Connecting to grow

Connection is important for personal and professional growth. From connecting with those closest to you to complete strangers. Connecting is a way to learn. Recently, life has been so busy I have lost some amazing connections. My day job has been more demanding, but I miss the connections I have made through my blog, through professional services and even less time with personal friends!

It’s difficult to balance everything at times isn’t it? As difficult as it may be, it’s necessary. Everyone has their own process for balancing or a renewal ritual. Maybe it’s coffee with a friend, a weekend getaway, reading a new or favorite book, binge watching, or a number of other options. I need my friend time, but I also need my creative time; my personal learning time. What is that?

I need to learn to thrive and I encourage others to learn as well, whether it’s learning a new hobby or something more advanced like learning a new web design program. I’ve mentioned in other posts examples of self-learning (tutorial post here) for personal enrichment or even extra income opportunities

Recently, I’ve focused on providing free business support. This not only helps me learn by connecting with others and hearing about their dreams and goals, but also allows me to help others achieve them. Which is something I truly enjoy!

I have been providing free resume edits, sample interview questions, providing business ideas and answering general questions as often as I can. This has not only helped recharge me, but reminded me how important connections are to learning!

I know others offer free general advice as well on various topics. You just have to ask!

  • Inquire to local business owners about how they got started or specific questions about the type of business they own
  • Reach out to local or online groups discussing topics of interest to you whether business or personal interests. Ask questions, share your knowledge, make some connections
  • Research online tutorials and books on the subjects that interests you. Learn something new or enhance a skill you already know
  • Offer possible bartering to exchange your knowledge with others. For example a jewelry maker may teach you some beginning skills in exchange for writing some of their web content or sharing other knowledge
  • If you can’t find a group of like minded and interested learners then create one! Most libraries are open to hosting such groups or coffee shops are a great meeting place too
  • Mostly importantly keep learning, find balance and recharge yourself often!

Do you have knowledge you want to exchange with someone else? Do you have other ideas? Please share them!!

Do you have questions I can help answers, please ask them!

Thanks for reading!

 

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Making this year different; encouragement and more

Sometimes the best way for me to focus on goals, no matter what time of year, is to recap what I’ve already accomplished. I’m doing just that with this post. My goal is to encourage others during career changes, starting a side business, full time business, or simply in day to day life…sharing my experience and ‘two cents’ with others to encourage and inspire.

As I mentioned, I’m not the ideal resolution maker, but the New Year is a great excuse to reflect on the past months and focus on goals for the upcoming months. I appreciate the feedback I have received this past year so very much! THANK YOU for reading and following my blog. Thank you for contacting me, sharing your support and tips; I appreciate you all! You are all certainly helping me focus and I hope I can return that inspiration! Here’s to a New Year, new energy, great health, organized focus and goal success.

If you are interested in starting your own business or side job please read through my posts for ideas, marketing tips, and more! I’ve recapped my BIPs (Business Idea Prompts) below. I will be adding more very soon! What is a BIP? Visit my intro page here

The first BIP – Love canning (as in food canning)? Want to make it a side job/extra income opportunity? You can! Click on the BIP link to see how!

Teach your talent – Most likely someone else wants to learn about a skill or talent you have; knitting, painting, paper making, welding art, gardening, gift basket arrangement, dancing, writing, foreign language, computer program training, poetry writing, jewelry making, etc. there is a countless number of talents needing to be shared in the world! So, why not teach yours?

Love finding a bargain and reselling it? Purchase and sell bargain items as a ‘yard/garage sale professional’. Items to sell can be found by attending auctions, sales, and consignment or thrift stores then reselling the items for a profit, but instead of just a one-time summer event, it can be done every weekend or a few times a month.

Enjoy events, having fun, and have a talent for entertaining? There is a growing demand for entertainment at children’s parties, family gatherings, and other events. Party planning can be costly and time consuming to start up, but focusing on entertaining alone, can be a very profitable business and fun.

