• How to create an unbeatable rental application, even if living on Centrelink

    Do you need to beat hundreds of applicants for the house you want to rent?

    In some areas, the price of rent and competition for rental properties is fierce. When I left my abusive marriage and needed to get a place to rent, it was difficult. Numerous people turned up each time, I was relying mainly on the single parents pension from Centrelink, along with some self-employment income, child support was nonexistent, basically my finances looked terrible. Add to that no rental history because I had been a home owner (and at another time, homeless), I was a pretty poor applicant on paper when going up against families, or double income no kids couples.

    I have one trick that has landed me a house to rent, every time and many agents have commented on it. In fact, when I was moving from Sydney to Canberra, I drove down on the day, inspected the house, gave the agent my file and beat numerous other applicants for a property in an area with a less than 1% vacancy rate.

    Here’s what I do.

    1. ) Speak to the agent
    Before I go to a rental, I check the listing, download the application form if there is one then I call the agent If there was no application online I request one to be emailed to me. Whenever I have gone to the rental property to inspect with all the other potential applicants, the agent knows exactly who I am when I arrive because we have already spoken and it seems they mainly remember me over other applicants because I made them laugh.

    2.) Have your application ready
    I have the application filled out, I leave the lease term blank and discuss it with the agent. Some owners like 6 months, others 12. If you are willing to be flexible it is more appealing to both agents and landlords.

    3.) Letter to the landlord
    In my last 3 applications I included a letter to the landlord. In the first paragraph I state how I would like to rent their house, how I understand as a landlord they want someone who will take good care of the property and how I will be that someone.

    In the next paragraph I outline the features of the home that make it suitable for my family and specifics of why I want to rent it.

    Next, I talk about why I am a good tenant. I am clear that I am a single mum of 2 daughters, but I also work from home, I don’t smoke, I don’t have pets, I don’t drink or throw big parties etc.

    The next paragraph is where I outline my income, although it looked small on paper I manage my money well and have other sources of income (which I outlined). I discuss how I keep my bills below average and how I source things for free. (I include copies of my bills to back this up, which I will discuss in a minute.)

    My closing paragraph recaps why I love their property and how I will look after it.

    4.) Create a file
    With the application and letter in hand, I create a file. I get a folder or even a plastic sleeve to put in the following:

    – My filled in application

    – Letter to the landlord

    – Photocopied id: Actually, I scan and print mine, front and back – my licence, debit card and Medicare card. I have previously photocopied them at the library when I couldn’t use my scanner.

    – Electricity and gas bills: These are included to prove identification and because mine are lower than average it makes my overall financial situation look better. My water bills for 5 people living in a home were lower than your average one person household, the same for my electricity. This shows I am frugal and my expenses aren’t as high as others. If you need some frugality tips check out the complete list of things you can use y our pension/healthcare card for, along with my save money category which has all my money saving posts in it.

    – All income documents: I included child support documentation even when I didn’t get it, carers allowance for my daughters (when I left my ex my daughters had severe expressive and receptive learning disorders requiring extensive help. This meant I was entitled to carers allowance for both of them), my self-employed income (I include my tax certificate to prove income plus a recent bank statement to show how much and where money comes from as that is higher than my tax shows due to deductions.) A statement or letter for each income source is included. (If you need ways to make money, check out ways to make money while living on Centrelink, 29 ways to make money travelling, even as a family and financial resources here. financial resources here.)

    – Letter outlining income: I do this because I am self-employed and I receive income from my royalties, public speaking, financial mentoring, blog advertising and more. I list the various incomes, how much I get for each and how often on average. If I worked for a wage I wouldn’t bother about doing this letter.

    I put all of these papers together in a folder and label it – Kylie Travers xx address (whatever the address of the property is).

    With this in hand, when I go to apply it’s easy. I look at the house and leave my application with the agent on the day. It’s easy for them because everything is ready to go and in order. Time is money – this saves them time and it means they just hand a file to the landlord as well, making it easier on everyone.

    How to make an unbeatable rental application even when relying on Centrelink

    Most agents tell me they have never seen anyone so organized and prepared with their application which made my application strong already. With the application for the Canberra home the agent even gave me his card in case I wanted to look at the property again over the weekend. He also said I should know Monday, but that file, with an *extra offer I included made my application very strong. And if the managing agent didn’t ring me Monday (he was not managing that property, but doing a favor for another agent), then to call him.

    One final thing – when I look at rental properties I dress in business attire. Looking like a professional makes me stand out. I know at each open home I have been to I have been the only one dressed this way and the agents tend to talk to me for longer. The agents are the ones who recommend you to the landlord so building a rapport, looking professional and being friendly really helps.

    What are your tips for securing a rental?

    *The extra offer was more than 2 weeks advance rent. I always offer this, but am never taken up on the offer. It gets their interest though, because it proves I can save and am in control of my finances.
     
    Testimonials
    A version of this post originally appeared on my old site. Some of the comments from others who implemented my steps were:
    “Hi Kylie, I just wanted to thank you. Thank you thank you thank you!!.

    I read this post when you write it and filed it away in my mind for future reference.

    Last week I needed to move, quite unexpectatedly and urgently. I am a single mum, studying, with 4 kids. I didn’t think anyone would rent to me.

    I followed your post, put in an awesome application, outlining why I was the best tennent, including financials to prove I was capable and course enrolment details and a goal timeline outlining my plans for employment within the next 3 months.

    Application went in Friday. I got a call Saturday to say the property was all mine and they were impressed with my application.

    So thank you. Without this post I would have put in a standard application and probably still be looking and getting quite stressed about it all!

    xxLela”

    and this from Elise
    “Lol your file sounds like my file. My agents practically kissed my feet when they asked for an up to date rates notice and I pointed out that the reason I only had one from last July is because it was paid up a year and a half in advance back then and I won’t get another one till this July. I think that cinched it for me as we got the first property we applied for too”

  • Ways to make extra money while living on Centrelink

    Do you need to make extra money while living on Centrelink?

    I have relied on Centrelink a couple of times in my life for various reasons, each time my expenses were more than I got from Centrelink, yet my circumstances were such that a full-time job wasn’t doable. Many people I speak to who are currently accessing Centrelink are in similar circumstances, unable to work full time, yet also unable to live on Centrelink alone. I’m trying to create some useful resources, if you currently live on Centrelink, I’d appreciate you taking the time to do this survey to help me create the right content and resources for you.

    Here are some ways you can make money to help you get by, while still living on Centrelink.

    Ways to make extra money while living on Centrelink

    1.) Online surveys
    When I was a single mum I started with online surveys because they can be done anytime, even from your phone. Payments vary drastically, but overall it can be an extra $1,000+ per year you get doing surveys. Most have apps you can use on your phone to so you can do a survey while sitting in the drs office or waiting for the bus or anything else. The best sites I have found are:
    SwagBucks – you earn points through doing surveys, using their search tools instead of Google, participating in team competitions and doing daily tasks. You can redeem the points for PayPal cash, gift cards or items.
    PureProfile – do surveys in the newsfeed and get paid in cash when you reach the payout amount of $25. You are matched to surveys based on your profile and if it happens that after a few screening questions, you aren’t quite a fit, you still get paid 5cents or 10cents.
    WDYT – earn money for shopping, doing surveys and updating your profile every now and then. Cash it in at $20 intervals.

