Monday, February 1, 2016

Tell us what hobby you want to begin.

(c) Google Images
Hello, and Welcome to February.  January started off nice and smooth for me and this 366-day writing journey.  I hit some bumps along the way.  Not at all what I expect it to be, but I have made it to the other side.  Today is a new day for me.
So, I decided for this month, I am going back to one of my old habits, and take on writing prompts.  In a separate post, I will explain why writing prompts are good and why they are bad.  I use to post my take on the writing prompts, Blogher used to have.  They never went away, I just got bored of them.  This is one of the reasons why you should not do writing prompts every day (just a little tease of what’s to come).  So while I love this month’s prompts from Blogher, I am not going to do them every day.  In fact, Blogher does not have the prompts for all, in this case, 29 days.  They allow you to have free rein to write whatever you want on Saturday and Sunday. 
This month’s prompt is about Passion, and not just the one kind, which is your true lover.  They will be talking about all kinds, and today, they want to know about that hobby you never tackled. 
I can truly say that I am living out my passion.  I started out wanting to know how to scrapbook and make cards.  I love doing it, and it turned into my business.  I am working on the nuts and bolts to run this business called P. Lynne Designs, and I love seeing my baby grow up.  I always talk about how I am really going about this business backwards.  Even though I have been in business for 5 years (2010), I am just getting started as far as have the proper registration of my business name, a business checking account, a vender’s license (because in the State of Ohio you need one) and so forth.  It can be quite overwhelming when you think about it, but as they say, “slow and steady wins the race”, and that is what I am shooting for.

My other passion is Marketing.  I have a bachelor’s degree in Marketing, but I only had a chance to use what they taught me only a few times.  Marketing is always changing, and it is one of the few trends you have to keep on your toes with, or you will be left behind.  I fell into one corner of marketing, and that is graphic design.  It goes hand and hand with the skills I learned from crafting, but it also involves computers.   Computers lead to Social Media and then you have a full circle moment.   I am on almost every social media out there at the moment, and now starting my second part of this stalled career, and it begins with Photoshop.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Day 8: Vlogging

(c) You Tube
The question of the day:  Do you vlog?  In case you are wondering, Vlogging is a video log.  It is much like blogging, but instead of writing about your day or your hobby, you make a video about it.  I love to vlog, but I have not done it in almost a year.  The reason is I am trying to get things together for my blogs and my businesses.   I am also a little camera shy, but I am finding that to be nothing more than just finding the time, the right equipment, and the right editing software to do the things I want to do with my videos.  Vlogging to me goes hand and hand with Snapchat and Periscope, both which I have an account with (@tricia721).  I have not made a video yet with them, but I am working on it.
I am a little disappointed by what I have been seeing lately on YouTube.  YouTube used to be this site, where you can post daily vlogs of the things you are doing. Places like Disney can show you what is going on in the parks, so you can plan your vacation.  You can post tips on crafts, cooking, your latest stupid stunt, and even product reviews.  I love all of that.  Families are able to show what they have been up to, and it is fun to see all of that, but lately, the environment has changed.  YouTube is starting to become a mini Facebook of sorts.  What do I mean? Well, I will tell you.
I am not going to call out the incident because this You Tuber has already admit it that he was wrong, and he is working on getting his marriage in check.  I am not going to say his or his family’s name.  He apologized to the rest of his family, friends, and YT followers.  I, as one of his followers, have excepted his apology, and have moved on, but it seems that some You Tubers cannot get past it.  She even went as far as talking to the other party about the situation and posted several videos on the subject.   I have not seen any of the videos, but it keeps popping up in my recommended videos feed like I am supposed to watch any of this nasty YTubber’s video.  I want to block them, I do not like them, and I so not want to see them, period.
To those of you who do make videos on a regular basis, my question to you is, “If you made a mistake, and you posted a video about the mistake, how would you feel when someone else post about it?  For me, I would be devastated to the point where I would ask myself if it is worth posting videos at all.  To me, we are all human, and humans make mistakes.  It is not for us to judge on the character of the poster, or in this case, vlogger.  The YTubber apologized to his family, that is what counts, and for this other person, who is not part of the situation, nor knows the YTubber in question or the alleged person, personally, to make a video about it is downright selfish.     Now, if other members of the YTubber’s family did not except the apology, that is on them, but I believe that if they are a forgiving person, especially one who is Christian or Spiritual in nature, they will work on what is not working in their marriage, get help (which they have been doing all of 2015), and move on from there.  No one but God is perfect.  We all can ask for a little forgiveness in our lives when we do wrong.

