Back to School and a Ruined Labor Day Weekend

Here in Washington State, our school kids don’t go back to school until the last week of August or the first week of September. In fact, my kids went back to school on August 28. In comparison, the Seattle School District started yesterday September 3, 2014. This makes a heck of a lot more sense than starting August 28, going to school for two days, and then having Labor Day weekend off. It puts a bitter taste on the last week of August and Labor Day. You can’t milk summer out for a bit longer. Instead, you must think of getting your kids back in time for starting school on Thursday before Labor Day weekend.

It isn’t like anything is done the first two days of school when you have Labor Day weekend right there. Everyone knows that Thursday and Friday (before the Labor Day weekend) are “throwaway” days of education. You might as well let the kids watch TV because they sure aren’t paying attention to the teachers during those two days of school.

Labor Day Weekend wasn’t ruined for me. I always have fun. This year instead of heading to Anderson Island for the three day weekend, we went camping at Sun Lakes State Park. It was a good choice because we left the rain behind. Sun Lakes is located on the eastern side of Washington, roughly three hours away from our house. While western Washington might be experiencing rain and misery, the eastern side of the state will have sunshine, rainbows, and unicorns. Well, maybe not unicorns and rainbows but you get the idea. The weather is nice. We don’t have lots of rain and huddle under blue tarps. In eastern Washington, we don’t do the “blue tarp” camping made famous on the west side of the state. In eastern Washington, you slap on the sun block (SPF 45) and a big hat

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What lurks beneath the waters of this lake?
What lurks beneath the waters of this lake?


It's all fun and games until someone falls off the cliffs!
It’s all fun and games until someone falls off the cliffs!

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On the negative side, it was windy in the evenings and the state park was full. Truth be told, it was very windy and miserable in that respect. The first night was bad. The tent was flapping around, keeping both myself and my wife wide awake. You would drift off to sleep, and then a gust of wind would pop up and wake you up. The second night, the wind was just as bad but I wore my ear plugs and I enjoyed the evening a bit more.

Sun Lakes State Park has a few different lakes within the park boundaries. On Sunday, we hiked along the Deep Lake Trail which was about 2 to 2.5 miles round trip. It goes right along the lake and is an easy hike. There is an opportunity to do some cliff diving or jumping off the cliff edge but we didn’t do it this trip. Perhaps next time we can jump off some basalt rock cliffs into the water below, have a scary monster grab us and drag us under.

I did manage to get some swimming in Sun Lake itself with my daughter and her friend. The weather was a bit cloudy, the wind was blowing, and the water was a little colder than I would have preferred. However, it was probably going to be the last swim of summer so I toughed it out. I’m not a little baby (well, I really am but I try to act tough).

My son and I also did a twilight walk where he was almost hit by a bat. Lots of bats on the Park Lake Trail, however I can’t complain about the bats because they keep the bug population down. Go bats!

Overall, the camping trip was a good one. No flat tires, no lost sleeping bags. The drive home wasn’t too bad. I’d go again but probably opt for a RV campsite further and with less wind.


Thanks for reading and your comments are always welcome!

Excuse Me, can I be retired now?

It’s a rainy Wednesday here in Kent, Washington and that is normal.  No sunshine for the likes of us to cheer us up.  Luckily, I am a pretty upbeat person despite my sarcastic nature and attitude.  In my day to day job as a seasoned school photographer, I deal with teachers, parents, and kids.  Most of the time, I have a great time with all three parties.  I can’t complain about my job besides the fact I actually have to leave my house.

Yesterday evening, one of our Girl Scout cookie clients (Quick Business Tip: always call your customer’s clients…it sounds like you care about them versus just viewing them as a paycheck.  An example: lawyers have clients and Wal-Mart has customers…we’ll get into lawyers in another post) came to pick up his cookies.  He asked how business was going and I told him it was good but I’d rather be retired.  He chuckled because it is oblivious I’m totally hilarious all the time (and it’s my story so I can say how funny I am).  Anyway, I also mentioned I can always use more business (who doesn’t want more business and more money?).

