You can never have too much support

As an entrepreneur, support is vital from every direction,  every skill level, every demographic and every professional network out there within your industry.  Over and above all of those is family.  Family support can easily make or break a business.  When your siblings, your parents, your spouse, your children, (whatever applies to you presently) support what you do and make an effort to help get your business known, the brand is spoken of in public at the right time in the right place, it means more than your own life’s efforts to you personally and professionally.  The more supportive, the better.

With my own business, in a very competitive town with so many bath & body crafters already saturating our town, it’s nearly impossible to find a market that will allow you the opportunity to sell in their market.  If they already have a soap or bath & body product crafter, they aren’t interested in having a second one in their market, even if the two types of soaps or lotions are miles apart in looks or content.  Enough “No thank you” and “Sorry , no room left!” have been said to make me think twice about my career change.

I left a part-time position with no benefits, no decent pay rate, no paid vacation or sick leave for personal reasons.  Sticking with my bath & body business became more vital than ever at that point.  It’s long hours, 7 days a week, no paid vacations, no benefits, but it feeds a part of me that needs feeding.  It’s necessary for me to make something useful, something (hopefully) beneficial, something beautiful that brings others a smile.  Makes them happy inside and out.  Makes them feel better.  To feel better for your own sake is… well, nothing’s better than that!

As a bath & body crafter, that support is coming first from my wonderful, adorable husband.  It was his encouraging words that pushed me to step off into the deep end of the entrepreneurial pool again and go back into business for myself, making soap this time around.  In case you’re wondering, the first time around, I was a baker.   Breads, cakes, cookies, pies.  Desserts and treats.   I loved it.  Still do and miss it….occasionally. But now I’m running an online business selling bar soaps, liquid soaps, cream soaps, a hybrid of liquid and cream soaps with sugar for a creamy rich sugar scrub, lip balms, lotions, body creams, body whips, and plans for other lines running fast and furious through my overactive brain.  I love it and my brain never stops thinking of future possibilities!

Support came from other avenues as well.  My youngest son (28 years old now) has touted my business almost from day one and that boosted my self-esteem back up where it needed to be to march forward even when things were flagging.  My love of the work never wavered, but the need to rethink whether to close or keep trying faltered more times than I’ll confess to anyone.  This biz is not for the faint of heart!

 

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The latest addition to the growing support system, just added this week, is Indie Business Network.  Just from exploring the web site, reading blog posts, listening to past podcasts, I can tell I’ve made one of the best decisions of my professionally life in joining this network.  I won’t drop my membership to the Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetics Guild membership because they too offer a lot of information and provide support in many areas I can use throughout the year along with insurance and certification that stays valid as long as I remain a member.  But the IBN is fulfilling a huge need with bits of vital information that I can glean from their site, their Facebook page, their blog, Podcasts, and other social media outlets on a DAILY basis.  I’m so glad that I’ve added them to the support system for my business and hope this will bring the results I’m hoping for at last.  Thank you, Indie Business Network for being there with all the expertise and encouragement you provide to your members, new and ongoing! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A world in a book

I love to read.  Always have.  It’s a little vacation that requires no luggage, no driving, no flying, no stressful packing and unpacking within certain weight limits.  It’s purely mental.  A trip inside your own mind, where all the world may lie at your feet in seconds, take you far beneath the sea, soar above the clouds, travel to distant places or even some that don’t exist.  Yet.

Even when we were little, Dr Seuss gave a tiny, early glimpse of what we could do if only we are open to the opportunity when he wrote “Oh the Places You Will Go!”  And we spent the rest of our lives finding the answer to that question.

Where did you end up?  Was it where you’d hoped to go or somewhere else that was a surprise, a shock, a disappointment?  Did you take that road less traveled or one well rutted by time and travelers before you?

So with World Book Day here, let’s think about the places you will go within the covers of a book or on the screen of an eReader device. A ‘thumping, good read’. One that’s transforming.  One that’s informative, one that excites you, intrigues you, makes you think.  Keeps you awake all night flipping the page to see what happens next.  Where do you want to go?  What type of reading do you like to do when the day is rainy, cool, and thoroughly a misery outside?

I’ll confess to you now, while I love to collect as many textbooks as I can on math & science, a day like today brings out the lazy brain side of me.  I like a cozy read, or book with a twist, one that’s by some author no one’s heard of yet.  I delved deeply into the listings in Amazon, scored a series, Wisteria Witches by Angela Pepper on this occasion.  The two primary characters are like a cross between Gilmore Girls and a Stephanie Plum adventure.

The humor is sharp, sarcastic, thoroughly enrapturing to read while the story line is fun, just enough adventure to keep you turning the page into the wee hours of the night/morning.  I’m currently on the third book in the series, Wisteria Wonders.  I started the series only about 4-5 days ago, which is indicative of how engrossed I’ve become in this series. (Ask the guys at the auto service department how many times they called my name before finally walking over and tapping me on the shoulder to tell me my car was finished!)  I’ve laughed out loud at many of the things said and thought of in each book and now with the fourth in the series coming out in July, the fun continues.

So tell me all the places you will go on World Book Day.  I’m happily residing in Wisteria where no one ever gains weight from a diet of doughnuts and cupcakes and wishing I could find this magical place.  Meanwhile, I’d love to know where you are in your reading adventures.

 

 

 

 

Change is good. Right?

If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time you’ve probably noticed the theme changes. One of my many personality flaws is my need to change things up.  Frequently.  Well it’s been a lifelong thing with me.  I was one of those kids who rearranged my room practically on a weekly basis.  There’s no telling what condition the floors were in by the time I moved out!  But I had to.  I loved to change things up, breathe fresh air into a part of my world that heretofore had lain hidden, dark and gathering dust bunnies and forgotten or lost items.

My web site’s theme also suffers the same fate.  The theme has changed several times, only to evolve into a cleaner layout each time.  Like this blog.

I started out with homey, rustic or cozy looks, thinking it should make you want to put your bunny-slippered feet up, tuck your legs beneath you and read, read, read.  Then time passed and I realized I wanted something sweet, appealing to that feminine side in many of us that loves a good movie, good book or a creative past-time that yearns for exploration.  Shabby Chic lives in my heart, but it doesn’t always allow me to emote on every level.

Then I leaned towards clean lines, orderly layouts, easy-to-read fonts. This one has been the hardest to stick with.  I’m a font hoarder.  I’m sure there’s an intervention or 12-step program out there or perhaps there should be for people like me but I’d never attend.  I’m happy to wallow in my wealth of typographical largess. It’s my happy place.  Still, not everyone finds it easy to read some of them even if I can. So, here we are.  In a clean, orderly layout with a  basic font that’s easy to read.  And surprisingly enough, I like it!

This organized place, theme-wise and life-wise, is where I reside now.  It’s not always going to be cabbage roses and sun-bleached colours of shabby chic, but they still exist in my world, just not everywhere.  Only on those very special things I reach for when I need a lift. Being tidy with the ecommerce and literary world is a good thing as it’s about growth.

People are not static creatures.  They perpetually grow, change, evolve, morph into someone else until they finally land on their feet solidly with a confidence that will carry them through to their golden years, or at least they’ll attempt it with all they have to do so.  That is human nature.  Yours.  Mine. Everyone’s.  So growth is good and change makes it real. A palpable thing. A tangible image you can place a time and date stamp on for all to see.