Creating an income at home with a chronic illness my etsy shop

My Etsy Store: Creating an Income at Home with Chronic Illness and Kids

Since I learnt that working full time was not conducive to maintaining my health I have dabbled with part time work of varying hours and freelancing. Since I was put off work sick with pelvis issues at 23 weeks pregnant in 2018, I’ve begun looking for potential income generating options that I can physically maintain with three small children.
Creating an income at home with a chronic illness my etsy shop

My Etsy store

I opened my Etsy store originally as a way to share my products for fighting fibromyalgia.
My journey has been all topsy turvy and not at all planned. It sprung from realizing that I enjoy designing templates and printable images.
See this handy article on how to set up a store.
Then I began playing with templates, then affirmations, then planners, then printable art
I started to research how to make a successful Etsy store. I love the Fuzzy and Birch blog for tips on making your store successful.

In brief what you need to make a successful etsy store:

  • Good images
  • SEO for keywords in tags and product descriptions
  • At least 20 items
  • Free marketing
  • Shop updates

Tools I use for my etsy store:

  • PowerPoint
  • Canva
  • Etsy app
  • Marmalead
  • Pinterest
The broad categories I created
my scripture designs for my etsy storePlanning for wellness printables from my etsy storeMotivational and affirmations from my etsy storeplanning printables in my etsy store
The beauty of my Etsy store is that most of the work is done once I create the listing. So once I have my baby, the store can keep ticking over provided I continue my marketing measures. The product is automatically delivered upon payment so the process doesn’t tend to include me. This is the much coveted passive income people talk of so much. Much work done upfront with little (but definitely required) ongoing work.

My home office

My home office is in the landing of the junction of three parts of our house. There is a built in desk with shelves.
My other office is my lounge chair with my phone. Smartphones are an amazing invention for chronic illness and mama digital creators!

How I manage my etsy store, pelvis issues and small children:

  • I work in tiny increments
  • Alternate between computer and phone
  • Ideas go into Evernote
  • I design in PowerPoint on the computer
  • At some point I also use the computer to make the listing images, research keywords for the listing and actually create the listing
  • At another point, using my phone I promote and share listings
  • If I’m feeling particularly sore, fatigued or have my boys home alone all day I might not get anything done.
Side note: I will not be making my fortune off this. I create products I genuinely use or would use myself. I keep my prices at the affordable end. Ultimately I enjoy it and am learning transferable skills for when I reenter the workforce and any income earned will help us out in the meantime.
Business notes
I already had a company setup from freelancing prior to my last job and I have basic bookkeeping knowledge so the business side of things is less of a learning curve for me, but I still had to research sales tax on digital sales etc. carefully. Make sure you don’t get caught out. Create spreadsheets from the beginning tracking income and expenses and document your business practices as if it was a brick and mortar store. Then at year end it won’t be so tricky to go through it with your accountant.

Where my Etsy store is at now:

As at the end of September 2018 I made two sales which covered all of the listing fees of all my new products loaded that month. So anything I sold in October was for a profit (after Etsy’s cut). So that was pretty exciting.
I then loaded a few coffee art prints and scripture prints – which I had loads of fun designing – during October to see if that was a direction my store could take. It’s all about playing and having fun at the moment.
A serious note re creating products – adhere to copyright, use your own images and words or ensure they are free for commercial use (or pay for this license). I am paying for nothing that isn’t necessary until I have made more than I have invested so free is good.
A sneak peak at my next few products going up (yes, I am obsessed with coffee):

Coffee printable art work in MelissavFibromyalgia etsy store

I’d love to hear anything you do to create a side income as a chronic illness fighter.
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22 ways to increase your energy

22 Ways to Increase Your Energy

Fatigue and low energy levels tend to be significant issues when fighting chronic illnesses like Fibromyalgia, chronic pain and myofascial pain syndrome. In addition, pretty much all mamas that I speak to could do with an energy infusion too, so today I am offering you a list of ways to increase your energy.

