Category

Career

Blogging Career Finance

HOW I EARNED OVER $1000 WITHIN 3 MONTHS OF BLOGGING

December 22, 2017

It’s funny to think that just a few months ago I was reading up on blogging and how people monetize their blog. At the time, I was a huge skeptic. It sounded way too good to be true but I was still slightly intrigued. After a significant amount of research, I decided the potential reward was worth the risk and it was a small enough investment that I didn’t need to worry if it was a big hoax.

I read many posts from big time bloggers who said to be prepared to wait a while until you make any money and don’t give up. It could happen in one month or it could take a year. One thing to keep in mind is that when you treat your blog like a business rather than a hobby you tend to get more out of it. What you put into it is what you will get out of it. I was a bit nervous about this because I work full time in IT and I’m a new mom so when am I going to find the time?

The reason I got into blogging was to try and make extra money to set aside for my son, Axel. Daycare and other expenses have been overwhelming and there isn’t much leftover to save. I want to be able to give him a good future and help him with college tuition. I told my husband, Andrew, about my intent and ideas to make sure he was on board. He thought it was a great idea but warned that I have very little free time now and I have to remember to balance everything.

I launched my blog on October 1st, 2017. It was difficult to not desire to spend most of my free time working on it because it was building momentum quickly and I was very passionate about my topics. Another pattern I found in reading other big bloggers was to focus on your niche and be authentic, so that’s what I did. Naturally, my niche became motherhood and all its rewards and struggles. I tried my best to be real and document everything that I thought would be helpful for a new mom. I started to gain a decent following and received lots of great feedback.

I don’t intend on consistently posting income reports. A lot of full time bloggers do but this is just my side hustle and I wanted to share the exciting news of the great earning potential. If you are looking for a different kind of side hustle you could also consider starting an Etsy shop. Check out our page about how we started our Etsy shop where we sell vintage and handmade items within the U.S.

I still remember exactly how I felt in the moment of receiving the first deposit of money IN MY BANK ACCOUNT. The earning potential is real! It wasn’t a hoax! One thing people don’t realize about blogging is that it’s a ton of work. It’s fun and exciting work but it is a lot of work. I spend a lot of time brainstorming ideas, creating an outline, writing the post, capturing great pictures that will help tell my story, promoting my work on social media and networking to get my name out there. When I saw the first deposit in my account, I thought about all the long hours I spent researching and trying to get myself noticed and it finally worked. Such a great feeling!

A common question I get is – How do you make money blogging? I wondered this at first too and I probably read dozens of other posts that answered this question. Every blogger’s strategy is a little different but here is my breakdown and exactly what has worked for me:

My Sources of Income:

  1. Social Media Marketing Consulting
  2. Guest Posts (writing articles for other companies)
  3. Web Design Consulting
  4. Product Reviews
  5. Ad Revenue (Google Adsense)
  6. Affiliate Marketing (promoting products or services and customers buy through my links)

I do have a Business Management & Marketing Bachelors degree and a Masters in Business Administration which helps my skill set but I really don’t think you need a bunch of “fancy” degrees in order to be of value and make money. So, if you are reading this and worried that you don’t have enough college background – don’t worry. You can learn SO MANY THINGS on the internet nowadays. If you want to learn some marketing techniques then get on your computer and start researching. Follow me on Pinterest where I have tons of amazing boards and resources from my website and other big bloggers that I follow.

Some of these opportunities came from me reaching out to people via social media and directing them to my Contact Me/Hire Me page so they could see if my skills aligned with what they needed. Other opportunities came from people reaching out to me through my social media or website. My biggest money making opportunities originated from Instagram. Check out my Instagram account to see the strategies I use. I usually start by checking out a company’s Instagram account and getting to know some things through that. Then I direct message them with a quick introduction of myself and what I have to offer. You can also check out some of my guest post articles by visiting Wawita Baby Product’s blog.

Along with the money I have earned, I have also received over $100 retail value worth of free products! Companies will send me products they are launching so that I can review them and create a blog post to talk about my experience using it. I have received a baby scale, pacifiers, teethers, bottles and a breastpump. Check out my recent posts where I reviewed a baby scale and a baby bottle.

