Tuesday, June 12, 2018

How to Grow Your Personal Brand

Today starts an on again, off again series called Branding.  This is not only for branding yourself, but for your business as well, if you have one, or want to start one.  According to the article in Entrepreneur Magazine, “7 ways to grow your personal brand in less than a week”, I need to grow this brand called Patricia L. Logan.  The reasons for improving my brand are:
Photo by PicMonkey.com
  1)      I do not want anyone to get the wrong idea about me or my company, P. Lynne Designs.  I want to be a truthful and authentic as possible.  If I did it, I need to own up to it and stay true to myself.  I have nothing to hide nor to prove to anyone how that comes off but to me and me alone.
2)      I want customers. 
3)      I want to connect.   
4)      I want to sell my craft/skills.  We all have them, even if it is nothing more than to be a good leader or a good-hearted person.  I want to say to a person, “you have a problem, I have a solution, and I want to help you solve your problem with skills that God has given me.”
5)      I want to influence people to think about new things, see new things, and find what is beyond their world of scope.

I am not getting anywhere, anymore, and I think, in fact, I know that it has to do with the way I have been marketing myself through my brand lately.

I want you to think back to something you tried for the first time. A product perhaps.  What was your initial reaction to it?  How was the advertising?  What happened when you tried it a second or third time?  Was it different than the first time you tried the product?   This is what I go through every time I look at my brand.  I want people to have a positive feeling about the brand of Patricia L. Logan and P. Lynne Designs.  You may not need me all the time, but each time you come to me for help, I want it to be the best experience I can possibly give to you.

What skills you need from me?

In a nutshell, I am a stationery designer.  This is an all-over-throw-around way of saying I make cards, invitations, scrapbooks, mini-books, graphic designer, and freelance writer, rolled up in an itty-bitty package (I’m 5’ so it cutely fits).  I am also an influencer.  I can mix in a little web design, but I would much rather send you to a true web designer if that is all you want.  Same with blog design. I will do it for my clients if it is part of a package I currently offer, but only if they ask.  I will also advise on what social media platforms they should get on.  (here is a hint:  you only need 2-3 that you get on all the time.)

So here are the recommendations for building your brand:

  1. Research yourself:  Sound simple enough, right? Um, no.  To only see what Google says about you only hits the surface.  You have to dig deep.  I looked on PeopleLooker (not sponsored, By the way), and for $18 or so, you can pull up the report you need for yourself, but do not agree to this amount because you can hit the back button, and they will send it to you for $1. (PDF’s are $2.99), so for $3.99, you can see your incriminating bits on yourself.  So far, they have 3 addresses that I have not lived at (such as Naples, FL), an alias name I have never said I was (Who is this Patricia Cole person?) and they spot on with the criminal records, arrest records, judgements, and liens to which I have none.  For any type of credit report, I recommend Credit Karma or Credit Sesame to see where your credit is. I use Credit Karma.  Both services provide a free report.  While you at it, set up a Google alert on your name, so you are aware of any and all reports.
  2. Get a website.  I may also add to this article’s recommendation and say a blog site as well.  Both are great and do allow you to set up an “about me” page.  An about me page allows you talk about you, but I have also read recently that does not mean to make it all about you and what you do.  You want to also say what you can do for your potential customer.  In other words, answer the question they have when they first come to your website or blog.  Example: “I need a good, funny Father’s Day Card”. Answer: “I provide cards for all occasions, including humorous holiday cards for Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day.  There you go, you have solved a problem, and they do not have to email you to ask that question.  Use photos on the website and blog that are high-resolution.  Also, engage in your audience.  Have an inviting website or blog.
  3. Think about your audience.  Who do you want to attract?  Moms, who skydive?  Dog lovers who live in China?  Disney Vacation Club fans?  Define them now.  What do you have to offer them?  People love to get giveaways.
  4. Network, Network, Network.  The more people you meet the better.  More chances of talking about your brand.  Go to local events that cover your topic.  You might reach some influencers.
  5. Be you.  This is what I mentioned earlier when I talked about improving my brand.  The more people who see the real you, the true you, and what your morals stand for, the more readers and buyers, repeat readers and buyers you will have.
  6. Capture information.  Not sure what this article really means to this statement, but I think what it means is when you build your relationship with a client, customer, or reader, the better that person feels about joining your mailing list and bringing in other people.  They need to trust you that you are not going to scam them out of their money, or use it in other ways, besides what their information was intended for (such as informing them of new products or a cause you are campaigning for).
  7. Make Friends with influential people online.  Did you know that in addition to making homemade products, I also am an influencer?  The only thing is I am only a small influencer.  What is an influencer?  An influencer is a person who influences or convince others to buy a product, put money towards a cause, or champion for someone who needs it and gets people to buy into what they are talking about. In order to get more likes, tweets, etc, having an influencer who has a bigger audience can help your business or personal brand.  Do not get any influencer, though.  Get one who knows your industry, and what you are trying to teach to the masses. You will get more viewers to your website. This is why networking is so important.
Takeaway moment: 
If you follow these steps in building your brand, you will have more sales and more people who can be in your corner to help your brand. 

