Let’s talk about money & business

I thought I’d give you guys and myself a little run-down on my income for this year, since it’s the first year I’ve tried to make money with this blog.

 My tutoring income is one of my lowest since I started doing it – but I did not advertise or really hustle for clients at all.

Source
Gross
Fees
Net
AdSense
$8.95
$8.95
YNAB Referral
$6.00
$6.00
Leonie Referral
$93.95
$93.95
Amazon
$11.85
$11.85
Tarot Sales
$1,210.00
-40.66
$1,169.34
Tutoring
$3,340.00
$3,340.00
Totals
$4670.75
-40.66
$4,630.09

Now, Amazon doesn’t pay until you reach $10, so I do have another $0.51 earned there that’s unpaid.
Google Adsense doesn’t pay until you reach $100. Total, since 2009, Adsense has earned $24.98 from several of my blogs.
The fees mentioned above are PayPal fees.
I have not yet added up buying office supplies, paying for my URL, or any other business expenses, but my profit is likely really small. 
I guess I thought it was important to post this because when starting out, a person may NOT get a few thousand a month right away. “Get your first 5 figure month in 3 months, starting with nothing!!!”
Yeah, no. 
It might work like that for someone that already has a huge list or can pay for advertising, or knows someone who will pimp her stuff.
But most people don’t.
I could have made more, and I know it.
When my energy ebbed in the summer, I got behind on completing readings. Then I felt guilty for not getting them done on time. 
I didn’t feel like it was a good idea to push and advertise for more sales when I wasn’t fulfilling my obligations from sales already made.
I’m hoping that this will also encourage me. If I can do better in 2014 than I did this year, then even if I don’t meet my own sometimes lofty goals, I can still track how I’m doing, and see that I’m better.
Here’s the thing, though. I don’t know if readings is really what I want to do.
I started doing them because it was something I could do, already had the stuff for and people would pay for – NOT because I’m totally passionate about doing readings. 
I LOVE doing readings, but I love doing them when I feel like doing them, not when I *have* to.
What I think would be better, for me, is to create something that could sell itself even when I’m at a low-energy point.
For me, products might be better than services, because I can’t/don’t have the energy to be consistent with services. 
Next problem: what could I write or create that would sell? 

Stuck-ness

I’ve started a million blog posts (well, half a dozen, anyway).

But I get them to about a hundred, two hundred words and I think, “This sounds so totally stupid, and what am I trying to accomplish with it?”

And I don’t know.

I wanted to write more posts for Mental Health Awareness Month. And I started a couple. Didn’t finish.

I did finally finish and submit TPA 3. Waiting to see if I passed. I should feel good about that but I don’t because I have one more to go and the amount of work to do on it is daunting. Makes me want to go take a nap.

I’m feeling a bit lost for a direction on this business.

The readings was a way to get started, start bringing in a little income while I worked on a couple of offerings. But every time I start to do something it feels stupid or like something someone else has already done/said.

I know that I do work in fits and starts, but lately the fits are less and less prominent.

This week, at least two days, I took “naps” in excess of 2 hours. Today, it was 4 hours. I mean, really, why does an unemployed person need a 4 hour nap?

I have a “to do” list a mile long.  And here I sit, going through my little ritual of checking certain websites over and over and over again.

Yesterday, I had a bad day, similar to today, and I did some free readings trying to turn my energy around. It worked, yesterday, but I can’t do unlimited free readings every day, and I didn’t carry the good energy over to today.

I feel like I’m drowning, even though I have some good things happening.

Turning in TPA 3 .. . . I’ve been putting that off for almost a year and a half. I should feel something about it. Relief? Accomplishment? Something. I don’t feel anything, except fear over the next hurdle.

I’ve been super nervous about not having enough money for the second installment of the pet deposit, but I talked to my doctor, and I’m entitled to an emotional support animal for my disability. Once I get the letter from my doctor, I should be able to submit that, and maybe even get the installment I’ve paid back and stop the pet rent.

That’s a good thing. And I’m not happy, I’m just nervous about not getting the letter in time.

This seems like I’m whining, and I’m not meaning to, I do have some stuff going on and I’m doing ok, I’m making progress, I’m just feeling like I’m starting to sink again.

I have pulled out the Ganesh chant and a mini altar to help push through this time.

Fear of moving forward

Here I am, once again, feeling stuck.

Last night was the last class of my student-teaching seminar.

I turned in all my assignments. The last one isn’t graded yet, but I’ve got an A right now. If I totally screwed it up, I suppose it could drop to a B, but that’s unlikely.

I still have to finish two Teaching Performance Assessments (TPA), a CPR class and pay $70 to the state for processing fees.

That’s it.

Problem is, I’ve had the material to finish up the TPAs for a year and a half. There are four of them, and two had to be done before student teaching and the other two were supposed to happen during student teaching.

