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 .

 

 

 

What Are Your Dreams and Inspiration?

I’ve attended many conferences before, but I have to say attending the Dream Symposium a few weeks ago was one of the best ones I’ve ever attended.  Have you ever had the feeling that an particular opportunity has come along at the perfect time?  That’s exactly how I felt when I was gifted a ticket to attend this conference from The Finance Bar (thank you to my sis Style & Vibes for tagging me in the Instagram post too or else I would not have known about it), and I was so grateful for the opportunity.  There was just one special element about this whole experience that made it so worthwhile, and it was the energy of the people who came to share their dreams with everyone.

The one take away that has left a lasting impression on me, is the definition of  Stretch.  One’s “Stretch” is the expansion that is necessary to become the better you.  It’s meant to make you uncomfortable and let’s face it, when has a dream ever came to fruition without a little discomfort.   Achieving your goal is more about the learning process it took to get you there rather than just simply achieving the goal.  These thoughts really helped me to assess the various goals I’ve set for myself.

STRETCH

 

The Egami team did a wonderful job with choosing the speakers for the conference as well.  I came back with half my notebook filled with notes and takeaways.  One of the speakers there was Soledad O’Brien, who I admire very much and even had an opportunity to personally ask her a question.  There was one thing that she said that really stuck out and it had to do with finding value in what you don’t want to do.  We’re always told to find value in what we are doing, that we lose sight that there’s also value in the things we don’t like or don’t want to do as well.

EXHIBITION

She even touched on the term “Work-Life Balance” and if you are a working mom, with a family, career, goals and aspirations you know we LOVE that term.  You want Soledad’s take?  There’s no such thing as Work-Life balance, we manage it to the best of our ability and try to figure out where to put your focus at the right time. Now there’s definitely truth to that advice!

Then we had the opportunity to experience probably one of the most energetic and funniest speaker I’ve seen, Mr. Jonathan Sprinkles. Thanks to Jonathan I now know what a “hamburger pimp” is!  Jonathan also stressed that people do business with people they know, like and trust and the importance of not letting what we don’t know get in the way of of what we do know.

You have to be more committed t

 

We also had the honor of experiencing a chat with The Dream Giver himself, Bruce Wilkinson.  His delivery was very on point, I don’t think there was a single soul that couldn’t connect with what he spoke about.  His exact words were “If you value being safe over your dream then you’ll never fulfill your dream.”  See how this relates to your “stretch?” Bruce stressed the importance of bootstrapping your dream and even said it’s okay to have doubts, but it’s not okay to stay in doubt.  I think I may be adding one of his books to my summer reading list.

Your dream has to be

 

I must say I can’t wait for the next Dream Symposium and this time I won’t be attending alone, I’ll be bring five people with me.  Whether you are an entrepreneur or not, this is definitely a conference that everyone can benefit from.

Thank you for allowing me to share my personal story.  Every now and then I like to give you a glimpse into my life so you can see where I draw inspiration from and what keeps me fueled and going at it.  Be sure to subscribe to my list.

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.

 

 

Business Advice Not Just For the Creative Entrepreneur

Every now and then I like to post business tips and advice that I find helpful and invaluable.   We live in such a content driven society where information is being shoved down our throats so fast that it’s hard to think about and digest it all.  This is the reason why I’m so selective of the contest I take the time to read.  Let’s face it, we all have a “busy” schedule.  These individuals and sites are ones that I refer to on a regular basis because it aligns with what I’m trying to accomplish not only with The Pink Locket, but just career wise and life in general.

Marie Forleo’s Interview with Dr. Ned Hallowell

First let me just say I’m such a fan of Marie, I was introduced to her through listening to podcasts from Amy Portfield (who I mention below).  If you’ve never heard any of Marie’s content–you need to start.  This interview with Dr. Hallowell is called “Why Smart People Underperform” and the title says it all.  Dr. Hallowell gives simple advice that you can use now to perform better, even if you think you’re not underperforming…listen to this interview!

 

Amy Porterfield’s Podcast “Video Marketing Tips and Tricks With Caleb Wojcik”

Amy is another favorite of mine.  Her podcasts have helped me to tackle Facebook Marketing in a completely different way.  In this particular podcast with Caleb Wojcik, Caleb gives great tips on things to help you improve your video marketing.  I download Amy’s podcast and take on the road with me so that I can listen to them while driving (time management down to a science).   Then I go back to her show notes that list all the tools mentioned in the podcast.

 

 

Slideshare’s Influencer Marketing Ideas from Influential Marketers

Remember that “content” I spoke about earlier.  Now you can hear it from influential marketers themselves.  How do we sift through all this content that brands bombard us with?  We remember the ones that standout right?  Why is that?  How can we take those examples and cultivate it to make it our own for our own brands.  Check out this Slideshare!

What’s New with The Pink Locket?

Check out our newsletter this month on the good stuff we have going on!

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Good Short Read-Anything You Want by Derek Sivers

I got this book recommendation from CraftMBA‘s blog.  As the summer comes to a close I’m getting my summer reading in.  Specifically targeting books that will help me think about my jewelry business in a different way.  I must say this book by Derek Sivers titled Anything You Want is very enlightening as well as an eye opener, and it’s a book you can finish in a few hours.  Here are some great points he made in his book-hopefully you’ll find them helpful:

1. No “yes.” Either “HELL YEAH!” or “no.”

That’s right if you’re not saying “Hell Yeah!” about something then your better off just saying “no.”  Makes sense right? I mean if you’re not excited about it then why say yes.  Just think of all the times you’ve said yes to something only to wish later on that you said no.  Put time and energy where you feel the most excitement.

2.  Proudly exclude people

We all know that we cannot please everyone, so don’t be afraid to exclude.  I remember when I just started out and was selling jewelry at this flea market and a lady walked up to my table and look at one of my quartz bangles and said “very nice” then she looked at the price tag and was like “$10?!!” she then said to me, with a look on her face as though she just swallowed a bottle of vinegar, “Don’t you think that’s too much?” I started to state my case that these are one of kind pieces , but I saved my breath and simply said, “Well maybe that bangle just isn’t for you.”  She was a little shocked at my reaction, but clearly she wasn’t my target market.  That was my last time setting up a table at that market.

3. “Like  you don’t need the money”

Ever come across a pushy vendor or salesperson?  It’s a complete turn off.  When you love what you do, that feeling is projected to a potential customers.  Sivers says “Set up your business like you don’t need the money, and it’ll likely come your way.”

4.  “Little things make all the difference.”

We’ve heard it before, little things do make the difference.  Sivers mentions that people remember when you do something that makes them smile, they don’t care about your fancy “business model.”

These are just some of the highlights from the book that I thought were great.  It’s definitely a book that every entrepreneur should read, it’ll change the way you look at situations.