Trading in your way to a pocket full of savings

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Trade in for cash

As someone who is constantly trying to reduce expenses (in order to save more), I hate it when I have to part with a huge chunk of change to buy something, even when it’s something I need.

I also have a rule on the boat that says, if I buy something new, I have to get rid of something old. Sometimes this is a matter of just throwing said old thing away (like in the instance of a pair of shoes I recently threw out after getting a new pair), but sometimes, what you already have may still have some life in it. In that case, it’s always a good idea to see if you can trade it in or sell it to help offset your costs on buying the new item.

One great example of a way you can do this is with your cell phone or ipad. Depending on the model and condition of your phone, some carriers will buy your old phone back from you at a pretty decent price. They do this because they can turn around and refurbish them, then resell them at a profit.

I know people who just get new phones when they’re eligible, but still keep their old phones in a drawer, collecting dust until said phone becomes an antique (my husband still actually has his old Verizon flip phone from 2006 sitting in a box…). Why do that when you can get money for it?

I once got $100 back when I traded in my old phone from Best Buy, simply because I kept it in good condition (I always keep it in a case, and have a protective cover over the screen).

Even if your phone is old, or not in perfect shape, you can use a site like Gazelle, Glyde, or The iPhone Antidote to sell your old phone or even buy a refurbished phone. If you have an old iPhone 5 laying around, you could get $50 for a 16GB in good condition, and even $5 or $10 for a broken iPhone (cracked screen, won’t power on, etc.). I just got $25 for an old iPhone 4 that was pretty antiquated by selling it on Glyde (no one else was accepting iPhone 4 phones).

And you’re not limited to phones. You can get rebates or refunds when you sell or trade in all kinds of other things, like computers, tablets, video games, guns, car batteries, and even boat parts, like this program which offers a $200 refund for return of a good core when you buy a new Evinrude lower unit.

One of my favorite things to trade in is books. While it’s not very lucrative, if you’re a voracious reader like I am, then it can pay off in simply getting more books. When we lived in Nashville, I used to take regular trips to McKay bookstore, armed with a handful of books. The staff would assess their needs and the condition of the books, then make me 2 offers. One cash offer (which was usually minimal), and one store-credit offer, which was usually 3X or more the cash offer. Because it was a used bookstore, the store credit allowed me to get at least as many new (to me) books, and not pay a dime. After I read them, I’d repeat the process.

If you’re on a boat, and you’re not at a marina that has a good lending library (best thing ever!), you can also sell your books online, although you’re not likely to get much cash for them. My favorite place to sell off some of my old books online is Bookscouter. Just enter the ISBN of the books you want to sell, and they’ll return a list of offers from various bookstores, and you can just take the best one. They even cover the shipping costs!

Finding deals like this can help offset the cost of a new item, while also minimizing what goes into the landfills, or just sits there taking up space in your home or boat.

So before you buy something new, see if there’s a trade-in program available, and if not, check to see if there’s a way you can sell your old items back and put a little bit of that money back in your pocket.

Do you have any other examples of  ways you can trade in, trade up, or sell that some of us may not know about? Have you used any of the examples in this post? Every comment will automatically be entered in a drawing for a $100 REI Gift Card! The drawing will be on December 2nd, just in time for the holidays!  (Update: A winner has been selected.)


How blogging enables me to make money while traveling on a sailboat

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One of the questions I commonly get from people is how I’m able to make money while traveling on our sailboat. It’s a valid question for sure, and one that still even blows my mind at times. I mean, look at my office view today!

How I make money while traveling through blogging

My office view right now

Most people think of work as something that involves sitting in rush hour traffic to get to a boring office where they sit behind a cubicle all day.  But for the past 4 years, I’ve been making money while traveling on the boat, and having a blog is one of the main reasons I’m able to do that.

Most people think of making money from a blog as having a bunch of ads and affiliate links. But it goes way beyond that (I don’t even use ads because they don’t pay well). Having this blog has allowed me to:

  • Get generous discounts on products for the boat, just by trying them out and writing my honest opinion
  • Get free products, just for putting an ad on the site, and maybe posting a few pictures on social media of me using the products
  • Get paid to post other people’s articles on my site
  • Promote my Maggie & Milly shop, where I sell my handmade nautical bracelets
  • Get paid freelancing jobs (web design, marketing material design, etc.)
  • Get paid writing jobs (this blog serves as my portfolio and has earned me several writing jobs)
  • Get my current full-time job that allows me to work remotely (yes, my current company actually hired me BECAUSE they loved the fact that I was living on and freelancing from a boat — even though I had no formal experience in my position, working for a New York Times best-selling author)

These are just a few of the perks of having a blog like this. 90% of the work I’ve gotten has been a result of having this blog.

In fact, when I first started out, I used to manually seek out sponsors. Now, sponsors are seeking me out instead of the other way around. I’ve been approached for interviews (you can listen to our interview with Boat Radio International, an online radio program that features boaters from around the world), and I’ve been written up in several online publications.

I’m not saying any of this to brag. I want to show you that it is possible to make money while traveling by having a blog.

So now, how do you get started with a blog? It’s actually not as hard as you may think. I’ll show you step by step how to get your own blog started below.

Step 1: Choose your niche

Just because you live on or travel by boat doesn’t necessarily mean you have to start a sailing blog. When I started this blog, I didn’t want to just write about sailing or our travels, so I chose a unique angle, by writing about how much it costs to live on a sailboat, how I save money, and eventually, how I make money from a boat.

This has allowed me to separate myself from a lot of the other sailing blogs out there (which I love, don’t get me wrong), but I do think niching it down a bit further has helped me distinguish myself as an “expert” of sorts, when it comes to people’s questions about making money while traveling.

People are always interested in the financial aspect of this lifestyle, and many sailing bloggers understandably aren’t comfortable divulging financial information. So I filled that niche.

Your niche doesn’t even have to pertain to sailing or travel. It can be about knitting, or kite-surfing, or whatever hobby you may have. The point is to niche it down. Don’t be too broad.

If you’re starting a blog in order to make money while you travel (or even from home), remember that you want to choose a niche that there’s an audience for. You want to make sure that you’re giving something to your audience. Don’t just make it your personal online journal.

Even if you write a travel blog, you’re teaching people about different places, cultures, and giving them something to daydream about while they’re stuck at their desks all day.

Step 2: Choose a domain name

A domain name is the URL, or the website address you want to use (i.e. You want to pick something that’s:

  • Relevant to your niche
  • Catchy/easy to remember
  • Not too long (if possible, keep it under 17 characters)
  • Contains no numbers or hyphens (too hard for people to remember and type)
  • Has a .com or .net extension (no .org, .biz, etc.)

You can purchase your domain separately through a company like Namecheap for about $12/year, which is what I do, but if you’re just starting out, a free domain is usually included when you buy hosting (see below) and requires no additional steps, so to keep this simple, we’ll do it this way.

I recommend choosing 2 or 3 in case your first choice isn’t available.

Step 3: Choose a web host

You need a “web host” to host your website or blog. I use Bluehost for ALL of my websites (I have several). Their hosting packages are affordable, their customer service is excellent, and I’ve had nothing but positive experiences using them.

