I can help out. (I did about 1/2 dozen of these calls with BAD community members around Christmas/New Years, and I believe they all got something good out of it. I’m not selling anything, just trying to help. Maybe some of those people will comment and share how that call helped them, no pressure though.)

If you’d like to jump on a FREE Discovery call with me, click HERE and we’ll talk!

Student Loan Planning


As I have been diligently paying off the smaller of my two student loans, I continue to see that I might be able to pay it off by the end of the year versus next May as I originally thought. (When I originally made this plan, I and the BAD community thought that pay off by May, 2021 was a reach goal. It’s so exciting to feel it becoming a reality!) At the end of this month, the balance of the smaller of my student loans will be right around $8,000.

This table shows the planned payments toward this single loan for the rest of the year. (This is what is in my budget for it currently or rather in my financial planning worksheet where I have the remainder of the  year planned out.) Not accounting for interest, this would bring the loan down to right at $1,400 by the end of the year.

Nelnet 8-Aug-20 -600
Nelnet 22-Aug-20 -600
Nelnet 5-Sep-20 -600
Nelnet 19-Sep-20 -600
Nelnet 3-Oct-20 -600
Nelnet 17-Oct-20 -600
Nelnet 31-Oct-20 -600
Nelnet 14-Nov-20 -600
Nelnet 28-Nov-20 -600
Nelnet 12-Dec-20 -600
Nelnet 26-Dec-20 -600

If business continues like it has, I am 100% confident I can pay off this loan before the end of the year. And that includes continuing to pay minimum payments toward my other student loan to stop it from growing. (No payments are due until 9/26/2020 due to COVID-19.) And paying a minimum payment toward my only other debt, my car loan.

This is really exciting!

Thanksgiving Trip Money

Now, other than business going bad, which I don’t see happening these days there are a couple of other things that could affect this…but both in a positive manner. If I decide, due to COVID-19, that we will not go to Texas at Thanksgiving, I will dump the money budgeted for that trip into 1) paying this loan off, 2) some groceries because I don’t have groceries budgeted for the week before or the week of Thanksgiving and then 3) paying toward my final student loan! In addition, if I pick up any addition projects, not already planned for, which also seems pretty likely, I plan to dump all that income (after expenses and taxes) in this debt. Well, that’s definitely a run on sentence, but I think you get the point.

I am really sad to consider not going at Thanksgiving, but it is a reality due to COVID-19. But the thought of what I could do with that trip money…well, that kind of balances it out. I plan to make a decision about Thanksgiving in October to give the twins plenty of time to get off work if they need/want too to go. I’ve told my parents that if we don’t come then, we will try to come in February when the kids have “winter” break. Traveling at a less busy time will hopefully lessen the risk with the pandemic and two be cheaper.