#28 Start a Business

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#28

Start a Business

Many of us are entrepreneurial from the time we are small. Maybe we built a lemonade stand in our front yard, sold Girl Scout cookies, or joined Junior Achievement. If you have a great idea or make a great product, think about starting a small business. It’s never been less expensive to bring your thoughts or wares to market.

Create a Plan

As with anywhere you want to go, the first time it’s easier to get there with a road map. A business plan is a road map for your business and it’s the first place to start. There are probably thousands of blogs, websites, and organizations online that will teach you about a business plan and guide you in designing one. Business.com is one of the free and useful websites offering information about how to do this.

Go Online

The most obvious opportunity is to go online. There are dozens of easy to use avenues from Etsy and Shopify to building your own website quickly on Squarespace or GoDaddy. Getting your services or products on the web can be accomplished with less than $100 and some of your time.

Market Yourself Relentlessly

This is the make-it-or-break-it key to becoming successful. The world wide web is a massive place and your business is a grain of sand there. As a newcomer to the market, you’ll need to grab some attention in any way that you can – professionally speaking of course. Once again, there are dozens of places that you can go online to learn how to market your product. Some of those places are free of charge if you are a good self study. If you want to dive right into the heart of the matter, it may be better to spend some of your working capital money in this arena and take a marketing class that can highlight the most important aspects of promotion. And then, don’t stop… market your business relentlessly to everyone who will listen and give them a reason to tell someone else about you. Light a fire everywhere you go and it will organically spread if there is a wind.

Reinvest in Yourself

If you are one of the fortunate ones, you’ll begin to make money and the best thing you can do with in the beginning is to reinvest it in your business. So many of us are tempted to spend it on those extra things we want – after all, we’re working extra hard – but it’s important to grow your business while it has some momentum and that generally takes capital investment. Even if you’ve only made a few hundred dollars, think of how that money can be spent to market more widely, improve your packaging, or build your inventory. Is there a trade show or a conference that will offer education or networking opportunities? Go to that.

Perseverance

Yes, many small businesses never make it but some would tell you it’s because the business owner wasn’t persistent enough. Remember The Little Engine That Could and go that extra mile… pushing past where most people back down. Don’t stop – not at least until you’ve reached the capacity of your investment in time, money, or resources. There is a time to call Uncle. But, until that time has come – work hard and smart.

If you’ve been wondering about your ability to market a product or talent… this may be your year. Right now may be your time… so why not…

Start a Business

TTAH

Listen to me on Try This at Home – a series of conversations about making life better.

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I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#35 Make a Movie

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#35

Make a Movie

Creativity and imagination are some of the things that came naturally to most of us as children and for some, they develops – for others, they morphs or die. Why not try your hand at combining creativity and imagination again by making a movie? It’s easier than ever and there are a number of smartphone apps that practically do it for you. In fact, there are a number of movies presented at festivals that were entirely filmed on an iPhone. An idea and some ingenuity can go a long way.

Facts

For most of us, the most obvious choice is to record a home movie. Many of us have a collection of video clips that we’ve accumulated from special moments that could be strung together in a fantastic memory video. If we don’t have anything to start with, it’s super easy with phones, tablets, and portable video cams that are inexpensive and easy to use. It could also be a ‘movie’ that’s simply a collection of photographs with title cards and sound effects; a live photo album of sorts. This is a standard these days at weddings, graduations, and funerals but why wait? A collection of Johnny’s little league days is just as much of a keepsake as his high school graduation.

We have hours upon hours of Christmas day videos through the years that was shot when you placed a huge contraption on top of a tripod and left it there for the 4 hours it took to open presents…. Watching those things is almost painful. Digitizing the tapes and editing them to create something worth watching is a chore to be sure but also a pleasant treat that will be treasured for years.

Fiction

You could also create a story line, employ some actors/actresses, and direct your first feature. You could be part of an elite group who is recognized early in the career process and with raw talent. It may be as easy as going with your gut and allowing creativity to flow through you. Why not? If you play the lottery, the odds may be just as good.

Creative Energy

The point here is to step outside of your comfort zone, create memories, have fun, take a risk, embody creativity and honor your imaginative side. With any of those efforts, you are enhancing elements central to the happiness principle. So, go ahead and step out of the box….

Make a movie.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#132 Make Something For Someone

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#132

Make something for someone

There are few things better than being the recipient of a gift made with you in mind. The holiday’s are fast approaching and this suggestion is designed to encourage you to consider one or a few homemade gifts this year.

Personally inspired, homemade gifts have always been big in one arm of my family. The time, consideration, and attention to a gift that was created from a loving perspective has always been highly appreciated.

Of course, many of these items are derived from crafty hands but they don’t have to be. A homemade gift can be cookies, or a soup mix. It can be bath salts, vinegar, or infused oils – none of which take much talent outside of a Google search and assembling a few ingredients. Indeed – those particular suggestions are quite simple.

Make Your Own Vinegar

Infused Oils

Dry Soup Mixes

It can be more involved though, depending on your talents. Do you draw? Paint? Crochet? Sew? Build? Of course, artwork is always nice for young people just setting up house. A commissioned drawing or painting is great if there is a beloved pet, home, or photo that is meaningful to someone. Everyone needs an afghan for the couch or a cuddle blanket. It only takes a bit of time and talent to build a blanket ladder, a gift that most of us would love.