I have the materials.

But the things are stupid and long and repetitive.

I can’t work on it for long without wanting to throw my computer across the room.

Of course, that’s not really the limiting factor.

I’ve done lots of stupid, long, and repetitive things in my life; who hasn’t?

File:The Scream.jpg
The Scream – Edvard Munch
(Yes, I feel like this: complete existential angst)

The limiting factor is fear.

The closer I get, the more scared I am.

I still haven’t gotten the letters of recommendation and/or introduction from my mentor teachers.

Why?

Because I’m embarrassed I haven’t asked for them yet. I should have done so in January 2012.

I’ve been told that because I’m finishing up the requirements and it will only be a matter of weeks until I get the credential, I can start applying for jobs.

Except I really can’t without the letters of recommendation.

Sooo, I have to get them. I’ve planned to do so several times in the last few months. But I’ve never actually done it.

I know that I will feel a lot better once I do.

But still, I stall.

I’m terrified of interviewing for a teaching job.

I know it’s because it’s new, and because I’m not completely certain this is something I can do.

I keep realizing that other people at my stage know so much more about the hiring process, about résumés for education, about what they are supposed to do. I never invited the principal to watch me when I was student-teaching. I didn’t know I was supposed to. Others knew they were supposed to. How?

And I’m in a position now where I have to get a job, NOW. It doesn’t matter what it is – I just need to be able to bring in at least $1000/mo through August to be able to pay the bills. And I keep putting it off.

I’m scared into immobility; gone “tharn”.

I have been here before – this is one of the ways I create a crisis, over and over again.

I’m aware of that.

And I still do it.

This is annoying as well as scary.

And I know how much better it will be once it’s all done and over with.

After all, I agonized about graduating from my university so much I forgot to put in my application, and never walked in the ceremony.

Isn’t this exactly the same thing?

It’s just a little bit more work. Just a bit.

And then something I’ve been working towards for almost 11 years now will be done.

Don’t I deserve that?

There’s also a thing where once I’ve got the credential, I’ll get two months of job search assistance from the V.A. Voc Rehab people, including $725/mo for those two months, money I could really use.

Actions for the next week:

1. Finalize and turn in TPA 3.
2. Find $$ for the CPR class and preliminary teaching credential application. This money will be refunded by the VA, but I need to come up with it first.
3. After my tire is replaced, get my butt to the school I did my student teaching in to get the letters of recommendation.
4. Apply for . . .how many? Minimum of 2? temp agency and/or tutoring center jobs.

Must.Take.Action.NOW.

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Mental Health: Bipolar Disorder

I realized that I occasionally throw out a comment about being bipolar or dealing with depression, but I haven’t really talked about how it has affected me or the diagnosis. I’ve lived with it so long and been fairly open about it, that I feel like everyone knows everything. There are now more people reading and I think I should explain some of where I’ve been.

I’m now 43, and I was diagnosed Bipolar II within a month or so of turning 30, even though I knew something was wrong by the time I was 21 or so.

from Unprofound.com

Bipolar II is characterized with long, deep depressions and brief times of hypomania (little mania). In 2004 Jane Pauley was diagnosed with this form of the disease.

It’s much harder to diagnose Bipolar II than Bipolar I, although both can be difficult. In general, people with all forms of bipolar tend to seek help when depressed, but don’t recognize the hypomanic or manic phases as a problem. Why should we? We feel GREAT during that time. 😛

In fact, I used to think of my hypomanic phases as my “normal” times. It isn’t until I look back at them that I can now see how destructive they could be.

I started to write this up, and it was becoming a long autobiography, which is not what I want. I do want to express some of the ways in which it has affected my life. Sometimes, I’ll say something about being mentally ill or “crazy” or something and people will say things like, “Don’t say that! You’re not crazy!”

It seems that because I’m intelligent and articulate, I’m not allowed to also be mentally ill.

But for me, saying those things are a kind of. . .  acceptance. It took me a long time to get there. It took several years to get somewhat stabilized on medications and accept that I needed them. So, I see saying things as an acknowledgment of where I am.

One of the primary areas it has affected is relationships. I would get into moods where I would need to be surrounded by people, feeding off of the energy of those around me, off of a party and music and everything. Considering how introverted I really am, this was new and different, strange even. But I was young, and at first just thought it was fantastic that I finally had an active social life.

The problem was that when I was in that mood, I would get into bed with almost anyone who paid attention to me. This led me to insist on a type of sexual openness in my relationships, because I did not want to lie or hide things about sex from my primary partner.

When I think about this now, the funny thing is that I also simultaneously believed in the mythical soulmate (although some people apparently think you can order up a soulmate like a cup of coffee).

I’m still not sure how I reconciled those things in my own head. I think it was that the “soulmate” was a complete relationship, body, mind and soul, whereas the others were just body, fun, not important.

