Life, Career and Running a Business

Focus on what gets done and not what did not.

Last month I had the opportunity to be interviewed for podcast with Carry On Friends.  I’ve done many interviews before, but this was by far one of the best ones that I’ve done.  What’s different about this interview, besides for it being my first podcast, it was probably one of my most open ones about my family life, being an entrepreneur while still working in the corporate world and advice on how I run my business.  I was very grateful for the opportunity and definitely think it’s a great listen for anyone who’s an entrepreneur or thinking about entrepreneurship.  Click here to listen .

 

 

 

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Caribbean Blogs, Brands & Businesses Unite

CGWChat Image

We’re closing out Caribbean Heritage Month with a party!  This is going to be a fun and exciting twitter chat.  So if you have a twitter handle, be sure to follow us and join in on our conversation Tuesday, June 30th.  I’m so excited to chat with these wonderful ladies and hopefully you can join us.

Follow us:

https://twitter.com/styleandvibes

https://twitter.com/thepinklocket

https://twitter.com/CarryOnFriends

https://twitter.com/VeePeeJay1

https://twitter.com/cgirlswhoblog

 

What I’ve Learned From Being a Part-Time Entrepreneur

Jewelry Process Blog Entry

 

Can I be honest for one moment?  A lot times (and I mean a lot), people don’t realize the behind the scenes, nitty gritty details and inner workings of what’s presented to them.  I wish I could say it’s only when it comes to creative businesses, but I’m beginning to realize that this happens in all types businesses.  However, I do find that when one uses that as a teaching opportunity to show what really goes into creating something, whether it be a product or service, one gives their audience a better look at what they are presented with.  There’s more built into the price of a product or service than just what you see firsthand.  For example, I hear this all the time “why am I going to buy this from this person, when I can go to Walmart and get something similar it for less” (sound familiar?).  Hey, as a customer you have that option–completely, but you cannot compare a local entrepreneur to a big box retailer such as Walmart.  There are pros and cons to this example like many others.

Today’s post is dedicated to my fellow entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial spirits out there.  Here are a few tips and tidbits on how to stand behind the value of your product or service and Plan, Execute and Shoot.  Now, by all means I’m no expert at this, I’m still learning myself, but I think it’s important to evaluate the hard work you put into your craft and make sure that its relayed to your potential and current customers.

1.  Plan, Execute, Shoot

We all need a system in place.  A lot times our system may change slightly to make things more productive, but I’ve found the only way to remain productive is to actually have a process in place.  Be open to change (it’s a good thing).  Be a planner, plan things out ahead of time, maybe even bounce ideas off of someone you trust will give you objective feedback.  For example, when I first started my Etsy store, I would only post up new items during before big holidays.  I always felt “rushed” and the photography of my products felt rushed (check out the pictures below).  I would always ask other jewelry designers what the secret was to taking good pictures and you know the answer all of them told me….Practice!  I realized I had to plan out practice sessions each week and try out different things with my camera if I wanted to nail this photography thing, and that’s what I did.

Photography Tips

 

2.  Know Your Value

Ask anyone who knows me personally,  I absolutely “cringe” when I hear the word discount.  I cringe when I hear customers ask sellers and I definitely cringe when I’m asked.  It’s okay to tell customers that you aren’t offering any specials right now.  I use to run sales all the time and then when I analyzed my results I found that I had less sales when I ran a sale than when my items were originally priced. Now I only run sales maybe twice a year and that’s it. You spend so much time and energy into creating your product or service and your price should reflect what you’re worth.

3. Ask For Help

This has been a big one for me over the past few years and that’s because I’ve ran my business on a shoestring budget.T  he truth is there are many ways to ask for help, maybe barter goods and services with someone else.  Also, take advantage of sites like Elance, Outsource, Freelancer, Guru, People Per Hour and there are tons more. For example, if you can hire someone to create a new logo for you that can free up time for you to work on strategies for your business.  The point is you have to value the way your time is spent and what it is spent on.  There are only 24 hours in a day, we can’t do it all alone.