Again, I got this article from Entrepreneur Magazine because I am also build up my brand. I found this information helpful when makes me an influencer.  I want you to succeed in whatever business you desire to be in. When placed in the right position, your personal and business brand will grow and draw in new people every day.    

Friday, May 18, 2018

I am not Organized-Blog Revamping and Niche Change to a Blog

What Are You Talking About-Intro?
Trying to Revamp Some Blogs
P. Lynne Designs

I had it all figured out.  I thought I could do it, 100% committed to this whole blogging thing.  I am ready, writing my posts and <tire screech> I do not.
I have been pouring my heart out with My Ambiance Life, stopping every couple of months to check on life (and my parents), and I forgot I have another two blogs I have totally ignored.  Yikes.
I thought I had closed one of them, Tricia’s Baskets, where all posts, sales, and news about The Longaberger Company lived.  It was the perfect place for someone to come, find out how to decorate with the product, and actually order from me. I started thinking, probably around 2016, that I should concentrate on my Facebook page, Tricia’s Baskets-Longaberger.  I have more to say on that for another day that does not have to do with Longaberger’s recent announcement.  As a consultant, you are allowed to run your business as you see fit, as long as it operates within the company’s policies.
The second blog, P. Lynne Designs is, of course, for my second company.  The idea of neglect there is concentrating on my Etsy shop by the same name, getting set up to move the whole writing portion to my WordPress store by the same name, P. Lynne Designs.  Life got in the way, or rather the whole idea of getting behind was overwhelming and doing too much too soon.  The store is still coming, but actual opening day sounds closer to Christmas 2018 than Summer 2018.  I have some kinks to work out, like when can life take a temporary backseat to me playing with the website to my liking and to potential customers.
Life tip: Sometimes, no matter how good you try to make things, you have to prepare to roll with the punches and adapt to the situation at hand.
What am I going to do about this?
I am regrouping these two blogs.  Due to recent events that I mentioned in two of my posts…. What are you fighting for…Prepare to Win and Motivational Monday: Self-Doubt, one of my blogs, Tricia’s Baskets is getting a regrouping and sort of a niche change.  The other, P. Lynne Designs, the blog needs a little updating. 
My thought Process-Tricia’s Baskets
As I said in the previous segment, I am regrouping and changing the subject (niche) on this blog.  At first, I was going to leave the blog as is, but again, due to Longaberger’s announcement to the Sales field, my future with them is up in the air for now.  I must think fast since I want to keep this blog open.  The best thing for me to do at this point is to change it to a home lifestyle blog, similar to the Simply Organized Crafts Blog I had two years ago.  I still have the name of “Simply Organized Crafts” on my Facebook page, so, I will officially change the name to Tricia’s Baskets-Home when I get the blog changed.  The name of the Blog will reflect that change, by me adding “Home” at the end of the name.  In case Longaberger decides to continue in the Direct Selling industry, I will keep this name, since I had planned on exiting the company at the end of June 2019.
My thought Process-P. Lynne Designs Blog
For this blog, I plan on updating it.  There will be no name change, and a simple, “Where have I been” post will suffice, for now.  I want to update it so that I can add it to the store portion when I get that part updated. Hopefully, I will not take too long to do it.
So, why am I Telling You my Plans?
To be honest, I am not sure.  Maybe I want to help you out in your blogging journey, and the only way it to give you my plans as examples.  Maybe it is to be accountable to not only to myself but to those people who have been reading my blogs (My Ambiance Life, P. Lynne Designs, and Tricia’s Baskets), subscribed to them, and waiting to see if I am going to post something new.  Or, perhaps I am admitting that I am human after all. I admit that I made mistakes in my businesses, and perhaps this is one way for all of us to learn from it.  I am glad that these mistakes are not the kind that costs me money or gets me in trouble with the law. 
My one takeaway from this is honest with yourself and your readers if you have a blog, a website, or any type of CyberMedia.  In fact, be honest, period. Admit to your mistakes, correct them, and move on from there. One of the things I admitted to in my “Self-Doubt” post is that I always blame my mistakes of the past on why I cannot get ahead.  I cannot go back to correct them, so, the only way to correct them is to learn and do not make the same mistake.  Regrouping and updating my blogs, P. Lynne Designs and Tricia’s Baskets is one way of correcting my mistakes.  I could have shut them down, but what good would it do my readers.  I am an influencer and I need to act like it.
I cannot speak for you.  I hope you learn from this exercise of becoming organized in your cyber life.  I want to take you all along for the ride of recreating these two blogs and in turn, learn how to update this one as well.  For this blog, I feel like I have outgrown Blogger, and have felt like that for a while, but that is another subject for another day since I had setbacks with this blog as well.  It is all in the process of being a writer in the 21st century, as the writing industry has grown from the typewriter to what we have now, and do not get me started on that subject either.  I tend to have a “squirrel” mentality lately. (For those of you who have seen the Disney Movie,” Up” would know what I am talking about, LOL)

I hope you have enjoyed this post, and if you want to see more like it, let me know in the comments section.  