*NOTE: If you purchase through this link, you can save money and get a hosting package for just $3.49/mo…  a great deal!

The great thing is that Bluehost includes a free domain with your hosting package, so you don’t have to purchase it separately. When you go to sign up, they’ll ask you what domain you’d like, so put in your choices from Step 2. If a .com version (preferred) isn’t available, try the same URL with a .net extension.

Oftentimes you can get your first or second choice this way. But always stick with .com and .net as recommended earlier. It’s more professional, easier to remember, and Google promotes these in their search engine rankings higher than other extensions.

Step 4: Install WordPress (easy — and free!)

WordPress is hands down my #1 recommended software for websites and blogs. Most websites and blogs you see today are using self-hosted WordPress because of the customization abilities, beautiful free themes, plugins for everything you can imagine, and more.

You can install WordPress for free directly from the cPanel of your BlueHost account as follows:

  1. Navigate to the MOJO Marketplace section inside cPanel.
  2. Click the One-Click Installs icon.
    How to install WordPress on Bluehost account
  3. Choose WordPress.
    Install WP onto Bluehost account
  4. Click the Install button.
    Installing WP on Bluehost account
  5. Choose the domain name to install it to.
  6. If necessary, you can edit the email address, username and password for the new WordPress installation. Click “advanced options” and you can change those settings.
  7. Read through the license and service agreements and check the boxes.
  8. Select the Install Now button.
    Install WP on Bluehost

Step 5: Choose a WordPress theme

Once you’ve installed WordPress, you’ll want to log into your WordPress account and choose a theme. Your WordPress account is now where you’ll be going to do all of your bloggy stuff. You’ll rarely need to log into your Bluehost account at this point.

To log into WordPress, go to:

  • yourdomain/wp-admin

So for me, mine is:

Once you log in, you’ll see the WordPress dashboard (the column on the left side). This can be a little intimidating at first, but it’s an easy learning curve. To install your theme, just look on the dashboard and select Appearance —> Themes.

There are so many awesome themes that it can be a little hard to choose. I recommend Divi by Elegant Themes because it is SO easy to work with right out of the box, even if you’re a beginner and have no technical or coding skills whatsoever, and you can create a site that looks like something that a pro designed in as little as a weekend (not lying). Don’t believe me? Check out these sites I created with the Divi theme:

When I design sites for my clients, I almost always use Divi, because it allows them to make changes in the future without having to re-hire me, or hire another designer or webmaster. Seriously, it’s stupid simple. And gorgeous.

Step 6: Write your first blog post!

Now, we’re talking! To create a new (first) post, just go to Posts —> All Posts. You’ll see one that is a default “sample” post already there, called “Hello World!”. Just click on the “edit” button, and it will open that up.

Change your title, write your post, upload images using the “Add Media” button, and when everything is all set, hit the “Publish” button on the upper right hand side.


Do you want to make money while traveling?

The point of all this is that so many people hold themselves back from their dreams because they think it’s impossible to be able to make money from anywhere, and that’s just not true.

Granted, it takes a lot of work (these posts don’t just write themselves), but writing is something I love to do, and the benefits of having an online writing portfolio have been amazing.

Will everyone have the same results? No. I know bloggers who make a lot more than I do, and I know some that don’t make any money. Hell, I don’t even make that much money through my blog itself, but the fact that I have a blog gives me credibility. I get readers who write and hire me for jobs that I never otherwise would have gotten, and I’m able to promote myself and my ventures in a way that I wouldn’t be able to without a blog. And it’s almost all pure profit because the expense to have a blog is minimal.

I pay about $60/year to host and maintain this blog, and it paid me back 200x that last year, not including the full-time job. Yes, I averaged over $1000/month in SIDE income last year — almost solely because I have this blog.

Pretty cool if you ask me.

Have you thought about starting a blog? Are you just not sure where to start, or need to bounce around some ideas? Want help withthe technical aspect of it? Post your questions/concerns in the comments, or email me and I’ll respond to every one.

Top 5 reasons you should be selling your writing to niche-market magazines

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Selling your writing to niche-market magazines

You guys know that I’m all about working from anywhere in the world, doing something you love. As full-time cruisers, it’s important to be able to create a way to make an income while not being tied to a desk or requiring consistent, reliable wifi, etc.

That’s why writing — whether it’s writing for a magazine or self-publishing your own book on Amazon — can be such a big win for us. I know several sailors who make a sustainable income just off their writing, and they don’t write just for sailing magazines, either.

That’s why I’m super excited to introduce this guest post by fellow sailor and author, Michael Robertson, who has some great tips on writing for niche-market magazines. He’s the managing editor of Good Old Boat Magazine, and he just finished an awesome book called Selling Your Writing to the Boating Magazines (and other niche mags), so he knows what he’s talking about. Be sure to read through to the end to have a chance to win a copy of his book!

Take it away, Michael!

Have you ever stopped to think that all we writers have to sell are ordinary words that are free of charge and available to anyone? Our challenge is to choose wisely from among these ordinary words and to string them together in a unique order that results in a story that’s compelling to readers. It’s like a game, a puzzle—and not an easy one. Like any game, there are other players (lots of them) choosing from the same finite word pile, each trying to spin a yarn more compelling than yours. In this environment, it can be hard to get anyone to read your writing, let alone buy it. Fortunately, there is a marketplace where selling your writing is not only possible, but where there is a very straightforward path to publication.

Niche-market Magazines

You probably subscribe to one. Maybe it’s a camping, climbing, or cat magazine? Maybe a knitting, kiting, or kayaking magazine? A gambling, golfing, or gardening magazine? Parenting, papyrus-making, or parachuting magazine? Boating, flying, hot-rodding, R/C modeling, sailing, surfing, skiing, or photo-taking magazine? There’s a magazine for everyone with a niche hobby or interest. And if you’re a writer just starting out, eager to get your first byline and your first check in the mail, these magazines are your market. Let me give you the top five reasons why this is true.

But first, I want to assure you of something: Your success will not hinge on how many editors are your Facebook friends, or even how talented a writer you are. Your success will depend only on how much you want it, whether you’re willing to learn and put in the work to make it happen. Because selling your writing to niche-market magazines isn’t sleight of hand or divine intervention or even the inspiration you’ve been waiting to strike, it’s work. You can sell your writing to any of these niche-market magazines, as long as…

  • You are an enthusiast and can identify a magazine that caters to your special interest.
  • You like to write and you are willing to take seriously the craft of writing and the business of selling writing.

That is it. You can do it. I am convinced everyone has a publishable story to write, and I know the niche market magazines are hungry for content. I wrote a book detailing the concrete steps I take to sell my writing and that have been used by others to sell their writing.

Top 5 Reasons Niche-Market Magazines are Your Market

1. Great news: Freelance writers produce a high percentage of the content in niche-market magazines. This is because these magazines’ budgets and staffs are smaller than those of mainstream magazines. It is more cost-efficient for them to buy stories from freelance writers than to hire staff writers. This is a market that favors the freelance writer. You are a freelance writer. That you are a freelance writer getting started means you are a freelance writer with a fresh voice. Use it.

