Monday, July 29, 2019

Making Ends Meet: Every Day I'm Hustlin'

I am a hustlin' fool these days. I have been attempting to pull myself up by my bootstraps for over five years. While I have met several milestones, I'm not nearly as far as I'd hoped. I'll try one thing for a while, then another thing for another while, then yet another thing. Nothing has ever seemed to be enough. 

I tried to go back to school to be a therapist and that was sabotaged by divorce drama. SO much drama.

I tried a few traditional jobs and that blew up in my face with scary abusive bosses and general bullshit that was SOOPER tRiGgErInG and threatened my mental health. NOPE.

I accidentally started a housecleaning business out of desperation and rolled with that for about three years, until I was ready to drop dead from exhaustion (and lack of air conditioning in my van in Florida for the third summer in a row).

Then I went back to school again, that time with a plan that had small incremental steps that included a 1 year certificate followed by a 2 year AS degree, then a bachelor's (or beyond). This was to ensure progress in my employability while working my way toward a business degree that would help me expand my housecleaning business. The plan was rock solid, right? What could go wrong???

Welp, I finished the pretty useless 2 year degree (with a 4.0, thank you very much!) but now I'm kind of stuck with that one for the foreseeable future because of several pricey car repairs that had to happen (air conditioning -- WORTH IT). My financial assistance ran out about a year earlier than expected and it's up to me and me alone to makes ends meet now. I'm kind of freaking out about it. I NEED AN ADULT!!! Wait. I AM the adult. Shit.

Now, I do have a day job. I transitioned from housecleaning to bookkeeping after I restarted school, a job that ended up being the business internship that was required for my degree. Low-paying, but kind of beyond my qualifications, too, so I accepted the low pay in exchange for OTJ training.

My boss. Bless her heart, she has been so patient with me. She took me under her wing and has served as my accounting mentor for almost a year now. I know I've frustrated the fuck out of her on more than one occasion, and I've screwed up a few times so spectacularly that it had me in tears feeling like a giant fuckup. But still she puts up with me; still she sees my progress and my potential. 

All of that said, the firm is a startup still in its toddlerhood, and there's just not enough money or enough clients to give me the hours and pay that I need to make ends meet yet. In a few days I'm going to drain my savings account to pay the rent. I'm officially in crisis mode.

I can't leave that job. I just can't. It has way too much potential and I am lucky to have the job in the first place, considering my lack of accounting experience or even education beyond my own very simple personal finances. My boss is flexible in a way that accommodates my needs as a single mother (appointments, sickness, etc.). The environment is low stress (and the job is, too; maybe not for Boss Lady, but compared to the rest of my life it's like a day at the spa). This job is a really really really good fit for me, and has the very real potential for becoming a very lucrative career for me. Or if nothing else, a big fat pad for my resume, should shit hit the fan.

I spent several weeks searching job listings, trying to find another part-time job to help me make up one full-time income, but there was nothing that fit my needs (or desires). Nothing that was worth giving up what I have. 

So what's a mama to do? HUSTLE!

One thing I know I'm good at is starting a business. I did it by accident before and now I'm doing it on purpose, times two. I've decided to go full-force with not one but TWO side businesses that I've been dreaming of for over a decade, both of which I've attempted in the past, and both of which never went anywhere because I had five young children at home driving me crazy on the daily.

So I've opened a new Etsy shop to sell hand-knit wool diaper covers (something I have made 30+ of over the years cloth-diapering my children), and I'm working on breaking into the freelance writing world and monetizing my newest blog (this one, obvs. The other five or so are defunct and/or obsolete at this point!). Both ventures are risky. Both take a lot of work to get up and running, and to maintain in order to become profitable. But hey, I just finished a whole year of going to school full time while working part time AND mothering five children. I've got tons of time and energy on my hands now! (ha.ha.ha.)

No really. I have spent several weeks researching two different industries and making lists of shit I need to do, and (get this) DOING IT. I'm so proud of myself! That was the problem in the past with these dreams; when it came down to it, all the work that needed to be done in order to make it anything beyond a hobby was just too overwhelming and I would scrap the whole project. Well, it's amazing what a little bit (or a lot) of desperation will do for your motivation!

So here I am, flexing my writing muscles in between furiously knitting yet another adorable soaker while listening to how-to podcasts, and whoring my side gigs on Facebook. I'm sure I have months of uphill work ahead of me but dammit, I'm not giving up this time! Mama's got bills to pay!

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