16 Must-Haves to Style the Perfect Modern Farmhouse Home Office

When someone says farmhouse style, I immediately think of farmhouse style: reclaimed wood, weathered paint, sage green and mason jars.
And though that really isn’t my jam, I see that farmhouse style is VERY popular over on Pinterest. Even though Fixer Upper is going off the air, I see no signs of farmhouse decor slowing down.
So I wondered if there were any ways to evoke farmhouse style in a way that would fit in more with my personal style. Enter the Modern Farmhouse.
Here are a few rooms from Houzz that come up with your search for “modern farmhouse”:
This office is minimal and modern, but it still has elements of farmhouse style. Check out the desk, the cowhide rug and the iron black/bronze looking lamp. There are also some iron-looking elements styling the built-ins.
While this is a dining space, I can totally see this motif translating itself into a home office space. The chairs have a strong dining sensibility to me, so I personally would choose a different chair. Especially since these don’t seem super comfortable to sit in for long periods of time.
There are a few elements that seem to bring farmhouse into the modern age:
  • Use of black and white
  • White or neutral walls
  • Very little accent color
  • Black metal elements
  • Warm toned, medium colored wood elements
  • Minimal kitsch or blatantly country items

The modern farmhouse concept is very close to the industrial look to me. The use of metal and wood can make for a very industrial, urban loft look. But with modern farmhouse, the difference is in the structure of the furniture and accessories. They awaken a time gone by, but without hitting you over the head with it (no “farm fresh eggs” chalkboard art).

Here are a few finds (well, more than a few, 16 to be exact) from Amazon for styling a modern farmhouse office. Click on any of the images to learn more. You can also see these items and more when you visit my Shop the Blog page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Top Coastal Chic Decor on Amazon Prime

We’ve reached the time of year when winter is getting really freaking old.

I admit that the weather isn’t so bad here in North Carolina. But I’m a former northeastern girl who has lived in balmy locations such as Rochester, NY, Hartford, CT and even in New Hampshire. And for my homies up north, I sympathize.

This is the point in the year where I tend to get a little stir crazy and I start dreaming of the beach. There is little I love more than a cozy, well-appointed beach cottage. We used to go to Maine each summer, and the coastal decor just made me feel like I was ready for a relaxing vacation.

I decided to take a shot at styling a coastal chic home office. Here are some of the top rated coastal decor items on Amazon Prime.

 

Check out these beautiful flameless pillar candles in a deep, ocean teal. The coral decoration gives them an ocean-y appeal.

 

 

Look at these fun turtles for hanging on your wall. Handcrafted and hand-painted too.

 

I don’t know if you live or work at the beach (if you do, lucky you). But this is a pretty sign for any room with a coastal feel. I’m not sure if it would make me resentful that I was working and not at the beach though!

 

I love the blue color used on these coral wall art signs. You might not be able to see from this picture, but the background has a shiplap, wooden motif. Click to take a closer look.

Here’s a similar set in a more neutral gray. This one includes six wall hangings.

 

You might not want to use real candles, but these lantern sconces would add character to any office wall. I love that these fit the coastal theme without adding more teal or coral motifs to the room. It’s like a coastal/rustic or even industrial feel.

 

Here is another lantern accent. This one can be used as a table or desktop decor item:

And here is another variation with Ball jars and a wooden plank base:

 

I have a sofa in my home office, and I always keep a throw on it. Sometimes my office may be colder than the rest of the house, so I will drape this on my lap to cover my feet. Or, I might curl up with a book or my journal on the couch. Love the subdued colors in this seashell throw. It’s coastal, but neutral.

 

Here’s another cute, neutral wall fishy. I like the mirrored pieces for scales.

 

These medallion motif drapes fit a coastal color scheme, while still looking modern. You could put these drapes in any transitional office, but the colors really fit our coastal chic theme.

 

Check out the vibrant blue used on these turtle prints.

I like this item because it can hang on the wall, or sit on a desk or table surface. The “Love” decoration makes it fit in a farmhouse room just as easily as a costal one.

 

If you have a small office space and you need to use every inch, consider using an on-theme wall hook. This could hold your calendar or vision board, or you could hang a little galvanized bucket to hold office supplies.

No room is complete without a rug. For a coastal chic decor, a natural fiber like jute seems like the only choice .

 

The best part of this coastal shopping list is that you can order it all from the comfort of your warm living room. I can’t imagine any homemaker or work-at-home-maker not having a Prime membership at this point. But if for some reason you aren’t already a Prime member, you can try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial.  Even if you have a big room revamp coming up, the 30 days free would be worth it just to order your items and get everything delivered to your doorstep.