2. The nature of many niche-market magazines is that they cover interests that are common to a small percentage of the population. Accordingly, this population is interested in learning about other members and how they are exploring the same interest. In other words, readers of People magazine are not interested in other readers of People magazine and do not want to read articles written by other readers of People magazine. However, readers of Model Railroader are keen to read the words of a fellow model train enthusiast, just as a reader of Yachting Monthly will give great attention to a sailing yarn spun by a fellow sailor. The New Yorker, The Atlantic, People, and Popular Science might not need you, but the niche-market magazines do need you. You, aspiring niche-market magazine writer, have it good. You have a market, an avenue to selling your writing.

3. Any niche-market magazine you can think of is a non-fiction publication. Non-fiction pays. Far more writers are able to make a living writing non-fiction than are able to do so writing fiction. It may not be fair, but it’s the way it is. Of course, writing non-fiction doesn’t mean ignoring or shutting down your creative impulses. On the contrary. The best non-fiction writing is compelling and uses the same structure and devices to grab and keep a reader’s attention as found in good fiction. So let your creative flag fly and grab some editor’s attention!

4. Niche-market magazines in general comprise a stable, healthy market to which to sell your writing. Because niche-market magazine content is focused, the audience is narrow — in some cases very narrow — and passionate. This is a readership that advertisers love and are willing to pay a premium to reach. Contrast this market to that of the mass-market, general-interest pubs available at supermarket checkouts. The broad-appeal magazines enjoy much larger circulations, but those circulations are generally in decline. They are increasingly under threat from other media sources that feature the same broad-appeal content. What’s a magazine going to tell you about the East Coast train derailment or the celebrity break-up that you haven’t already seen reported online — and that you’ve read for free? The mass-market magazines do not have advertisers who will stick with them through thick and thin; Ford and Folgers can advertise anywhere. However, the company that manufactures the tiny trees and lampposts that model railroaders love, they are loyal to Model Railroader magazine.

5. Finally, writing for magazines within a single niche means you gain name recognition quickly within your market. It means your story ideas are likely to feed off and build on one another. It means your knowledge of the subject matter builds on itself. Writer Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen ( has sold stories to both mass-market and niche-market magazines. She focuses on the health sector and makes a good case for the focused approach. “The more you write about one particular niche or beat, the easier it is to research and write the article. For instance, I write health articles for Women’s magazine (published by the BC Women’s Hospital). Every article I write teaches me more about medicine, medical terms, and health news, which makes me a better health writer. It’s an upward spiral!”Selling Your Writing to the Boating Magazines (and other niche mags)

Michael Robertson is the managing editor of Good Old Boat magazine and the author of Selling Your Writing to the Boating Magazines (and Other Niche Mags) (2016, Force Four Publications). He lives and travels with his family aboard a sailboat and is co-author of Voyaging with Kids: A guide to family life afloat (2015, L&L Pardey Publications). He writes regularly for half-a-dozen niche-market magazines and blogs at

Ts dotted, eyes crossed…confessions of a book editor

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Ts dotted, eyes crossed... confessions of a book editor

You know what I hate? When a word — a common word that you’ve seen a gajillion times — all of a sudden one day looks…. wrong. There you are, writing away, and you write the word “bridge” or “magazine” — and it stops you in your writing tracks because even though you know it’s spelled correctly, your brain won’t accept it and let you move on. It drives me crazy.

Anyway, that’s happened to me a lot this past month. In case you hadn’t noticed, I took a month off from blogging here because I was editing my husband’s new book, What’s Up Ditch! The Ins & Outs of Cruising the Atlantic ICW: America’s Secret Highway, which is a personal perspective of what it takes to do the ICW. It’s filled with practical and useful information about what you’ll need, including tips on everything from anchoring to hailing a bridge on the radio.

What's Up Ditch! The Ins and Outs of Cruising the Atlantic ICW: America's Secret Highway

It’s his second book, so I thought it would be much easier since we knew more about what we were doing, but nope. This book was about three times as long as his first book, so the editing process was naturally longer. In addition, this book is more of a guide than a story per se, so I had to pay careful attention to make sure everything made sense, that it flowed well chronologically, and that it was informative while still being entertaining and interesting to read.

It’s funny because with his first book, You Gotta Go To Know, we honestly weren’t sure it would even sell. It was a short story that he wrote about our experience of downsizing, selling the house, moving onto the boat, and our first 9 months or so aboard the boat, and it was written more as a way to burn some creative energy than to become something we’d actually make money from.

The beauty of it was, since we weren’t really trying to sell a bunch of books, there wasn’t much pressure at all to be “perfect” so we did our best, threw it up on Amazon, and it ended up spending 2 months straight as a #1 Amazon Bestseller in the sailing niche and has sold a few thousand copies. Not bad for a first try.

In fact, our friend John Kretschmer, a fellow author who is hugely popular in the sailing niche, couldn’t believe it when we told him how many copies that first book sold, especially since we did the publishing and marketing ourselves, without any outside help. We didn’t know anything about Amazon’s algorithms, what would work, what wouldn’t work, so we just got it done. That’s the beauty of not knowing any better sometimes.

This time around, it was a little different. Over the past couple of years, we’ve learned some of the tricks of the trade as far as Amazon goes, so we knew we couldn’t just throw it up there like we did the first time and still see the same success. We took a much more strategic and professional approach, and that’s why it took longer this time around.

So far, we’re thrilled with the success and feedback! As of this writing, it’s only been out for 2 weeks, but it has hit the #4 spot on Amazon in the sailing category, and #11 in boating. It has a 5-star rating from all 3 reviewers (none of which are our friends or family!), and… my favorite part… my moment to shine… check out what this reviewer had to say:

The editing of this book was great. I’m a grumpy reader when spelling and grammar errors are on every page. I was able to enjoy the prose without any distractions.

YES! My life is complete.

Honestly, it was really hard editing this book because, well, it’s my husband. Editing is so much more than just proofreading, and there was a fine line for me between being critical (not for the sake of being critical, but to help him), and maintaining the integrity of his writing. I was so nervous to show him my suggestions, because I didn’t want him to take them personally. Luckily, he’s freakin’ awesome and embraced my feedback, and the end product is something he and I both are really proud of.

Writing is definitely something that he’s found a lot of satisfaction in (not to mention that it helps feed the cruising kitty!), and is something I want to explore more, too, both in terms of books and writing for magazines.

Speaking of writing for magazines, I’ve got a cool guest post coming up that I think you’ll really like, plus a giveaway, so stay tuned on Friday!

In the meantime, have any of you considered writing a book and self-publishing on Amazon? Leave a comment and let me know what you’d write about!

No-Poo, No Thank You (How a Freak Accident Made Me Start Washing My Hair Again)

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Noo-poo, no thank you. How a freak accident made me start washing my hair again.

About a year and a half or so ago, I wrote about how I decided to join the “No-Poo” movement, and stopped using shampoo and conditioner in my hair. No, it didn’t mean I stopped washing my hair – I just started washing it with baking soda, and doing an apple cider vinegar conditioning rinse.