Three months into blogging and I earned over $1000. If you would have asked me about my earning potential a few months ago, I would have guessed maybe $50? I really had no idea until I put myself out there and tried different strategies. It has been so much fun to earn money doing things I love! If I can earn this doing it on the side with a full time job, imagine what you could do if you did this full time. I really enjoy my career in IT and I’m working hard to achieve my career goals. I also like the security of a consistent paycheck and good health benefits which is why I don’t intend to transition to blogging full time. A lot of people do, and they love it! I am now on month five on my blogging and have earned over $2100! Like – actual money IN MY BANK.

If you are reading this post and feeling skeptical yet intrigued like I once was, please feel free to reach out to through my contact form or any of my social medias if you have more specific questions. I have helped four people start the process or launch their own website and it feels good to make believers out of people. You can make money if you put in the effort and it’s a ton of fun.

I have an entire page dedicated to How to Start a Blog so be sure to check it out. I use Bluehost for my hosting service which has worked well for me and many of the big bloggers I follow use this too. Use my link to get a special, discounted offer on hosting services. If you are about to take that next step of starting a blog then good luck to you! Put in the effort and be authentic and you will do great.

BEST OF LUCK!

This post may contain affiliate links meaning I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only promote products that I have personally used myself or believe in. Please see my Policies tab for more details.

Career Compassion Faith

WHAT DOES IT REALLY MEAN TO TAKE A LEAP OF FAITH?

November 19, 2017

My Faith Background:

I decided I believed in God around age 15 with some influence from my parents. It seemed like a good thing at the time and it felt right. When I went to college, I started to feel overwhelmed when I learned about many other beliefs. It made me doubt my own. I left my small town with population of around 4k and continued to move to bigger and bigger cities throughout my twenties. During that time I met many different types of people when many different beliefs. Who is right?

Later in life I decided it’s not about who is right or wrong. It’s about accepting all and loving them for who they are. I shared these thoughts this week with one of my non-Christian friends and she shouted, “ can I get an Amen!” I thought that was cute. 😊 It’s nice when I can share my faith with others without them getting defensive or aggressive. I think it helps that I genuinely listen to their beliefs and ask questions. It’s about mutual respect.

During college and after college I was a part of small bible studies and organizations with fellow believers. I kept hearing people say things like, “I listened to God” or “God called me to this”. I remember being frustrated and thinking, what does that mean?! Can you actually hear God saying something to you? How do you know what he wants!? I felt like these people were crazy or maybe I was crazy. Or maybe I wasn’t praying right?

I finally figured it out when I went to a career fair my senior year of college. My plan was to get a job and move back to my hometown to be close to my family. I didn’t desire to move to any big cities or be all on my own. As I began talking with recruiters and applying for jobs, I found that I was getting multiple interviews and offers from the Minneapolis area and nothing from my hometown. I didn’t want to move to a big city! It sounded so intimidating at the time. There were a few different instances during this time were I realized this is God speaking to me. This is God opening doors and clearly He wants me to live in this big city. Yikes, okay. So I did.

I have lived in this area since 2012 and absolutely feel like I was meant to be here. Since then I have:

  • Learned SO MANY life lessons and gained experiences
  • Met extraordinary people who have changed my life
  • Got married
  • Bought my first home
  • Had two Great Danes (one of them SAVED MY LIFE)
  • Had a baby boy

So what does it really mean to take a leap of faith? My main intention with writing this post is to share Lisa’s story. Lisa is my beautiful co-worker and friend. The only thing more lovely than her long, curly hair is her faith and her heart. I just learned that she:

  • Sold her house and belongings
  • Re-homed her dog (at her parents’ house)
  • Quit her secure and comfortable corporate job
  • Is Moving to New Zealand

Here is Lisa’s leap of faith story:

Since I was a young girl, I thought the only path to take was going after the American dream. So, I went to college and pursued just that. By age 24, I had an amazing career, my own house and a goofy dog! It was everything I dreamed of (besides a family). Yet, something was missing. There was a hole deep inside my heart that I thought could only be filled with a marriage and children. But every relationship became less fulfilling. Each year, the hole grew deeper and wider.