    2.) Start your own business
    Centrelink has the NEIS scheme, there are loads of business grants and many ways you can have a business from home. It takes a lot of work, marketing, knowledge and sometimes cash to get it all happening though, so not an easy option. Depending on the type of business, you might be able to do it part time or be classed as a hobby (according to the ATO at least) and if it’s not something you plan to pursue full-time, the extra income a business brings in might help. Check out this post to help you set up and market a business.

    3.) Sell on eBay
    Selling what I had, along with selling items for others then buying things to resell was the difference between being able to afford my daughters speech therapy or not some weeks. Selling on eBay is relatively easy – find things to sell, take good photos, list them then post once sold. Check out how to sell on eBay or read how I have made over $10,000 in a month buying things to resell.

    You can take the photos with your phone and upload them to eBay through the app. Make sure you write clear descriptions and calculate the correct postage for the items you want to sell. I have bought clothes for $2 which I have sold for $100, books, Tupperware and other items. I do a quick search in completed listings to see if the items I am looking at selling are actually selling, then I list accordingly.

    Buy/sell/swap groups on Facebook, GumTree and CraigsList are all places you can sell items as well. Personally, I found branded clothing, Tupperware and books sold best. For more tips on how to sell books, I have a free guide you can download.

    4.) Sell at markets
    When I was a single mother, living in a garage, I made aprons and other items to sell at markets. It didn’t make a huge amount of money at the time, but in the lead up to Christmas I made a reasonable amount of money which I was able to use to buy my daughters Christmas presents.

    5.) Uber
    I haven’t personally been an Uber driver, everyone I know who has enjoys it though. If you have a relatively new car and time, it’s an easy way to make some money if you don’t mind driving around.

    6.) AirTasker
    AirTasker is a platform where people can list jobs they need others to do such as clean, deliver items, set up furniture, do social media or admin tasks. You join, place bids on tasks you are interested in doing then if selected you get paid once you have completed the job.

    You can look for similar tasks on GumTree and many online job boards.

    7.) Rent a room
    I used Airbnb with great success when renting out a room. The room rented for more than twice the price of what I would have got if I had rented it weekly. At other times I listed a spare room through Facebook and Gumtree to get a boarder.

    With Airbnb, the guests were short term and had higher expectations in terms of hospitality and expecting treatment like a hotel. They paid more though. Check out renting a room on Airbnb for more details.

    With renting it to a boarder, each agreement was different. The weekly amount was lower, however, less was expected of me and it was usually for at least a month or in 3 to 6 month blocks. Read 14 tips for renting a room to a boarder before you look into this.

    8.) Freelance writing
    I was already writing because of blogs I owned, which meant people approached me to write for their sites. If you are just getting started there are many sites that will pay you for articles.

    9.) Blogging
    Blogging is not a short term income solution. You need to create the site, have unique content and a point of difference, get traffic, be active on social media, work out how you want to monetise it such as through sponsored posts/side bar ads/affiliate links/your own products etc. You need to write regularly, create graphics for each post, share the content, be active in groups and be committed.

    To get started with blogging, I recommend going with a self hosted wordress site. I use SiteGround. You can find out more about setting up a blog and making money from it here.  Also, I have some monetisation resources and tips here.

    10.) Childcare
    At home childcare is an option either as a proper business (for which you will need qualifications, registration and insurance), or you can do it on a casual basis as a babysitter or nanny. The going rate I see tends to be around $20 per hour with some people happy for you to do it in your own home, others want you to do it at theirs.

    11.) Party Plan
    Almost every product imaginable now has party plan attached to it from kitchenwares to beauty, from linen to appliances. If you enjoy sales, like to host parties, have time and don’t mind either paying up front for a kit or working your first few parties to pay for your kit, then party plan can be a great option. Many let you do online parties now too.

    12.) Cleaning/Ironing/Gardening
    Any domestic work such as cleaning, ironing, gardening, mowing lawns, cleaning gutters, walking dogs, feeding animals and so on is outsourced by many people and the pay can be between $20 and $50 per hour depending on where you live and what is required (are you supplying your own tools or are they?)

    Don’t forget, if you currently live on Centrelink, please do this survey to help me create more resources to help. Thank you!

    These are just some of the things I did to make extra money while living on Centrelink. What have you done/do you do to make ends meet?

    You might also like this complete list of discounts and everything you can use your pension/healthcare/DVA or seniors card for.

    *Always declare your earnings to Centrelink. You don’t want to get caught out having to repay Centrelink because they overpaid. How much you can earn each fortnight before it affects your payments depends on which payment you are on. The lowest amount I saw on Centrelink was $164, meaning on some payments, anything over $164 would start to reduce your payments. Other payments have higher thresholds.

  • Centrelink – how to survive and thrive on it

    How can you survive on a Centrelink pension, Newstart, disability or any form of welfare?

    In a nutshell, according to statistics (read more about the statistical details here):
    – Over 5 million Australians rely on income from Centrelink
    – Over half of these are on the Age Pension or Veteran Pension
    – A further 800,000+ are on disability
    – 660,000+ are on Newstart
    – The remainder are on parenting payment, carers payment and other payments

    Looking at these numbers, the majority of people living on Centrelink are in situations where they have no other option. The bulk of people coming to my sites are looking for help with Centrelink, what discounts they can use their pension/healthcare card for, how to get money to leave an abusive relationship, what to do if they are at risk or are already homeless and basically how to survive on a low income.

    I want to help people not only survive, but thrive on Centrelink, and where possible (such as those able to work) get off Centrelink either through their own business, generating income from home or getting a job they love. I want to help Australians have a better quality of life.

    Having been on Centrelink myself, having had times in my life where I was paralysed, disabled and a single mother because of domestic violence, I know how difficult it can all be. I also know what a difference extra money can make to enable someone to get the right medical treatment, be able to afford childcare or further education etc.

    I’m creating guides and resources to help people survive and thrive on Centrelink, but I need your help.

    I have created a survey with a few anonymous questions, which no one will see apart from me. The answers to it will be the basis for the guides, along with my personal experiences. Your privacy is important to me and no *individual answers from this survey will be shared with anyone else, no third parties, no one! It’s between you and me only. 

    How to survive and thrive on Centrelink

    To complete the survey click here, for more information, read on. 
    My first experience with Centrelink was accessing Youth Allowance at 16 when I was made to leave home and lived in another state for a while. As an adult, I have needed the single parent pension a couple of times and had numerous clients when I was a hairdresser living off Centrelink such as disability and Newstart payments.

    We are lucky to have a welfare system in place, as frustrating as it is to deal with and as high as the cost of living is in Australia, it is better than many other countries. That doesn’t make it easy to live on, though, especially if you don’t know ‘the system’.

    I was fortunate to have people in my life help me access the services I needed, for the most part. Not everyone has that. I am also fortunate to have been able to rebuild my life and no longer need it.

    The most popular article ever on all my sites combined is the complete list of everything you can use your health care card/pension card for in Australia followed by how to get money to leave an abusive relationship. I know the connection there, I lived it.
    Given my experience, I want to help other Australians not only survive on the pension, but also thrive, create streams of income and create a life that is not dependent on Centrelink, where possible.

    You might be on Centrelink because of disability, you might be a carer, you might have split recently from your partner, whatever the reason, I want to help you.

