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Using Instafreebie and Mailerlite

I recently started an Instafreebie (IF) campaign to grow my newsletter. IF is a place to giveaway ebooks providing people opt-in to your newsletter. My (and many others) newsletter is set up through Mailchimp (MC). However, I have found that automation is best when dealing with new subscribers, and MC wants to charge for that.

What is automation? Automation services allow you to automatically send out a welcome e-mail instead of having to do them by hand every time someone joins your newsletter, a time consuming and bothersome process I assure you. It can also allow you to send timed automatic letters such as 1 week or 2 weeks later, etc.

I’m currently taking a couple of marketing courses, and will implement what I learn from them, but in the meantime, I’m keeping it simple and low pressure. These courses suggest several letters on a step-progression, but I don’t want to over kill just yet.

Thankfully though, I found Mailerlite (ML). It has free automation. I still have to import addresses from MC, and eventually from IF itself when my free trial runs out, but at this point, it’s worth it to me.

I also want to point out that registering with MC was no hassle at all. ML? That’s another story. I had to register a new e-mail address tied to my domain with Zoho, add MX’s and CNAME’s details to my domain. It was a royal pain and took several hours. So, you have to weigh your options. Is it worth several hours one day to offset $20 a month? To me it is. ML does walk you through it, and it’s easier if you have a common domain supplier, like GoDaddy, so it isn’t impossible, just annoying.

In summary, IF integration with MC along with automation will cost you $40 a month. You can always get coupons, discounts, and referral points, but that’s never a guarantee. If you want to avoid this charge, you’ll have to use ML and manually add addresses, which, in all honesty, isn’t that bad as you can export subscribers quickly and easily, and IF deletes duplicates, preventing you from having to do that manually (I couldn’t imagine). Either way is going to cost you some time, but in the end, both appear to be very similar in the amount of time (aside from setup), and quite frankly, why pay $40 a month extra?

Here’s my tip jar

I’m going to start charging for my time. Not literally, of course. But I’m wondering if it will ever get to the point where I can, because I surely work enough to be paid at this point.

So, I make nothing on my writing, right? I take yesterday and today “off” to read several books, something every writer should do, a career expectancy, right? Don’t get me wrong. In the evening I have logged onto social media and kept up with it minimally, but I didn’t check e-mails or progress my marketing or continue my editing, etc.

Somehow, this author who is making nothing, is all of a sudden needed by everyone. “Why haven’t you answered my last e-mail?”, “You need to authorize this update on your book.”, not to mention 47 facebook notifications, mostly from people to whom I asked a question DAYS ago, not hours, days. I’m not saying these people or any others don’t have the right to be busy and put me off several days. It’s just ironic that I’m thinking, “No one will miss me,” and yet-BOOM!!

So this makes me wonder, should I have a virtual tip jar where people can tip me if I respond to them in a timely manner? Hmm?

On the upside, I’m nearly done reading library book 2 and will probably finish reading library book 3 by the end of the day. All except apparently there’s some horrific storm that’s approaching that’s so bad they’re calling school out early.

 

 

 

 

Whoa, Dude!

And all the while I’m thinking, wouldn’t it be safer to have the kids there!!!???

Just one of them days, I guess. (I tried to find the Looney Tunes clip of this, but was unable. My apologies. Again proof that’s it’s just one of them days!)

Perseverance

Have you ever needed inspiring? How about after you’ve dealt your last deck as far as you’re concerned? You’ve heard your last “inspirational” message and came to realize that they’re all garbage? I’m here to help.

Perseverance is what you’re looking for, not inspiration. That’ll help for starters. Furthermore, so will real stories of perseverance.

