What You Should Know Before Renovating your Bathroom

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Renovating a bathroom is no small task. But upgrading your outdated bathroom is often a worthy investment, especially if you’re looking to increase the value of your home.

According to U.S. News, investing in a bathroom remodel results in a 62% return on average.

My husband and I recently tackled our own bathroom renovation all by ourselves. (Well, mostly by ourselves … we did hire out a few advanced tasks.) While it was a difficult and time-consuming job, we lived to tell the tale and we now have a gorgeous new space that undoubtedly increased the value of our Chicago condo.

Our new bathroom! But how did we get here?

We learned a lot along the way. A lot of preparation goes into planning a bathroom renovation. So before you whip out that sledgehammer, here’s what you should do to start your bathroom renovation off on the right foot.

Write Out a Detailed Wish List For Your Bathroom Rennovation

When you buy a home, you often go in with a “wish list” of items (3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a large backyard, etc.). There are some items on the list that are non-negotiable, and others that “would be nice to have…”

You need to make this exact same type of list for your bathroom renovation.

Spend an hour inside the space you’re renovating writing down “wants” and “needs”. It’s pretty important that you and your roomie/spouse/partner are on the same page from the start on what you want for the space, so make sure you do this step together if applicable!

For our bathroom renovation, we decided that removing our outdated tub and replacing it with a standing shower was our number one objective. Ideally, we also wanted to build a shower niche to hold all of our shower accessories, but that item was on the “would be nice to have” list.

Learn What to DIY vs. What to Hire Out

Renovating a bathroom yourself can definitely save you money because professional labor is often the most expensive part of any renovation. However, if you don’t have the time (or skills) to DIY, this will not be the best option for you. My advice? Make a list of every single task that you think needs to be done in the space … all the way from the demolition to installing the final light fixture.

An image from our DIY journey

Some of the small tasks can definitely be done by yourself, even with little to no DIY skills. We had never tackled a bathroom renovation before but figured out each step along the way. (We  watched plenty of YouTube tutorials, which we highly recommend!).

The number one task we’d recommend doing yourself is the demolition of the space.

As long as you wear the proper safety gear, you can gut your bathroom in a weekend (here’s how we demoed our space!). We ripped everything out down to the studs, and this ended up saving us at least a few hundred dollars in labor.

Other (more advanced) tasks are often best left to the professionals. These things include:

  • Waterproofing the shower
  • Moving plumbing fixtures
  • Moving lighting fixtures

This stuff ended up being too advanced for us. We both knew that we would need to find a pro to get those important tasks done correctly.

Consider Hiring a Designer to Finalize the Floor Plan Before You Touch Anything

If you plan to move plumbing and electrical fixtures, you may want to consider hiring a designer to help plan the layout of the space. Yes, this comes at a cost, but it may save you headaches and expensive mistakes down the line.

I used Angie’s List to find a designer to help with the layout of our bathroom. For $400, she:

  • Measured our space
  • Made suggestions on placement of items
  • Provided a detailed rendering of the final plan for renovation

For our budget and what we got out of it, it was worth every penny. A designer can also help you source items and figure out the style and look of the space they’re tasked on. We were happy to handle that stuff ourselves, so we didn’t need to pay for additional services. Also, our designer also provided us with a few recommendations for contractors. Which brings us to…

Find and Hire a Contractor

Finding the right contractor is no easy feat. You want someone who is reliable, trustworthy, and will do a good job. We received recommendations from our designer, but you can ask neighbors, friends or check out a review site like Angie’s List. I recommend meeting with at least two to three potential contractors to get in-person estimates.

Here are some questions we learned to ask when interviewing for a contractor:

  • What will this project entail?
  • How long will it take?
  • Do I need to be home?
  • Can you break down the cost of labor and materials?
  • Are the materials included?
  • When can you start? Is that date firm?
  • Do I need a building permit?
  • How will payment work?
  • How will you protect my home?
  • What are the next steps?

It’s important to over-communicate with your contractor and make sure you’re on the same page from the start. If you’re DIY-ing some tasks of the renovation, you’ll want to discuss this with them ahead of time to make sure they recommend that. We outlined exactly what we needed our contractor to do and what we would be handling ourselves, so ours was “in the know” from the start!

Set the Budget and Order Your Bathroom Renovation Stuff Now

Once you find a contractor that’s the right fit, you’ll get an estimate from them for the project. Understand what they will be providing for the renovation and what you will need to buy yourself.

