Making Money Online: Learning from the Pros

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Imagine being able to work from anywhere:  From the comfort of your own home, from the beach, from across the world while visiting family.  Imagine being able to attend your children’s school functions, take a walk during sunny afternoons, working from a coffee shop by you.  Is this possible?  The answer is simple:  Yes it is!  And you can achieve it if you follow the advice of those who have already accomplished it. I learned most of what I know about blogging and making money online through the Blogging Blastoff course!

How did I decide that this was the course for me? I had limited time and wanted practical advice, you know, the one that you can put to use right away. After much searching, trying, discarding, and trying again, I found Blogging Blastoff and I immediately knew that I wanted to enroll.  Blogging Blastoff is taught by Heather and Pete Reese from It’s a Lovely Life, and if you follow their blog, you’ll see that they have mastered the art of enjoying life while making money online.

Blogging Blastoff was created to help online entrepreneurs build the life that they want.  One of the features that I like the most about this course is that it clarifies that even though making money as a blogger is an ideal form of income creation for many online entrepreneurs, it is also necessary to understand that there is a healthy dose of planning, commitment, and hard-work that is necessary for any blog to be successful.

As a matter of fact, Heather and Pete Reese show us their step-by-step plan on building a blog, complete with recommendations on what it should look like, how to use social media, and the different ways to make money online.  They have it all broken down in 30-day lectures and assignments, which are super-easy to follow even if you have a full-time job.  I did it myself while I still had two jobs!

If you are interested in learning what online blogging entails, how to make money while blogging, and are serious about committing and planning, then this course is for you.

Life is full of opportunities to enjoy.  Blogging can help you create the life you want.  If you are interested in learning more about Blogging Blastoff, click here and take advantage of what Heather and Pete Reese can teach you!

Good luck!

Cup of coffee, next to computer with a writing pad and pen on top.
Learn to blog with Heather and Pete Reese @ Blogging Blastoff!

The Art of Being an Inspiring Leader: Three Important Takeaways.

What are the qualities of a true leader?  I get this question very often.  We all have our ideas of what a leader should be, but some of us, who have not only occupied positions of leadership but also have been led by different types of managers, have a pretty good idea of what good leadership should be like.  Most of us would agree that a true leader is a leader who is willing to inspire and teach others and feels no intimidation or fear in doing so.

I remember that one of the topics I was interested in when I was thinking about my dissertation was school leaders’ leadership style.  It had been my observation that the more inspiring, role-model-like a leader was, the more likely staff were to follow their lead and become leaders themselves.  I had observed this in my own practice in schools, school districts, and education departments.  The inspiring leader was a teacher, a guide, a role-model.  The inspiring leader was worthy of a following.

In the past couple of years, I was able to pick up a few tips that I hope will become a mantra in the world of management.  I was able to closely observe what an inspiring leader could build, and what an authoritarian leader could destroy.  I came up with three very important observations that clearly separate the authoritarian leader from the inspiring one.  Being and becoming an inspiring leader is an art that needs to be practiced!

Takeaway #1:  Do Not Confuse Micro-managers with Real Leaders

Micro-managers are the opposite of a team leader.  A real inspiring leader is inclusive, takes into account the opinions and thoughts of others, analyzes what they have to offer.  A micro-manager dictates how an organization is to conduct itself.  The micro-manager may present him/herself as an enlightened leader who comes in with the greatest intentions, but soon enough employees can perceive authoritarian traits.  Hitler, Mussolini, may have been “effective” leaders.  After all, everyone did what they asked, and they took great care in their operations, but they were very far from being true leaders.  Those ranked under them did what they were asked mostly out of fear.  Gandhi, for example, was a great leader, who not only created long-lasting change, but was also inclusive of all creeds and ideologies.

How can you distinguish a micro-manager from an inspiring, true leader?  If your supervisor/leader, makes you feel afraid or incompetent, you probably have an authoritarian leader.  If you can’t wait to tell your boss your latest idea for your business, then you probably have an inspiring leader.  If you feel like you can get “in trouble” for using your own judgement to do what’s best for a client, you probably have an authoritarian leader.  If you are confident every time someone leaves your business that you did the best possible for that person, then you probably have an inspiring leader.

Woman looking at a butterfly that landed on her camera.

Takeaway #2: The Word Teamwork Gets Misused

Team, teamwork, “there is no I in team,” are all very popular words and catch-phrases commonly used in today’s work environment.  I have heard these terms, a version of them, or a combination of them, be used and misused in more ways that I can explain.  I have seen authoritarian leaders use these terms and have absolutely no idea what these terms mean.  I once had a supervisor who praised her team but did not want or allow any of her team members to make any decisions without her approval. I had a supervisor, in the same department, who once berated me for “thinking” a certain way about a decision that needed to be made.  I have read emails from supervisors that did not have a clue they were being impolite, disrespectful, and rude to their employees.  Yet, I knew they referred to these same employees as “family” when talking to other people.  Some of these employees displayed symptoms of PTSD, and others experienced a version of Stockholm Syndrome.  This is no way to treat those who we consider family.  This is no way to treat anyone.