I’ve gotten a couple of comments, and a few emails recently, from people who landed on that post on this blog, and they wanted to know if I was still doing it and if it was working. So, I figured I’d give an update that is long overdue, and frankly, quite entertaining if you ask me.

My “No-Poo” Experiment is Over

So I’ll just say right now that I am no longer using baking soda and vinegar to wash my hair. I am back to using bona-fide shampoo and conditioner, although I am using Aveda products, which are plant-based.

Well, first, let me back up and let you know that I did not use typical shampoo/conditioner on my hair for 6 months. It was awesome. Much to my initial surprise, when I was using the baking soda/vinegar combo on my hair, my hair was shinier, softer, stronger, and healthier than it had ever been – at least in my adult life. My hair was course and prone to frizziness, and when I started going “no-poo,” it was no longer frizzy. At all.

In addition, my scalp, which never could quite make up its mind on whether it was dry or oily, finally calmed the fuck down and was normal. I had no flaking or itching, and surprisingly, no oil.

You see, the baking soda/apple cider vinegar combo is ph balanced, and your scalp eventually regulates itself once it doesn’t have all of the harsh chemicals turning it into a schizophrenic mess.

So why did I quit going “no-poo?”

A freak accident.

No-Poo, But a Hell of a Doctor’s Bill

So allow me to set the stage for a moment.

We had just pulled into a new marina and had only been there for about 3 days when Chris took a freelance gig in Atlanta for a week. No big deal. I was used to him traveling for work occasionally, and when you’re on a small boat together all the time, a week alone can be a good thing – even healthy.

I think it was his 2nd day of being gone, and I went up to the bath-house of the marina to take a shower. We have a shower on the boat, but we rarely use it because it steams up the boat, adding moisture, and we don’t want to encourage mildew at all when we have a nice shower up at the marina that I can take showers as long and as hot as I want. (If we’re out at anchor, we’ll totally use it, but no sense in it when we’re at a dock.)

So I go up to the shower, loaded with my shower kit – razor, soap, washrag, and yes, baking soda, and apple cider vinegar. The bathrooms at this marina were somewhat typical of other marinas, in that you had one big women’s bathroom with separate shower stalls. In this case, the showers didn’t have doors – just curtains for privacy. Again, pretty typical for most of the marinas we’ve seen/stayed at.

I get in the shower, and go to “wash” my hair. So when you wash your hair with baking soda, it’s pretty weird until you get used to it, because it’s just powder. It doesn’t lather up like shampoo, and there’s no smell, so it’s very unfulfilling. I’ll admit that. I used to just sprinkle a handful in my hand, then add a tad bit of water, and put globs of the paste on various parts of my head, then rub it into my scalp really well.

Once I did that (and rinsed my hair), I reached down and grabbed my bottle of apple cider vinegar (ACV). I used the organic kind, that even had the “mother” floating around in the bottom. It was pretty amazing stuff.

I twist open the cap on the ACV, and I hear a hiss – like when something is pressurized and you suddenly relieve the pressure. Suddenly I realize that the ACV has just sprayed into my face. More exactly, it sprayed into my left eye.

I dropped the entire bottle of apple cider vinegar, both out of surprise, and out of pain. That shit burned! I immediately started rinsing my eye with water from the shower. Funny, it was not helping. In fact, it started to hurt worse.

So let’s stop here for a minute. I want you to get the full picture – the full ridiculousness of this situation at this point.

There I am, naked in the shower. I’ve just dropped the entire contents of the vinegar bottle and it’s spreading over the floor of the ladies bathroom. I’m not sure if you’ve smelled apple cider vinegar lately, but it stinks.

Here’s where it gets pretty comical. My eye is burning like crazy. But for whatever reason, I decide I should clean up the mess in the bathroom before attending to my eye. I don’t even think of putting clothes on before cleaning up my mess.

So there I am, on the floor of the bathroom with just my towel around me, wiping up my spilled vinegar, while my eye is on fire. Once I clean it up, I throw on my clothes and start to make my way down to the boat.

Once I’m on the boat, I try rinsing with water again, to no avail. The pain in my eye is getting worse and worse. So I remember that we have a First Aid Kit with an eye-rinse. Yes! I pull that out, take the cup, fill it with saline solution, and rinse my eye for several minutes.

Nope. Still not helping. Pain getting much worse. Oh, and I should mention that at this point, I could barely see out of that eye.

I headed back up to the marina office, where I asked them where the nearest hospital was. I explained what happened, and then, for the first time, I broke into tears because the pain in my eye was unbearable at this point. I couldn’t take it any more, so someone graciously offered to drive me to the nearest emergency room.

Here’s where the story starts to get even more interesting.

I go in, and they do a quick emergency assessment to see how bad my emergency is. Luckily there was only me and one other guy in there. He had broken his wrist. They asked me what my pain level was from 1-10. Now, just so you know, I take this question very seriously. I imagine having a dismembered limb as being like a 9 or 10… I’d guess a broken bone is probably about a 4. My eye? I told them I was at a 6 or 7. And I was serious. They rushed me right in.

I got back there, and someone came in and gave me numbing drops for my eye. Holy Jesus, it was the best thing I’ve ever had. It immediately took the pain away and I could actually remember what it was like to function like a normal person for a minute.

The doctor came in and started asking me questions. He put a dye in my eye, and then looked at it with a light to assess the damage.

Doctor: “Oh, I see you’re wearing contacts. We’re going to need to take them out.”

Me: “Ummm… I don’t wear contacts.”

Doctor: “Hmm… that’s strange. Hang on a sec.”

He came back a few minutes later, and let me know that he was going to send me to a specialist down the road. I asked him how far it was, and he said about 2 miles. He asked if there was anyone to drive me. I told him no, but that I would walk as long as he’d give me another drop of pain medicine in my eye before I left. He obliged, then put a patch on my eye to protect it, and off I went.

So I walked the 2 miles to the opthamologist, still feeling so much better after the drops.

As soon as I got there, they took me right back, and the doctor came in and we went through the same routine as I had at the emergency room. A little dye in the eye, shine the light…

Doctor: “Oh, I didn’t realize you were wearing contacts. I’m going to have to take this one out – it might hurt a little.”

Me: “The other doctor said that, too, but I don’t wear contacts. Frankly, now I’m a little freaked out.”

Doctor: “Hmmm… that’s strange… Ahhh – I see. It’s not a contact lens. It’s a blister. How odd that it’s perfectly round like that.”


He looks further, does a couple of other tests, then says perhaps the worst thing I’ve ever been told: “So… you have a chemical burn on your eye, and you’ve burned 80 percent of your cornea. That’s extremely painful, and frankly, I don’t even know how you’re even functioning right now.”

I about lost it. Chemical burn? 80% of my cornea gone? Am I BLIND?

He did some vision tests, and we assessed that yes, I was at that point, considered legally blind in that eye. But there was good news! He said luckily the eye has so many blood vessels going to it that eye injuries like this can heal fairly quickly, and that I may not have quite the vision I had before, but he anticipated a full recovery of that eye within 2 weeks.

