Saturday, March 8, 2014

A #RiskRejection Update

Wow, has it really been over a month since #RiskRejection "officially" ended? I guess so, but we're going to keep going with monthly updates because, well, we missed it. :-) So here's what's new for me:

Finally, on February 20th, after weeks of painfully slow communications, the shop owner I pitched placed an order. For 36 arrangements, that will be shared between two different gift shops! My house is now covered in paper scraps, floral wire and glue. And I'm not sure where my dining room table is any more!

I was going to write an announcement post, and start blogging over at the business blog I plan on running. I turned 40 the day after I got the order, so it was supposed to be a whole kick-off thing. But, we'll just say that all this suddenly felt a bit overwhelming (more on that later) and the blog and/or announcements haven't happened yet. So you readers here are the first to know.

I still need to get my logo loaded everywhere, write my shop intro for the gift shop display, publish that first blog post, and set up my Etsy shop, so hopefully I can get some online sales too once my stuff hits the real-world shop. I have LOTS to do to get ready. Fun and frightening all at once! And did I mention that I need to finish it all by Tuesday?

So, this does feel like quite an anti-climactic post, actually, but, now it's out there. I'll share links to the new sites once they're ready and maybe you fellow risk-takers can help me spread the word. :-)

And not related at all, but a bucket-list thing for me: I finally ran my first 5K on March 1st, and finished in 35:17. Not bad for an inadequately trained 40 year old, in my opinion. It was fun--I hope to do it again!

So, what have all my #RiskRejection friends been doing since our last update???

Thursday, January 30, 2014

#RiskRejection--the last "official" one

How is it that January is essentially over and technically then, so is #RiskRejection? I feel like we're just getting started!!  Well, I dare say many of us that joined Amy on this journey will keep right on taking risks, and now that we've formed a little sisterhood, I hope we will keep sharing and encouraging one another.

Like for example, I could use some this week....

If you will remember, last week I took a huge risk by telling the shop manager I had pitched that I was going to have to redo my prices. I actually jumped off the cliff and did that part. Then I calculated and fretted and added and subtracted and searched and shopped and tallied, and made up a new price list. And Sunday night, I sent it.

And have heard nothing since.

To be fair, she always take at least a day to respond, and this week, we have had snow and schools have been closed most of the week. So it is possible that she couldn't get to work because of the weather. Or maybe she has kids and had to stay home with them. I honestly have no idea. I'm making those excuses to try and keep hope alive, and not accept that she has just blown me off.

But if she has, she has. That will suck, but it will be OK. Her shop isn't the only one around, and I can try other options, like an online shop or even another "real" one. So, the business idea isn't dead, but my plans for that shop might be. Who knows--God may have different plans for all of it!

So, my next risk will be to send her another email or give her a phone call just to make sure she got the message, and leave it at that. It's out of my hands then. And then, it will be time to make some flowers and find somewhere to sell them!

Even though #RiskRejection is technically over, I will probably still post about it over here, until I get a business blog up and running. I've kinda missed blogging--this challenge has been a nice way to ease back into it.

So, keep dropping by, see if anything new has developed, and let me know what kind of risks you're taking these days!

Oh, if you're here, do me a favor and say a prayer for our missions team from my church, being ultimate risk-takers? We have a group of 20 on their way to Kenya right now, and they have had truckloads of problems due to the snow. They have not even left the country yet last I heard, already putting them an entire day behind. I was one of them in 2012, sitting in the Atlanta airport waiting for my first overseas flight, and my first (and so far only) mission trip ever. Help me pray them over there safely...and then go #RiskRejection yourself!!

(Makes me reminisce about my trip--a few highlight photos from memory lane...)

Our crew

Survivor shot--see the wildebeests behind me?

The sewing ministry girls I went for--young girls, rescued from prostitution with their teacher Zipporah

The roads suck in rainy season!

Susan and Jane

Arriving at the orphanage

Inside a dorm at the orphanage

We camped in a Maasai village for 3 days, home to these lovely ladies and their families...

Precious Maasai women

Peeling a few potatoes--like my machete?

Gorgeous cheetah

Papa lion--one of several

Right in the middle of the herd

Views like this left me speechless

These fellas were everywhere.


Mama lionesses

Who knew--Maasai men like Twizzlers!

Watching the Jesus Film on an iPhone in the native Swahili language--how awesome is that?!

The airport where we waited for our ride to Nairobi (for real!)
Our plane from Maasai Mara back to Nairobi--the 2 people in front were already passengers

And the runway. Seriously. At least the sheep had moved out of the way...

Man, all this reminiscing makes me wanna go back!!! Maybe I'm a risk taker after all :-)  Are you??

