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SANDY WALKER WRITES
Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary defines a phantom as “something apparent to sense but with no substantial existence.” That fairly accurately defines my recent freelance experience as a copywriter and content marketer. Since virtually everything is done online, it feels like I regularly work with--and for--phantoms. I’m confident that these people exist; I have some sensory connection with them. I see their texts and emails. I hear their phone messages. I receive the electronic payments they send. Practically, though, modern freelancing often feels like working with phantoms using smart devices. These are people with no substantial existence to me; nor do I exist substantially to them.
Hasn't freelancing always been a bit ethereal?
No, it hasn’t. The original freelancers were soldiers, and they were definitely not phantomlike. Author Thomas N. Brown introduced the term in his The Life and Times of Hugh Miller in the early 19th century. But it was Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe that made the term and the concept better known. Sir Walter used the term “free lances,” when referring to armed mercenary soldiers who fought without having particular allegiance to the cause. There wasn’t anything ethereal about either Brown’s or Scott’s free lances. They referred to actual people holding real weapons of war.
What caused the change of freelancing from armed mercenaries to phantoms using smartphones?
That’s a great question. A man named Jack Nilles is a big part of the answer. Technology is another. The COVID19 pandemic is a 3rd. Here are the highlights of a process that took over 200 years.
Nearly 50 years ago, Jack Nilles thought remote working would help business and the environment.
American physicist and engineer Jack Nilles believed that having employees working remotely was a great idea--for business and for the environment. Nilles--who is now known as the father of telecommuting and teleworking-- suggested that people living in rural areas should be able to work from home or at satellite offices which could be established close to their homes. Nilles argued that this approach would reduce traffic congestion into crowded cities and lower the amount of automobile exhaust expelled into the air. This, he pointed out, would benefit the environment while strengthening businesses. Nilles was a visionary. His ideas weren’t accepted immediately. Some scoffed at them. How could having employees working out of sight be a good idea? Others thought his ideas were excellent concepts, but just not feasible.
Technology made remote working possible, and paved the way for phantom freelancers.
Technology has advanced at light speed from the 1970s until now. Several of those advancements have changed virtually every aspect of our society, including the field of freelancing.
The personal computer
The Internet revolutionized remote communication. Email allowed freelancers and clients to stay in touch and gave them quick, easy access to each other if a problem or question arose.
The world-wide-web also made it much easier to research a topic. Trips to local or business libraries usually weren’t necessary. Freelancers or employees working remotely could find lots of answers with the tap of a few computer keys. The tricky part became sifting through a pile of information to find the most accurate and applicable nugget of truth.
Smart Devices and Apps
The development of smartphones and tablets made it even easier for freelancers to connect with clients. They also made freelance work even more portable.
Once companies began developing “an app for that,” the stage was set for freelancing scenarios in which businesses hired a self-employed freelancer for a specific job, often without meeting him or her before, during or after the project.
Freelancers borrowed a word from entertainers, and began calling these contracts “gigs.” Thus, the gig economy, which Merriam-Webster (again) defines as “economic activity that involves the use of temporary or freelance workers to perform jobs typically in the service sector,” was born. Companies needing someone to help file online tax returns, write their blog posts or develop a business plan, could hire an independent contractor to do a specific job for a certain amount of time. The tricky part was finding a person who could do the job well.
Apps provided a way to help companies find freelancers and freelancers locate each other. When I started freelance writing 18 months ago, I used a handful of websites (and their associated apps) to help me find writing gigs. After testing the waters a bit. I gradually narrowed to Upwork, which works best for me. However, depending upon your location, your field and your background, you may find a better fit with People Per Hour, Freelancer, Guru, Toptal, Fiver or another platform.
Now a freelancer armed with a smartphone and Wi-Fi access can use an app to send and receive messages, submit or accept a work proposal, do online research for a blog post, or write copy for a website--all while sitting in the passenger seat of a car that’s traveling 70 mph down the freeway.
A global pandemic forced us to change instantly.