Cool. So… just write me a prescription for those numbing drops, and I’ll be on my way. Right?

Nope. As he explained, the drops were a steroid, and actually prevent the eye from healing, so he couldn’t give me anything. Even regular pain meds wouldn’t help – I’d just have to endure it for awhile.

What he did do was put a big contact lens on the eye, to keep dust and hair from getting in it (since my cornea was gone and all), with instructions to “whatever you do, don’t rub your eye – your cornea will be growing back, and you could rub it right off,” and gave me a patch to wear. Yes. A real pirate patch. We scheduled a few more visits so he could monitor my progress.

I asked him before I left, “So is this a typical reaction to apple cider vinegar?” He said no. In fact, he was totally perplexed by it. He said that at most, it would sting a little, but shouldn’t cause a chemical burn like that. He said that either the ACV I used was NOT pure ACV (not likely in my opinion – my bottle indicated it was organic and 100% pure, and from a reputable company), or that somehow, I had gotten baking soda in my eye, and the ACV came in contact with it, causing a chemical reaction.

So… essentially a real life baking soda/vinegar volcano science experiment – on my eye.

And if the entire story couldn’t get any worse, I had to walk back to the marina (about 4 miles) because I didn’t want to call the marina staff to ask them to pick me up. Then, since Chris was out of town (and we didn’t have a car there yet anyway), I had to walk 4 miles each way to the doc, with a patch on my eye, for the next 2 days for follow up visits. It’s comical now.

No poo - eye accident

This was 3 days AFTER the incident. My eye was still red and dilated.

Oh, but in case you’re wondering, my eye did fully heal. It was excruciatingly painful for about 5 days, but it eventually got better, and now, a year later, I have no adverse effects (except my own mental anguish over the whole incident…seriously, wouldn’t wish that pain on my worst enemy), but my sight was fully restored. In fact, I had an eye exam the other day, and my damaged eye has better vision than my non-damaged eye! Amazing.

So there you have it. That’s the reason that I stopped using baking soda and apple cider vinegar to wash my hair. No-poo was great, until it almost made me blind.

2015 – The Year of the Hustle + My Annual Side Income Report

This post may contain affiliate links.

2015 was the year of the hustle

Well, we’re on the heels of February, so my monthly income report is a little overdue here. Better late than never, right? This month has actually been a really fantastically busy month for me, and I am so excited for 2016 I can’t stand it, but I won’t get ahead of myself just yet. Let’s focus on 2015 right now. 2015 is what I call the year of the hustle. I hustled my ass off.

Now let me get personal for a minute.

Some of you may know that last year started off in the worst possible way when my Dad passed away unexpectedly on New Years Day. To say that it shattered my world is an understatement. I’ve never in my life been hit with such complete devastation, and it was, and still is, almost impossible for me to talk about, and I miss him so much I can’t stand it.

But I’ve always been strong, even when life gets shitty, and somehow I managed to move forward, even on days that I wanted to crawl up in a ball and do nothing. I’d like to say that his passing motivated me to be a better and stronger person, and to go after what I want in life… and in many ways, that’s true. He was always 110% supportive of my decisions – whether it was to move onto a sailboat, or to start my own business. He always believed in me and told me I could do anything I wanted.

But if I’m being perfectly honest, I have to admit that part of my hustle mentality this year was also born out of the need for denial. Whether it was healthy or not, I needed something to occupy all of my spare time because frankly, I couldn’t take the quiet. It hurt too much. So I threw myself into work and education.

I’ve always been a bit of a nerd, and I love all things web/marketing related – from web design, to SEO, to blogging… I find it fascinating. As such, I immersed myself in learning as much as possible – I became a sponge. I learned however I could – from reading various blogs and books to watching videos to taking online courses. Once I learned about some of these things, I turned them into income streams.

For instance, I’ve been using WordPress for a few years now, but it wasn’t until I really learned the ins and outs of how to customize themes that I was able to raise my web design/website management prices and earn a decent side income from it.

I studied SEO and took an SEO course, and I’ve more than doubled my blog traffic over the past year. I learned more about email marketing, and now I have a regular client who pays me to do her email marketing campaigns. I studied how to negotiate a salary and landed a 14% raise at my old company, before ultimately leaving that job to pursue (and land) my dream job working on the editorial team for a NY Times bestselling author.

Basically, in 2015, I invested in myself, I hustled, and I came out ahead in so many ways.

Another BIG lifechanger was that in August, I got married to Chris, the love of my life. We’ve been together for over 9 years, and we made it official on August 8th. I didn’t think things would be much different since we felt married already, but it really has been awesome. I love calling him my husband, and life is so sweet with him.

And last but not least… in December, I. Turned. Forty. If you want to talk denial, that’s one thing I’m really still in denial about. I’ve tried to embrace it, and I know they say life gets better at 40, and in some ways it’s true, but I sure as shit don’t feel forty, and I know I don’t act it, so I’ll just continue with my denial on that for awhile longer.

December Online Income Report

Alright, alright. Get to the money already, you’re probably saying! Ok, ok. First I’ll give you December’s numbers, then I’ll give you the numbers for the entire year of 2015.

Just like I mention every month, my side income report numbers are an accurate depiction of what I’ve made online, bad or good. These numbers don’t include my income from my full-time job as a QA Specialist, or my handsome hubby’s income (from his music, book, and freelance work).

Webmaster/Web Design: $450
Online Sales: $320.91
Affiliate Income: $86.06
Adsense: $23.44
Writing Gigs: $150
Misc: $39.03
TOTAL: $1069.44 in extra income (Up $272.14 from November)

Not too shabby.

I’ve also saved a total of $627.65 so far with Digit, the free automated savings app that I am absolutely in LOVE with. You’ve heard me talk about it before on here, and it’s really an awesome way to save money.

It just pulls a couple dollars here, a couple dollars there – amounts so small that they are inconsequential to your banking balance, but  they add up relatively quickly in your Digit account. I highly recommend the service. And it’s free!

You can sign up easily at:

2015 Annual Online Income Report

Ok – so I sat down and tallied all of my online income from 2015, and here are the numbers:

Webmaster/Web Design: $4012.77
Online Sales: $4742.64
Affiliate Income: $1025.85
Adsense: $204.09
Writing Gigs: $1656.66
Misc: $511.37
TOTAL: $12,153.38 in extra income

Last year, I averaged over $1000 per month in online income. It’s about the equivalent of working 20 hrs a week at a part time job making $12/hr. So not amazing, but it’s also not half bad, especially considering that I got to do it all from the comfort of my boat.

While it’s not groundbreaking or freedom-making income, it’s all relative. I mean, if we were in the Bahamas, living on an anchor instead of at a dock, and if we were very frugal and didn’t have any major boating expenses, that income could almost sustain us. (I have friends who have lived comfortably in the Bahamas for less than $1500/mo.)

Do those numbers surprise you at all? It surprised me a little bit for a couple of reasons.

First, I was a little surprised that my biggest money maker was my online jewelry business. I would have thought it would have been the web design stuff, but nope. My online jewelry shop, Maggie and Milly, was responsible for over 30% of my side income. And that is from zero advertising and very little promotion!