April 19, 2016, a call from the doctor informed me I had an abnormal tumor on my ovary – borderline cancer. My first thought was, what does borderline mean? Isn’t it an all of nothing thing? Fast forward to today – I’ve had two surgeries to remove tumors and an ovary, and will be having a third after Thanksgiving due to the tumors returning. There is a high risk my other ovary will be taken and I will not be able to have children.

This story begins my journey to go into ministry. How is it connected? My whole life I’ve dreamed of being pregnant and having a family with LOTS of beautiful babies. The longing for it tore into the empty hole in my soul. When I was told I may never have children, I experienced Philippians 4:6-7: Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. I experienced an unexplained peace. People close to me asked how I was so calm. My only explanation was God’s promise in Philippians 4:6-7.

Before this experience, my faith was like smoldering red coals – warms up close, but nothing that would make too much of a difference. The peace I felt was a strong wind that swept over my heart, fanning the coals to flame. At that moment, God began to work powerfully in my heart, creating in me a vision for my calling. The fire was growing and I couldn’t stop it.

I continued moving forward though, despite the ache that was YELLING at me to stop and be still for a moment. When I was finally still, I felt the fire – a searing pain I realized I was working against. Depending on the context, fire can be detrimental or lifesaving. It was no different in my soul. The fire was there, but in the wrong context because I wasn’t willing to see the fire for what it was. Once I stopped to feel it, I realized the fire was HIM. It was a calling in my soul that went from painful to peaceful. The voice in my heart I had felt for so long could be filled with one thing…Jesus.

So here I am now. I’ve sold my house and many of my favorite possessions to pay off student debt. My resignation is submitted at work, my surgery is scheduled. On January 11, 2018, I will board a plane, taking a leap of faith with God to go on a five-month journey devoted to being like David – a woman after God’s own heart. I’m diving into an uncomfortable situation that will challenge me and allow me to grow into the person God is calling me to be.

You may wonder about my plans for after YWAM. I have a dream God has planted in my heart. To read more about what I believe my calling to be, check out my website (navigate to The Journey > Phase 2). To learn more about YWAM as well as follow my journey while I’m in New Zealand, you can follow my blog, YWAM Adventures, on my website here

When you choose to support me (through prayer and donations), you will be a key building block for this journey. Your involvement is JUST AS important in sharing God’s message, because I couldn’t do it without you. There are several ways you can become involved.

Thank you & blessings to you!”

Here are two ways you can support Lisa in her journey:

  1. Pray for her! There is a list of prayers needed here.
  2. Provide an online donation here through three different options.

Lisa’s story inspired me and made me emotional. It brought tears to my eyes to think of all she has been through and how brave she is for what she is about to do. I am looking forward to following her blog updates and hearing more about the work she is doing in New Zealand!

What was your leap of faith moment?

This post may contain affiliate links meaning I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only promote products that I have personally used myself or believe in. Please see my Policies tab for more details.

Career Compassion

10 WAYS TO SUPPORT A CO-WORKER WHO’S LOST A LOVED ONE

October 19, 2017

Our co-workers can quickly become close friends. After all, we are spending 40+ hours a week with them! I was nervous about my new job at first. The team was full of women! At my last company, I only had one other woman on my team of Business Analysts. The rest were men. It was great. The teams worked well together and there wasn’t much drama. I was most nervous that there could be more drama with that much estrogen. Fortunately, I was way wrong. This group of girls became my companions and it was easy. They are all a little older than me and have mentored me on a work and personal level in many ways. They made me feel like part of the group since day one. My very first day, one of the girls left me a little gift bag at my desk with a welcome note. How sweet! They have also surprised me with a grad party with cake and balloons, a beautiful plant when my Great Dane passed away, and my first baby shower! These girls are like family.

So when I got a text from one of my co-workers that her son had passed away, I was devastated. Just a few days prior we had been chatting at work about my baby boy, Axel. She was reminiscing about when her son was a baby. In a mother’s eyes, they are always our little babies right? I had to read her text several times because I couldn’t believe my eyes. It shattered my heart and made me feel numb. I didn’t really sleep that night – I hugged Axel and cried.