However, the sticking point to my business growth plan is that I’m currently too comfortable and lazy.  I like my level of business but would like more income without doing more marketing for more clients.  Some people love the thrill of the sales call and getting new accounts, I’m not one of them.  I’m an introvert in an extrovert’s career (school photography).

Now, I can be an extrovert when I need to be.  I can put on my big boy pants and get things done.

What I really want to do is stay home (in jeans and T-shirts; I’m not much of a track suit type of guy) and do nothing.  Well, I would do something.  I enjoy reading and blogging but those too activities aren’t making me too much money.  I like to be with my family and take vacations.

Basically, my dream job is to be a lottery winner (oh, you can’t win if you don’t play) thus I wouldn’t have to worry about working and money.  I want to be retired.  I’d sit around drinking a refreshing beverage and reading a book (or working on a novel) at my oak desk in my office.

Let’s be clear, it is an office and not a man cave.  A man cave would paint a picture of a comfortable leather couch, a flat screen TV, and some of my favorite sport teams’ logos all over the place, with a well stocked fridge to boot!  My office is a nice 12×16 (foot) building separate from my home.  It has internet, electricity, and heat.  If it had a bathroom I could be out here for hours.  It isn’t a man cave because I work here; I can’t relax like in a man cave but at least it is a quiet place for me to work in.

Needless to say, I’m still working and living life: Go Team Kevin!


Thanks for wasting another few minutes of your life to read my blog.  Make my life that more exciting by commenting below or pushing the “like” button below the post.





No One Takes My Advice….and For Good Reason!

I noticed that a lot of people don’t heed advice when it is offered to them.  Clearly, my Blog of Worthless Advice would be much more successful if people would really look at themselves and see what terrible mental shape they are in.  It is quite sad that people don’t following their passion and becoming better people.

In my quest to offer the best worthless advice available, I am constantly reading advice columns, advice blogs, and interest resources like The Onion.

However, Cyndi (my imaginary stalker) and my Mom (my other reader) know that my Worthless Advice Blog is merely a creative outlet for my weird sense of humor.  Sadly, some of the articles and blogs I read actually think that their blogs offer helpful advice.  My 10 year old daughter offers better advice.

I saw one article entitled “Bad Parenting? Parents Should Avoid Bad Parenting Mistakes.”  Really?  You think parents should avoid bad parenting mistakes?  You don’t think I should embrace them and strive to be a bad parent?  I get most of my parenting advice from

In my heart, I know that others could be greatly helped by reading my blog.  The world is in sad shape, you losers really need to be saved from your stupid lives.  With unemployment at 8.2% in Washington State in October 2012, you think more people would be searching for Worthless Advice to better their lives (and find a job!).  On a brighter note, Washington State unemployment dropped from 8.5% in September 2012.

See how I’m improving your life already?  I offer my extremely correct opinion mixed in with a few useful facts to help increase your knowledge about unemployment in Washington State.

Being a School Photographer

Is being a photographer really glamorous?

Most people that I talk to think that my profession as a photographer is exciting and glamorous. A common perception of my life is that I live a jet setting lifestyle, uploading my recent images to our cleverly designed website (which happens to get 100,000 hits a month…no problem), I love all photography, and I can make everyone look like a hot model during any time of day, in any situation.

“Oh, you’re a professional photographer…how exciting!”

Well, not really. I enjoy my life as a photographer only because I have focused on the photography I like to do. I estimate that my photography business is 90% school photography and the remaining 10% being weddings (I now do one a year), family portraits, business headshots, and high school graduating senior portraits.

Personally, I enjoy working in the school photography environment because I like kids. Yesterday, I was at one of my preschool accounts and four different mothers came up to me separately and said how much they enjoyed my photography over the years. Two of them had older kids in the local elementary school and they both complained about the poor quality and poor attitude of the school photographer there. It does take a certain type of person to become a school photographer and I’m that person.

