Posts tagged Reflections
Spreadsheets, Google Docs, and Mailchimps – oh my!

It took me years to finally become profitable as a self-employed person. I started with a zillion spreadsheets but had nothing to show for it, even after exerting TONS of effort. This time around, I have I realized the most important tool is not about project management, budgeting, or email automation. It’s not about spreadsheets, Google Docs, or Mailchimps –

It is about mindset.

Let me back up. In 2015, I tried my hand at self-employment for the first time. Well, make that the first few times.

I started a yoga and writing workshop business that helped dozens of folks explore their voices and their bodies…and made about $1500 in 9 months. I wrote a children’s book that brought in $27 of royalties after 3 years of work (but gave me good reason to keep in touch with my dear friend and illustrator). Finally, I started a podcast with ANOTHER friend that was fun, but not-so-lucrative.

With my tail between my legs, I told myself the jig was up. Time to find a reliable job. Which was for the best, truly. I gained some financial stability, learned how to negotiate a good salary for myself, and worked as a teacher at two great independent schools. I spent time with some inspirational young people and met some great families. Teaching fed a particular part of my soul, and I thought that writing in the summer time would be enough for me. Sounds reasonable, right?

Wrong. I loved teaching, and I was even a fairly effective teacher! But the deal I had struck with myself sacrificed the integrity of what I actually wanted. I was not making enough money to do much more than teach. And the schedule messed with me – utmost regimen from August-June, then total freedom in the summer. It left few opportunities to travel for writing retreats, and when the summers came and I had no structure to my day I felt, mostly, confused.

And I was pouring all of my creative juice into the children I had grown to care for.

So what did I do? I boldly declared that I, the writer, would WRITE! I crafted a plan to exit teaching and found my way into freelance writing IMMEDIATELY!


Wrong again.

I decided I needed a SECOND master’s degree.

I traveled to Ireland for a low-residency program, took out $10k in student loans, and when I got there my mentor asked me what I was doing in such a program.

Not because I wasn’t welcome. Not because I wasn’t benefitting.

But, she said, I had so much life experience. More than the average student. What was I doing in a classroom? Get home and WRITE she said.

But I had no confidence! I wanted to do the thing I was good at doing so badly, but how?

One year later, I am celebrating the first month that I will replace my day job income from – you guessed it – writing. I enacted a new series of habits and routines that I discovered through some very affordable online courses on how to earn a living by freelance writing. I found the affordable systems of support and began to LEARN BY DOING, not by expecting perfection. And the best part – I didn’t even need more student loans!

That’s the spirit in which this blog was founded. I’m still processing my journey from broke to brazen - how I went from a broke idealist to a self-employed solutions journalist & freelance writer.

I let go of perfectionism, and just…simply…started.

And here I am, still going.

To imperfection,


Have you ever wanted to feel like a queen?

Welcome to Spare Change, a place for side hustlers, alternative lifestyle livers, artists, activists, and disruptors. Here I’ll talk frankly about my journey from broke to brazen and how I am learning to support myself with a freelance side hustle while documenting a changing world.

It’s been an exciting spring for me, starting with my first AWP Conference & Bookfair in Portland, OR. I also broke into my first big publication this spring and have been in conversation with some pretty incredible editors about stories that make me exude optimism, determination, and focus – three of the most joyful qualities, if you ask me!

Well, speaking of joy – (as I wrote that last sentence I realize not everyone may feel this way about determination and focus, though I find them to be pretty joyful) – there is a place for proper joy.

The queen kind.

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The kind that comes from sitting with loved ones and catching fireflies, as I did last night while watching fireworks. And for dancing with old friends, which I was joyful to have done this month.

I find that when I’m following the path that murmurs from deep within, the voice that says “go on, try it anyway,” life unfolds pretty naturally. And so, while there will definitely be strategy talk and a LOT of focus in this publication, I will keep in mind that choosing this alternative, freelance lifestyle is about working to fully live. And what’s a life without pausing to feel like a queen?