It Might Be Time to Change Your Attitude About Money

It Might Be Time to Change Your Attitude About Money

I was scrubbing the floor. The kids were sleeping. I was at work as a nanny in the suburbs of Columbus, Ohio, and I was 24 years old.

My boss (the dad of the kids) walks up to me as he cracks open a Redbull. “I really appreciate you scrubbing the floors,” he says, “You work your ass off.”

He hands me forty dollars.

“Are you sure?” I ask.

“Pro tip,” he says, “Never ask ‘are you sure’ when someone hands you money.”

He was so right.

I used to feel so awkward when someone gave me money. But why? I know I worked for it. There’s nothing to be ashamed of. Receiving money doesn’t make you a bad person. It means you have skills that others appreciate. Be thankful! Be accepting! Be open!

Millennial loves, this post is for you.

If you were a typical suburban kid growing up in the nineties, your parents and teachers told you that you could be anything when you grew up. They told you you could be doctors, astronauts, lawyers, architects.

You were also told, “You won’t make money as an artist, writer, or musician. You’ll live in cardboard box.”

(Hold my beer while I let out a long, hearty, satisfying laugh.)

And so we grew up wanting to get into the best college, wanting to graduate with a solid degree, and we just knew we would get hired right out of college and make so much money and then we could buy fancy cars and fancy houses and live the dream.

But we inherited quite an economy, didn’t we?

The crash of 2008 meant that many of us graduated college in a year when everyone else was getting laid off.

It means that even years later, we will never catch up to make the same amount of money our parents did.

It means that for years, we’ll be sandwiched between student loans and jobs that underpay.

And like most other millennials, I made a paltry $12/hr right out of college instead of the cushy corporate gig I always expected.  I believed I would always be a low-earner. I believed that there was nobody out there willing to pay me for my skills.

And what I hear a lot of us saying is

“Making money is so hard.”

“It will take me months to find a job.”

“People with money are assholes.” 

“I don’t care about making money.”

“I can’t negotiate, because they’ll say no and won’t offer me the job.”

I have said all these things. My friends have said all these things. And yet, if we made tons of money, we would probably feel weird about it. Like we didn’t deserve it. Like we were fakes.

But something happened when I stopped bad-mouthing money. Something happened when I stopped saying “Making money is hard”, and “I’ll never make money”. Instead, I started saying, “Yes, I’m going to ask for more.” and “I know what I’m worth.” and “It’s easy to make money.”

Now, I’m not talking about the pie-in-the-sky Law of Attraction scheme that made the authors of “The Secret” so much money. I’m certainly not naive enough to believe that if you change your thoughts about something, you’ll suddenly get what you want. That’s unfair to plenty of people who have an entire system working against them. I’m not talking about Starbucks drinkin’, skinny jeans privilege. 

If you think, “I am going to make lots of money!” It’s not necessarily going to happen just because you think it.

But one thing I do believe is that our thoughts are the starting point to our attitudes and actions. If we keep telling ourselves that money is bad, than will we be open to making more of it? 

If we keep telling ourselves that we’re never going to get out of debt, than will we really be motivated to pay it down?

If we keep saying that people with money are assholes, are we willing to get rich?

As soon as I banned these thoughts from my brain, something incredible happened. I started making money. And I mean serious big-kid money. Like I was a grown up. I can finally pay down my student loans. I can finally save for retirement. I stopped winching whenever I checked my balance.

As a freelance writer, my income is not stable. Sometimes I don’t know where my next paycheck will come from. This can lead to feelings of anxiety, and I’ve heard other freelancers say that while they love the freelance life, they wake up in night sweats over dreams of making a steady income.