As for me, I will continue to support this YTubber and his family.  I hope YT will find a way for me to get rid of the person who posted the stupid video and begging me to watch it.  I will continue to try to put up my first video of 2016.  The YTubber in question has taken some time away from Social Media(SM) (YT in general) to continue to work on his family life.  To all those haters who know who I am talking about, have seen his videos, or follow him on SM, please do not make any suggestions to him or his family about what to do in their lives, especially in regards to social media.  To those like me who do follow him (I follow on Facebook, YT, Instagram, and Twitter- yeah I am that person who has to follow people on all platforms), and know who I am talking about, please continue to support him.  He is just a human who has made a mistake.  I am a softie like that.  Which is why I still like Bill Cosby (do not judge).  

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Day 8: wait, there’s more to this.

(c)2015 The Made In America Movement
Yesterday, I talked to you about what you need to prepare to see if owning a business is right for you. Today’s lesson is about 3 different types of business you can own. It is really 2 types of business you can own, but I decided to split the second business up and to 2 different types of business because it all depends on what type of business you want to own.
The first type of business is called a direct selling business. These are your Avon’s, Tupperwares, and other companies like them.  They mostly sell products, but some sell services like insurance.  This type of business is perfect for the person who doesn’t know how to start a business, or not sure owning a business is right for them. The reason why owning a direct selling business is perfect for the unsure person, is for 1) that company has taken care of all the legal matters when you start a business, and 2) all of the marketing materials and products are provided for that person. However, a direct selling business may not be right for you, if you know what types of products you want to sell, your market share (the people who you think will buy your product), or if you have a patent for that product which you would like to sell. The other drawback to having a direct selling business, is you are like a shareholder in the company, but sort of an employee of the company. You do have to sell what the company offers to its customers. In other words, you cannot invent a product and sell it under that company name.
Currently, I sell for the Longaberger company. They have been in business since 1973 and they make baskets, pottery, and other home good items that complement the baskets and pottery. I have been a consultant with them since October 2001. Anything that involves any legal matters, which I, fortunately, have not had with them, they will take care of it. However, I do have guidelines that I need to follow legally, or I will have my contract pulled. They are simple little matters, such as using the trademark labels and logos at craft fairs, marketing materials I make on my own, and fundraisers. I also have to be careful about sponsorships as well. I do get discounts (25% on current products, 20% on retired products), my commission is 20%, and I get a monthly 1% commission override for any person who signs up to be on my team, and has earned $1000 in sales their first month as a consultant.  I can also earn incentives, such as trips and free product. I earn sales through home parties, individual orders, online sales, online parties (such as social media events), and fundraisers.

The next business I would like to talk about is entrepreneurship. This is the only way I can best describe it. In this business ownership, you own 100% of the business, meaning you are the decision-maker of everything. There are 2 different types of entrepreneurship you can go into. The first one is product base, where you supply the product. The Second one is based on service, where you supply the service. It doesn’t matter what type of business have in this category, 1st 3 steps you take when starting a business is 1) what is your product or service 2) name of your business 3) was this for. Next, there are the legal matters to take care of, such as registering your business with your state, if you are in the United States (I am not familiar with and to international business startups), getting a tax ID number, and getting a business/vendors license for your state. (Again, I am not familiar with international law for each country.) Be prepared to hire an accountant, a business advisor, a web designer, and maybe have a lawyer on speed–dial. You may not need a lawyer, but it helps in case you need any business law advice.
Currently, I am also a sole proprietor for my company, P. Lynne Designs. I envisioned it in 2007 while I was working for a scrapbooking store called Archiver’s. I, as well as other customer associates, kept getting questions on making the products (meaning cards and scrapbooks) in-house, and they pay for the finished product. Archiver’s sold supplies to make the finished products and showed customers how to make them in the form of a class. They were not a hallmark or an American Greeting Card Company for pre-made cards either.   That is when I got the idea to make them myself. Once I had the idea, which the company is both a product and service company, then I came up with the name MDN Creates. (I am not going into details on how I came up with the name in this blog post.) I officially opened for business in November 2009, but I had a slight problem. Archiver’s had changed the employee handbook to state that no employee may not start any business of any kind while working for the company. This also meant that if I was to stay with Archiver’s, I would have to quit as a Longaberger consultant as well. So in January 2010, I made the painful decision to leave my position at Archiver’s. I mentioned in a post 2 days ago about the mistakes I made when I left the company.
I mentioned that P. Lynne Designs was a dual company, meaning it was both a product and service company. The product portion of the company is that I am a stationer, creating designs for cards, scrapbooks, invitations, and other stationery products. The service portion of the company is sitting down with the client, and helping them decide what kind of product they want according to their taste in design. It is still a work in progress, because I just register the company with the state of Ohio a few months ago, as well as getting my vendor license. This is something I did not have to do when I started selling Longaberger products, which I still do. The other service portion of P. Lynne Designs is freelance services, where I write blog posts, research documents and write them, and graphic designing with Photoshop, Lightroom, and Illustrator. I know it sounds like a lot for this company, but I am pleased with the results so far, even though I can do more.

