Saturday, July 18, 2015


After months of living without electricity, I can say with great pleasure and downright giddiness we have a working generator aboard our ship. I panicked in the beginning. I went through the whole gamut of emotions. I was depressed, angry and overwhelmed all at the se time, but after a while I got used to it. I charged our phones in the car, along with my computer. Sometimes when we went out depended on wifi at diners that we frequented. It was actually okay. I didn't die. I was able to pay our bills and that was an important thing. 

We had to move this nearly 1000 kilo generated onboard and it require a lot of reconfiguring and reconstructing to make it work for us. With patience we now have a generator that will give us the electricity need to fill our batteries and live life on our terms. I will try to post more regularly now from either my phone or computer. 

Monday, March 30, 2015

A Month With No Electricity

We are going into our second month with no steady electricity and boy have I learned a lot. In the beginning I was really bitter about it. I was angry with the neighbors who could have assisted but chose not too. Angry at the relatives that could have helped with wouldn't, but now I find myself living was the sense of freedom that I did not have before. I discovered that life doesn't end just because I don't have what can even be called a basic necessity in this day and age. I have learned that the help, the support, basic appreciation for the desperation of my situation was not something that was necessary to my survival.

I learned the glory and appreciation that I have for those that helped me in my time of need. I also appreciate the people who would have helped me if they could because that means so much. So in short, instead of complaining about what I did not have, I live in appreciation for what I do have. Pardon my poor grammar and spelling as I am rushing through this. I only wanted to let the people who read my blog know that I have not abandoned it. I just don't have regular access to the Internet.   But that will all change soon and when it does I will write of my adventures.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Apathy Is The Ultimate Business Killer

We all want to make money. Most of us because we want to make a comfortable living for our families, some of us because we want to get rich, save for retirement or pay for college education for our children. For many people today working a side business is not a luxury, but necessary to our survival. If one is successful enough with their work from home business side business it could turn into something more permanent.

I first heard about people making money from blogging several years ago, but was nervous about embarking on such an endeavor myself because I was not confident that I could do it well. I mean, I am a lady living on an old boat. It is hardly a life of luxury after all. Though my life is the right choice for me, I understand that it is hardly the choice for most people since most people are more comfortable with the tradition of living in houses rather than on boats on the water. So in essence, I did not think that my life was interesting enough to write about.

Now, when it comes to the business of being a blogger and trying to draw lasting traffic to my site, I spend my time trying to write about interesting topics that will draw the right kind of traffic in the hopes that someday I will be able to profit from my site.

It is exceedingly important to me to be a believable and trustworthy business-woman. If I make a recommendation for any product or service, I want it to be because I trust that it is a good choice for anyone that decides that it is something that they need. I do not want to just recommend products or services just because of the price tag associated with them.

How Your Business Is Viewed Is How You Will Be Viewed

People tend to associate the person with how they conduct themselves in business. If your need to make money takes precedence over the quality of the product or services that you are promoting then you are viewed as a money hungry business or person that doesn't really care about his or her customers; and like it or not it is true. People that care about how they present themselves in business are concerned about the quality of what they are promoting. They are more likely to offer good customer service and not have the attitude that every disgruntled customer is trying to cheat them.

Think about it. Most people that are willing to pay for your product or service is doing so because they either need it or have a use for it. Some may be apprehensive because of the price of whatever they have paid for, but you can usually calm their fears with some good old fashioned, one-on-one, time-consuming, customer service.

Using the "sorry, it's just business" motto does not cover a multitude of sins and in the end will cost you more than a few customers as well as earn you a well-deserved bad reputation costing you many more potential customers in the future as well. If you are new this could destroy you before you get a chance to get your business off the ground.

Take The Time, Put In The Effort

One of my biggest pet peeves about this modern age that we live in is the idea that time is money and that money is time. Money is ONLY an exchange for products or services rendered. It in no way represents time. The only reason people foolishly link time with money is that they mistakenly think that if they spend more time trying to make money by getting as many customers as possible, then they are using their time in a more productive manner.

I have found that in reality that if you take your time with the customers that you have that you create and build quality relationships and that is what both secures and increases your customer base. It takes time, but then we have plenty of time regardless of what lies we tell ourselves to the contrary. 

Remember, retaining customers is as important as gaining new ones.
When you give people the impression that you are in a hurry what you are actually telling them that their concerns don't matter to you and that you are ONLY concerned with what they can do for you and not what you can do for them. If both parties are not gaining from the exchange, then there is no balance. The situation has to be win/win or not at all to create balance.
To have a good working relationship with the consumer you must give them the impression that their needs are of the utmost import to your business and it should be since it is because of them that you are, or hope to be a success.

