Tag Archives: career

What’s Cookin?

I have not faded away, I am still here, remember me?

mixin

Oh my gosh you guys. It’s been a strange couple of months. Strange, wonderful, and eye opening. Turns out, starting a new business, when you’re already working full time, takes up a lot of your energy. Who knew? It’s been really wonderful though, and it feels good to be challenged by new things.

So, what’s new? Well, the Etsy shop is steady. I’ve done a few local events as a vendor, and it was amazing to get out into the world (away from the computer, whah?) and talk to real people. People who are interested in the same things as I am. People…who want to give me money! Wow! What a concept…

So, this is a short and sweet post. But I just wanted to say hi, and also welcome all the people who are taking part in Allie’s link parties. I am so excited to be getting a chance to know all of these other talented bloggers. Life is good!

Also I wanted to mention, there are going to be a few giveaways from a couple of different vendors coming up in the next month, so stay tuned, this is stuff you will LOVE!

xoxo,
Mere

So… Frankincense.

frankincense

Last week I was in Pennsylvania to be on Good Day Fox Philly with Allie, which was surreal, and more on that another day. In between filming segments, I was going on and on about Frankincense essential oil, which I’ve been doing a lot of lately, and yes, I was getting some eye rolls because my claims are a little out there. When I’m in PA, everyone thinks I’m this big hippie, which is funny, because my hippie friends in CT think I’m the most mainstream person in their lives.

But, I don’t care, the stuff has literally been life changing for me, and I don’t claim to be sane.

So, what’s so great about this stuff? Let me tell you a little story…

As an entrepreneurial-type, I get hit up a lot to sell stuff. Mary Kay, Market America, that kind of thing. I always kind of roll my eyes, because it’s just never felt right to me. I know a lot of people make a good living selling that stuff, and I don’t judge, it’s just not stuff that I feel comfortable pushing people to buy, so I always politely decline.

When I got a message from my cousin recently, that he’s selling essential oils (doTerra), and that he thought I’d be a good candidate to be a reseller as well, I gave him my typical response, and said I’d take the samples, because I’ve always liked essential oils (clary sage really helped me get through natural childbirth), but I have no interest in being a reseller.

So, he sent the samples.

At that time, I was thisclose to launching my online store for my graphic design business. I’ve been talking about it and working on it for about a year. It was taking me forever to finish. I was my own worst enemy. I kept revising and re-revising. My head felt clouded and stressed. I was worried that once I launched, my life was going to change for the worst. I worried that I’d be so busy running that business that I wouldn’t have time for anything else. I’ve been a designer for 11 years now, so I’m kind of not that wowed by it anymore. BUT, ultimately, it’s good money, and I have a family to provide for, so I felt I needed to grow up and just do it, fulfillment be damned.

Being a pretty crazy meditator, I kept focusing on gaining clarity. Clarity, clarity clarity. Just unfog my brain so I can think clearly and ultimately run my life/career from a balanced perspective. It was coming here and there a little bit, but mostly I felt like I just couldn’t quite find what I was looking for. I didn’t even know what I was looking for, but I knew there was something in the back of my mind, waiting for me to find it. It was pretty frustrating, to be honest.

The essential oil samples arrived. I liked them. A lot. At home, alone every day, I would just sit there and breath the frankincense, non-stop. There was just something about that smell that just seemed to reach into my core and grab me. I was like an addict, it was crazy.

One morning, sitting on the floor meditating, breathing it in, I was overcome with something similar to a vision. Thoughts suddenly just filled my entire brain, it was like a voice telling me, “you don’t have to launch that graphic design website. You don’t want to, and why should you? You’ve been working as a business owner for 10 years, you know how to do it right, and you can do anything you want. You can do it on your own terms. There’s plenty of room for another successful entrepreneur in any field you choose”. It was staggering. THERE WAS MY CLARITY!!!! It was something I was so certain of, immediately, all my wishy-washiness was GONE! I became ecstatic, and honestly, a lot of that ecstasy is still running through me. It was an epiphany, and those are awesome, and should be listened to.