Let’s start with some bad examples of perseverance:

  1. The man/woman who finishes the race after an injury. So what? Did they win? Did doing that cause them to get picked up by an incredible sponsor and go on to fulfill their dream? No? All it did was get them a standing ovation, a news article, and then they had to quit the sport because of the injury, or tried again the next year or more only to never be as good as they once were? Yeah. Bad example.
  2. J.K. Rowling. This example is used more than any other presently, and misrepresented/misunderstood more than any other as well… presently. Rowling was living on benefits as a single mom with a baby. She either couldn’t get a job or didn’t try to, that part was never really touched upon (to my knowledge, at least until she did get a job after completing her first book). She had nothing better to do than write before working, and so she did. She wrote in the 90’s when yes, MG books were rarer, but so were authors. There wasn’t half the competition then as there is now, and new authors were actually fought for by agents, not against. She “got rejected numerous times”, you know, like every other author on earth. Oh, and unless she submitted other books that she’s not telling us about (which given certain facts about her submission process I highly doubt), this is not about perseverance. She wasn’t rejected by a single publisher; her agent was, and she was only rejected by one agent (of course these facts vary depending on who you get them from.) Agents do not tell you when you have been rejected. They only tell you when you have been accepted, or they’re giving up on you. So she would have had no knowledge of being rejected by a single publisher until well after the money came in (if I remember correctly, she even mentioned in an interview how she had no idea until some reporter asked her about it or something similar). I have a disabled husband, homeschooled my child, worked, and still wrote, so her sob story sounds like a dream to me. And compared to other authors I know, my sob story is a dream come true to them. This is a terrible example of perseverance.
  3. Some guy/gal who went to Princeton, got rejected by their school’s newspaper staff and went on to become some famous editor/owner of a magazine. There are a billion stories like this. Let me break it down why they’re bad examples of perseverance. Being rejected one time by your school and not real life means nothing. If you can’t get up from that and pursue you’re dream, it was never a serious dream. The person went to Princeton/Harvard/etc. In other words, they came from money which means more than just having financial backing for their work/dreams. People with money know people. They have connections. Connections + money = success. Period.

Now let’s look at some good examples.

  1. Chester Calton spent 10 years searching for a company to develop his idea, later to be Xerox. He tried and failed multiple times and finally became successful. It wasn’t over night. It took years. But he never gave up. This is a good example of perseverance and what should inspire us to do the same.
  2. R.H Macy failed numerous times over 15 years until he was finally successful. But. Those past failures, and the jobs he did in between to pay for those failures, gave him the experience he needed to become successful. By utilizing the experiences he didn’t want (aka failures and in-between jobs), he was able to finally achieve his dream.
  3. John Creasey supposedly received over 700 rejections.  This in and of itself is not remarkable. What is remarkable is that even in the 30’s when writers were paid far better than now, and making a good living as a full time one was not unheard of, he continued to work for 5 years after his first book was published. I guarantee it was because he had to. So even though he was a published author in 1930, he had to work. That had to take its toll on him, and these jobs were clerical, sales, factory, in other words, anything he could find. Truly an inspiration story!

So please, when you’re feeling down, about to give up, remember the good examples, the real examples. The example where people took years of hard work outside of their desired profession in order to pay for said profession until they were finally successful.

Don’t. Give. Up.

Living in Limbo

I am currently waiting. I’m waiting on everything. I’m waiting for my back to heal, waiting to see what the doctor says, waiting for Amazon to update my blasted cover so I can PROMOTE IT WITH SALES!!!

Breathe…breathe…

But I digress. (Not really, it’s just a fun sentence to say)

I took a muscle relaxer last night. I hate taking those. They’re basically sleeping pills, and I don’t think they help, at least not enough to counter balance imo. But, I need to do something to show I’m trying, right?

I just can’t get motivated today. I know. I know. Motivation isn’t required to get to work. I have a lot of work to do, I’m just having a hard time getting started. I slept in, and now I’m trying to build myself up to get things done. It’s just so depressing.

I thrive on routine. No, I require routine. I have to have a schedule to get things done, to keep myself sane. And I have had to recreate that schedule three times in two weeks. Furthermore, even though I’m currently recreating a schedule in my head to follow, I know it’s only temporary. I know that the visit to the doctor will more than likely change everything. I know that I’m still trying to find non-back breaking work until and after then, no matter what he says, and that will undoubtedly change my schedule yet again, so…

I am waiting.

Update on the Job Hunt

I’m no longer tired, but I am very frustrated.