If you really want an explosion of remote and freelance workers, insert a global pandemic into the equation. When offices everywhere shut down and people were asked (begged, coerced, required) to stay home, working from home became the norm for thousands of people who had ALWAYS gone (out) to work. After nearly 50 years, Jack Nilles’ idea of remote workers had come full circle.
What did we learn from the transition?
The year 2020 showed us that remote workers could dress in work attire--at least from the waist up--and then sit down in front of a computer or iPad and Zoom into a brainstorming session or GoToMeeting with their colleagues online. They faced hurdles, surely, but many were able to function well from home.
When Buffer asked people working from home to identify problems they faced, 2 answers received equal numbers of responses--communication-and-coordination issues, and loneliness. Some of the other factors workers mentioned included 1) being unable to unplug from their work, 2) dealing with distractions, 3) staying motivated, and 4) finding Wi-Fi that worked reliably.
We also learned that contract freelancers who normally work phantom-like from home were increasingly attractive to businesses. According to Upwork, the proportion of workers who freelance rose from 28% in 2019 to 36% in 2020. That upward trend is likely to continue. In June of last year Forbes predicted a coming boom for freelancers, noting that hiring freelancers gives a company flexibility. For many companies, the benefits of locating and hiring someone within a few days, and being able to direct the project by means of email, text or phone call outweigh the risks of trusting someone you often haven’t met and may recognize only from an online photo. This attitude extends to my field of content marketing and copywriting, as well as to many other disciplines.
Compared to Sir Walter Scott’s “free lances,” today’s freelancers seem to be grossly ill-equipped for the battles they face daily. Appearances are deceptive, in this case. Armed primarily with a PC and mobile devices, this phantom army of gig workers is playing an increasing role in shaping the American workforce. Although the transition of freelancing from armed mercenaries to phantoms using smart devices took a couple of centuries, the updated version seems likely to remain indefinitely.
5 Main Tribes
Several native American tribes inhabited modern-day South Carolina before the first European settlers arrived. The Cherokee, Catawba and Cheraw tribes were Upcountry tribes. The Cherokee nation also settled on the western edge of the Carolina midlands. The Westo and Yemassee people were Lowcountry groups.
All of these tribes were hunters and farmers. They had basically a democratic form of government and polytheistic religion. Housing types varied between the tribes, with the Chrerokee tribe dwelling in a distinct type of long house. The Upcounty tribes (Cherokee, Catawba and Cheraw) were not as numerous, but were generally larger in build and more powerful than the Lowcountry tribes. The Yemassee were known as fierce fighters, but the Cherokee were the most influential overall.
Click the link to download 2 worksheets about South Carolina's geographic features. The answers appear below the link.
Geography Activity Page Answers
South Carolina Map
Regions from south to north:
Northern border to Columbia: Broad River
A Working Water-powdered Mill
Suber’s Corn Mill was built circa 1908 and still uses water power to grind shelled corn into meal. The mill was built by Walter Suber, and has remained in the Suber family for 4 generations. The mill buildings are original, with a few updates. Suber's Corn Mill is currently open for business from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. each Saturday. Before social distancing and other limitations from the coronavirus ourbreak, the friendly folks accommodated visitors and gave tours to groups who scheduled visits. To see about the possibility of future tours, you can contact them through their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SubersCornMill/.
The short videos below show 1) water turning the huge wheel attached to the side of the mill, and 2) the corn being ground into meal. The whole process takes relatively little time, but it requires lots of water power. Mr. Suber knows facts and figures about the size of the wheel, the amount of water it needs, and how much meal can be ground in a certain length of time. I have always found him to be very willing to share what he knows.
If you want to learn more about South Carolina, download the State Quarter activity page and answer the questions. Color the items on the quarter as they appear in real life.
Clarity . . .
The backwards look can be enlightening. Once you're out of the emotion or frenzy of the moment, it's easier to see how the hand of the Lord moved by orchestrating details and guiding you step by step--even if you were traveling a path you wouldn't have chosen for yourself.