    Ideally, no one would need the safety net of a welfare system like Centrelink, but let’s get real, it is as big as it is because it is needed. Life isn’t perfect and there are times all of us need help.

    It’s not my place or anyone else’s to judge why you are on it. Having been on it, and now being in a completely different place in my life I know I can help you.

    Given my personal experiences, my knowledge and the change in my life from homeless to CEO, I feel the need to help others do whatever they can in their lives.

    I need your help to know exactly what you need help with and have created this survey for you to complete to help me.

    I want to cover:

    – What you are entitled to in different scenarios, beyond the payment such as rent assistance etc.

    – What you can use your pension/health care card for

    – Other services available to you if you are receiving benefits

    – How to negotiate with debt collectors

    – How to budget

    – How to increase you income

    – How to transition off Centrelink

    – Tips on how to barter, get things for free and reduce your expenses

    – 100 work from home options (not all party plan!) and tips on implementing them

     

    If you’d like to help me know exactly what you need, please click through and do the survey
    Do you have any tips for those living on the pension? Is this a guide you need?


    *Individual answers will never be revealed. The collective data as statistics may be used in blog posts or in the guides to help shape what is shared. No identity will be revealed. 

  • How to set up multiple income streams – tax, business structure and marketing

    How do you set up multiple income streams? How does the tax department view it and what do you need to do with your ABN for it?

    This week I was asked by a reader:

    “Hi Kylie! I was wondering if you have ever done a blog post on ‘multiple income streams’ and how that works when just starting up with an abn and business name as a newbie sole trader, how to set up and manage multiple income streams, or similar? I feel clueless on where to begin, or how it works with the ATO. I want to start achieving my goals for my little family (single mum), but scared to take that first step or put a foot wrong.”

    I have always had multiple streams of income and think it is important that everyone has more than one stream of income to protect against things that can go wrong and ensure financial security for your family. It’s a bit of paperwork sorting out your ABN, business structure and everything else you will need, it is worth it to get it right.

    Firstly, you can have multiple streams of income and businesses coming under the one ABN. In fact, if you already have an ABN or existing application when applying, the ATO looks for this and it can delay the whole process if you apply for multiples. Also, multiple ABN’s is like a red flag to the ATO in terms of checking your tax declarations. All round, one ABN is easiest and recommended.

    12 tips to start your business or multiple income streams

    When setting up multiple streams of income, there are quite a few things you need to do.

    1.) Decide on your businesses or multiple income streams

    Do you want to have a full on business or are you looking at a few part time side hustles/making money from your bobby? The difference with this is for a business you should have a full business and marketing plan, whereas if it is multiple side hustles such as selling on Ebay, setting up an Etsy shop or similar, you might not need to do a full business plan. 

Decide how you want to make money, what the business names will be, check to see if they are taken and if the domain names are taken, then move forward. When doing this, also think about your exit strategy that is, do you plan to sell at some point? Are you going to appoint a new manager/CEO when you are ready to retire or how will it work? Having the end in mind helps when you are setting up as well as determines some things in how you run the businesses.

    A business plan at this stage or any stage throughout the process will help guide you, make you think about what you need to do and provide a map as you move forward. The Australian government has some templates here.

    2.) Decide on the business structure

    Most small businesses go with the sole trader option as it is just them and when you re starting out you are unsure of how much you will make, if it will be successful and what you should do. There are other options though including a partnership or company. Each business structure has it’s pros and cons. It is up to you to decide which option is best for your needs. I discussed my needs with a business lawyer and accountant before setting up which costs a bit of money. 

Sole trader is the simplest business structure and how I structured my business (blogging/author/speaker fees) from 2010 until I established my company in 2014. A company has more requirements, expenses and paperwork than a sole trader. There are other protections a company offers though and if you are going big, a company might make the most sense.

    3.) Get an ABN

    As mentioned, you can have multiple businesses running under the same ABN. You cannot register a business name without an ABN though. Getting an ABN can be done online and it is free. Despite how daunting it can be to deal with the tax department at times, the ABN process is a simple step by step process. Check the list of what you need before you get started and it should be relatively painless. Head here to get your ABN.

    4.) Register a business name and other licences

    You will need to register your business name for it to be yours. Some businesses have one name, then trade under other names. In order to get a .com.au domain you will need to have proof of ownership for the business if anyone disputes it. Register the business name and secure your domain. You can register your business name here.
    Along with the business name, check to see what other licences you need to register for with the business or stream of income you are looking at pursuing.

    5.) Trademark

    Check to see if you need to trademark you business name, your idea, your products whatever it is that you are doing or if you want to patent your creation or anything else like that. You can find information on trademarks here.

    6.) Secure the domain name or names

    If you can do this as soon as you have decided on the business name. People have been caught out not being able to get their domain name when they have set up their business. Buy the domain and the variations such as .com, .com.au, .net, .org, .org.au or at the very least just do .com and .com.au. You can redirect the others to the main website you choose to use. If you do not purchase all the variations there is nothing stopping someone else buying them and causing issues for you down the track.
    Personally, I have quite a few domain names and have secured my kids names in various forms should they decide when they are older to have an online presence. I’ve often used CrazyDomains to get the .com.au domains or gone directly with my host which is SiteGround.

    7.) Set up your site

    Most income streams will require a website and social media presence. Get the handles for the social media platforms you want to be on and get working on your site. 

For me, I started with BlueHost, however am now with Siteground. They both have one click installs for WordPress which means you buy the hosting package, connect your domain name then click to install WordPress. It was all super easy, their customer service is fast and problems fixed quickly. I have used a variety of hosts over the years when buying and selling sites, including trying Crazy Domains as a host, but my preference has been SiteGround out of all the ones I have tried for easy of use plus affordability.

    With WordPress installed you can select the theme that best suits your needs, install plug ins to protect it, increase SEO, get email sign ups, maximise speed etc. I love WordPress as an easy to use platform. Alternatively, you can pay someone else to set all this up for you.

    8.) Business Insurance

    Business insurance is essential from the very beginning. You cannot afford to be doing anything and risk getting sued, injured or anything else like that. I spoke to a broker to work out what I needed, what I would be covered for, potential risks etc.

    9.) Accounting

    Decide how you will manage the books, track what income came from where, allocate superannuation for yourself and other financial matters. Most businesses I know love Xero, others simply use a spreadsheet or outsource to a book keeper. It’s up to you how you do it, just ensure you have a system for your accounting or it can get very messy.

    10.) Marketing for your business

    Create a proper marketing strategy. Determine who your ideal client is and what would appeal to them. Along with a broad audience e.g. 25 to 45 year old Australian mums, create a specific sub audience that you can use for targeting ads on Facebook and similar.
    For example, on another site I own, the audience was 25 – 45 year old Australian mums looking to make and save money. I tried a few different variations of a broader audience, ran some Facebook ads etc. Then, when I went deeper and decided on one exact person I was targeting to, traffic, conversions and page likes skyrocketed with my ads consistently being placed in the top 99% of similar ads on Facebook. 