All I wanted to do in that moment was drive over to her house to hug her and be with her. But I also wanted to respect her and give her time and space to process. I started thinking of ways I could be there for her or help her through this tough time. How do you move on from that? She has two other children so I knew she would be so strong and she was – what a great mom.

So here are some of the ways myself and my other friends at work helped her through this tough time. These women got creative and it meant so much to her to feel the love and support!

  1. Donate PTO: What a brilliant idea! What a great way to give her extra time she needed to mourn. I am sure there will be mornings where she just doesn’t want to get out of bed. She now has extra PTO to take that time off and doesn’t have to worry about the financial aspect of taking off more time.
  2. Card & Money: This is always a kind gesture. Funeral costs are outrageous and even more overwhelming when it’s unexpected. Chipping in some money to take off some of that financial burden goes a long way.
  3. Attend the Funeral: The look on her face to see a group of her co-workers walk into the memorial service was something I will never forget. In that moment, I could feel how loved and supported she felt. It still makes me tear up to think about it.
  4. Prepare & Deliver Meals: She recently took on a vegan diet so some of the ladies looked up amazing vegan recipes and delivered them to her. She didn’t have much of an appetite at first but they were freezer friendly so now when she doesn’t feel like cooking, she can take out a homemade meal to heat up!
  5. Send Encouraging Words or Pictures: I sent her a few texts and a comforting quote from pinterest. I just wanted to remind her that we were all there for her whenever she needed. It’s hard to know what to say in these circumstances. I think just a simple text with a prayer or nice thought goes a long way.
  6. Make Them Laugh: When they finally return to work, they probably don’t want to cry and talk about everything. My assumption is she is trying to figure out how to move forward in her life and get back into some “normal” routine. Whatever that may look like. In her first weeks back, we joked around with her and tried to treat her as normal as possible and I think she appreciated that. Of course, if they do need to cry or talk about it – let them!
  7. Give a Plant: Flowers are lovely but they die and that might hurt them emotionally. Give them a nice plant to bring home or put at that their desk. Something alive and beautiful – something to take care of. My co-workers did this when my dog died and I look at my plant and smile every day.
  8. Be There to Listen: Try not to ask a lot of questions that may stir up emotions. Just be there to listen when they need to talk. Remind them that you are there to talk whenever they need it.
  9. Leave Gifts at Their Desk: When they do return to work, surprise them with little gifts to make them smile. Something like chocolate, their favorite coffee drink or a little encouraging note. When my friend returned to work she was very sick with a cold so I dropped off a box of Kleenex at her desk because she mentioned she didn’t have any.
  10. Take Over Their Projects: The very last thing they want to do is stress over work when they are trying to process the loss and plan a funeral. Take the initiative to take over any open tasks or projects they are working on and see them through.

So, if you are in the unfortunate situation where you need to lift up a co-worker, try one or several of these ideas. It is so hard to know what to say so a little gesture like this can say it all. Remember, everyone processes loss differently. Some need to talk through it and want lots of support and others may want to be left alone for a while. Your main goal is to make them feel loved and supported in their time of need.

Please comment if you have any other ideas or if you have tried one of these things. Or, if you yourself have been through a loss and your co-workers did something special for you. I would love to hear your stories. Thanks for reading.

This post may contain affiliate links meaning I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only promote products that I have personally used myself or believe in. Please see my Policies tab for more details.

Blogging Career

25 TIPS FOR BEGINNER BLOGGERS – COMPILED BY A BEGINNER BLOGGER!

October 16, 2017

I spent well over 60+ hours researching blogging over maternity leave before even STARTING MY BLOG and below are the notes that I gathered from my research. I am a Business Analyst full time so I have some skills when it comes to analyzing data and making good decisions! I finally started my own blog and was so glad I was able to find so many helpful tips from successful bloggers. Starting a blog is overwhelming but I can’t believe how many resources are out there for beginners! In my opinion, this list is invaluable and my blog would not be where it’s at today without this advice. I am in the process of documenting and posting all the steps I took to get my blog launched. Soon, I hope to be posting income reports! Stay tuned.

