Tuesday, June 30, 2009

At the 99th Hour

Yesterday I was reporting to my fitness check in buddies that after several weeks of this new exercise program I have finally seen a change on the scale. My partners had encouraged me to hang in there all along and not to give up. It was hard work, especially when those pounds weren’t budging. Working to find a new printer for our books has been similar, to say the least. It felt a lot like the new exercise program. We decided long ago to get our own printer so that we’d have more control over the quality of our books and also be able to reduce the end cost to our customers. Futhermore, once starting our partnership we realized Polly&Meek must be stamped on all our products. As it stood, the company who printed for us were putting their logo on the back. Well no more.

After hanging in there and trying to be patient we’ve found a new printer. I was so excited when I called Meek yesterday to chat about it. Overcoming this major hurdle will solve a heap of problems and give us the freedom to create our next book more easily. I admit the timing on it was tough and things were looking dim. We still prayed and continued to hope that God would see us through and he did. Not only does this new breath breathe life into upcoming projects, but it seems as if God is giving us a thumbs up to go forth and keep doing his work. We pray that he will give us an even better product to share with you.

Continued Blessings,

Friday, June 26, 2009

Life's Miracles

I am expecting. As a matter of fact, I am in my final trimester and it will not be very long before I am holding my little girl in my arms. I confess that I am already looking forward to baby #2 and hoping and praying it is another little girl. Why? Because Sisters Are From Heaven and I want my little one to grow up with a sister that she can play with, share a room with and just be friends with. I want her to know the joys of having a sister that will be her sidekick and confidant. Just the thought of it makes me all giddy inside.

Before God ever blessed me with this awesome gift, I always said I wanted little boys. Boys are rough and tumble and I’m a rough and tumble sort of gal, so I figured that would be best. No girls for me, no washing, combing and braiding hair, no pink, pink everywhere, no screaming teens and head butting later in life. Nope, none of that. When I found out I was pregnant, I did not care what the baby was, I just wanted the baby period. Of course the hubbie was rooting for a boy all the way. There were times I was certain this little kick boxer was a boy and I would start to think, no cute frilly outfits, no hair bows and prom dresses, no wedding dress…I wanted to experience all that with my child and so I begin to long for a little girl. God knows the desires of our hearts even when we are a bit confused ourselves. He gives us what is best for us; we can always count on him for that.

The reality is I want girls and boys. I want to experience the best of both worlds. Children are a gift from God and I thank Him for my gift every single day.
Stay Blessed,

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Protection Plan for Your Company

There are but a few businesses that can truly be run as a one woman show. Even some of the simpliest ideas require more than one patner or hiring a few key employees. When your business is new and you're not quite running efficiently yet, it's understandable to be lax in this area. However, beware of keeping all the knowledge for self or for simply pawning off everything on your worker bees and therefore not knowing your business through and through. It could be a disaster if not handled from the start.

A few years ago there was a popular commericial where a company is going into a very important meeting with a client. The lead company rep gets caught in traffic or something and isn't able to make the meeting. Then the backup rep reaches down to get the backup files, while assuring the boss that everything is cool, and bangs his head on the end of the table. It's an instant knockout and the suprised, unprepared, unknowledgeable boss looks the client in the eye with a very nervous grin. Comical. But it could happen to you if you don't prepare. Likewise it could strike your business if you hold all the info. What if, God forbid, you fell ill or had some emergency and weren't able to manage your company for a while? Everything could go under in the blink of an eye. That's why you've got to plan and be ready for a few twists and turns in the business world.

Train a backup person or a least write an SOP (Standard Operation Procedure) handbook so that in the event you're down and out, there is a way for your business to thrive until you get back in the game. If you are the brains behind the idea but merely exsist as the puppetmaster now, make sure you know the whole song and dance just incase you've got to fill in by working below. Prepare for this by spending quality time on your product floor or in the mix of all operations which comprise your business. While you're at it put yourself in your customer's shoes as well, to assure that everyone's needs are being met. If you do these things your business will be better protected and you can rest a little be easier --- come what may.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Answer Your Calling

One of my very good friends recently started her own business!!! This came after the corporate company she worked for wrongfully discharged her after 8 years of service. She would email me from time to time to tell me how things were going and each time I would encourage her to start her own business and expand on the God-given talent I knew she possessed.

I was so very pleased when she emailed me to let me know that she has started her own business and was working to get her website off the ground and get her promotional items ordered. She is doing some contract work right now and has vowed that she will not re-enter the corporate world again. I say hallelujah and to God be the glory! Another one of his children has heard her calling and is venturing out into the world as a business owner!

I am anxiously awaiting my Paralegal Certificate so that I too can do contract work. I see this as yet another way to break free of the humdrum 8-5, working to fatten someone else’s pockets. I just want to work on my own terms and I know it can be done. I want to have time for my family and contribute to my household. In this dog eat dog world of 6 weeks paid maternity leave and 6 weeks FMLA, I think we are being done a dis-service. I do not want to have to choose between family and work. There is no competition in my book. This is why I am striving to make it happen. God did not give me the vision and the drive to achieve it, just to look at it and invision what could be. He has an awesome plan for all of us and I pray that we accept it and make the very best out of it.