22 ways to increase your energy

Affiliate notice: Some of my links are affiliate links, if you make a purchase using these links I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

  • Meditation – I am a big fan of meditation, as anyone following my blog for any amount of time would know. I can’t nap so it’s been a lifesaver on the days I am too miserably exhausted to keep going.
  • Healthy eating – food is fuel, fuel it right and it will work better. Personally, cutting white carbohydrates made a huge difference. For some it’s completely cutting grains, others it’s the entire Paleo diet, it’s all worth a try.
  • Getting the best night’s sleep possible – yes, this is a minefield when you have a chronic illness for which insomnia is an issue or when you have tiny children partying through the night. Low Dose Naltrexone is the only way I have managed to sleep in more than one hour blocks. For others it increases insomnia. If only insomnia wasn’t so contrary.
22 ways to increase your energy snip

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  • Supplements for energy:
  • D-Ribose – this didn’t work for me, but my worst issue was definitely lack of sleep so I may notice a difference when I try it again after baby comes. I have heard heaps of people who swear by it.
  • CoQ10 – again, this didn’t previously work for me, but now that my sleep is under better control, I am keen to try it again when baby vacates the building! I have also heard of a high number of people for whom it works. It’s best taken in it’s more activated form ubiquinol.
  • Ashwagandha – I find taking this a bit like having too many coffees, I can’t seem to tolerate it, but it was worth a try.
  • Acetyl-L Carnitine – this one upset my tummy so I couldn’t take it near long enough to ascertain if it would help with my energy levels (two doses and I knew). This is another some that some people seem to swear by.
  • Essential oils – I adore essential oils, especially as they are completely natural. As I was just starting my journey when I became pregnant, I haven’t tried as many as I’d like. Though lavender and roman chamomile are brilliant to massage into tired, sore legs, glutes and low backs!
  • Ginger – it is warming, soothing and comforting. As a bonus it also soothes an upset tummy.
  • Lemon – it is meant to be uplifting and inspiring a positive mood.

More posts you may like

Why I’m Treating the Fibromyalgia as Naturally as Possible
Natural Pain Relief: Supplements for Fibromyalgia Pain
Five Ways I Cope With Fibromyalgia: AKA Lifestyle Choices to Live Well

  • Cedarwood – apparently this essential oil stimulates the production of melatonin, which helps you sleep better, which in turn gives you more energy.
  • Grapefruit – is meant to uplift, revive and inspire.
  • Peppermint – this one is uplifting and brightening (I find) and I also find it highly useful for nausea.
  • Yoga poses like:
  • Downward Facing Dog
  • Cat and cow pose
  • Half sun salutation sequence
  • A quick, brisk walk outside
  • Vitamin D – get outside into the first morning sunshine or consider a vitamin D supplement.
  • Stay within your energy envelope – yes, this involves finding your energy envelope and it isn’t easy. I wrote about this in my book, that I was trying to fight my body as if I was at a level able to work six hours per day (and then go home to small children) when my pain and fatigue levels were more in line with four or five. This website takes you through the idea of your energy envelope. It’s pretty in depth and not a quick fix. But adhering to what I know I am capable of makes a big difference in pain and fatigue levels.
  • Diaphragmatic breathing (breathing from your tummy NOT your chest)

I hope that at least one of these 22 things are helpful for you. I’d love (LOVE) to hear of any other things you have come across to help you with fatigue/energy boosting?


For more information:

Join my You vs Fibromyalgia free micro course

Have you Considered Becoming a Fibromyalgia Blogger? How To Do It.

Did you know that my blog got started as simply as me posting diary-like updates while I was pregnant with my first baby and feeling miserably sore and alone?

Once I completed the pregnancy, I began formulating what I had learnt into tips. By my second pregnancy I had hit my stride and utilised my own tips and began gathering the resources that now find their home in the free resources pages.

I wonder if you have considered sharing your unique perspective about fighting Fibromyalgia (or chronic pain, fatigue, xx symptom)? I thought I would share this post about what I did and some resources that might help you if you had though about it but didn’t know where to begin.

Have you Considered Becoming a Fibromyalgia Blogger_

Please note that some of my links are affiliate links. If you make a purchase using my link, I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you. It all supports me running this blog.  

The Tech Stuff

I started my blog on WordPress.com the free version. After a while, reading a lot of advice that we need to be self-hosted, I chose a hosting company and transferred to WordPress.org. Well, I ended up hacked, lost my information and having to fight with the company for automatically charging my credit card three times the amount they had charged for the first year. I am now back on WordPress.com and pay for the personal plan. It’s worth it to me to not have that stress. Plus I don’t have a lot of extra money lying around, so I run my blog on the smell of an oily rag.

I pay WordPress.com a small annual fee. I pay Amazon a percentage of royalties on my books, Etsy (digital products) and Teachable (courses) take a cut from sales. So for my products, I don’t pay much upfront.