4.  Get a Daily Affirmation Ritual Going

Whether it’s a daily meditation session, reading some positive material or prayer or maybe all three.  Whatever it is do not get your day started until you start it off on a positive note.  Take mini breaks throughout the day too, to remind yourself of these positive tidbits as well.  As individuals, we can take several beatings throughout the day, so take time to remind yourself just how awesome you really are.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post, just as much as I enjoyed writing it.  Fee free to subscribe to my list .

I Need Your Opinion

 market research survey 

We’re brewing up something new and cool and NEED your opinion. Please take our short survey (and we mean short–it’ll take less than 5 minutes) and help us out a bit. In return, when our special program launches you’ll receive a special sale price (just for you!)  Click on the picture above to get started.

Liebster Award…My Nominees Are…

Liebster Award First I want to thank beautywiththeblogger for nominating me for a Liebster 🙂  Go follow her blog! RULES:

  1. Post 11 random facts about yourself.
  2. Answer the 11 questions that the person who nominated you will post.
  3. Choose 11 new blogs with under 200 followers for their Liebster Award, notify them that they have been nominated, and think of 11 questions for them to answer!

11 Random Facts About Me:

  1. I’m organized when it comes to everything except for my digital life (emails, memory sticks, cloud storage…it’s a mess–I’m working on it though)
  2. If you’ve given me a card at any point in my 34 years of existence for my Birthday I still have it..I save ALL my cards.
  3. I love dark chocolate, wine, almonds and avocados.
  4. I’m a tea and coffee drinker…love the smell of fresh brewing coffee.
  5. My sister and I have the same birthday- 4/11 (no we aren’t twins).
  6. Not a morning person and very much a night owl—I like quiet mornings, however, that’s a little hard in a household of 5 plus 2 dogs.
  7. Good listener when others need to talk and I’ll even help you find solutions to your issue.
  8. I’m pretty easy going, but it’s a pet peeve of mine when people waste my time.
  9. Still learning a lot things when it comes to my spiritual journey–but hey aren’t we all?!
  10. I’ve discovered how much I love audio books on my daily commutes–thanks to Audible.
  11. I speak to my mom every single day.

 

Questions from BeautyWithTheBlogger

1) What has been your Summer go to fotd?

LOL..this could either mean Face Of The Day or Food Of The Day–I’ll answer both.  Natural, moisturized with a light colored lipstick and maybe a little mascara, for “food” fruits (berries or mangoes)

2)Do you wear your hair more up or down this season?

It’s down during the day and by evening when it’s gym time it goes up.

3) Who is your favorite blogger?

I have so many that it’s hard to pick, my top 3 are Design Sponge, Designing An MBA and I Spy DIY

4) Are you Happy you followed my blog? Lol

Yes!  You are so cute!

5) Do you enjoy blogging more than any other social network or not really ?

I have my days.  I use to try and post something everyday and then I decided to scale back and post quality content over quantity.

6) What is your favorite song?

Once again I have one too many.  New school Nico & Vinz–Am I Wrong, Old School Sade–Smooth Operator

7) What is something you always wanted to do but never did?

Visit Africa–I still have time to do this though.

8) DID YOU SEE PRETTY LITTLE LIARS TONIGHT

I didn’t actually, but my husband has been telling me that it’s a pretty good show.

9) What’s your day to day skincare routine?

I use to be a product junkie (maybe I still am), but I discovered Om Botanical products at a Health Foods fair and it’s been one of the best products I’ve used to date. It’s all in one cleanser, toner and exfoliator are great I do a facial steam and mask once a week.

10) What do you like to do most in the summer ?