The problem is, it’s hard to let the primary partner know that he is not being used in the same way the others are. [For those who live a polyamorous lifestyle, I admire you, because I know how difficult it can be. More power to you if you can make it work.]

I know now that it was hypersexuality caused by hypomanic swings.

But the disorder affects friendships, too.

When I’m depressed, I withdraw into myself and push people away. The thing is, I want them to be available when I’m ready to climb out of my inner space. But spending months or sometimes years pushing people away is not conducive to having people around when you want them to be. It also makes it difficult to be there when they need you. And then, in the hypomanic phase, there’s no . . . filter. It’s hard to think before I speak, so I may end up saying one of those things that people think but don’t usually say. That doesn’t help keep friends, either.

And then there’s money.

When I’m hypomanic, I can spend some money.

There was a point, in the early 90s when I got a chunk of back pay, around $4,000. At the time, it was the most money I had ever had at one tie. I went on a shopping spree.

I kept buying stuff and spending. To this day, I’ not entirely sure what I spent it all on. And I kept spending. I kept writing checks and did not balance the checkbook. Within a few weeks, I’d spent over $7,000. And now I had bounced checks, and fees and all kinds of craziness to deal with.

So, I get into this destructive pattern with money.

When manic, I impulse buy and don’t pay close attention to how much I spend, and sometimes end up with not enough to pay the bills. When depressed, I sometimes forget to pay things on time (I have a real problem with all sorts of paperwork and phone calls when depressed.) This causes increased fees and decreased credit scores.

The thing is, I know how to budget, save, and invest. I’ve researched the hell out of it. I’ve been an active contributor to a financial website/community for almost 14 years now.

But I still sometimes fall into these patterns.

These are probably the two biggest areas of my life that are affected, but there are others, too. This is getting pretty long, so I’m going to stop here for now. I may talk about other things at another time.

Early depression signs

Over the last 5-6 weeks, I’ve been sliding slowing into depression. I’m not non-functional yet, but there’s a lot of negative signs.

This came to my attention in earnest on Sunday, when I realized I had not showered since Friday morning. This is not as bad as it has been in the past (when I’d go up to four days without paying attention to basic hygiene). But it is definitely a bad sign.

I think it started early in March.

My truck (a 1992 GMC Sonoma) had a major problem. It has had a lot of problems in the last few years, that I haven’t had the money to fix. The whole exhaust system needs to be replaced. The radiator has a slow leak. It’s been leaking oil, and getting worse. It started out where I’d have to add a quart of oil every 4-6 weeks. As of March, I was adding a quart a week or more. Driving one day in early March, the temperature gauge showed a higher temp than normal. I stopped and put water in the radiator, and realized the oil was low again, too. Added oil. It seemed fine for a little bit, but when driving to a client, the temp gauge was still high. I don’t know what happened, but SOMETHING happened when both the radiator and oil were low that day. The engine now smells wrong. It feels wrong, it sounds wrong. There’s something majorly wrong.

Serendipitously, that same day, the client I was seeing mentioned that she was selling a car she bought for her daughter. The car is a stick shift, and the daughter couldn’t get coordinated enough to drive the car. It’s actually OLDER than my truck, which gave me pause at first. But it has very low miles.

So, later that week, I bought it. I felt pretty good about it, except that the money used to buy it was supposed to help me through summer, when I’ll be losing Voc Rehab money. Then there were the associated costs and headaches. Smog check. Insurance. Registration. All that stuff. On the one hand, I feel pretty good that I was able to handle it all in a timely manner.

But I think doing so drained my emotional reserves.

The class I had in March also worked on draining some of my energy. There were problems with the class and my procrastination was pushed to the limit. I turned in everything late. I got my lowest grad school grade, a B+. Now, a B+ is not a BAD grade, but I was doing well with A’s and A-‘s. I’m a bit annoyed at myself.

I’ve also forgotten client appointments.

I’ve lost a couple of clients. Not because of the missed appointments, but because of schedule changes, and one client’s mother is losing her job.

C’s laptop died. I first thought it was the monitor. It wasn’t. It’s the graphics processor, and a known problem in models similar to this one. $175 repair.

On top of buying a car and the associated costs, replacing a damaged tire recently, C needed new shoes, now this. . . My very little monetary reserves are drying up, and I’m stressed about this.

I should start to hustle for more clients, because I need the money, but I can’t bring myself to do it.

I haven’t even submitted my invoice to the company for my hours for March yet.

Yesterday, I went to the gym. I’ll go again tomorrow. I’m becoming more diligent about my medications. I have a dr’s appt with my pdoc on May 2, 3pm

I know part of the problem is that I haven’t been sleeping enough at night. C’s been up every night really late, which means I’m up late, too.

So, I’m taking steps to fight this. But it’s difficult. And I’m feeling kind of drained.