Speaking of Bed Bugs…

As much as I hate cliches, I have to say it…

When it rains, it pours

Recently, I wrote a blog about how we were considering homeschooling after my daughter came home from school with a black eye.

Well just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, I let my daughters go to a friend’s house for a sleepover last weekend, and they came home with bed bugs!

We didn’t realize it until a few days afterwards when our entire house had been infested with the darn things. Ugh. What makes it even worse is that very few pest control companies in the area will take care of bed bugs. They all hate doing it because it’s such a pain. (And terribly expensive.) A friend of mine on Facebook referred me to a local company called B&T Pest Control, so I called them, and they were willing to do it. The price was pretty steep, but that would have been the case with any company I called.

Bed bugs are the worst type of pest to infest your house, because they’re so hard to get rid of. And most pest control companies will want you to take some preliminary measures before they even come out to treat. If you have a really bad infestation, you may even have to replace your mattress and box spring.

Not to mention, the horrible rash they cause. My legs have been itching so bad for the last week that I’ve had trouble focusing on work and getting anything done. But I said I was committed to posting more, so here I am… telling you all about my bed bug problem.

Ya’ll please pray for us. Bad things typically come in threes and I’m pretty nervous to see what will happen next…

Oh, and happy cinco de mayo!

Pros & Cons of Working For a Startup

I’ve worked for a few startups as a freelancer and independent contractor—some of them even full-time. I wanted to write this post, because a friend of mine and I were discussing #startuplife while out to lunch the other day and it got me thinking about the startups I’ve worked for. She was telling me about some of her experiences and they sounded very similar to mine, and as a freelance writer and entrepreneur I thought this information might be helpful to someone else who is considering a position within a startup company.

There are definitely risks to working with startups. But if the venture is successful, the risk is worth the reward. Unfortunately, I’ve never had the pleasure of working with a startup company that made it past the first round of fundraising, so I can’t speak from experience when I say that. But I can say that my hunch is pretty strong!

Either way, here are some of the cons I’ve experienced while being a part of startup culture:

Con #1: They might go under. In fact, I’d go ahead and prepare yourself for the worst, no matter how positive things look. One company I worked for made it sound like everything was peachy-keen, and then one day, out of the blue, I get a call from the CEO, and he’s telling me all about how our board members were having disagreements and they had to reduce my hours. Next thing I know, they let me go within 2 weeks after that phone call…

Many startups will spend too much cash too fast in an effort move things forward quickly. And if the person spending isn’t smart when it comes to investments, they might run out of money before the first year is over.

On the other hand, the opposite is quite possible as well… which brings me to my next point.

Con #2: They’re too frugal. Especially if they’ve had a scare from a previous spending spree. I’ve had department heads drastically reduce their budgets after coming close to bankruptcy in an effort to real things back in. And those reductions were often followed with layoffs. The first people to go are always the independent contractors, since they have no stake in the company and don’t require unemployment benefits.

Speaking of pay…

Con #3: Don’t expect to get your check on time. Especially if you’re a freelancer. Make sure you put those net-30 terms on your invoice or you may never get paid. Also, be prepared to lower your rates. Startup companies don’t have the same budgets as the big guys.

Now for the positives. (Yes, there are some awesome things about working for startups too!)

#1: The experience of wearing multiple hats. Startup companies are small, so if you’re looking to diverse your portfolio and gain a wealth of new experiences, there’s a good chance you’ll get to.

#2: The ability to work remotely. A lot of modern startup companies hire employees and independent contractors from all over the world. That means you get to work from home for a virtual company, which I think is pretty cool.

#3: The opportunity to help a new business win big! If your startup is successful, you can look back and say that you were a part of the team that helped make it that way. Can you imagine being one of the first people ever to work for Google? You could literally say you were a part of the crew that helped to revolutionize the world by creating the world’s most-used search engine today. I don’t know about you, but the prospect of that sounds amazing to me.

Have you ever been a part of #startuplife? Share your experiences in a comment below!

‘Til next time… Shae.