How to Start a Blog

If you want a free course on how to start a blog from the bottom up, see this free one by Michelle from Making Sense of Cents. Do also browse through her archives, she has a lot of good content.

If you want to learn about making digital products and an Etsy shop, I love Paper and Oats. Great content, free products and eCourses to get you started and products you can buy later to take the learning further.

Kenz Soliman has a cool blog, YouTube channel and free course about blogging and passive income. I enjoy her content.

A Blog I’ve Been Following for a While

I like Caroline Vencil. She talks blogging, side hustles, budgeting and making money. This link is to her whole shop which has a selection of paid and free options. I particularly like 10 Steps to Start a Profitable Blog.

The Blog Structure Blueprint, Goal Setting Workbook for Bloggers and 7 Tips to Boost Your Income Overnight are all free.

This blogging bundle is for those who are ready for the next level with their blog.

how to be a chronic blogger, blogging with fibromyalgiaa

Blogging for Those with Chronic Illness

I have done everything bit by bit over five years, as my health has allowed. Don’t be afraid to start small. Don’t be afraid to do it a little at a time.

Here’s my blog post process:

  1. Idea into Evernote
  2. Flesh it out when I have the time and energy
  3. Load it into WordPress, format
  4. Create an image for it (or ask my brother, when I wasn’t able to use the computer as much)
  5. Set it to post
  6. Share it on social media

Please don’t think that because you can’t sit at the computer for hours and hours that your story shouldn’t be heard. I’d like to hear your story.

It was only as the Low Dose Naltrexone started helping at the end of last year that I was able to start making my images myself (on Canva), put my book together, create templates and open my Etsy store. Even now it is a constant cost vs benefit analysis as to where to expend my energy: content creation, learning about marketing ideas and utilising Pinterest properly, posting on Pinterest, coordinating my Facebook group, etc etc. I just put one foot in front of the other and do what I can when I can.

My Resources

Below are the resources I have created, in the order that I created them.

My blog posts (over 180 now)

Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia Resource Page – this finally looks how I envisioned it, but I really had to do one step at a time.

What I Offer Page – which includes my free library of resources and printables.

Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia book – published first in November 2017 and updated March 2018.

Melissa vs Fibromyalgia: My Journey Fighting Chronic Pain, Chronic Fatigue and Insomnia – written slowly over five years!

Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia course

You vs Fibromyalgia: Arm Yourself with Knowledge FREE Micro Course.

Etsy Shop with printables, templates, micro courses and workbooks.

Please do let me know in the comments if you start a blog, or if you already have one – I’d love to come visit and say hi!


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6 Books for those with Chronic Illness and a Giveaway!

Are you ready to spring clean your healthy habits in 2018?

We’ve compiled a list of books perfect for people living with chronic illness who want to make impactful changes to their health and life.

6 Books about Chronic Illness and a Giveaway!

Enter to WIN 6 BOOKS!

If you would like a chance to win all of these books, then head on over to the giveaway page!

The books are:

Affiliate notice: Please note that some of my links are affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may make a commission at no extra cost to you.

yoga for chronic pain coverYoga for Chronic Pain: 7 Steps to Aid Recovery From Fibromyalgia Through Yoga by: Kayla Kurin – In this book Kayla tells us how she utilises the benefits of yoga for chronic pain. See my review here!

Thriving in the Workplace with Autoimmune Disease: Know Your Rights, Resolve Conflict, and Reduce Stress by: Holly Bertone – “This is the first book ever to educate individuals specifically with autoimmune disease on their legal and disability rights in the workplace.”

Melissa vs. Fibromyalgia: My Journey Fighting Chronic Pain, CMelissa vs Fibromyalgia book coverhronic Fatigue, and Insomnia by: Melissa Reynolds – This is my book! This is where I share everything I have researched, learnt and do to fight Fibromyalgia.

Radical Health: Insightful, Humorous, Compelling by: James Lilley – “This book will help you get from simply surviving to thriving in easy to understand steps.”

The Complete Guide to Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis: A Road Map to Long-Term Healing by: Alexa Fredrico – “There is no clearly defined path that newly diagnosed people should follow and therein lies the author’s motivation for this book.” Alexa is another chronic illness blogger who found a disappointing lack of whole-person health-focused information for her illness and so created it!


If you love reading you can try Amazon Kindle Unlimited! Just sign up here Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans. Amazon Kindle Unlimited gives you unlimited reading (say what?), unlimited listening to their audiobooks.


