You need to hang around people that are better than you. Here’s Five reasons why.

(All photos: Pixabay)
(All photos: Pixabay)

I recently heard a quote by actress Sandra Bullock that pertained to surrounding yourself with people who are ahead of you in life. This is for every area of life because the things that influence you can affect your career, family life, etc.  Here are some reasons why this saying is true and necessary.

You save yourself a lot of pain

People who have been places before you know the deal. Yes, it’s a fact that we humans have a curious nature, and like to learn things the hard way. But when we do learn we usually realize that those advising us were right?  If they are open to passing that wisdom onto you, don’t reject it. In fact, embrace it with both arms. Listen to them every now and then. Why go through unnecessary pain and disappointment due to ignorance. If you’re already aware of certain things, you’ll make better decisions thanks to words of wisdom from those that have been down that road already.

You’ll be ahead of the game

Taking heed to real words of wisdom will take you very far. For example if someone in your circle is good with money and advises you at a young age, you’ll develop great financial habits by the time you reach adulthood and won’t have to deal with being down and out with debt and bad money decisions. You’ll even be ahead than most people in your age group. That’s pretty awesome.


glass-300558_1280You’ll be better prepared for life’s curve balls

When (not if) adversity hits, nothing is more important to keep you afloat than strong social support. Your inner circle should consist of sensible mature people that want to see you get ahead.  Not only is there less drama in your life, but you’ll also be surrounded by level-headed people who will provide healthy support during tough times.When you get out of a traumatic situation, you’re in the process of building yourself up again so the words you hear can make or break your world. Being surrounded by naysayers usually means you’re surrounded by those who are fearful, insecure and envious. Don’t set yourself up for regression; surround yourself with those who want the best for you and will be honest with you whether you like it or not.

Your confidence will build

This is especially true if you listen to the advice of older people. Think about it; friends your age tend to say the craziest things – things that either get us in trouble or get us nowhere. Well this is likely to happen if they only know as much as you do. The company you keep will help build you up, particularly in the area of confidence. They’re not around you to tear you down, they want to make sure you progress and make wise decisions.

Healthy wisdom can come from the most unconventional places at times.

You don’t have to worry about your friends being threatened by you

To piggy-back off the previous reason, mature people who are well established in life have nothing to lose. They don’t mind seeing you move forward – that’s exactly what they want to see! They’re not threatened by your brightness, you drive or your knowledge. In fact, they celebrate those things about you and will root you on during hard times and when you’re on a quest to achieve something in life.

 On a personal note….

I’m not just writing this to meet a post quota for the week; I live by this information. I’ve learned over and over the importance of healthy social support. If you’re surrounded by people who are already established and understand your plight, you’ll go very far. They’re not around you to belittle you or your dreams. They want the best for you. This is true in many ways for me, even when I started my freelance writing business. If you have a vision or plan, healthy friendships are key!


What’s your experience with good or bad social support? Do you surround yourself with people who’ve been there and done that?

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But it Looks Like You Don’t Even Care|5 Ways You’re Ruining Your Professional Image

Among the many hats I wear is that of a full-time career woman. Over the past 15+ years I’ve seen things and people come and go. This includes rights and wrongs as far as moving up the career ladder. Nothing too complicated, but little things that go a long way. People have come to me with questions regarding their advancement ad why they don’t move up as fast as they think they should. Well, there are always different factors and situations that will affect one’s career, but here are 5 solid ones I think will always stand the test of time.

Basic CMYK
Why would you do this to yourself?

Always complaining without presenting solutions. There’s nothing that irritates a boss or manager more than that one employee who complains about the company’s problems, but doesn’t present a solution of some sort. Not that your boss expects you to turn the company around by yourself, but many of them welcome suggestions that may help with current problems in the office. Don’t assume that your voice won’t be heard. Come up with a well thought out plan that can help with a current problem and present it at the appropriate time with your boss or during a staff meeting. You’ll be surprised at the end result.