Why We’re Considering Homeschooling

One of my girls came home from school the other day with a black eye. It was gut wrenching to see the tears flowing down her face as she told me the story of how she got it.

Bullying is real, guys. It really happens. I guess you never think it’ll happen to your kids, and then it does, and it’s absolutely heartbreaking. You especially don’t think it’ll happen to your girls. Boys are aggressive and it’s not hard to imagine them getting violent. Girls are supposed to be ladies. They’re supposed to be polite. Sugar and spice and everything nice, you know?

My daughter was beat up by another girl at school, and I didn’t even know what to say or do when she told me it happened. As a mama bear, I wanted to go and find the girl who hit her and give her a piece of my mind, and fist. But then you don’t want to teach your children to retaliate with violence. You want to teach them to turn the other cheek, as hard as it can be.

I’ve decided that I don’t ever want that to happen to either of my girls again, and since this episode, we’ve been looking a lot at our options for homeschooling.

But this incident isn’t the only reason why. I guess it was just the match that lit the fire under my butt and got me to start seriously considering doing what we had been thinking about for a long time now.

Homeschooling has been on the table for years. My husband has always been a “buck the system” type of guy. He never wanted our children to be indoctrinated by the state. But, life gets busy, mom’s gotta go back to work, dad has to work too, and your options are limited. That’s pretty much what happened after we had the twins.

Now that I’m a work-at-home mom though, our options have opened up quite a bit. My girls are older and self-disciplined enough to complete their curriculum without much babysitting. And we’ve been looking into Ron Paul’s homeschool curriculum, which encourages independent learning. So while I’m working at home, they can learn from home at the same time. We’ll get to hang out together, they’ll be safer from bullies, and my husband will be happier knowing they’re not being indoctrinated by our flawed governmentally-funded school system. (Not to mention, we happen to live in a county that has one of the poorest school systems in the entire country.)

If you’re a mom, you should definitely check out the Ron Paul curriculum when you get a chance, especially if you’re considering homeschooling your kids and want them to grow up learning about freedom!

How Much Does a Freelance Blogger Cost?

As a mompreneur, I spend a lot of time trying to drum up freelance work online. There are lots of website owners who will pay for guest blog content. Unfortunately, there are also a lot of low-quality content farms charging anywhere from $1 – $15 for a single post, which puts people like me in a tough situation.

Honestly, if you are looking for high-quality content to post on your website, you need to be ready and willing to shell out at least $50 for a single blog post (300-500 words maximum). I’ll go ahead and say that’s what I charge, but I do know plenty of freelance bloggers who won’t take less than $100 for a single post, and sometimes that’s only for $250 words.

If you’re a business owner and you’re raising your eyebrows because you think that sounds crazy, hear me out. Quality content takes time to produce. Sure, you can go to a content farm or a freelance site like Textbroker and find someone in Guatemala to write articles for $5 a pop. But you’re likely to get low-quality, spun content that sounds like it was written by someone who’s native language is not English. But search engines are getting smart these days, and they don’t like low-quality, spun content. So if you’re trying to produce content that will pass their inspection and get read and shared by real people who find it interesting, you’ll want to hire a real person who can write interesting things. A professional freelance blogger doesn’t come cheap, and if you find one that does, it should raise a few red flags.

I just wanted to put this out there, because I’ve struggled to find freelance jobs lately. Too many cheap business owners don’t seem to want to invest in themselves. That, or they don’t understand the value of good quality content. I was actually told recently by a client of mine that they found a cheaper way to get articles. The last time I looked at his website, it was obvious he’s been using spun content to beef up his online presence. But it’s not working… his content is far from beefy. It’s pretty thin, actually.

If you’re looking to hire a good, English-speaking freelance writer, stay away from content mills. If you do choose to use a freelancer site, look for people in or from the United States.