Go deeper with your specific person. Decide on their age, location, occupation, gender, relationships status, income, if they rent or own, how they travel to and from work, podcasts they listen to, sports they play, interests they have, how they might spend their weekends etc.

    e.g. Mum aged 38 with 2 kids at home age 7 and 10. Married living in Sydney northern beaches. Family income is over $250,000. Mum works part time in as an insurance broker. She drives an Audi 4, runs on the beach each day, plays netball once a week and does three pilates classes. She wears Lorna Jane and Lululemon to work out in and likes her children to be well dressed and the same. Her children play netball and soccer on weekends along with tennis during the week. On weekends the family participates in sports on a Saturday, with family BBQ’s and dinners with friends in the evening. They eat according to a paleo diet.

    Get inside the head of the person you want to market your business to then create your content around them.

    11.) Grants and funding for you business

    Check to see if you are eligible for any grants, business funding, education or extra help such as the NEIS program to assist you financially when starting out. Banks often run grant rounds, as do various government departments and larger corporations.

    12.) Go for it

    With your business or income streams decided and set up, it’s now up to you to smash them out of the ballpark. Believe in yourself, work hard, put systems in place and go hard after your goals. Your business won’t grow on its own.

    What business tips do you have?
    For more resources and advice, check out my resources page.

    Comments Off on How to set up multiple income streams – tax, business structure and marketing
  • 14 tips for renting a room to a boarder

    Have you ever considered renting your room to a boarder, but didn’t know where to start?

    When I was 18 I was a boarder in Sydney, since then I have had boarders and rented my house on AirBnB as well as being a landlord. Renting a room to a boarder can be a great way to make money on the side if it is done well and you get along, it can even pay your mortgage! (Check out this post on The Thrifty Issue outlining how to make your home pay for itself!) Before accepting the first application that comes along, check out these tips for renting a room to a boarder.

    14 tips for renting a room to a boarder

    1.) Research prices of rooms for boarders

    Get online and check how much boarders are paying in your area and what is included in the price. Is it the room only then bills such as water, electricity and gas are split evenly or is it all inclusive? Decide on a price that works in the property market you live in and that will make you money.

    2.) Check tax

    Before listing your room, research tax implications, for example will the price you have selected push you into a new tax bracket? How will that affect your income, tax return and other bonuses? Cash in the hand is great, but I prefer to do things legally and you should be declaring all income. As such, check the tax implications of renting a room to a boarder for your personal situation.

    3.) Check your rights and responsibilities

    Most boarders are pretty good, but you need to make sure you know your rights and responsibilities in case things go bad. Depending on where you live in the world there are laws protecting squatters, if you don’t have a solid tenancy agreement you might find it difficult to remove the boarder without proof and the law on your side. Your local fair trading office or council should be able to give you the information you need about your rights, responsibilities and the law.

    4.) Insurance

    Check with your insurance company if you need extra insurance with someone else living there or if your current policy is ok. Some insurers require separate insurance such as landlord insurance if you are renting a room to a boarder.

    5.) Will you supply furniture for you boarder?

    Will the you furnish the room? If you do you can charge more, however it means you are responsible for replacing furniture as needed. In my experience furniture or no furniture mades no real difference to being able to rent the room out.

    6.) Parking

    Where will the boarder park their car? Do you have off street parking or will they need to park on the road. If they do park on the road, is there room for them or will it cause issues with neighbours?

    7.) Privacy

    How much privacy do you need? Do you have house rules in place already? Are there separate living areas and space that is yours alone? Consider all of this before renting your room to a boarder.

    8.) Create your ad

    Once you know what rate you will charge for renting out your room and what that rate will include, create an ad listing out all the benefits, costs associated and rate for the room. Take clear, accurate, well lit photos of the room and home so people can see what they are renting before applying. This reduces the chances of either of you wasting your time. Place the ad on sites such as GumTree or join Facebook share rooms/rooms for rent groups and promote it on there.

    9.) Interview boarding applicants

    Do not accept the first person who enquires. Have a conversation with them, meet them in person, check references, check their online and social media profiles and get a feel for them. When interviewing them as them about previous places they have lived, living and eating habits, social life, occupation/income, goals etc. Also discuss your expectations around things like privacy, rent payments, noise levels, guests sleeping over etc. Get to know them to ensure they are a suitable candidate and will be able to pay the rent.

    10.) Trust your instincts

    If they present perfectly on paper, however you have a terrible feeling in your gut, trust your gut.

    11.) Write up a contract or use a proper lease form

    Include everything in it such as:
    • Bond and deposit paid (e.g. 2 weeks rent)
    • Date it was paid and term of contract (e.g. 3months to see if you get on, with the option to continue if both parties agree)
    • When rent is due – weekly/fortnightly and what day and will it be paid in cash, into your account or will you use property management software?
    • Which areas of the house are they allowed to use/are they renting?
    • Services you provide – do you provide any meals/cleaning/lifts?
    • Share of bills – will it just be half each?
    • Share of household chores – alternate cleaning or only clean up after yourselves or pay for a cleaner to come in and do communal areas.
    • Room inspections – frequency and expectations
    • Notice period – how much notice they must give you and you them if either one of you decides to terminate the contract.
    • Specific house rules – noise control, house duties, overnight guests, if they can store things such as extra furniture at your house or not. Include everything. If it is in writing and signed by both parties, it cancels out a lot of disputes.

    12.) Lodge the bond properly

    Bonds are to be lodged correctly, not just be held in your bank account. If you don’t lodge it there can be issues and legal ramifications.

    13.) Document everything

    Before they move everything in, take pictures and note everything already wrong with the room. Better yet, go through it with a video camera and the boarder present then create a copy of it for each of you or load it to dropbox for future use. This will help settle disputes if any arise when they leave (or they cause any damage.)

    14.) Leave them be

    Remember the room is theirs. It’s their choice if they keep it messy or not. Also remember not everyone gets along and you may find this boarder and you are not compatible. Don’t let that stop you from trying again.

    Good luck with it. I know this list might seem over the top, but it’s better to be safe and prepared than sorry. Renting a room to a long term boarder is different to a quick couple of nights from an AirBnB guest, both can make you good money though.

    What tips would you add for renting your room to a boarder?

  • How to get money to leave an abusive relationship

    How do you get enough money to leave an abusive relationship? What financial help is there and how do you access it?

    ***Trigger warning***
    I have personally experienced domestic violence. This article contains some of my personal experience along with that of others who have shared with me. It may cause triggers, although I have tried to keep it relatively neutral.

    Leaving an abusive relationship is extremely difficult for numerous reasons including personal safety, emotional turmoil and financial issues. In many abusive relationships the abusive partner has control of the finances and leaves the abused with no money, no options or worse still, with all bills and debt in their name and no way to get rid of it all.

    Disclaimer: I want to make it clear that these are options, not personalised advice for your own situation. These are things you can do, resources that might help and ways to financially help get out of or recover from an abusive relationship. What you do is your choice and personally, I think if you can, always seek professional help through counsellors, lawyers and financial advisors. Not realistic in most domestic violence cases, I know. I have in this article some advice for that as well.

    How to get money to leave an abusive relationship

    Financial preparations for leaving an abusive relationship

    Preparing to leave an abusive relationship is scary and risky. Along with getting all your important papers together such as birth certificates, bills, bank statements, passports etc. You need to arrange your finances. One time when I was preparing to leave I opened a private bank account. I explained my situation to the bank and all statements were to be kept at the bank, not sent to me. They were never to call me and it was supposed to be completely confidential. Unfortunately, they rang me and my ex happened to be home. He was furious. I was forced to go down and close the bank account. Because of my experience I hesitate to suggest it.
    Admittedly, this was quite a few years ago and now you can have online only accounts, bank through the Post Office, set up a separate email address etc and hide it all easier. However, your abuser may have installed spyware to track your movements, so I would be careful doing this.

