Where do I go from here?

seagull-sitting-in-brush
© 2019 Kirsten Corbett

It’s hard to keep up two blogs. I am spending most of my time on the other one and at the moment I am losing interest a little bit in this one. My life’s not all that interesting at the moment. There is stuff going on but it’s all school-related. My last post here was on my 40th birthday 6 days ago and since then not much has happened. Yesterday was Edward’s birthday. He turned 38. I can’t believe I’m 40 and he’s approaching 40! I don’t feel 40.

We’ll be celebrating his birthday today, as he worked yesterday, by going for a drive somewhere, getting ice cream then coming home and I am making him lasagna, or rather heating up a store-bought one since I have never made one and don’t want my first time to be his birthday supper in case it doesn’t turn outright. So I will buy our favorite Superstore one to heat as well as Ceasar salad and garlic bread, one of his favorite meals. Then we are going to have a movie night on Netflix and/or Amazon Prime. Looking forward to it.

I mentioned above that anything going on right now has to do with school. I am frustrated beyond belief with Athabasca University. I am still waiting for help for 2 of my 3 courses and am now stuck and can’t go on further until they reply. I complained weeks ago to them by email and still have heard nothing back from that either. It’s ridiculous and now I am so behind I doubt I’d catch up.

It’s pushed me to the decision of looking into…well, more than looking into, I started the process already… of changing schools. Before I checked into other schools I called Canada Student Loans and advised them of the situation and they told me it’s not the first complaint they have gotten. I asked about switching schools and was advised I could do it. I just needed to withdraw from Athabasca and apply to the new school. They advised me to double-check with Nova Scotia student loans first to ensure I would not be penalized by them and I did and I won’t as it’s the first time I have withdrawn from a course or program.

So started the search last week (even before my last post) for another program and school. There is nothing in my immediate area so I talked it over with my family and Eddie and after searching I found a place called Academy of Learning in Halifax. They offer a web design diploma program that covers some of what I want and they are in the process of getting a second software and web developer diploma program approved which has most of the rest of what I want to take.

So I reached out to the school and spoke to a woman there who sent me all the info. I explained the situation and she had the school’s director (owner) contact me and we did a zoom meeting and I have to say I was extremely impressed. They have both been incredibly helpful. They have been helping me sort things out and giving me advice and help with Athabasca. Sure it could be because they are a private college and just want the money from me, but honestly, I don’t think so. That’s just not the impression I got. The two of them have gone above and beyond to help me.

I finally found a phone line yesterday that was still working and managed to talk to a person over the phone at the university. I am now awaiting a supposed call back from my program advisor at Athabasca (who I didn’t even know existed because she was supposed to reach out to me within the first week and did not). I say supposed because, well nothing has gone to plan so far with Athabasca. She is supposed to discuss withdrawing from the program with me, knows my intent to withdraw, and that I plan to appeal if they say I am not getting my money back. So who knows where that’ll go.

In the meantime, I looked up reviews on the other school and they seem great. People don’t seem to have an issue getting positions with their diplomas and are satisfied with the school and after all the help and the long conversation with the program director who was awesome I am beyond sure that that’s where I want to go. I will have to spend two days in class in Halifax (2 1/2 hours away) so it means spending a few days in the city and staying somewhere overnight. I am going to ask my Aunt I think. The other 3 days I can work from home which is nice. It’s also nice to have it be a local (well within the province anyways) school. I won’t make that mistake again. So that’s school, in a nutshell, a f’*cking mess at the moment.

On top of that today (well late last night early this morning as it is after midnight) I wrote a sponsored post for Life With Kadie, I spent hours researching it and a few hours writing the post and then submitted it. They came back saying they liked the post but then asked me to not disclose it’s a sponsored post. Which is illegal in North America and probably a lot of other places and also against the influencer network’s policy. So I spent a good hour replying back and forth with the person running the campaign resulting in them asking me to delete the post. Just that nothing else.

I was a bit shocked, but at the same time, I put a lot of work into it. So I replied back asking if I was going to be paid. Their response was yes, even though you can’t follow instructions. Then they marked it to be paid. I didn’t delete the post though. I deleted the shares to social media and I made it back into a draft. Thinking about it I am thinking that because it was not a post that they provided me but one I researched and wrote and that there is nothing in the contract with them saying it’s not my property that I would just re-write parts of it removing them from it completely and post it later down the road. I am assuming it would be considered my property.

Honestly, I don’t really know the answer to that. I am just assuming, which might not be a good idea. I am going to see what I can find online about it and ask in some Facebook influencer and blogging groups and see what people say. I have never run across this before. Then again it’s only my 4th or 5th sponsored post.  Makes me mad. Kind of annoyed now. I probably should go to bed. It’s after 2 a.m. and hubby is snoring on the couch with the cat (who is also snoring).

New Design: The Great Canadian Housewife & Birthday Party

I am so busy with school and blogging, which I am trying to make into a part-time job while in school that I just don’t have the time to make a theme for The Great Canadian Housewife that I really like, so I did something I have not ever done before. I purchased a theme from Etsy. And honestly, I have to say I could not have bought a theme that fits the blog better! I probably could not have made one. And on top of that, I got Genesis Framework with it! Which is perfect because I want to learn more about creating child themes. I need to do a bit of research on it. Licensing and creating a child theme, among other things. I know the basics of creating a child theme but have never worked with Genesis for WordPress before and have to say I absolutely love it! I really want to learn more about it.