Most other photographers (and some of the general public) look down on school photographers because they don’t consider us artists. I beg to differ but they learn that attitude because most of the school photographers are huge, cheap photography chains. The people that work for these huge chains are not photographers; they are merely people trying to find themselves. They are paid poorly and it reflects in the work they produce. The chain photographers usually don’t last too long before they decide to jump ship and do something else. In the meantime, they don’t enjoy the school photography business and thus produce a lousy product and tarnish the school photographer image.

As a self-employed photographer, I am paid much better, produce a high quality portrait product, and actually enjoy my job! I’m part photographer, part clown, part counselor, and all fun! Parents want to have a real, natural smile from their child. I don’t mind being goofy to entice that smile from kids to get that fun portrait. It is part of the job and it makes the job fun.

Sometimes, a parent will let me know they are a photographer, a little scared that I’ll feel threatened. I like to meet other photographers because they often have a little tidbit that might help me in my business. Exchanging ideas is awesome!

Some parents want to get into photography as a business. “How do I become a photographer?” is a question I’m asked a lot. Most don’t want to become a school photographer like me, so I have no problem giving my advice and telling them about my experience. Honestly, the photography business has changed so much in the 18 years I have been involved in it that I am always learning new things!

My dad is also a school photographer (since 1968) and He has seen more changes that I have! He still loves photography. People always ask me if he is going to retire. I laugh at that question. He loves school photography too much to quit.

Which made me start to think that perhaps I should share my school photography business knowledge with my own website that talks about it. In the near future, I’ll be developing my new blog and website
If you haven’t had a chance, surf on over to my website at
Thanks for reading! As always, I welcome your comments!

Making Money Online…can a small fish survive?

Jeez, where do you start with building your virtual online business? I have a few websites for my current business ventures (,,, but these are mostly informational websites that don’t sell anything (except the has links to my client’s portrait images). I want to build a website that has e-commerce component to it and will generate money even when I’m not there. But then again, isn’t that everyone’s dream?

Considering the real estate market is in the toilet and all my equity (and my net worth) has disappeared in the real estate crash, I’d like to have some kind of additional income coming in besides my primary business of photography.

Some people have told me that I should get into writing and copywriting. I wouldn’t mind doing that. I enjoy my simple blog and the joy it brings to others (in my arrogant opinion). However, could I write for others as well as I do myself? And is my writing much better than the average “Joe” out there? I must admit that I do try to spell correctly (thanks to spell check!) and get my thoughts out in a concise and easy to understand matter.

I also enjoy making direct mail pieces and writing the copy for my promotional internet pieces. However, I don’t know much about copywriting in general and how to market myself as a copywriter. I don’t have a lot of experience outside my own website and marketing pieces when it comes to copywriting. I suppose that with every new adventure, you need to start somewhere (even if you don’t know exactly where that starting point is).

Ideally, I’d like to make money online by building a new website and calling it something like Hellriegel Creative Services. Then again, no one can spell “Hellriegel” so that wouldn’t work that well. If you take some time and put some thought into, my current Hellriegel’s Foto 1 isn’t exactly easy to remember right now. I’ll have to thank my Dad for that easy to remember name.

Perhaps it would be better to stick to a generic sounding name like HCS or HC Services. Easy to remember…maybe something like Hell Services? Maybe KGHServices?

If any of you dear blog readers have some ideas, drop me an email or leave them in a comment here on this page.

Making Money Online isn’t too easy. I also don’t want a name that sounds like a fly by night web operation located off the coast of Jamaica. Hmmm, “”: a website about how to cry yourself to sleep with your empty bank account and your upside down investment properties!

I guess I’ll keep working on the website name and sign up for some more affiliate marketing websites! Oh, and I can work on my self-help ideas as well! I can see my future now (that’s called “visualization”) and it is bright (maybe I’m looking into the sun?)

As always, your thoughts and comments are welcome!