    Instead, look at how you can accrue cash!
    1.) Get cash out with the groceries
    If you pay by eftpos, ask for an extra $20 out each time you do the groceries then store this cash in a secret place. The cash out often doesn’t show on the bank statement, only the total amount and where the purchase was made shows. Check your own bank though as some like The Commonwealth Bank list the cashout amount separately to the amount paid for groceries. This was suggested by a reader and I love it. I always squirreled away cash where possible, but had never thought of doing it this way.

    Hide it somewhere it cannot be found such as a false-bottomed drawer, hollow out a section under your lounge or bed, or if you trust someone, hide the cash at their house along with your important paperwork.

    2.) Do cash jobs
    I was a hairdresser by trade when I was leaving, enabling me to do haircuts on the side for cash without him knowing how much I was earning. I did declare my income on my taxes and obeyed all regulations etc. Look at ways you might be able to earn cash such as through cleaning, gardening, ironing, baked goods etc. Check out 101 ways to make money from home and 31 ways to save $200 or more and make money!

    3.) Sell items on consignment
    Do you have anything you can sell on consignment in stores? You might be able to make beaded jewellery or other items to stock in stores on consignment and have an arrangement where you collect your payments in cash.

    Cash is king when leaving an abusive relationship. If you can save it, hide it and take it with you, they won’t know how much you have and cash gives you more options.

    Knowledge is power when it comes to domestic abuse

    Learn all you can, in as safe a way as possible. For example, sites such as Women Talk Money have articles and resources to help you with finances in various stages of your life, including abuse. They also have a quick escape option, as in if you hit escape when on the site it will immediate load Google so if anyone comes in they will not see what you are looking at. This is an excellent safety feature.

    1.) Know what help is available
    Women health centres are available in many cities which have community lawyers, counsellors, classes, meditation, naturopaths and other services for free or minimal cost. The assistance of a community legal can prove to be extremely valuable when you are trying to leave. It is not the same as having a lawyer on call for everything, they can help you plan things out and give advice though to assist in leaving or after you have left.

    Free legal advice, free counselling, 10 free psychological visits on a mental health plan, parenting payment (if you are a parent), along with rent assistance and advance payments to assist with leaving an abusive relationship, social workers, no interest loans, free food, bills paid and other financial assistance are all available to victims of domestic violence or anyone facing financial hardship.

    Health centres, community legal centres, churches, charities and not for profits all provide different services. Most of the time it is simply a matter of asking, outlining your situation and accepting the help offered.

    2.) Find out the documents you will need to access assistance
    If you haven’t left yet, find out what documentation will make it easier. For example, are you going to be eligible for payments from Centrelink and if so, what will you need to prove what has happened, how much you earn etc.

    3.) Get advice asap
    Talk to a lawyer, know your rights and what assistance is available to you. Keep documentation of everything, report abuse to the police, if there are witnesses get them to provide statements. Do everything you can to protect yourself and your children if you have them.

    Claims for financial assistance for domestic violence victims

    Most states have a service that is a financial payment for victims of violent crimes, which domestic violence falls under. The assistance varies from state to state but can include a payment to you based on the crime, financial assistance for counselling, financial assistance for moving or costs involved with your safety and other costs that can be directly attributed to the crime. Each type of assistance has a value attached to it and you do not have to claim immediately. There is assistance to help you fill out the necessary paperwork, be prepared though as it can be traumatic going through the process.
    Use the links below for each state/territory to find out more:
    ACT
    NSW
    NT
    QLD
    SA
    TAS
    VIC
    WA

    Centrelink

    In Australia, Centrelink is the obvious safety net to help financially. Last year they had 22 million unanswered calls. Be prepared. I do not know anyone who has dealt with them and it went well. It is best if you arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible before talking to them. Most things can be lodged or done online and this will speed up the process a little.

    To give you an idea, some of the payments you may be entitled to, depending on your circumstances include:
    – Parenting payment
    – Newstart
    – Rent assistance
    – Carers payment (if you have children who are traumatised and need extra assistance)
    – Family Tax Benefit A and B
    – Childcare rebate
    It depends on your circumstances, income, assests, if you have children or not etc. Once you get it, make sure you use the discounts available for concession card holders. You can check the complete list here.

    There is also child support. I strongly recommend you go through the child support agency for this and never rely on it coming it. I view it as a ‘bonus’. I went for a long time with no payments. He paid once before we went to court for his assault conviction. It certainly looked like he made that payment to look like he cared about his kids and to get a reduced sentence, which worked.
    It wasn’t until he lodged his tax return and the Child Support Agency were involved so they took his tax, paid it to me then set up an arrangement with his employer for child support to be deducted from his wages.
    If he quits his job, we are back to square one. They say child support will continue to accumulate as a debt, however, try as best you can not to rely on it as I know too many women who never received a cent as there are too many ways to get around the system. At least if you go through the child support agency it is all on record and documented, not just him vs you.

    Be gentle on yourself

    This situation is not your fault. You have done the best you could and if you are reading this you either have taken steps to leave or are about to and for that I applaud you. You are stronger than you can possibly imagine. Leaving was the hardest thing I have done. I went through hell and wouldn’t wish it on anyone. My life now is better than anything I ever could have imagined. Be gentle on yourself. Don’t blame yourself. Allow yourself to cry and feel your emotions. Allow yourself to get whatever help you need and don’t rush yourself. This is a slow process. Take it one day at a time.

    Also, you aren’t alone. Many have gone through it or are going through it. You can read about some experiences of others, their regrets and tips for finances and divorce in this post, including some quotes from me. Then, when you feel ready, check out how to rebuild after an abusive relationship too.

    You might also like
    How to ask for help
    20 ways to build confidence
    What to do if you are or are at risk of becoming homeless
    Financial Assistance for domestic violence victims and survivors
    Assistance for low income families

    Joining up with All Mum Said.

  • How to make decisions

    What if I make the wrong decision?

    Decisions can be difficult. Our fear of making a wrong decision can be paralysing but have you asked yourself what are you scared of and why? You won’t always make the best decision, but a decision and a plan of action is better than standing still. While ‘wrong’ decisions can feel awful when they happen, we learn and grow from them. They are part of our lessons in life.

    How to make decisions

    To make decision-making easier and faster, there are some steps you can take.

    1.) What are the pros and cons?
    Write down the advantages and disadvantages to the different aspects of the decision you want to make. Be realistic though. Often with a pros and cons list we are “nicer” to the decision we want and “harder” on the decision we don’t want. If you know you are likely to do your list this way, find someone objective and impartial to discuss your decision and list with.

    2.) Work out the cost
    Money isn’t the only cost to consider when making a decision. How much will each option cost you in time, sacrificing other things you want to do such as quality time with family and how much will it cost financially.

    My friend Miranda wrote a great article on opportunity cost here, using the example of how a $200 pair of sneakers actually costs $75,000.

    3.) Set a time limit for when the decision needs to be made
    The longer you leave a decision, the more likely you are to avoid making a decision. Set a time limit in which to decide, make a choice and stick to it.