Have a talent for organizing, love to run errands, or are you detailed oriented? Side jobs and full or part time businesses rely on finding customers willing to pay for their service(s). A major need, any time of year, is finding time for errands, chores, and other time demanding tasks while still balancing a regular life routine.

If you don’t find any of those BIPs an option and you are open to learning a new skill or enhancing an existing hobby/skill check out tutorial ideas and suggested learning here

Thank you again for reading and let me know if you have any questions, tips or ideas to share!

Have a great week!!!!

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A new year…a new reason

I’m not one to make resolutions; I constantly want to improve all year through. I get distracted though, even lazy at times. Staying focused and motivated can be difficult can’t it?

I appreciate each new year and the opportunities it brings with it. Months pass quickly, but each year’s end is a new reason to focus. Something I acknowledge as a daily battle. I have so many interests, so many ideas, so many bucket list items…And they use to be just that….list items. Sometimes the lists would stay the same; nothing would be marked off. I lacked focus. After seeing year end lists that looked similar or even the same as the past year, I decided to focus on doing, not just dreaming or listing.

I personally think in categories. It’s easier for me to categorize my thoughts, my goals, my lists. Below is a sample of how I focus more and actually complete goals. I encourage you to achieve more this year, use this year ending and a new beginning as a reason to focus, a reason to conquer at least one goal you have moved from one list to another, and a reason to enhance the already amazing soul you are.

Please share your tips for staying focused below or email me! successencourager@gmail.com

  • Be real. In the past I have set goals such as read 100 books this year…. Realistically, 52 would be a better personal goal. Boundaries are meant to be pushed, but in a realistic way!
  • Set your pace. I have to limit my goal setting or I get overwhelmed. Whether setting one goal or 10 or even 100, know your own pace and what you can truly focus on
  • Say it out loud. Simple as that…say it…share it…Write it down
  • What is your passion? You need to be interested and excited about your goal
  • Define your category. Are your goals health focused, relationship focused, career focused, self-improvement focused, etc.? Do you have a goal for each category?
  • Find your tools. What tools or resources do you need to set your goal(s) in  motion?
  • Time. Do you need time daily, weekly, monthly or need to set a new schedule?
  • Milestones. Can you break the goal into smaller goals and celebrate each milestone?
  • Alone or with a tribe? Can you do this alone, with a friend or need an entire group for support?
  • Don’t be discouraged. Even baby steps toward a goal are accomplishments!

There are the basics. And here is an example of how I put those to work when goal setting.

  • My goal – As typical as it may sound, I want to lose a few pounds. A goal that has been put aside due to surgery and lack of motivation. By summer I want to lose 25 pounds. There I shared it! I will write it down and keep it on my vision board to see daily.
  • I’m being real, I have a few other goals to accomplish, but this is for my health and number one. Accomplishing this goal will allow me to accomplish others.
  • I’m passionate about feeling better and losing weight so I can do more with my young nephew, my family and of course my husband.
  • I have access to a small gym. My husband and I are focusing on diet changes as well.
  • I need to set a goal of at least 3 to 5 days a week for 30 minutes a day. I’ll start with walking and maybe the stationary bicycle
  • I will track my milestones and celebrate them!
  • My tribe is my husband who is focusing on his health as well.
  • I will not be discouraged. I can do this…

What opportunity will this new year provide you?

Happy New Year! Happy new goal setting…Happy new reason for improving you. 🙂

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Learning, bonding, self-enrichment

Learning something new or enhancing a current skill is priceless to the person learning and can cost little to nothing. Learning alone or with others builds stronger bonds and can even provide skills that can help you earn extra income.

While thinking of gifts for family I started putting together a list of date night ideas. As fun as cooking together, binge watching a favorite TV series, coffee shop hopping, day trip or movie night can be I think learning as a couple is a great bonding opportunity. So I decided to share a list of PIPs (Personal Idea Prompt)! I think this is for individuals, couples (great ideas for date nights), friends, groups, etc. Each suggestion could be a fun group night activity (for almost any age).