1.       Several successful bloggers recommend not using the free blog sites if you want to make money
2.       Self hosted is the route to make money (allows ads, you have control, you own, can’t be shut down)
3.       Use WordPress to build your site (integrated through bluehost)
4.       Start with bluehost basic plan until you have traffic over 150k views/month – you can change your plan at any time
5.       Create blog presence (build traffic) on the big 4: Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram
6.       Save all blog related receipts for tax breaks (ex: craft supplies for a DIY post)
7.       Don’t spend a ton of money to start up (I invested $149 total so far and already started earning $)
8.       It takes one post going “viral” to build momentum, don’t give up!
9.       Join Facebook blogging groups, pinterest groups and Instagram blog accounts
10.   Get involved in blogging community: follow big bloggers, comment and interact
11.   SEO: Search Engine Optimization – RESEARCH IT
12.   Consider paying WordPress for Premium Themes – I did, $49, totally worth it. My theme is Driftwood, it’s simple and professional
13.   Google Adsense looks for premium themes – true story
14.   Most Premium themes are friendly on all devices (phones, tablets, laptops)
15.   Research affiliate marketing and read their terms & conditions! Look into their payout plan.
16.   Consider Tailwind or Board Booster for Pinterest optimization
17.   Think through blog titles, should be clever and appealing to large audience
18.   Make sure to have email or sign up available for subscribers
19.   Consider investing in a nice camera or better phone with good camera
20.   Use Sumo for for share buttons, pop-up boxes, and announcement bars
21.   Google Adsense doesn’t pay out until you reach $100 and you may get rejected the first time like I did but can reapply
22.   Consider additional social media platforms: StumbleUpon, Flipboard, Reddit, Instructables
23.   Research blogging conferences near me depending on how big you want to go
24.   Respond to comments and emails – listen to what your readers want
25.   BE AUTHENTIC – be yourself, write about what you love, don’t copy others

 

Remember, you do not have to blog full time and post new content every single day. I blog in my spare time between being a new Mama and working my full time job in IT. There may be discouraging moments in your blogging journey but don’t let it stop you. There are tons of motivated individuals out there blogging successfully today and you can totally join them. You got this. Good luck to you!

Want to know how I earn money blogging? Check out my blog category for all my posts on how I started my blog, how I earn money and helpful tips. I share EVERYTHING. What’s in it for me? I could potentially make affiliate commissions on products and services I recommend at no extra cost to you but I share everything I learned about blogging because I found all of this information for FREE from other bloggers! Pay it forward, right? The world of blogging is full of encouragement and support. You will struggle if you try to do this all on your own!

My Affiliate Marketing portfolio currently consists of:

Amazon Associates

ShareASale

Cate & Chloe

Bluum

Tactical Dad

The Spoiled Mama

This post may contain affiliate links meaning I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only promote products that I have personally used myself or believe in. Please see my Policies tab for more details.

Career I Love Food

HOW I MADE TONS OF FRIENDS AT WORK WITH MY FAMOUS CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE RECIPE

October 14, 2017

I was surprised to talk about my baking so much in my interview for a position in IT! On my resume, I have 8 years experience at a bakery and my interviewers wanted to know more! I shared with them how much I love to bake and bragged a little about how I make the best chocolate chip cookies ever. Funny thing is, I didn’t do the baking at my bakery job. I was mainly a cashier! I think I talked more about baking than my previous corporate experience! Weeks later, I was hired and of course I had to bring in these famous cookies I had bragged about.

When you bring food to share to the office, people will stop and talk to you. People that you may not know. Why is this a good thing? Because you want friends in all places! I have been with the company for less than two years and I feel like I have a friend in every department (part of that is my personality, but the cookies help). Hopefully they like me as a person too and not just for my cookies ha! This is positive because if I am working on a cross-functional project, I have friends all over the company who are willing to help me out!

Now, I am not using my cookies just to get help with my work. I do love baking and sharing. I share with all, not just those who I think will help me! But it sure is a great feeling to have individuals looking out for you. For example, if I am on a big project, I have had friends from other teams email me with information that might be helpful to my application. They didn’t have to do that but I am sure glad they did! Sharing cookies = sharing knowledge, yay for teamwork! The cookies are just a way to break the ice and meet people. I take it a step further and continue to build the relationship!

