favorite appsAs a freelance writer and owner of  various websites, I'm busy with a lot of things on my to-do list each week. Some of my favorite apps help me get through the week, though having a to-do list app isn't one of them.

Here are my four favorite apps for running my business:

I get dozens of emails every day, many from public relations firms pitching me story ideas. I also subscribe to too many emails from businesses, many of which I found it difficult to unsubscribe from. takes care of this easily for the two email accounts I have. With one click on's website or app on my phone, I can choose to either unsubscribe from an email, "roll it up" into an email that sends me every day and read in a digest format, or keep getting the email.

For my business email I've so far unsubscribed to 397 emails, rolled up 44 in its "rollup," and kept 46.

The numbers are less impressive in my personal email account: 169 unsubscribed, 68 rolled up and 137 kept. ...continue reading


why begin blogging?A year ago, I bought from the original owner with the goal of using my blogging skills and personal finance knowledge to help readers improve their financial lives.

As a reporter who worked for years covering personal finance for other websites, I was ready to start writing for my own website. Two things motivated me: To make money on my own as an entrepreneur with my writing, and to cover the topics I wanted to cover in a way I wanted to cover and write about them.

What I learned about money

It has been an interesting year for me and Add-Vodka. Financially, the site is doing well, though my goal in 2016 is for the site's income to double. Income is a good thing for websites, because creating quality content takes time, and I like to be paid for my time working on this site.

I won't go into the specific numbers because I want to keep them private, but after paying for the site and the expenses of a tech consultant and a virtual assistant, Add-Vodka turned a profit in November.

My plan was to put all of the income each month either back into the business by hiring writers, and to put the money that was coming in toward paying myself back for the money I took out of our savings account to pay for the initial purchase. The payback was complete in November, and I'm now focusing on increasing income and looking to hire more writers and keep my assistant busy. ...continue reading

mobile hotspot

As a work-at-home dad who has been shuttling between working part-time from home while taking care of our daughter for the past seven years, among other tasks, I'm constantly on the lookout for things to make my work life better. A mobile hotspot is at the top of my list.

I'll get into the reasons why in a bit, but the main reason is to simply get out of the house. We have great Wi-Fi at home, and I could work in the back yard if I wanted to and write all day while sitting in a comfortable and cushy lawn chair. But as anyone who works from home knows, the benefits of working at home (T-shirt, shorts and a chance to work on your own schedule) can feel a little cramped after awhile.

Mobile hotspot envy

Now, after waiting almost a year after I ordered a mobile hotspot called Karma Go, I'm awaiting delivery. After many delays by Karma, shipping is starting in mid-July to its first customers (me!) and my mobile hotspot should arrive soon. Yay!

As luck would have it, however, I'll be away on vacation during the expected shipment time, so I won't likely get the mobile hotspot until I return from vacation and will then have to track down a FedEx office to retrieve it. I'm supposed to get an email from FedEx whenever delivery is imminent, so checking my phone during vacation for a delivery I won't be home for seems like some sort of cruel punishment that I'll have to deal with. ...continue reading