SO, (not to brag or anything) after working conflictedly for a year on a website that was never finished, I dove in, made skincare products (which I’ve been dabbling with and giving away to friends over the past few months), and opened my Etsy shop. It took me two weeks to design all the packaging, make all the products, and set up the website. Two weeks. I was like a girl en fuego. Now, a little over 4 weeks later, I’ve made 57 online sales, and 15 in-person sales. I’m set up to sell at several local shows/events in town here, and have 5 offers to sell in retail establishments. This is the kind of turn-around I’ve been wishing for my whole life.

All in all, after reading about the benefits of frankincense, I am convinced that all of this positive change was a result using it. I think it would have taken me at least another year of hard core reflection to even come close to the decisions that I came to in a few days. So, I don’t mind if people roll their eyes at me, because I feel like the proof is clear.

There’s my frankincense story. And to be honest, since trying out some other oils, I’ve had similar results. Patchouli gets rid of my nervous stomach. Rosemary gives me confidence and gets rid of self destructive thoughts and guilt. Grapefruit makes me feel like life’s just one big party. Seriously. It’s pretty awesome. I’ve successfully fought off several colds that went around my house, without Airborne. I could go on and on.

I did end up signing up as a reseller as well. The investment to do so is very low, compared to a lot of the multi-level marketing programs I’ve researched in the past, and the discounts you get on the oils are substantial, so at the very least, that’s enough for me. (I am in no way being paid by doTerra to write about any of this stuff, although that would be nice. Anyone want to pay me?)

So, if you’d like to learn more about frankincense, here are some interesting links.

http://doterralife.wordpress.com/2011/07/01/fabulous-frankincense-the-king-of-essential-oils/

http://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/essential-oils/health-benefits-of-frankincense-essential-oil.html

http://www.naturalhealth365.com/natural_healing/frankincense.html

If you’d be interested in checking out doTerra, which are super high quality, can safely be ingested, applied directly to skin with no adverse reactions, here’s that:

http://doterra.com

And for the science-minded: http://modernessentialoils.com/Resources/SAB_Compendium.pdf (particularly interesting is the part on page 3 about Vanderbilt University Medical Center).

And if you have any questions, or want to share a similar experience, please chime in!

xo,
Mere

LTB – Never Stop Trying

For today’s episode of Let’s Talk Business, I’d like to tell you a story about epic fails!

When I was five, I was gifted with a beautiful, plastic self-inking stamp.  The image was a strawberry with a happy face, and the ink was strawberry scented.  I was pleased.  I realized that I really enjoyed the important, business-like feeling it gave me to powerfully stamp it all over a manilla folder.  Then I had an idea.

I would go door-to-door, soliciting my neighbors to purchase a hand made candy dish (which I would later figure out how to make out of cut up manilla folders and glue).  If they desired to purchase a dish, I would smartly and professionally smack a stamp on my folder, then on a little card, and give it to them as a receipt.

Every single person ordered a dish.  Thankfully, I wasn’t smart enough at the time to ask for payment, because I completely failed get around to making the dishes, therefore my only loss was maybe a little credibility, meh.

Clearly, I understand the importance of shoulder pads in business at a young age.

Clearly, I understand the importance of shoulder pads in business at an early age.

I just really enjoyed pretending to be a professional, and the thrill of a sale was all the reward I needed.  That, and some pretty sassy office supplies.  The success for me at that tender age, was the experience of the task, not the money.

Since then, I’ve had a lot of major epiphanies for new business ideas. Unfortunately, my epiphanies have not resulted in creating 50+ jobs for people, have not landed me on the cover of Forbes, and have not allowed me to finally trade-in my 96 Geo Prizm for my dream car…YET.

The businesses I’ve started (and ended) are:
– Online store selling handmade baby clothes and silk baby slings
– A service similar to SpaBoom for spa owners to sell gift cards online
– A shared workspace/child care co-op

These businesses failed, for various reasons, despite my initial passion for them.  I lost money.  I lost friends.  I lost faith in myself, and most importantly, I lost the ability to enjoy the successes that are in addition to money. In each of these failures was a common thread.  I was crippled with fear of losing money.  It consumed me, and eventually I wasn’t able to enjoy them, so I closed the doors, one by one.