The real value of reading events backwards lies in being able to correctly interpret what just happened. Without that clarity, we can misconstrue every critical event. The key to really understanding the Lord's providence in our individual lives or in the lives of our family, friends or country is to interpret things correctly.
When we look back over the year 2020, I wonder whether we will correctly interpret what the Lord was doing in our nation and in nations around the world over the past few months. Will we see the Lord working behind the scenes, showing us all how helpless we are to stop a microscopic virus in its tracks? Will we, instead, convince ourselves that "COVID-19 was a fluke accident," or that "the Wuhan virus was a well-executed but malicious plot?"
When we look back, will we realize that, as a people, we let panic rule to the point that we forfeited civil liberties that we may never be able to reclaim? Will we see that--as a nation--we blindly followed the advice of mostly godless people who assured us that we were not able to fight this disease on our own. We NEEDED the government to tell us how to live, what to think, and what we could purchase.
Concerned about Health . . . and about Liberty
I'm not trying to downplay the danger. I'm staying home. I'm wearing a mask when I do go out. I'm praying for healing of the sick, and protection for medical workers, police officers, and all workers who have to be out and about.
However, history is replete with examples of the wrong decisions people make when they interpret events incorrectly, especially when they are whipped into a frenzy by media and act quickly. The internment of Japanese Americans during World War II is just one example.
I pray that when we have the opportunity to look back on the first half of 2020, we will do so with 20/20 vision. I hope we won't see the path to recovery strewn with liberties that were hastily cast aside.
I thought they were happy here!
It’s early spring. You’re a backyard beekeeper concerned about sustainability and nurturing honey bees. You notice that your beehive has come through the winter safely and that the bees have begun early foraging. The next day as you walk in front of the hive, you don’t see any activity at all. No bees are visible at the opening of the hive. None are visible in the air. With a sinking feeling, you make a mental note to check again a little later in the day.
Subsequent checks throughout the day yield the same results. The apiary is apparently empty. Every bee has swarmed off. The hive has absconded.
That’s the million-dollar question. Swarming—when the existing queen and about half of the bees in the hive --leave their apiary and relocate to another home, is a common occurrence. Swarming can be good or bad, depending upon why the hive swarms and whether or not you—as the beekeeper—end up with any viable hives.
Ask a dozen beekeepers why swarming occurs, and you’ll get a dozen variations, all of which will contain a few common threads. Here’s the gist of why honeybees leave home.
This house is too small!
One of the biggest causes of swarming is a crowded hive. Swarming most often occurs in early spring, when the new batch of brood are hatching. If bees realize that their current hive is too small to accommodate all the young and everyone else, some of them start looking for a new domicile.
We’re not sure what signals the bees to do this, but at some point, they determine that swarming is going to be necessary. Worker bees prepare a group of fertilized eggs to become queen bees. Before any of these bees hatches, the queen of the existing hive says tally-ho, gathers about half of the hive with her and—literally—buzzes off.
A couple years ago, I saw a swarm flying across the sky about 15 feet above my head. It was remarkable—and noisy! Thousands of honeybees flying in a tight group are an impressive sight. If I had seen where they landed, I’d have made a beeline for them. (Yes, “making a beeline” for something is derived from worker bees flying straight back to the hive on the shortest path once they have a full load of nectar.)
Meanwhile, back at the hive, the baby queens are ready to hatch. The first one that hatches becomes the queen of the new (smaller) hive. The worker and drone bees carry on their activities in the same hive, which is now much more spacious.
Even if you can’t locate the swarm that flew off, you now have a hive with a young queen and a functioning group of workers and drones. They have a more spacious home in a location that has previously allowed them to thrive.
If you are fortunate enough to capture the swarming group and relocate it to another of your hives, you’ve gained a hive with a queen you know has been productive. That’s a classic win-win.
This house has issues.
The location just isn’t right.
Like Goldilocks, bees thrive in a situation that’s “just right.” They need abundant food supplies and a consistent source of water. Their home needs to be warm in the winter, but not too warm in the summer. They need ventilation. (If you had thousands of family members living with you, you’d need fresh air, too.) There’s a fine line, though, between too little air and too much. Excessive ventilation or breeze disturbs the brood and can make the hive hard to keep warm in the winter.