So in the face of being my own money maker, in the face of thinking more positively about money, I compiled a list of some of my favorite money affirmations. So the next time you start feeling financially insecure and believing that you’re not worth much (raises hand), than consider these thoughts:

1. I give myself permission to be prosperous.

2. I release all resistance to attracting money. I am worthy of a positive cash flow.

3. Money flows to me easily and frequently.

4. It is safe for me to make money from my creativity

5. It is safe for me to use my skills to attract wealth.

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This Productivity Hack is Where Meditation Meets Getting Stuff Done

This Productivity Hack is Where Meditation Meets Getting Stuff Done

Before the internet coined the term “productivity hack”, I had a hack of my own. I lived in a tiny 1-bedroom apartment, and I spent hours at my desk writing fiction, writing essays, and researching. My classes often required that I read at least 100 pages a night, so there was no room for distraction.

After sitting at my desk or being curled up on my futon for hours, I realized that I focused better when I lit a candle. If I was typing at my laptop, I lit a candle beside the computer. If I was reading a book, I placed the candle beside my cup of tea. The calming flame set my mind at ease.

I half-jokingly called it “The flame of productivity”.

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I’ve always been a great lover of candles. When I was a kid, I traipsed around our house in Rhode Island, flipping off overhead lights and lamps and lighting candles. I preferred the soft ambience. (I was also a nerd who liked to pretend it was 1776, but that’s another story for another time.)

In college, I used candles for a more practical purpose. They helped me focus. And they still do. Whenever I sit down at the computer for hours upon hours of work, I make sure I had a lit candle (or five) right beside me.

The other day, my husband came into my home office/music room/artistic escape oasis to see me burning candles while I wrote.

“Hey look!” I said, “Ever since I was in college, I like working by candle light, because as long as the candle is burning, I can be working.”

Charles burst out in laugher.

“That is the most puritanical thing I’ve ever heard you say,” he said, and he laughed himself out of the room.

The image of exhausted monks – fallen asleep over their bibles, their quill pens dripping across the page as the candles burn to the wicks – is conjured.

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And the more I thought about it, the less I prescribed to the puritanical thought process that made me light those candles all those years.

Instead, I realized the lit candle represented something else.

It represents meditation and mindfulness. 

The lit candle focuses my mind. It calms my brain, and everything gets quiet and stops. Some suggest lighting a candle and focusing on the flame while meditating, and I’ve found this helps my workflow as well.

The lit candle keeps me present in the moment, at my computer, with the words on the page.

What else do I do when I have a hard time focusing?

  • I listen to meditation music or nature sounds. This really ends all distraction and serves as prettier “white noise”.
  • I burn incense, which is just another way to focus the senses.

Basically, I don’t have trouble focusing anymore, ever. It really worked – to put mechanisms in place so I could focus, and not just get work done, but enjoy the work.

5 Books That Helped Me Follow My Calling

5 Books That Helped Me Follow My Calling

Big Magic by Elizabeth GilbertBig-Magic
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Liz’s joy about the creative life is both intoxicating and infectious. She views creativity as a spirit of sorts. Like a witch’s familiar, or a house elf. This whimsical concept compels the reader to not take their own art TOO seriously, and to treat their art with kindness. What I most loved about this book?“Most of all though, he asked his students to be brave. Without bravery, he instructed, they would never be able to realize the vaulting scope of their own capacities. Without bravery, their lives would remain small — far smaller than they probably wanted their lives to be.”

Paddle Your Own Canoe by Nick Offerman canoe
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Nick Offerman’s guide on delicious living is frank and fresh. The first time I “read” this book I actually listened to it with my husband in the car on the long drive back from our honeymoon in Maine. At the time, I was working the cubicle life and honestly enjoying it. But I knew that I wanted to freelance in the future. Offerman serves up truth when he says:“If a person can simply discern what it is that he/she loves to do with an eight-to-ten hour day, then a satisfying workday is easily attained. Figure out what you love to do, and then get paid doing it.”Also this:“My generation certainly had the mindset that in order to get a “good job”, one had to attend college, but what I’ve learned since is that many of these so-called jobs are just a sentencing to a sort of cubicle soul-death with a paycheck attached.”

The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It by John Seymourself sufficientsource
The Bible of homesteading and self-sufficiency is highly interesting in it’s own right, but what I took away from it was the beauty in living your life in honest simplicity. By living on purpose, by returning to ourselves for survival, we can find joy in each sustaining effort.“It all sounds like a lot of hard work,” I said to her. “Yes, but nobody ever told us then,” she said. “Told you what?” “Told us there was anything wrong with work!” Today, “work” has become a dirty word, and most people would do anything to get out of it…. it never occurred to anyone that work might be enjoyable.”