In addition, when employees are not at their best, they do not perform best.  Employees who feel valued, feel strong, and can carry the weight of the organization.  As humans, we have an innate need to belong, to be part of something, rather than just an underling.  As a leader, I had the pleasure of working with team members that gave their all for the organization.  They were considered team members, not merely “staff,” and I made sure that they were thanked, trained, welcomed, and felt like I had their back.  They never hesitated to stay late, come in on weekends, work their lunch, etc. because their input was invaluable.  They felt how important they were to the organization.

Three people standing by a booth at  Christmas Fair.

Takeaway #3:  True Inspiring Leaders Train People to Replace Them

One of the most important aspects of being a true team leader is to make sure that the team can move the organization forward in case of the leader’s absence.  There should be no difference between the leader and the team members in regard to taking over and moving projects along. 

A few years ago I ended up moving on from an organization earlier than I had anticipated.  My assistant was able to carry on all aspects of the operation and was able to take over all responsibilities of the job.  She was trusted by everyone as I had given her enough space to carry on the daily tasks, get to know the important stakeholders, have interactions with all the relevant stakeholders, make decisions, and take over responsibilities of my position.  She learned quickly and efficiently.  When I moved to a different position, she not only took over all responsibilities but also was quickly noticed by other employers who snatched her right away to a much better position within the organization.  This was a win-win situation.

Last weekend, I was proven correct one more time.  As some of you may know, I run a non-profit organization, The Bocha Project, and part of our responsibility is to fund-raise for other organizations around the world so that they can become independent and can build on their mission rather than have to worry about the deficits of their daily operations.  Last Sunday, we had a fundraising event to help two wonderful organizations (Sabores Especiales Madero and Casa de Papel).  Early that morning, due to a medical emergency, I realized that I would not be able to attend this event at all.  It was a huge disappointment for me, but I was certain that the event would go on without a hitch.  After all I have associated with partners who could carry on without me (shout out to Iliana and Ivana, and to Café Argentino Restaurant!). 

Two girls sitting by a table, one of them showing a shirt that says "The Bocha Project."

Hope this helps you grow as an employee, entrepreneur, and leader.

Wishing you peace and freedom!

Dr. Klimek.

Entrepreneurship Chronicles: Month One Reflections

“A ship in the harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for,” John A. Shedd

I can’t believe that it has already been a month of working for myself.  To be perfectly honest, this past month just flew by.  I have been BUSY.  One of the most common fears (and should I say, widespread myths?) of an employee is that if they leave the employer and work for themselves, there is a chance that that steady flow of income will be gone.  I was not an exception to this type of fear.  After one month of working for myself I can say that this is not entirely untrue, but it is mostly blown out of proportion.  As a matter of fact, in the past month, one of the most challenging aspects of working for myself has been to schedule clients and make time for office hours. I simply feel that there aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything that I want to do. 

The biggest question though, as I was preparing to leave my life as an employee and preparing for my life as an entrepreneur was, how will it feel?  I envisioned feeling nervous, anxious about having taken this huge responsibility on my own and leaving the comfort of a secure paycheck.  Will I have enough clients?  Will my income decrease?  I am happy to say that those fears were unfounded.  My income revenue is strong, and I have been expanding on a daily basis.  Life is pretty good on this end.

As I revisit my decision every day, I can say that I have NO REGRETS.  I am the owner of my time.  My income is directly affected by my own efforts and capacity.  I have the immediate possibility of growth.  I dictate the rules and regulations of my business.  And most importantly, I PUT MY CLIENTS FIRST.  I was raised by the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would like them to do unto you,” and my previous employer did not live by this rule.  I could no longer bear the agony of having to put my own judgement aside to deliver policies that were not conducive to the principles I live for:  Social Justice and Equity.

Today, I live the life I want to lead.  I am a true professional, a true educator, an advocate and coach for families of special needs.  I no longer feel like a highly paid pencil-pusher.  All I can say is: I wish I had made this decision earlier!

Girl sitting under a tree.

3 Basic Skills Every Toddler Should Learn

One of the most common questions that parents ask when I start working with their children is “When is my child going to talk?”  Of course, the answer varies.  This concern is one of the most often cited reasons for referrals to the Early Intervention Program and it is understandably a huge concern for families.  It is also quite curious to me that overall, when I first meet children and their families, there is little emphasis placed by teams or other professionals regarding basic skills.  Basic skills are like the building blocks of cognitive development, and toddlers need these in order to be able to grasp everything else, including (but not limited to) the concept of language. Therefore, as a parent or family member, it is important to understand what this entails.

Language is not only a skill, but also a cognitive concept, whereas one person relies on a set of symbols (the language itself) to relay meaning to another person.  You may have observed that when children first learn to speak, they will not speak while another person is talking.  They are grasping the give-and-take of a conversation and understanding the turn-taking that is needed to have a dialogue.

However, this does not happen overnight.  There are certain skills that must be emphasized before children can learn those more complex skills, that include language.  Knowing what skills to work on and emphasize, and how to get toddlers and children to learn them, is a very important first step.