Example Of An Apathetic Businessman

Here is a prime example of an apathetic businessman. We needed a generator fast as we were sitting in the dark. We thought that it was a great idea to purchase a used Honda since it had such a good reputation. They guy that was selling it assured us that it worked well.
We made sure that we told him that we really needed for this to work for us because we were in the dark without it. He had every opportunity to tell us on the phone before we embarked on our long two our journey to the German border for a generator that has been a source of disappointment and frustration for us.

We trusted him to be honest with us and he wasn't which left us with the impression that he was unconcerned with us. He was only concerned with getting rid of a problem generator that he was not confident that he would sell otherwise.

What people like this man don't seem to understand is that one man's problem is another man's prize. Had he been honest from the beginning, I am sure that he would have attracted the right buyer for this generator. That person would have understood what the problems were, and would have been willing and able to address them.

Instead, he chose to demonstrate his lack of concern by selling a faulty item that he knew was broken by any means necessary. He was apathetic about impression that he was leaving about himself as a person or a businessman. Knowing what he does for a living doesn't inspire confidence in his abilities. He made his money from us, but at a cost. He may not care about this now, but if this is how he conducts himself professionally, then he should care about the future of his business.

The Lesson

Many people would and do say that it is incumbent on the buyer to beware of what products and services that they purchase and from whom that they purchase them from and to a great degree that rings true
It does not in any way alter the fact that businessmen and women have a moral responsibility to be honest with people that they are doing business with. Just because you can sell a product or service to someone doesn't mean that you should. It is as important to meet the needs of your potential clients as it is to make a sale.

For example, I do not want to sell baby clothes to people who do not need them. The way to keep from doing that is to make sure that you communicate with your clients to see what their needs are. If you do not have what they are looking offer to refer them to someone who does. People remember things like that and more often than not will return the favor.
Please don't forget to donate to Help The Rijs's to assist us with our efforts to pay for our batteries. They are a big part of our self sufficiency until my blog starts making the money necessary. We would appreciate it very much!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Adjusting To Living A Self Sufficient Life Is A Process

As you all know by now, my blog is about living life self sufficiently though I don't think that I have given proper attention to writing about that. Well, I will be doing more of that now. You all know about our loss of stable electricity drama, but for those who haven't don't worry, it won't take long to catch up.
A lot has happened in a month's time. It has been filled with highs, lows, excitement and disappointment and everything in between. I have learned a lot about myself during this time; some of it good and some of it not so good. I mean, I think that I talked the talk, but I didn't understand walking the walk until I was faced with the reality of what it actually means to be self sufficiently. That is why I often made the statement "living life as self sufficiently as possible' because I knew that as long as we had a source from which our electricity came. then we were not completely self sufficient.

Stroom means electric power in Dutch and I am proud to say that now; after more than a few hiccups we now have our own source of electricity through an old diesel generator, batteries, inverter and a battery loader. Tonight is the first night that I can say that we have stable electricity in over a month.
Our old generator that we purchased a few years ago and had every intention of repairing, but hadn't gotten around to it is finally repaired well enough to generate power for us and aids in charging our new, (to us) very powerful AGM batteries that I am very impressed by.
We have two 12 volt batteries that make 250 V/MPR. When we put them both together we make them 24 volt so that we can use them for most things on the boat. They are fairly fast loading, but they are also discharge very quickly so we will at some point have to get two more batteries to provide us with more power.


Though I am very happy to finally be achieving my dream of self sufficiency, I must admit that I do miss the convenience of being able to flip a switch and have my room flooded with light. These days if I want light the first thing that I must do is start the generator to load the batteries and that is quite an change from what I have been used to all of my life.

I, like many people, got comfortable with the convenience of having instant electricity. Like I said it is an adjustment but not an unpleasant one.

We did seek to get electricity here but it was not possible for us. Even if we would have gotten permission; which was highly unlikely; it would have costed us thousands just to get it set up and that doesn't include the monthly cost of the electricity. This is the cheapest alternative for us.


We worked out a deal with a guy that we got the batteries from to make monthly payments, which hurts us financially as we live on a pension, but we manage.
Our dream is to eventually have at least two more batteries and a solar panels with a charger so that we can take advantage of charging our batteries with daylight. This way we don't spend a lot money on the cost of diesel for the generator. Don't get me wrong, I love having a good strong diesel generator, but it can be costly and it is far more cost effective to take advantage of daylight for charging batteries.
We went through the worst of our dilemma at the darkest time of the year. We felt alone and Isolated, but we do not for one moment regret our choices which are right for us.
We are still in need of assistance and you can help us by donating what you can to Help TheRijs's.