If you come back to the site, check out the “Shop the Blog” link to find these items, and other items from other blog posts, all in one place.

This article contains affiliate links. If you click on them I might get a small commission at no charge to you. This helps keep my blog ad-free.

 

 

The Newbie Blogging Chronicles–vol. 1

site ground for new bloggers

My January Update

I’m not a new writer, but I am new to blogging. Someone was asking how I like it. My answer was: um, I love it!

I realize that I may still be in the honeymoon phase when it comes to blogging, but I am enjoying every step of the way. It’s amazing how much different it feels to write for myself entirely, instead of ghostwriting content for other people’s websites or blogs (what I did a lot of last year as a freelancer. You can read about my freelance writing experience here).

I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot more than I would have expected so far! In less than a month I hve

  • Created this self-hosted wordpress blog
  • Moved by blog hosting from Hostgator to Site Ground
  • Signed up for a few affiliate programs
  • Made my first (tiny) affiliate sale!
  • Increased my Pinterest following
  • Have powered up my Pinterest presence a ton by using Tailwind
  • Joined a few Pinterest group boards
  • Joined several Facebook groups for bloggers (there are fantastic resources)
  • Written and published 14 posts counting this one!

I’m proud of myself for churning out that much content. I hope that I am able to pick it up.

I’ve also really become pretty comfy finding my way around WordPress. Self-hosting is the way to go, and the switch from Hostgator to Site Ground has my site running really fast. I am experimenting with a lot of plugins, but my page is still loading quickly because of Hostgator. Plugins can slow things down, so it’s important to keep tabs on that.

The best part of switching what that Site Ground will actually transfer your site to their hosting platform for FREE! I’ve used GoDaddy and Hostgator, and so far there is no comparison. And I love that I am helping out the “small guy” on the block because they are out here giving the best service.

You can try Site Ground starting at $3.95 when you use my link.

What’s Next?

My plan is to continue to churn out good content, and to find a way to make my blog profitable. With all of the love and inspiration I’ve found in the blogging community, I’m sure my next month of blogging will be even better 🙂

 

(This post contains affiliate links. I will earn a small commission if you purchase through my link which costs you absolutely nothing.)

 

 

 

 

14 Course Reviews, ZERO Affiliate Links: My Opinion on Some of the Internet’s Most Popular Paid Online Business Courses

I have a confession: I’ve taken every online course under the sun.

Well, that’s an exaggeration. But I have taken a lot.

This is not my first foray into the internet business rodeo. I’ve been working online for some time. And I have started a few online businesses that failed, like:

  • Digital marketing for attorneys
  • SEO white labeling
  • Coaching a women’s lifestyle group
  • Writing fiction books on Kindle
  • Other things I am probably blocking from my memory out of shame forgetting about.

And with each new venture, I really wanted to make it work. My goal was to go balls out and unafraid to invest in my business. I have always felt like I’m really investing in myself (at least that’s what all of the amazing online salespeople convinced me I was doing.)

There’s also the matter of that little early midlife crisis I might be experiencing. My daughter is growing, I’m getting older and I want to find my purpose. Damn by INFP insatiable desire for my life to have special meaning!

So online entrepreneurship has been where I’ve put my blood, sweat and tears over these last few years. I want to work at home, I have been out of the workplace game for a long while, and it is just want I think would make me happy. And in my question for online success, I’ve come across a few valuable teachers who know their stuff.

I’ve also had a few disappointments.

The Online Business World is Really Pyramid-y

I think it’s time to say it: most online businesses seem to be marketing to other online business people. It’s like B2B2B2B2B…it drives me bananas.

What do I mean by pyramid-y? Well, it’s like this:

Step 1. Person establishes online career

Step 2. Person may or may not have varying degrees of success with said online career

Step 3. Person wants to diversify their income streams to include more passive income and less of their time and labor.

Step 4. Person writes an online course to sell information to others who want to follow in their footsteps.

Step 5. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Sound familiar? If you are reading this, then I know it does.

 

And look, i’m not knocking the hustle.

I know it sounds like I am, but I’m not. I actually really enjoy taking these types of courses. I’m fascinated by this business.

It’s just my observation of the online business industry and I think it’s about time someone said it out loud. Judge for yourself how you feel about this type of business, hell, I am probably in that type of business with this blog. But, it needs to be discussed openly. Because sooner or later this bubble is going to burst.

