Back into the Saddle

Back into the Saddle

It has been quite awhile since I've written on Milk and Mud – mostly because my life has been really busy and we've gone through major changes in my family.

I won't go into all of the nitty-gritty of those changes because I know that what you want to know about is the business side of things 😉

I think it's enough to say we've added a 7th baby to our family, we're learning what it means to try and balance a young family with helping aging parents, and Scott was laid off from his corporate job.

That means we're really busy…

…and my online business is what's paying the bills!

A Rocky Transition

I can't say that this has been a comfortable ride at all. Change is rarely comfortable, and with the exception of welcoming our youngest daughter, none of this change has been fun at all.

But it has pushed me and my business to places I never expected.

We went from what was a lower-level, “side business” kind of online business, to a more powerful, mid-level internet business.

Make no mistake – I am still not where I ultimately want to be, but I am learning and growing in ways that were hard for me to imagine even when I started Milk and Mud (and were certainly unimaginable when I started NBBC).

Growing a niche information marketing business alongside my family has been very interesting, and we are still in the process of growing.

I'm picking up writing here on Milk and Mud again because I want to share what I've learned in the school of really hard knocks over the past couple of years – and I want you to walk along with me as I start to scale this up even more 🙂

You Don’t Have to Work

Work. Hard Work. That's how you get ahead — that's how you create change in your life. That's how you get to where you want to be. Stop whining, stop complaining, and start doing. That's when things change. That's my philosophy, at least — so why would I title this post “You Don't Have to Work”?

It's hard for me to sit around and do nothing to work towards a goal. I'm a planner and a do-er. As soon as I know something may be a possibility, I start planning. The wheels in my head start turning. So to accept that I can just sit back and receive something, especially something that feels like I should have to work hard for it, is really tough.

Guilt!

Everybody makes mistakes in life, and you end up making a lot of apologies. Sure, you're a pretty good person. You don't steal, kill, or hurt little kids. But you still end up screwing up. Have you ever lost your temper? Told a lie… even just a little white lie when you were a kid yourself?

All of those things add up, and we make our apologies, but we still feel guilty.

We keep trying to improve ourselves… or at least stick to our beliefs that we're good people. In the end, though, we're all human 😉

 

Poured Out

So it's hard… it's really hard for me, and maybe it's hard for you. To think of all that I “have to do” to get to where I want to be and who I want to be. I have a lot of aspirations for my business and I want so much for my family. I sometimes feel like the weight of the whole world rests on my shoulders — and that I have to manage it all.

I'm eternally grateful, however, that there's one thing I don't need to work on. Somebody already paid the price for me, and gave me freedom I didn't earn (and I don't deserve).

I have to run my business, and I have to run my household. I have apologies I have to make to my husband, my kids, and even to customers from time to time… But I don't have to worry about the guilt of mounting mistakes. I don't have to worry about working myself to the bone every day to be “a good person.” It's not my hard work that's cleaning all of that rough stuff away from me. It's not my community service that washes away my record.

I say a lot of prayers throughout the year — for my business, for my family, for other concerns I have. But I don't often say anything in a really public way here on my blog.

Maybe it's the fact that many will celebrate the death and resurrection of my Lord Jesus Christ this weekend. Maybe it's because I've listened to some excellent preaching out of the book of Hebrews the past few Sundays. Maybe it's just because the past few years have shown me just how much I can screw up, and the dark depths of my own thoughts.

I don't know exactly why, but today I just want to say that I'm thankful for the blood that the Lord Jesus Christ poured out before God within the temple of the third heaven — blood that paid the price for me. I am so thankful that at least in this, of most eternal importance, I can take a gift freely given. I'm so grateful it's infinite and eternal.

[quote type=”center”] For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand… Psalms 84:10a[/quote]
[quote type=”center”] For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 2 Corinthians 5:21[/quote]

Photo by Albion Europe ApS

 

Purpose and Goals for the Coming Year

It seems like it's pretty trendy right now to label goals as “useless,” at least in the blogsphere. I keep reading post after post about why goals are just a limiting measure of your time, and that you need to be spontaneous, enjoy life's adventure, go where it takes you, etc.
My husband has never really liked goals or set them for himself. I, on the other hand, have tended to set goals. I don't set resolutions for myself, really, but I do set goals. I don't think that goals are useless. Maybe some people, like my man, don't do as well having a goal, or find a goal to be a poor tool for them. But for me goals bring focus to my hopes and dreams. They give me action steps to take towards what I want.

I want to take this post to share a little more about why I've taken up this blog and what goals I have for next year.

Why I'm Writing on Milk and Mud

This poor website has gone through several changes since I first launched it in 2007, and has now landed in what I hope will be a permanent condition as you see it here.

I run two niche websites that bring in a successful part-time income for my family. I would like to continue to grow their income into a full-time one. Those sites are geared towards mothers and I find that I love to write and share with the moms on those sites.

But I also want to write about my marketing and personal development journeys, sometimes I can't really do on those websites. I want to share with others about those topics, and I like the idea of developing a community that is supportive of improving marketing and oneself.

Taking a Big Chunk

It may be that Milk and Mud never becomes hugely financially successful because it's not strongly targeted in one area. That's OK with me. I know that, technically, I should focus on one area of marketing a profitable website and really drill into that.

But I want to share all of my experiences in developing a thriving business and honestly, a lot goes into that. I also want to share how I manage a household and a family while I manage a business. So there will be some of that in here, too.