Today’s post is a little different than my typical BIP post (click here to read about BIP – Business Idea Prompt). PIPs focus on self-enrichment; bonding through learning and being creative. Again, a PIP can be done alone or as a couple or in a group. And as a bonus, a PIP can enhance an existing skill and become a possible income opportunity! Win-win; learn something new and interesting and find a new side job or full time self employment opportunity!

Technology makes it simple to learn a variety of skills at your own pace. A quick web search for step by step tutorials  on almost any subject produces dozens, even hundreds or thousands of results. Even if you do not have a computer or internet access at your home, you can visit some local coffee shops, libraries, friends, etc. for access or use the library to check out resource guides (or purchase instruction books at local new or used shops). This post mainly focuses on access to online videos/tutorials, but the suggestions could be read about in detailed instructional books.

Whether you try the list below with your partner, friend, sister, brother, parent or simply make time for yourself, your bond (or self-bond) will be deeper and you’ll have fun!  These suggestions are flexible and adaptive to a variety of situations; date nights, friend nights, self-enrichment or just an excuse to take a break for a few hours or an entire weekend!

The suggestions are highlighted by a topic and then some ideas for that topic, in no particular order. When searching the web, don’t get overwhelmed with all the results, look for a video tutorial  from popular posters and skim through to ensure the steps make sense to you, easy to access, read, etc.

Read through the ideas, pick one or three or ten, make a supply list (if needed), and enjoy your learning experience. These ideas can easily become a weekly or monthly (or ambitious daily) learning ritual. And of course, these are only a few topics, the possibilities really are endless.

  • Language – Learn a few key phrases in a day or weekend  or fluently speaking the other language(s) over a period of time. Learn a few words and how to write them in another language for creating mini works of word art, handwriting cards, etc. for family or for a part time creative business.
  • Craft/Hobby – Wood working, pyrography, calligraphy, knitting, painting, jewelry making card or paper making, magic tricks, card tricks, origami, paper quilling, crocheting, needle work, quilting, and so much more!
  • Cooking – Pastry baking, international recipe making, sushi rolling, candy making, crock pot basics and advanced recipes, chocolate tempering or advanced dessert making, and so much more!
  • Design – Web page, architectural projects, interior or exterior home design, fashion, furniture arrangement, painting and decorating, social media sites, blogs, site setup for art selling (Etsy, etc.), landscape, and yes, so much more!
  • Nutrition/Health – Yoga, tai chi, healthy eating habits, essential oil therapy, therapeutic massage (human and/or animal), meditation, exercise routines for specific fitness level, karate (martial art is a long list), herbs and health benefits, just to name a few ideas
  • Pampering – hair care, pedicure, manicure, facial, scrubs, foot soaks, bath salts, massage oils, face and body masks, makeup application, hair styles (braiding, buns etc.)
  • Writing – Poetry, hand writing, positive words, word art, art of writing, fictional and non fiction writing, etc.
  • Games – How to play….cards, poker, video game tips/tutorials, master monopoly scrabble crossword, solitaire, and more
  • Educational subjects – Philosophy, history, ethics, English, social behavior, science, math, biology, etc.
  • Masquerade/fantasy – Mask making, costume design, party theme planning, decoration making, part food, costume hair and makeup (face painting), accessory making (wands, crowns, gloves, etc.)
  • Mechanics/handyman(woman) – How to…change a tire, oil, brakes or headlight, etc. How to…repaint or wallpaper a room, install a new shower and/or tile flooring, light fixtures, basic plumping needs, new faucet, etc.,
  • Photography – Camera tips, programs, challenges/ideas, different topics (nature, people, pets, etc.)
  • Drink/Mixology – How to…make alcohol and non-alcohol beverages, fun drinks, punches, basic and advanced drinks, blended, etc. Smoothies, shakes, on ice, frozen, hot, etc.
  • Tea and Coffee – Learn the history of, steeping, recipes for mixing flavors/blends, how to serve and with suggested foods/desserts, etc. Loose tea options, grind your own coffee beans, and more!
  • Out and about – Gather info on local new restaurants, wineries, bed and breakfast, dance lessons, cooking classes, day trips, art classes, breweries, local tours, bakeries, etc. And plan a day trip/afternoon outing, etc. Spend a day planning together (or alone!) and then pick a date to explore.