Which means if you are DIY’ing portions of the project, now is the time to gather your tools and supplies to get the job done. Look up each task and make a list of the tools you will need. You may need to rent a few power tools (like a wet saw for tiling), so keep those rental costs in mind. Or see if you can borrow some of these larger tools from friends or neighbors. When it comes to DIY supplies, local home improvement stores are your best bet. Our advice? Go in with a detailed list and try to visit on a weeknight when the store will be less crowded and you can get one-on-one attention from an employee.

As for the new bathroom products, now is the time to place your order. While you can certainly hit up the big box home improvement stores, we’ve found a lot of success with online retailers.

Here are some of the spots we recommend for the major bathroom products:

If you take away one piece of advice from this entire article, I hope it’s this next part: Order all of your products now and do not start your renovation until everything has arrived.

Sometimes you can place an order for a vanity or shower hardware, only to find that it’s back ordered for six weeks! You don’t want your entire renovation on hold because of that, so order everything and get it delivered before the project physically starts!

Make a Timeline

Now that all of your product is ordered (and arriving soon!), you can create a bathroom renovation timeline. Communicate this timeline with everyone involved in the project … your contractor, designer, spouse, family members, etc.

Because we were DIY-ing a good portion of our bathroom, I reserved every weekend for a month on my calendar (as well as my husband’s). That way we didn’t book anything during that time, and we could focus on getting the job done. But even though you have a timeline, know that it will probably change. I anticipated that we could get our renovation done in 4 weeks, but it ended up taking about 7 weeks. Go in with a plan, but be flexible because you’re always going to run into problems!

Have a Physical Place to Survive During Renovations

Chances are you’ll be living in your home throughout your bathroom renovation, so it’s important to have a plan on how you’re going to continue to live amongst the dust and chaos. We live in a small condo and once our demolition started, our entire place was a disaster zone. Right then and there, we decided that we wouldn’t let any of the mess trickle into our master bathroom or master bedroom. Instead, those were our “sanctuaries” away from the chaos of the renovation.

Create these safe zones ahead of time and vow to keep those areas clean and free from any of your bathroom mess. Trust me, you’ll need those retreats when you’re living through a renovation.

I know you may be eager to start smashing away your outdated bathroom to get it looking fresh, clean, and modern. But it’s important to do work upfront before you get started. That way you have a clear idea of the amount of money and time you’ll need to create the bathroom of your dreams!

8 Jobs That Are Great If You Move A Lot (And How Much They Pay)

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Do you long for a job that pays you to travel? If you’ve been stuck in the endless nine to five slog for a long time, the idea of traveling the world can seem like a distant and unattainable dream.

However, thanks to the internet and our always-connected world, there are plenty of jobs out there that can offer the freedom and fun of being constantly on the move alongside a regular paycheck. It’s true! Here are just a few of the remote-working jobs that will take you out of the cubicle and into the world.

Web Designer

This classic, on-the-go title is a classic for a reason.

Thanks to the wonderful technology of the internet, many jobs no longer require you to be physically present in the company you’re working for, which has created a generation of people who call themselves digital nomads.

What do web designers do?

Web design is the process of creating websites, from the aesthetics right down to navigation logic and, by its very nature, is done entirely online. This means that if you’ve got a laptop and a good Wi-Fi connection, it usually doesn’t matter where in the world you are.

How do I get started?

There are a number of routes you can take to become a qualified web designer, and because they’re so different, each employer will tend to have their own explicit definition of “qualified” which will often be detailed on a job listing. 

For most employers, entry requirements include skills in visual design, UX, SEO, coding software (like HTML, CSS and Javascript) and design software (like Photoshop and Illustrator). Many websites curate freelance job offerings, like the site Working Nomads, allowing you to make sure you’ve always got another project in the pipeline.

Want to start taking classes? Know that some employers may only be looking for a candidate with a college-level certificate in web design or a multimedia subject.

Once your skill set is up to par, you’ll be greatly rewarded. According to Payscale, entry-level salaries for full-time web designers can start around $33k, but quickly rise to $73k with more experience.

If you’re going freelance, you can set your own rates that reflect your level of experience, how picky the client is, how difficult the project is, etc. According to NJ Creatives Network, the average rate per hour is $59. That’s not bad going if you’re a nomad on the move.

Virtual Assistant

Virtual assistants (VAs) work remotely, and their job is to carry out administrative tasks for various clients. These tasks could be within the professional, technical or creative sectors and could include anything from bookkeeping and data entry to social media management and desktop publishing.

What do virtual assistants do?

Businesses tend to hire VAs because they don’t need someone full-time and in-house to do certain admin tasks. By taking on a VA, this saves the company money on space and providing full-time benefits.