    4.) Research, but within reason
    It is easy to do a little research on whatever it is you are trying to decide. Search online, check out forums and be very specific about what it is you need to make a decision on to ensure you get accurate information. Don’t make the mistake of spending too much time researching though.

    5.) Go with your initial gut feelings
    Your initial instinct about something is usually right. For example, a few years ago we bought a car I did not want. I didn’t want to take it for a test drive and I was walking away from it to have nothing to do with it again. Someone else was adamant it would be great, the test drive was ok but it ended up being a dud and cost us a small fortune. Had I listened to my gut instinct and walked away I would not have wasted so much time and money on that car.

    6.) Discuss it with someone you trust
    Discussing decisions you need to make with someone you trust and respect can be helpful. Be extremely careful though as they need to be someone who will not judge, will listen, be objective and impartial. Those people are usually hard to find as most of our friends want to make us happy and not all decisions make us happy.

    7.) Flip a coin
    Shake a magic 8 ball or do any other game of chance thing to help make the decision. The reason behind this method is you make one choice heads, the other tails. When you flip the coin in the air, in a flash you generally hope for either heads or tails. The one you hope for is probably the decision you should go with.

    Ultimately the decision is yours. You need to trust yourself and realise that even if the decision you end up making is not perfect, you will still learn something from it. Plus you will never know if you don’t take the chance, make the decision and go for it.

    Remember, once you make the decision, do it with your whole body/mind. Not just half heartedly. You made the decision and it will only work best if you put your whole self to it!

    How do you make decisions?

  • 12 tips for happiness

    A compliment I have been getting a lot lately from everywhere, even complete strangers is that I have a very positive energy. I am clearly extremely happy both within myself and with my life in general. Previously I battled with depression and borderline personality disorder throughout large portions of my life the with treatment was cleared of this in 2013. It has not been an easy road to get to the point I am, but I am grateful for every experience along the way as they have shaped me to be who I am today.

    12 Tips forhappiness

    Here are 12 things I have done to cultivate happiness in my life and help change my attitude.
    1.) Cultivate and attitude of gratitude
    I have a gratitude journal where I write at least one thing a day I am grateful for and it has helped change the way I look at things. Instead of focusing on all the negatives of a situation I look for what I could be grateful for, what lesson I could learn etc. Ask yourself what you can be grateful for today then with every negative situation ask what lesson you can learn from it, what opportunities could come and why it could be beneficial.

    2.) Meditate
    I tried this on and off for years but couldn’t seem to ‘get it’. Once I tried guided meditation I found it worked for me much better than simply trying to clear my mind. There are so many different ways to meditate, just try different ways until you find what works for you. Mine changes depending on my mood, but I can feel it when I have not been meditating as I am more irritable, decision making is harder and I feel run down.

    3.) De-clutter
    Get rid of anything you are not using, you don’t need or don’t love. Having a lot of stuff around, clutter on every surface is depressing. It drains you of energy and without realising it your mind is sometimes thinking about the mess you need to clean up or sort out, which distracts you from other tasks. Clear out your home, your car, your workspace and inbox to make room for things that really matter to you and to create an environment where you feel more relaxed and enjoy being.

    4.) Get organized
    When you’re living in chaos it’s hard to feel happy and have a balanced life. Get a schedule, automate bills and anything else you can, get a budget and stick to it. Don’t go so far as to plan every tiny aspect of your life because you still need spontaneity, but for those every day, mundane things, get a schedule happening. Get a planner or use an app on your phone to put in all appointments and things you need to do. Menu plan then shop accordingly. Streamline the aspects of your life you can so you have more time for fun.

    5.) Love and be loved
    I have often felt unworthy of love. I have a huge capacity to love others, but often hated myself. I had to change my thinking, realise I am worth it and that I deserve to be loved. Doing this has increased how much love I surround myself with and how much more I can love others, how their opinions no longer affect my mood as severely and my own confidence and belief in myself has soared.

    6.) Help others
    Volunteering for a cause I am passionate about has made a huge difference to me. I can be having the worst day, but then go in and see all the wonderful people I spend time with and I feel so good again. Thinking about other people, serving other people and treating everyone as equal takes the focus away from things that you might think are wrong in your life and instead makes way for the warm, fuzzy feelings.

    7.) Take care of yourself
    Make time for yourself, dress nicely and take care of yourself. If you need a break, take one. If you need to do some beauty treatments, do it. If you need a massage, get one. Making your needs a priority and taking care of yourself makes a huge difference to how you feel. Putting yourself last all the time is not a way to project your self worth to the world. It’s a great way to get run down and discouraged though. So instead of putting everyone before yourself, take some time to focus on your needs and look after yourself.

    8.) Know who you are
    I was pretty lost for years.  I went through the motions instead of knowing my core values, who I am and what I am passionate about. I did what others expected of me or wanted me to do. I played the role that I had sort of fallen into and I hated it. It wasn’t me. I wasn’t being true to myself.  I decided to take time to focus on who I am, who I want to be, the sort of mother I want to be and how to change myself and my life so I can live true to myself. It was quite a journey and has been well worth the effort and time it took.

    9.) Realise your attitude is your choice
    I fail at this at times, but that is ok. No one is perfect. How you feel, how you react to situations and what you do is your choice. I am not saying you can’t get angry or sad or upset. But realise it is a choice, no one is making you feel that way. Things will happen that upset us. Express that, let yourself feel the emotions, but don’t dwell on it. You can choose to be overwhelmed by all the negativity or you can choose to learn and grow, take the lesson and be happy.

    10.) Release people from your life
    If they are not helping you, if they make you feel bad about yourself or trigger negative feelings, if they drain your energy and are not contributing to the sort of life you want, but instead are essentially toxic, get rid of them. Release them from your life. You don’t have to keep anyone in your life you don’t want to be in it. You can change jobs, you can stop hanging out, you can delete people from social media and just because someone is related to you, doesn’t mean they have to be in your life. If you can’t cut someone out of your life completely, work on cutting back the amount of time you spend with that person and how much you think about them.

    11.) Therapies
    I used a variety of therapies to help me such as psychology to treat Borderline Personality Disorder, reiki, massage, acupuncture, naturopathy and a range of other therapies and treatments to help heal my mind, body and soul.

    12.) Live in the moment
    Stop worrying about your past or future and start living in the present. If you get organised like I said above, set times to check your finances and things that will matter in the future, you don’t need to worry about it. Let go of the past. All you can do is learn from it, not live in it. You can’t change it, so stop using your energy wishing things were different. Live in the now. Appreciate the life you have now and do what makes you happy.

    What makes you happy? How have you changed your attitude?

    Originally posted in October, 2013. Revised and republished June 2016

  • 20 ways to build self confidence

    Have you ever noticed how successful people seem really confident? Do you struggle with confidence in yourself or your ideas?

    I come across as confident and there are many things I am confident about in my life. I wasn’t always this way though. I do not know anyone who is confident all the time, however, the successful people I know don’t let failure or fear stop them. They embrace it and use that nervous energy to push them forward. Instead of dwelling on what could go wrong, they focus on what could go right. If they are nervous before going on stage they use that nervous energy and jump around or dance before going on stage. It gets them pumped instead of scared.

    Building confidence can be a slow process. I had none when I was married, then after I started blogging and I was offered opportunities like a book contract, speaking and freelance writing my confidence grew. I also overcame Borderline Personality Disorder during this time and want to make it clear, that while the tips I am about to give help me, if you have severe anxiety or other underlying issues, I highly recommend professional help.