I worked at the bakery three days last week. I started having a pain in my back on night two. I was sore all over my upper body, arms, shoulders, back, but like sore muscles from working out, those sore areas went away, especially with more exercise. This back pain did not. It became so severe, I was clinching my teeth together and panting to keep from throwing up. By Friday night, my knees were buckling.

I’m just out of shape. I’ll be fine after the weekend. I slept most of Saturday, I was tired. I didn’t sleep well Monday, but it didn’t matter. It’s not like this job required a lot of mental energy. And no, I don’t think my lack of sleep was the problem. I was well rested. I was feeling great! An hour in and still no pain!

And then it hit. It felt like venom shooting its way into my back and up my spine. It was only on one side.

Ignore the pain. Relax.

My first break, I took two ibuprofen and rubbed my back with horse liniment. I placed a baseball between me and the wall and rubbed it out. I went back ready for the challenge!

It only got worse. Again, I was clinching my teeth, but my knees had not yet started to buckle-I could finish this. After all, I would get used to it, or so they said.

I changed my position. I changed my movements. I ignored it. I forced myself to relax. Nothing. Worked.

Second break. More liniment. More pills. More of the baseball. By now I was texting my husband to see if he was still awake. He was. I was dreaming of working back at Wal-mart. It was a dream come true to this. I didn’t mind the work at the factory; it was just the pain. The searing, unending, unendurable pain.

I went back out. The pain continued. It got even worse. I forced positive thoughts through my head. “I can do this. I can do this.” I couldn’t do it.

I gave up. I told the manager the problem and begged for another position. He gave it to me. I didn’t last an hour. I know it was at least thirty minutes from the time stamp on the cupcakes that went by me. My new job was to make sure they were stamped correctly.

My knees buckled. The nausea came harder. My knees buckled. Again and again. My eyes teared—what was wrong with me?

Another lady there came over and asked if I was OK. I said no, that I was about to throw up from the pain. I could barely stand by that point, holding onto the sides of the conveyor just to keep from falling to the floor. Tears fell from my eyes by this point. This was no sore muscle. This was something bad.

With wet eyes I told my manager I was sorry, I couldn’t do the job. His face made it clear that the pain showed in my face. By that point, co-workers had started staring at me anyway, so I knew something was up.

That was early Tuesday morning. This morning, Wednesday, I drove my child to school. It was painful, but doable. About halfway there, my husband and child wanted me to pull over and let Dad come and do it. I had had a spasm, jerking the car to the left. I refused of course.

This afternoon I went to the massage therapist. She couldn’t be sure of course, but she gave me some advice to tell my doctor, with whom I have an appointment on Monday. She also told me to take my muscle relaxers and rest as much as possible. I had to let my dad take and pick me up from the therapist.

The job search is on hold.

Day Two-Surviving Third Shift

The one thing I thought I would hate the most and not be able to handle, I’m doing well with. Third shift. Now, I know this is more like day three, but I was too tired to write day two. That’s not because of third shift issues, it’s because of my third tip-get an exhausting job. That being said, I’m apologizing now for this post, as I’m so tired, I’m sure it’s far from the best, let alone grammatically correct.

         1. Have a bedtime routine.

My main tip is to have a nightly routine. I had one, and it helped a great deal. When you have a specific routine of 10-15 minutes before bed every night (at least M-F), your body becomes accustomed to it and will “get sleepy” when you do it. This was very beneficial to me in my transition.

My first day, I took a nap. I wasn’t very sleepy then, although I was earlier, mainly because of the normal anxiety of starting a new job.I did something really bad and ate some carbs to get sleepy and then did my normal routine. I was able to take my nap and stay up. This routine also helps when trying to sleep in the day, although that’s not really a problem for me now, as you shall later see.

Now, this routine needs to be something you do in your bed. Brushing your teeth and everything is fine, but you need something that actually happens in bed. Maybe it’s watching a show, reading a book, playing on a tablet, being with your spouse, or even prayer. I don’t recommend prayer though, because then you start falling asleep in the middle of it, and that doesn’t help anybody. My routine is turning the TV to whatever show I’m going to sleep to and playing a game on my Kindle. My eyes will droop within minutes.