Home Grown by Ben Hewitt home grown
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I’ve always been attracted to life off the beaten path. I’ve always wanted more than what “society” suggests, I’ve always wanted to push my ear up against my soul to listen to what’s really good for me. As an oldest daughter, I’ve always had a knack for doing what I thought others expected of me. Prestige. Title. Class. But there was always that voice.“In my own life, I am repeatedly struck by the truth that the more thoroughly I liberate myself from prevailing culturing assumptions — around education, wealth, ambition, and success, to name but a few — the more choice I actually have. The more freedom I have. In some regards, this is obvious, because if I’m not devoting my days to the accumulation of money and status, I am liberated to pursue other things. But the freedom I think of is more than temporal; it is also a freedom of emotion and spirit, to know that happiness and fulfillment can be found in the smallest and simplest of places and things.”

The Essential Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks Rumi Booksource
Oh Rumi, sweet sweet Rumi. This 13th-Century Persian poet has the most hopeful thoughts. His poetry is like sipping on a fine glass of wine after a hard day. He speaks about “responding to every call that excites your spirit” and how art lives within each of us. His running theme of growing pains really resonates with the young creative about to embark on a career, and he teaches patience and mindfulness.“A new moon teaches gradualness
and deliberation and how one gives birth
to oneself slowly. Patience with small details
makes perfect a large work, like the universe.

What nine months of attention does for an embryo
forty early mornings will do
for your gradually growing wholeness.”

“My God cause you to change your life
in the way you know you should.” 

Photo by Prasanna Kumar on Unsplash

Dear Artists: You Gotta be Patient.

Dear Artists: You Gotta be Patient.

It’s an irony to write this.

Right now, it’s almost midnight, and I’ve been working all day. But it’s alright – it doesn’t feel like work. I’m just thankful that Charles took me to the brewery for a while so I could sip on a beer and enjoy a change of pace.

But anyways, the reason this blog post can’t wait is because I’m … not patient.

can be patient. I’m patient with kids and animals. I’m patient with the extreme couponer in the checkout line. I’m patient with baking bread and gardening.

But for some reason, when it comes to my art or my life’s work… I’m all

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I’ve always been like this. When I was 9, I wanted my first book published when I was 12. I read a book written by a kid younger than me, and I was sure as hell that if I got crackin’, I could publish my first novel by age 12. Casual.

And when I started writing songs when I was 12, I was determined to become a published musician by sixteen.

I’ve always felt like I was running out of time. I have to leave a legacy! Accomplish my life’s work! Write two songs by the weekend! Write a four-generation epic novel by fall!

Everyone’s like, “Rebecca. Chill.”

“Good art takes time” they say.

I worried so much about getting everything done, that I forgot to relish the creative process.

If I write in my journal every day, scribble down some lyrics, and take time to create, than I’m doing the best I can. 

I had to get used to being patient with my own process. A song unfolds slow like a flower. A story winds long like a trail.

I had to get used to being patient with people and to respect their processes. I had to get used to not knowing the answers and not knowing the future.

 

I am a writer because I love the act of writing. I love spending hours playing guitar. What’s the rush?

Lately I’ve felt impatient. I want to be better – sight read advanced sheet music with ease, shred on a guitar solo, finish that song that’s been marinating since June. I want to publish more work, get another EP out, write five more songs. Go! Go! Go!

On one hand, it’s good to have a sense of urgency as an artist.

Feeling that fire under your ass can be the difference between making progress and flipping through Instagram while eating Cheerios.

The movers and shakers are an impatient bunch. That’s why they’re out there right now, organizing the next revolution.

But when it comes to beating yourself up because you didn’t get as far as you wanted?

Chill.

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Art by the lovely Hayden Ireland.

 

Hi! I’m Rebecca, your new content partner.