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

#RiskRejection--Week Two

No, I am not thinking up creative titles. :-)

So, wow, how has another week passed already? Time flies when you're taking risks, I guess!

This week was full of big ones for me. Let's see what I can remember!

  • I did email that web site with my idea to be a contributor in February. I got a very nice "sorry, we're all booked" message the next day. At least there was closure. Even though it was just pitching an idea, it was hard. I was playing the whole "I'm starting a new business" angle, hoping they would have mercy on me or something. But they didn't. And at the time, I still didn't actually have that business, so I was truly going out on a limb.
  • I met with the gift shop manager on Monday. This was the place that I've been dreaming about selling in for like, FOREVER. So sitting down face-to-face was HUGE. I was completely at peace for the whole thing. Normally in situations like that, I am a sweaty, stomach-rumbling mess. But not this time.
  • But, the meeting wasn't quite what I thought. There were no cutthroat negotiations over price.She asked what I could do, and I pulled numbers out of thin air. I was completely unprepared for that part, and knew it going in. And she just wrote down what I said. 
  • She certainly seemed interested and told me that she was working on an order.
  • I panicked, because I would make little money, or maybe even lose some, if I went ahead with the prices I gave her. Once I looked over my costs and all, it wasn't pretty. So that left me with one choice....
  • I wrote her back, begging for mercy, and told her that my prices weren't going to work and we needed to discuss them again. I did NOT want to do that, and she may tell me to hit the road and not buy anything. But I have to make a profit to be in business, so I did the mind-numbing, terribly difficult, RISKY thing and told her that we had to renegotiate. I just sent that message a little while ago, and won't know what she says until tomorrow.
  • But before I sent that, after she said she had an order, I placed an order of my own, for a premade logo. I got a proof within an hour, and have already seen a revision. That's probably all I get for what I paid, but I like it, and it will work for now. Hopefully, I will still need it!!
Goodness, that's enough for one week. I'm exhausted. :-) And feeling guilty that I haven't been more encouraging to the rest of my group while I was busy with all my stuff.  Sorry girls--I will do better, I promise!!!

Come back for another installment of my business saga next week!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

#RiskRejection--Week One

Well, Week One is under our belts and we lived to tell about it. For me, I finally took those first steps towards starting my business. I am a crafter--I make things, many things, out of anything. That's one of two things I've always been told I was good at: crafting, and writing. Right now, I'm mostly into paper things, and I have two distinct customers in mind for my business. The first is general retail, like a gift shop. For that...

  • I finally called the manager of the shop I'd like to sell my items in. I got her voice mail, and tried not to dwell on the impending rejection I was certain was coming. :-)
That was a huge risk for me, because that makes it real. Dreaming is easy. Wondering "what might have been" and envisioning a grand future is easy. Doing the work, taking the risk--it changes everything. You no longer have the luxury of imagining how happy that manager would be to have your handiwork--you find out FOR SURE if she would or not. And if that answer is not, then that dream will die. And some people are so afraid of having that little bit of hope extinguished that they won't try. But we are being brave and risking rejection right? So I called!
  • She called back the next day, was very interested, answered my questions (with good answers I needed!), and asked for photos or a web site to see my work. I was so excited, I went right to work creating and designed this brand new "thing." 
  • And for good measure, here's another type item I hope to sell....

  • I shared it to our little Facebook group, risking rejection again, to get some real-world feedback. 
  • And I took it to work today, too. In the REAL WORLD, Amy Sullivan!!  All good so far! But now I have to see if I can make enough profit wholesaling it to be worth my time.
  • My few photos are awful, so I emailed the manager this morning to see if I could just bring some items by in person next week. She hasn't answered. So again, I am trying not to dwell on the possibility of impending doom!
My other customer will be brides. I really enjoy thinking about products for weddings--bouquets, table decor, favors...all that romantic stuff. I love it! So, I have a former coworker getting married soon, and I thought I could help her with that kind of thing for her wedding, but I wasn't brave enough to just come out and say it really well. I hinted, but she'd just say, "My mom is so crafty. I'll get her to make so-and-so for me." So, I let it go. Not my wedding, right? But, I can help throw her bridal shower! And, because I am the crafty one at our workplace, today I was asked to make a money/advice tree for the shower. 
  • So I just got a chance to work on something I will enjoy, and maybe get some nice product shots out of that I can use for my business. Score!
  • I emailed a group that is putting on a Bridal Expo in my area soon, to ask about advertising and getting involved. The answers were almost immediate, but pretty abrupt: "What do you do?" "How long have you been in business?" I told them I was a start-up and what I would be offering, and got an immediate answer that their group was for seasoned professionals only, with at least two years experience. OK, fine. So I asked if they knew of any opportunities/publications/conventions I could try where I could get started? And then there were no more answers, and that was several days ago. Crickets were chirping, and now they are just dead.
  • So, I was rejected, but I learned that those folks in that group aren't particularly nice and a bit snooty, and when I am established, I don't think I would want to be affiliated with a group like that. Maybe that's just hurt feelings talking, but there's just no call to be rude. Everyone was a start-up once...
I also reached out to the probable logo designer I mentioned last week. I told her that if I actually had a sale, then I was in and would become her paying customer. I really like her. :-)

