Nicole Thelin has over 20 years of published writing experience and
her work has been featured in various publications, including USA
She began her prolific writing career at the tender age of 10, when
she began publishing poetry and creative writing in local magazines
and anthologies. Before graduating high school, Nicole began writing
front-page stories for newspapers around the country. Eventually,
she moved into web content writing and learned how to become a
full-circle content creator.
Although her first love was the written word, Nicole also specializes
in web design, chatbot design, video editing, social media marketing,
and other skills necessary to run her online content creation
For nearly 10 years, Nicole’s primary focus has been on helping low
income Americans save money and get free stuff at
LowIncomeRelief.com. This information service connects people with
benefits, resources, and assistance programs in their local
communities. As the founder of Low Income Relief, Nicole has
worked tirelessly to make this information more accessible to those
who need it most.
When Nicole isn’t working on her business, she enjoys homeschooling her five children and spending time with her family. She loves traveling, reading Brandon Sanderson novels, and creating unique recipes.
Where did the idea for LowIncomeRelief.com come from?
Low Income Relief was born out of necessity. My husband was injured during his military training, so he was medically discharged from military service. The transition was really difficult for us and we went through a really difficult time financially. We both had jobs, but we couldn’t afford our own housing so we were staying with friends.
Eventually, we were told we only had two weeks to find our own housing or we would be on the streets. We just couldn’t stay with friends or family any longer. I panicked. I started spending all my spare time at the local library, digging desperately for any help I could find. It was the first time in my life that I encountered phrases like Section 8 housing, low income housing, that sort of thing. And honestly, it changed my life.
Within two weeks, we moved into a beautiful townhouse in a nearby town. Three or four agencies contributed to our move-in costs to help us afford it. Another agency donated furniture; a food bank stocked our shelves with food. With the assistance we received, we were able to get back on our feet and stabilize our family. It was life-changing.
Of course, a lot of our friends and family members were astonished by the
miracle we’d experienced. I gained something of a reputation as a resource guru, so people would call and ask me how to get help with all sorts of different things. A few years later, I realized it would be easier to put all the information I’d found on a website so people wouldn’t have to call me any more. I bought the LowIncomeRelief.com domain and started writing… and it’s been my full-time job since 2016. You can find great success when you find a need and fill it.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My typical day looks a lot different than it used to. In the early days of Low
Income Relief, I worked 16-18 hour days obsessively. Now that the site is older, I’m able to spend more time away from my desk.
At this point, I usually wake up around 6am, enjoy about an hour of personal
time, and then work for 4-5 hours. I spend most of my time on research and
content creation. After work, I homeschool my kids and enjoy the rest of my day with my family.
I’ve realized that by minimizing the amount of time I work, I actually work more efficiently. I have to prioritize the things that matter most and let everything else go. I’m a big fan of the Pareto principle, which teaches that 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts. By focusing on the 20% of work that actually makes a difference, I’ve been able to let go of most of the tasks that felt productive but weren’t actually making an impact for my business.
At the end of every day, I make a to-do list for the next day. I only put 4-5 bullet points on that list, so I try to make sure that I pick the tasks that will be the most impactful. That’s how I keep my workday productive.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Chaotically, lol. Honestly, I just start. It’s too easy to get bogged down in the
details and the planning, so when I have a new idea I just act on it right away. It’s usually messy and sloppy at first. I’m a recovering perfectionist, but I’ve learned the hard way that getting something done is better than getting something perfect.
What’s one trend that excites you?
This is a difficult one. I don’t typically follow trends, so I’m not sure how to
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I am always more productive in the morning, so prioritizing my 6am wake up time is critical for me. It allows me to get to my desk and get most of my work done before my children even wake up, which is a huge benefit.