Other than that we had a pool party today for Eddie and I as well as my cousin Mackenzie as my birthday is tomorrow, Kenzie’s is the Wednesday and Eddie’s is Saturday. So we had 9 of us, we can only have 10 at once, so it worked out perfectly. We are allowed to visit for the time being. We just have to be careful. It was great. The only issue was the weather which has been really hot and humid for over 3 weeks now decided to cool off today and get foggy. So it was cool, but the pool water was 76F so it was really nice in the pool! We had a homemade ice cream cake after that mom and I made yesterday, ordered pizza, had punch (non-alcoholic as there were 2 kids and everyone was driving), and snacks.

Mom made Eddie and me a gift. I knew she was making it, I even arranged the names, which are the 5 of us and the 4 pets (including pumpkin who we lost 2 weeks ago, so it’s super special) and the shells. She had told me she was making it for herself, but it was actually for us. She actually also tried to get us a puppy as we want a golden retriever (or Goldendoodle or golden retriever/lab mix like Karli) but it fell through and ended up being a scam. There are so many of them! Scams that is. Golden Retrievers are hard to come by apparently.

This week I have to really concentrate on school and finish catching up. I am okay on two of three courses but I need to catch up in the third. I may also have to do some transcribing or captioning to make a few extra bucks. Spent a bit too much on Amazon over the last month or so. My own fault. I need to be more careful. I just find such neat things!

Blogging & Monetization

I have been struggling a little bit with The Great Canadian Housewife. Not so much with content, well maybe a little, but more with just knowing where to start. I have exactly 20 posts since my first one in February this year. Most of those in April, May, and June I think, which is when I really started to get serious about it. As I said I am not really struggling so much with content, at least not yet, but I am sure that will come soon enough.

Right now my biggest struggles with it are driving traffic to it. Which I am doing somewhat okay at, but honestly I have nothing to compare it too as this one I never cared a whole lot or paid attention. It was more for me than for anyone else. Maybe that’s a bit selfish to say but it is a personal blog after all (this one).

I don’t care so much about SEO and that with this as I mostly just seek out other bloggers that I enjoy reading and comment on their blogs and probably 8 or 9 times out of ten they then come comment on mine. Which is sort of what I am doing with the other one, but I am not sure if that is the right way to go about it. It seems to be working okay but I am just not really sure.

I am struggling a lot with monetizing it and also with social media. Starting with social media I made a Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram account for the blog. Facebook was not too hard and I already have about 40 people following it but I am more active on Facebook than anywhere and most of those are my personal friends, a few bloggers, and some former work acquaintances. Not all of which are the right audience for the blog I don’t think,

I am unsure if I should narrow down my “niche” for it a bit more. It started as a place for me to share my “learn to be a housewife” kinda lifestyle I am sort of now living. But let’s face it, I suck as a housewife lol. I still love the name though and it still sort of fits so now I am trying to make it a product review (household products, beauty products, cleaning products, etc), book review, crafts, recipes, DIY, etc type of blog which I guess could fall more under “lifestyle” maybe?

I want to do some sponsored posts, mostly about makeup, haircare, skincare, bath & body, and those kinds of products as well as cleaning and household supplies, gardening, etc. So yeah, basically “housewife” type stuff. As well as some book reviews. I found a good site for that where I can get free books (popular newer ones at that) in exchange for reviews. I don’t get paid but I spend a lot on books so it seems a fair trade-off.  I am struggling though on how to start out with getting my first few sponsored posts. I joined some influence/sponsored post networks but they either have nothing, or it’s crap for lack of a better term, or I don’t qualify.

I did get one person email me and ask me to collaborate with her brand (hair wigs) in which she wants me to do 2 posts, shared to social media and a banner for 3 months on my page all for $12 US. I’m not a genius but even I know that’s too low. I am not afraid to reply back and say that but I am unsure even remotely on what to ask for for that. Not to mention I have never worn a wig in my life and will not lie so I am wondering what exactly the post entails. She has not mentioned trying a wig or anything like that and her wigs are expensive so I can understand.

I am okay with doing a post where I do some research maybe and write a post about it and link to her site but I won’t be saying I have tried one of the wigs when I haven’t. She’s not offering up a lot of info and I am not sure where to start to ask. I would love to collaborate but I am just unsure where myself and my blog would fit in in that scenario and don’t honestly really know how to ask.

I know my lack of knowledge and inexperience could become an issue when trying to get a sponsored post but you have to start somewhere right? And I am good at researching and have been trying to gather as much info about monetization and sponsored posts as I can. If anyone has any knowledge I would be more then thankful if anyone wants to share. I need a mentor lol.

I keep getting directed to these online courses that sound too good to be true in the groups and things I am in and I refuse to pay $300 for something that could literally be a flop or “scam”, not to mention I am broke as hell again and we are living off of Eddie’s part-time job and my student loan so I couldn’t afford it if I wanted too.

One last thing I am struggling with is affiliate links/banners. I did not want to go with Google Adsense for one because I want control over the ads I put on my site and only companies I either have dealt with or research and two because I can’t seem to get approved by them for some reason anyways even though I keep following all instructions. So I joined Rakuten Affiliates, CJ Affiliates, and Amazon Affiliates and figured out how to use it as far as banner ads on my site or pointing to specific things with their link codes but I am not getting any clicks, not one single click. Some impressions but no clicks. Not sure what I am doing wrong there either.

Sorry, this post got long, so I am going to end it here. Hopefully, I can figure this all out. And juggle school at as well. I so badly want to make this work in the long run for some additional income, not expecting miracles or anything but just a little extra every few months would be nice.