Your physical appearance. This is one of the most common ways people ruin their professional image….their appearance. It’s quite horrifying what people chose to wear especially when they work in a highly professional environment that deals with plenty of customer service. You’re the initial representation of your company or department. It doesn’t make sense to wear:

– sloppy jeans

– tight jeans

– low cut blouses

– halter tops

– flip flops

These items damage your credibility and decrease your chances of being taken seriously. Do you have to come in wearing Armani suits five days a weak? Absolutely not. It doesn’t take an expensive wardrobe to be presentable everyday, especially if your office is business/casual. Some folks take this granted and become too comfortable with the “casual” part. Wearing a decent cut blouse and slacks will do the trick.

Here’s a useful link on office attire tips that won’t bust your budget: Perfect Your Professional Image at Work

Source: Pixabay photos
Source: Pixabay photos

Wearing your emotions for the world to see. There are many types of personalities in the average office environment. People come from different types of backgrounds and upbringings that may or may not mesh well in a professional environment. Additionally, some days at work are just awful and you’re ready for it to end already. While it’s normal to have such days and things don’t always go your way, it’s so important not to let your emotions control you and your reaction to the un-pleasantries of office life. Walking around with a frown or sitting at a staff meeting with your arms crossed and face turned up will get you absolutely nowhere. And don’t think your boss doesn’t notice because they don’t say anything.

In actuality, they do notice and make note of it.

It’s not a good look and it just shows you’re incapable of handling certain responsibilities, making management less likely to rely on you. Well if they can’t rely on you then your chances of getting that promotion are pretty much shot. It’s better to take a moment away from everyone and put your emotions in check. Whether it’s in a bathroom stall or venting to someone during lunch break, it’s better than walking around announcing to everyone how ticked off or disappointed you are about something. Keep it professional and make sure you do what’s expected of you…with a smile. It’s easier said than done, but it’s possible.

man-311326_1280Not giving your best. It’s funny how those who do the bare minimum of their responsibilities are always the ones looking for praise and accolades. All they did was their job (barely) and they didn’t even bother to go above and beyond. If you’re looking to stand out from everyone else, you have to give management numerous reasons to have confidence in you and what you deliver because at the end of the day, your work speaks for you. Doing the bare minimum and expecting rewards for just showing up to work won’t cut it. Paying attention to detail, reviewing your work before submitting and performing quality assurance are habits that will make you stand out in the crowd – especially if you have decent management. Have pride in your work and interactions with people. Believe it or not you’re building a brand of yourself and want it to be as effective as possible.

Now, this doesn’t mean slaving away and being treated like a doormat. Know your worth and be smart about what you produce. It’s important to not only be on the grind, but to give yourself credit for it as well. If you’ve created a new form or an effective way of doing things in your office, keep track of that as a kudos to yourself and update it on your resume. If the time comes for you to ask for a promotion or salary increase, you’ll have solid reasons for management to consider (if that doesn’t work out, there are other companies who just might appreciate your accomplishments!)


Getting caught up in office drama. Another big turn off for other co-workers and management is the office gossip. They can’t wait to spread the latest rumor (or start it) and get in everyone’s business. It’s unprofessional and makes you look unproductive and horrible at your job. It doesn’t matter if it’s a corporate setting, beauty salon or mechanical shop. Gossiping at the job starts nothing but trouble and at the end of the day does damage to your image. It shows that you have little to no work ethic and can’t be productive when needed. Plus, you’ll be surprised at how aware management is of office gossip, who started it and who keeps it going. The last thing you want is for them to see you that way or to categorize you as a gossip. It’s one thing to be aware of it and something else to be caught in the middle of it. Avoid those who come around to run their mouths. Don’t encourage conversation with them and make it clear that you’re not interested. Keep a low profile and stay productive!

Are you frustrated in your current job? Have you thought about your next move? Ask and share right here in the comments!