Beach and pool–although I haven’t gotten a chance to do either one since summer started 😦

11) Are you having a good day? I hope so

Every day God wakes me up and allows me to experience is a good one I’ve come to realize.  I have my health, family and friends–everything else is meaningless without those 3 components.  Life isn’t always going to be easy, but I’ve learn to find happiness in something each day- my 100 Days of Happy on Day 31 so far.

I NOMINATE THE FOLLOWING BLOGS:

Milk Baby Love

Beauty on a Beer Budget

Anna Amelie

Picky Little Peach

The Wandering Sheppard

Single Mama, One Income

Say No To Food Waste

Style Observatory

The Future Dub Project

Jewels & Jules

The Foolish C.E.O.

I’m LOVING the names of these blogs I nominated!

 

11 Questions to Answer

1. What’s your main reason for blogging?

2. iPhone or Samsung or Neither

3. What’s your ultimate favorite vacation spot?

4. What book do you recommend I read next?

5. What’s your favorite summer cocktail (it can be virgin or not..your choice)?

6. What food do you like to eat while sipping on your favorite cocktail?

7. What’s your favorite accessory or jewelry piece to wear?

8. What’s your favorite holiday?

9.  Morning riser or Night Owl?

10. Social Butterfly or “Please Don’t Talk to Me”

11.  What’s your pet peeve?

 

Business Story & Advice Series: Is This The Right Opportunity For Me?

 

Business Advice Post

Picture this, you’ve waited for a great one to come along and it finally presents itself-or so you “think” it does.  We’ve all been here at some point in time where we’ve jumped on an opportunity that seemed so right only to find out what have I gotten myself into.  It is okay, we’re human we make mistakes and we brush ourselves off and get back at it.  I was communicating with my cousin the other day and she said something remarkably true, she said “Unfortunately, the rough times grow us so much (I wish we could always be on the mountain top).  Keep up the good attitude…God will bless you and use some of the things during this time later for your benefit and others.”  The truth is whatever opportunity you jump into, your attitude matters.

I’m going to share a personal business related story with you.  As you know I’m a jewelry designer and I create all my creations with my two hands.  A few years going I was exploring different options to distribute my designs, in a nutshell I was looking for other channels besides for the current ones I was using, which include Etsy and various shows.  I came across a particular company that was very new at the time, they had just launched themselves.  I reached out to them and they reviewed my work, said I looked like a perfect fit for their demographic and price point and that they would love to have me as a seller on their site (**Happy Dance**).  I did some of my own research which included things like, who were their current merchants, looked up some reviews, and their online reach.  There was one thing I was hesitant about, and that was they seemed to have many merchants who were selling a lot of commercially massed produced items at a relatively inexpensive price, particularly jewelry.  Jewelry is one of the most saturated markets for sellers and buyers.   However, the story behind handmade jewelry designers and one who purchases and resells is completely different and so are the price points and customer service policies.

After thinking about it I decided I’m going to shoot for it, what do I have to lose?  The first few months were great, my sales were up.  There was a requirement to being a seller on this site and that was you needed to have discounted sales on your items at least once a month.  I managed to do these sales where I was still able to make a decent profit and fill the requirement.  They advertised my sales on the homepage of their site—it was going great.

Holiday season was beginning to roll around and this particular company wanted all the merchants to do a Holiday sale.  No biggie for me I do this every year.  This particular year I came out with cool metal jewelry, which was new for me and the price was a little higher because creating those pieces were labor intensive.  I set up a sale and was ready to go.  That’s when I received an email from one of the account executives at this company asking if I can adjust my prices some more.  Now when it comes to handmade goods and creative entrepreneurs, we CRINGE at the word “discount.” Discounting your items too often question its value in the eyes of the customer.  That’s not to say it’s not good to have a sale every now and then, but it should only be “every now and then.”  I cringed, but obliged and knocked off a few more dollars.  Here’s where the fan hit the ceiling, I received a phone call from the executive.  She explained to me while my items are beautiful, their “demographic” wants items that are a little less priced.  She said the idea is to sell more quantities even though you’ll only make X amount (ah excuse me Miss I have an MBA—no need to explain “business” to me).   I told her well I’m not discounting this collection anymore, this devalues my work and that I’m looking to build a roster of quality customers not just one off customers.  I didn’t tell her this, but truth be told having a sale didn’t make much of difference for me.  I found over the years that I’ve had more sales when I didn’t discount my items than when I did—I have stats to prove this.  I told her, “I’ll do us both a favor, how about I remove this entire collection and replace it with some stud beaded earrings for around $15, how does that sound?” (**Silence**) She eventually said okay that was fine and that’s exactly what I did.  To add to this wonderful experience, my holiday sales via their site were from my regular customers who normally purchase via my Etsy site.  In a nutshell, I didn’t receive any new customers as a result of this.

