Category Archives: You’re the Boss, Now

Choosing a Healthcare Provider When You’re Far from Home

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Choosing a healthcare provider when you’re far from home is never easy to do. Since you never know when or where an urgency or emergency will occur, this isn’t something you can prepare for. But there is a way to compare providers wherever you are. This gives you an opportunity to switch providers if yours falls short of your standards.

Where to Find Healthcare Provider Reviews

Not all doctors get healthcare provider reviews on Yelp, even though it manages to list most physicians. If you don’t find useful reviews on Yelp, then try some of these other sites.

Healthcare Provider Review Sites

Healthgrades is specific to healthcare provider reviews. Just enter the zip code and specialty to get a list of providers in that area. Each provider listed shows their name, distance from the zip code you entered, specialty and star rating. If you click on the name you‘ll see a page related to that doctor’s reviews. Next, click on the “Responses” (next to the stars) to see the review page. In addition to reviews you’ll find a list of hospital affiliations for each doctor. If you click on those facilities you will get the hopsitals’ review information.

Vitals, another healthcare provider review site, fell a bit short of my confidence level. I typed in a specialty that I knew had quite a few physicians in the area I entered but the system returned only four of them. It’s possible that these were the only doctors reviewed on this system, so it may be user driven rather than listing all of the physicians. When I tried sorting them by review score (descending order,) the one with 4 points was listed before the one with 4 ½ points. So that wasn’t very reliable, either. Clicking on “Read Reviews” brings up a page listing both star ratings and review comments. Unfortunately, some excellent physicians are not listed on this site.

Zocdoc limits you to doctors who use the Zocdoc system, but, also, lists every one of their listed doctors within 50 miles. As a traveler in an unfamiliar location, you probably don’t want to have to travel that far when you could find a good doctor within just a few miles of where you are.

Medicare Sites

Many full time RVers rely on Medicare for healthcare insurance. Finding a good healthcare provider that takes Medicare may cause delays. Calling around takes time, as does finding a directory for an unfamiliar community. There are five sites where you can find healthcare providers that accept Medicare. I don’t think there’s a way to review doctors or facilities, but you can see who accepts Medicare and compare standardized survey results. Do click on the “View Rating Details” links. This takes you to the breakdown of areas comparing how physicians or facilities rated.

These sites are listed by category:

Physician Compare

“Physician Compare is a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) website that helps you find and choose physicians and other health care professionals enrolled in Medicare so that you can make informed choices about the health care you get, as required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010.

At this time you can compare group practices on Physician Compare. You’ll be able to compare individual physicians and other health care professionals in the future.”

If you can’t find a specific doctor on this site, check under the “Find Group Practices” tab. Under each practice you’ll find a list of all the doctors affiliated with that practice. There are several links to other information on this site that you might find useful.

Hospital Compare

You can search to find the hospitals in an area you set by zip code and the number of miles from that zip code. From that list, you can compare 3 at a time. The comparison page has six tabs for different areas surveyed, which compares each hospital’s results for that area of care to the state and national averages.

Nursing Home Compares Healthcare Providers in this Category 

The nursing home comparisons works similarly to the hospital comparisons. Choose up to three to compare at one time, then choose the specific tab topics you want to compare. While you hope you never have to use these services, a serious condition might require you to go temporarily to a nursing home facility to finish recovering if you cannot recover at home or in your RV.

Home Health Agency Compares Healthcare Providers in this Category 

The home health agency comparisons work similarly to the hospital and nursing home comparisons. Choose up to three to compare at a time, then choose the specific tab topics you want to compare.

Dialysis Facility Compare

Again, this site operates similarly to the others. Enter a zip code then choose up to three dialysis providers to compare.

 Hopefully, you will never need any of these services in your travels. But knowing how to find a practitioner or facility that you can trust, or that takes Medicare should make things easier. Hope this helps.

Wishing y’all great RVing adventures

 

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Get Paid to Blog: Where the Jobs Are & How to Compete

AHG RV logoIf you can write, then get paid to blog. Getting paid to blog is a perfect solution to help finance your travels. Finding paid blogging jobs is another matter, though. So, this week, I’ll talk about where to find some of those “get paid to blog” jobs, and what it takes to get hired.

