My friend, Lynn Terry introduced me to a new series last month on How to Be a Better Blogger.
I followed many of her suggestions on improving my Home Decorating blog, and it did wonders! So I decided to spend this month focusing on my personal blog. Here are a few changes I’ve already implemented:
- Included contact information and my reason for starting this blog on my About Me Page.
- Started using more pictures in my posts to help illustrate the subject matter.
- Installed a new header image and revised my tagline to better reflect me and what I’m writing about.
I’m so thrilled to have found the picture of a country road to use at the top of my blog…mainly because it looks just like the road that leads to my home. Yes, that’s what Fluvanna County looks like in my neck of the woods.
I also changed my tagline from “All that matters to me…” to “Valuing Faith, Family & Freedom in Central Virginia” to give my readers a quick & clear overview of the subject of most of my posts.
This makeover is not finished, by any means, but rather I’m just getting started. If you have a blog of your own, I encourage you to check out this series based on the article, 31 Days to Becoming a Better Blogger and implementing these steps yourself. You’ll no doubt be a better blogger as well.
I just finished preparing my federal income tax return late last night and got it off in the mail today with my payment…GRRR. My husband was really hoping for a refund again this year, since we had an added deduction and major medical expenses for that delivery. But no, we had to pay!
You see, despite having a lower sales volume (in dollars) in our business, we drastically improved our gross profit margin, maintained similar expenses (in total dollars) and somehow ended up with a much higher self-employment tax. Our exemptions and itemized deductions wiped out our adjusted gross income, but our tax credits weren’t enough to offset our self-employment tax. Okay, so we didn’t end up owing any income tax, but the bottom line is we had to write out a check!
But you know, that’s not the worst of it…the worst part is the stress and unsettling feeling of…what if I get audited? It was such a nightmare pulling all those receipts and paperwork together, generating spreadsheets, compiling reports, hoping I was doing everything right. I didn’t claim anything I didn’t have a receipt for and this year I made sure we had written documentation on the business use of our vehicle so I could claim that expense. Unfortunately I didn’t have receipts for the donations I made to the thrift store all year, but that didn’t matter since it wouldn’t have lowered our bottom line anyway.
I used Turbo Tax (for the third year in a row), with the idea I could take advantage of all the little known deductions available…after all, when you take your paperwork to a tax accountant to prepare your return, they just enter it all into Turbo Tax and charge you bigger bucks. Oh yeah, they sign their name too. I’m glad I had the software to walk me through it. But truth be told, I wish I didn’t have to go through all the trouble of the whole mess.
All in all, I did my duty. I rendered to
Caesar Uncle Sam what was due to him…but I’m not going to lie. I didn’t like it one bit.
How can we prevent this stress going forward? Spread the word about the FairTax proposal!
I thought Mike Huckabee was the right man to preside in the Oval Office (and I still do) for many reasons. One in particular was his way of “reaching across the aisle” and connecting with those who share views of opposition.
Unlike some politicians who are willing to compromise moral principles to make political choices, Mike Huckabee preferred to not waiver from his principles.
When he served as Governor of Arkansas for over 10 years, he was a Republican in a very Democratic state. Yet, he was able to accomplish huge successes where his predecessors could not.
Governor Huckabee saw his constituents as fellow Arkansans, not Republicans and Democrats. He was criticized for keeping members from the previous Democratic Governor’s staff on board when he stepped into office. But his position was that if they were willing to continue to work hard for the people of Arkansas, he would continue to employ them.
He was able to recognize and communicate the idea that it was the people at large whom he was serving, not just individuals who shared his same political view or religious faith. Continue reading
I’ve noticed a change in flavor over the past three months on this blog. Originally my intent was to write about “all that matters to me” and I introduced six categories: faith/religion, family, friends, home, politics & work. I thought I’d be addressing mostly family-related issues with a bit of work mingled in, since I’m a work-at-home-mom of four. But the past three months have shown I’ve got a lot more on my mind (& heart) to share with you than that.
So, brace yourselves, this is not a typical work-at-home-mom’s blog. Continue reading
I started a project many months ago featuring a product on one of our wallpaper websites, WallpaperIllusions.com. It was truly a labor of love, and I’m so thrilled to have finally finished it. (No, that’s not my bathroom on the left, but I do sell what’s on those walls.) I guess what gave me the final push to complete it was the 20/20 Challenge.
Actually I finished my rough draft of The Paper Illusions Guide right before taking on the challenge. Then when I saw what the challenge was all about, I thought I could work the guide into it somehow. I vacillated back and forth on how to bring the guide to market, contemplating price points and developing/revising sales letters…my “detailitis” had flared up again…I was trying to make everything perfect. Continue reading
I’ve been on Jim Edwards’ mailing list for a few years now…he helped me (indirectly) launch my most popular website, WallpaperIllusions.com. Well, I’m in the middle of preparing to launch a new product and am putting the finishing touches on my salesletter, and I just received a notice of his most recent article, 4 Reasons Why People Buy Now.
He made some excellent points, which led me back to the drawing board with my salesletter.
Today I had the rare opportunity of being at my computer just as my friend & colleague, Lynn Terry was kicking off her weekly free webinar. This week’s subject was Blog SEO: Easy Tips for Blog Optimization. I found it very helpful since I’ve been wanting to do more with this blog than I have in the past.
A few of the Blogging SEO Tips I gleaned from this week’s session were: Continue reading
Technically, today is day 5 of the 2020 Challenge, and I’m on day 5. That’s a pretty big accomplishment since many of my colleagues get a little stuck on day 3. But then again I had a little head start before signing up for the challenge, knowing day 3 was a tough one to get past.
Anyway, things are going well. I’m still very excited and motivated to keep moving forward, but I have to admit…this is a BIG challenge (but it’s also a BIG payoff). I can’t give too many details here, but if you’re interested in taking something like this on, then read up on it at The 2020 Challenge website. Afterwards come back here to ask any questions or post any comments you might have. I’ll be happy to share a little more about my personal experience.
I first heard about this 20K/20Day challenge from Lynn Terry a month ago. There was a lot going on at that time, like getting my federal income tax return filed by October 15th. (I had to file an extension because my computer crashed in early April and although I had the return completed to file, ALL of my backup data was GONE! So I had to build it all back up again, I didn’t want to file a return without having the backup on hand.)
Anyway, I wasn’t prepared to jump on board this challenge at the time, but I am now. In fact, I just did yesterday. Continue reading
I used to work as a telephone operator in sales/customer service for an 800-number in the late 1980â€™sâ€¦a wallpaper pirate business. We were considered â€œpiratesâ€ because we â€œstoleâ€ (legally of course) business from the local wallpaper retailer who essentially did all the work. Then several years ago, my husband and I worked with my father in running a retail wallpaper brick & mortar storeâ€¦that lasted two years. Now my husband and I work from home full-time selling wallpaper on the Internet. This is what I have seen/experienced first handâ€¦ Continue reading