The “neighbors” are bothersome or destructive.
Small pests like hive beetles, mites, ants and other bugs sometimes infest a hive. Wasps and birds can also hinder a hive. Bees that are “worried” by these types of issues often look for a better location.
Animals that eat the bees, or try to rob the hive of honey, can also cause the hive to swarm. Raccoons and opossums enjoy an occasional snack of honeybees. Skunks are an even bigger problem. They love to eat bees and will return to the hive again and again unless they are stopped. And, of course, bears love honey and honeybees. They may attack the hive itself in their effort to get to the honey.
It’s just time to move.
Sometimes whole hives leave for no apparent reason. This is called absconding. If you’re a beekeeper, you know that having a hive abscond is very discouraging, especially if the hive has been apparently healthy. A hive that appeared to be a good source of honey for you is now completely devoid of honey producers. There is no queen left to repopulate the apiary; you’ll have to start this hive fresh.
The double discouragement occurs when you open the hive to gather clues about why the hive left, but can’t find any obvious reason. The hive isn’t littered with dead bees. There aren’t signs of parasites. Some comb is filled with honey. Other honeycomb obviously held brood.
At this point, you have a couple of options. You can buy bees for the hive. Many companies that sell beekeeping supplies also sell live bees. A local firm we’ve used is The Carolina Honey Bee Company, based in Travelers Rest, SC. Buying bees is generally a quick solution, but it’s expensive.
The other option is to capture a swarm. Some beekeepers specialize in capturing hives, and have developed a system for luring swarming bees from their hives and others’ hives. Others, like my husband and me, occasionally capture swarms when the opportunity presents itself.
We’ve captured 2 hives so far. One ensconced itself among the honeysuckle growing in the chain-link fence in our backyard. We heard it before we saw it. (Did I mention that swarming bees are noisy?) Extracting that swarm was tricky. My husband worked carefully. I stood back and took pictures.
We learned about the 2nd one from the parents of our daughter-in-law. We drove a few miles to extract this swarm from some overgrown shrubbery. This swarm was about 10 feet from the ground, and required some delicate ladder work.
After being in our hive for almost 2 years, this colony just absconded. They left behind honey-filled comb, but no bees. We’ve harvested some honey and left some in the hive. So, now we’re looking for a swarm that can repopulate the top-bar hive that’s sitting empty.
We are continuing to accept guests.
The obvious question is whether or not we (or other hosts) who are continuing to host are doing so because we MUST keep hosting in order to survive financially. Airbnb income isn’t our only income, but it’s a substantial portion at this point. Staying “open” helps us financially. Several other factors influence our decision.
Our 3 units are all separated from our home.
Two of them are 1st-floor and 2nd-floor efficiency units in a 2-story detached garage. The 3rd is a camper. They are separate units with entrances separated from each other and from our home. The only shared space is the laundry room, which guests can simply avoid.
Our units are close to our home.
We don’t feel that they are SO close that they present a danger to us or to our guests; we can maintain social distancing. However, since they are close, we have easy access to our units if we need it. If something comes up, we are close by.
Having the units close allows us to handle the cleaning ourselves. We know that everything is cleaned and disinfected according to our standards and in accordance with Airbnb suggestions.
Our location is attractive to people who need to travel or to self-quarantine.
We are located 3 miles from an airport and within walking distance of a hospital and medical complex. People who must fly into Greenville-Spartanburg Airport can easily access our rental units. Medical personnel who want to separate from their family in order to protect them could do so.
We understand why other hosts aren’t.
Even if your location and rental situation mirror ours, you may have already voluntarily blocked your calendars for several months. You may have health issues that put you at risk. You may vehemently disagree with our reasoning. You may think we’re reckless. We accept that.
Each of us has to evaluate the situation and do what he or she thinks is best. Only hindsight is 20/20 vision. This is uncharted ground for all of us.