There so may options I could keep typing until my fingers cramp. I hope this list inspires you to learn a new fun skill whether it’s to connect with others, find time for yourself or learn more for a possible income opportunity.

What have you always wanted to learn? I hope you make the time to learn it alone or with loved ones or friends or search out new like minded learners!

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Do you need a mini business plan?

I add the word ‘mini’ before business plan because I think a personal or mini business plan is important for anyone wanting to work for themselves, start a part time or ‘side gig’ business, expand a current small business venture, etc. Typically, if you want funding for a larger start up you must submit a business plan, so I have downsized the larger multiple page document to fit into a personal sort of mission statement for anyone wanting to (or simply thinking about) starting a small business, earn some extra money with the creative professional talents you have or explore the BIPs I’ve previously published on this same blog!

Benefits of a Mini Business plan: A mini business plan can help you even if you are not asking for funding to build your business. It’s a good opportunity to fully grasp what your idea for a business will look like, confirm it’s what you want, and help you take the steps to achieve it. Most small businesses start without large expenses, but if you are requesting funding, this will help you with the basics and prepare for the professional business plan you may need to present to lenders, funding sources, etc.

Grab a notebook or create an electronic document and keep all of this information in one place, along with notes, advertising ideas, goals, etc. Your notebook/electronic file is a good place to keep all receipts related to your business including mileage (if applicable) and other forms, and general information. This will be a ‘living’ document/notebook; ideas will expand, etc. and you need to capture those thoughts on ‘paper’.

Below is a basic mini plan outline. I will provide a mini plan example in a future post as an additional resource.  If you have any questions please contact me!

Executive Summary – This is the first basic section of any type of business plan. Once you have an idea swirling around your head, you’ll want to write your executive summary. Even if you don’t complete the next sections, this is typically the most important for anyone at the start of planning a business. This section will allow you to explore what you want to do, how to do it, and if it’s really what you want. It is your opportunity to shine and describe your focus well. Typically, it’s about a half page (up to a full page). The main reason for this section is to explain your idea; what is it, who will need/want it, what makes it unique or in demand. Include the company name and a one sentence mission statement if you have one A mission statement is typically a brief definition of your business/idea.

Company overview – This is for company goals and to find out which business type you want; sole proprietorship, Limited Liability Corp (LLC), etc. these will be defined in an upcoming post labeled Types of businesses. Since you may not be ready to define your business type, don’t dwell on this section, just make a note that you may need to define it at some point in the future. Include an overview of marketing ideas and and business goals. Include a brief statement on expenses, and what costs are required up front to get started. Explain how you could expand the business; a brief statement about future growth. Include any experience you have with this idea and any experience with business in general including achievements and goals met (if any). Remember, this is all for your eyes only right now, to encourage you to turn that thought of a side business into possible reality!

Market Research outcome – Overview of the industry in general and research results of  competitors, give details of customers interested in your services (demographics, etc.), highlight the market strengths and weaknesses in general (nation and world wide) and focus on the same for local competitors. Include any statistics you can find on this particular market/idea/business.

Product/Service Description – Focus on what your service is and how it will benefit the client. You can start including projected net revenue information and details about vendors you will purchase supplies from. You can add graphs and diagrams here if feel it will better help explain this section. Touch base on competition and why you are different or plan to excel even with competition out there. I find reading reviews of customers about similar businesses can help you see what is working and what is not.

Highlight ideas to expand products or services; give more details than before and how often you can provide this service to each client (can you do repeat business?). This is an opportunity to show your unique twist on an existing market (do you have a unique skill, unique target audience or additional service to combine with it, etc.?).

Marketing Plan – This section is to give details of the operation; purchasing supplies, marketing to clients, list of services or products provided, ideas for following up with clients, and specific details of word of mouth and repeat customer options. Explain how you will find customers; details of how to reach out to them, advertising options, and costs. Include promotion ideas and pricing, email or flyer campaign ideas, etc.  Include the days and hours you plan to operate. Again, some of this may not apply right now, don’t dwell on the details, until you find it necessary as your business idea grows!

