Starting a Service-Based Small Business

Written by Featured Writer: Virginia Cooper

If you’re a stay-at-home parent, you may be looking for ways to earn a little extra money. You don’t have to turn to direct sales or sell all your possessions on eBay. There are plenty of service-based businesses where you don’t have to keep any inventory but can earn a little extra cash. 

Service-Based Business Ideas

Some of the simplest businesses to begin are service-based. Getting started generally requires very little investment, though you may need additional training, certifications, or classwork if your new field requires licensing. Here are several ideas as well as some benefits of these industries.

Virtual Assistant. Many business owners need a hand getting all their administrative tasks done but don’t want to hire a secretary. As a virtual assistant, you’re an independent contractor taking on tasks for business owners, such as sending out marketing messages, making calls, or scheduling appointments. This can all be done from your own home office.

Pet Sitting. When people go out of town, they often need someone to care for their pets. You can do this from your home or stop in at theirs. The position generally includes feeding and watering the animals, spending some quality time, and maybe walking dogs. Some entrepreneurs pair pet sitting with house sitting services as well, staying at someone’s house while they’re out of town and making sure everything is taken care of until their return.

Bookkeeper. If your math skills are on point, you may be able to help other business owners keep track of their finances. This is an essential part of any business, though many owners avoid it. With new businesses opening all the time, this service is always in demand.

Getting Started

No matter which type of business you choose, you must do several things before getting started.

Begin with funding. Do you need supplies to start this business? Are you paying out-of-pocket for them or looking for a small business loan? Many states and cities, including Los Angeles, have grants and other programs for those starting small businesses.

Choose a business structure. While many individuals opt for a sole proprietorship, starting a limited liability company (LLC) has many real benefits. You limit personal financial responsibility, have several business-related tax advantages, and still retain all ownership and rights to your business. Each state has its own rules and procedures for setting up an LLC, so check the specifics for California. You can form an LLC on your own or use some of those start-up funds to hire a service to do all the legwork for you.

Designate a workspace. While some of these business ideas involve you working in a dedicated space outside the home, many can be performed right from your own house. However, it’s important to have a separate area in your home for business operations. It makes it much simpler to focus on work tasks and can potentially provide tax write-offs.

Make Your Small Business Dreams Come True

Starting your own business can be the solution to a million problems and a great blessing for your family. If you need help manifesting your dreams, reach out to Nicole Ciccarelli for help and guidance. A fellow small business owner, she specializes in unlocking your energy to achieve your purpose.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

7 Tips for Traveling with a Baby or Toddler

After several years of posting very little and being immersed in new mom and pandemic life, I am back to share with you in a new way. I am re-creating the experience of this site to share information tailored to decades of childcare and nannying experience, along with years of intuitive travel and adventure, coupled with all the knowledge I’ve experientially gained in the health and healing, wellness and meditation, farm to table cooking arenas. My goal is to be posting more with practical guidance and tips.

My intention is to also feature other writers in the mom, mindfulness, travel and adventure, health and parenting realm, so feel free to reach out to me with articles.

As promised on my Instagram, which for whatever reason is not linking to this site, @nicole_astara I am here with travel tips with little ones.

I have flown with my 2.5 year old son 18 times to date, most of them have been just he and I flying. I’ve found flying, for the most part, has been smooth and effortless, besides our most recent flight where he vomited all over me. It is important to have a checklist either in your mind or written out of what needs to take place.

Here are tips that I have found to be extremely helpful:

1. If it’s an afternoon flight, keep the child or baby up so they’re tired for the flight and nap on the plane.

2. Have them drink from a bottle, sippy cup, pacifier or nurse going up and coming down to help their ears pop and adjust.

3. Bring books, snacks and simple activities or a device to plug headphones into for music or movies in flight.

4. If there is a long layover or delay before the flight takes off, have them run around and burn energy at the airport so they are not as restless on the plane.

5. If you need quiet space to decompress with your little one, nursing pods are a great option along with chapels or contemplation rooms which most airports have.

6. Bring a stroller and check it at the gate at each airport, I find it so helpful to cruise around in it, if we are in a hurry, for eating and if he’s walked a lot. It’s also great to put the carryons in the bottom.

7. If you’re traveling alone with a child use the skycap if available for departures, and for baggage claim, get a cart and stack the baggage and you can put the car seat on top.

Hope these help and feel free to ask any more questions regarding traveling with children.

xo,

Nicole

Gallery

How to Prepare for a Baby Without Breaking the Bank

Photo via Pexels

Written by featured writer Emily Graham

Preparing for a baby can be an incredibly stressful and expensive process. After all, there’s just so much stuff to buy! Or is there? Having a baby changes your life in so many wonderful ways, but it doesn’t have to drain your savings. From buying used baby supplies to having a home birth, there are many great ways to keep your spending in check while you prepare for the arrival of your little one.