Hi! I’m Rebecca, your new content partner.

I’m a freelance writer, but I’m also so much more than that. I’m the proud owner of Berry-Patch-Creative_-Logo

I’m in it for the long term, and I want your customers to be, too. I work with clients in the health, wellness, and outdoors spheres to turn your message into a conversation, and that conversation into a community.

I’ve always been passionate about getting the word out there about healthy lifestyles. 

Are you a company, entrepreneur, or publication looking for a seasoned writer with a strategic edge?

 

I can be your:

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web writer

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View my online portfolio here.

For more information about Berry Patch Creative, click here.

can’t wait to write for you!

 

Owning a Business is like being in a Rock Band.

Owning a Business is like being in a Rock Band.

When we’re kids, we all start out by doing what we love. If we enjoy something, we’re encouraged to do it! It feels like play because it is play, and we can daydream about what this new-found love can do for our lives.

In my experience, starting a band and starting a business both felt like this. They felt like play.

I’ve been both writing and playing music since I was a little girl. When I used to write stories, I imagined one day working as a writer and maybe even seeing my published book on the shelf. When I used to play piano, I imagined releasing an album and being a “rock star!”

Before I launched my folk-rock band Linden Hollow, I started out alone at open mics. Before I knew it, I had a repertoire of 20 songs, a full band with girls I am lucky enough to call my friends, published songs, and people paying to come see us perform. To think about where I began and where I am now is a beautiful curve of growth, and I can’t help but think that my business is going to have a similar growth curve.

How launching my own business is like forming a rock band:

  1. I’m doing this because I love it and it’s fun. 

There are way easier ways to make money. If I wanted to coast through my career, I would just go back to working in an office where I had way less responsibility could rely more on a team. Just like rocking out in a band, I get so involved in what I’m doing that I end up losing time. Four hours feels like a mere twenty minutes. The days feel short when I’m writing and helping other businesses succeed with digital marketing, because I love the results. It feels like a game. And isn’t that the point?

I’m in a rock band because it’s fun and it allows me to lose time. I’m starting my own business where I write and help others with their writing, because it’s fun. Livin’ the dream!

2. When you find the right people, nothing can stop you.

My music would not be what it is without my bandmates, Emily and Paige. They bring an energy and vision to the music that I could have never achieved alone. Likewise, my business would be nothing without my clients. I am thankful for my clients every single day because they teach me new ways of operating and they expand my world view.

3. One success builds on another.

In both rock n’ roll and digital marketing, success breeds success. By doing more, you’re learning more, and the more you work, practice, and write, the better you get. In the writing world, you ain’t shit without a portfolio to prove that you know how to string a sentence together. Likewise, in the music industry, nobody pays attention to you until you have published music to show the world. That’s how you book gigs, get press, and find people who want to rock out with you.

In both the world of rock n’ roll and business, there are moments of anxiety. Sometimes I’m not sure how good I actually am at music, and I have my moments of self-doubt. Likewise, in this brave new world of freelance work, sometimes I wonder how much I know what I’m doing. But that’s par for the course. Every day I’m learning new things and getting better. Skills build upon skills.

A few years ago I never could have imagined having a published album on Spotify, iTunes, and youtube. A couple years ago I thought I would be in my forties by the time I would start my own business, and here I am.

I’m along for the ride! It’s fun, I love it, and it feels like play. Isn’t that the point?

How I Knew it was Time To Quit My Office Job

How I Knew it was Time To Quit My Office Job

Before I owned Berry Patch Creative + Studio, I worked at a small wholesale decor company. When I took the job as a Creative Coordinator & Digital Manager, I had dreams of leading artistic projects, creating a vision for the brand, and leading the brand voice. I ended up doing all these things, but eventually my job spiraled into hours upon hours, months upon months, of e-commerce statistics and product spreadsheets. Before I knew it, I wasn’t doing the job I was hired for. The Sunday night blues settled in. I had a harder time than ever going to bed at a decent hour so I could wake up and get to work at 6 AM. I knew something had to change.

Below are the reasons I knew I had to leave.