If your talent is more service oriented, then make an I.O.U.  Create a card, a certificate, or a coupon that offers your time to someone. The gift of babysitting, cleaning, yard work, cooking, home decorating, etc… the list is endless. Anywhere that an extra pair of hands is needed would be a welcome ‘gift’ to most all of us.

The holiday’s doesn’t have to be stressful on the budget – not to mention, birthday’s, thank you’s, or other special occasions when we have the ability to…

Make something for someone.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

Noticing Gifts

“A wonderful gift may not be wrapped as you expect.” –  Jonathan Lockwood Huie

I was speaking to a client the other day about things that we learn in life and how each of them seems to have to be learned personally even though generations before us have tried to impart the knowledge. We often don’t value the wisdom of people who have already experienced part of a journey. In this case, we were talking about aging and accomplishments. She is approaching thirty and feels as if time is running out for her to reach some of her goals. I made the comment that I recall thinking the same thing and then I didn’t finish grad school until age fifty. I assured her there is plenty of time. She said, “yeah, that’s what everyone tells me”. The thought occurred to me that if ‘everyone is saying it’ – might it really be true?? What would we do differently if we actually ‘believed’ the information that people who went before us, shared? How can it be wrong if everyone says it?

Now… keep in mind that I’m speaking about life experience here – not whether or not the world is actually flat or that infections can’t be cured. I realize that there are a time and place to forge ahead with one’s own hypothesis but we weren’t talking science or metaphysics. We were keeping it pretty simple that day and focusing on accomplishments. Age is only a number!

When I turned thirty, I believed my ability to impact the world was over. For some reason, I had the mindset that if I was going to be accomplished or achieve anything significant, I would have to be half way there. I wasn’t. I had not finished college, hadn’t had any great success in my job at that point, and had recently quit altogether. I had decided to be a stay-at-home mom for a while – a decision that my step-father thought was a tremendous waste of ‘my talents’ – whatever they were. I never could have imagined the road that has led me to where I am today – never!!

I believe one of the challenges we face in adulthood is having the patience to allow the Universe to deliver. We – at least those of us with control issues – are so often focused on what we think needs to be happening that we don’t just allow unfolding. We get tunnel vision – rigid expectations of how things should be. Indeed, sometimes our sight is so focused on a specific vision that we fail to notice what is right in front of us.

 

I wrote a book. I’ve said it isn’t the book I thought I was going to write when I imagined it all this time but today, after talking with a very special person, I noticed a few more dots that I hadn’t connected before. I see the perfection in what has happened – in the way that it happened and I realize that God had delivered exactly what I had asked for. In our discussion, I imagined exactly how I see the cover of the book – a dilemma I’ve recently considered. It makes sense to me in a way that I hadn’t been open to contemplating before. I continue to stand in awe at the Universe’s ability to manifest exactly what is good for us – when it is good.

Late this past summer I read Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic. I love the way that she writes and being the aspiring creative that I am, I loved what she wrote on those pages. She touts “the universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them”. I know that to be a true statement.

I feel like I walked in circles around an idea, never really allowing it to stand out because I anticipated that it would look a certain way. When it jiggled my mind, I ignored it because it didn’t fit the vision I had. And then, I just trusted. I started something without an expectation of what it would be and in the end… it was that idea – the one that had pulled at me and I saw it clearly.

It was there the whole time but it didn’t look the way I thought it would and so – I didn’t recognize it. I’ve had this lesson before! A few years after Rocky died, I was ready to marry again, I wanted more children but nothing was happening in the dating realm. My options were bleak and I was headed toward 30. I was convinced that it might not be in the cards for me. And then… I had an epiphany. I realized that a family was still possible in any number of possible ways. I could meet a man with children – I could have children later than I imagined – I could adopt a six-year-old… really, the vision I had of my life was so rigid that only one possibility seemed desirable until I considered how many others were plausible.

I had imagined a life of ABC but got a life of XYZ…. Same alphabet, just different letters. Instead of green bows on the gifts, they were red. Because I was looking for green ones, I never stopped to consider that what I wanted was in the boxes with red bows.

Today, I realized that I was noticing that lesson over again. Funny how we forget what we know and need to be reminded! Christianity teaches us (Matthew 7:7) “ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find” – that God wants to give us the things that we ask for. The Law of Attraction tells us to ‘visualize what you want and you will manifest it’. Oprah taught us that “you get in life what you have the courage to ask for”.

I’m not sure which one of those universal truths or guiding statements is responsible for the progress I’ve made here over the last several months but I know that I’ve just trusted it to happen – with no expectations of what it will look like. I trusted it by staying present. By focusing not on what I was going to accomplish that day specifically but by relying on the here and now… what is happening now? What is the message at this moment? What do I feel led toward at present? I did only what felt authentic in real time and today, I realized that it was there all along. The book I had imagined years ago, was sitting right there, ready to be written.

I can’t help but consider how many other areas of my life this applies to? What am I missing by structuring my vision so strictly? How many times do I need to learn this lesson?

My client imagined her life a particular way by the age of 30 – as I had. She had a very narrow perspective of how to get there and how it would unfold. I never allowed myself to write because I couldn’t figure out how to get from where I was to what I imagined and without a specific and direct plan I didn’t want to go forward.

The substance here is the principle of trust; of believing that it will be exactly what we need – when we most need it but only recognizable if we have opened our mind to ALL potentialities. Don’t allow yourself to be so focused that what you are seeking goes unnoticed.