We are taking special precautions.
We have increased our cleaning regimen.
We are VERY careful with linens and pillows. We always wash the sheets, comforter and mattress pad. Now we wash throw pillows and replace bed pillows. Guests find 2 new pillows --still in the wrappers--on the bed when they arrive. They can bring their own pillow cases or use ours. When they leave, they take the pillows with them.
We run an ozone generator in each apartment after the guests leave. This isn’t the norm for us. We know these machines can be dangerous if used excessively or in unventilated areas. In this case, we think the generator is warranted. We run the ozone machine after the guests leave, and allow the unit to thoroughly ventilate before we clean.
We place the remote control for the TV and the heat/AC unit in plastic zip-top bags. When guests leave we replace the bags with new ones.
We clean and disinfect thoroughly. This was normal for us before COVID-19 arrived. Now we are especially careful. We use a mild bleach-water spray to disinfect knobs, handles, switch plates, etc. Guests also have access to disinfectant wipes (as long as we can get them.)
We limit face-to-face interaction with our guests.
We don’t chat with our guests like we used to. When we do, we maintain 6 feet or more of distance between us and them. It feels a bit unorthodox, but we’re adjusting.
For now, our plan is to continue hosting. Those plans might have to change. We’ll see.
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."
Charles Dickens' opening line of A Tale of Two Cities is one of the most famous lines of fiction ever written. People who have never read a page of the novel can identify the opening line. It seems to fit our country--even before COVID-19 struck--to the proverbial T. President Trump proclaims these days as the best the United States has seen in decades. His dissenters loudly and vehemently proclaim these as “the worst of times.” I won’t argue one side or the other.
Lesser-known, but very significant, lines by Dickens
These lines follow directly after the famous opening line of A Tale of Two Cities. They strike a chord with me! Aside from a few days right after 911, I can’t recall a time when wisdom and foolishness, belief and incredulity, Light and Darkness, hope and despair ever displayed themselves before us so vividly as they have in the weeks since we all became acquainted with COVID-19.
One key difference between 911 and now is the fact that 911 united us as a nation. We’d been violated and were ready to fight the enemy. Conversely, COVID-19 has heightened philosophical differences and widened political gaps within America. It has fomented vitriol and contempt to the point that some of us seem to be itching--literally--to fight our own countrymen.
In a few short weeks COVID-19 has also changed the fabric of our daily lives; we shop, eat, work, educate our children, and amuse ourselves differently than we did a few weeks ago. As it has redesigned the warp and woof of our days, COVID-19 has showcased the wisdom and foolishness of people. It has tested our beliefs and--at times--left us incredulous. It has revealed rays of Light in a great season of Darkness, and left us wondering when the spring of hope will outpace a winter of despair.
Wouldn’t it be lovely to instantly discover a vaccine to stop COVID-19 in its tracks? How absolutely glorious it would be to know that tens of thousands of lives would be spared and that struggling economies could begin to recover! That people could share in the lives of their loved ones again.
At the risk of being maudlin, let me state the obvious: the vaccine--when it comes (and it will)-- will be limited in quantity, ineffective to some, and unavailable to others. The vast majority of us won’t contribute any brain power to the solution. We don’t have the knowledge or the assets to hasten the antidote’s arrival by a single second. We are helpless in this fight.
So. . . what can we do?
We can help each other.
The mask you see at the top of this article was sewn by my sister Cindy just yesterday. Her local hospital system in northwest Pennsylvania is running low on surgical masks. They put out an SOS on social media, asking people who know how to sew to consider making reusable fabric masks into which a filter can be inserted.
Cindy hopes to complete 31 by the end of today (March 24th.) No, her 31 won’t solve the hospital’s shortage. And, no, she isn’t getting paid for her work--unless you consider the great satisfaction she has from knowing that she did what she could to help. That’s worth more than an hourly wage to her, and it should be to all of us. (Compare that to the Tennessee man who “donated” 17,700 bottles of hand sanitizer only after the New York Times reported about his stash and Amazon suspended his seller's account.)
