The word “budget” was never much in my vocabulary until the last year or so. I struggled with math in school (and, therefore, other subjects that relied on math, such as statistics and economics), and budgeting just never quite made sense in my mind. I remember when my husband sat me down and adapted his budget spreadsheet in Excel to make a new version for me, and it was just…over my head. I’ve never been as good with money as I could be, but I’m not financially irresponsible, so I always managed to scrape by. Then, I learned about You Need a Budget* (also known as YNAB) – I don’t even remember how anymore – and decided to give it a try.
Hi, I’m Leslie. I used to be a middle school teacher. I quit after only three years of full-time teaching, and I haven’t returned. Even though I’m coming up on my three-year anniversary of when I left my teaching career, this is something about which I still feel embarrassment and, for some reason, shame. Teaching is a hard profession, and the term “hard” is multifaceted here. One of the reasons it’s hard is that, here in the U.S., the general social expectation is that teachers will give up everything to teach kids for laughably low salaries and be happy about it. So…when someone like me comes along and realizes that it’s just all too much and decides to leave…there’s a kind of judgment. This post is all about why I think I failed as a teacher and why it’s still hard for me to talk about.
If you’ve been a human in the last several years, then you’re aware of the knockout, well-loved novel Wonder by R.J. Palacio. The book was first published in 2012, and I was in the second half of my M.Ed. program at that time. It just so happened that there were a few of us from my cohort all placed at the same middle school, with four of us actually on the same 6th grade team (and one more on the other 6th grade team). While I was in the social studies classroom on that team, one of my peers was in the ELA classroom, and she taught Wonder to our students that spring, when it was brand-spanking-new.
It’s hard to believe, but I’ve been working from home full-time since the fall of 2016, running my virtual assistant business as my main focus and source of income. I spent several weeks before this transition crunching the numbers and thinking about how best to make that happen. Prior to working from home full-time, my virtual assistant business was run on simple straight hourly work, with a flat rate for all services. But, part of my plan to be able to work from home included switching from straight hourly to monthly retainer packages.
I don’t think you need me to tell you that running a business is hard work. Like, really hard. It’s always hard, but I think it’s especially hard when you’re a solopreneur like me, because you have no one to fall back on, no one to swoop in when you can’t get to something, and no one to tell you you’re doing a good job. With all of that in mind, it’s important to make things easier when and where you can, which is why online business tools are so important.