So this is an overview of the different types of businesses you can go into. There is one more that I failed to mention to you, and that is the role of the nonprofit company. I will get to that another day. But for right now if you have any questions, you can always find an expert on the subject of entrepreneurship for owning your own company.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Day 7: all nice and warm.

(c) 2016 P. Lynne Designs
Well, Columbus had its first major snowstorm of the season, and I would not call it a major snowstorm yet. The reason why I call it a major snowstorm because people around here do not know how to drive in snow. I am serious. Folks around Columbus believe that ice is the natural norm around here, and decide to drive like it is springtime weather. They forget rules when stopping, they forget that they do not have snow tires (which is not a requirement in Ohio), and it is like a three-ring circus on the highways. Another plus for working at home.
So yesterday, I covered how you can apply to work from home if your employer allows it, and how to do it effectively. Today, I am going to briefly show you how to start the process of becoming an entrepreneur. It is not as easy as it looks, and you have to make sacrifices. I am going to show you what I did wrong, as well as what I am doing right.  Keep in mind that I am not an expert on the subject of all things owning your own business from A-Z because I am still learning.  I am learning what a business owner can and cannot do and I have been learning for almost 15 years (14 as an independent direct seller and 5 as an entrepreneur, and 4 as a freelance writer).  There are differences between the three, and since my other blogs are currently down because of an upgrade (this is the last blog to get the upgrade), I will address it here.

Preparation steps:

  •          Make sure you have 6 months to a year’s worth of money saved before taking on this task.  It goes hand in hand with the next one I will mention in a moment.  This should be common sense anyway because you will never know what will happen.  You may get sick to the point of not being able to work, or laid off either in a company closing, downsizing, or fired for whatever reason the boss cooks up.  Now, this was my mistake, and the reason was shopping.  I had to have it now, instead of waiting on that item.  I had 3 months saved, and I had bills.  I will address bills in a moment as well. 
  •          Keep your job, for now.  You cannot go to work, and announce that you quit because you have your own business.  Wait until profits increase before you make that announcement.  It shows three things:  You are loyal to your job (even if you hate it to pieces), You have a backup in case things fail, and it looks good on your credit report.  Not only that but if things do go bad down the road (say in 2-3 years) when your business has a lean year (not making enough profits), you can go back to your former employer and work a while.  Once your business picks up again, you can always leave.  Do not bite the hand that feeds you and do not talk bad about the company when you leave.  Tip:  Do not take their clients either if you are still in the same industry.  There is a reason why they have you sign that waiver when they first hired you.  My company changed its employee handbook to read that I could not open a business of any kind, so they forced my hand in signing it, but then I quit. You can always work your business on the weekends and days off for a while.
  •          Bills, bills, and more bills.  We all have them.  Credit Card, utility, even magazine subscriptions.  Continue to pay them on a regular basis.  What it looks like to the creditors:  money in your pocket to pay them, and there are no breaks in the payment.
  •          Try not to get a loan.  Enough said.  If you do, wait until you need equipment or some other major tool or property, not when you first start the business.
  •          Benefits.  Another reason why you should not quit work right away.  The moment you quit, you have to pay your own health insurance, and you do not get that bonus or that vacation pay if you do not take one.  You also do not get unemployment benefits. (Not one dime of it).  When you are ready (see “Keep your job, for now.”), you can negotiate your back pay (if they are a fair company), and bid a proper goodbye.  Even if you are bitter about it, do not leave in anger, you may need a favor down the road.

I hope this helps you to decide if owning your own business is right for you.  You can always read further, and research for yourself, but I love it, and I may not get it right all the time, but tomorrow I will show you how to get things in line BEFORE you yell “Open for business”.