Each time I bake these, I make them small and I can get a couple dozen out of each batch. I bring most of them into the office to share, otherwise my husband will eat them all and get a belly ache! After a few times of sharing, I had a reputation as the cookie lady. I get asked all the time when I will be baking next. When I went on maternity leave for 12 weeks, my poor co-workers had nobody to bake for them. The first week I was back to work, they were begging me for more cookies! They had some serious cookie withdrawals. It reminds me of that episode of friends where Monica keeps making candy because she loves the attention but can’t keep up! 😊

So what’s my secret? It’s the temperature I bake at and the duration. I bake these at 350 degrees for exactly 10 minutes and 30 seconds and they turn out perfect every time! When I take them out of the oven, I set the baking sheet on the stove and let them set for 3 minutes. They will look like they are not done at first but they are, trust me. They just need to set. After the 3 minutes, I carefully transfer them from the baking sheet to a paper towel on my counter top where they can continue to set. They turn out looking beautiful and they are so soft and delicious every time. My husband said he has never had a better chocolate chip cookie. What a compliment!

I have even won some friendly bake-off competitions with this recipe. I got this from All Recipes a few years back and modified it. I hand mix the ingredients every single time. It’s more work but that’s just how I do it. I am sure it would be just fine to use a mixer. We got my mother in law the red kitchen aide mixer (shown below) and she loves it. Her favorite thing to make with it is homemade pizza dough! My mom has a white one and uses it for lots of baking. Especially that raspberry torte cake that my dad begs for every birthday. That cake takes an insane amount of time to make so that’s when a mixer really comes in handy!

I usually use all organic ingredients but that can get expensive. I have made these cookies with non-organic ingredients too and they are still delicious so it just depends on if you’re into that sort of thing. Try making these for your co-workers and family – they will love you! But beware, they will come back asking for more, they always do. Enjoy!

This post may contain affiliate links meaning I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only promote products that I have personally used myself or believe in. Please see my Policies tab for more details.

Career

6 BENEFITS OF INFORMAL MENTORING – AND HOW MY MENTOR CHANGED MY LIFE

October 13, 2017

What is Mentoring?

Mentoring is the pairing of a mentor and mentee for the purpose of guiding an individual and helping them grow in a specific area. The mentor is someone who would provide the guidance and the mentee is the one receiving. Mentors do not have to be older than the mentee but typically are as they have more tenure in their area of expertise.

Informal vs Formal Mentoring

Informal mentoring happens organically. The mentor and mentee mutually agree that there is a need to have this relationship. The level of engagement is agreed upon by both and can be changed as needed. Formal mentoring is when an official plan is put in place and you are paired up with another whether or not you feel the mentorship is needed. The problem with this is it is not natural and could be a poor match. You could get paired with a knowledge hoarder who is hesitant to take on that mentor role. Maybe their manager forced them into this.

So here are the main benefits of informal mentoring that I’ve experienced:

  1. Natural and organic (not forced)
  2. You can choose a good match
  3. Both individuals are engaged since it’s not forced
  4. You don’t have to wait for a formal program to be implemented
  5. You can find a mentor in any area of your life (work, personal, faith, parenting)
  6. It’s a win-win, you can give back to your mentor in many ways (words of encouragement, sharing success stories with the boss, etc.)

My Mentorship Experience

My IT Department does not have any formal mentoring program. Since my first day, my mentor, Amber took the initiative to train me. She took ownership in the following areas:

  • Made sure I had all the right access and software
  • Hosted tons of training sessions to bring me up to speed
  • Guided me through my entire first project from start to finish
  • Shared with me the ins and outs of the company culture
  • Worked with our manager to get me on projects that would help my career
  • Engaged me in anything she thought was a training opportunity

Needless to say, I was very lucky to get paired up with her as it helped me grow in my career at an exponential rate. Now for the fun part – how she CHANGED MY LIFE. Keep reading.