My run in with Jim Bibby City of Burien Code Enforcement Officer

City of Burien Employee Jim Bibby – a man who doesn’t do his homework!

“A man who has committed a mistake and doesn’t correct it, is committing another mistake.” -Confucius

Earlier this week, I received a letter from the code enforcement officer Jim Bibby of the City of Burien stating that my business doesn’t exist and I need to take my business sign down.

What?  Really?  So my City of Burien business license is worthless?  Why do I bother obtaining one every year?  Why was it issued to me by the City of Burien if my business doesn’t really exist?  Hmmm, do I get a refund then?

Jim Bibby doesn’t like me.  I had a run in with him in 2006 about this same sign.  He wouldn’t listen to me so I went over his head to get some answers and some real customer service.  I think he didn’t like that.  I didn’t cower up and do as he said.  He was clearly wrong then and he is wrong now.

I had another run in with him in 2008 in regards to a “For Rent” sign I had posted for an empty apartment we had.  He stated that I had to have a professional real estate sign posted, not a homemade one.  This is even if we (as owners of the property) wanted to rent it out ourselves instead of having a real estate agency do it.  (Please note: I am a Washington State licensed real estate broker).  We ended up post a sign in the window and it rented fairly quickly despite of Jim Bibby’s and the City of Burien’s actions.  Needless to say, the City of Burien is clearly anti-business and anti-landlord in that respect.  They probably hate cute puppies too.

People like Jim Bibby don’t help the City of Burien; they harm it.  Jim Bibby wants to impose his idea of what my photography business should look like onto me.  Jim Bibby stated in his telephone conversation to me that my photography business doesn’t look like a photography business.  Excuse me?  What?  Jim Bibby has moved from being a code enforcement officer to a photography business expert?  When did that happen?  Did I miss something?

I did ask him in his vast knowledge as a photography business owner that he knows exactly what a photography business looks like, right?  He told me he has never owned a photography business!  The how is he suppose to know what one looks like?  He sold shoes before he had a job as the code enforcement officer (according to the West Seattle Herald).  I told him that you can not pigeon hole all photography businesses into one small minded category.  Some photographers create passports, others photograph weddings, and still others like to strictly do commercial photography work.  Thus, we are not all the same and our businesses are all different.

You can say the same thing about people.  I have been mistaken for a cop a number of times.  I guess I have that “cop” look to me….but I’m not a cop.

What truly upsets me is that Jim Bibby has the gall to tell me what my photography business should look like.  He is a public servant working to enforce the code.  He is not an interior decorator designing a photography business.  If I want to paint the inside of my walls black with pink elephants and put photos of kitty cats in orange dresses, I’ll do it.  If I want to take my equipment home every night, I will.  If I want to work out of my studio some days and take other days off, I will.  For Jim Bibby to tell me that I’m not a photography business is beyond his scope of expertise and his job description.

The thing is, I share space with another business and I’m not over at the studio every day.  That is the nature of my photography business…I don’t have to be there every day.  I meet a lot of clients out on location and not at my Burien studio.  That is the way I run my business and that is the way I like it.  If I want to work from home, I’ll do that.  My photography business is strictly “by appointment only”.  If you don’t have an appointment, I probably won’t be there if you stop by unannounced.

If Jim Bibby did his job correctly and the way the taxpayers pay him to do it, he would have properly researched that I do have a LEGAL business license issued by the City of Burien and I do have a LEGAL business license from the State of Washington.  I have had these for years.  I pay my taxes.  I collect sales tax in the area my business is based in and forward it to the State of Washington as I am required to do.  I’m not trying to make waves here, I’m trying to run my business ethically and support my family financially.

Instead, Jim Bibby wastes my time and the taxpayer’s time and money by sending me a certified letter stating that I need to remove my LEGAL sign.  Yes, it is legal according to the laws and codes of the City of Burien!

In my conversation with Jim Bibby today, I asked him point blank: Do I have a business license in Burien?  The answer is yes.  Does that make my sign legal?  His answer: Yes.