What I learned, is that if I had been capable of figuring out smarter ways to keep my investments within my means, giving myself the time and patience to think things through carefully, and overall, staying like that wide eyed five year old, focused on feeling fulfilled by my trust in the process, I think things would have been different.

I had to fail in order to learn those lessons.

So, with those lessons simmering on the back burner or my mind, for 1 year I put aside any thoughts of making money in new ventures.

I allowed myself to enjoy writing for this blog, and plug away in my graphic design business, which is the only thing in my career that has withstood the test of time.

Anything else had to be purely hobby, when there was time and money.

It was liberating to be free from the pressure to make money from those wonderful, hobby-ish things, and just enjoy the process of being creative.  It’s been teaching me SO MUCH.  It allowed me to make mistakes, which eventually turned into happy accidents (ie, innovations).  Without the pressure to make things quickly and efficiently, with the expectation of making money, I was able to create things that I was extremely proud of. Things that I used on myself, and gifted to my loves ones, instead of rushing them out the door to the public in hopes to turn a profit.

Essentially, it’s teaching me to care for myself, which might just be the most important thing to be able to understand, in order to create a successful career, and life in general.  It taught me that success isn’t just money, it’s an overall picture of your life, and how comfortable and joyful you feel. Frequent, regular comfort and joy are true successes.

Now that I’m at the one-year mark of being safe, figuring out what I really love to do, without the pressure of making money at it, I’m releasing myself from these restrictions, forgiving my 5 year old self for never fulfilling those candy dish orders, harnessing that wide-eyed wonderment that I relished at that age, and THEN revisiting the money questions with a clear head, and asking friends for advice. I am now ready to gear up, and start Entrepreneurial Venture #725 – the Etsy Shop.  I’ll be keeping y’all in the loop on that project, stay tuned!

If you’re interested in exploring the notion of starting your own business (but maybe feeling a little crippled with fears related to past failures), here are some excellent books to get you going:

The E-Myth
$100 Startup
The Four Agreements
Think and Grow Rich
The Circle

But most of all, just enjoy the process and try not to psych yourself out.

I’d love to hear your experiences and lessons learned from successes and failures alike, please feel free to chime in here!

xoxo, Mere

 

This Will Be “Quick”

I am very busy, and I’m very happy about that, because there was a time that I had too little work and therefore, too little money.  BUT, I’m not trying to brag, because being busy can be STRESSFUL, and stress is bad.

Therefore, when I’m stressed, I comfort myself with this little saying:  “Time doesn’t exist, anyway”.

My challenge to you (and myself) today, is if you feel stressed about time, whether if you’re feeling guilty for wasting it, feeling stressed that there’s not enough of it, etc, just say to your self, “time doesn’t exist anyway“, and see if you feel better (and also see if you end up having a pretty productive day).

If you are the type that needs to understand why you should do something someone is telling you to do, especially when it sounds insane, then you might want to read this first to understand why I would ask you to do this.
http://infinite712.hubpages.com/hub/Time-doesnt-Exist

Then do it, and tell me how much better it made you feel all day long.

xoxo, Mere

Making Business Cards

Let’s Talk Business – Entrepreneurial Rules Were Meant To Be Broken

Making Business Cards

The last time I posted about business stuff, I was hellbent on FINISHING CRAP UP.  I’d finished my logo, and was starting to work on my website, and I had a PLAN to finish the website in about 6 weeks.

Well… things don’t always go as planned. As was going through writing the copy, I sort of started feeling this fog, like I just wasn’t sure about something, something that I couldn’t even put my finger on. It was just a feeling of a lack of clarity.  Then I got really busy with client work, so it became easy to put it on the back burner.

Thankfully, my obsession with meditation has taught me a valuable lesson, which is “when in doubt, wait it out”.  That’s right, the most impatient woman in the world can now peacefully wait for what she wants.  Meditation truly can lead to miracles.