My Goals for Milk and Mud

My goals for the site are to keep up writing consistently on the site and via email. I would also like to get a good routine in on the social media sites and comment on other blogs. These are skills I need to improve for my niche sites, too. Milk and Mud gives me a place to start gaining a better understanding of how to bring all of this together.

I want to fill Milk and Mud with valuable articles, tutorials, and how-to's on the basics that I've already developed skills in – choosing topics, hosting, etc.

And as I said above, I want to share my experiences as I develop my own business and as I learn more and more about success and personal growth.

We'll see how these things go over the course of the next year — goals give me a valuable place to jump from, to plan action from, and to measure my progress from. Here's to a new year, new progress, and new wisdom to gain.

[one_third][box] Photo by leafbug[/box][/one_third]

My Book Made the News!

I'm really excited. My book made the paper 🙂 Mention on the front page… and half of page 2A! I almost can't believe it. The reporter did a good job putting the article together 🙂 I suppose the best way to explain it is to let you read the article!

Local Author Pens Book of Practical Baby Feeding Tips

The reporter came to the house a few weeks ago to interview me about the book.  It was the first time I've ever done an interview like that, but she was great so I felt really relaxed through the whole thing.

She also complimented me on how well-spoken I was, which of course made me feel good!  I guess after years of writing online I've gotten pretty good at expressing myself, though I still feel like I bumble along and make mistakes.

Anyways, scans of the article below.  I'm thrilled!

Oh!  Go ahead and Get Your Copy of First Bites and Beyond

On the Front Page Sidebar!
Here's the article!

I Get Knocked Down, But I Get Up Again…

…You're Never Gonna Keep Me Down. At least that's how the lyrics to the song “Tubthumping” go. I happen to like that particular line a lot, though I can do without the rest of the lyrics.

That refrain from the song has been running through my head this evening, however. I've come pretty close to tears a few times today because the last few days have been a huge emotional roller coaster.

There have been a lot of ups – my brother came to visit, Galen is eating well, and January was my highest income month, ever – by a pretty large margin. It's super exciting to see my hard work paying off. It gives me a warm rush to think that all my studying and testing is really working.

But then there's the inevitable downs, and wow, have there been a lot this week – and it has hardly gotten started.

Transferring my sole proprietorship into an LLC has been very exciting, but it has also been a little trying. It's confusing to figure out everything I need to do. And it's a bit intimidating. I was able to get the bank accounts set up just fine, but applying for credit for the LLC has been challenging. Since my credit was absolutely ruined during my first marriage I am still trying to get back to the place I was before. It's really aggravating that three years of never being late on the one credit card I was able to keep hasn't seemed to make much difference in my credit score.

Basically what it means is that the LLC will be completely bootstrapping it for awhile. I've bootstrapped pretty much the entire way so I don't really mind, but it's hard not to let the “powers that be” of the credit world get demoralizing in their judgements.

Then I have a package coming that I've been waiting for. It was supposed to get delivered today, but it's apparently lost somewhere since it didn't get here. And the tracking on the package hasn't been updated in about five days. So God only knows where that thing is.

Then, there's Google. I love Google, actually. I like the Adsense program because it pays me well (lol). And I like Adwords, I like Gmail, I even like Google Wave. But apparently Google doesn't quite like the LLC because I cannot get the LLC approved for an Adsense account. This causes issues because, well, the LLC is about to own Natural Birth and Baby Care – and Getting-Pregnant.com . Getting-Pregnant doesn't serve Adsense yet, but Natural Birth and Baby Care certainly does. So now I need to figure out how to please Adsense – and their customer support is really unfriendly. There's really no way I can get in contact with them to find out exactly what they think is wrong. I got a generic “your site is under construction” message and, well, this site is not exactly “under construction.” It's pretty constructed!

On top of trying to find packages, decipher Google, and get over the insults of credit denials, I'm way, way behind on writing. So I have tons of articles to write and post and get done. All while I'm trying to sort all of this stuff out.

Oh, and my brother went home. Which makes me sad because I don't know when I'll see him again.

But at least we had a visit. And Galen is eating well. And Scott is happy because his package did arrive today. And, well, I shattered my income goals for last month. That's always cool.

But sometimes the bad things outweigh even the very good, so I found myself looking at my goal board and I found myself reading something over and over again. I can't remember where this came from originally so forgive, but I'm going to type it out here. Because yeah, I may get knocked down – but I'll get up again. Nothing will keep me down.

[one_half]
[box type=”shadow”]”If you think you are beaten, you are.
If you think you dare not, you don't.
If you like to win but think you can't
It is almost certain you won't.

If you think you'll lose, you're lost.
For out of the world we find
Success begins with a fellows' will.
It's all in the state of mind.

If you think you are outclassed, you are.
You've got to think high to rise;
You've got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize.

Life's battles don't always go
To the stronger or faster man;
But soon or late the man who wins
Is the man who thinks he can.”
[/box][/one_half]

This battle is going to the gal who knows she can 🙂

It’s Official

Milk and Mud, LLC is officially in business.  This is a whole new adventure for me 🙂

My sites are doing well enough that I wanted to formalize my business a bit more.  Right now it's pretty interesting figuring out how to get everything moved over to a business' name, and applying for things for the business.  It really forces me to do and think about things in a more logical way.  That's good, in the end I think.

It feels a little overwhelming now, but it's a good learning experience and I suspect soon it won't be so intimidating.

Even with the overwhelm, it's really exciting.  It feels like a big accomplishment!