Beat Your Blog Competition

If you’re seeking a position to blog for someone else, then keep these few things in mind. If blogging sounds like a good job to you, it will to many others. Many of your competitors have the equal, or even better, qualifications than you have. But your application’s appearance makes the first impression on the employer, and could make the difference between getting a second review or getting tossed. Like your resumé the purpose of your application is to get an interview, or otherwise be chosen for consideration. But that’s not all that employers will review.

It helps if you have some experience as a blogger. It’s a plus if you have your own blog. If you don’t, then start one. Show, both in your blog and in your application, that you know something about their niche or topic. Show that you have a personal interest in that subject. Don’t apply for blog jobs in topics you know nothing about or have no interest in.

Experienced bloggers know how to use SEO. Can you grow a following? Capture email? Any blog-related skills help you stand out. If not you can learn these skills. Our Career Niches tab lists plenty of resources for learning blogging skills, SEO, email marketing, social networking, and much more.

Your Blog Application

Reviewers may give only a brief glance to each application before deciding which ones to consider. Expect reviewers to discard any application that doesn’t meet their submission criteria, exactly. In addition to presenting your qualifications, your application is a test of how well you follow instructions, and how observant you are.

  • Keep your application as short as possible, yet, include everything they ask for.
  • Avoid the temptation to include irrelevant information, even if it’s about your proudest accomplishment.
  • Make sure you follow the application instructions perfectly.
  • Include something that catches their attention (without looking foolish.)
  • Attach, (or create if necessary,) the best of your writing samples, especially any that are in the same niche you are applying for.
  • If you write in different styles, (i.e. technical, humorous, instructional, etc.) include samples to show your flexibility.
  • Include links to live websites where your articles appear.

Remember that you are selling yourself. Despite not knowing your competition, or what they offer, make your attributes outshine theirs. Review your application as though you were an employer reviewing it. Would you hire this person? Do you want to invest your money in this person?

Blog Job Resources

I got my first blogging job from a Craigslist ad around 2004. Even then Craigslist had a reputation for scams. But I took this chance knowing that, at worst, I’d be out the time to write a couple articles if this was fraudulent. Fortunately it wasn’t. I found myself writing for Page 1 Solutions, and was paid regularly to write articles and blogs. They gave me some excellent coaching during those years, for which I’m very grateful. Use caution when applying for jobs on Craigslist, but also know that, more often than not, the ads posted on Craigslist are legitimate.

Bid for Blog Jobs

Upwork.com, Guru.com, Fiverr.com and similar job bidding sites, offer quite a bit of work opportunities. With Upwork and Guru you can enroll as a provider and bid on jobs posted by employers. You’ll be competing with people who bid low. But, rather than compete with low bidders, bid for the higher paying jobs and build a reputation for writing clear accurate English, or excelling in your chosen blog niche, and you’ll eventually have employers contacting you. As a Fiverr provider you’ll have to do your own promotions outside the Fiverr system. Fiverr offers a list of jobs you can bid on but less extensive than what you’ll find on the bidding sites.

Apply for Blog Jobs

Companies looking to hire bloggers place paid ads on ProBlogger, which are available to applicants at no charge. A quick look at the jobs list suggests that you quote your rates to them, but some may have their own rates. Each ad is different. I spotted ads in a wide variety of niche and writing categories. Marketing, technology, health products and social media appear most often in the list as of today. But other topic writers, such as business, fashion, paleo, and much more are also being sought. I also spotted some copywriting ads, so this list may offer bigger gigs than blogging.

People Per Hour is centered in the UK, but promotes some of its jobs as “remote.” You never know how far out they consider remote. When Guru and Upwork have both employers and providers from around the world, being located in the UK may not be a limiting factor.