Being able to work from home, on your own schedule, with no oversight is an incredible blessing… but with that blessing comes great responsibility. If I sleep in, I absolutely wreck my day. Every time.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Every skill you learn is precious and every experience you have is
character-building. Nothing is wasted. I spent a lot of time worried about doing things perfectly when I was younger, and I refused to try new things if I wasn’t confident that I could perform flawlessly. I really regret that.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
If you don’t have your integrity, you don’t have anything. I will not engage in black hat SEO and I will not accept sponsorships from companies whose products could harm my audience. I just won’t. I know I leave a lot of money on the table because I won’t compromise my standards, but I’m okay with that. People tell me I’m crazy all the time, but I would rather lose the business than lose my integrity.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Refine your process. Search for the 20%. The Pareto Principle says that 80% of your results come from 20% of your effort. Stop wasting time on the 80% and focus your effort on that 20%. You’ll work less, earn more and live a happier life because of it.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I listened to what my audience wanted. In the early days of Low Income Relief, I took requests directly from my readers and gave them what they asked for. If someone needed something, I researched it for them. It helped build a loyal audience that became the bedrock for Low Income Relief.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I have wasted a lot of time on side-projects that went nowhere. I didn’t think them through very well and I didn’t take the time to analyze if they were worthwhile. For example, I spent months building an app that I later had to scrap. I learned a lot along the way, but it cost a lot of time that could’ve been spent on more impactful things.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I would love to see someone develop a travel guide app that can sync with your smartphone’s map system and narrate your drive for you with fun facts, history of the area, etc. I think that would be fabulous.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Terkel. I’ve been looking for authentic ways to build links and raise awareness for my business, and Terkel is a great place to connect with journalists. It’s similar to HARO, but HARO is free.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Clickup is a great tool for creating to-do lists and organizing tasks with a remote team. I love using Clickup for our content lists so that everyone can keep track of what they’re working on.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The Power of Starting Something Stupid was really impactful to me when I first started my business. Over the years, I’ve realized that a lot of people have really great ideas for businesses but relatively few are willing to take the leap to make it happen. If someone is struggling to get started, The Power of Starting Something Stupid is an excellent read.
What is your favorite quote?
“We are all stories in the end, just make it a good one.” -Doctor Who
- Find a need and fill it.
- Don’t compromise your standards.
- 80% of your results are created by 20% of your effort. Focus on the 20%.
Exclusive Interview with The NET ZERO ENERGY Buildings Expert Anastasia Makarska: Shaping a Greener Future
Welcome to an exclusive interview with Anastasia Makarska, a renowned figure in the world of commercial real estate development. Anastasia’s resolute commitment to sustainability and her unique background in physics and engineering have revolutionized the real estate landscape, transforming spaces into sustainable and coveted marvels.
In this interview, we delve into the concept of Net Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB) and the challenges associated with building codes for NZEB. Join us as we explore the visionary force behind Anastasia’s remarkable projects and her dedication to shaping a greener future.
Anastasia, thank you for joining us today. Let’s start by discussing the concept of Net Zero Energy Buildings. Could you explain to our audience what exactly is meant by a Net Zero Energy Building (NZEB)?
Anastasia: Certainly. A Net Zero Energy Building, or NZEB, is an approach to construction that focuses on creating energy-efficient buildings that are connected to the power grid while also generating renewable energy to offset their energy consumption. The aim is to achieve a balance where the amount of renewable energy produced either on-site or nearby matches or exceeds the building’s annual energy needs, resulting in virtually no net energy consumption.
That’s fascinating. It’s clear that NZEBs hold tremendous potential in terms of sustainability. How are developers and building owners embracing this concept, and what are some innovative features we can find in NZEBs?
Anastasia: Developers and building owners are increasingly interested in constructing zero energy buildings, driven by corporate objectives and regulatory requirements. The building and design community is actively embracing this challenge and leading the way with innovative and forward-thinking projects.
NZEBs incorporate a wide range of energy-efficient strategies, from simple to highly intricate. These include maximizing the utilization of passive solar heat gain and shading, integrating high-efficiency heating and cooling systems, appliances, windows, and doors, enhancing insulation, natural ventilation, air sealing, and incorporating advanced renewable energy solutions like solar photovoltaics and geothermal energy systems.
The goal is to create buildings that regulate temperature fluctuations, minimize energy consumption, and reduce environmental impact.
It’s impressive how NZEBs combine various technologies and strategies to achieve sustainability. Now, let’s delve into building codes. What role do building codes play in the construction of NZEBs, and what codes and standards exist for this purpose?
Anastasia: Building codes play a crucial role in guiding the construction of net zero energy buildings. Currently, there are codes and standards in place to assist designers, architects, builders, and contractors in creating more energy-efficient and sustainable structures compared to previous years.