Organizational chart – If you plan on having employees you will want to detail why, who and what they will bring to the company; their skills, etc. Explain why a certain person is experienced and skilled to be in a certain position. If you can provide the service or product by yourself describe why and how.

Financial Section – This section will give you an idea of what the start up will cost with possible profit. Write out a complete list and cost of materials, hours it will take to complete each job, number of people and pay for each ’employee’ (or yourself), recurring expenses, up front equipment expenses and maintenance, etc. Once you have this, you will have a base price for your services to just break even, so it will help you determine what to charge. For professional plans you will need to outline your budget in details listing assets, cash flow chart, expenses, current profit, expected profit, etc.

This may seem overwhelming, but allow it to be a focus catalyst. This is a large step toward taking your idea seriously! This makes it real, not just a dream floating around. The executive summary provides you with concrete details and confirmation it’s the right business for you. Some people will decide to change their focus once they write it out and see the time restraints or spend time researching competition and end up finding another focus they feel more comfortable with. Others will be even more determined and inspired by seeing it on paper, knowing it’s what they want to do.

What’s your idea or business plan? Let me know!

Are you struggling to come up with an idea, but want to start a business? Visit the Business Idea Prompts (BIPs) listed throughout this blog. The prompts provide detailed business ideas with specifics on how to turn a hobby into a part time or full time business! Marketing and additional information to get started and grow are included!

Thank you for reading and again, please contact me if you have any questions!

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Holiday helper – Business Idea Prompt (BIP)

Today’s BIP is encouraged by the holiday season, but could work for various events and/or other holidays. Keeping with the ‘BIP’ theme – it requires little start-up costs, is flexible, can be full or part time, and does not require extensive skills or experience to succeed. As usual with typical BIPs, most skills needed can be easily learned through practice or may already be known by most.

Please see the Business Idea page for detailed information about my Business Idea Prompt (BIP) posts! Also, if this not your area of interest please explore the other BIP posts including ‘garage sale’ professional, house call canning and teaching your talent!

I hope you enjoy this BIP and you are inspired to explore your own possibilities!

Business Idea Prompt (BIP) – Holiday “Extra Income” Ideas (that can be all year)

Details – I overheard a small group of women (various ages) talking the other day about trying to fit in all of their holiday ‘to-do list items’. One mentioned wrapping presents was not her favorite thing to do, another mentioned holiday lights and even putting up a Christmas tree. Other unfavorable ‘chores’ mentioned included shopping, baking, yard maintenance, and laundry in general. The group stated that of course their other responsibilities did not stop during the holiday; carpooling, housework, day jobs, etc. This reminded me of a few friends who have taken on ‘side jobs’ during holiday season and even other times of the year to help alleviate stress for customers (like the group of women talking about their long list of to dos).

Side jobs and full or part time businesses rely on finding customers willing to pay for their service(s). A major need, especially this time of year, is finding time for errands, chores, and other time demanding tasks while still balancing a regular life routine.

I encourage you to think of how you can help neighbors, friends, family, even strangers with some of their ‘to do list items’. I am going to focus on a few items which are based on conversations I have overheard recently and seem to be in demand!

Gift wrapping, holiday shopping, errands and baking are my top four suggestions. Each of these are typically ‘added’ tasks the average person needs to somehow fit into their schedule during certain times of the year. And they are willing to pay to have someone else do them.

Gift wrapping – You can offer to drive to their chosen location (work or home, etc.) or have them drop off the gifts to you and wrap them. Using nice wrapping paper, bows, labels, etc. Someone had told me they paid to have all their gifts wrapped one year and it was well worth the money. That person had moved and was not able to provide that service again or she would still be paying her. The ‘wrapper’ would come to her house, bring the wrapping paper, tape, scissors, etc. and wrap every single present for a start out rate of $20 per hour with a 2 hour minimum and mileage if more than 20 miles. Of course rates could be per package or bundle.