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My Experience with Low-Paying Content Mills


For the most part, every Freelance Writer’s journey begins with low-end paying jobs.  I don’t think mine is any different, especially since I was feeling my way around the dark the first few months of my freelance adventure. Like many others starting out, I stumbled across sites such as ELance and ODesk to get writing gigs and increase my exposure. So what was it like? Was it beneficial? I’ll attempt to answer those questions and more…

In the beginning I was totally unaware of how the freelance writer world works. All I knew was I was eager to get work and prove my writing skills to clients. I came across multiple articles that this field of work is not for the faint of heart and starts out very slow, so I didn’t mind when I came across my first few writing gigs that paid me between $5 and $10 for several hundred words. After setting up my profile on a couple of sites, I searched around and saw that other writers were setting their rates, based on their quality of writing and experience. I wasn’t near their level yet and looked at other profiles that were starting as low as $2 each article! I was ready to start low, but knew right then and there I had to limit how low I would actually start. After a few days of signing up and bidding for jobs, I was able to land a couple of ghost writing, copywriting and content jobs. This lasted for maybe three months before I was ready to throw in the towel.

Why I quit content mills              

Besides the obvious low rates, I felt I wasn’t gaining the experience I needed to stand out as a freelance writer, so I didn’t want to make it something I was doing for an extended amount of time. To be honest, I get more out of blogging and contributing writer assignments that have no pay than doing work for a content mill. Others are getting credit for my work that I put a good amount of research and effort into. I don’t see that as an effective way to build my own individual brand. After a few months, I walked away from it entirely and sought other ways to make money off of writing.

Don't expect huge payouts right away. Source: Pixabay photos
Don’t expect huge payouts right away. Source: Pixabay photos

Has “free work” gotten me anywhere?

Absolutely. For several reasons:

I venture out beyond content writing mills. This includes subscribing to other freelance writing job sites and improving my profile on Linked In. Not only do I flex through social media, I make sure I reach out to friends and family regarding my services. In fact, one of my first paying clients came through a referral of a friend. It was also my biggest payout I’ve made since starting out as a Freelance Writer.

I continue to work on my craft. Blogging and contributor writer gigs definitely help me develop my brand and challenge my focus. I interact effectively with other writers and bloggers who are going through the same thing as me. I get great tips and advice on how I can improve my exposure and build for future clientele. Even though there’s no pay yet, I have no regrets at this point.

I know my patience will pay off. I was warned several times that freelance writing starts out slow, especially if you’re looking to make money, so I focus on cultivating and building strong relationships that will pay off down the road. What makes it easier to deal with is that I enjoy what I write about. There are topics that I’m passionate about and love to research and share with the appropriate audience. Such things kill the time as my revenue builds up.

Everyone is different

My own journey and experience caused me to drop the whole content mill arena. It wasn’t my cup of tea and I didn’t see significant pay that I thought I should be getting, especially for the type of work I was submitting. I made a total of $70 over the few months I did content mills. My first client I got through referral from a friend was  at least twice that amount for half the work. So it’s up to others as how they want to value their time as they pursue profit from writing. Take your focus, goals and self-worth into consideration when deciding whether to do content mill writing.

What about you, do you have your own experience with content mills? How was it? Would you recommend to those starting out?


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Head Start on Thanksgiving| 10 Things I’m Thankful for


For my participation in DC Ladies’ Blogtober Event, I’m sharing some things I’m thankful for. Besides, it’s good to sit down and reflect on certain things that have happened to you and why. There’s nothing like eye opening insight, folks!

  1. Another year of living beyond mere existence.
  2. Loved ones – not because they’re family, but because they actually care about me. The love is not out of family obligation. Hallelujah for that type of love.
  3. Improved ability to express myself
  4. Crappy co-workers – they really teach you how to build character.
  5. New friends – networking rocks!
  6. “Mah boo” – thanks for being so understanding!
  7. Twitter – it must be a cold day in hell…that’s all I can say.
  8. My weird sense of humor and those who get it.
  9. Being more than a survivor.
  10. More than one option to commute to work.

If this list wasn’t too lame or made you think, I also have one about things I learned after moving out of mom’s house. Check it out and let me know what you think!