In the United States, professionals in the building industry can refer to the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), which has been adopted in approximately 44 states and territories. Across North America, ASHRAE 90.1 provides significant guidance, and the International Green Construction Code (IgCC) serves as another valuable resource. In Canada, there are the National Energy Code of Canada (NECC) and the National Energy Code for Buildings (NECB).
That’s helpful to know. Given the increasing need for more rigorous energy and building codes, what are some of the challenges faced in developing codes specifically tailored for NZEBs?
Anastasia: The development of codes specifically tailored for NZEBs faces several challenges. As industry professionals and officials work on designing new codes to facilitate the transition to net zero energy, there is still no consensus on the structure of the code, its comprehensive scope, and ensuring that buildings achieve net zero energy status throughout their lifecycle.
To ensure buildings perform as intended, it is essential to establish post-construction reporting, analysis, and a framework for oversight and enforcement.
Current codes and standards often rely on energy proxies without a requirement for actual quantification of energy usage. There are also gaps in the inclusion of certain types of energy usage in calculations.
To achieve the goal of net zero energy buildings, methodologies need to evolve, modeling capabilities should be enhanced, and real-world outcomes must be measured.
Overcoming those challenges will be crucial for the success of NZEBs. Could you tell us about the advantages that net zero energy buildings offer to building owners, occupants, and the environment?
Anastasia: Absolutely. Net zero energy buildings provide several advantages. Buildings account for a significant portion of fossil fuel energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. By increasing the number of net zero energy buildings, we can reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and effectively lower carbon emissions.
Some key advantages of NZEBs include protection for building owners against future energy price hikes, enhanced occupant comfort, health, well-being, and productivity, reduction in energy consumption and associated costs, improved reliability of energy supply, increased resale value due to high demand for net zero buildings, contribution towards achieving zero energy targets, and minimized environmental impact. These advantages create value for building owners, occupants, and the planet.
Those advantages make a compelling case for embracing net zero energy buildings. As a visionary force in real estate development, how do you see the future of NZEBs and their potential impact on communities and the environment?
Anastasia: I believe the future of net zero energy buildings is incredibly promising. As awareness of the need for sustainability grows, NZEBs will become the norm rather than the exception. They have the potential to reshape communities and serve as catalysts for positive change.
Net zero energy buildings can create vibrant, sustainable communities that prioritize the well-being of both residents and businesses. By reducing energy consumption, minimizing environmental impact, and offering enhanced comfort and productivity, NZEBs have a transformative effect on the communities they serve. They not only contribute to the preservation of our planet but also provide value for investors, businesses, and communities alike.
Thank you for sharing your insights, Anastasia. Before we conclude, could you tell our audience about any upcoming projects or initiatives that you’re particularly excited about in the realm of net zero energy buildings?
Anastasia: Certainly. I’m thrilled to be working on a groundbreaking project that aims to create a net zero energy residential community. This community will embody the principles of sustainable living and showcase the potential of NZEBs on a larger scale. It will integrate cutting-edge technologies, energy-efficient systems, and sustainable materials to provide residents with an exceptional living experience while minimizing the community’s environmental footprint. I believe this project will serve as a blueprint for future developments and inspire others to embrace the vision of net zero energy living.
As we conclude this insightful interview with Anastasia Makarska, it is evident that she is a visionary force transforming the real estate industry through sustainable development. Anastasia’s dedication to creating sustainable and desirable spaces, her commitment to excellence, and her unwavering belief in the power of net zero energy buildings have positioned her as a leading authority in commercial real estate.
Through her innovative projects and expertise, Anastasia is shaping the world we live in, one groundbreaking project at a time. Her visionary approach, fueled by her unique background in physics and engineering, has redefined the boundaries of commercial real estate development and paved the way for a greener and more sustainable future.
Witness the remarkable journey of Anastasia Makarska as she continues to revolutionize the real estate landscape and leave an indelible mark on the communities she transforms into sustainable and coveted marvels.
If you would like to get in touch with Anastasia Makarska you can contact here
From a Small AC Repair Company to a Household Name in Austin TX
The Success Story of Grande Air Solutions
What makes a successful company?