I cannot stress this enough, do this routine even when you don’t need to. I sure didn’t need to do this routine when I came home last, but I did it anyway. This is what makes it routine and what makes your body accustomed to going to sleep or being sleepy when you do it. It’s also an excellent way to start your routine. If you’re sleepy anyway, take the time to do that one thing for a few minutes in order to get your body started with it.

2. Drink lots of water.

Another tip from others is to stay hydrated. I agree. I was very thirsty my first two days. Drink lots of water. Even if you don’t get thirsty, you’ll have to pee alot 🙂 and that’s will help you stay awake.

3. Get exhausted.

My job is physically exhausting, at least at first. I may not be having trouble with the one thing I thought I would, but I am with the one thing I thought I wouldn’t, the job itself. I honestly thought it would be easy. I’ve worked production before, it was pretty easy. This is not. My back hurts; my arms, fingers, and hands hurt; my feet hurt. Every part of me is tired, except my abs. I honestly need to work my abs, it would help my back, but I’m too pooped to.

Obviously this isn’t something everyone can do. I just threw it in there because it’s helped me. I do NOT have a problem going to sleep when I get home.

Well, I’m going to leave it at that. My brain is too foggy to think anymore. I know what you’re thinking, “If you’re not having trouble with third shift, how come your mind is so tired now?” Because I’m pooped. You know how you sleep in on the weekends? Well, I’ve been doing a very demanding job and would love to be asleep. I did sleep in a good hour, but I’m making myself stay awake during working hours in order to keep my schedule straight.

My First Day on Third Shift

I’m pooped. Really pooped. Really really pooped. As I’m sure you’re aware of, I have been on a job search. I have applied several places, one was the bank down the street. In the meantime, I got an offer at the bakery that’s a lot closer than the law office was. Pays more too. It’s like the receptionist at the law office (who also worked as a waitress at Longhorn) said, “I make more money in 16 hours at Longhorn than I do my whole time here.” True. I told her at the time that the receptionist job could eventually lead to something better, and that’s possible, but I also told her the truth. Production work pays far more than admin. Period.

So, what was my first day like? Exhausting. I got two days to prepare. So day one, I took a nap and stayed up until 5:00am. The next day I slept twice and stayed up until 9:00am or there abouts. The third day, I took two naps (I do better splitting my sleep up for now. Things may change as my routine gets set) and went in at 1:00am. I worked until 8:00 this morning. My job? To put cupcakes into those little plastic things that hold them.

I had watched people on youtube and marveled at their ability. I did well, but I’m still going to be several days to a couple of weeks before I can officially “do” it on my own. Fine by me. I’ve worked some hard jobs before, but this is one of the hardest.

It was an easy day in comparison though. About half the week, you do the same product all day for several days, just standing there moving cupcakes. Last night though, it was the other half. Those are the days we switch products one or more times a night, and when it’s switching from an allergen product (like peanut butter), that switchout is even more inclusive and time consuming.

It was an amazing madhouse! People everywhere. Feeders, that was me, pull our items out of the way and clean off a few things like trays and catchalls. QC comes in then and really cleans! They wash down the belts and the machines and the floors, etc. Another group, or just one woman, I’m not sure which, went through and tightened everything and made sure everything was the way it needed to be. While we were feeding, she watched the machinery to make sure it performed well. It messed up a lot.

Now for the bad part. As with any job, it’s not the job you do, it’s the people you do it with. And as usual, there’s always people to put up with. This factory has a “no profanity” policy. This factory makes snackcakes, and our break room is filled with snackcakes for us to eat, all we want. If we take any home, we are fired. Period. Well, my trainer, and everyone else I worked with, used more foul language than I have heard since the last one star NR movie on Netflix. Furthermore, upon leaving, the woman that trained me left with two boxes of snackcakes.

The woman before me was fired because the workers teamed up against her and told fibs on her to management. They came right out and told me this. They did this because she liked to “tattle” and run her mouth. In other words, I glue blinders on my eyes before I go in and leave them there until I leave. This is not uncommon in the workplace, but I was surprised to see it so openly done on my first day.