Freelance Writer’s Den offers paid memberships, and touts high paying freelance blog and writing jobs. It’s rather exclusive in that they limit the number of members. But you can get on the waiting list and be notified when “the doors open,” as they put it. Currently monthly fees for the Freelance Writers Den is $25, and for Den 2X $139. That sounds pretty steep, but if you find blog jobs that pay well and you get plenty of work, it may be worth it.

More Blog Job Resources

Check out Be a Freelance Blogger where you can download Sophie Lizard’s ebook loaded with 75 blogs that pay. This site offers a blog and several ebooks, in addition to the list of blogs that pay. One of them is about what bloggers charge. Blogging pays better than you might think. You can download that here.

And finally, search the Internet. Use search terms like “write for us + [your niche]”, or “blogs + [your niche]”. Search the resulting sites for guidelines, submission forms, pay rates, by lines, and copyright terms. If you really want paid blogging gigs, they’re out there. Go get ‘em!

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Two Affordable Legal Resources for Full Timers

pixabay-scroll-old-34607-with-scriptNeed a Will? Two DIY Alternatives to an Attorney

Many years ago we had our wills prepared by an attorney, which cost a lot of money, even then. Since then, our address and circumstances have changed, and it was time to redo these important legal documents. Over the years additional legal documents have become standard and we didn’t have these in place, either. But we couldn’t afford hundreds of dollars to have an attorney draw these up. Our solution was to use either LegalZoom or USLegalForms.

We’ve used both and found that they’re both affordable and the forms are easy to complete. You just need to know how you want your will to be carried out. One of the biggest benefits for full timers is that you don’t have to be in your domicile state to create or update your legal documents.

Both LegalZoom and USLegalForms have a wide variety of forms for business, intellectual property, personal matters and most common legal needs. You can incorporate a business, draw up partnership papers, create contracts, file a copyright or trademark, and create just about any personal legal document you can imagine. Both services offer assistance in filling the forms at a higher price per form.

Documents are available that meet legal requirements by state with both services. So, no matter where you are, you just choose from the forms available for your domicile state. But there are some big differences between these two legal resources.

The last time we updated our wills (2011) we had them done through LegalZoom. Each will, at that time, was $89. We purchased only the will, without Powers of Attorney, Living Wills, or Medical Directives. We filled them out with the assistance of an automated LegalZoom questionnaire. Since only one of us could fill out the form on the LegalZoom system, that meant either both of us had to pay $89 for a will, or we could do one person’s will, then copy it making changes appropriate for the other spouse.

More Affordable Option

This time, we decided to complete all of these documents, but LegalZoom wanted $149 apiece for the package with just four forms. The $149 package for one person contains a Will, a Living Trust, Advance Directives, and Power of Attorney. We needed two packages.

I decided to check USLegalForms options, and was pleasantly surprised. This package included all the forms we both needed for $49, including a Mutual Will. The will we chose was designed for husband and wife with adult children, as compared to minor children. It also allowed us to fill out all the forms for both of us, as compared to LegalZoom, which required each of us purchase separate packages. Rather than pay $298 for these documents, we opted for USLegalForms’ $49 package, and couldn’t be happier with that purchase.

For that $49 we each completed

  • Our separate Wills
  • General Durable Power of Attorney for property and finances
  • Statutory Power of Attorney
  • Medical Durable Power of Attorney
  • Declaration of Guardian

They also provided additional forms for

  • An inventory list
  • Directives to Physicians, Family or Surrogates
  • An estate planning questionnaire
  • Personal planning

The planning forms are thorough and much easier to organize the information than the rather disorganized one I tried to create. We also received a law guide.

USLegalForms also has an online dictionary, FAQs and the opportunity to submit questions to attorneys through Just Answer, which I believe charges an extra fee depending upon the complexity of the answer. This isn’t the same as legal advice, but is legal information.

Other Legal Considerations

One problem full timers might run into is finding two qualified witnesses at the time you have these documents notarized. Moving around the country means that friends, those who you would normally ask to be witnesses, are not available. We found that many notaries do have witnesses, but also learned that many banks that offer notary services for almost any document, don’t notarize wills. Our solution was to take them to the nearest UPS store. They not only notarized each document (for $5 apiece,) but also allowed their staff to sign as witnesses, solving our biggest problem.