Rant over. 🙂

How a Roofing Company Can Help You Save on Home Energy Costs

roof on fire

So I may or may not have mentioned in my last post that we recently had some roof repair done on our house. We didn’t pay for it, because, as I said before, we’ve been in the midst of some financial woes the past few months. And part of those woes included a little accident. In the form of a fire. Started by my oldest child. (God bless him… mom forgive him… I’m still trying.) 😀

He was playing upstairs in the rec room and managed to knock over a candle that was lit by his sister in an attempt to quench the bad smell that we later discovered was coming from the trash can. It fell and started a small fire that lit its way up to our roof. The fire department came and put it out just in time, but it was still a pretty big mess. We contacted our homeowners insurance and they gave us the funds to hire a roofing company to fix it.

I called around and spoke to the owners of a few Charlotte roofing companies, and we finally found one that seemed reputable and gave us an estimate within the budget designated by homeowners insurance. They came out and inspected our roof and decided that it needed repair above the room that was set on fire. Thankfully we didn’t have to get the entire house re-roofed, or I don’t know what I would have done!

I didn’t expect this to happen, but our energy bill has gone down by $100 a month since these guys came out and fixed our roof! I guess the moral of the story is that everything happens for a reason (as cliche as that sounds, and as much as I detest cliches). My husband and I were right in the middle of a financial meltdown and on the verge of separation. So I prayed for God to provide, and it really is true that He works in mysterious ways… ahem. Please pardon the cliche. 😀

I called the energy company to see if maybe they had mistyped our bill, and they said no. Our energy use has significantly decreased. The only culprit I could think of was the roof repair, so I called the roofing company, and they confirmed that the eco-friendly materials they used in the construction job likely contributed to a drastic reduction in our energy bill. Who knew?!

I am one happy mama…

Happy New Year! My Goals for 2016…

I know, I know – I’m a little late here. I’ve been a busy mama though, so please pardon my tardiness and my absence over the last few weeks … er … okay, months. I’m usually much better about keeping up with my commitments, and I won’t make excuses for myself. I’ll admit it: I’ve been severely slacking on this whole blogging thing. Which is why I’ve decided to embrace the whole “set goals for 2016” trend that’s happening in the blogosphere and document my goals for the new year. Even though it’s January 8… LOL.

"Our goals can only be reached through the vehicle of a plan..."

First, I’ll just recap 2015. It’s been a crazy year for me and the kiddos. My husband and I went through a period of struggle. Our relationship hit the rocks when he lost his job and we started to cave. And by “we” I mean our bank account. We were not doing well financially. Which should have motivated me to blog more and really pursue this whole mompreneur outlet, but I had to pick up where we were lacking and find work. I’ve been getting a steady paycheck from a company for about 2 months now, and we’re finally getting back on our feet, but it was a pretty scary time for a while there. The good news is, he finally found employment last week, and it’s going to be enough to cover us so that I won’t have to work anymore! So I’m going to quit my job and get back into blogging and raising our kids. 🙂 If you can’t tell, I’m really excited about it…

So, here are my goals for this upcoming year:

  1. Blog consistently. I’m kind of new to this whole thing, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned already, it’s that consistency is key. Whether it’s once a day, once a week, once a month, or once a quarter, I will not succeed without some sort of regular editorial calendar.
  2. Learn affiliate marketing. I hear it’s a great way to monetize your blog and bring in passive income, so I’m going to learn and implement it as soon as I can. I may not do it here though (this is more of my personal ranting sphere). I have another business website that I’ll use to post affiliate links and ads to bring in extra change.
  3. Write an ebook. Another great way to monetize (or so I hear.) Plus it will give me great practice and help me hone my craft. I keep seeing all these ads on Facebook from successful entrepreneurial women who are making massive amounts of money from writing blogs, ebooks and conducting courses on how they achieved success. If they can do it, so can I!
  4. Spend more time with my family. Here I am going on and on about all my work plans that I almost forgot to mention the hubs and kiddos. It’s so important that I don’t get buried in my business that I start to neglect my family, so I’m committing here and now, on the world wide web, to spend at least 2-4 hours with them every day – preferably in the evenings, after work and before bed. It’ll be easier since I’ll be working from home.
  5. Create a passive income of $50K by the end of this year. At least one of these goals needed to be a hard and fast number, or you and I both know this whole exercise is just a waste of time. I’m committing to an exact income level and a deadline of December 31, 2016… Can I do it? We shall see! I’ll keep you posted on my progress right here on the blog, so check back for updates!