Errands and Holiday shopping – These two are similar and pretty self explanatory. People will pay for someone to run errands, pick up gifts, dry cleaning, decorations, deliver pre-made foods or even wine. Rates depend on travel time, distance, number of stops, but an average of $25 an hour plus cost of any items being picked up/purchased is a good starting place.

Baking – of course there is some skill needed if you plan on baking cakes or other desserts or even main courses and delivering them. And certain local laws prohibit using a personal kitchen so check out your local city/county/state laws before offering these services. Note, you can use a local baker or chain bakery that is already established and simply place the order, work out the details, and deliver the finished baked good. Price is comparable to running errands if you are driving around.

Experience/Skill Needed – Different experience levels are needed for each of the above ideas. Most require a dependable car, customer service skills, basic and/or advance wrapping skills and possible baking skills. Generally, when working with people and providing services for such important events as family gatherings and holidays being flexible and a very good communicator are essential skills as well. For wrapping you would need wrapping paper, scissors, tape, bows, labels, etc. Offer something unique, like putting candy canes on each package or a small ornament or other unique ‘bonus’ you can offer. If you know calligraphy or have very nice handwriting you can hand write package labels, holiday cards, address envelopes, etc.

Marketing – Advertise with flyers and print up some reasonably priced business cards. Handing them out to pretty much anyone you know. You can create a web site, share your services via social media and even advertise via a sign on your vehicle and/or yard signs. Your web page should include price range, contact information and customer reviews (as you get them). Even free sites and a unique business email are great resources to help your business grow professionally.

Additional advertising ideas include – Posting signs in your own yard (and ask friends if you can post in their yards) and in the surrounding neighborhood(s) with your service offered, phone number and web site. For a reasonable price you can place sale ads in local papers or online and encourage all customers to contact you for future events and share your info with their friends (offer a discount or incentive) and offer wrapping services and/or errand running for other parties; ladies night out, baby showers, weddings, family reunions, etc. Leave business cards and flyers at libraries, post offices and on other community boards. Include your website on the cards and flyers and place a magnet decal on your vehicle with contact information. Wear shirts and/or hats with website or other helpful advertising information. Be open to taking requests from customers; year long errands, chores, etc.

Research – The only research that may be needed is to find an average price for services and to see how many competitors are out there. Read reviews of other wrapping and errand services to see what is working and what is not and focus on creating a customer friendly business.

Even if this is not your type of business, it sure sounds fun and in demand as well. If you aren’t interested in this topic, please read over it and brainstorm your own skills and interests. Ask yourself would someone pay money for this skill? Then turn that thought into action!

I know this was a long post, but thank you for reading and please share any tips or questions you have!

As with any business please check local and state guidelines to see what licenses, name registering, and other requirements may be needed before starting your business.

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Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving has always meant extra time with family, enjoying food that I grew up with and trying new recipes. Its been a day that included laughter, putting differences aside, sharing conversations with family and new stories with invited guests and somehow all of this is done despite everyone being tired from the food preparation!

The years have passed, some traditions have continued some have faded. Family time is as important as ever.

I’m sick today. I didn’t get to make desserts…I love baking…love it. I didnt get to see my family today. I look forward to my side of the family all being in one room sharing stories and laughter and mom’s deviled eggs! I look forward to my mother in law’s ham and pineapple gravy and both of my brother in law’s side dishes. I enjoy hearing my nieces and nephews share parts of
there lives. I wanted to see my newest  nephew’s first taste of mashed potatoes. I looked forward to catching up with everyone…

Despite all that wanting I did not feel better, BUT my family has kept me included. Texts, photos, leftovers of my favorites from my in laws…and lots of virtual hugs and good wishes from friends and family. I might be coughing up a lung… but I am Thankful for my family and friends caring so much…all year long.

No matter where you are, how you feel, who you are with or without, or even if Thanksgiving isn’t a celebrated holiday in neck of the woods…I hop
e you have joy, peace, inspiration, love and laughter in abundance tonight and always! I am thankful for you reading this!