Monday, December 17, 2012

Getting out of my creative rut

Thought I would share this graphic today.  It is fun and encouraging and really motivating me today.  Validating some of what I have been thinking and inspiring me to let my creative juices flow a little more.

I am working on some new things this month while continuing with a few old things.  Trying to decide what I am keeping and what I am tossing going forward.  I  have definitely felt less creative lately.  This month along with continuing to take action on the areas I have been working on I am going to focus on re-discovering my creativity.  I really miss it.

  How to Break Out of a Creative Rut
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Sunday, December 16, 2012


Well, it has been another 2 months and I thought it was high time for an update to my search for entrepreneurial income.  There is very little to report.  And yet much to report.  I haven't really done much yet I have done a lot.  Lots of nothing and something going on over here.

I  have sold some Stella & Dot, yet not followed up to the extent I should have with the names I got at the vendor show.  I have come to the conclusion that while I love the customer interaction I don't really love packing all my stuff up and schlepping it to someones home and convince her friends to spend a bunch of money on my product.  I am unsure how long I am going to continue pursuing this particular business.  When I started it I never intended it to be a permanent business, just hopefully a little extra cash this year, and it has been that.  So I have no complaints.

This past week my hubby and I went to see a property that could potentially hold a business that would require a lot more of me than the kind of business I had initially pictured.  I won't bore you with the details quite yet but I will say that it feels like something I could really get my brain around and excited about, yet is the biggest risk of all the business ideas I have had over the past couple years.  This is an idea we have talked about for a couple years.  I like it because John and I could do it together, although I would be the primary person running it, and because it is in the construction field which is an area we know and love already and we have a network within this field which will be helpful going forward.

So I continue in my quest to make $5,000/month as a self employed person.  And yes, as I have learned this past year, it is harder than I thought it would be but I have not lost my enthusiasm or belief that it can be done and I can successfully make money and take control of my life without punching an 8-5 clock.

Will try to report with the new business venture update in less than 2 months.

And book reviews to come, I happened to know that I will be getting "Platform" by Michael Hyatt and "Entreleadership" by Dave Ramsey for Christmas.  Can't wait to dig into both.  I have been listening to their podcasts lately, excellent.  Highly recommend them if you have a business of any kind.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Working Weekend

There is no royal, flower-strewn path to success. And if there is, I have not found it. For if I have accomplished anything in life, it is because I have been willing to work hard. – C.J. Walker

This past weekend I have been at the mall doing a vendor show for my Stella & Dot business.  I signed up for this show on a whim less than a week ahead of the show and spent 4 days panicking and trying to find a few other people to split the time and cost with.  I shared most of Sunday with a couple stylists but spent 11 hours on both Friday and Saturday standing in essentially one spot.

I have been vacillating about whether to continue to pursue my Stella & Dot business but decided with the holiday's approaching I just couldn't pass up an opportunity to capture some Christmas shopping business.  And when I saw a sign for this show I went for it.

I ended up getting quite a few great leads and am confident I will more than recoup the money I spent on the show.  But even if I hadn't gotten a single name it would have been worth it for the experience and for the training I received from the other vendors who were more than happy to share their tips and tricks for both doing vendors shows but also for running a small business.  And I think, more than ever, I realize that selling Stella & Dot jewelry is not a job but a business.  Two very different things.

So the tag line for this site is "How hard can it be to make $5,000/month?"  Over the past few months I have come to realize it is a little harder than I thought.  But not impossible.  The tasks themselves aren't hard but deciding to make the commitment and put out the effort necessary can be, at times, very hard work.  Standing 11 hours a day, most of those hours spent just watching people walk by you madly avoiding eye contact, was really hard work.  Exhausting.  It will take days for my feet to recover from the experience.  I have a totally new respect for people who work retail.

One of my big take aways from another vendor was something he had heard at a recent training event.  He said in the beginning you are paid way less than you are worth.  While I make good money at my shows I am having to continue to reinvest in new product plus take time away from shows to prepare, learn, set up, market, etc.  In the beginning you do a lot of work that doesn't pay and spend on products and promotions which can eat up your profits.  Then at some point your hard work pays off and you start making about what you are worth.  If you keep working you will eventually pop up to the level we all want to be at, where we are making far more than we are worth.  This is not just true of a direct sales business like Stella & Dot.  While I can see exactly what I need to do to reach each of those levels the reality is each of those levels exists in any business.  The question is which level are you at and which level do you want to be at?

What I realized is that I am on the first level but trying to pretend I am on the second level.  On the first level I need to realize it is not about making money, it is about building a business which will eventually pay me what I am worth.  I have been focused on making the money and as a result am holding myself back from building the business.

So I continue to march forward very much in the hard work season of life and business building but slowly I am learning to embrace and appreciate this season.

Can't wait to see what happens next!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

I haven't lost enthusiasm yet!