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Bill Cosby, Part 2- My reaction

My reaction to a post of a Facebook Friend in April shortly after Mr. Cosby’s trial:
Is this show now Tainted?
Copywrited 1995 NBC
As I said in another post. No one says anything for YEARS, and as soon as he writes a book (and mind you, he has written a couple), but this is about his life, all of a sudden, these women come out of the woodwork. What happen? Got a little greedy? I am not saying that he may or may not have done it. I have said that the whole time from when the first woman said that Bill Cosby raped her. This was long before the #MeToo campaign. I am not making light of the whole thing. If he did it, when will answer to the charges one way or another, either here on Earth, or when he dies, I am still on the fence with this. The reason I am on the fence is he built a reputation of #1 dad in a family-oriented show that crossed racial lines because everyone had a Cliff, a Clair, and children like Sondra, Denise, Theo, Vanessa, and Rudy. They may not have made as much as the Huxtables, and what dad had not tried the parental tricks of these parents. Given that they were characters in a show, but even kids of abusive parents have wanted parents like Cliff and Clair. It is hard to believe that this same man, who told young men to "Pull up your pants" and talked about education, while managed to give a funny laugh or two with how he raised his own kids, could do this behind the scenes, away from the spotlight. all I can say is "Dishearten". I also believe what another friend wrote, which was that he was also a victim of not being black enough according to the standards of the White Supremacy.”

I still think there is some conspiracy behind this case.  Sorry, let the trolls come, I do not care.  This is my post and my opinion.  Please do not shoot.  Do I believe that there were victims in this besides Bill Cosby?  Sure, there were.  No one knows the whole truth but Bill Cosby and God. Either way, his reputation was ruined the moment the first woman can forward.  Again, the was before the Me Too campaign.  This was before anyone born thought of the Me Too movement. 
The funny thing about this, and I am not talking in a comedian-type of funny, no woman on The Cosby Show, A Different World, or even in his previous shows, or his short-lived show, Cosby, said that he did anything inappropriate.  I had heard that he was a regular at the Playboy Mansion, so should those Playboy Bunnies come forward too?  What about #45 (Donald Trump), does he get a pass?  Bill Clinton didn’t.  He was impeached on paper if that means anything.
Another funny thing is that Bill Cosby is 80 years-old.  He was convicted on three charges, carrying a maximum sentence of 10 years each.  This means he will get out in 30 years.  Do you know how old he will be in 30 years? No doubt that his legal team will contest that.  The man is too old to be sentenced, and where is he going to stay for 30 years, some cushy celeb-jail, with all the creature comforts of home?   
Let’s Address the Elephant in the Room…
One woman was not going to let it rest until she gets her due justice.  All the others backed off because they knew that the statute of limitations was up for them.  They were counting on her to deliver the blow that was “the man that American homes built up to be #1 TV Dad”.  But why now? Was he getting too comfortable?  Speaking engagements, suppositums, college campuses, teacher events, and a tell-all book to top it off. Someone must have said, “this black man has gotten too big in his old age, someone needs to shut him up.”    Some people got tired of hearing what Bill Cosby had to say on today’s youth and education.  I think the last time he was in Columbus was it was right before he was indicated the first time.  He was greeted like royalty.  Bill Cosby spoke and told jokes at the Ohio Theatre on State Street.  He loved hot dogs, so, a place up the street named one after him. I forgot the name of the hot dog, but the place is called Dirty Franks.  I am sure they removed the hot dog or changed the name of it. Maybe someone did not see Bill Cosby’s name in lights or in the news.  Again, this just my opinion on trying to understand it all. 
When he was first indicted, they removed The Cosby Show from Netflix, Nick at Night, and any television channel that could show it.  They even stopped showing A Different World because he produced and created the show.  About a year ago, TV One started showing The Cosby Show, and I could have been any happier.  Not just because of the man who played Dr. Heathcliff  Huxtable, obstetrician, husband to Clair, a lawyer, parent of five: Sondra, Denise, Theodore, Vanessa, and Rudith (in an earlier episode, her full name was announced as Rudith Lillian Huxtable). It was not just because Cliff was funny, but the whole family was very entertaining, and besides my own family, I saw someone who was family-oriented, did not curse at the wife and kids, and whose parenting tactics resembled my own parents.  They did not live in the ghetto, like The Evans from Good Times.  Clair was not a single mother, trying to make ends meet while trying to hold down two or three jobs.  They ate well, but they did not throw their wealth around like The Jefferson’s, a couple by the same show name, who had one child, in college by the name of Lionel.  I would say that the Huxtables were an average family with their own home, making it on their without the stereotypes of typical African Americans in a sitcom. In fact, the only other African American family I had seen on television (husband, wife, kids) were the Evans (Good Times).  Not even in a dramatic type of show.  The only difference between the two families was one was poor with the wife working as a maid, and the other was middle class with the wife working as a lawyer.  Hum, I may explore this some more for my Mother’s Day piece.  That is a good starting off point. For now, let’s get back to Bill Cosby, the man.
One of the reasons Lisa Bonet, who played Denise Huxtable was let go from the show for a while, as she started in a movie called Angel Heart.  In some of the scenes, she was to get naked and perform a sex act, which disheartened Bill Cosby.  He advised her not to take the role.  She did it anyway, and he let her go for a while.  Denise’s absence was explained in one of the shows.  This was how she met and married Martin Kendall, and became stepmother to Olivia when Lisa was rehired.  To me, on the surface, does not sound like a perverted man, who would drug women and have sex with them while they were under.  Now, I am not sure what to believe.
This also leads to the second half of my question: why didn’t he make his advances on Phylicia Rashad, Sabrina LeBouf, Lisa Bonet, Tempest Bledsoe, Keisha Knight Pullum, Raven Symone, or even the countless women and girls who played the television daughters friends, extras, or even the two little girls who played Winnie, Sondra and Elvin’s daughter, as well as the female staff working on the show, no complaints from any women on the sets of I Spy, Cosby, or any of the movies he has been in, at least not yet.
I am sure that this only the beginning.  After all, look at Harvey Weinstein.  He was a producer and had his own production company.
Some truths in all of this…
I guess I am the victim of putting in a successful African American man.  Besides his success on the Cosby Show and other television shows, including the show that dragged me to like him in the first place, Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids. He was also a regular on the first Electric Company, a PBS Show.  (Where Rita Moreno and Morgan Freeman was on as well). He is a philanthropist, gives back to the community, talks about education, and a whole host of things that I did not fit into this post.  It is hard on any person who has followed this man for so long to see the “elephant in the room”,  it is the fault of the actor as well as the fault of the fan.  Yes, like countless others, I am a fan, but how can I be a fan of a rapist? His beliefs do not line up with mine. Now, it makes perfect sense when the Bible tells you not to follow man, but God. 
It is also true when a rapist will not go after members of his own family.  He could have easily did the same to his daughters.