Many Blessings,

Monday, June 15, 2009

8 Easy Marketing Tricks

In todays' cyberage it would seem that all you need for a successful business is to put a website and Presto! Your business should be booming. Well, sadly, that's not always the case. Sometimes you have to get your product out there the old fashion way and pray for a little word-of-mouth marketing to sell it. It may seem mundane, but connecting with your customers one-on-one can deepen your determination to make your business successful.

Here are some ways to scout for events at which to share your products with potential new customers who can pass along a good word about your business.

1. Check websites of competitors or other vendors who may be attending an upcoming event. They might post a link about it so you can get in on the action too.

2. Visit organizations websites that are closely related to your niche or industry. Make sure you join the most pertinent ones.

3. Subscribe to mailing lists and newsletters for companies and groups related to your business.

4. Search local and regional papers for events in your area.

5. Send promotional samples to various groups that may be interested in sharing your products and your mission.

6. Network at each event to obtain new connections and exchange info.

7. Never miss an opportunity to discuss, show or plug your product. Keep a sample or two in the car. Just in case!

8. Have respect for, listen and help those requesting info even if they don't buy your product. Being nice can go a long way!

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start marketing your wares!

And may God richly bless you,

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Return to Reading

Expanding on Polly’s previous post…I can recall the hot, humid days of summer in NC. We grew up most of our lives in a house without A/C so the summers were especially hot. Somehow that doesn’t phase a child much because I can recall being outside most of the day, even when the sun was high in the sky. My sister and I would often times escape to the cool comfort of our public library and be in there all day reading various books and playing on the computer.

I am sure Polly recalls my addiction to Sweet Valley High books. There was nothing I would not do to get my hot little hands on those sequel books and I once I got one, I would read and read and read. I remember one day my grandmother got fed up with how much I was reading and told me to put the book down and go outside and get some air. I knew then, as I know now, that it was not that she did not support my willingness and passion to read, she just wanted me to do something other than JUST read. As the years progressed and I went off to college and reading became less and less fun. Who wanted to read about Organic Chemistry, Physics and other forced readings in English Literature? Argggh!!! I quickly built an aversion to the whole daggone thing. There was simply no time for leisure reading for enjoyment, now it was forced readings. When I graduated I shunned all books and literature altogether. I would think of the headboard in my mother’s room where she stored book, after book, after book and cringe in disbelief at how much she used to read. Its laughable now, but college ruined me…only for a minute though. Reading was in my blood (something I know I got from my mother) as was journeling and writing poetry (she loved to do that too). After my mother’s passing, I slowly began to get back into reading for pleasure. I have to admit I do not read as much as I’d like to, but I am getting there. Most of the time I am reading some article so as to stay abreast of what is happening around me.

Now, I look forward to reading to my little one. I will sit and read to her in utero and each night before bed. Reading is fundamental, educational and enlightening…on top of that its fun. I want my children to embrace that and I plan to start them out early.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Summer Reading

As the temperature continues to rise and summer prepares for a long awaited return, I drift off into dreamland. Smoky smells from seared hot dogs, beefy burgers and twice marinated ribs waft into my nose. I let out a long, slow sigh while imagining the afternoon backporth barbeques to come. All the sweet sunshine tea I can drink and thoughts of me with a full belly, plopping to a comfy hammock; my latest good read clutched tightly.

Not much satisfies like a good book. Even though I've waited until adulthood to discover this--- better late than never. Reading is that much sweeter now that I'm free to select what I want to read and not be pressured to get a good grade upon completion. I have the pleasure to peruse the holdings of the public library, view the bestseller lists and look for all sorts of exciting works by which to become enthralled. My preschoolers fuel this, and it seems they have a natural affinity for storytelling. As a children's writer any of the the books my kids select become instant research for our writing business. Which brings me to another point. No one says summer reading should only consist of novels and other fiction works. There are tons of good marketing, business and networking guides that may not read like a novel, but can still be a page-turner when the bottom line is at stake.

So whatever book you decide to cuddle up with, take time to enjoy it. Sir Richard Steele put it best, "Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body." Pump up those brain muscles this summer!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

He Speaks To Me

The lightning and thunder crash all around us and the children are rightfully shaken. It's 9:15pm and they are still unable to sleep amist what must be a raging storm to their young ears. But it is mild. I remember being just as afraid when I was a little girl. Seems like the storm would almost always knock the power out. Even if it didn't, Mama would quiet us down and turn off all electric appliances, especially the TV. We weren't allowed to move a muscle. "The Lord is talking," she'd say. It was disrespectful to be doing anything. Over time it was the sound of His voice, not Mama's, that made everyone in our house stop everything and just listen.

As I sit tonight, with a sermon going on outside, I feel like I'm caught between two worlds. Physically, I'm in between the girls' room and Orion's so that they all can see me and feel comfortable enough to fall asleep. In one ear the solo flute lulls and in the other Miles Davis' trumpet wails. Both are equally beautiful. But better still is the sound of nature. God is talking. Telling me I am right where I should be. And I am listening for his instructions.

What I hear: Stay the course. Do not be swayed by easy or fast money. Finish what I told you to do. Wait and pray. Praise and uplift me. Write about my love. Stay available to your family. Keep my word in your heart.

What I say: Here I am Lord, ready to do your will. Please give me the words and guide my hands. All praises belong to you.