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First Five Steps: Important things to Know as a “Baby” Blogger

Photos source: Pixabay
Photos source: Pixabay

The past several months of engaging in blogging have been quite interesting. I’ve learned an extreme amount of useful information and developed some great connections. One of the things I’ve learned is the concept of paying it forward; helping others along the way as I was helped in the beginning. So without further delay, here are 5 important steps every new blogger needs to know (shout out to DC Ladies who are hosting Blogtober this month!):

Get acquainted with social media asap

If you already know your way around the twitters and facebooks, you should be good to go. If you aren’t get knowledgeable as soon as possible. You don’t need an account for every website out there, but you should find the outlets that work best for you, your niche and your audience. Some of the solid ones to start out with are Linkedin, Facebook and Google+ ( depending on your niche others such as Instagram and Tumbler may be more appropriate; i.e. photo blogs). They are filled with endless types of communities that can be a stepping stone to building your audience. You’ll also find folks that are willing to share a plethora of knowledge on building a website and becoming an effective blogger.

Find your audience = finding your voice

There’s no point in logging onto your website every day to write posts if you don’t know who you’re writing to. Why did you decide to start a blog? Who do you want to reach? These are just a couple of questions you need to ask yourself when starting out. From there, it will be easier to build and make the right connections. Once you identify your audience, it becomes much easier to develop topics and posts that will gain interest. It may be kind of slow at first, but consistency and persistence will definitely pay off. As your audience is defined, your voice will continue to develop for the better. As this is happening, you’re not just gaining an audience, but you’re building a solid relationship with them, which is important in the blogging world. You’re not only building your voice from posting, but from interacting with audience as well. Answer their comments; start discussions with them – this will help you develop your vision and voice as a blogger.

Familiarize yourself with SEO knowledge, but don’t obsess over it.

As a new blogger, you’ll come across overwhelming amounts of information – especially SEO tips and tricks. While this is helpful, knowing the basics should suffice for your blog. If you get too into it, you’ll spend an endless amount of hours reading site after site about SEO tips when you could be using that time to develop your blog. You won’t be able to obtain that much information overnight. It comes with time and experience. Google AdWords is an excellent place to start to find keywords to use in your writing. This is especially effective once your audience has been defined.

Google has great apps for new bloggers to get acquainted to their new role.
Google has great apps for new bloggers to get acquainted to their new role.

Hook up with writers who aren’t afraid to share information.

Yes, there are writers and bloggers out there who are willing to lend a helping hand. Twitter is a great way to hook up with blogging communities. If you need additional help starting out, check out writing sites like HubPages, Problogger and Facebook. These sites are filled with blogger and writing communities that will provide tips to get started as a great blogger. The ones who have been around for a minute obviously know what they’re talking about! Here are a couple I would suggest:

If you’re serious about blogging and becoming a good writer, these sites provide excellent information and folks aren’t hesitant to share what works.

Blogging is easy. Sites such as WordPress offer easy to follow steps.
Blogging is easy. Sites such as WordPress offer easy to follow steps.

Don’t overlook original networking – face to face

This is one step that continues to help me again and again. The best relationships are made face to face, in my opinion. In today’s world of internet interaction, physical interaction is not as popular, but it’s very effective. One of the best decisions I made as a young blogger is join a networking group. Taking this step is extremely beneficial; you’ll be surprised at how many people have the same drive and vision as you. They’re also willing to share their experience and information with you which is great advice. You’ll find people who need guest bloggers – which is another great way to build your blog, you’ll also find people who will direct you to avenues that can make you money and so on. The opportunities that stem from networking are endless.

Are you new to blogging? How has your experience been so far?

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A Real Look at the Writer Within


Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works. – Virginia Woolfe

After reading tons of blog posts and articles, one has to step away from all of that and check out the writer in the mirror sometimes. “What is my purpose”? “Why am I here”? Those questions tend to come to mind time to time and lately, there’s been a real pressing to answer those questions.

An answer has finally been reached

But it didn’t come easily….. some serious searching and acceptance of a few things took place; one being the love and gift I have of writing. I’m not putting myself on a pedestal by saying that. Anyone can write if you ask me. But the point of me making such a statement is because writing is something that’s been embraced for years. It’s served as an avenue of escape and refuge. It’s earned adoration from friends, teachers and families alike. But there is more to it than that. A lot more.

What’s the purpose?

Any gift or talent we have is for a reason. It’s not for us to sit on our whole lives and not share in some type of way, no matter how unique it may be. In fact, it’s that uniqueness that makes it necessary to share, believe it or not. Writing has so many purposes intertwined and my own writing is no exception. This writer has a story to tell. A story with a specified purposes that will help others and let them know they can be set free. As a writer with a story to tell, a responsibility lies within that continues to grow more and more everyday. It has come to the point where it can no longer be contained or stay quiet.