Well, while there is no one secret alone that can make you a success in the business world, the story of determined employees and aspiring entrepreneurs shed light on what makes a business thrive. Grande Air Solutions was established in 2011 by young, honest entrepreneurs Isael Garcia and Petra Lugo. They are both described as honest entrepreneurs ready to take on any challenge, which is what drove them to make this company a success. You’ll be able to find Isael and Petra engaging regularly with their customers and employees. As both will tell you, honesty is the first and foremost important feature to have in a company. Customers look for honesty in an AC repair Austin team when they’re looking to spend their money on a service. Whether the customer needs a new HVAC system or AC repair, they want to make sure that they’re getting their money’s worth.
Reliable and Affordability Make a Difference
Another key aspect that can take an HVAC company from a small-sized business to a household name is reliability. It can be a distressing situation when the AC breaks down in the middle of a hot summer day. The homeowner does not want to wait for hours on end waiting for the technician to arrive at their home. An HVAC company like Grande Air Solutions that is known for reliability will always be there for their customers, especially if it’s an HVAC emergency. Along with reliability, affordable prices are other factors that can make any company a success if it’s done right. This is where Grande Air Solutions shines as well. They offer their services along with affordable prices for all customers.
Building a Solid Reputation
How do you stand out from the rest of the competition?
It can be difficult to achieve a level of uniqueness among your competitors. However, this is where this company has also succeeded when it comes to Austin heating and air services. Building a solid reputation for years has propelled Grande Air Solutions from a small AC repair company to the well-known, trusted name it is today within the Austin area. The company has been able to deliver high-quality service to its customers, which has resulted in returning customers. This is also known as customer loyalty. The business has many five-star reviews, which potential customers look for in an HVAC company. Isael and Petra envisioned a company that carries the type of professionalism and friendly service that has exceeded the expectations of many of the company’s customers. In a nutshell, the entire team of employees are the ones who have helped build a respectable reputation for Grande Air Solutions.
Trusted and Trained Technicians
A company is only as good as its members. Another reason why this HVAC company has excelled in every aspect of the business is the team. The company’s technicians are well-trained and experienced in the HVAC field. When the technician arrives to fix or install the HVAC system, the customer knows exactly what they’ll be getting. The homeowner will always get quality service because it’s the results that speak volumes. Grande Air Solutions hires technicians who are experienced in the field and properly trained. Having the proper credentials also essential for any successful HVAC company to have, such as certifications and proper licensing.
Connecting With the Community
Starting from a small, humble HVAC company, Grande Air Solutions has been able to grow significantly thanks to the help of people. As a family-owned business, the company also knows the importance of closeness in the community. The company has been able to give back as much as they’ve received from their local communities. In fact, the company strives to give much more. By collaborating with local charitable organizations, they are able to offer the basic necessities of life, much-needed monetary donations, help for nonprofit organizations, and other support. Being a household name among the people holds a responsibility to provide a role model as a reliable HVAC company in all aspects, including helping the community.
Expanding Service Areas
Although it may be difficult to expand services in the beginning as a smaller business, one of the reasons the company has been able to grow is because of its determination to expand. Now, Grande Air Solutions is proud to offer Austin heating and air services throughout more of the areas. The company has been able to offer services in Buda, Cedar Park, Georgetown, Kyle, and more, just to mention a few. All of these cities are located in Texas. Investing time and money in their employees is one reason why the company has become a household name in Austin. As the team grows, more service areas are sure to open in the future.
Offering a Wide Range of HVAC Services
Knowing about the HVAC basics is important. However, this company has been able to expand and grow because its technicians are always learning something new in the field. As technology advances, the area of HVAC also continues to improve. This can include learning about smart thermostats, the new A2L refrigerants, and the new UV light purifiers. Whatever the case may be, the company has continued its success by offering new and improved HVAC services. The wide range of alternatives gives customers the power to choose what they want for their home.
Continuing the Success Without Letup
It can be discouraging and even disheartening when the challenge of a business gets you down. However, the key is to keep on going. Just like this company has shown continuous effort to succeed, it is vital for a business to keep on going without letup. Any business is likely to face ups and downs as they continue to expand. The important thing to keep in mind is that you are doing everything for the customer. Grande Air Solutions is an excellent example of a company that has put its customers first. It is their top priority to deliver quality AC repair, installations, and other HVAC services. Rest assured that the future looks bright for the company as it holds a special place for the residents of Austin, Texas, and nearby communities.
