It’s been over 9 months since I said “don’t call me this winter” to my old boss who was none too happy even though I had given him more than 2 month’s notice of resignation. I was running a motel at the time after dealing with a broken my leg, found someone to cover for me for a couple of days while I was literally “grounded” like a beached whale on the side of the road where I had fallen. I managed that motel from a wheelchair, while learning to walk again, on crutches and with a cane. I managed that motel through pulled muscles, strained ankles, and over-sized tumors while hemorrhaging 2 years prior. I was overdue for a vacation and had saved my money.
Since then, I have traveled through Alberta and Saskatchewan, which was not what I had in mind when I thought of spending my winter vacation, but winter hit on my last day of work, with freezing rain. I had things to do and places to go, and misadventures awaiting me. Vehicular breakdowns meant my savings were dwindling and the rising cost of gas did not help my plight. But I made the dollar stretch as far as it would go.
Here are some of the ways I saved money and still had my cake and ate it too.
I stayed with family over the holidays.
I pet and house sat for almost 3 months in Wetaskiwin.
I bartered web design for a week at a retreat.
I purchased a $500 motor home so I could live in it through spring, summer and fall (who knew it snowed in spring? Brrrrhhh!)
I bartered web design services for mechanical work on the motor home.
I bartered an older, motor home in worst condition for roof repair on the better motor home.
I thought I was working for a renovation company, however, next thing I knew, I had been talked into selling chocolate for a “good cause” door to door. I lost 15 pounds. I made $75, then $40, then $20, then another $20 then decided that with the rainy season my chocolate selling days were over.
I did research for someone who was looking for work. I made $40 plus free coffee. For more advice on self employment, I also got free dinner. Who says men can’t buy dinner?
I took up photography. It turns out, if you have a theme, people find it interesting and the more you put your name out there the more you get work. At first, I received $20, then another client for $20, the next one after that was a tango teacher and her student for $40, then a 5k race for $140, then a daycare center franchise for $450. Not much but each time the price increased. Of course, the cost of gas kept increasing as well taking a bite of my profits.
Is that all? You might ask?
No, I completed my homework for the Real Estate Broker’s exams. I studied, took exams, passed some and failed some, having to retest, study some more and retest, every time it cost more and more.
I worked on my writing, my poetry and my photography and redesigning my websites.
I have a house I purchased as an investment that needed renovations and worked on it some.
I posted items for sale, the most frustrating is the fake buyers. I have little patience for scammers.
I also design websites. After failed attempts at getting PAYING customers, I decided to focus on my own projects instead. Without funding, I had more time than money and they are starting to look like a good investment again.
I accepted a position for Front Office Manager for a large hotel chain, one of the employees was suffering from mental illness and gave me quite an entertaining temper tantrum or two or three. With all of the responsibility and no authority to fire we were at an impasse. Either I go or she does. Needless to say, the next day, unemployed I read an article on a company I had applied as a property manager but did not get the job where their current property manager’s throat was slit by a crazed tenant. Workplace violence is alive and well. The beauty of multiple income streams is being able to walk away from dangerous situations. I have no regrets. My previous boss might regret his decision as he kept the problem child and got rid of the wrong person. But, oh well, I was overqualified anyways. I can be intimidating to insecure managers with problematic departments when I give advice on how to improve revenue, cut costs, you know, just be myself. ; )
The next day I was invited to participate in the City of 100 Artist Auction and art exhibit. I also volunteered to help the organizer set up the auction. I will be submitting 5 pieces for the auction. How cool is that?
The point of this article and future articles is that by having an eclectic background and continuing your education as well as developing skills while enjoying your hobbies, you can survive and thrive during stressful conditions. Sometimes, the ladder is crooked and the glass ceiling is not worth fighting over. Become the CEO of your own dreams and businesses. Freelancing is fun! Networking is about making personal connections with like minded people who encourage your dreams and with whom you can help in return.
As for my old bosses, they are still sore I left. They leased the entire motel to a 3rd party. It’s an idea, not a good idea, but one that buys them time.
I have people waiting for me to become a real estate broker. However, I want to offer more than the average company, so I’m working on getting a mortgage broker’s license too so I can solve lending problems plaguing small towns. I have potential clients even before I launch my business. My property management skills are a little unorthodox and for some, scary, but have worked better than my competitors. Anyways, I’m prettier and more fun than they are. At least, that was my response when the owners of the motel asked me why the insurance adjuster cooperated with me and not them. We both laughed…I would not win any beauty contests.
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NEXT: Timothy Ferris – 4 Hour Work Week
NEXT: Penelope Trunk – Work, Sex, Aspberger, Farmers, Homeschooling and what else we have in common.