  1. I had the hardest time focusing. 

I’ve never had focus issues in my life. Typically I get so into my work that I lose all sense of time. I started daydreaming instead of working. I found that I loathed the nature of the work so much that I couldn’t bring myself to do it. E-commerce was just not for me, and on the day I put in my 3-week notice, I told my boss, “I miss writing.”

I felt like I had departed too much from what I loved to do: write. All I was writing were product descriptions for “Live Laugh Love” signs. If I had to write one more description about a sign that said “Grateful Thankful Blessed” I felt like I would throw myself off the roof. So instead, I surfed articles online. I went on pinterest. I felt awful about it. I knew it wasn’t fair of me to be procrastinating so much on my employer’s dime. The guilt of not being able to focus was the last straw, and what gave me the guts to quit.

2. I lost sleep and started to feel tired and old.

When I took the job, I had to be at work at 6 AM. I woke up at 5:20, but I had coworkers who woke up at 4 AM. Everyone talked about how much sleep they lost. The average was four to five hours. If you were lucky, you got a luxurious six. Throughout these months that I worked at this job, I NEVER went to bed at the same time as my husband. When I wanted to hang out with him a little bit in the evenings, I ended up going to bed at 11 or so (gasp) and then I lost sleep.

I started looking old. I could see the lines appear on my forehead and by my eyes. I started becoming obsessed with sleep. It felt like a rare commodity.  I eventually asked my employer to allow me to arrive to work around 7:00, but even then, that one hour still wasn’t enough for this night owl. It wasn’t working. I had no time for music, no time to write, I felt like a slave to my schedule. When I woke up in the morning, I would have a flash of anxiety: “I’m late!” or “I gotta go to work and deal with whatever reason my boss is going to me mad at me today!”

I knew that waking up with a flash of anxiety wasn’t great for my health. I knew I had to quit.

3. I felt envious of women my age who were making it as entrepreneurs and freelancers. 

Or women at any age for that matter. I started feeling jealous of baby boomers who were enjoying their retirement business. I envied women who had taken control of their own schedules and lives. I imagined that these women called their own shots, woke up when they needed to, chose their own projects and clients, and weren’t living as slaves to their paychecks.

I even spent a while resenting my fat paycheck because it was the only reason I was still running on the treadmill. I thought to myself, “If only I didn’t make this much money, I would feel so much more freedom to quit and to do what I loved.”

4. I didn’t feel like myself at work. 

I’m someone who really needs to believe in the bottom line of what I’m doing. I have to feel like I’m making the world a better place. Or helping others succeed. When I took the decor job, I was excited to help people decorate their houses. I felt that I could get something out of helping people make their homes beautiful. But in the end, the decor style didn’t fit me. I’m a bohemian kind of girl that takes beautiful antiques and displays them in my home. But I really couldn’t feel great about pedaling cheap made-in-China products with patinas that came off in your hands. It didn’t feel characteristic of myself.

Furthermore, I had worked in a large creative agency for Abbott Nutrition before that, and my coworkers loved having fun. We cracked jokes, went bowling and drinking together, and it felt like a real community. I didn’t feel like I belonged in my new community. I felt like I had to hide my effervescent, bubbly personality. My jokes were not welcome. It made me feel bland.

5. Leaving work felt like getting off death row. 

Do you remember how you felt walking outside after taking the SAT? Or a four-hour test in college? That’s how it felt leaving work everyday. I spent 10 hours in a small, windowless office, jockeying excel sheets and analyzing  data. Leaving work felt like the part in The Wizard Of Oz when Dorothy sees color for the first time. It made me drink in the sunlight, play music extra loud in the car, and feel restless and nature-deprived. I longed for a more fluent, natural life where I could see the sun change throughout the day. I longed for a life where I could grab lunch wherever I wanted, with whoever I wanted.

Five years ago – before I took the decor job, before I figured out what I didn’t want by doing what I didn’t want – I said to my husband, “Someday I’m going to be a freelance writer and teach music.”

It took me all this time to figure it out, but now I know what I want, and I know what I don’t want.