Even if it is not your goal to be totally off grid, it is my suggestion for anyone that lives in a house that they own; or rent with the permission of your landlord; is to invest in some really good batteries and a generator. Particularly if you live in an area that is prone to bad weather.
A few years ago, I recall my home state of West Virginia being hit with weather so bad that many lost their electricity and some were without anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks.
If you have a good system in place, then you not only do not have to worry about going without power in times of emergency, you can actually save money on your electric bill. You need not go completely off grid. It is nice to have the added security of knowing that you have electricity when you need it, but it is also good to know that you can generate your own if you have to.

Try to view this as an investment in your life that will save you money and heartache in case of an emergency. You will breathe a sigh of relief if and when you do run into difficulty that will make you feel grateful that you did make the investment.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Self Sufficient Life is Also A Lonely Life.

As you all know, I blog about living on a budget with the goal of being as self-sufficient as possible; which for us meant generating our own electricity. We were paying a neighbor for our electricity each month and that was quite comfortable. We didn't really have to do anything, but plug in. We have batteries, a converter and generator; all of which stopped working when we needed them the most.

The neighbor sold the house, which was no problem; It was after all his house to sell; only he did not tell us until three days after the house had sold. Had he given us some warning we could have made other arrangements.
It is cold at this time of the year and "Groovy old dude" is in great shape for his age, but he is still nearly 80 years old.

Our only option was to fix the generator that we had. Only, we could not do in the time that we needed it. It is getting dark by 4 PM and it isn't light until about 8 AM. Even with all of that the weather can be very unpredictable at this time of the year, so we were in quite the pickle.
Long story short, we have an old Honda Generator now. It came to us at the perfect time and in an expected way just because the universe works that way. I had friends and family from all around the world praying for us and I do believe that contributed to our great fortune.

This was not all as negative as it sounds. I have learned a lot from this situation. There is so much to tell that I will have to broach it in several different blog-post, but for now I just want to talk about what it truly means to be self-sufficient.

All of my life, I have been a land dweller. There was never a time that I flipped a switch and the electricity did not come on. Now, that I am truly the one responsible for the generation and conversion of my own electricity I feel a sense of accomplishment and fear. Accomplishment because I have the power to generate and convert my own energy; which is actually a dream come true; but fear because we feel isolated because if something does happen we are well and truly on our own. There are no other people living like us near by us so we are lacking support.
What would make life more secure for us is if we had new batteries and converter. The batteries that we would like to get that have a long lifespan are costly at close to 400 Euro including the extortionist taxes that the government as for. Even the cheapest of the kinds of batteries that we need are close to 200 Euro a piece. We need at least two of these batteries and an at least two thousand watt converter to convert the energy stored in the battery into usable energy, battery charger and regulator so that "groovy" no longer needs to worry about when to charge the batteries. With a good regulator the generator will come on when the batteries need to be charged and this will cut the cost of the fuel that we use with the generator.

There is no way that we could afford to do this on our own which is why I set up Help The Rijs's at This is not a luxury for us. My husband is nearly 80 and I am working hard trying to get my blog off the ground. This would mean security for us. After being without electricity in this cold weather for 4 days I would not wish that on my worse enemy.

In closing I wanted to announce that I will soon be conducting an interview with a new friend and battery expert Andre Fleming. This man simplifies how batteries work for the average lay person in a way that I have never heard explained before. He only reinforces my beliefs that people living in houses would benefit from having a good battery system for their own homes. If you can read Dutch great if not you can use Google translator to get the gist of what he is saying. He is quite knowledgeable. I will be interviewing him in English for my blog. He also has a great wordpress blog filled with tips all about batteries.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Hype Could Be Killing Your Sales

I am an affiliate marketer using a variety if Affiliate programs to round out my product sales. The reason for this really revolves around my writing and way of living. I am a housewife, living on a boat with a cat so it is hard for me to narrow down what I write about or want to sell into a narrow category. I supposed my niche would be family, and that is very broad which makes it nice for me.
I am one of those rare consumers that is not particularly fond of “hype” surrounding product/service sales. As a matter of fact, nothing turns me off quicker. It hasn't always been that way. When I was younger, I was moved by all the fantastic promises of products making your appliances or clothes look new only to be disappointed when it didn't happen. I know, I know, it was a foolish expectation on my part and in the beginning I felt that way as well.
Don't get me wrong, I have not always been a stay-at-home wife. I have had my own business and have also worked for other establishments so I have a grasp of how marketing, sales and promotion works.


