Contrails

Contrails

be scientific, be intellectual
 
lecture me on cirrus aviaticus
how hot exhaust and particulates
condense and dance and disperse
over seconds, minutes, days, weeks–
tickle my brain with explanations
of contrail climate change
 
be magical, be mysterious
 
whisper to me how the ghosts
of every airline disaster
float behind those jets
billowy white fingers reaching
stretching for miles
clawing their way aboard
 
be ignorant, be earthbound
 
explain to me how you never once
look up to see those water lines
raking fingernails across a chalkboard sky
never bother with things so far away
when each spring’s preoccupation
is that the creek will rise too high
flooding out the garden sprouts
each summer is spent fretting
that it will run too low
and all the corn will wither
 
be lyrical, be poetic
 
write lines that catch my breath
before i exhale into the winter air
my own vapor trail that marks
if only for an instant
my passage through your life
By J. Lewis

J. Lewis is an internationally published poet, musician, nurse practitioner, and the editor of Verse-Virtual, an online journal and community. When he is not otherwise occupied, he is often on a kayak, exploring and photographing the waterways near his home in California. He is the author of five full-length collections, plus eight chapbooks. Learn more at https://www.jlewisweb.com.

Turning Hobbies Into A Successful Business

Turning Hobbies Into A Successful Business

Start with the Basics

Turning a hobby into a business can be an exciting and rewarding venture. However, it requires
careful planning, research, and dedication. This guide shared by KennethWeene.com provides
tips on what it takes to turn a hobby into a business, focusing on assessing the financial viability
of your hobby, understanding market demand, and enhancing your business skills through
education, and gaining a deep understanding of your target audience.

Assessing Financial Viability

The first step in turning your hobby into a business is to conduct a thorough financial analysis to
assess its viability. This involves determining the costs of starting and running the business,
forecasting potential revenue, and evaluating the profitability of your venture. Start by listing all
possible expenses, including raw materials, equipment, business registration fees, marketing,
and more. Then, estimate the potential income from selling your product or service.

After you’ve determined your projected expenses and income, compare the two. If your
projected income significantly exceeds your expenses, your hobby has the potential to be a
profitable business. However, if the costs are too high, you may need to rethink your pricing
strategy, find ways to reduce costs, or reconsider if this hobby is suitable for business.

Is Your Product or Service in Demand?

No business can succeed without a market for its product or service. Hence, it’s crucial to
research the market demand before investing time and money into your venture. Start by
identifying your direct and indirect competitors. Look at their offerings, pricing strategies, and
how they market their products or services.

Next, conduct surveys or focus groups to get a better understanding of potential customers;
needs and preferences. You can also use online tools and databases to gain insights into
market trends and consumer behavior. Remember, having a unique product or service does;t
guarantee success; it must also meet a need or solve a problem that a significant number of
people have.

Education Upgrade

Running a business involves more than just creating a product or service. It requires knowledge
in areas such as management, finance, marketing, and more. In the journey of turning your
hobby into a thriving business, you may consider this important step: pursuing a business
degree for enhanced skills. This educational upgrade can equip you with vital knowledge and
practical skills needed in running a business, such as financial management, marketing
strategies, and operational planning. From understanding how to analyze market trends to
learning the art of negotiation, a business degree can offer a comprehensive view of the
business world. Whether it’s a full-time degree or part-time courses, this investment in your
education could prove invaluable in navigating the complexities of business and leading your
venture toward success.

Mastering Target Market Insights

Understanding your target audience is key to the success of your business. It helps you tailor
your product or service to their needs, craft effective marketing messages, and make informed
business decisions. Start by defining your ideal customer, considering factors like age, gender,
location, interests, income level, and more.

Then, conduct market research to gather more information about your target audience. Use
surveys, interviews, or social media analytics to understand their preferences, buying habits,
and pain points. The more you know about your target audience, the better you can serve them
and ensure the success of your business.

In conclusion, turning a hobby into a business involves careful planning and research. By
assessing the financial viability of your hobby, understanding the market demand, enhancing
your business skills through education, and gaining a deep understanding of your target
audience, you can increase your chances of success and turn your passion into a profitable
venture.

Submitted by Claire Wentz

Is It Time to Move Near Your Senior Loved Ones?