Buy Used Whenever Possible

Buying used is the best way to stretch your baby budget. Shop around in thrift shops, buy gently used items online, or ask around in your mom circles to find parents willing to part with their old baby supplies. Most baby items are generally safe to buy used, including changing tables, baby monitors, baby bathtubs, toys, and clothing. That said, there are a few things you should always purchase new, including a crib, car seat, and stroller. 

Pack a Budget-Friendly Hospital Bag

As your delivery date draws closer, you’re probably thinking about what you’ll need to pack in your hospital bag. Keep it simple and try to stick with essential must-haves. You don’t want to haul around a huge bag stuffed with expensive items you won’t end up using. Some clothing items that are worth bringing to the hospital include a delivery gown, nursing pajamas, slippers, nursing pads, a nursing bra, and some comfortable maternity clothing that you can wear on your ride home from the hospital. And don’t forget to pack your phone charger! 

Assess Your Health Insurance

Long before your baby’s due date, take the time to go over your health insurance. While all health insurance plans must cover pregnancy and maternity care, there are a few exceptions. For example, if you’re still using your parents’ healthcare plan, their plan will not cover your delivery and newborn care. Also, make sure you understand the deductibles, copays, and co-insurance costs associated with your plan. Without insurance, most parents can expect to pay between $5,000 to $11,000 for a normal delivery in a hospital, according to SmartAsset.

Consider a Home Birth

A home birth could be a great option for moms-to-be without health insurance. According to Money Crashers, a typical home birth costs between $1,500 and $5,000 — at least half that of hospital birth. A home birth will also give you more freedom and control over your birth plan. Unfortunately, most states do not require health insurance plans to cover home births, so you should be prepared to pay out-of-pocket regardless. The hope is that future health insurance plans will evolve to cover easier and healthier birthing options, like midwifery services and home births.

Maintain Your Self-Care Routine

Whether you decide on a home or hospital birth, keeping yourself healthy and happy during your pregnancy will have a very positive impact on your birthing experience. Maintaining a healthy pregnancy is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of complications during birth, which can be both dangerous and expensive. Make sure you’re getting all the nutrition you and your baby need, especially calcium, iron, and folate. Regular exercise is also important.

If you have room in your budget, consider hiring a doula. While doulas can be pricey, think of it as an investment. Having a doula with you during labor and delivery will help you keep your stress levels low, shortening the duration of your labor and reducing your risk of expensive complications. Women who have the support of a doula are also less likely to need medical interventions like c-sections or epidurals. 

You can spend a lot of money preparing for the birth of your child, but you don’t have to. You need very little to welcome a newborn into the world. Whether you decide to have a home birth or hire a doula to be with you in the hospital, make sure you choose a birth plan that will keep you calm and comfortable. And if you need more tips on health and wellness, check out the resources on Nicole Ciccarelli’s website!

For more articles and helpful tips on all around mom life check out Emily Graham at mightymoms.net

Detroit’s Paradise

It seems that I always try to plan what I am going to post, only to be surprised with what the post itself would like to be.

Art reflecting life, unpredictability, making for exciting company.

Over the past few months I have been in transition, preparing for what I knew was going to be change, moving forward, growth, yet I didn’t know what it was.
I will elaborate more on that in my next post, which now will be more frequent.

For now, I have ideas.

Ideas a plenty.
This particular idea came to me whilst in Europe.
While there, I realized that one of my favorite parts about the sprawling, cobblestones, low-lined cities were all of the trees interspersed throughout.

Berlin, a city that was torn to pieces less than 100 years ago, is now a thriving metropolis, with a more sustainable city structure. Teeming with wildlife and parks that the Germans take pride in, life and structure are interwoven together.

I thought to myself

How to integrate more of the natural elements into our city of Detroit?
A city that is an empty canvas, waiting to be painted, into what my generation desires for it to be.
It’s truly up to us.

As a metaphor, I feel that Detroit was once a beautiful young woman and in her prime was the hottest lady around, where now she has a hunched back, her makeup is dripping off of her face, the remnants of her beauty still remaining, yet buried underneath the struggle of what has occurred.
Its time for a makeover 😉
I have a vision of Detroit being created from this into an oasis, filled with vibrancy and life, being green and setting examples for cities around the country and world.
Imagine a more sustainable Detroit, a city empowered in it’s glory.

There are already organizations like the greening of Detroit that are working towards more urban farming and planting more trees.
I would like to see it done on an even larger scale.

Where all of us can take part in beautifying the city of Detroit.
A tree planting day, that includes any and everyone, a day set aside for this specific purpose, where all can come regardless of race, class, creed, gender, age.
For all to come plant their own tree in Detroit.