We will never know the full story behind Bill Cosby the man.  If he does not get to spend time in jail, my suggestion is what I read in Joseph C. Phillips, who played Cliff’s son-in-law Martin Kendall said in a post he wrote in 2015;” Retired to the countryside, live out your days, and make no contact with anyone.” That is the best he can do for him and Camille Cosby, his wife, and his remaining children (one daughter died earlier this year, and he lost his only son in 1997). That is the best I can say to a man who played Dr. Huxtable.  Dr. Huxtable was a good man, husband, father, and grandfather, but he was only a character sent to entertain me once a week on Thursdays at 8 pm from 1984-1992.  I had fun, I had laughs, and it was a good time in my television life.  I still enjoy it, binge-watching on TV One from 2 pm to 7 pm on Saturdays.  I also catch a glimpse of it on YouTube.  Has Bill Cosby tainted me from viewing it?  No, but I think I better take a hiatus from it for a few months.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Motivational Monday: Self Doubt

As usual, from my Facebook status (I am starting to have a lot these days): “This is a retweet I shared about two years ago. I still feel the same as this person. I was raised to believe this and I will always carry this even I am about to draw my last breath. I also going through a period of uncertainty that reaches even before what happened over the weekend with Longaberger.
As a person, I am willing to stand by this company, but I need to be honest, I am not sure how long I am willing to do this. My first priority as an Independent Home Consultant is to take care of customer's needs. I hope the owners of this company know that. It is not what keeps them coming? New products can wait. If you cannot service the general public with your service of provision, then maybe you should close your door for good. Yes, I am angry, and I am hurt. I may not have had many sales over the past few months with you and the reason was quite simple, I was dealing with self-doubt.
I had self-doubt in my abilities as both a consultant with a once upon a time billion dollar company and as a stationery/graphic designer/writer/crafter, trying to build a company from scratch. Why did I self-doubt? Simple, no sales, and no money to do promotions. I thought that by promoting on social media (especially my FB page) would get me sale from both Longaberger and my company, P. Lynne Designs. There were periods where I would just stare into the screen and wonder why am I doing this? I would hear the voice of God saying, "You got this", but I was not hearing it. Even when I did two projects last year for Judith Sharpe and Tiffany Thomas (which I still thank you both for believing in me), the doubt was still there. I still did not try hard enough to get work I needed.
Two months ago, I made a decision to really get in there and push. That was when I accepted a scrapbook project from Pat Meadows that I can truly feel proud of (not that I was not proud of the other two projects from last year. I am finding my self-worth again, which is my long-winded speech of saying, self-doubt is a mood killer, a dream killer, and the devil's advocate. Do not give in.
One last thing: To all independent consultants, rather you are with Longaberger or with some other direct selling company, I decided back in 2010 to have another source of income. take those skills that you gained with the company, and use them to your advantage and have backup income. I am not saying leave direct selling, but have a secondary income, even if you have a spouse or partner. Like so many companies before Longaberger, you were told everything is fine, and then one day, you cannot contact the call center. I believe that Longaberger will return in one form or another, but now is the time to come up with a backup system. I can now understand why consultants ask to join another company. That is not what I am talking about. Use your skills as a consultant to maybe teach a class. having home parties have taught you to not be afraid of audiences. This is one example, and I am reposting this on my blog.
Never self-doubt your skills or your abilities to help others.”