An Inside Look at One & Only Electrical Service Inc. with CEO Moshe Sabag
With thousands of electrical problems solved and many years of experience, they’ve become a reliable and experienced choice for those in need of electrical solutions. In this interview, we’ll be speaking with Moshe Sabag, the CEO of One & Only Electrical Service Inc. We’ll explore the ins and outs of the electrical industry, the company’s commitment to quality service, and their approach to customer satisfaction. So, let’s dive into the world of electrical services with Moshe Sabag.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your role in One & Only Electrical Service Inc.?
Moshe Sabag: My name is Moshe Sabag and I am the CEO of One & Only Electrical Service Inc. I have been in the electrical business for over a decade and have gained extensive experience and knowledge in the field. As the CEO, my role is to oversee the company’s operations and ensure that we provide top-notch service to our clients.
What inspired you to start One & Only Electrical Service Inc.?
Moshe Sabag: My passion for the electrical industry inspired me to start One & Only Electrical Service Inc. I saw a need for a reliable and affordable electrical contractor company in the Tri-Valley area and wanted to provide that service to the community.
What sets One & Only Electrical Service Inc. apart from other electrical contractors in the area?
Moshe Sabag: One & Only Electrical Service Inc. stands out from other electrical contractors in the area because of our commitment to providing exceptional service to our clients. We take pride in being the best local electrician for our clients. We are licensed and insured, and our electricians are highly trained and experienced. We also offer a wide range of services, including EV charging station installation, smart switches ( Lutron, Brilliant, Leviton, Noon) installation, and all house rewire.
Can you tell us more about the EV charging station installation service you offer?
Moshe Sabag: We specialize in EV charging station installation and can install a charging station for any electric vehicle, including Tesla (car charger tesla ) and BMW. We also offer a range of electrical services, including recessed light installation,led light, electrical panel upgrades, and wiring repairs. We will assess your home or business and recommend the best charging station for your needs. Our electricians will install the charging station safely and efficiently, ensuring that it is up to code and functioning properly.
What is your approach to customer service?
Moshe Sabag: At One & Only Electrical Service Inc., we prioritize customer satisfaction above all else. We offer same-day service and are available 24/7 for emergencies. Our friendly and dedicated customer service representatives are always ready to answer any questions or concerns you may have.
Can you share a success story from One & Only Electrical Service Inc.?
Moshe Sabag: We recently installed an EV charging station for a client who had just purchased a Tesla. They were thrilled with our service and professionalism, and have since recommended us to several of their friends and colleagues. It’s always rewarding to know that we’ve provided a valuable service to our clients and exceeded their expectations.
What kind of training and certifications do your electricians have?
Moshe Sabag: Our electricians are highly trained and experienced, and we make sure they are up-to-date with the latest technology and techniques in the industry. They are all licensed and insured, and have undergone extensive training and certification programs to ensure they are able to provide the highest quality service to our clients.
As a Bay Area electrician, what are some of the unique challenges you face when providing electrical services to your clients?
Moshe Sabag: “Being a Bay Area electrician, we face a range of challenges when providing electrical services to our clients. One of the biggest challenges is keeping up with the latest technological advancements in the field, as the Bay Area is known for its innovative and tech-driven culture.
What do you see as the future of the electrical industry?
Moshe Sabag: The electrical industry is constantly evolving, with new technology and advancements in renewable energy. As the demand for renewable energy sources increases, we will likely see a shift towards more sustainable and environmentally-friendly solutions. We also expect to see continued growth in the EV charging station industry, as more people switch to electric vehicles.
What are some of the biggest challenges facing the electrical industry today?
Moshe Sabag: One of the biggest challenges facing the electrical industry today is the shortage of skilled labor. As the demand for electrical services continues to grow, there is a need for more qualified electricians to meet that demand. Another challenge is keeping up with the latest technology and advancements in the industry, which requires ongoing education and training.
What advice would you give to someone looking for a reliable electrician?
Moshe Sabag: When looking for a reliable electrician, it’s important to do your research and choose a licensed and insured electrical company. Look for reviews and testimonials from previous clients, and ask for references. It’s also important to choose a company that offers a wide range of services, so that they can address all of your electrical needs.
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