Furthermore, I’m perfectly fine not running my mouth. I have no problem sitting there silently. Although, it is expected to converse during breakdown/change over and be pleasant during break, although as the night wears on, the conversations dwindle.

So, I have had my morning sleep and spent some time with my family. I am exhausted. My chest hurts. This is common when I’m really tired. It feels like someone sitting on my chest. My arm, hand, elbow are all killing me, and I dread the thought of returning to the backbreaking job. But. I’m hoping it only gets easier with time. I’m very thankful for this job and the income it brings.

This company treats its employees better than any other place I’ve worked. We have free dinners every three months, excellent pay and benefits, an amazing set of break rooms with free food/drink dispensers and all the snackcakes you can eat (thankfully I don’t like them to begin with, so I’m not going to explode with fat cells-lol). We don’t get lunches. We get 15 minute breaks every two hours. I prefer that. That means I only work midnight to eight and then get paid a full eight hours. No clocking in and out for lunches, just nibble a bit on breaks. Get in and get out, love it. My work days are M-F, unless overtime is required, but they’re idea of Monday is 11:55pm Monday night, so I’m working 12:00am-8:00am Tuesday to the same Saturday. I’m having a heck of a time getting this straight with my thyroid medicine.

After 90 days, I’ll hopefully be hired on and be making, at minimum, what I was already making at the law office, and in a short time, be making far, far more. That’s nice. That’s really nice. In fact, with the overtime, I’m already making more than I did at the law office. Humans throughout history have done far worse jobs than this. I can do it!

Sometimes it is good to do nothing

I always have to be doing something. That’s actually why I learned how to knit, why I have have baskets, quilts, craved gourds, and a dozen unfinished craft projects lying around the house. It’s why I have 1000 lists and planners, why I have 24 books plotted (done in spurts) that I will never write. It’s also why I’m efficient, at least I like to think I am.

But it also means I can never relax. And that’s bad. Not being able to relax actually prevents you from accomplishing as much as if you could. Without relaxing, you spend time trying to, more time than if you had actually just relaxed in the first place. Shame really.

So tonight I will relax. I will allow myself to get into what I’m doing, even if it’s just watching TV. And I won’t feel guilty about it. I’ll feel good. (You notice I say this while I’m writing a blog post, right? After this blog post, I will relax 😉 )

Dear Mr. Bossman

Dear Mr. Bossman,

I had wanted for years to work as a secretary. It came to my attention that being a secretary by itself was low pay and hard to come by. I did see, however, that being a paralegal, or legal secretary, was better pay and easier to come by. So I went out to find a job like that.

Little did I know what I was in for.

I could write a small book on what all your problems are, but let’s narrow it down to this.

  • You are over 80 years old.
  • You are showing signs of Alzheimer.
  • You don’t want to be there anymore, and it is way past time for you to retire. It’s showing in every way imaginable.
  • You blame others for your mistakes, which are usually from a lack of memory.
  • I listened to you badmouth your previous secretary for the first 2 months of my employment to other attorneys. I can only imagine this will bode badly for me following my departure.
  • I have gone out of my way to protect you from your mistakes, but when you start blaming me, I stand up for myself.
  • The other secretary has noticed all of these factors and is very worried about her job there.

Today you told me that I use the stairs too much and therefore shouldn’t use the copier like I do. Our office is three stories. The copier is also the fax machine and printer. It is on a different floor than I am. I have to use the stairs. To follow your order of only using the printer during a specified time of the day would not only be ridiculous, but impossible. I explained this to you. I informed you that my computer could not possibly hold all those documents and would crash, causing me to lose all them. Your response of, “You’re a grown woman. You’ll figure it out,” only proved your ignorance and apathy. This was not the last straw. (Your demand of me memorizing all 81 defense cases I am responsible for made it clear to me that I will never meet your expectations.)

Why am I writing this letter to you on a blog? Because I know you will read it. You weren’t lying when you said you’re paranoid. I don’t like being investigated by a PI. And you should have ordered my transcript before hiring me, not when you think I’m too stupid to do the job, let alone have possibly gotten the grades and degrees that I did.

I am not stupid.

I am not the one with the memory problem, and I’m not taking this anymore.

I quit.

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