Well, I guess you have your answer don’t you?  I informed this fact to code enforcement officer Jim Bibby.  I don’t think he was too happy with me.  I don’t think Jim likes it when someone points out he is wrong.

I also told him that he was harassing me and I didn’t like it.  He can’t tell me what my business is supposed to look like.  I’m not operating a pet store and claiming it is a photography studio.  I operate a photography business and I take my photography equipment with me on location.  If I want my business to be empty, it can be. My equipment doesn’t have to be all set up in the studio if I don’t want it to be.  In fact, the other business I share space with just painted and installed new floors.  The place looks awesome!  My equipment couldn’t stay set up during a remodel anyway. 

So Jim Bibby, Code Enforcement Officer of the City of Burien, please do your homework before you harass me again.  Otherwise, I will file a restraining order against you and have you arrested by the City of Burien Police Department for harassment.

Self Help Guru and your Critical Thinking Skills!

I finally finished the audio book (I had to drive around the neighborhood for about three hours in my car to finish it) titled “Bright-Sided How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America” written by Barbara Ehrenreich. She really doesn’t mean to be funny but the book is funny in a depressing sarcastic way! Well, to me it was funny because it really showed how the “positive thinking” is messing up the good old United States of America. So that fits perfectly into my new brand of Self Help Guru Motivational leadership I want to do.

Before we go off and talk about my favorite subject (me), let’s talk about the book “Bright Sided”. The book is a serious statement against the Self-Help movement and Positive Thinking followers. You might be wondering what the difference between positive thinking and positive thoughts are.

Positive thinking is a blind belief that you must think positive all the time. Positive thinkers believe that all negative thoughts are bad and should be cast aside. But is that really the best thing to do? Aren’t you throwing the baby out with the bath water when you do that? Aren’t you just sacrificing your critical thinking skills for simpler, easier thinking? Could positive thinking cause you great harm?

What is Kevin talking about? Let’s take the example of walking through a bad part of town. Should you use “positive thinking” and the “law of attraction” to safely guide you through the dangerous streets of Compton, California? Or should you use your realistic thinking of the potential dangers that exist in this negative environment and use your critical thinking skills to get the heck out of there?

Positive thinking is all a big scam according to Barbara Ehrenreich. She writes about mega preachers and self help gurus. One would think that her negative view of self help gurus, motivational speakers, and mega church leaders would deter me from becoming a Self-Help Guru. Ha! If anything, this book has given me the push I need to become that Self-Help guru I so yearn to be!

Think about it for a moment. Positive thinking and the Law of Attraction is just a scam in which people are lied to and told that anything is possible if they “visualize” it. It is a scam in which they want you to falsely believe that if you think it will happen, it will actually happen. I’m pretty positive that I picked the latest PowerBall numbers, yet I haven’t won the Powerball jackpot yet.

Am I saying you should use negative thinking instead of positive thinking? No, not in the least bit, however, instead of positive thinking could we be realistic thinkers? Could we be realistic with the fact that you need to work hard to be successful? You need to study hard to get good grades? You need to develop your critical thinking skills to become successful. What are critical thinking skills? Critical thinking is your ability to identify the problem, analyze & evaluate the problem, think of multiple solutions, and hopefully solve the problem by implementing one or more of your solutions. For a more detailed definition of critical thinking, here’s a link

Now, there is nothing wrong with having a positive attitude while thinking of solutions to a problem as long as those solutions are realistic in natural. In the brainstorming phase, you can throw out crazy ideas (that is why it is called “brainstorming”). However, once you move past the brainstorming phase, you narrow down your objectives to realistic, doable, and obtainable solutions.

An example: You need to increase sale for your “drug lord business.”
How would you do this? I’d suggest you set some goals for yourself.
Goal: I want to increase my drug lord business by 100% next quarter.
Is that realistic? If you live in a small town and all the local druggies are purchasing from you already, a growth rate of 100% isn’t going to happen unless they build a new low income housing project overnight.
What if you live in a large city? It is possible, however, will the established gangs and drug dealers take too kindly to your encroachment onto their turf? Is your expansion plans going to piss off the neighboring gangs? Is a turf war worth it? How much will it cost you in death of your “employees” and lost productivity? Remember a dead employee doesn’t make you any money!