This may be a great solution, especially if you realize the need for legal documents while away from your domicile home. If not a perfect solution, it is a good temporary one, until you can arrange for an attorney to draw up your documents.

LegalZoom has two subscription plans, personal for $14.95/month and business for $29.95 a month. When I subscribed in 2011, I was able to access all the forms they offered. It now looks like you can access only forms in one or the other category.

If you do choose either LegalZoom or USLegalForms, please use our affiliate link (just click on the name of the service.) One of the ways we make our full timer living is by finding products that are useful to RVers, then vetting them to be sure our referrals are quality resources.

Last Minute Update

I just received information about Iris Plans, an Austin TX based company that assists people in creating health planning documents, such as advance directives, living will, medical power of attorney, etc. It isn’t always easy to know what healthcare professionals will do if you state your wishes in your own terms. Will they know what you mean under any situation, or are your wishes conditional on the likelihood of your recovery. If you need a more personalized service, they have medical professionals available to help you understand what these documents mean, and how to fill them out so that your wishes are clearly stated.

I have no idea what they charge for their services, but if you have any doubts about finalizing a document that involves your health care planning and wishes, look into this service.

Wishing y’all great RVing adventures

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Think, Feel, Know: How Well do You Communicate

Communicate What You “Think or Know,” Not What You “Feel”?

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Do you Know the Difference Between a Thought and a Feeling?

Someone once asked me if I knew the difference between a thought and a feeling. It struck me as a senseless question. Of course I did. Seems obvious, doesn’t it?

Then I thought about it and realized that many times a thought seems to be a feeling, or vice-versa, when it is not. And it was only made worse when questions were posed as to what I thought about, or felt about, any give topic.

Now, with social media people communicate instantly with others around the world. More and more people communicate feelings and opinions posed as facts, thoughts posed as feelings, and feelings posed as thoughts.

It seemed worthwhile to write a little piece about how totally confused many people are about thoughts and feelings, and what impressions we communicate with each.

FEEL

Put simply, feelings are an emotional, biological response to a stimuli, such as a thought. Feelings can be a response to something seen, or to physical sensation, like pain. Frequently, they are responses to something someone else says or writes that the feeler finds offensive or insulting, or elevating. Tasting ice cream can bring back either great or horrible childhood feelings, or no particular feeling at all.

Learning bad news is, at first, knowledge followed by a thought, one that generates a feeling. Feelings also can be triggered by countless things that are conditioned responses, ones of which we’re not aware. The only way to change these feelings is to change the thought that provokes them.

Feelings are entirely contained within a single person. That person may inspire others to have similar or even different feelings, but, despite recognizing and responding with feelings, those people are feeling their own emotions. Some may feel hope while others may feel fear. Feelings’ unique property is that they are emotional and subjective.

THINK

Thoughts are completely without feeling, though they, in turn, can be triggered by feelings or be the trigger for feelings. For example, in this highly charged political environment, any number of statements begin their journey as a thought that sparks an emotional response, which stimulates more thought in order to put it into words, usually to express the feelings. But in short, thoughts are objective.

HOW TO TELL THE DIFFERENCE

The two photos below depict the difference between thoughts and feelings.

Meeting-People Thinking
Meeting-People Thinking
Meeting-People smiling
Meeting-People smiling

 

 

 

 

 

 

It may take a bit of practice before you can tell the difference. It’s difficult because one seems naturally to lead to the other, and does this almost instantly. Because of that, it may be difficult to see that exact moment when a thought generates a feeling, or the feeling generates a new thought.

Once you can tell the difference you’ll easily see how weak a statement it is for people to say things like “I feel like the education system is going in the wrong direction.” They may, indeed, have some bad feelings about it, but if they have reasons for their feeling, then it’s more correct, and more powerful to say, “I think that the education system is going in the wrong direction,” and be able to list reasons why they think this is so. They might follow up with, “I have some bad feelings about the outcome.”