Manipulation works for as long as people believe what you are saying is true. When they no longer believe in what you have to say, then they feel duped. They think that you have been deceiving them and they often beat themselves up for trusting you to begin with. When your relationship with consumers get to this point then your business is in big trouble.

For example, I am promoting Credit Report 911. It's a product that I have confidence in because it provides a much needed service to educate people about their conquer their debt problems with knowledge and pro-action on their part.

I would be deceiving my potential clients if I told them that there was a way around paying what they owed. If I marketed this program, which is an excellent one; in this fashion I would be doing the reputation of me and the original seller great harm. I might profit from such shady actions in the beginning, but that would more than likely get me banned promoting for the affiliate program that I work with.


Contrary to popular marketing belief. You can tell people the truth about the products that you are marketing and still sell them and do you know why? Good products do not need to be sold, they merely need to be presented.

There is a Clickbank Product that I promote called SurviveAny Food Crisis. It's an excellent concept for a book given that we are living in difficult economic times. It offers a lot of very valuable information on how to preserve and store food. This concept alone should sell itself, however, the seller often turns many people off with an annoying website video that you have no control over. Buyers that are seeking to purchase this book do not need to see a long drawn out video. These videos are overkill. What you really learn from them is that the seller is, so insecure that they must pander to extreme forms of presentation to sell their product. Would I buy this book? Yes! It is a good book and for a great price, but it's just that the presentation is all wrong. I am pretty persistent about what I consider to be a good deal, which is why I choose to market it, HOWEVER many people get so turned off by all the hype that they miss out on great deal because they are overwhelmed by hype.


I understand that we all want to make money. I know that I do. I too, in the past have been guilty of filling my article with too many links and adding gaudy photos that linked to the product that I am selling thinking that this would make people more likely to buy from me. This is why I'm slowly,  but surely changing my website and removing those awful things and instead relying on my skill as a writer to present what I truly believe are great products and leaving the choice of rather someone wants it or not up to them.
Some sales ploys are cheap. They rely solely on appealing to people's desperate impulses. These work for a while, but they also categorize the marketer and the seller in a way that may not be beneficial to them; therefore limiting their ability to cast a wider net into the ocean of potential buyers. I really do believe that true class in sales builds and adds to your reputation. People may not know who I am, but I am certainly going to be as responsible as I can be about how I present myself to them.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Six Great Ideas For a Christmas Gift In A Jar.

Have you ever wondered what to do with all of those jars that you have collected throughout the year, but just clog up and weigh down you garbage? I know that some people recycle them, but most people don't. They are perfect for using for home-made gifts for any time of the year. After all, glass is pretty easy to collect, but not so easy to get rid of and to be honest with you, I am not very comfortable with just throwing it in the trash. I always wonder where it is going to end up. Rather, you have large or small jars there is always something valuable that you can put in them as a Christmas gift. Here are a list of ideas for Christmas home-made Christmas gifts in a jar:

Bath salts are easy and inexpensive to make. People spend good money on beautifully colored and scented bath salts. Most women that I know love then and would appreciate home-made bath salts as a gift. You can even make unscented bath salts if you are concerned about allergic reactions.

Home-made laundry detergent is easy to make and doesn't cost very much at all. Many people have found that their clothes are actually cleaner and that the suffer less reaction to it than they do the ones that they buy from the store. This is a Christmas gift so it would be more of a sample and who knows, maybe it could be the start of a new business for you.

You can't go wrong when it comes to giving cookies as a gift. Most people love the idea of receiving a home-made treat like Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal Raisin or even sugar cookies.

Whether, it is a special recipe of home-made candy, like fudge or store bought you have a winner on your hands. I must say though home-made beats store bought hands down. A basic fudge recipe won't break your budget.

This is the holy grail of gifts for your friends that bake. Anyone worth their salt knows that home-made vanilla is a rare gift to be treasured and they will appreciate you greatly for it. Vanilla extract or past cost so much for only a few ounces. This is a great gift for someone who is an avid baker.

Now this is a gift that is very simple to make particularly for all of you active gardeners. If you have too many Peppers, garlic, onions, etc just dry them in a dehydrator if you have one, if you don't then get one. It is well worth the investment and will save you a lot of money. Making your own special seasoning and giving it as a Christmas gift in a jar is a treat that anyone who cooks will value!