How My Mentor Changed My Life

Back in 2015, I was looking for a new job in IT. I felt kind of stuck where I was at in my previous role and I needed a change. Through one of my classmates in my graduate program, I learned about Andersen Corp. and it sounded like a great place to work (and it was super close to my house). I researched and applied for positions for 3 MONTHS. I was determined to get in. I finally got a call and started interviewing. The interview process was extensive and in my final round – I met Amber. Within 5 seconds of meeting her I remember thinking this girl is vibrant and a little crazy – and I love her! There was another amazing woman, Aja, that I met in that interview. When I left, I thought to myself, “Those girls seem amazing and I so badly want to be a part of that team!” What a fun culture.

Right around Christmas time, I got the call. I was hired! They liked me too and wanted me! This is the first of many ways Amber changed my life – she hired me!

Now, if you ever thought of a time where you trained in a new person or were being trained – it’s not always a fun task. It’s taking time away from your normal work load and maybe they are slow to pick up on their training content. Amber made it FUN. Yes, she made IT training fun – believe it. She slowed down to my pace and made sure I understood everything before moving on. She was patient and gave me great feedback.

Not only did she train me on our application, but she trained me on the company culture. What does that mean? She shared with me all the tips on how to be successful and how certain people and teams work. This information has been so helpful in growing in my career. It is invaluable.

She taught me to do things the right way and dream big for the company. She doesn’t just say this because it sounds nice – she DOES it and LIVES it! What a great example she set. How lucky am I? It is not always easy to do what is right and I can think of many examples of that but she doesn’t give up. She works with the mindset that this is her company and I love that because I can relate to that.

Not only did she help me in my career, but she has also given me so much advice on a personal level. I just had a baby and I was so scared to be a new mama. She shared so many stories with me and words of encouragement. I view her as an all-around life mentor. She also rallied the team together to get me a beautiful plant when my sweet Penny pup passed away. She helped organize a mini surprise “grad party” at work with cake and balloons. She even through me my very first baby shower! It was so sweet. She has a way of making people feel very loved.

People who have been at a company for a long time sometimes become stale or complacent. This is not the case with Amber. She has been with the company for over ten years but has such passion and energy – it’s refreshing to see!

Lastly, she changed my life because my husband also was hired after I was so I joke with her that we can thank her for our entire household income! 😊

If your company doesn’t have a mentoring program, that doesn’t mean you can’t seek someone out or be a mentor yourself. Amber always says, “if you succeed, we all succeed.” She is not a knowledge hoarder. She is a dreamer and a do-er. She inspires others and fights for what is right – even if it’s not easy. Be the Amber of your organization.

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Baby Career Motherhood Parenting

10 TIPS FOR COPING WITH RETURNING TO WORK AFTER MATERNITY LEAVE

September 30, 2017

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I thought of the idea to write this post my first week back as I was pumping in the lactation room at work and crying my eyes out. Funny thing is, I do love my job and missed my co-workers while on leave but there is something very nerve-wracking about dropping your newborn off at daycare for the first time. Have you ever left your cell phone or wallet at home and you just feel like you are missing a limb all day? It’s like that times 1000. If you had to go through this already, you probably know exactly what I’m talking about.

I thought the first day back to work would be the worst. It actually wasn’t. I think I was so overwhelmed and exhausted with my new routine that I didn’t have time to worry or cry. It wasn’t until day 4 when it all hit me. I think I cried 10 times that day. I missed my sweet baby boy and couldn’t stop thinking about all the fun times we had over my 12 weeks of maternity leave. I kept worrying if he would be alright at daycare. Would they tend to him fast enough when he cried? Could he get hurt by other kids? Was he going to get sick? I am typically a relaxed, easy-going person but boy was I anxious!

