The Way Old Stuff

The Way Old Stuff

I had a semi-productive day today. I got work done for a couple of clients, put together a newsletter, and watched some speed skating!

Around 4 pm I was really feeling the lack of grown-up conversation and gave my BFF a call at work. I’m jealous that she can keep getting paid while I bug her on the phone, lol, and she probably wishes she could work in her pj’s! Despite the whole grass is the greener thing though, today I gave a lot of thought to the fact of how hard it is to work alone so much of the time. I’m pretty sure that over time I will get out to work more, but essentially I don’t see my business ever leading me to be a super social person. Most of my work requires me to really concentrate while at my computer, which doesn’t exactly lead to conversations even if you are working at Starbucks, but you have to start finishing the work learn more about it at http://www.laurierunslife.com/you-have-to-start-to-finish/

The Way Old Stuff

Sometimes I’m super grateful for the chance to work alone. I used to hate being interrupted at work by a chatty colleague right when I was getting down to business. But on the other hand, sometimes I loved having someone to share things with, both work and personal. So now, while I have plenty of online interaction opportunities, I miss working with other people. I miss conversations that are NOT about Mario, Luigi, or any other character in a Wii Mario Bros. game. I miss grabbing a quick coffee during a break, instead of having my toddler beg for a sip of my instant decaf. I think next year when two kids are in school I’m going to have to work harder at getting out of the house!!

You Have to Start to Finish

You Have to Start to Finish

Do you know how you finish something big? You have to Just Start! In between start and finish are a bunch of steps – simple, put one foot in front of the other, steps.

In September I’m running my first half-marathon. It’s a big goal for me, and a great race to finish off a year of athletic firsts. I won’t be super fast, but I sure as heck will be a lot fitter than I was last year at the same time. Actually, it was last fall that I decided I was done with being overweight and unfit, so it is particularly fitting that my half-marathon is in this year in the fall. Like a one-year celebration of a changed me! learn more about how old stuff works by clicking here

You Have to Start to Finish

I have had people in my life ask me how I fit in so much exercise into my busy schedule. Or friends who “wish” they could run or whatever but they just don’t have the time. We all have 24 hours in a day people I want to yell at them. I’m busy, who isn’t? But we also all prioritize differently.

It’s your choice to not find time to exercise or to choose something else that is important to you to spend your time on, but I actually find it almost insulting when people say they just don’t have time – I think I take it too personally, but I feel like they are saying they are too important to make time for the things I make time for. Probably because I feel a little lacking in being “at home” all the time, even though *I* know how full my days are with my work, my boys, etc. Anyway, my favorite response and tip to those who say they don’t know how to start or they don’t have time is to take just 10 minutes and get out and do something active. If I run for 10 minutes, I usually realize I can keep on going for another 20 or more. Starting is the hardest step, but to get to your goal, your finish line, you just need to start and then keep going!

Stepping Stepping Stepping

Stepping Stepping Stepping

Today marks my seventh day in a row of hitting my step goal of 10,000 steps! My S-Health graph looks so pretty with all those gold medals, doesn’t it? I’m feeling pretty good about this and considering that in the past several months I’ve averaged closer to 5000 steps a day, it’s definitely a step in the right direction. I’ve also slowly started adding in some strength training – just some free weights and some push-ups, but it’s a start and in about another week I think I’ll be ready to really focus on that. I just have to really have the step thing to become routine first.

Stepping Stepping Stepping

Overall, I feel like I’m on my way to a truly healthy lifestyle change. I’ve switched to having hot water in place of most of my daily coffee (just a couple of lattes a week now), I’m getting this step thing going (I want to up my daily step goal eventually, but I’m definitely getting the 10,000 for now), and I’m even starting to run again.

It isn’t easy to make lifestyle changes that will stick – but I’m going to keep working hard at it!

Five Years of Working at Home

Five Years of Working at Home

I haven’t been talking all that much on my blog lately about my work. Mostly because it’s actually been going pretty smoothly! It has been a lot easier with the little one getting older – having him at school two days a week doesn’t hurt either! While I’d probably stop working if I won a lottery or something, most days I count myself awfully lucky to own my business and to be able to provide assistance to some really great clients.learn more about filing tax returns for your business at http://www.laurierunslife.com/fixed-asset-management-for-small-business/

This fall was my five year business anniversary. I meant to blog about that, but I only managed a post on my actual business blog, not the personal one here I intended to share. Well, it’s a couple of months late now, but it seems like a great time to share the ups and downs of having a work-at-home paralegal business.

Year one of being a virtual paralegal was HARD. Yep, super hard. I had a little boy in grade one, a 4.5-year-old and a 1-year-old. I had a husband who worked crazy hours and was not around much and I had a lot to figure out in the self-employment arena. I had next to no clients at first though, so while I had no income at least I also had time to figure everything out. And I was very lucky as my husband was (and IS) incredibly supportive and knew that it would take time for me to make any real income from my new business.

Five Years of Working at Home

By year two I was starting to have clients, but maybe not the right kind of clients. They were great people and the work was interesting, but despite all the advice I had heard about defining my client, I kept accepting clients who did work out of my area of expertise and preference. I did some freelance writing, I helped with blog maintenance, I spent a pile of time on Twitter and other social media. I had maybe two lawyer clients on my roster! I was growing and I was gaining some skills that helped though – so I wouldn’t say it’s completely wrong to take on those projects out of your comfort zone. Just be careful you don’t stray too far from what you really want to be doing.

By the third year in business, I was really starting to get into the groove. I gained several lawyer clients in this time frame, many of them referrals from my first couple of lawyers. If you do good work referrals can really be the lifeblood of your growth. I upgraded some of my equipment and sent a second child off to school. I lost a couple of early clients, either because we agreed that they needed someone in their field or because they stopped working themselves (or at least they stopped working FOR themselves, at least one left solo practice to go big law).

Year four – wow, honestly that was when it all started to blend together a little bit. My days consisted of trying to fit work around naps and school bell schedules and after-school activities. I think I worked a fair number of nights that year as the daytime hours were hopelessly scattered and hard to work with. I started counting down to the “baby” going to kindergarten but delayed it by a year because he just wasn’t ready, no matter how much I wanted him to be. Preschool is not the help to a warm that you might hope it would be, there are too many helper days and field trips and school “holidays” to count on any kind of consistency in your work schedule.

Year five, this was definitely the best year my business has had so far, although I like to think year six will top it! I made more money, I really worked on updating some of my skills by attending some training and seminars. I actually met several of my clients in person! And the end of year five-hit just as the baby finally really did go to kindergarten. I’m at the place I was working towards when I first decided to try this wahm thing. Having time for my kids, knowing I can pick them up from school if they are sick, and being able to go on an occasional field trip, but still showing them the example of life with a mom with a career she cares about.

Reflecting on the past five years really makes me think about where the next five years are going to lead me. I’m not sure if I want to grow my business (maybe take on contractors although I have flirted with that idea and it was NOT successful. At.all.) or if I want to just enjoy it as it is. I do know that I have no desire to go back to working in-house for a lawyer/law firm. I love the flexibility and the variety that this way of working offers me. I know there will be changes – that is just part of life, isn’t it? But I sure am going to enjoy the ride in the meantime