Doing so would not only clean the air and give back to the earth what has been taken.
It would also be much more aesthetically pleasing, as the ancient Greek quote goes, “That which is beautiful, is also good”.

I love Detroit, love the people, energy and depth of this amazing city.

Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, it will come to its full glory yet again.
This is not something that will be overnight, but imagine a city that for our children and grandchildren could be a place of splendor and beauty, one that rose from the ashes to be reclaimed and reinvented as never before imagined.

So with that being said, I have the idea

and……..

I am passing this torch on, this idea is for you to do something about, or not, it has been put out there, I gave a summary of it to the city council commissioner.
So now it’s time for me to leave it in your hands friends. This is going to take a team, working together.

For I am departing, my heart is calling me onward.

Guiding me yet again, this heart that has lead me into some obscure places over my lifetime, yet I would not take back ANY of it.

I am needed elsewhere in this world.

I will be back tomorrow and the next few days, as I have so much I would like to address now that there is more clarity.

Sayonara for now

xo,

Nicole

Come Together

It is time for us to remove the veil surrounding us,
for us to come together as one
see past the races,
past the gender,
past the social standing,
past everything.

I think about the next few generations, and question the survival of our species.
In order for humanity to survive, we have to come together in a place of love, acceptance and tolerance.

I guarantee you can find a common bond with every human on this planet, regardless of culture, class, race, creed.
I am you, and you are me, we are everybody.
So the question I’d like to pose is, there are obviously differences,
do we judge or honor those, and celebrate the similarities?
What does that take?

There is a mentality of intolerance that breeds superiority, I know it well from my firsthand being in it. It causes separation, and separation is the antithesis to real change.
I love humanity, I love every person, or try to, I don’t care who you are.
We may not agree, or have the same opinions, but I honor each and every person on this planet for the path they are walking.
It may not be mine, but that doesn’t make it any more or less.

It just is.

the differences are our uniqueness, and without that we would all be the same, so instead of turning away from one another and judging what is not the same, its time to love and celebrate the common bond we do share, which is being human, living on this earth, and being the guardians of her.
NOW is the time, the time for action,
the true age of Aquarian.

We are a species, just like any other species, we all have our purposes within the “packs”, as we have migrated we have evolved to look different, but we are essentially the same.
A group, which has been difficult for me to wrap my head around, with how anti group I can be at times.

I am part of a group, many groups and I respect what I have learned from all of them.
When one thinks in a group mentality there comes a point where everyone is thinking for the whole, which is a beautiful concept.
Truly caring, loving and looking out for one another.
Its like thinking of the whole of humanity as one mass, and when one of us is broken or hurt, all of us are.

The allopathic approach Is symbolic of our way of being in the world, that somehow the rest of the world isn’t affected by us, or we aren’t affected by them.
Allopathic thinking, which can cause major stress on the whole, similar to a human body having a cancer cell, it will spread and take over if not healed properly.
It seems like we all are trying to heal a “broken finger” not realizing that the cause is the starvation in Somalia, the people who are hurting over there.
If you look at us as one pod of being, then many issues would cease to exist, because when someone else is hurt it directly affects you, or me.

Whether or not I am consciously aware of it.
With that idea, taking responsibility for everyone will create the change that is needed within our world.

Thinking, it’s not up to me what is happening in our world……
I am here safe in my space,
is a lie.

So it goes for all of us, we directly, or indirectly affect one another and the world, everything we do, think, say and feel goes in to the web that is currently creating our reality.
My way of helping our web of human consciousness is thinking positively, which isn’t easy all the time, sending love vibes out, and also loving myself, and working towards honoring everyone’s individuality.

How to think in a we mentality?
It would help the whole, not that everyone has to be, but it would be nice if every human had their basic needs met, and did not have to worry about survival. We have reached a point in the evolution of our species that it is feasible.

We live in a country that has an abundant food supply constantly being shipped in from all over the world, and there are still people in our own country who die of starvation?
not to mention the more impoverished countries.

There is a mentality of
“someone else will take care of it, it’s not my responsibility”
Look where that kind of thinking has gotten us and our current state of existence on this planet.
I think its time to take responsibility, own up and care about each other, the planet, ourselves.
collective consciousness yo.
It’s the whole of humanity, forget about what religion, sex, class, gender,or age one is.
Look through the eyes of the higher plane and see that we are

one species, one earth, connected to one another, whether or not you like it….

Lets stand up for humanity and be empowered as a WHOLE.
Lets turn towards one another, instead of away.
Lets let one another know how much we care,
Lets make a difference in each others lives.

It doesn’t have to be at the level of changing the world per se, but changing the way we perceive the world,
seeing and bringing our individual gifts and light.
Now is the time.

xo
Nicole