This is critical thinking at work. You have to ask all the good, the bad, and the ugly questions. You have to think of multiple scenarios in which your plan will have to survive in. These scenarios need to be worst case and best case because you need to be prepared to do your best whatever the outcome may be!

Now the positive thinking group and the Law of Attraction flakes would have you believe that you can just “think” about growing your drug lord business by 100% and it will happen. I argue that you can use realistic thinking instead. Yes, you can grow that business by 100% but use your critical thinking skills to do it. Your realistic thinking will then guide you into how you’ll actually go about achieving that lofty goal.

There is nothing wrong about thinking “big” and setting big goals for your self. You just have to know that it is going take hard work and dedication to reach those goals. Is your heart ready to live your dreams? I’m positive it is as long as you take it seriously. I’m not holding you back; I’m here to push you forward by making you think! Enjoy what you do and do it!

As always, I welcome your comments and feedback!

I want to be a Self-Help Guru!

I want to be a Self-Help Guru!

I recently started a new audio book titled “Bright-Sided How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America” written by Barbara Ehrenreich. Since I just started this audio book I can’t give you a detailed review, however, I can say that it makes me want to become a self-help guru! The self-help guru industry is probably a great place for me to use my talents as an delightful individual to spread my unique style of sarcastic self-help. And I can create a media empire in the process and get rich too!

Think of the endless possibilities that await me as a sarcastic self-help guru! I have the perfect “unhappy” foundation in which to build upon my self-help guru career. Even if my life history isn’t as sappy or depressing as it could be, I can still spin a great tale of childhood misery to make a go of it as a self-help guru.

I can talk about how deprived I was as a child growing up in middle class suburbia. Please allow me to tell my tale of woe….when I was in elementary grade school, my parents didn’t buy me the all “too cool” Atari game system. All my friends and enemies had the Atari game systems with Pac Man, Donkey Kong, Frogger….but I had nothing! So what if I had every Lego set they made and I lived in a nice house….I am still scarred to this day with the knowledge that EVERYONE had an Atari and I didn’t.

Oh, and the vacation trips I never took…..where should I begin? How am I going to heal the wounds of never going to Hawaii until our family moved there? I’m still in pain (which gives me the emotional background to be an awesome self-help guru!).

Should we be talking about my emotional struggles of not getting a new bike when everyone else had one? Or the skateboard I never had? Or the new REI backpack for Boy Scouts I didn’t get? Oh, the pain of my terrible childhood. How did I overcome these painful childhood memories? Yet, I can blame my parents for the lack of a wonderful childhood or should I “thank” them for giving me this wonderful gift called “opportunity”?

And I have failures in my adult life which I can parlay into being a “Life Coach”. Oh boy, oh boy! If you really what to succeed, just hire an unemployed, twice divorced, free spirit life coach (that makes less money than you do) to guide you. What is that you hope to accomplish in your life? Hope? I “hope” I don’t puke with a bunch of nonsense! How do you feel about that? I “feel” like you are answering my question with your question. Did you see that? I’m an old dude giving you advice…I’m your “Dad”! Not really, I’m a stranger giving you advice for money. I’m telling you it will be ok…heck I’m a hooker!

Honestly, you know in my mind and in your heart what you need to do to be successful. The hard reality is that life gets in the way of you becoming successful. There is always one more TV show to watch, one more kid to tuck into bed, one more client to email, one more blog to write! That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to work towards become successful with written goals. I have goals, I just never write them down! See, another Self-Help guru tip!

In my quest to become a self-help guru, I did intense and extensive research on the internet by visit two websites. I loved this one: Oh, and let’s not forget this article too!