    20 ways to build confidence

    To gain more confidence, try some of the following methods.

    1.) Know your purpose
    Know why you are doing something. Having a strong sense of purpose gives you the confidence to keep going when things get hard. If there is no purpose behind what you do, there is no strong motivation to keep going.

    2.) Write a list of things you like about yourself
    Sit down with a pen and paper and list out things you like about yourself. The first time I did it I aimed for 100 things I like about myself. It was extremely difficult as I had severe depression at the time. I started with 10, then did the next 10 and the next until I reach 100. I started with simple things like “I have great eyebrows because they are shaped nicely naturally and I don’t have to wax them”, followed by “I have long eyelashes that curl up” and “I am good at helping other people”.

    I thought about things others said about me. I asked close, trusted family members and friends what they thought my strengths were, what they liked about me and I listened to compliments people gave me. I was careful with where I sourced the compliments and only listed ones from people I trusted who I knew were honest and genuine.
    Once I had my list I made a few copies to place in various locations as a reminder of my qualities and valued when I felt low. I put one in my wallet, one on my bedroom wall, one on my computer and took a picture to keep on my phone. At times I struggled to believe they were all true. As I read them and thought about examples of each thing such as a time I helped someone or the discussion with a family member about the qualities they admired in me, this list became more believable and eventually I stopped needing it.

    3.) Have a daily positive affirmation
    I mention affirmations a few things throughout this book because they are powerful. Affirmations are not simply about repeating a quote or line to make you feel good. Affirmations are meant to change your mindset and create a genuine belief within yourself based on the affirmation.

    One of my favourite quotes that I use as an affirmation is “I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.” ~Carl Jung.

    I repeat this to myself whenever I need a pep talk.

    4.) Write a list of your achievements
    Similar to the list of things you like about yourself a list of achievements can help you see how amazing you are, the impact you have had on the world and why you should be confident in yourself and your abilities. Achievements are not limited to awards. Recently when I was looking for ideas for my bucket list I was reading through other people’s lists and was surprised by how much on other people’s lists I have done. I didn’t think I had done much, but when I wrote down some of these things I was amazed and quite proud of my achievements.

    5.) When someone gives you a compliment just say thank you
    Don’t talk it down. If someone says they like your top/shoes don’t say “this old thing, oh, it’s nothing” just say “Thank you, I love it too.” You can compliment them back, but stop putting yourself, your things or your work down.

    6.) Change your mental dialogue
    We are our own worst critics. Whenever you start to think negatively about yourself, whip out your list of things you like about yourself or the list of compliments and read it. If you are not in a position to do that just change what you are thinking. It can be hard at first, but try to remember your achievements. Think of your daily positive affirmation and repeat it in your head.

    7.) Make self-care a priority
    I see many women guilty of putting themselves last. I spent years putting myself last, not going to the beauty salon despite it making me feel so much better. I felt bad if I spent money on clothes or things I wanted. I allowed myself to get frumpy, overweight and lacking confidence. Part of this was because of the abusive marriage I was in. I was too scared to stand up for myself. When we got married he stopped me wearing pink or pretty lingerie because he didn’t want other men looking at me. He felt I looked too good in pink. I was not allowed to talk to other men and because of the way we ate, I gradually put on more and more weight. He made me feel like no one else would want me. I was depressed, unhealthy, unsure of myself and undesirable. Because of this, I stopped dressing in clothes I liked, often didn’t do my hair or make-up, neglected my health and put myself last.

    When I divorced, one of the first things I did was overhaul my look. I am fortunate that my sister, Jac Lambert, is a personal stylist, designer, make up artist and has a keen eye for all of that naturally. She helped me find my style which boosted my confidence. 

I started booking in monthly to go to the salon and scheduled time with myself for other beauty maintenance such as regular facials, body scrubs and things at home. I started putting myself first and my confidence grew as a result.

    Stop telling yourself you aren’t worth it. You are. Do whatever you need to do to make yourself feel happy with your health, mind and body. Take care of you.

    20 ways to build confidence (1)

    8.) Watch your body language
    Our body language is a clear indication of our level of confidence. Sitting or standing with our legs crossed, our shoulders hunched or arms in our lap are all submissive poses. You are trying to make yourself smaller than the other person.

    If you want to be confident, act confident. Use strong, confidence body language such as a super hero pose – hands on hips, shoulders back, legs apart. Stand tall, with good posture. Claim and own the space you are in.
    Not only does it increase your confidence, it is better for your overall health. .

    9.) Take care of yourself
    Many people are guilty of neglecting themselves, especially parents. We get so caught up in everything else we forget about ourselves. Often when we are young we spend a lot of time doing our hair/make-up/dressing nice/wearing perfume/cologne etc… Then life happens and we get too busy, or just do the basics. Take a step back and start taking care of yourself again. The confidence a good hair style and a well put together outfit will give you is a fantastic feeling.

    Check out how to have the ultimate work life balance and how and why to prioritise yourself.

    10.) Music
    Music is powerful, it can change your mood completely. Look how music is used in movies and the media to coney emotion, make you sympathetic to the victim, get your blood pumping in dramatic action scenes or scare your in a horror film. Music impacts your mind.
    Start taking note of how music makes you feel and create a confidence playlist to use when you need a boost. I have playlists for motivation, working out, cleaning and certain songs I play before I go on a stage to speak. Music can help you overcome fears and project a sense of confidence.

    11.) Act positive
    Being happy, smiling and giving compliments will make you feel better about yourself and it makes thinking positively a whole lot easier. There used to be days I would dread doing certain things. By making a decision to act positive, try to think about everything in a positive way, over the course of the day i felt happier and more confident about what I was doing.

    12.) Be prepared
    Know what it is you are doing or talking about. We all have to start somewhere when learning, so accept which stage you are at, learn as much as you possibly can and be prepared. When you know what you are talking about or have to do you are a lot more confident than if you don’t know.

    With public speaking, I could confidently get up on stage and discuss homelessness, domestic violence, going from homeless to CEO, motivation, my personal story, social media, blogging, blog monetisation and goal setting because these are topics I know a lot about, I speak on often and I cam confident in them. I prepare beforehand, I have key points, I refresh my memory with current statistics as needed and know that when I get up I have prepared myself as much as I can. If I was to simply get up on stage without preparation I would fail miserably, have no confidence and everyone would see right through. Preparation is key.

    13.) Be true to yourself
    What are your standards/principles/values? What do you live by? Without principles we have no guidelines or direction for our life. No direction is no reason for confidence since you aren’t working towards anything. When you have direction and aim you are more confident because you know what you are doing.

    14.) Do something you love or are good at such as cooking, swimming, gardening, piano, painting
    Whatever it is, do it regularly. Doing something you love and doing it regularly gives you positive feelings about yourself and what you are doing. These positive feelings can then overflow into other areas of your life. The happier you are and the more you achieve, the more confidence you will have.

    20 ways to build confidence (2)

    15.) Meditate
    When you are busy, overwhelmed and distracted it is easier to lose confidence than it is when you are calm, in control and feel secure within yourself. Take time out each day to meditate in whatever form you are most comfortable with. Getting centred regularly enables you to clear you mind, focus and feel more confident.