It is pretty self-explanatory, this post.  It sums what I have been going through in the past few months, including why I have not been posting on a regular basis for both my blog and vlogging channel.  It comes from a quote from Twitter that I reposted in 2016 (my Facebook and Twitter accounts are linked):
Retweeted Melanie (@SimplyShayXO):
#ThereIsAlwaysRoomInMyLifeFor God. Even through the darkest time of my life, even when I pushed Him away, He was there. He is always there.

It is the post I just wrote that I want to focus on.  To give you a backstory, this is what transpired ever the weekend (without giving out company info because I still stand behind this company for their products):  I was told, along with other consultants and leaders to not put in any orders until further notice.  You can read into it however you want, I am not spilling tea yet until they officially declare bankruptcy, or I can go back to submitting orders for myself or other customers. You can get angry at other people without hurting the relationship, and at the moment, I am angry at owners of Longaberger.  Please note that I am also angry for and at the former owners of Longaberger. The reason:  for softening the blow of what was really going on with the company and why shield it from the sales force and the employees?  I am going to leave that question right there because the same thing was going on with Toys R Us, Sears (I was let go from two stores because I was in the dark of problems stemming from that fiasco), even my most recent former employer, Archivers. 
Most people blame Amazon and Walmart for their company’s problems, but I smell an even bigger problem, which is why I choose to stay out of company politics, but when you are messing with my money, my livelihood, you need to speak directly to me.  Longaberger owners JRJR Enterprises was not speaking to the sales force loud enough, long enough, and early enough to say there were problems.   Actually, I take that back.  I did receive an email, stating for everyone to increase their sales, but they did not say why.  I thought it was them encouraging you to increase sales, like a normal motivational talk, not a “we are losing sales” talk.
So back to the whole reason for this post.
I was thinking about my reason behind the post on Facebook, other than this post resurfaced (which is a good thing), and I was in that funky feeling.  It was the kind of feeling that you were happy but not that happy.  That is one thing that Facebook is famous for, to remind you of your post.  I am the type of person who posts what I have to say on the social media and leave it at that.  A post.  Like others, I do post what makes me angry, but I have calmed down my anger over the past few months, since some people pay attention to it, and sometimes they do not.  I do not post to get a reaction anymore.  If it is inspirational I make it a point to have my Facebook friends (and Twitter and Linked-in friends since the accounts are linked) to read it.  I want to make sure that you know where I am coming from, and I do not like posting junk, which is the reason behind me not posting when I get a high score on a game.  I want people to learn and be inspired by my experience.

I want you to feel loved.

I want to solve a problem that you are having.  That is the whole reason behind P. Lynne Designs, my stationery/scrapbook company.  Let me give some examples:
  • You want to capture that moment when you first went to Barbados.  You decide to go on a cruise and you decide to take a lot of pictures.  Now, you may not think that a scrapbook album is the answer to everything memorable, but it is.  You can put in more than photos.  How about that ticket stub to a benefit concert put on by Rihanna, who happened to be visiting her mom, and it was for a neighboring school that she attended when she was a child.  Or the first time you tried rum punch. How about on the Lido deck? The program from that concert? 
  • You need flyers for an event
  • You need an article about the on-going effects of global warming or how to make canvas wall art.
  • You need wall art.
Yes, this is how I give of my talent, but I cannot give if I am constantly doubting if the client is going to love it or not.  I need to trust my instincts more.  I love the way I see things, which is with an open-mind that says that the world is more than one way.  So far, my clients have loved my work.  I get results. 

This also brings me back to you, and my takeaway from this post. 