To get started as a VA, you will need a reliable phone and internet connection, and at least five years of experience in a senior admin role within an office environment. If you can’t deal with a PC meltdown on your own, or can barely stay on top of your own to-do list, this may not be the role for you.

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How do I get started?

But if you are an organized person with in-house admin experience and a decent understanding of word processing, email and contact management software, you’re on the right track to becoming a VA. Bear in mind that your prospective clients will want to be sure you know what you’re doing before employing you. Therefore, getting some experience within a VA company, such as Zirtual, is also a good idea before you take the plunge.

Once you’ve learned the ropes, it’s fairly easy to fly solo. First steps include deciding your niche, setting up your brand and website, marketing your services, and getting your kit ready, such as a work phone and laptop.

But you’re not doing this job for free—so you’ll need to decide your rate too. Though the earning potential at a basic level is low, you can make up to $100 an hour for a specialist virtual role, which is why it’s important to seriously consider your niche before you launch your brand, rather than take on any client that needs a hand with admin.

Source: Indeed

The real appeal of being a virtual assistant is working at home, working when you want, and supreme job flexibility. Also, if you find that freelancing as a VA is not working for you, but you love the job, you can always transition agency-side and reap the benefits of a permanent position once again.

Digital Marketer

Digital marketing is another job that perfectly suits remote working, as all you need is a laptop and a café or hotel with a decent Wi-Fi connection.

Digital marketing is a branch of marketing that sits under the umbrella term “online marketing.” Working inside the digital marketing industry involves developing a range of multi-channel communication strategies, such as social media, SEO, PPC, email, mobile marketing, and affiliate marketing. You can work horizontally across all of these things, or you can specialize in a certain vertical.

What do digital marketers do?

As a digital marketer, general duties include, creating and uploading website copy, writing and sending email campaigns, designing website banners, communicating with affiliate networks and partners, and managing contact databases, just to name a few.

How do I get started?

Start by getting some full-time, in-house experience. While employers will take on entry-level professionals with no experience, many seek candidates with a business, marketing, media, or journalism degree. If you lack this certificate, there is a broad range of digital marketing taster courses available online, such as the free courses from Google Digital Garage, which will help boost your skills for the digital world and help you land a work placement.

This time spent boosting your knowledge, ability and experience will eventually pay off. The average entry-level salary is only around $28k, but it quickly raises to at least $50k with a little experience.

Source: Payscale

Online Tutor

Did you know that you can teach online too? There are places on the web where tutoring is a viable job, and it can be a great job to have if you’re moving a lot.

What do online tutors do?

Traditional tutoring involves one-to-one teaching sessions with a student, helping them improve academically. As a tutor, you may go through the class material, homework, or help your pupils improve their note-taking.

Online tutors, or “e-tutors”, conduct the same line of work, but via online media. Sessions are typically carried out through video chat, but also phone calls and email. This means you can be anywhere in the world and still communicate.

How do I get started?

To become qualified, you tend to need a bachelor’s degree in your chosen subject, but be aware that the credentials to teach as a tutor vary from state to state. You need to be aware of homeschooling laws which may interfere with your work, as they are a completely different ball game regarding qualified teacher status.

If you’re inexperienced, it may be worth working for a tutoring company as it will deal with finding your clients and paperwork. Alternatively, you can go solo. Both options involve the potential to tutor on the move.

Online tutoring is well-paid work when you consider how few hours tutoring can take up. Glassdoor reports that the average hourly rate is $12 per hour, but salaries can go up to $55k in certain areas of the U.S.

Freelance Photographer

Becoming a successful freelance photographer requires tenacity as much as talent, and an income is never guaranteed. But travel photographers and photojournalists see some of the most amazing parts of the world, as well as some of the most distressing.

What do freelance photographers do?

Studio photography, product photography, stock photography, nature photography, pet photography … there are as many different types of freelance photography as there are things in the world! There are also some incredible options for travel, and quite often all you need is a camera and a laptop, enabling you to send your photographs to editors across the world in mere moments.

How do I get started?

A photography degree will be useful but not always necessary, as the most important thing is a good eye for a shot and a well-put-together portfolio demonstrating your talent.  

Pricing photography is quite a difficult task for any professional. Put your rate too high, and you may scare your prospect away. Too low though, and you could end up forcing yourself out of business.

Advice from photography expert Rosh Sillars states that if you’re an amateur, you should aim to charge between $25 to $100 an hour. You should go for the higher end if you have an online portfolio or dedicated website for your services.