Is It Time to Move Near Your Senior Loved Ones?

A major issue for seniors is whether they have enough willing and competent caregivers. Often, their caregivers are family members. This means how near you are to a loved one’s residence is important — especially if your loved one has age- or health-related mobility problems. Seniors with restricted mobility may require aid in accessing their house, and those with health difficulties may need support managing medications at home. Read on for some tips on identifying when and how to move closer to a senior loved one.

Choosing Whether to Rent or Buy When Relocating

If your loved one is struggling with daily tasks, you may need to relocate nearby as soon as possible. Renting can be a great option, particularly if you’re on a tight budget. Explore local listings to learn about rental costs and amenities offered.

On the other hand, renting may not be right for everyone. Buying may be more affordable over the long term, and it gives you more flexibility in deciding what kind of home you want and where you want to live. It can also give you more control over how much you spend.

When outfitting your new home, you’ll want to save money by being judicious in your home goods purchases. It’s a good idea to read unbiased reviews online to find out which products are best. You’ll save money by not wasting it on inferior products.

Relocating Your Business to a New Location

If you’re a business owner, you may need to move your business as well — especially if you work from home. You’ll not only need to take your equipment with you but also ensure all of your operations relocate smoothly. Check regulations for business in your new state and give your employees plenty of notice so they can prepare. If you aren’t already using online tools such as invoice generators and project management platforms, transition now as you’ll be able to run your business from any location.

Temporarily Storing Your Items When Moving

Moving may also mean storing belongings until you determine what to do with them. Fortunately, storage centers can provide a safe place to store items that you don’t want to risk losing. They are great for storing things that you may need to access quickly but don’t have room for, such as extra blankets and other household items.

It’s also a good idea to invest in a rental storage unit that you can use while you figure out your next move. Not only will this save you money, but it will also give you peace of mind knowing that your belongings are well protected.

Relocating Smoothly to Help Your Senior Loved One

When moving to be close to a senior loved one, you’ll want to think through renting or buying a place, relocating your business, and storing your items ahead of time.

Submitted by Claire Wentz

Top Tips for Starting a Senior Caregiving Support Business

Top Tips for Starting a Senior Caregiving Support Business

Starting a new business that provides support or services to family senior caregivers can be a profitable endeavor. However, there are a few things you need to do to get going on the right foot. Ken invited his friend Claire Wentz to share her top tips for ensuring success. Claire’s Website is https://caringfromafar.com

Choose the Right Services

When starting a senior caregiving business, you must choose the right services to offer. Some possibilities include home care, transportation, and meal preparation. Decide what services you want to offer based on your skill set and the needs of your target market.

Decide Which Business Structure Is Right for You

You can choose from a few different business structures when starting a senior caregiving business. These include sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited liability companies, and corporations. Each option has its benefits and drawbacks, so you must decide which one is right for your needs.

Forming an LLC can be a good option as it offers pass-through taxation and tax savings. Generally, you’ll need an attorney to help you file the paperwork, but you can also file yourself or use an online formation service to save time and money. Rules for establishing an LLC vary by state, so research the regulations on how to start an LLC in Arizona to do it right.

Have an Invoicing Process in Place

One of the most important things you need to do when starting a senior caregiving business is to implement an invoicing process. This helps ensure you get paid quickly and on time. An invoice generator app or software allows you to choose from premade templates to create customized invoices that include your company’s text, images, and business logo. Look for an invoice generator that’s easy to use, permits you to download the invoice in the format you prefer, and offers a free trial, so you can try it out before committing to a paid subscription.

Get Your First Clients

Once your Port Charlotte business is up and running, start marketing to get your first clients. Consider creating a website, starting a blog, and using social media to help attract clients. You can also attend local events and meetups to network with potential clients. Southern New Hampshire University suggests having an elevator pitch ready, so you can quickly and effectively explain what your business does and why someone should use your services.

Keep Your Clients Happy

Finally, once you start getting clients, keeping them happy is essential. Daily Caring notes that this means providing quality services, being responsive to their needs, and going above and beyond to exceed their expectations. If you can do this, you’ll have clients who use your services repeatedly, which is essential for any successful business.