What is your talent?  You do not have to be a good artist, singer, dancer, or speaker.  Listening can be a talent.  Listening with the intent of offering good advice can be a talent.  Chad Raider, Youtuber from GabeBabeTV is a known baby whisperer.  Every time a baby is near him, they calm down, which has worked so far on the newest member of their own family, Reagan Elizabeth.  Know this, if people turn to you because you can make the best Mac and Cheese that can beat a 100-year-old recipe, that’s talent.  If someone says that you can light up a room with your smile, that’s talent.  A talent does not always be a physical thing.  It is your mood, your attitude, your very presence.  In other words, confidence can be a talent as well.  Being modest without being overbearing is a talent.  Patience is a talent.  Find that talent, and never self-doubt it.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

What are you fighting for…. Prepare to win

Photo created by P.Lynne Designs using
Photos from Disney's Mulan and The
Longaberger Company.  
This is going to sound corny to some but if you have been reading my blog posts for a while, you know I love anything, Disney.  Well, a few nights ago, I finally saw Inside Out, and I saw Mulan for the umpteenth time.  It is the second movie that I want to focus on for the moment.
Released on June 5, 1998 (I looked it up), Mulan was about a young girl who wanted to restore honor back to her family and to show her worth as a woman in ancient China.  Before I get into my reasoning behind why I choose this animated movie as a backdrop to my title, let me give you the backstory behind Mulan.  After all, you cannot have a story without a backstory.  In fact, the movie trailer read like this:
Fearful that her ailing father will be drafted into the Chinese military, Mulan (Ming-Na Wen) takes his spot -- though, as a girl living under a patriarchal regime, she is technically unqualified to serve. She cleverly impersonates a man and goes off to train with fellow recruits. Accompanied by her dragon, Mushu (Eddie Murphy), she uses her smarts to help ward off a Hun invasion, falling in love with a dashing captain along the way.”
This time period was based on the story called “The Ballad of Mulan” (Yes, Mulan was a real person, unlike Cinderella, Snow White, and many others, except Pocahontas, who was also a real person.) The movie itself was in the Chinese time period of the Han Dynasty, but some accounts also say the this took place during the Qing Dynasty. 
The point (and the ending) of this story is a young girl, despite her upbringing to do what a woman in that time was supposed to do, which includes serve tea to her husband and be subservient to him, decides to do a noble thing, and to take her father’s place to fight in the Chinese Military.  

New Purpose for this post à A Different Direction

I had a different purpose for this title, which is a course of a couple of weeks I had forgotten.  Is old age setting in for me, or the subject really does not matter anymore?  I would have to say, the latter.  Here is the reason:
If you follow me on social media, I know that I posted on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, that The Longaberger Company temporary closed its doors as of May 4, 2018.  As an Independent Home Consultant, I cannot submit any orders until further notice.  Let me give you 3 views on that announcement.

I heard and read the following in an email from the company:

“Until further notice, please do not submit any orders until we can safely get back orders to those customers who are still waiting for their orders.  We will rise above this and come back stronger than ever.”
I also read that both Tami Longaberger and Rachel Longaberger Sturkey had settled with the new owners and the company for the amounts owed to them.  Another subject for another day.  In fact, I will not address it.
This does not sound like a company closing their doors for good.

This is what the news media heard over the weekend:

The Longaberger Company has officially closed its doors for good.  What has happened to this iconic company whose headquarters is shaped like a basket?
Nothing yet.  This is a temporary setback.
I remember when Columbus’s 10TV’s former anchor, Dave Kaylor, looked like he could not wait to report some bad news report on Longaberger. It would make my skin crawl.  It was as if it gave him joy.  Why did he hate Longaberger so?  I bet he is overjoyed now and probably wants to come out of retirement just to make the official, final announcement.
It makes people wonder if they should sell their baskets and pottery to the highest bidder on Ebay. The news industry is wondering if consultants are scrambling to return customers their money back.  I have to report, nope, the fat lady has not sung yet.

This is what the vultures are hearing:


I received a long message from a lawyer in New York City.  Yes, that New York City.  I guess he was on his weekly mission run of “ambulance chasing” because he found my profile on LinkedIn.  In case you are not familiar with the term, Wikipedia says that the term means, sometimes known as barratry, is a professional slur which refers to a lawyer soliciting for clients at a disaster site. The term "ambulance chasing" comes from the stereotype of lawyers that follow ambulances to the emergency room to find clients.” Now, I may not be a victim of a recent accident, but a company that has temporarily closed its doors is basically the same thing.  I bid him a “No Thank You” and issued this statement on my LinkedIn news feed page.
I want to address something in a short but brief message:  Just because Longaberger made an announcement about their current status, I am still an Independent Home Consultant with the company.  I am part of the sales force, which has a different weight than a person who was actually hired by the company.  Any consultant who is with a direct selling company knows this.  You do not receive benefits, such as health insurance, vacation pay, and the normal things an employee would receive from a company who is either active or in limbo, with is the case with The Longaberger Company.
So please, do not send me messages about suing the company.  I have nothing to sue for.  I volunteered to start selling their products in 2001.  I have not sold anything in a couple of months before they made the announcement.  Please do not ask me to be a part of "X" direct selling company.   To be honest, next year is going to be my last year at Longaberger regardless of the outcome of this company.  I had 16 long years with Longaberger, and I would not trade them for the world. I have started my own company, which is listed in my profile.  I will not be searching for a new direct selling company unless it benefits P. Lynne Designs, my Stationer/writing company.  Thank you for your understanding.”