My second most profitable side income stream was web design. I had a few clients who needed various edits (I did very little design work) and it generated another 30+% of my income.

The writing income actually surprised me, too – mainly because I really didn’t go out looking for writing work – it actually came to me! I was approached by Sailboat Interiors about writing the blog for them (which I now currently do), and I also was hired to write some SEO articles for a company who liked my writing.

I know that I could make a lot more money writing if I actually put some effort into it, as I’ve had a few editors who wanted me to send them pieces, but it just hasn’t been one of my bigger priorities. But now that I think about it, I’m not sure why. Maybe I’ll try to do that more this year.

And the only other one that’s worth mentioning is my affiliate income. It gets a mention since it’s over $1k, and frankly, it’s another thing that I put very little effort into. So many people do affiliate marketing wrong that I’ve shied away from a lot of it. I never wanted to be the one who had crazy looking ads all over my site, or in the sidebar of my blog, just to make a couple of bucks.

You’ll notice that most of my affiliate promoting comes in a natural way in my posts, where I’ll link to something I’m talking about… but for the most part, I don’t try super hard, so I guess it’s pretty cool that I still brought in a hundred bucks or so on average a month in affiliate income.

Adsense is almost laughable, and quite frankly, I don’t even know why I bother. Ads are ugly, people are blind to them (so they don’t click), and I made just $200 all year in them. Considering that Google has a threshhold and they don’t pay you until you hit $100, then it’s really not worth the annoyance if you ask me.

That’s why I took the ads off this site. I’d rather give you a better user experience than to try to make a few cents off a shitty looking ad.  I do still have a couple of affiliate ad banners sprinkled in 2 or 3 spots on the site, but Adsense? No thanks.

What’s New in 2016 – A Different Kind of Hustle

I’ll be posting another post about some new stuff going on. Be on the lookout for that in a day or two. Also, I’m not going to be sharing my monthly income for the time being. I’m scaling back on my freelance work for others in order to put all my efforts into these new projects.

In addition, I want to shift the focus of the blog to not just be about me and how much I make in side income, but more about how YOU can make money on the side. So that’s the direction I’m headed. It will give you more to sink your teeth into, and spark some ideas on things you can do from your own boat, or wherever you happen to be reading from.

I know a lot of people say that the monthly income posts inspire them, but I think stories about how others are doing it will be better. If I have really good things to report, I will, and I’ll share numbers, but for at least the time being, there won’t be much to share, and again, I want to take the focus away from me and put it more on you.

How was last year for you? Do you have plans to hustle this year? What would you like to see more of in this blog? Let’s start the conversation below in the comments!

November Side Income $797 (Plus Get My Income Statement Template)

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November side income - plus a free download of my Side Income Statement Template

It’s that time again, when I whip out my spreadsheet and tally up the totals for my monthly income report! I tell ya, I was never much of a spreadsheet girl before, but several months ago, I created a simple side income statement template that does all the calculations for me, and now I love going in there and adding my side income revenue, because it instantly tells me my total thus far for the month and how much over or under I am compared to the month before.

It’s great because it keeps me motivated. “Oh, I’m only about $50 under last month’s total, and I have a week to go… better hustle and find a way to make at least $50 so I can top  it!”

It makes it like a game of sorts, and it makes it a fun way to break down my income into actionable goals.

My Side Income Statement Template

Here’s what my side income spreadsheet looks like. This is an example from August 2015 (and yes, I totally chose it because it had the highest monthly total!)

All I have to do is plug in the amount I get paid for a particular side income gig or online sale in the appropriate column, and voila! All totals are updated at the bottom of the column, and in the side income total at the bottom.

Side income statement template example - my actual income statement from August 2015
I wait until the end of the month to input affiliate income and Adsense, because I don’t have those totals until the end of the month.

I also have it set so that my salary from my full-time job is shown to me, but not factored into my side income totals. That way I still have a high-level view of my overall monthly income.

Column C is from my online jewelry shop (most of you know it already, but I blurred the name out so it’s not quite so obvious to random people on the internet who stumble upon this image).

Wanna snag a copy for yourself? You can modify it to fit your needs, but it’s really a great way to help keep you accountable! Get your side income statement template here.

November Online Income Report

November’s side income was an improvement from October, which I’m happy about considering I’ve not taken on any new clients or actively seeked out any work. Right now, all of my side income is a result of people coming to me, so it’s nice not to have to spend time hustling to find freelance work or new clients.

That’s a huge perk of having a blog like this. Eventually you develop an audience, and they become your spokespeople, and help spread the word, then people come to you.

90% of my side income is a direct result of this blog. That’s a testament to how important having a blog can be. I’ll be talking more about this in my next post, so stay tuned.

But without further ado, here’s the breakdown of November’s income.

Just like I mention every month, my side income report numbers are an accurate depiction of what I’ve made on the side, bad or good, compared to the previous month. These numbers don’t include my income from my full-time job as a QA Specialist (aka glorified proofreader), or my handsome hubby’s income (from his music, book, and freelance work).

Webmaster/Web Design: $0
Online Sales: $305.35
Affiliate Income: $291.38
Adsense: $13.87
Writing Gigs: $150
Misc: $36.70
TOTAL: $797.30 in extra income (Up $119.41 from previous month)

I’ve also saved a total of $454.61 so far with Digit, the free automated savings app that I am absolutely in LOVE with. You’ve heard me talk about it before on here, and it’s really an awesome way to save money.

It just pulls a couple dollars here, a couple dollars there – amounts so small that they are inconsequential to your banking balance, but  they add up relatively quickly in your Digit account. I highly recommend the service. And it’s free!

You can sign up easily by going to:

December Goals

  • Reveal my new blog/website
  • Launch my first online workshop (I’m excited about this!)
  • Grow my subscriber list for this site and the new one
  • Write at least 3 posts/week (between this site and other site)
  • Eat healthier (we don’t eat poorly, but we do eat out too often)
  • Exercise more

Some of these goals are carried over from last month’s side income post, and I could name a ton more, but the more I name, the more overwhelmed I feel, so I’m sticking to a few hard and fast goals right now, and once I get a few of these checked off, I’ll start incorporating more goals.

Until next time! Can’t wait to see how December’s income report turns out!

Oh, P.S. I want to be nosy… how many of you reading this already have a blog? If you do, post a link in the comments – I wanna go check them out! If you don’t have one, then let me know that in the comments, too!

5 Holiday Gifts For Sailors – Under $30

This post may contain affiliate links.

Gifts for sailors

Let’s face it – it’s always tough to buy gifts for sailors, because most of us sailors are trying to get rid of stuff, not aquire more of it. So in honor of Cyber Monday, here are 5 ideas to get you started. Each of these will fit in a stocking, so huge bonus for the space-conscious, and the best thing is that nothing is over $30, so this is awesome for the budget-conscious. Without further ado, here’s my list of holiday gifts for sailors.*

Cork Pops Nicholas Portside Flask

Cork Pops Nicholas Portside Flask - gifts for sailorsCan’t imagine sitting through another boring company Christmas party or show of The Nutcracker without wanting to gouge your eyes out? Never fear, this flask is here. When I first saw this, I fell in love. I mean, any sailor can appreciate this – not only does it look nautical, resembling the porthole on a sailboat, but it carries rum (or whatever booze you fancy)! And has a window to let you know when the rum is gone! And did I mention that it carries booze?