Day 6: Brrrrrr, Baby it’s Cold Outside

(c) 2016 P. Lynne Designs

o, I have not forgotten to post that leftover Blogmas 2015 blog post last month.  I just went out there to take pictures for this post.  For those of you in the warm 365 days of the year location of your choice, and you know who you are, it may come to a surprise to you, but 8° at 6 am in Columbus, Ohio, USA is brrrrrr cold to me.  It is now a warm 20° outside, and as Columbus Ohioans, we long for the nights when you turn up the air conditioner to max, and you are still hot.  This is around Mid-June to early September, and I still do not understand why it is now frigid cold outside.  Oh, I forgot, we are below Michigan, LOL.  Well, at least, it is not Alaska or the North Pole. 
I forget my driving rules for the winter months every year, but I will be reminded of them when I have my first slip of the back tires, and I am doing it this year blind, meaning I have a new car to test the icy conditions with.  I know how Hondas handle the road, but a Dodge Caliber.  This hatchback is built like the truck line, but how does it handle the icy roads and the crazies that these Columbus streets give?  This is the time where I really put my life in God’s hands. (Not that I do not do it for any other time of the year.)
One of the best things about working from home is I do not have to deal with the morning and afternoon commute to and from work.  In the winter, it is truly a blessing to be able to roll over as many times as needed, and then bounce down the stairs, eat, and start work.   That should be a norm in every workplace, unless you have to see clients.  Not every job is equipped with that kind of power.
So do you want that power to commute in your PJ’s (Pajamas)?  Well it is simple if you take these steps:
1.       First off, find out if it is possible to work from home with your current job.  Not all jobs allow it.  Sometimes it is the nature of the work you do for them, at other times, it is the matter of security and if you are dealing with sensitive material (such as Social security numbers, addresses, health issues).
2.       If you can work from home, give it a trial run.  It may not be for you.  Some companies require that you have a dedicated line to answer calls.  They will have to install this, or some companies ask that you provide that on your own.  Same with a computer.  For that, you cannot mix company files with your own.  No one wants to see a file containing your best Chicken and Rice recipe mixed in with Q2 stats and figures for the company website.  Please ask for another computer, an external drive, cloud or something to keep the head honchoes from seeing 500 pictures of your child’s 3rd birthday last month.
3.       Follow the rules they give you.  Act as if you are in your office.  These rules may include dressing as if you are at the office, no personal calls during working hours, and how long you can take lunch breaks.  Check back with your employer as often as they require, which may involve commuting into the office once or twice a week.
4.       Now is not the time to cancel the babysitter.  In fact, hiring a babysitter to work in your home is the best thing, because the child is in their environment, with their own toys and naptime stuff.  Pay your babysitter accordingly.  Even when the trial period is over with, and you decide to go back to the office, you will already have your babysitter in place.
5.       Before your trial period is over, evaluate the situation.  What did you like about it? What did you hate about it?  Is this better for your family?  Ask your boss for feedback, especially how your productivity was during this time, in comparison to your other evaluations in previous years.   Listen carefully, because this does determine how you get you pay raises as well.

So, how does this compare to what my job is?  Well you just have to wait till tomorrow for the conclusion. 

Friday, January 8, 2016

Day 4: So many fonts, so little time.from

from Shabbycreek.com
(Warning: sorry for the different types of fonts.  I was trying to make a statement.)

I have a little confession to make- I am a font junkie.  Sorry.   OK, I am not, but I feel that as a stationer (one who designs stationery) and a freelance writer, a girl cannot have too many fonts on their computer…. or can they?
1.    I am always prepared.  I will never have to grab a certain font from a font store (I have several I go to) when a client wants that perfect script for a wedding invitation, (hey, this one is cute... It is called Brush Script Std.  The previous one is called Segoe Print.
2.    I am creative…. Duh, and as a creative person, I can have as many fonts as I want, especially if it looks cute in a Photoshop image (Lightroom, any Adobe software)
3.    I am a collector of stuff.  Just ask my dad.  On second thought… don’t!
Cons: (this one is Adobe Fan Heiti Std. B):
1.       It can bog down the computer.  Fonts (and images) are like Lays® Potato Chips.  You can’t have just one.  You get one, then two, and then the next thing you know, this program uses this set of fonts, while another program needs another set of fonts.  Every font on your computer gets integrated by all of these programs, and then you have a traffic jam.  You can just sit there, wondering why your computer is taking so long to load one program.
2.      You may not have what the client wants.  When that happens, you may need to go to a font store.  Sometimes when you get there, and you need something like a Segoe Script (this is a Segoe Script), you do not know if you can get it for free, part of a bundle (which are not cheap), or they do not have it at all.  If the latter happens, you may have an upset client.
But sometimes, when it is late, like tonight, and I have closed up shop, and I have shut down Photoshop, my Cricut Die Cut Machine, and software, and the paper has been put away.  I go into my journal in MS Word, and I just type in plain old Times New Roman.