I also wanted my Longaberger sales force family on what happened to me on our Facebook consultant page.  Hopefully, this is the first and the last time I will see a message from any “vultures”, but I know it is not.
I also read Karen Baker’s article about direct selling consultants becoming “predators” and “Vultures” in this industry called direct selling.  She says, “DON’T DO IT”. I can tell you why before finishing this article.
·        It makes you look desperate for new members of your team.  Wait a minute until you get all the details of a company’s closing.  It may be temporary, as such is the case of Longaberger. I will tell you right now, this very minute, I do not know whats going on.  I was given the same info my upline manager was given. I could be taking new orders next week.
·        We are in shock.  This goes for anyone who feels like they just lost a member of the family.  We are trying to make sense of all of this, and you come swooping in like a vulture getting his meal ticket.
·        This is temporary.  For the moment, legal terms are being worked out by the owners on the best course of action.  In Longaberger’s case, it works out the terms of back pay for the employees, commissions for the sales force, and even the insurance for the employees. Plus, shipping needs to be done for all the back orders.  Once that is ironed out and implemented, then they will have a clear idea of where to go from there.  It may take a week, 2-weeks, a month, or even 6-months.  I have no idea.
·        Some of us may not want to go to another direct selling company.  For those of you who are in direct selling, think back for a moment:  What drove you to the company you are selling for?  Was it the products, the sales technic? The perks of selling with the company?  How about the way a certain person made you feel when inquired about the company?  For me, it was one man.  Yes, a man and his name was Scott Beaver.  He made me feel that if he, a man, can sell baskets, pottery, and then wrought iron product, then a shy, insecure, African American Woman can too.  He made signing up a breeze.  Sadly, he left the company a few years later, but I did not quit because he left the company and the sales force.  I became part of a new team.  Susan Short was not that great, but that was when I learned to lean on others when your upline stops short of your expectations.  Once she quit, then I moved on to Marilyn Imhoff-Edman’s central team.  She has been wonderful, and she helped me when Susan would not do a thing.  She invited me to her team meetings, and when I did not understand the rules and practically cried on her shoulders (after making a one-hour drive from my house to hers), she calmed me down, and told me everything was going to be all right, and went over those rules, until they stuck.

So, as you see, I am not looking to joining another DS company and I am not letting you make me a pawn out of a would-be class action suit or the newest member of the trinket charm club sales team.  What I want to do for the moment is to process this information, make a reasonable decision, and listen to what JRJR Enterprises has to say, who is the parent company of The Longaberger Company.  In the meantime, I will play with my papers and make cards, stationery, write, make videos, and mini books for my company, P. Lynne Designs.

If you stuck around to the end of the post, you know that it was quite long, and for that, I do apologize.  I did not want to split up this post. I will keep my readers informed on my next steps with this company.  I had to get my anger and frustration I have for this company, whose products I do love. It saddens me the way that people are when something like this happens.  I have a backup system, while many consultants and employees do not.  It may be the only skill they have used in a while. My heart breaks for anyone who has ever lost a job.  As they told us, it is only a setback.  The company is not done with yet.

Last word on “What are you fighting for?”  Your fight may be different from mine.  It could be an illness, your child, your marriage, or a cause.  It could be your life.  You have things worth fighting for, just like Mulan.  This is my fight, and I am going to come back swinging.  Are you going to do the same?   

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Distractions: Good or Bad (Part 2)