The flask is smaller than you might think (it fits in the palm of an adult male hand), but that’s a good thing, because the chances are less likely that you’ll wake up with a hangover. It fits easily in a pocket and would make a great stocking stuffer or a super fun host or hostess gift. As of this writing, just $29 on Amazon.

Buy on Amazon - holiday gifts for sailors

Solar Charger Power Bank by Innoo Tech

Cell phone solar charger - iphone power bankHow many times have you been out sailing, and the perfect photo opportunity comes up, but when you pick up your phone to snap a photo, you realize your battery is dead?

Well, with this solar charger power bank, you’ll never again have to miss a photo of dolphins swimming in your bow wake, the perfect sunset, or the mahi you just caught due to a dead iPhone. Your phone will be charged and ready to upload those pics up on Facebook so all your friends will hate envy you.

This one is waterproof, dustproof, and shock resistant, PLUS it can charge 2 devices at once. There’s also a nifty LED light that you can use as a flashlight, or just hang the device in your cockpit for instant mood lighting. Bow chica bow wow. As of this writing, only $25 on Amazon.

Buy on Amazon - holiday gifts for sailors

First You Have To Row A Little Boat

First You Have to Row a Little Boat - amazing book, and perfect holiday gift idea for a sailorIf you’ve not read this book, then you owe it to yourself to do so. While you’re at it, you should pick up an extra copy to give away because you won’t want to get rid of yours.

Before you go and think of this as just another “boat book”, let me just say that it’s not. Although if you’ve ever fallen in love with a sailboat or sailing, you will instantly connect with the emotions of the writer.

It’s a reflection on all the ways that learning to sail teaches us about life. It’s a parable. It’s a love story.

I don’t have any smartass comments for this gift idea because I love it so much. As of this writing, you can get the paperback version directly from the author’s Amazon page for just $15.

Buy on Amazon - holiday gifts for sailors

SafeWays Waterproof Phone Case

Safeways waterproof phone case - gift ideas for sailorsIf you’re accident prone like me, this may be just the perfect gift for sailors or anyone who spends a lot of time on the water. I’m still missing the camera I lost one year on Old Hickory Lake, and my husband has donated several wallet items to the Chesapeake Bay.

So far, neither of us has dropped a phone in the water, although you’ll want to check with me next week, because now that I’ve said that, I’ve surely jinxed myself.

Bonus is that it’s much cheaper than some of the other waterproof phone cases I’ve seen out there. As of this writing, it’s only $10 on Amazon and gets great reviews.

Buy on Amazon - holiday gifts for sailors

Nautical Sailor Bracelets by Maggie & Milly

Maggie and Milly - nautical bracelets - holiday gifts for sailorsWell, you know I can’t make a list of gifts for sailors without tooting my own horn, right?

These unisex bracelets are made with authentic sailboat hardware and materials, from the double-braided mini “rope” to the stainless steel shackle. I whip the ends in contrasting sail thread to give them a truly nautical look.

Sailors and non-sailors all over the world are wearing these and loving them. And for the rest of 2015, I’ve reduced the price, so you can purchase yours at Maggie & Milly for just $18-$20 with FREE SHIPPING within the US (no order minimum), and just $10 for international shipping.

Maggie and Milly - Nautical Bracelets, Sailor Bracelets, Bracelets for Men. Holiday gifts for sailors

Tell Me Your Best Gifts For Sailors Ideas

Have you gotten inspiration from any of these ideas for gifts for sailors? Do you have any other awesome gift ideas for boaters? Share them in the comments below!

*Note that the links shared here are affiliate links, with the exception of Maggie & Milly, which is my own company. The affiliate links do not add to the cost for you – they simply allow me to get a very small commission  should you decide to make a purchase on Amazon. My affiliate commisions help cover my time and costs associated with running this blog, so your support is always appreciated!

October Online Income Report

This post may contain affiliate links.

online income report - October 2015

You know what’s amazing? The feeling I get when I get an email from someone who stumbled upon my blog by way of Google or Pinterest or some other endless rabbit hole of the awesome interwebs, and they tell me how these posts have inspired them to start a side business where they make online income, in the hopes of being able to one day quit their job and travel.

It’s bizarre. And awesome.

I mean, I know I’m not saving lives over here, but when anyone tells you that you inspire them… that’s an amazing feeling!

It’s ironic how I started this blog to help fellow sailors see how they could work side jobs from their boat to fund their travels, and while I had a loyal readership,  I really wasn’t getting a lot of outside traffic. Now, I get as much traffic from non-sailors as sailors, and people from all over the world are sharing my posts and emailing me questions about how to make an online income.

I am so grateful that I’m finally starting to see some traction on the blog since starting it 2 years ago. I’ve learned SO much about writing and blogging and promoting my blog since then. I know if I knew then what I know now, my readership would be so much bigger, but you have to start somewhere, and learn as you go sometimes.

The good thing is that you don’t have to take quite as much time as I’ve taken, writing posts, hoping someone would read, and hearing crickets.

I’ll be posting a series of posts on blogging and promoting your blog starting this month, so hopefully you can learn from my mistakes, and save yourself a lot of time and effort when it comes to your blog’s growth. You’ll also be able to apply some of the tips I share to any sort of writing – not just blogs.

BUT before I get started on these posts, I really want to make sure that I’m covering all the things you’re interested in. I rarely ask for favors, but what I’m asking is for you to let me know what you would love to see me cover in upcoming posts on writing/blogging – get specific!

Here are some potential topic ideas:

  • How to start a blog
  • What to write about
  • How to find the time to write
  • How to promote your blog posts
  • How to get affiliates
  • Where to get photos for your blog
  • How to create kickass blog images
  • How to make money with your blog
  • SEO and your blog
  • …????

So comment below with what you’d like to read or learn about when it comes to blogging or writing. Don’t be shy!

October’s Online Income Report

Before I get into this month’s side income report, I just calculated the total amount of side income I’ve made this past year (since last November), and I’ve made $11,845 in online income. That’s an average of almost $1k/mo – not too shabby for working from a sailboat!

October side income was an improvement from September, albeit still pretty slow. My main job has kept me pretty busy, and most of my free time has been spent creating my first online course and preparing to launch my new website (I seriously can’t wait to share more about this once I have everything ready to go… I’m SO impatient – I want it done NOW).

Just like I mention every month, my side income report numbers are an accurate depiction of what I’ve made on the side, bad or good, compared to the previous month. These numbers don’t include my income from my full-time job as a QA Specialist (aka glorified proofreader), or my handsome hubby’s income (from his music, book, and freelance work).