We can stop adding to the clamor of dissent that is social media.
It’s often unsocial media, isn’t it? Everybody and his brother, or her sister, or their mother (uncle, great-aunt or second cousin) has a gripe about someone else and FEELS COMPELLED to share it with the world. Often they use language that’s unkind. Sometimes it’s downright vulgar. Frequently it contains only a tiny morsel of truth.
Whatever happened to civility? When did it become acceptable to vent our spleen over every little injustice? (I’m stepping down, and shoving my soapbox under my desk, now.)
We can be thankful!
We can pray daily.
We can ask God to heal the sick, to protect those exposed to COVID-19, and to guide our president and other leaders around the world. No person or country has faced this exact foe before. Everyone is floundering, trying to gain solid footing on a path that’s shifting.
Only God sees the end from the beginning. Let's pray that these hard times will make us trust God more, because we realize we don't have the answers, that we really need His guidance.
We can savor every opportunity to enjoy “ordinary moments.”
We just had a lovely visit from our son, Ethan, and his family who live 450 miles from us. They planned the trip months ago, around a concert they planned to attend. The concert was cancelled, but--thankfully--they came anyway.
Restaurants here are closed except for takeout. The zoo is closed. So are museums, and all branches of the local library. We aren’t required to be indoors, but there isn’t much happening. I wondered how we would entertain their 2 busy girls.
What happened was extraordinary . . . in an ordinary way. Our collection of thrift store toys “for the grandkids” was a treasure trove. The girls played with blocks and Styrofoam letters. They colored. They watched a few Disney movies. We all trekked outside several times to feed the chickens and gather eggs. We stopped to peek at the peeps. The artists among us drew chalk rainbows and smiley faces on the driveway.
The real attraction, though, was the fleet of toddler-sized riding vehicles we keep tucked away for “when the grandkids come.” I have no idea how many trips the girls made up and down the driveway, but I know this--they had a ball! So did their mom and dad, and so did Grandfather and Grammie. We laughed, snagged runaway vehicles before catastrophe struck, and even captured a 3-car crash on video. Thankfully, only 1 driver was injured (a small scrape to an elbow) and all of the vehicles survived to race again.
At night after the girls were in bed, the 4 of us played “Ticket to Ride,” which is--ironically--a travel game.
The visit was notable for some things we didn’t do. We didn’t:
In the opening lines of A Tail of Two Cities, Charles Dickens captures the expanse of human emotions and responses that erupt when nations face turbulent times. I'm convinced that those lines apply to us right now. How well we fare as a nation dealing with COVID-19 won't be only a matter of medical care--and a 2-year supply of toilet paper. If nothing else, COVID-19 should teach us that ordinary moments are often extraordinary, that thankfulness and helping others yield intrinsic rewards, and that tomorrow isn't guaranteed.
We didn't start keeping bees as a first step toward urban homesteading or down-home sustainability. We started because our oldest son, Aaron, read that eating local honey was good for people prone to springtime allergies. He was one of those people, and wanted to test the theory with his own honey. (Full disclosure: He was interested in beekeeping before then. The allergy idea was his catalyst.) He read books about beekeeping, then purchased an active hive from a retiring beekeeper.
The next spring he got a lovely batch of delicious honey and began adding hives. After having some issues with Langstroth hives (the stacked-box hives most commonly seen in this country), and losing a couple of hives during the winter, Aaron built a horizontal top-bar hive. A top-bar hive looks like a covered manger on stilts. It's a little easier to work with and easier to reach since it sits up off the ground. (The photo at the top shows a top-bar hive.)
Shortly after that, Aaron married and moved to Scotland. We inherited his hives and became beekeepers. I can't say that we've been particularly successful as beekeepers. We've harvested more beeswax that we have honey. We learned the hard way that Roundup kills honeybees. We lost two more hives during the winter, and had a couple of hives swarm and move on. That's the bad news.