Open Your Senior Caregiver Support Business

Starting a small business that provides support or services to senior caregivers can be lucrative, but there are a few things you must do to get off on the right foot, such as determining which services to offer and the most appropriate business structure. The tips outlined above can help you get started.

Image via Pexels

The Winter Holiday

The Winter Holiday

Are the holidays here already? Sometimes this season reminds me of the difference between a normal person, a neurotic, and a psychotic. Come morning, the normal person says, “I’m tired. I really don’t want to go to work.” But they get up anyway and off they trudge.

Come morning, the neurotic says, “It’s morning. I really don’t have the energy to live.” And they pull the covers over their heads and go back to moaning sleep.

“Ah,” but the psychotic says, “It can’t be morning; I blew the sun out yesterday.”

It seems it was just yesterday that we dealt with this season. I remember it clearly: smiling through gritted teeth, wishing everyone a happy something while not remembering who they were or why on earth I was speaking to them, and worst of all giving and receiving gifts that were destined for a landfill in some country with no need of more plastic.

No! No! I know what you’re thinking. I am not Scrooge! I do not begrudge others their happiness. Please, feel free to watch all those movies once more, even the ones that were never intended to celebrate the holidays, even the ones that use farcical chipmunk voices and those that save depressed fools from drowning themselves. Make believe that you are home alone, if you wish. Just don’t invite me over to share that mock loneliness. I have better things to do, and they do not include shopping, especially not shopping in crowded malls the day after Thanksgiving.

Holidays shouldn’t be about shopping and spending money anyway. Nor about eating too much or drinking too much. By the way, when are there the most drunk-driving incidents? Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving. Yep. People getting drunk so they can tolerate being with the people they’re supposed to love.

“Well, then,” you might ask, “what should the holiday season be about?”

Gosh, I’m glad you ask me that. Let me start my answer with a big shoutout to seasonal affective disorder. Yes, Virginia, lack of daylight makes us depressed. It especially made our ancestors depressed because they weren’t really sure that winter would pass and that brighter, better-fed times would come. Imagine if you will a group of paleolithic warriors—men and women—dancing around a great monolith to appease a mystical being who might or might not allow the plants to again flower, the water to melt, and the bison or mammoth return to roaming nearby. “Where, by the way,” they undoubtedly wonder, “have all those birds gone?”

No wonder they were grouchy. Being hungry and cold, they were depressed, lethargic a good part of the time, lacking much motivation—except of course when it came to trying to appease that god who controlled the cold wind blowing down from the north.

If we can identify with those hungry, scared cave-dwellers, we might be better able to appreciate what the holiday season could mean: a last-ditch effort to reassure themselves that the world wasn’t going to end, that they weren’t going to starve, that the forces they could not understand would not abandon them.

We all of us, even in these “modern times,” need that reassurance. We turn to tradition so that we know what to expect—albeit now a turkey and canned cranberry sauce instead of the return of the geese. Some of those traditions might still involve a god or two. But, let’s be honest, are people any more enthusiastic about singing Come All Ye Faithful than they are when belting out Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer?

I have no quarrel with our human need for hope and reassurance. I, too, like to glance into the abyss and hope that something will pull me back. Perhaps we speak here of the umbilical cord of the soul. I just don’t displace that basic human need into rooting for my college football team, who may or may not win or even play in a holiday bowl this year. I do not pin my hopes for salvation on a package left under a tree that has been cut down simply to be decorated and discarded in distant memorialization of the logs that ancestors once burned those long and fearful winter nights in the dark wood.

No, in darkness I search not for tokens of religions, nor for their sacraments, not even for the still small voices of their gods. Neither is it the assurance of science I seek, not even a cosmology based on astronomy, the third law of thermodynamics, or the uncertainty of quantum mechanics. At the moment of the abyss, I know that science offers no more certainty for the next moment than faith.

I can, perhaps, turn inward. I can allow my life to flash before me and with a deep sigh perhaps reflect that I have done it my way. Yes, at that moment, I can decide that I have indeed blown out the sun, that perhaps madness makes the most sense after all. Well, if I have to spin another dreidel, sing All I want for Christmas one more time, or even admire another belighted and star-bearing tree resplendent in gaudiness, I will go mad any way.

So, let’s hear for the holy days of psychosis when we realize that it’s all over and doesn’t matter because, well, because we are humans and can make believe that depression is joy and that the ever-shortening days demonstrate hope that tomorrow might just be sunnier.