If you’re a student photographer, shoot for anywhere from $35 to $90 per hour. This should increase to $50 to $160 per hour for semi-pros, and to $75 to $300+ per hour for the seasoned professionals.

Translator

Whether you can speak one other language or many, your skills as a translator are invaluable. How invaluable? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this number is currently set to grow 46% by 2020, with the projected workforce of interpreters reaching almost 93,000 strong.

What do translators do?

The work usually involves converting written material from a “source language” to a “target language,” which is done on a computer and doesn’t require you to be physically present.

There is a variety of content that translators work with, including commercial, educational, legal, literary, and scientific, so previous experience or expertise in one area will be necessary, and you will have to do some training in translation before you take on any clients. 

How do I get started?

Translate Media boasts plenty of research for in-house translation opportunities, internships, and yes, freelance translation.

Translators can make a lot of money, especially if you specialize in a more difficult or in-demand language. Most translation agencies allow people to work at home, and freelancing is widespread throughout the industry. Here is a handy map of translation salaries from 2014, ranging everywhere from just under $30 thousand a year, to just over $70 thousand a year.

Freelance Writer

Are you reading this right now? Do you read articles online often? Thank your local freelance writer, and they’re easy to find, as many of them work remotely filling up coffee shops all around the world.

What do freelance writers do?

The internet is made of words, and somebody needs to write them. From copywriting to ghostwriting to content writing, there is an abundance of freelance writing opportunities if you know the right places to look.

How do I get started?

It can be difficult to get a freelance writing career off the ground, as most potential employers will want to see a large portfolio of good quality writing before they agree to give you a gig. But if you’re prepared to start small and put in the effort, this is very achievable.

If you have very little experience, the easiest way to gain some is by contacting small blogs and the websites you love for guest writing opportunities. While you may have to do a small amount of freebie work, it’s the simplest way of boosting your portfolio without enrolling in a course. You just need the drive and basic knowledge of spelling and grammar to succeed.

Your freelance career will take off more quickly if you have a background in writing, such as journalism. Job sites like Upwork are a great place to start getting clients and building your portfolio as you can advertise your services and display your most recent projects.

Most freelance writers charge by project or per number of words. The rate you should choose all depends on your years of experience and your subject matter knowledge. Typically, entry-level freelance writers can earn $30 per 800 words, whereas experienced writers can earn up to $100 for the same project. While you debate your rate, it’s also worth checking out the site Who Pays Writers to see what businesses are willing to pay for your talents.

In other words, that means that the average freelance writer makes .17 cents a word.

Caption: Venngage

While you’re at it, if you’ve got solid writing skills, setting up a website of your own is a great way to monetize your talents. Blogging is big business.

You might consider running ads on your blog. These “Ads by Google” will appear on your website and reflect the content you post—therefore, they don’t interfere too much with the aesthetic or branding of your blog. Every time a blog visitor clicks on one of these ads, you earn yourself some cash.

You can also monetize your blog by writing affiliate reviews. That means you write a review of a product on your blog. In your review, you insert a link that users can follow to buy the product. If a user clicks that link and makes a purchase, you can receive up to 10% commission. Now that’s easy money for a remote worker.

E-commerce Merchant/”Dropshipper”

One final flexible income route to go down if you move a lot is creating a dropshipping store. That might sound like a bunch of buzzwords, but it’s a lot simpler than it sounds.

What do e-commerce merchants/”dropshippers” do?

This job involves displaying products from someone’s digital store on your site. Once a customer buys one of these products, you place the order with the third-party supplier, and then the supplier pays you, as you’ve just given them extra visibility and a sale. It’s the quickest and easiest way to get set up as an e-commerce seller (other than selling on Amazon using their Fulfillment By Amazon option).

How do I get started?

This is less of a job you seek and more of an additional income if you have the right avenues open to you. But it can be underutilized.

E-commerce is a potentially lucrative market to get into—if you get the product price and value proposition right. Though the initial investment in time and strategy can be hefty, the potential for earning a solid monthly revenue is high:

Just remember to keep innovating and listening to your customers, and e-commerce could be the key to your remote work success.

These eight jobs are just a few of the options available if you’d like to make the leap from desk-bound worker bee to free-flying digital nomad. Especially as freelancing is convenient for the worker and reduces costs for the employer, it is an increasingly popular method of employment, offering you an incredible opportunity to travel while still earning a good salary. That’s what I call a win-win for everyone involved.


Victoria Greene is a branding consultant and freelance writer. On her blog, VictoriaEcommerce, she offers tips on how ecommerce business owners can take advantage of the latest technology in the industry.
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