There is good news. We have learned much about beekeeping and the importance of helping bees survive in an increasingly difficult environment that includes widespread use of pesticides and potentially-harmful herbicides. As growers of fruit trees, we now understand the delicate balance between keeping the blossoms safe for bees to pollinate, and keeping pests out of the fruit. We're learning the value of bee-friendly pesticides. After a time of seeing very few pollinators in our garden, we now have an abundance of them.
Beekeeping has also provided some really interesting stories. Twice my husband has successfully captured someone else's hives that had swarmed. The first one settled among the honeysuckle entwined in the chain-link fence at the back of our property. Michael donned protective gear and began to methodically and carefully extract chunks of bee-encrusted honeysuckle vines. He worked while I stood by snapping pictures and urging him to be careful. Things got intense when he said, "Oh, blast. There's a bee inside my pant leg!" He calmly continued snipping bee-laden vines. The bee apparently decided she'd taken a wrong turn, turned around, and exited the way she had come!
The biggest benefit of beekeeping has been the satisfaction of knowing that we're helping--in a very small way--to stem the tide of drastically-declining numbers of bees in this country. In the process, we have a well-pollinated garden and the joy of watching, and learning about, these fascinating creatures. Occasionally, we also get to taste some of their honey. Beekeeping has been the important first step for us along the road to down-home sustainability.
Pricing is tricky, whether you're marketing hair dryers, deep fryers, robes for choirs, strings for lyres . . .or vacation properties for rent. A critical factor to remember when you're pricing your vacation rental units is that the "right" price for you is the price that lines up with your other goals.
You'll be able to determine the best price for your units when you can also answer questions like the ones below. The bullet points suggest areas to consider. They aren't meant to be exhaustive.
What's my compelling motivation for listing my property on Airbnb or another vacation rental site?
What's my occupancy goal?
If increased competition drives price down, will I:
These questions don't cover all the ramifications of price. Nor can they be entirely isolated from each other. But formulating answers for each of them will drive intentional Airbnb pricing decisions, and allow you to be proactive rather than reactive.
William Cowper was a talented poet and wordsmith who penned hymns and poems that still touch the hearts of people today. Perhaps his greatest legacy lies in the fact that he learned to trust God, even when life is hard.
Cowper (pronounced “Cooper”) was born in England in 1731, the son of one of King George II’s chaplains. William’s early life overflowed with sadness. Three older siblings died while he was very young. His mother died a little later, when he was only six. Shortly thereafter, William was sent to a boarding school. He was bullied badly there, and ostracized. Those years were a misery, and they cast a shadow on the rest of his childhood.
All of the sadness and trauma took its toll on Cowper. After studying to practice law, he succumbed to depression before he could take the exam. He spent several months in an asylum. When he recovered enough to leave the asylum, he went to live with Morley and Mary Unwin, with whom he lived for 22 years. He spent his days gardening and writing. He penned some of his most enduring hymns during this time.
One of Cowper’s most famous hymns is “God Moves in a Mysterious Way.” In all six verses Cowper carefully and skillfully weaves truths from the Bible into his lyrics. The simple words convey great understanding of human nature, as well. Two verses admonish the fearful who dread the clouds of life to look beyond the darkness of circumstances to see God’s “smiling face.” It’s the first verse, though, that is best known.
“God moves in a mysterious way his wonders to perform.
He plants his footsteps in the sea and rides upon the storm.”
In this verse Cowper eloquently captures one of the great truths of life—sometimes we just don’t understand why the storms--the bad things--happen. His succinct but powerful words show great perception; Cowper knew times of personal confusion and fear in his own life. He knew the struggle to overcome them.
William Cowper continued to battle depression for the rest of his life, at times falling nearly into despair for a season. Through all of those struggles, he wrote poems and hymns as an outlet for his soul. During times of some of his greatest struggles, he wrote some of his best work.. He stands today not only as one of the great English hymn writers, but also as an example of one who trusted and triumphed even when life is hard.
I'm Sandy . . .
I write crisp, accurate, engaging copy and content marketing for my B2B and B2C clients. My favorite topics are vacation rentals, urban homesteading, sustainability, and inspirational posts.