Are the holidays here already? Sometimes this season reminds me of the difference between a normal person, a neurotic, and a psychotic. Come morning, the normal person says, “I’m tired. I really don’t want to go to work.” But they get up anyway and off they trudge.

Come morning, the neurotic says, “It’s morning. I really don’t have the energy to live.” And they pull the covers over their heads and go back to moaning sleep.

“Ah,” but the psychotic says, “It can’t be morning; I blew the sun out yesterday.”

It seems it was just yesterday that we dealt with this season. I remember it clearly: smiling through gritted teeth, wishing everyone a happy something while not remembering who they were or why on earth I was speaking to them, and worst of all giving and receiving gifts that were destined for a landfill in some country with no need of more plastic.

No! No! I know what you’re thinking. I am not Scrooge! I do not begrudge others their happiness. Please, feel free to watch all those movies once more, even the ones that were never intended to celebrate the holidays, even the ones that use farcical chipmunk voices and those that save depressed fools from drowning themselves. Make believe that you are home alone, if you wish. Just don’t invite me over to share that mock loneliness. I have better things to do, and they do not include shopping, especially not shopping in crowded malls the day after Thanksgiving.

Holidays shouldn’t be about shopping and spending money anyway. Nor about eating too much or drinking too much. By the way, when are there the most drunk-driving incidents? Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving. Yep. People getting drunk so they can tolerate being with the people they’re supposed to love.

“Well, then,” you might ask, “what should the holiday season be about?”

Gosh, I’m glad you ask me that. Let me start my answer with a big shoutout to seasonal affective disorder. Yes, Virginia, lack of daylight makes us depressed. It especially made our ancestors depressed because they weren’t really sure that winter would pass and that brighter, better-fed times would come. Imagine if you will a group of paleolithic warriors—men and women—dancing around a great monolith to appease a mystical being who might or might not allow the plants to again flower, the water to melt, and the bison or mammoth return to roaming nearby. “Where, by the way,” they undoubtedly wonder, “have all those birds gone?”

No wonder they were grouchy. Being hungry and cold, they were depressed, lethargic a good part of the time, lacking much motivation—except of course when it came to trying to appease that god who controlled the cold wind blowing down from the north.

If we can identify with those hungry, scared cave-dwellers, we might be better able to appreciate what the holiday season could mean: a last-ditch effort to reassure themselves that the world wasn’t going to end, that they weren’t going to starve, that the forces they could not understand would not abandon them.

We all of us, even in these “modern times,” need that reassurance. We turn to tradition so that we know what to expect—albeit now a turkey and canned cranberry sauce instead of the return of the geese. Some of those traditions might still involve a god or two. But, let’s be honest, are people any more enthusiastic about singing Come All Ye Faithful than they are when belting out Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer?

I have no quarrel with our human need for hope and reassurance. I, too, like to glance into the abyss and hope that something will pull me back. Perhaps we speak here of the umbilical cord of the soul. I just don’t displace that basic human need into rooting for my college football team, who may or may not win or even play in a holiday bowl this year. I do not pin my hopes for salvation on a package left under a tree that has been cut down simply to be decorated and discarded in distant memorialization of the logs that ancestors once burned those long and fearful winter nights in the dark wood.

No, in darkness I search not for tokens of religions, nor for their sacraments, not even for the still small voices of their gods. Neither is it the assurance of science I seek, not even a cosmology based on astronomy, the third law of thermodynamics, or the uncertainty of quantum mechanics. At the moment of the abyss, I know that science offers no more certainty for the next moment than faith.

I can, perhaps, turn inward. I can allow my life to flash before me and with a deep sigh perhaps reflect that I have done it my way. Yes, at that moment, I can decide that I have indeed blown out the sun, that perhaps madness makes the most sense after all. Well, if I have to spin another dreidel, sing All I want for Christmas one more time, or even admire another belighted and star-bearing tree resplendent in gaudiness, I will go mad any way.

So, let’s hear for the holy days of psychosis when we realize that it’s all over and doesn’t matter because, well, because we are humans and can make believe that depression is joy and that the ever-shortening days demonstrate hope that tomorrow might just be sunnier.