Then, to keep the whole "you may think one way but God has other plans thing" alive too, I got an email calling for submissions for this great crafting web site next month. And the crafty things I do? All fit right in with what they want. So I can craft it, write about, and maybe get some exposure. So my risk for next week will be submitting my idea....

What about you? Have you taken any risks this week??

Thursday, January 9, 2014

#RiskRejection--The Start

Well, hello there. I know I haven't been here in a while. You can thank my friend Amy for my presence today. Here's why...

She went and got all crazy on us after going to Storyline and getting inspired, so she came back and decided to force all her friends to join start this little group called #RiskRejection. And, now that includes me.

If you click over to her site and read about it, basically she's asking us to finally take a risk, and encourage each other through it. Today is the launch of this little endeavor, so, here I am. For any of you that stumble across this page today, my risk is....

...I'm starting a business.

I know. Makes me wanna throw up, which is pretty much what all the #RiskRejection participants are saying.

I've had the idea forever, but honestly have been too scared to do it. I won't bore you with history except to say that this has been a LONG time coming, and everywhere I look now, God seems to be telling me that I can't put it off any more. Time to put my big girl panties on and get on with it! For example:

  • I got a Kindle for Christmas. What showed up on it, magically pulled from the Kindle App on my PC? I little e-book I forgot about called "The Do What You Can Plan" by Holly Gerth. Pretty much encourages you to stop being a chicken and take a risk.
  • My Facebook shows me a Suggested link for a "Start a Business in 2014" contest.
  • A blog I sort of follow asked the readers to vote on a "challenge" they would do in January. I voted for the "30 Day Just Ship It " challenge. It's about developing and launching your first product in 30 days. Guess which idea won??
  • I started browsing logo ideas online (which are RIDICULOUSLY expensive, by the way) and what did I find? My exact idea that I had at least a year ago, designed as a very affordable premade logo. And the designer is a doll.
  • There are more examples, but I'll stop there. But all of these have happened within the past few weeks.
So, there you have it. I will be an entrepreneur, building a brand-new business, while still working full-time, and being a wife, and raising a couple of kids.

Piece of cake, right?

Excuse me. I think I'm gonna be sick now.....but I'll be back on Thursday's to keep you in the loop on the latest. One day, I'll be redirecting you to my business blog!

Happy risk taking!!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Antibiotics and Orphans

Rinsing the antibiotics out of the medicine spoon tonight, I mused at how easy this diagnosis of strep throat has been for my youngest. In under 2 hours, we scheduled and completed a doctor's appointment (complete with lab testing), got diagnosed, ordered, picked up, and drank the first dose of amoxacillin.

In under two hours.

Then my mind went back to the orphans in Kenya, to Susan and Jane, and all the others...

What if they get strep throat? Who is there to notice when they don't act quite right? To touch their forehead, checking for fever? Is there a doctor to examine them, medicine to heal them?

My child is feeling nearly normal after only a day of treatment. Would these Kenyan children suffer, the pain in their throats so intense they couldn't eat the meager portions of ugali offered to them? The fever and headaches sapping all the strength from the tiny bodies?

Would something we can treat in two hours damage their little bodies forever, causing rheumatic fever or nephritis?

My God, how blessed I am to be in the United States, where my children can be healed so quickly. Please Lord, be with those children all over this big world who aren't so fortunate.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Happy National Handwriting Day 2013!

I have a thing for handwriting. Don't get me wrong--I write electronically, too. But there's something about the fluid glide of a pen over paper, or the teeny scratching sound from a sharp pencil that somehow feels right. Sometimes, writing by hand is cathartic in a way that writing on a computer just isn't.

So, when I ran across this project called "The World Needs More Love Letters", I immediately loved the idea, especially for National Handwriting Day 2013, on January 23rd.

The premise is that you write a note to a total stranger, and you sign it anonymously as well. Then leave it in some random place for someone else to find.

That's it. Spread a little sunshine with your words. What writer (or even a non-writer) wouldn't love to do that??

I'd love to hear from you if you decide to join in with that movement, but of course there are other ways to celebrate National Handwriting Day 2013.

Drop in and tell me how you participated!!


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