    16.) Set some goals and achieve them
    To begin with it might be something simple like pay your bills, or a to do list such as groceries, banking, return library books etc… Set it and complete it. Having goals gives you something to strive for. Starting small gives you mini confidence boosts when you achieve them. Having big goals to work towards gives you direction. Don’t make goals so big you will not be able to achieve them though. If you break them up into sub goals, every time you achieve one of those sub goals you are a success. Check out 10 steps to success with goals for more information.

    17.) Recognise what makes you feel insecure
    Take note of your feelings doing certain things. What makes your confidence waiver? Why are you insecure about it? What can you do to change it? I am insecure about dancing because of an incident that happened when I was a teenager. I have taken dance classes since and done well. The thought of dancing in a group or in public at all strikes fear into my heart. I dance with my daughters in private at home, that is pretty much it. This is something I am still working on.

    18.) Keep good posture
    Standing up straight and ensuring your back is straight makes you look confident plus as mentioned further up, it is confident body language. When you are projecting confidence you can’t help but be confident. Keeping good posture improves health as well.

    19.) Get rid of toxic people in your life
    What are toxic people? They are the ones who are always negative; leave you questioning yourself and what you are doing. They don’t encourage you, they just tear you down. They are often people who have been in our life for quite a while, so we don’t realise how bad they are for us. Also, they are NOT really friends. Back handed compliments are common with people like this. Everything is all about them and they leave you feeling drained. You do not need that in your life. They chip away at you and bring you down.

    20.) Focus
    When you are focused you are studying, getting to know what you need to do and doing it. This leads to achievements and success which boosts your confidence boosting!

    What do you to do improve your confidence?
    You might also like:
    An interview with me about confidence
    10 ways to motivate yourself
    Time saving tips
    Weight is irrelevant! Stop weighing yourself and drop dress sizes
    How to stop feeling overwhelmed and stop overloading yourself (lessons from my body shutting down.)
    Originally posted on October 13, 2010. Revised and republished May 23rd, 2016. 

  • 10 tips to help you do everything

    How do you do it all? How do you manage multiple websites, speak publicly, be a CEO, attend events, spend time with your kids, travel and everything else you do?
    Right now I run Occasio Enterprises, I speak publicly and attend numerous other events, have multiple websites, am an author, write for other sites/magazines etc, am a mum to two kids, travel internationally, am an advocate/ambassador for a few charities and spend quality time with my family. I have previously let all I do get out of control and ended up quite sick, paralysed and needing surgery as a result. Now I feel I have a good blend happening in my life with all I do.10 tips to help you do everything! P

    1.) Get organised
    You need a routine or some semblance of a routine at least. You need specific places for things so you are not hunting all over your house for paper work etc. This will save you a lot of time and the routine will ensure you are more productive as you know the set times you have to do things in, making you less likely to waste it.
    I have a to do list with the three most important things I need to get done that day. I have another to do list which is longer and has other things on it, but each day I focus on the three most important tasks and anything else I get done after completing those tasks is a bonus.
    I map out my day, my week, my months and have it all on a calendar plus use a diary to help me stay on track.

    2.) Do not try to do everything at once
    Choose a time for everything and stick to it. Instead of having multiple tabs open on your laptop, jumping from writing to Facebook to email and having a TV show going in the background I try to focus on one thing at a time to the point where I have installed a Chrome extension called SelfControl which enables me to block certain sites such as Facebook for a period of time.

    3.) Know your values 
    I write about working out your values a little while ago. I am pretty clear on what is important to me, the life I want and my core values – integrity, family and health are my three big ones closely followed by freedom as in financial freedom, career freedom, travel and a lifestyle I love. Take the time to sit down and work out what your core values are and ask yourself if your life is in line with those values. If it’s not, what do you need to change?

    4.) Say No!
    No is a complete sentence. You don’t need to provide excuses or reasons, you can simply say ‘No”. Don’t take on things you don’t want to do. Don’t let others pressure your into things or make you feel guilty. How you spend your time is your choice. If you are clear on your values and purpose, it is easier to say no. We decided this year if something wasn’t a “Hell YES!” then it’s a “Hell NO!” Meaning, if we weren’t totally pumped about something, if it didn’t line up with our values, goals and plans for our life, then we weren’t going to do it.

    5.) Work when you are freshest
    I am not a morning person and I am ok with that. I struggle first thing in the morning and it’s a battle to get anything done. Once I accepted this and started working in the times that suited me better I got more done.
    A typical day for me will often look like:
    Get the kids ready for school and take them, come home and do emails, clean up a bit and basically not do anything that requires too much thinking. After lunch I get into work, pick my daughters up in the afternoon, spend time with them and in the evening work after they’ve gone to bed.
    I have days where I attend events, am away for work or travelling etc, which is a few times a month lately. Each day is different, but I know I work best in the afternoon or evening. As such I plan my writing and similar tasks for those times and easier tasks for first thing in the morning.

    6.) Outsource
    You don’t need to do everything. Our time is limited, spend it doing things you enjoy and things that matter to you. In both your business and personal life outsource tasks where you can. If you spend all your time doing the little things, you won’t have time for the big things. For example, at home, I could outsource the cleaning, ironing and cooking to free up hours of my time. In my work I have a virtual assistant, someone else doing graphics and have a team of professionals who help and do different things in my business. You can’t grow if you try to do it all yourself.
    It’s a balance and often not easy to do to begin with, it’s a good investment though. Start with paying for 1 hour of outsourcing anything that is cheaper to have someone else do than it is to do it yourself then spend that time doing something that earns more. As an example, I know many who earn $50+ per hour. Tasks such as ironing or cleaning at home and scheduling social media, answering emails etc in their business can be outsourced for under $25 per hour. By paying someone $25 instead of doing it themselves, they free up their time to earn more.
    If you want to learn how to find more time, read this post about finding an extra 30 hours a month.

    7.) Do double up tasks
    Sometimes you can do two things at once. For example if you are cooking dinner you can cook a double batch and freeze half for later. This will drastically reduce the dinner preparation time another night meaning you have basically done two things at once. It is not the same as checking emails, social media and writing a blog post all at once. It is about choosing certain tasks such as cooking where for a small amount of extra effort you can save significant amounts of time later and reduce your overall workload without impacting on the quality of work you are doing.

    8.) Be kind to yourself
    There are only so many hours in a day and only so much you personally can do. If you can’t do something, don’t feel guilty. Do what you can, only take on what you know you can accomplish and congratulate yourself on the things you achieve. Beating yourself up over something you didn’t do is not going to change the fact it didn’t get done. It wastes more of your time, makes you feel awful, demotivates you and is counterproductive to everything. Acknowledge you didn’t do it, accept it, learn from it and move on.

    9.) Recognise your accomplishments
    Often we focus too much on what we haven’t done which will get you nowhere. Take time to recognise your achievements, not matter how small. Set your goals then when you achieve them celebrate. I am guilty of achieving what I set out to do then moving straight into the next thing without celebrating or really acknowledging what I have done.

    10.) Plan
    Getting everything you want to do done requires planning. Schedule your time. Set your goals (check out 10 steps to success with goals). Work with your plan to get everything done. A failure to plan is a plan to fail.

    What tips do you have to help you do everything?

    You might also like:
    How to ask for help
    How to have the ultimate work/life balance

    First published 12 May 2016. Edited and republished May 2016.