There are 3 skills that I consider essential and I teach every toddler in order to cement an understanding of more complex skills sets.  They are:

  1. Focusing: Focusing is very similar to “paying attention” and refers to a child’s ability to keep attention on the task that he or she has in front of him.  He or she is concentrated and does not want to explore other toys or tasks.  For example, if a child is engaged in putting together a ring stacker, this should be the ONLY activity they are performing. They are not simultaneously building a block tower or completing a puzzle.  Those toys may come next, but for right now, they are only engaged in this one toy.  How do we build on this skill?  Make sure that your child has only a few toys at hand.  Keep toys away if necessary and reduce your child’s need to explore.  Less is more in this case.
  2. Following Directions:  Following directions does not necessarily mean that toddlers should blindly do what they are told.  This is rather a learning tool, a way to get your child to do a simple task, from beginning to end, on request.  It is important that your child be involved in simple, one step tasks such as “close the door,’ “bring your cup,” “throw this in the garbage.”  This is a precursor to language as it reinforces the symbolism of words, and promotes understanding, among other skills.  We already discussed this in part in this prior post.
  3. Completing Tasks:  A task should be performed from beginning to end.  This skill is a reinforcement of the previous two.  Once a child is engaged in a task, it should be carried out to completion.  Otherwise, it is the same as letting your child explore.  Exploring does have a place in learning, but it should be used in moderation and as a precursor to focusing and completing the task at hand.  Promote task completion by re-directing to the task when focusing is lost and by giving your child something he/she likes after a job well done.

Continue practicing these skills and higher, more complex cognitive skills will make their appearance, including talking!

Child laughing.
Learning in a happy environment!

3 Foolproof Ways to Teach Your Toddler at Home

As we wrap up our Fourth of July celebrations this weekend, I am always reminded of how important independence is in all aspects of our lives.  I remember back in my days as a classroom teacher, when most of my students had severe disabilities that precluded them from a regular curriculum, testing, etc.  Then, it was very clear that our number one objective was to build independence in each student so that they could always fend for themselves. But although this was such an important outcome of everything we did back then, it was not and it is not exclusive to the special education sphere. In my work as an educator and consultant, I constantly get asked about ways to teach toddlers or children so that they can learn more at home, to maximize carry over. The answer is simple. Build independence.

We all envision and want children that can make good decisions, think independently, and eventually grow to need us less and less, but this objective has been somehow diluted in this day and age with such an emphasis on “getting good grades” to “get into a good school.”  We forgot how and why this all began.   Independence is one of the unspoken benefits of education, and one that in the age of over-testing has quietly been forgotten.  Creating independence is one of the hallmarks of learning.

Parents can implement strategies at home so that their child can learn. It is all about building blocks to becoming independent later in life.  It is never too early to get your child started on this path.  What can you do at home to facilitate learning?  Here are three ways to do it:

  1.  Let your child be creative with toys.  Sometimes we get caught up in the way things must be done (big to small, matching by shape or color, etc.) that we forget our creative capacity.  We all need space to be creative and children are no exception.  I am not suggesting that we should not teach toddlers to abide by rules. What I am suggesting is that each child needs his/her own space to experiment and create what they find valuable.  So what if they want to group triangles with squares?  Perhaps they realize that two triangles can make one square, and what if they want to build a train with blocks, instead of a house?  Perhaps they see more value in what moves rather than what is static.
  2. Let your child problem solve.  Many parents experience the parental pull to solve problems for their children.  I have seen parents tell their toddlers “not this one, that one,” effectively telling their children how to resolve a puzzle, stacker, and so on.  Problem solving is like a workout for the mind, and once we solve something on our own, we are less likely to forget it.  Have you ever noticed that if you are mindlessly driving, following GPS directions, you are less likely to remember how to get to a place?  Have you noticed how not using a GPS makes you more likely to remember the roads and how to get there?  It is the same principle.  Force the mind to stretch its boundaries, build some cognitive discomfort, and you have a mind workout.  Does your child get frustrated?  Offer help, and teach them to ask for help, but be mindful of not doing the task for them.
  3. Let them do things on their own.  Have you ever asked your toddler to do something and you ended up doing it yourself?  Young children need time and space to be able to do things on their own.  They may make mistakes or not do things exactly as you requested.  This is why we guide them and we model behavior, but what we don’t need to do, is to do things for them.  Try asking your toddler to bring you an item, or to perform an action (“please bring your shoe,” or “please close the door”).  Create a sense of self-efficacy by allowing your child to complete simple tasks.

Of course, it is also important to remember that just as we all need some type of reinforcement for a job well done, so do children and toddlers.  They will be waiting for you to praise them, hug them, kiss them, clap for them as they become more creative, problem solve, and do things on their own.  Show them how you are there at every turn to back them up and catch them if they fall. Be their biggest fan.

Child playing with blocks.
Let your child be creative, problem solve, work problems out on their own!

Do you need help or guidance implementing these strategies yourself? Drop me a note.

Looking forward to hearing from you!