People often say that motivation doesn't last.  Well, neither does bathing--that's why we recommend it daily. --Zig Zigler

It has been almost a month since I published anything new here.  And while I still haven't quite figured out how to make $5,000/month or any other extra money I have been busy talking to people, listening to online gurus and getting my schedule organized so I know when I will be working on this.

Let's review my journey so far:

Last year I was working full time as a receptionist making low pay.  I realized that in order be able to support my family while my husband is in school I would need to start a little side business to supplement my job income.  I started with a home based business selling Stella & Dot jewelry.  While I like it and make good money when I work, I find it hard to market within my friend groups.  When I started it I knew I wouldn't make the full $5,000/month but thought it would be a good way to get started and get my feet wet.  I also did a writing project.  This was also good money but I haven't spent any time really pursuing more work.

What I finally realize was that the structure of the job I had made it difficult to pursue other business ventures while still claiming to prioritize my family.  So I made a job change this summer to working from home.  It has been a very good job change family wise and does pay a little more per hour but is less hours so ultimately is a slight pay cut.  Because I made the change over the summer I basically ended up getting sucked into summer activities with the family when I wasn't working and so not much forward progress happened this summer.

Finally, everyone is back in school and I am re-focused on how to make money from home.  So let's talk about what I am currently working on:

I did manage to create and launch a new blog/website called "From Homemaker to Working Mom: Encouragement as you make the transition back to work."  And I have published an article online at Ezine Articles on the topic hoping to get some traffic my way.  I need to find other places I can write short articles which will drive traffic to my site.  As I research the various ways to make money online and with blog type sites I am seeing that I really need an e-book so have started working on a book on this topic.  I am excited about the progress so far and have a goal to finish by Thanksgiving.  It is a bit ambitious but I think I can make it happen.

I have found a friend with similar goals to mine and we are teaming up both to encourage one another and to possibly partner on some endeavors.  We are just getting started on working together but are both excited about the possibilities.  I have been saying for years that I need a colaborater.  I need someone to work with, bounce ideas off and occasionally tell me what to do.  I work better with another person.  She feels the same way.  So far we have discussed our strengths, goals, values, resources and are working to hold each other accountable.  I am excited about where we will take this relationship.

Together we have several ideas so for the next month I am going to focus on considering various online business options.  I have several friends making fair to good to great money online selling various stuff and so will be talking to them as well as listening to the many how to videos available for free on the internet.  The one I am working through currently is Eric's Tips.  He has 100 short video lessons walking you through the process of creating an information product to sell.  An e-book would be an example of an information product.  I started listening to them last fall but got distracted by my life.  However, as I begin again having an idea of what my information product will be I am getting much more out of them.

So my specific goals this month are:

Write 1 chapter per week on my book.
complete all 100 Eric's Tips lessons and begin putting together a plan of the next business to pursue.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do.  So throw of fthe bowlines.  Sail away from the safe harbor.  Catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore. Dream. Discover. --Mark Twain

Friday, August 31, 2012

Getting ready to launch

In the business world, everyone is paid in two coins: cash and experience. Take the experience first; the cash will come later. – Harold Geneen

In a couple days I am going to officially start promoting my new web site/blog.  I am excited, nervous, ready.  Not exactly sure what will happen next.  I still have SO much to learn.   As the quote above discusses, I think the next few months will be about being paid in experience.  I will have to find my cash elsewhere for a few more months.  But I believe I am starting a path that will get me there.

Success in business requires training and discipline and hard work. But if you’re not frightened by these things, the opportunities are just as great today as they ever were. – David Rockefeller

The big question is, am I ready and willing to do the work.  Am I frightened by training, discipline and hard work or am I excited by the challenge and all there is to learn and do going forward?

The past month or so might suggest that I am more frightened than excited.  I have been working but I know I could be doing more and be more prepared for what I am about to do.  However, in my defense, it is summer and I have had 2 children at home with needs of their own.  Next week when everyone is back at school and I am home alone working all day the answer to this question will have to be faced.  Will I take action or continue coming up with excuses?

I had a couple people tell me that with this kind of business you just get it out there, get started.  Don't wait for it to be perfect, make it happen.  Start working, start promoting, start selling.  Tweak and improve as you go along and build a following.  I must admit, that is probably going to be my favorite part of this business.  I love to jump in with both feet and see what happens.  I love that I don't have to be perfect right from the start because I am not perfect.  My site, my writing, my business will never be perfect.  Just keep working, keep moving forward, keep learning.  Ready or not, here I come!