The Easy Anti-Inflammatory Diet: Fast and Simple Recipes for the 15 Best Anti-Inflammatory Foods (HARDCOPY) by: Karen Frazier – “Chronic inflammation has been linked to just about every health concern out there, and research indicates that certain foods are the root cause. But with the plethora of information available on the Internet, it can be difficult to know exactly which foods an anti inflammatory diet consists of—and moreover, how to easily incorporate it into your daily life.”

If you would like a chance to win all of these books, then head on over to the giveaway page!

Sharing is caring, please feel free to share this post so that your friends can have a chance to enter too!


For more information

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To purchase your own copy of my book

Melissa vs Fibromyalgia book cover

You vs Fibromyalgia: Helping You Fight Chronic Pain, Chronic Fatigue & Insomnia

I got a bit excited about sharing my knowledge and went ahead and began planning a full eCourse –
You vs Fibromyalgia: Helping You Fight Chronic Pain, Chronic Fatigue and Insomnia.

You vs Fibro full ecourse

It is for anyone wanting to fight chronic pain, chronic fatigue and insomnia. Most of my recommendations are self-actionable – you make choices every single day that effect your quality of life, so you have the most power to live well with Fibromyalgia.

It will have seven modules:

  1. Knowledge (knowledge is power)
  2. Pain management
  3. Sleep
  4. Meditation
  5. Yoga (or gentle exercise)
  6. Pacing and Boundaries
  7. Brain Fog

What you get:

  • Five modules
  • Four (or more) videos
  • Four templates to make your own plans for pain management, sleep and things to try
  • Four (or more) information sheets – including my list of further reading – this is from my spreadsheet of articles, research and information about Fibromyalgia/Chronic Pain/Chronic Fatigue and Insomnia over the past five years broken down by subject!
  • A lot of further reading for you to follow up areas that interest you and take your learning further
  • The workbook with all of the lessons, information sheets and templates with space for notes.

A course is a lot of work – there is a lot of information here, so I will run this course from 1 April 2018 if 10 people enroll before March 15th.

As a special offer, I will give early bird enrollments at $69 (value $125!) PLUS all early bird enrollments will receive the free bonus lesson Support.

You vs Fibro full ecourse

Learn more and enroll here (you can also see a free preview of the first lesson)

I hope you will join us in this journey.

 


If you’re not ready for a full eCourse, what else can you do?

you v fibro e courseTry my free micro course You vs Fibromyalgia: Arm Yourself with Knowledge this is an introduction to the information available in five lessons.

 

 

sign up to newsletterSign up to my free resources page which has free PDF printable reports, templates, micro courses and more.

 

Fibro Mama Interviews: Natalie from Surviving Lifes Hurdles

As we well know, our experience of chronic illness differs greatly. In order to shed some light on how other chronically ill parents do it I started the Fibro Mama Interviews series. Our first interview was with Brandi from Being Fibro Mom and our second interview is with the lovely Natalie from Surviving Lifes Hurdles.

Please give a brief introduction to yourselfNatalie- Surviving Lifes Hurdles.png

Hi, I’m Natalie, I’m 32 and I live in England with my partner and lovely 3 year old son who both help to keep me going whenever times get tough!

Since being diagnosed with MS 2 years ago my life has changed completely and I have so much more to deal with every single day.

I still love being a mum though and in many ways being chronically ill has made me a better parent than I was.  I certainly appreciate the little things more and I don’t sweat the small stuff now either!

I write a blog over at www.survivinglifeshurdles.com and you can also find me on;

Facebook

Twitter

Please stop by and say hi!

What are your diagnoses?

I have Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis, which I was diagnosed with just over 2 years ago.

How many children do you have, what are their ages?

I have one little boy who is 3.

Were you diagnosed when you were pregnant?

No, I wasn’t diagnosed until my son was 11 months old when I had a big relapse.  I did have MS when I was pregnant (although much milder at that point) but I didn’t realise it! I struggled with juggling fatigue with a demanding full time job during the 1st and 3rd trimesters.

What were your best coping mechanisms?

When I struggled with fatigue I used to rest as much as possible and break down tasks into smaller chunks.  I tried not to get stressed out about what I couldn’t do and at times work had to take a hit.

How long did you nurse for and what were your best coping mechanisms?