So what’s the meaning of “Bite the Bed Bugs”?

Since I launched this site yesterday, I’ve had several people ask me “what does ‘bite the bed bugs’ mean, anyway?” I’m glad this question has come up.

As you may recall from my about page and first post, I’m a wife and a mother, above all else. I’m proud to be the mom of 2 beautiful young ladies (twins!) and have spent the last decade raising them in a good home. We have a bedtime routine that started when they were newborns and has stuck ever since (which makes me really happy and which I’ll cherish for as long as I possibly can!) That routine consists of the following:

Step 1: Eat dessert (usually something healthy like a fruit cup). I know what you’re thinking: “you mean to tell me you give your kids sugar before bedtime?!” And to that I say, “YEP!” and I’m not afraid to do so. The whole “sugar-keeps-your-kids-awake” thing is just a myth anyway. When they have full bellies and their sweet tooth is satisfied, they go to bed happy, rest easier and sleep longer. That’s one of my parenting secrets and tips… you’re welcome.

Step 2: Brush teeth. A much needed step after the one above.

Step 3: Put on PJ’s. Hey, they gotta sleep comfortably, right?

Step 4: Read Scripture. I am proud to be a Christian mother, and my kids and I read a chapter of the Bible every single night before bed.

Step 5: Pray. This often comes before Step 4 as well. 🙂

Step 6: The tuck-in. Probably my favorite part of the whole night. I always say, “good night; sleep tight; don’t let the bed bugs bite” (a saying that my mom always said to me when I was a youngin’). After which, they try to weasel their way into staying up longer by asking questions like “Ma, what are bed bugs anyway? Will they really bite me? Does it hurt?”

My answer: not if you bite them first!

What do I mean by that? Well, I think most people would agree that bed bugs are irritating creatures. If you’ve never had a bed bug encounter, I hope you never do. I stayed in a hotel once and came home with what looked like a horrible rash all over my ankles and legs. I didn’t even know what it was at first. It got so bad I had to go to the doctor and get it checked out. Doc informed me that I had been bitten by bed bugs, and that the infestation may have likely spread to my own home as well. Needless to say, our house got a very deep cleaning, and it was no fun.

(You can learn more about symptoms of bed bug bites on WebMD, and I suggest doing so in case it ever happens to you. That way you’ll know what to look for. Also, the picture at the top of that page is pretty nasty… consider yourself warned.)

After going through that, I started relating all less-than-favorable circumstances in life to having a bed bugs episode. Some people say “when life hands you lemons, make lemonade.” I say, “don’t let life hand you lemons in the first place!” Or, “when life hands you bed bugs, bite them before they bite you!” In other words, don’t let unfavorable life circumstances happen. How do you do that? Simple: change your mindset so that even negative things are considered positive. Don’t give negativity a chance to keep you from smiling, even for one second! Keep a positive attitude and even the worst times in life won’t seem so bad. Those lemons will taste like sugar in your mouth! They’ll be so sweet, maybe your kids will be happy to eat them for dessert before bed. 😉

Which brings me back to that routine I was talking about…

Step 7: Goodnight kisses & lights out.

Welcome to my website!

Hey guys! Shae here… thanks for visiting my blog.

My friends and family have been begging me to start writing, so I decided to create this site as a means for me to express my thoughts to the world! I’m really excited to be doing this and hope you enjoy my musings!

For those of you that don’t know me and are just meeting me *virtually* for the first time, here’s an intro: I love all things related to home improvement, fashion, photography and parenting, so you can expect to find those topics and more scattered throughout these pages. (Speaking of “scattered”, FYI: I bring new meaning to the word scatterbrained.)

I’ll be writing more later, but just wanted to post a brief note to let you know what I’m up to… stay tuned for more soon. 🙂