When they reference only their feelings, it’s very vague. It might must mean they don’t like change of any kind, rather than disapproving of specific changes because of some fault with them. If they have no reason to think this, that is, they can’t list any facts to substantiate their opinion, then maybe it IS just a feeling. And if this is the case, would you let that person’s feeling sway your opinion?

The point is, try to find out why people say what they say, and whether their comment is truly a fact-based thought, or just an opinion or personal preference.

Look at the images below. One depicts a woman thinking with little emotion. That is, unless you are someone who wants to work from home. Then it might trigger some strong and encouraging feelings. But it starts with a thought. “I think” I’d like to do this leads to any number of positive feelings.

In the second picture we see only hands wearing rings. Are they an older woman’s hands? A younger woman’s? Do they depict patience, loneliness, giving advice, hearing advice? Considering the sweater, maybe she’s just trying to keep them warm. Whatever your thoughts, they may be the trigger that will lead to an emotion.

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The following images also elicit thoughts that lead to feelings.

Eye drops
Eye drops
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Family

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, it seems that the thought consistently precedes the feeling, as it takes thought to process the information coming to us. The resulting feeling is completely subjective to each of us, individually.

Though feelings occur lighting fast, those feelings are the results of other thoughts, such as facts or other knowledge or experiences to which we associate our thoughts. Look at the image “Eye drops.” If you have good feelings about getting eyedrops (pain relief, improved vision, restored sight) then the image above might trigger pleasant feelings. But if you’re like so many people, that image might trigger an “Eww” or just make you cringe. In any case, the image is the same, the thought starts by interpreting the image and leads to your own feelings.

The next image, “Family” might elicit warm, secure thoughts and feelings for some, and painful ones for others.

KNOW

Knowledge, however is based on fact, proper research, or empirical evidence that strongly suggests a trend. It’s repeatable under the same circumstances, and reliable when used for making decisions.

It’s not uncommon to think we know something, often based on experience. That’s not always “knowledge.” A good example is taking every article we read as fact without vetting those facts. Facebook memes and posts are a perfect example. How often do you research the quote to see if the person associated with it ever really said that? And I don’t mean just a Snopes search, but possibly searching factual information, museums or cautiously searching news articles. The latter are notoriously spun to deliver more propaganda than fact. Does your source give a complete or partial presentation? Does it lean left or right? Pro or con? If it’s anything but neutral, you may find that the meme is taken so far out of context that it doesn’t even resemble the original statement.

*Research is a big issue for me. The simple fact that once a research finding is published, someone often does another research project to disprove those results. The new research is often successful, making me take any findings as “possible fact” rather than “actual fact.” In addition to that, there have been a string of articles recently denouncing much research as fraudulent and biased and even ghost written (see Wyeth, below.) Researchers often edit the facts to show a more favorable outcome, and insure future funding for more research.

Knowledge comes from doing your homework, learning facts, and which claims are actually facts. The person that says “I know” all the time may know, or may not really know. They may just have an opinion.

As an aside, all successful advertising is designed to trigger your emotions. Notice that the ads don’t focus as much on facts as on what you might get out of having their product. How it will make you happy, sexy, wealthy, or completely satisfied in a number of ways. It’s appeals to our hopes and dreams. Just thought I’d throw that in.

WRAP UP

As you work from home or RV and struggle with marketing and your credibility, keep this in mind. Statements referencing what you think, backed by knowledge (facts) appear more objective, and are more powerful than statements reflecting how you feel (so very subjective.)

Statements about our thoughts imply that we actually gave it some thought, maybe did some research, and care what others think as well. They sound less egotistical, and more receipting to the audience we’re addressing. This may do better to open doors of friendship, or future sales.

Statements about our feelings are more egotistical and self-centered. Their subjective nature isolates us from others, though may work with other people who use think and feel interchangeably.

Test this. Try posting something referencing how your think in one place, and the same post referencing your feeling in another. See if you get different responses.

And always use the most appropriate term in your marketing.

Wishing y’all great WFH successes

Micki

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