So, I stepped away, and focuses on networking for now, trying to attend at least 1 event per week.  Meetup.com has a lot to offer anyone who’s looking to network, or just about anything else social.

Also, I ordered cool rubber stamps of my logo so that I can make my own business cards.  This is extra super fun.  I think I’m slightly addicted.

Ultimately, a feeling of clarity came to me out of the blue yesterday.  I’ve been knocking WordPress as a website (vs. blogging) website for the past year.  The reason is that yes, there are a lot of amazing plugins that can make life very easy, but they’re third party plugins that could contain bugs, and you really have to be on top of making sure they’re updated regularly to avoid security issues or whatever.  So, I kind of made it my personal policy that I just don’t do WordPress for websites (blogs, yes, in fact this is a WordPress blog).

Generally, I tend to be extremely wishy washy.  My husband says the only predictable thing about me, is that I will always change my mind and will always be extremely unpredictable.  Sure enough, out of the blue yesterday, it occurred to me that WordPress is the best solution for my website!  And, I need to sell my ability to build custom WordPress websites!!!!!!!  Whatever.  So, the fog has lifted, my mind feels clear, and here I go, building a WordPress website.  The entrepreneurial spirit is re-energized!

Never say never, I guess.

One Year Ago

FIRED!

One year ago, I was going through a major upheaval.  It’s funny to look back now, and encouraging to see that not only did we survive, but we’re doing so great in spite of it.

What was the upheaval?  Well, I’m not too proud to admit that I made one of the biggest slip-ups of my life, and sent a big ole angry rant about my boss….to my boss, instead of to my husband.  Yup, that’s right folks. I pretty much unintentionally gave my tyrannical, ego-maniacal, dictator of a boss the f-you he was subconsciously begging for.  Whoops!

I saw his name in the “To” field, just as the window was disappearing.  I couldn’t stop it.  I remember very specifically what happened next.  It happened in slow motion. I said “fuck, it’s over”.  Looked around, grabbed all the things I really cared about (my purse, my notebooks), and non-nonchalantly walked out of the office, as though I were going to lunch, and drove home.

I knew my goose was cooked, and I wasn’t prepared for the confrontation.

As I was driving home, I was simultaneously calling my friends, giggling hysterically, and crying.  It was such a jolt of emotions!  I was FREE from that hell hole!  OMG, how am I going to pay for anything?  Who cares, I’m FREE!!!  Why am I such a fuck up???

When that occurred, I was very uncertain where my life was going to take me.  Before that, it had seemed full of promise.  After, pretty much felt like a survival challenge.

One year later, I’m at peace.  I have a thriving freelance business, which holds lots of promise for expansion, I am blogging with my sister, who is a genius and I feel lucky to be part of something with her, my husband has a new job (that doesn’t make him travel to India every 10 seconds), my kids continue to live healthy, full lives, and bonus, the nastiness of that situation lead me to commit to a serious meditation practice, which gives me so much peace and joy.

So, all in all, even when life hands you a big pile of doggie poo, it’s totally possible to scrape that junk off, wash your hands, laugh, look inward, and learn something, and benefit from it.

I think I probably sent him that email subconsciously on purpose, because I knew I could have better, but was too scared to take the leap and quit, consciously.  As much as we were not suited to work together, I do hope that in some way my email helped him, but I’ll never know, and that’s perfectly fine with me.

Alright, now go tell your boss to fuck off.  Kidding!

xoxo, Mere

 

So, much, introspection!!!!!!

From time to time, I start to get confused by my life’s path, and figure out that all I need is to reflect on it with greater focus.  And when I need to do this, a good book definitely comes in handy to help give me some direction.

Books help me become accountable for sticking to my goals, whatever they might be at any given time.

Some which have helped me create massive changes in my life (with not a lot of effort) are, The Circle, by Laura Day (which helped me pick myself off the proverbial dirty floor, in opportunity-less Daytona Beach, to make the move to career-driven, opportunity-hub, Connecticut),.

