Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Paid off My College Loan with eHow Earnings!

We're one step closer to being debt free -- I paid off the last of my my college loan in one payment using a portion of my eHow earnings last month. My final statement showed that I paid the debt off about 18 months early, saving me a good bit in interest (it was a private loan at 10% APR).

I had a grace period at the beginning of the loan for working in a non-profit sector after graduation, but otherwise have been making those monthly payments for years. Being free of that payment is a great feeling and makes a difference financially as well -- I've taken the amount I used to pay to the loan each month and am using it toward my next debt.

Thanks to my residual income through revenue sharing sites, my eHow ebook, my niche websites, affiliate marketing and miscellaneous sources, my family is becoming debt free much more quickly than we thought possible. In fact, we will probably pay off our debt about 2-3 years earlier than originally projected. Next month, I plan to put nearly all of my eHow earnings toward my next debt, a credit card balance at 5% interest that needs to be eliminated.

While we've had setbacks due to job loss, real estate (a house that didn't sell), and life's ups and downs, we've managed to stay the course and not take on new debt since we took Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University course almost two years ago. We've cut our debt down by a third, and are now on track to pay off the remaining 2/3 in less than a year, if all goes as planned.

Having a steady source of residual income thanks to my online writing has been a key element in our progress and our success to date. As my husband builds his new career, my income is back in a supportive role and working harder than ever to help us become debt free. I can't wait!

Are you using online earnings to become debt free or in a better posisiton financially? What role does residual income play in your personal finances?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Avoiding Burnout as a WAHM

Burnout is something I've rarely experienced -- over the past few years as a work at home mom, I've always had more motivation, inspiration and creativity than I had time to write. The only trouble for me was finding the time to get everything done that I hoped to accomplish in a given day.

Motivation was always easy to come by -- most of the time, we really needed my income to help make ends meet. So even when I found writing eHow articles tedious, seeing my daily earnings increase every week was enough reason for me to keep at it. This success inspired me to write my ebook guide, which has also been more successful than I had imagined, and I was rewarded by my readers' feedback.

Over the past couple months' I've experienced something different -- only slightly less time for writing, but much less motivation for writing, especially content articles, even on topics I previously enjoyed.

More enjoyable writing projects, such as my niche sites and blogs, haven't been immune to my little "burnout" interlude. It's been a month since I posted on this blog -- and for that I apologize! I am blessed to have so many faithful readers, and I really appreciate your comments on my previous post about the death of my aunt -- thank you.

I think my burnout was triggered by my decision to enter a contest for Demand Studios writers, in which the top writer wins a MacBook computer. On top of my other projects, I started writing several DS revenue share articles each day, on their titles, including topics that needed excessive research. I wasn't enjoying the writing process, and since I honestly don't need a new computer right now, the motivation didn't keep me going long.

After taking a break for a couple weeks (and boy do I love residual income, the money keeps coming in even when I'm not working!) I am back on top of my game, catching up with blogs, creating a new niche site, and outlining my next ebook. I'm thankful that I'm my own boss -- I might have been fired otherwise. I'm only half joking.

My plan for avoiding burnout in the future:
  • Have a variety of projects going at the same time. If one is causing stress, put it on the back burner (groan) for a few days, but keep going with the rest.
  • Write several blog posts in advance for each blog so in times of creative-less stupor, keeping the blog current is a cinch.
  • Stay inspired by making new goals when you've reached current ones. I met my original income goal some time ago, and knowing that I'm not at my ideal income yet is a good reminder for what I'm working to accomplish.
  • Get out and have fun. Sometimes as work at home moms, we're so busy with work, house, kids and spouses to have a date night or solo afternoon on the town. Do it at least a couple times a month -- it's so important.

Have you experienced burnout? How did you get over it?

Burnout photo by Henry S.