I know that information products and digital products and virtual work are here to stay. What’s going to bust is the levels and levels of people who keep doing the same.damn.thing. Innovative products that solve a real problem will always be successful. But pyramid schemes won’t. That’s my two-cents, at least. But what do I know? I am not an online guru and I have not made six-digits online, so grain of salt and all that.

I feel passionately about the topic of online courses and resources and I have for some time. Sometimes I recommend a course, book or free to someone because I thought it was valuable. Other times, I have chalked up my money spent to the game.

But in the spirit of the online business pyramid culture, most course reviews are given by affiliates. And while I don’t think that means that they are dishonest, I do think it probably colors the review in some way. Call me a skeptic.

That’s why I wanted to give honest, fully uncompensated reviews of the courses I have taken (and paid resources I have purchased). I want to share what I liked and what I didn’t like. And most importantly, tell you if I would I buy them again.

I’m seriously fearful that this post will get me blackballed on the interwebs and that I might as well pack up this blog and go home.

But this is a post I’ve wanted to write for along time. So let’s get started.

*Deep breath* Here we go.

 

 

 

 

7 Places Where I Find Real Freelance Writing Jobs

young woman working on laptop

The Gig Economy is EVERYWHERE Online

If you have ever considered working from home, you have no doubt come across the massive amount of information on the web to help you find freelance writing jobs . It seems like everyone and their mom has a course on becoming a freelance copywriter or content writer.

The thing that jumps out at me, however, is that many of these so-called gurus don’t seem to have much copywriting experience under their belts. The way that the online business and freelance community is set up, it seems like some people to begin selling courses and coaching to other people who are trying to live the dream, instead of working on their actual freelance income themselves.

The old adage, those who can do, and those who can’t teach, is VERY apropos when it comes to the online freelance writing world.

And I admit that I did spend (and sometimes waste) a lot of time, money and tears on finding the right information to help me 1. develop my skill set and 2. find decent freelance work. I’ve kissed a lot of frogs–now I stick to the channels that I know are legit and effective. Here are a few of the places that I found my current clients.

1. Join Facebook Groups

 

A friend of mine clued me in to this resource last year, and it led to me getting some great referrals. There are many Facebook groups out there for freelance writers to network and share job information. Some of these groups are publicly searchable. Others are kept under wraps because they are closed or secret groups that require an invite.

But the good thing is, once you get into one or two groups, you will quickly learn about the other lesser known groups who like to stay on the down low. Pay attention to the feed for a few minutes each day. You will learn about possible gigs, other boards or practical writing or career advice.

2. Check out sites Find Freelance Writing Work On Upwork–But Be Choosy

 

Upwork and other content mill and bidding sites get a bad rap. And much of it is totally deserved. Upwork is no exception, but it can lead to good clients when used correctly, and with the right mindset. When it comes to Upwork, there are two important things to remember:

Do Not Try To Get Business by Being the Lowest Bidder

While this may get you a few gigs, they will NOT be the types of clients you want, trust me. I’ve even run into my fair share of scammers on Upwork. WARNING: If they want to get you to chat and to be hired off Upwork, be very wary. While I have had legit Skype interviews with Upwork clients, they always hire me on the Upwork site.

Upwork takes a hefty commission when you’re hired. Upwork charges the freelancer a fee of 20% for the first $500 billed with a client. Then, the commission rate drops to 10% for lifetime billings with the client between $500.01 and $10,000. If you find a really long-term client, the commission drops again–5% for lifetime billings with the client that exceed $10,000 (I’ve never gotten to this threshold with any clients). But the fee scale is another reason that you only want to spend your time on good, quality clients on Upwork. The one-offs who are looking to pay pennies aren’t worth it.

Always Use Highly Relevant Samples Only

I got this advice from high-earning Upwork guru Danny Margulies of freelancetowin.com. 

Danny teaches something he calls the “Crystal Ball Method.” The idea is that you give the prospect a look into crystal ball at how you can help them solve their specific problem with your work. He suggests putting together what he calls a Minimum Viable Portfolio (MVP). The MVP is:

  • One single writing sample
  • Which is targeted toward what the client is looking for. Not a cut and paste sample or clip
  • Completed in 20-20 minutes.

The point is to stand out among all of the cookie cutter, cut and paste bids the prospect will receive. By doing some really quick online research, you can stand out from the crowd, and have a better change of getting better paid gigs. Check out Danny’s site for more details on his methods.

3. LinkedIn Pro

I learned about this from a colleague I met through some old-fashioned LinkedIn networking. Who knew the site actually worked for that purpose?

Anyway, I reached out to a writer in my niche who lived in a different city located in my state. I complimented her on her experience in the field that I was trying to grow into, and she graciously offered to have a phone chat. During this conversation she gave me two great LinkedIn related tidbits.