So how did I get through it? Well, I am a few weeks in to being back at work now and doing much better. I WISH I could go back in time and read my own post to make the first week back an easier transition. This is how you can cope:

  1. DON’T FEEL GUILTY! At first, I felt like a horrible mom to go drop such a young infant at daycare. I thought, “he definitely needs me” and “they aren’t going to know what he wants when he cries.” I felt like he was best off at home safe with his Mama! Turns out he LOVES daycare! He was so smiley and happy to be there. He loved the staff and the staff sure did love him. He learned so many new things every single day and gets to interact with other babies! I finally came to the conclusion that working hard and moving forward in my career was a GOOD thing and I am doing the right thing for his future in order to provide for him. Of course, I still miss him a ton! My absolute favorite part of the day is picking him up from daycare. At 3 months, he recognizes me and I get the biggest smile when I greet him. It melts my heart into a puddle 😊
  2. EASE INTO IT: You can go back to work part time temporarily. This is something that didn’t even cross my mind. I jumped right in and went back full time. It was rough the first week back but I don’t regret it. It’s like ripping off a bandaid, right? But if you are someone who does better on easing into new routines, work with your manager to see what your options are. My first day back at work I took an hour lunch to drive over and check on my little guy and see if I could feed him. He was sound asleep and was totally un-phased to see me when he did wake up but it was nice to see him for my own sanity!
  3. YOU ARE NOT ALONE: It is okay to feel an ocean of emotions during this transition time. I finally had to tell myself that it is okay to cry and I am not weak for expressing my struggles. There is always someone you can talk to like your spouse, a co-worker, friends or family. If you are having a REALLY hard time (post-partum depression) seek professional help. Again, you are NOT weak for doing this! A lot of change in a short amount of time can take a toll on our emotional and physical health!
  4. LACTATION ROOM LOGISTICS: Before returning to work, figure out the logistics of the lactation room. Reach out to your manger or HR and ask how to gain access to the room and schedule. I did not do this and my first day back I was awkwardly pumping in the back of my vehicle.
  5. DAYCARE PRACTICE ROUND: Whether you are doing a daycare center option or in home, they should allow you to come a week prior to do a practice run so you aren’t flustered during your first drop off. I did not take advantage of this and was a chaotic mess. I brought glass bottles when I was supposed to bring plastic. I brought way too much milk. I did not bring the proper intake forms (I swear I filled out like 100 forms).
  6. DAYCARE DROP OFF PREP: Rather than cramming your entire new routine into one morning, do some things the night before. I find it helpful to get his intake form ready and mostly filled out, prep and label his bottles, and pack my breast pump bag with clean parts the night before. I was exhausted in the evenings my first few weeks back. All I wanted to do was snuggle my baby and I didn’t feel like cooking dinner! I love making crock pot dishes that are low maintenance and delicious. Crock-pot has an amazing express cooker too!
  7. FREE UP YOUR WEEKEND: Of course, I’ve always loved weekends but after a long first week back at work, the only thing I want in the world is to just snuggle him up all weekend. So, if you can, free up those first few weekends to help you with your transition. It will feel so good to relax with your baby after all that chaos.
  8. BRING PICTURES OF BABY: While pumping at work I would scroll through all the photos of Axel to try and cheer myself up. At first it was really hard but now it helps me get through the day.
  9. BE PREPARED TO TALK ABOUT BABY WITH CO-WORKERS: Expect your co-workers to ask you about your baby. Keep in mind they haven’t seen you for an extended period of time and it’s a natural thing for them to ask. If you feel to overwhelmed and emotional there is nothing wrong with saying something like, “it’s a little hard to talk about today but tomorrow should be better.”
  10. BECOME A STAY AT HOME MAMA: If you have been back to work for some time and you still cannot stand leaving your little one, consider being a stay at home mom. Talk to your spouse about your thoughts. If it would put a financial burden on your family (if I did this, I would cut our income by 50%!) then consider ways to make money at home. There are work from home jobs available. You could also consider starting an Etsy shop (selling items online) or even start your own blog! If this intrigues you, please check out my upcoming posts on How to Start a Money Making Blog in 5 Minutes and How Our Etsy Shop Funds Our Hobbies.

So hang in there Mama. Whether you’re a career woman like me or you end up choosing the stay at home mom route, your top priority is your sweet babe and that’s all that matters. There are lots of ways to keep your milk production up when you go back to work. My all time favorite are these lactation cookies found on Amazon. I bought two bags for myself, one for my sis, and one for my bestie. They loved them too! I’m always looking for an excuse to eat cookies. Check out the link below.