Example of a good distraction (Photo
By P. Lynne Designs) copyright 2018
When we spoke last, I was talking about Distractions and how they can be good and how they can also be bad.  Let me tell you of two scenarios (in no particular order):
The first one happened in 2015.  A person was on their way to the last day of their event.  The road was clear, and she had all the typical distractions in her way:  Why was her hotel bill $356 (not an exact number but close)?  Why didn’t she get up in time for the buffet?   I wonder if Joann’s was going to have a good sale today?  So, she hopped in her Honda Accord, she cutely (rather her sister cutely) named Jessica, after piling all her things in the trunk.  No time to eat but will stop to get a donut.   Went to the nearby, but realized it was too far out of the way, Tim Horton’s to grab a donut and ate it along the way.  Made it to the exit and turned off the freeway.  Got to the street, Dave Longaberger Way, and proceeded to go across, when bam, hit by a truck going in the opposite direction.  The person survived, but the car was totaled, the engine, which could not take another impact force trauma from the year before, imploded, the fire did not reach the cabin of the car, and the car looked like someone gutted the hood area, while still looked normal from the back.  
For those who have been reading my blog for a while know that this was my accident from 2015.  The Lord spared my life and for that, I am truly grateful.  It was amazing how fast I got a new car (new to me-used). Since I loved my Honda so much, I hated my Dodge Caliber for a few months after the accident.  First of all, things, I NEVER get black cars.  When I think of a black car, I instantly think, funeral car.  I am driving a funeral car.  You might as well change my name from Patricia to Morticia, LOL. Second, when I first started driving this car, I had to research it (after all, it’s my job), and it has no value.  They stopped making them in 2013, and I have a 2008 car. So, screw the notion of me getting a 2018 because there are none and the car that replaced the Caliber, The Vie? Vision? Something like that had just retired itself.  In 2016!!!  I did not like the way the new car replacement looked. 
Third, I hate the fact that I had the accident in the first place.  Even though I had one little abrasion that did not completely heal until my follow-up mammogram (the doctor wanted to make sure it was not a mass), I was forever scared of making a left turn.  I would freeze up.  I still do, especially when there is a person behind me who is in a hurry.  Not sure if that feeling would ever go away.
Next Scenario….
A young woman traveling on Rt. 270 hits a semi. The report does not say but to say that she was instantly killed.  Her father is the local sports director/anchor for 10TV.  What this message of distracted driving brings that since his daughter’s death, it has prompted Dom Tiberi to create Maria’s Message, where he speaks about distracted driving, which it does kill a driver.  Millions of kids and young adults have taken the pledge.  Not only do you have to be aware of your surroundings as a driver, but also as a pedestrian as well.  He mentions things such as not using your cell phone, do not text while driving and other things that keep a person safe and well.
This was in 2013, and my accident, caused by me being distracted by trying to eat a donut in 2015 are not good distractions, but they teach some valuable lessons on how not to be distracted.
What are some of the Distractions:
First, a distraction is anything that takes your hands from the 10 and 2 positions of the steering wheel.  Most of us (including yours truly) love driving with one hand.  I am not sure what your reason is, but mine is simply because it feels comfortable, but if there is ever an accident, the police can blame you for not having both hands on the wheel.
Next, do you ride someone else in your car?   Children who constantly scream at each other and at you, a carpooler who will not shut up, a nervous pet on their way to the vet, or a spouse telling you about their day.  Yep, these are distractions too.
Finally, we all like a little music to pass the time away.  A favorite song starts playing, and you start singing.  You get a call in the middle of the song, and you must take it.   They now have cars that allow you to text while drive by allowing the driver to speak into the speaker of the vehicle.  Cool huh?  Maybe.  In a nearby town not far from my home, you are not allowed to touch your phone while in their city limits.  Your hands are at 10 and 2, and you are not holding your phone, so you are good right?  Maybe, it depends on what city, state, and country you are in. 
Some of you are probably wondering if no one or nothing should be in the car with you at all times.  no other persons (including children), radio, pets, nada should be in the car?  Yes and no.  You have to learn how to ignore them.  For instance, when a child starts yelling at you, or threaten to toss their two-year-old sister out the window, nicely tell them to stop and if they don’t, you will pull over and make them walk home.  My mom actually did that to my sister.  Seriously!  They were on the freeway near home, and my sister threw one of her 10-year-old tantrums.  Mom told my sister to stop, nicely, and she did not.  So, mom announced that she was pulling over.  She talked to my sister again, who was not hearing it, then asked my sister to get out of the car.  Once my sister was out, mom drove off, but she went to the nearest ramp, turned around and picked up my sister, who was stunned that mom would pull something like that.   Did it cure my sister?  Nope, not for a while, but all mom had to do was mention the words, “I am pulling to the side of the road”, then she would be quiet, and not say a word.  This is why my sister’s children are so good in my car, today.  I told them that story to them, and now I have good little riders.  I know, bad Auntie.
I am still working on my Radio skills to not sing along.  I am not perfect.
So, what is the lesson from parts one and two:
·         Distractions good, bad, or indifferent and they are there rather you like it or not. 
·         Learn to work around your plans.
·         If life happens (and it will), do not get mad because you did not get any sales from your Etsy shop, you cannot start on a project, or if you have to delay a massive clean-up job on your website or come home early from your trip because of an unexpected loss.
·         ONE ANSWER:   BUY AN ISLAND. LIVE ON IT AND HAVE ONLY YOU ON THAT ISLAND.  The only problem is you will miss civilization.  You cannot hide from life.  You must go with the flow, deal with the distractions, smile and say thank you Lord when you get through it.  There is another distraction coming