Yes, a stationer cannot have too many fonts, as long as she does not have to call for Geek Squad to speed up the computer.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Day 3: Trying something new and exciting for 2016

(c) 2016 P. Lynne Designs
On day 3 of the series I want to tackle my plans for trying something new for 2016.  We all want something out of the new year.  In fact, and my opinion, very few people want to stay where they are.  The average person is NOT resistant to change, if they are the ones who are making a change.  No one should be forced to make a change in their life, UNLESS the very thing they are doing is harming them in some way. 
A year ago, I had mentioned that I have stopped calling resolutions just that, and started calling them “goal setters”.  These are my goals for the new year.  My pastor had mentioned on New year’s eve that if you say “resolution”, you are bound to break them within the first few weeks of the new year.  Another thing is how are you going to “resolve” your situation?  For example, if you say in your resolution that you are going to be a better person than in 2015, I want to know how.  Just do it, and do not be quick to say, “I just broke my resolution already”, you just set yourself up to fail. 
So one of my “goals” for 2016 is to try something new that I did not try in 2015.  I have given this a lot a thought, and some of it is not cheap, maybe.  It all depends, but if I cannot do it this year, there is always 2017, 2018, heck 2020 if I let it go that long.  Hey, if I have to wait until 2035, I will, LOL.  No, I will not let it go on that long.  Besides that, that thing that I want to do this year may be obsolete by 2035, at least the 2016 version may be, plus I will be 71, yikes!  I hope I will be a rockin’ senior citizen.
Sorry, went off-topic, where was I?  Oh, yes the new things I want to try for 2016.  This is a round up so here we go: (Warning:  Affiliate Links ahead)
1.       Education.  I stopped going to school after I earning my bachelor’s degree in marketing in 2003.   I have always love learning since the age of 3, and I have not stopped really going to school since that time.  I learn in other ways now, through webinars, and online classes.  I want to go back to get my master’s in the same subject, but I want to gear it towards what I am doing now.  I never got that marketing job working for a marketing or ad agency, mainly because I had failed attempts in getting an internship at these agencies.  Their reasons were simple:  either they ran out of funds to pay me (they could had offered me a non-paying internship), or some other excuse.  After working in retail, my focus has changed, I am now an entrepreneur with a stationery company.  I also want to continue to take classes in what I am doing now.  For instance, I was looking at the Craftsy website, and I saw so many classes, but the one I saved to my wish list is one called, “Cards with Dimension: Lovely Layers, Textures, & Embellishments”.  I started layering my cards last year, and love them.  This class will really help with my cards, but I want more out of them.  So this is the class I chosen to start with.
2.       Being positive.  No, this is not something I am great at lately.  I am blessed, I am grateful, but I had a lot of stuff I have gone through in the past 12-24 months, and it is high time I let it go and move on. (See, Elsa is not the only one who can sing this song).   I am always the one who tries to look at a glass half full, but these months, I have looked at them half empty, because of the things I have gone through and witnessed.  I am not going to list them here, but you can look through my blog, and find the posts. Along those same lines, I am going to watch what I say in comments, especially if another negative person started the argument.  I was looking back at some of my comments I made on Disqus (I have an account), and I did not like what I said in some of the 54 comments I made in the past 4 years.  Granted some were warranted, but I should have worded the comments differently to show a more positive spin on the thoughts I was thinking of.  I did not curse, that is not my way, but they were degrading towards the negative person, and that is what they want.  That is why they did not answer me back with an even more degrading reply.  I even called someone a moron.  It is amazing what comes out of my mouth at 2 am. No more late night commentaries for me.
3.        Do what I say.  OK, this one is a little harder.  I have said in the past 12-24 months that this is the year I am going to get (Blank).  I have let my finances rule over what I am going after, and this is part of the negativity I have been fueling lately.  I want a new house, I want a newer car, and I want a newer musical keyboard.  The current home, even though I am blessed to be in it, I have been here for over 10 years, and this condo is not really private.  I will not go into details about my complaints since my newer neighbors moved in over a year ago.   The current car, love it, but the hatch is heavy.  Minor problem that I am living with.  Current musical keyboard is on its last leg, and I had it since 1999.  That is a long time for a keyboard. (yes, you can keep pianos until infinity if you need to, not so much for keyboards).  If you have goals for this stuff, go for it, but do not live beyond your means.  Me too.

So that is it for trying something new.  I will list other goals in future posts, so, be safe, be warm. It is briskly cold in Ohio.  (I want to go to Florida or the Bahamas, maybe California or Hawaii, but help!!!!)