Dying to be Me, by Anita Moorjani helped me learn to relax in career-driven, gouge-my-eyes-out-with-expensiveness, Connecticut.

Most recently, as I’m working toward a goal of a thriving, yet peaceful business, is How to Create and Epic Life by Emily Levenson.

This one I particularly like for the reasons; it’s a quick read, and the results are seen almost immediately.

The premise is familiar, start by refining and defining what it is, that you really want out of life.  For me, this is usually simple, enjoy my customers, enjoy the creative process, enjoy my job overall, make good money, etc.

While reading today, I became aware of the fact, that one of the things I need to add to my list of goals, is to Consistently Appreciate My Life, in all its Glory, for What It Currently Is.

When I take a step back and look at all I have, I am blown away, but for some reason, I feel detached from this life, as though it belongs to someone else, and I’m just a slave that works for the person living it, to provide the money for them.

I have been living as though I am a slave, and I realize that this does not need to be the case.  It’s simply a matter of me deciding to take part in my own life, my own story, and stop acting like an outsider who is only see the hard parts.

I wonder if anyone else can relate to this.  Can you?  Let me know if that’s the case, so I don’t feel like a lunatic, OK?

So, over the next 2 months, as I’m working toward developing a cool-ass brand that gets the job done, I will also make an effort to be present in my own life, so I don’t miss out on any of it.

xoxo, Mere

LTB – With Force!

I’m really having to force myself on this one.  Every time I think about what to do to grow my business, I find myself becoming overwhelmed with a feeling of exhaustion, and it’s very hard to avoid feeling like all I want to do is lay down and take a nap.

I took some time this morning to examine why this is happening, and what I’ve come up with is that I need to just get down to it.  I have to stop looking at my new logo, website, etc. as a destination, and instead think of it as a journey.  I won’t get anywhere on my journey by laying down and wishing it was over already.

So, my progress hasn’t gone much further with my logo, but I did start putting together the images for my Etsy shop.  The plan is to begin selling custom-designed marketing components through Etsy, and eventually move on to having my own ecommerce website.

This could take some time, because I have a lot of little nitty gritty images to make, pricing structures to set up, descriptions to write, etc.  But, today I took a few more steps and feel like the journey is still being experienced!

Here are the links to my previous posts related to this journey, in case you’re new to the blog or haven’t visited us in a little while:

Let’s Talk Business – Because That’s All I Can Think To Talk About
LTB – Step One
LTB – Step Two
LTB – Comfort Zone

Until next time!

LTB – Step Two!

Mere!

I’ve always been a very fast girl.  OK, that was a cheap ploy at getting your attention, sorry.  All jokes aside, I will rephrase:  I’ve always tried to do things in a big hurry.

I got engaged and married at 20.  I would have married him sooner if he’d asked sooner.  I couldn’t wait a year to plan a wedding so we did it in 6 months.

I took a two-year bachelor’s degree program.

I started my career as a web designer by reading “Dummies” books because I didn’t want to have to wait for some professor to teach me.

Surprisingly, I’ve never had a speeding ticket.

My point in telling you this is that I’ve done OK by not over-thinking things.  Sure I’ve made PLENTY of mistakes in my hasty decisions, but overall I’ve been fine.

Lately I’ve been slowing it down a bit, however, and that’s cool.  It’s a very new sensation, and one that has been giving me a feeling that I’m somehow wiser than I used to be.  Time will tell, I suppose. :)

So where a few years back I would have made a declaration that I was going to work on my business, and within a week I’d have a new name, logo, website and 3 new clients. Now, I find myself a week later with a hint of an idea for what I want my new logo to look like.

I’m hoping to take an hour or so tomorrow to sketch that bad boy.  I’ll be posting it as soon as I can.  Telling you this helps make me accountable, and therefore makes it easier to get it done, so thanks for that!

I’m just curious, does anyone reading this have a small business that you run?  I’d love to hear what you do, drop me an email at mk@goodkoi.com, or leave a comment, I could use some entrepreneurial mojo!   ;)