Months later I began to notice they started adding much more merchants, which was awesome for them that meant more sales—for them.  What it meant for us merchants, especially jewelry was you had handmade vs. mass produced, so obviously customers shopping  there didn’t care whether an item was handmade or not they just want trendy items at a deeply discounted prices.  Now I have no issue with this, but when this business model doesn’t fit the one I’m trying to execute that’s when it’s a problem for me.  I began to see the decline in my sales as a result and it left me no choice, but to discontinue my relationship with this company.

I never walk away from opportunity without assessing the issues and here’s what I took away and hopefully you can use this advice in your own business or even planning your own career.

  1. Never “jump” at an opportunity without taking time to weigh the pros/cons.  It may seem like the thing to do because you’ve been “waiting” for it, but don’t disregard your own goals by accepting this opportunity.
  2. Remember what your ultimate goal is and ask yourself how this opportunity aligns with that goal.
  3. Have an exit strategy, just in case.  If this opportunity goes south, how can I exit and mitigate my losses?
  4. Set benchmarks and KPIs (key performance indicators).  Ask yourself “How will I measure my success by taking this opportunity?”
  5. Keep a good attitude, even if things go south.  Learn from it and move on.

I hope you find my story helpful.   Have any similar ones? Please share in the comments section and be sure to subscribe to my list.

 

 

Summer Is A Good Time To Catch Up On Some Reading

Tomorrow marks the official day of summer.  Here in Atlanta the high has been 90s pretty much all week.  Two of my summer goals were to have start a summer vegetable garden with organic veggies which is done and underway and the other was to list up my summer reading list.  Last summer I only managed to read 2 books, but I have higher expectations this summer.  Here’s my list, it has summer enjoyment books as well as some educational ones.

catching fire

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

I’ve pretty much put off watching the movie because I haven’t finished the book yet.   When Living Social had their try Audible for free deal for two months, I jumped on it.  I’ve been listening to the audio version while I design new jewelry creations and commuting in the car–very convenient.  Can’t wait to finish and watch the movie!

 

By love possessed

By Love Possessed Stories by Lorna Goodison

I couldn’t wait to read this when I saw it listed in Essence magazine (almost 2 years ago), and it’s written by a fellow Jamaican…I must read it!  I can’t wait to read these collections of short stories.

 

david and goliath

David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell

I’m a fan of Gladwell and his work.  David and Goliath speaks to how to deal with our obstacles and reshaping the way we think about them in order to come out successful.

 

the lean startup

 

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

This has been on my Pinterest board book list for quite some time and I think it’s about time that I read it.  Whether you have an entrepreneur or an intrapreneur way of thinking this book is for you, so let’s read it together.

 

happy wives club

Happy Wives Club by Fawn Weaver

I had the honor of meeting Fawn last October at Blogalicious and she has to be one of the most down to earth people that I’ve ever met, so when I saw that she was coming out with a book I knew I had to add it to my reading list. See what the secrets are as Fawn travels 12 countries, 6 continents to achieve 1 mission about marriage.

Have you came up with your summer reading list yet?  Please share, would love to see what’s on your book list.  Don’t forget to subscribe to our list.