I can’t wait for my “Nine Habits of Successful Living” to become a York Times Bestseller with a book tour, groupies, an appearance on “Oprah”, a series of workshops and programs. Maybe I can do some “good” by appearing on a PBS pledge drive…remember that if you help others reach their goals, they’ll help you reach yours!

As always your comments are always welcome!

Making money online continues

Making Money Online

A few weeks ago, I wrote a half-witted blog about making money online and how I was an anti-social nut job.  Well, that isn’t totally true….what I really wrote about was how I was an introvert in an extrovert’s career.  You can click over and read my original post here:

In a quick summary, I wanted to sit home in my pajamas, make money, and not have to talk to anyone face to face in a job environment.

I mentioned this to my friend Russ and he also wants to start making money online as well.  I’ve discovered that I’m now reading about new business opportunities online and “How to make money online”.  Some of these business opportunities are about how to have an auto-pilot business where the money just rolls in while you sleep or eat your Pop Tarts in the morning.  Others take a more serious approach and tell you about how you need to blog, and post, and blog, and post, etc.  When you write and blog you need to build readership and sell ad space.

 Building a readership is very important as well as building an email newsletter list.  It is also helpful if you are SEO savvy as well.

 One important key most people suggest you do is to write from your heart or write about what you know.  However, how many people want to know about me wasting hours of my time writing witty comments on Facebook?  Of course, I could write a blog about how to invest in real estate and see all your equity disappear in the great real estate meltdown.  Or I could write about how to fight depression through releasing your anger and frustration by blogging about it.  Or how to hide your true feelings through sarcasm?  (Now is Kevin joking or is he serious…..) J

 OK, the truth is I’ll keep researching about making money online and keep you updated on how things go.  In the mean time, I’ll continue to work on my photography and do a few real estate deals here and there.

 As always, I welcome your thoughts and comments!

Washington State Unemployment 9%…how to cut costs if it happens to you?

Man, oh man, are we for some rough times in this country of ours.  The Seattle economy is probably doing better than most areas of the United States, however, it is still pretty bad.  According to the United States Department of Labor, Washington State has a 9.0 percent unemployment rate in October, 2010.  The national average is 9.6%.

 How does a 9% unemployment rate translate into everyday life?  Everyone knows someone that is out of work, struggling to make ends meet.  You just need to look at the recent data on the economy and it is enough to make you jump back into bed, pull the covers over your head, and call it a day.  I was getting depressed reading about this stuff.  I’ve put in a few links that I pulled data from several websites about unemployment and the economy.

 Now, being self-employed for close to 18 years, I really don’t know about being unemployed.  Back in the early 1990’s, I did get laid off from AMR (the parent company of American Airlines).  That was the last time I had a “real job”.  I haven’t worked a 9-to-5 job in a very long time (since the AMR job).

Do I miss having a 9-to-5 job?  Yes and No.  Yes, I miss having a company pay my health insurance.  No, I don’t miss the ability to choose my own hours and my vacation time.  Yes, I miss having the chance to leave work and leave my work at the office.  Being self-employed, you always think about work.  You think about stuff you should be doing and thing you ought to do.  You are always thinking about your business.

 However, I’d love to have a business where I don’t have to get dressed up and go to work to make money.  I want the freedom to sit in my office in my pajamas and make money.  Yes, I’m back to my rant about making money online with a killer blog and enhanced website that practically prints money while I sleep.  Hey, who wouldn’t want that?

 How am I weathering this recent economic depression?  I have cut spending in both my personal and business life.  I have looked at all my expenses and cut everything I can. I trimmed my cell phone plan costs down by using a cheaper plan and by cutting off text messaging.  I’ve paid more attention to where we have the thermostat adjusted to as well.  Another simple change we have done is to switch out old light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (and I got those FREE from a friend!).

 While cost cutting is good, other expenses have risen.  Case in point, my health insurance rose $154 a month!  Now, I just received a new notice that my plan is being phased out.  I now have the choice of paying more for a lesser coverage plan.  Lucky me!