Webmaster/Web Design: $100
Online Sales: $165.95
Affiliate Income: $220.42
Adsense: $19.78
Writing Gigs: $150
Misc: $41.52
TOTAL: $677.89 in extra income (Up $142.67 from previous month)

I’ve also saved a total of $439.24 so far with Digit, the free automated savings app that I am absolutely in LOVE with. You’ve heard me talk about it before on here, and it’s really an awesome way to save money. I love that it just pulls a couple dollars here, a couple dollars there – amounts so small that they are inconsequential to your banking balance, but when they sit and accumulate in your Digit account, they add up relatively quickly. I highly recommend the service. And it’s free!

November Goals

  • Create (and adhere to) an editorial calendar
  • Tweak my listings on my Handmade by Amazon store, Maggie and Milly, where I sell my handcrafted nautical bracelets (for men and women!)
  • Write more content for my new, soon-to-be-revealed website before launching
  • Work on my upcoming online course (hint: it will be a course on getting traffic to your website)
  • Find guest-posting opportunities in the online business niche (thinking big picture)
  • Grow my subscriber list
  • Eat healthier
  • Exercise more
  • More date nights with my hubby (he’s been VERY patient with me as I work through this whole new business idea)

Hopefully I’ll be super productive this month! I’m not actively trying to seek out new business at the moment, but between my jewelry shop, my writing clients, and affiliate income, I hope to still have a decent side income report next month.

Oh, and get this – speaking of online courses, great news if youre interested in taking an online course. Right now, my favorite place for online courses (until mine comes out, of course!) is Udemy. They have courses on everything under the sun, and some are very inexpensive (or even free)! You could buy a courses that may help you in your life or business and make it back 100x. I’ve taken several of their courses, and have always been pleased.

Anyway, that’s all – don’t forget to comment below with what you would love to see in some upcoming posts on blogging.

See ya!

My Laptop Lifestyle: Earning Money (From a Boat) and Buying Back My Freedom

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creating a laptop lifestyle

5 years ago, I never would have thought I could live a laptop lifestyle – one that would allow me to make money online – some from freelancing, some from passive income – from anywhere in the world.

In fact, when we first started thinking about selling the house and going cruising, my biggest fear was what we’d do for money.

At the time, I was working for a small promotional marketing company that I’d been at for 7 years. I worked from a small windowless office (which was a huge upgrade from my former cubicle), and my salary was meager at best. I did not have a big savings account, and I knew I’d never touch my 401k, so the day I went in to tell my boss I needed to quit because of this whole moving-onto-a-boat thing, I started to doubt every decision we had made.

What was I thinking? What the f#ck did I agree to? I must be INSANE!

I thought about backing out and finding some way to put off our plan, or just go bury my face in a monster sized glass of wine instead, but I summoned my inner rockstar, knocked on my boss’ door and upon getting permission to come in, I sat across the desk from him…

…and broke into tears.

My boss was a really kind and understanding family man with a wife and teenage daughter (so I’m sure he’s seen his fair share of tears), and that was the only thing that kept me from walking out of his office and going to throw myself off a bridge out of embarassment at my spectacle.

But after I wiped away the salty mess on my face, I explained this super scary, but exciting adventure we were going on, and to my relief, he was really excited for me.

I then said the words I had been so scared to say… out of fear of the future, and of guilt for letting down these people who had been really great to work with.

I need to quit.

He sat and thought about it for a few seconds, then said, “Hmmm… well… could you work from the boat?”

WHAT? Could I work from the boat?

He then went on… “All you really need is a phone and a computer, so if you think you could find a way to work from the boat, we can try it out for a year to see how it goes, and then reassess from there. If you want to, of course.”

And that was the magic answer. I could work from the boat – it wouldn’t be without its headaches of course, but it was a paycheck, and it eliminated my biggest fear about jumping into this lifestyle and then not having any money to pay for it or enjoy it.

I gotta say – my being able to work remotely from the boat was a saving grace for the first year or so, because as Murpy’s Law goes, everything seemed to break that first year, and had we not had jobs, no way would our savings have covered it all.

Not All It Was Cracked Up To Be

I was super stoked for having this set up where I could work from the boat. I’d pass people who were on their way to the beach and they would tell me how lucky I was to have a company that allowed me to work remotely. But as time went on, I realized that while it was awesome to have a steady paycheck, and I was very lucky that my employer did this for me, I wasn’t living the life I thought I would be.

Because of the particular job I had, I needed constant wifi connectivity, at least 8-10 hours a day. My entire job was centered around email, and I probably exchanged about 300 emails a day on average. That’s one email sent or received every minute and a half for 8 hours a day.

Shoot me now, please. I honestly don’t know how I stayed sane for so long.

Not only was the work constant and didn’t allow me to do things like even go hang out at the pool for an afternoon, but because my work requirement for reliable wifi at all times, we weren’t able to sail to the Bahamas with our friends, or do anything that was much fun. In fact, not much had changed at all – I worked just as hard. I just had a better view.

Now I know that sounds like I’m a spoiled brat. I was still on a boat and I still had a job. Oh, boo hoo. I know I didn’t have any reason to complain, BUT when you take a big leap like we did, you want to enjoy it. And I wasn’t enjoying it very much.

The Aha Moment

One day, I was browsing for books on my Kindle and saw a book called The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss. It introduced something I hadn’t really thought of when it came to working – setting up a business that is systematized and more automated, so you can earn seemingly passive income with just a few hours a week of hard work.

I devoured that book in a weekend, and I gotta say it changed my whole mindset. While I had been simply happy for being able to work remotely (which I am still grateful for), other people were setting up these “freedom businesses” that allowed them to live a laptop lifestyle and travel the world!

If you haven’t read the book, I highly recommend it – even if only for some of the killer information on the 80/20 rule, which states that 80% of our results come from just 20% of the work, so the other 80% of the work you do is almost inconsequential. If you can figure out how to leverage that concept to your advantage in all facets of your life, you could become infinitely more productive, and yet have more free time on your hands.

Living the Laptop Lifestyle

After reading that book, my entire way of thinking shifted, and I started thinking more and more about the laptop lifestyle. I began studying ways to earn money on the side, and it paved the way for the direction this blog has taken.

Since then, I’ve started an online jewelry business. I’ve taken online classes on how to build better websites and turned that into a side income. I’ve taken classes on writing and marketing, and now I have clients who pay me to write for their company blogs or their websites.

While I’m not 100% where I want to be with my laptop lifestyle (we still aren’t in the Bahamas yet, and while I did eventually quit the other job, I do have a full-time job now as a proofreader/quality assurance specialist for a NY Times bestselling author), I have a lot more freedom than ever before, and I make more money than ever before, thanks to my side income.

Pretty soon, I’ll be officially launching a new website in which I will be working with and teaching female entrepreneurs about getting more clients by implementing SEO, blogging techniques, proper social media plans, guest posting, and other growth strategies.

I’m working on a couple of online courses (because that’s been my favorite way to learn  so far) and a membership site that will act like a sort of mastermind group, where women can collaborate and bounce ideas around in a safe environment, and help eachother grow their businesses.

I’ve not officially launched as of this writing, but will update here once I do!

In the meantime – leave me a comment and let me know what your biggest questions are when it comes to living a laptop lifestyle.