I stopped nursing when my son was 6 months old, so this was before my diagnosis but getting up in the night to feed certainly didn’t help my fatigue.  In the day, between feeds, I tried to rest as much as possible but also made sure I went out for a walk regularly for some exercise and a bit of fresh air.

How did you find the first year?

I enjoyed my maternity leave but found returning to a demanding full time job when my son was 6 months old so much tougher than I’d imagined.  My fatigue and brain fog steadily increased until I had a major relapse when he was 11 months old where I was admitted to hospital for a week for tests which eventually resulted in my MS diagnosis.

Following my relapse I struggled with severe fatigue, brain fog, balance and coordination issues to name a few.  I’d instantly gone from being a capable, working mother to being someone who had an incurable/progressive illness, was unable to work, depended on others and who needed help looking after her son for any long stretches of time due to fatigue.  It was a terrifying and confusing time and I struggled to accept my diagnosis initially.  I was scared for my future and what it would mean for my family.

Based on my own experiences, my tips for coping in the first year as a parent with a chronic illness would be;

  • Get as much help as you can; from family, friends, charities, medical professionals, paid help etc, whatever you can manage.  Leave your pride at the door and accept as much help as possible.  Parenting with a chronic illness is hard enough without trying to do it all!
  • Don’t be hard on yourself for what you can’t do.  If you don’t have the energy for loads of baby classes or you regularly have to take time out for yourself due to your illness it doesn’t matter.  Your baby isn’t missing out and what you struggle to provide in one area you will certainly make up for in another!
  • Look after your health.  It goes against all of your instincts to put yourself first when you have a child but when it comes to your health sometimes you just have to.  Accept that your health needs have to be met too otherwise you won’t be in a fit state to be the parent you want to be.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff.  Being ill puts into perspective what’s truly important in life and what isn’t so use this to your advantage and leave getting wrapped up in pointless stress and over-the-top worrying to other first-time parents and enjoy the moment!

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to parents with chronic illness who are, or want to get pregnant?

Find out as much information as you can before you become pregnant.  Get advice from medical professionals about any potential complications due to your illness and whether you will need to stop any medication you are taking etc.  Also join a few Facebook groups and read some blogs of other chronically ill parents for the valuable real-life experiences and support networks they can provide.

Preparation is key.  All those sleepless nights with a newborn are hard enough without a chronic illness so it’s a good idea to get as organised as possible before your baby arrives.  Declutter to make room for all your new baby equipment and get everything you will need in the early days set up well in advance.  Stock your cupboards with loads of healthy and easy-to-grab snacks and batch cook a load of meals to freeze ahead too.

Believe in yourself.  Yes, parenting with a chronic illness will be tough and there won’t be many people who will understand but you will find a way to make it work.  Listen to your body, know your own mind and have confidence in the fact that you will love your child with every ounce of your being.  No chronic illness can ever take that away from you!

What resources would you recommend to support parents with chronic illness)

I know it’s very specific to both MS and the UK but for me personally I would have to say the  muMS UK Facebook group.  It’s great for finding out everything I need to know about parenting with MS and it’s a really friendly and light-hearted group.

surviving life hurdles


For more information about pregnancy and Fibromyalgia:

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Pregnancy andFibromyalgia_resources

definitive edition pregnancy and fibro

Some of my links are affiliate links, I receive compensation at no extra cost to you if you purchase using these links. I never promote anything I don’t 100% support myself.

 

A Whole Person

It’s a funny thing, blogging. I invite you into my life – my life distilled into a post by post basis, with a tilt toward health and mamahood.

You could be forgiven for thinking I spend my whole day fixated on my health.

I am passionate about a great many other things, reading and writing are high on the list. I read a great deal more than I share on this blog, because of the health tilt.

This blog functions as a partial diary, to share my hard earned knowledge, to write through and explore some parts of my journey and inner landscape, and to keep myself writing.

With the baby, work, the house, reading, the (attempted) healthy lifestyle, writing has had to fall down the list a ways. But this is my place to put (metaphorical) pen to paper. I’m practising for the day I have spare time and energy to write properly again. 

Looking after my health is a lifestyle. I choose to focus on all the ways I can be healthy (modified for the lesser energy and extra pain). A lot of what I do is what everyone ought to do to look after themselves.

Keeping up what your passionate about, in whatever way available to you at the time, is a very important part of a healthy lifestyle.

So, if there is a message to this pensive post, it’s an encouragement to keep up your passions despite your pain levels. Because I am, despite what it looks like on my blog 🙂