So not much to update from this past month.  I did throw one Stella & Dot open house in my home which went quite well.  I haven't had a chance to check my final totals but I think I made about $150 for a couple hours of work.  So worth it.  Other than that I have spent the month writing, working my job and being with my family.  It has been a wonderful month but I am very, very ready for school to start and the next attempt at making money to begin.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Project Completion

I am trying, trying, trying to create a business.  To start making money online.  To do...something!  Today I came across a great short article here in which the author talks about the Art of Completion.  YES, I need to complete a few tasks so I can get on with the work of making money.  Brilliant.  Then she totally inspires me with this idea regarding why I am not getting anything done:

This may not be an issue of procrastination. It could be that your completion muscles are not fully developed.
Hello.  My completion muscles are not fully developed.  I admit, I am more about the excitement of the idea than pushing through the details to complete the project.  I love to start, I struggle to complete.  My completion muscles are not fully developed.  Some days and in some areas I am not sure they have even started developing.  But overall I have completed enough things in my life that I must have something starting there.  I just need to keep working.

OK So muscle building.  You start out small, you are sore all the time and then slowly, over time, one day at a time, your muscles grow, you get stronger, fitter and look better.  And as the habit develops it becomes easier to continue to grow those muscles.  Or easier and less painful to maintain them once thy are there.

So the bottom line is that as I have sat at my desk the last couple afternoons feeling like I am in pain, feeling frustrated by what I am not accomplishing and don't know, it is all good.  I am doing something great.

I love feeling sore after a work out.  Love. It.  I know it is probably sick but I really feel like I am doing something, making a difference.  I have worked hard and it willl pay off.  I might move a little slower the rest of the day, or for the next few days, but I just see that as part of the fun.  (I know, I am sick.)

So starting today I am going to view feeling "sore" after an afternoon on my computer trying to build a web site, create content, learn internet marketing, and so much more, I will walk away feeling GREAT.  Still sore, still moving a little slow but doing something, learning and making it happen.  I am working toward completing a project and showing it off.

Pretty soon I will be a master project completer.  Finishing books, designing products ready to sell and so much more.  Goals accomplished.  Dreams fulfilled.

How are your completion muscles feeling today?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

I think I am getting somewhere

To think is easy. To act is difficult. To act as one thinks is the most difficult. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goeth

 Here I am cruising along in my life.  I am slowly, ever so painfully slowly, starting to think I am going to learn and get a grip on this new job.  The good news is that I am busy each day and the 5ish hours I am trying to put in each morning just FLY by.  I always think that is a sign you are enjoying what you are doing.

As with my last job transition this one was a little overwhelming at first and I realized that I  needed to let my body adjust to the new information and work I was doing.  Luckily the first transition was the hardest, it only took a couple weeks to make the physical adjustment this time. 

Now on to the next part of my new work schedule plan, starting a business!  So I FINALLY feel like I am making some progress.  Because John is working so much this summer we decided that I could put all my checks for this summer into an account for me to use to start my business.  It is amazing how much easier and more confident you feel when you have a few hundred dollars to spend to hire people or purchase resources to help you accomplish your goal rather than sitting at the computer staring at it trying to accomplish something you are woefully under qualified to accomplish.  So I am working hard on creating a web site to launch in September.  It might be more like the last day of September but I decided I wanted an ambitious goal.  I hired a coach to help me get started and launch me in a direction.  Well spent money.  She actually runs a web site for a living right now and she said in the industry the philosphy is "go ugly early".  I had another friend who gave me similar advice with her "minimal viable product" advice.  Basically, Make it happen!  Just do it!  Get started and fix it as you go.  And, although you may not know this about me, that is totally how I roll.  Wonderful confirmation that I am heading in the right career direction. And the great thing about hiring people to help you with the stuff you don't know how to do is that you get to focus on the stuff you are excited about.  I have started writing content and am getting excited about marketing options.  Once I have everything in place this fall the real work begins.  But the possibility of making money also begins.

So where am I this month?

I opened a checking account for the business.  Technically just a personal account.  I still need to register as a business and file with the state.  Still considering what I will call the thing.

I have a Stella & Dot trunk show tomorrow night.  I am excited about it and am still enjoying it but have decided to simplify my goals.  I still really like how much money I can make at a trunk show.  Tomorrow I will work for about 2-3 hours and make between $50-$150 depending on the show.  Even at the low end good hourly pay.  My goal is to have at least one more trunk show in the next month and do a fall open house at the end of August in my own home.  I am thinking my main goal will be to have a fall and spring open house every year.  Just like we like to update our wardrobe every year we like to update our jewelry with the latest looks too.

I  haven't quite finished all the books on my shelf but pretty darn close.  I think by the weekend I will be ready for a new crop of books to inspire and inform me.

I am going to keep writing.  I want to have several weeks of content ready to go when I get started in September.  Might have to set aside a day just for writing.  It will be hard but somebody has to do it... I have lots of other ideas and seeing this one start to come together is making me think that I really might be able to create some of the other ideas as well.  But one thing at a time.  Launch a web site in September, get it running and THEN start thinking about product ideas and Christmas sales..
It is still hard work but once you are on the right path it is pretty fun.

I like thinking big. If you’re going to be thinking anything, you might as well think big. – Donald Trump