The story involves pain, reality and reflecting. It speaks of a journey that many can relate to but choose not to speak about for one reason for another. Through the channel of literature, this writer will describe this journey and give readers insight, awareness and even hope.

The realization

It wasn’t easy for the writer to get to this point, especially since the intent is not to get huge Twitter followers or make money. It was about a need to release; a need to put this story together and share with anyone who will listen. This writer is used to dealing with things and moving on to the next – not telling a story. So there are feelings of excitement, anxiety, fear and curiosity because this is something the writer has no control over. She’s just letting things take their course, which is one of the hardest things she’s ever done…letting go.


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Chronicles of a Freelance Newbie: The Importance of Networking

Sharing = Caring
Sharing = Caring

As indicated by the button on the left side of my blog page, I’m part of a networking group. This organization is designed for independent business women trying to make their mark in the world. There are women with all kinds of backgrounds who are a part of the group. I’ve attended a few meetings and every time has been a rewarding experience. No one is hesitatant to provide guidance or advice on how to market your brand and work your away around social media. It really is a group of unique women who are willing to share.

This whole social media thing

I’m no stranger to the internet, but some avenues of it leave me slightly skeptical. After ending my relationship with Facebook after 5 years, I opened an account with Google and have been on there for a while now. I recently joined Linkedin, but haven’t really made my rounds there yet. I was highly encouraged by the group to get  back on Facebook especially because it’s the nucleus of their organization, which is understandable and makes perfect sense. My previous encounter with Facebook made me tired of the personal ads, obnoxious friend requests and annoying privacy changes. When I first joined Facebook, it wasn’t with any real purpose; it was something everyone else was doing and it was a way to reconnect with folks you hadn’t seen since high school…well I’m pretty much over that now – next! After a few years went by all communication pretty much stopped between me and my contacts. If I really wanted to talk to I would call or text….and I didn’t care about your current status talking about eating a cheese sandwich while in the bathroom. Who cares?

Now, the purpose has been re-visited and re-defined. I haven’t gotten back on Facebook yet (one step at a time folks), but I feel a LOT more comfortable going back in with a business approach. This means fresh new contacts and a healthy way of networking, at least that’s what I’m hoping for. In the meantime, don’t get me started on Ello! I’m still trying to get comfortable with Facebook and Twitter! Well, I’ll ponder on it for a second: Do I think it will blow Facebook out of the water? Not really. Just from glancing around the site it doesn’t seem as feasible to navigate as Facebook. For example, those small circular pictures can get annoying – how are you supposed to recognize the faces or objects? Maybe it looks better on mobile phone. I haven’t read much about it so that’s pretty much all I have to say about it for now.

Learning the art of “paying it forward”

Because I’ve been introduced to the world of sharing (and caring), it only leaves me with the duty to be the same towards people who are not as knowledgeable as me in this journey of freelance and social media. The information I’ve learned at this point has really taken me places, all because people were willing to share and help me along the way. The advice they give is priceless; not just from Femworking but from other networks I’m currently a part of, such as Hub Pages (shout out to Billy Buc!) and Google. The great friendships I’ve built thus far encourage me to actually take time and build my online profiles with quality, instead of just rushing to put my information out there for the sake of numerous visits. I’m doing it because I actually look forward to working with and helping people. Why are you doing it?

Is it worth joining these types of networks?

Absolutely. Even if it’s just a few bucks a month, it’s well worth the investment. You’re not only investing in your business, you’re also investing in people which is a must in this line of work. The connections are endless, and the time is well spent. Because of networking, I’ve gotten clients for the line of work I wasn’t even planning on doing. But since I’m skilled at it, I don’t mind exploring and expounding in that area. Well what is it, you may ask? Stay tuned and find out!

In the meantime, I can be reached on LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest and Hub Pages. Stop by and say hello….you may never know how it might turn out! : )

Here are some recent thoughts I shared on Hub Pages:

Some really cool family info I just came across.

A new day at the “spa”.

Remember: sharing is caring!



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