  • Join LinkedIn groups related to your niche or potential client base. I did some of this, but I did not get any work in this way.
  • Sign up for the LinkedIn Profinder program, which has been great.

To join LinkedIn Profinder, you must complete a simple application. The first time I submitted my application, a representative got back to me and told me that my LinkedIn profile needed some work. She gave me suggestions about how to optimize my profile to look better to potential clients.

After spending a little time on my profile, the accepted me.

The LinkedIn Profinder advertises vetted professionals to potential clients. I get periodic emails about jobs which might be a good fit for me. If I like the posting, I can reach out to the prospect with an initial bid and a note. I usually put something in the bid box because you have to, but I tell them that I would love to learn more about their needs in a phone chat, and that after that I would be happy to give them an accurate price.

I’ve gotten a few steady clients through this program, so you should check it out.

4. Creative Placement Agencies

 

I got one good, long-term client through Creative Circle.

Joining their corp of freelancers was easy enough. I found a job listing on their site, and I filled out the required information to register and was contacted by an account manager the same day. I applied for a few positions and I settled in with one remote, out-of-state client who turned out to be a great fit.

Tip: Don’t just look at positions in your geographic area! Go through each city and look for jobs that are off-site. That’s how I found an out-of-state gig which worked out just fine.

5. Angel.co

 

Angel.co is easy to avoid at first because the platform looks a bit strange at first (at least to me). But I got a really fun content gig on here and I’ve met some really interesting startup entrepreneurs.

The good thing about Angel.co is that many of the employers are startups who are doing interesting things. For instance, I got to write for two major comedians on monetized content sites curated by a startup.

When you look for jobs on Angel.co, be sure to make a search for “Remote OK” positions. Then, when I click to apply, I always leave a friendly, conversational note in the optional space to send a message. I never just send off my profile without a personalized note to the contact.

One word of warning: read the job posting carefully. Some startups lack capital, so they’re looking for people to work for equity, not cash. I have never been interested in doing that.

6. Blogs

Even though the beginning of my post said to avoid online freelance writing advice gurus, that isn’t to say that there are not several quality blogs about freelancing that have valuable information and job postings. A few good ones are:

And my personal favorite…

Problogger

Problogger has what I have found to be the best online job board aimed at bloggers and content writers. The job ads usually have details and well-written. Another pro is that they often display the name and links to the posting company so you can vet them yourself. It’s a free, straight-forward job board where I have had some luck.

7. Cold emails

Finally, I have had a surprising amount of success from writing cold emails to companies who employ content writers in my niche.

My former career was in law, so I have a lot of clients who require SEO blogs and other content for lawyers. After searching Google for “legal content companies” and I sent emails to all of the companies in the first few pages of search results.

I wrote a short email explaining who I was and what I do, and asked if they were looking to add any content writers to their team. It was a success: I got two steady clients from this method.

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Finding good freelance writing jobs can be time-consuming. Hopefully, this list will help you weed out some of the junk when it comes to beginning your freelance writing journey. I would love to hear from other freelancers, especially people who provide services other than writing.

Got questions? Leave a comment below, or find me on Facebook.

 

Work-at-Home Crafters–Get Ready for Craft Shows in 2018!

I adore summer festivals, and my hometown Rochester, NY always had the best festivals. I think it was because our winters were so long and snow and dreary, we made the most of every single summer weekend. When I remember summer festivals and craft fairs, I remember fresh squeezed lemonade (the kind with half a lemon floating in the cup). And I also loved talking to all of the crafters and artisans who were selling their work.

Even in the age of Etsy, craft shows and art shows are definitely still a thing.

I know that a lot of creative workistas out there are crafters. And for crafters, the craft fair and craft show season is crucial.

Instead of typing “craft fairs near me” and hoping for the best, you should check out Fairsandfestivals.net. This membership site takes all of the guess work out of the planning process. They compile detailed info about thousands of craft events in the US. You also get a free e-book about craft show and festival profit, and a newsletter too.

The other great part is that you can build a webpage with photos right on their site. Since the site is targeted at craft enthusiasts, it will get your name out there to other like-minded people.

Are you a DIY maven who is amping up for your biggest sales year yet? No more searching “Craft fairs near me.” Consider using this tool to dominate craft shows in 2018. Give it a try, it’s risk free for 60 days, so it is definitely worth a look.

Are you a craft-at-home entrepreneur? Check out our post on finding your signature office style for more ideas to decorate your workspace.

(This post contains affiliate links.)