Beads on the Rise: Hiring Help

I'm always working hard

Things have been looking really good these days for my small and blossoming business.  Sales have been doing fairly well, especially with the holidays coming up.  There are so many opportunities to market and sell my beads, and of course I would love to do them all.

I’m even hosting a trunk party at my house.  I’m partnering up with a friend of a friend who is a Monet (formerly Maddison) bag dealer.  Together we will sell bags and jewelry at my house while hosting a party that is about women, fashion, fun and local artists.  I’m very, very excited about this.

There are even other opportunities that I really want to consider, especially after the holidays have settled down.  For example, I would really love to participate at Craft Shows.  I even found someone that is interested in partnering up with me, so we can share the booth costs, etc.  I have a friend who’s mom owns her own tailoring business that does really well.  He told me that his mother could sell my bracelets at her shop.  I’m even considering joining a co-op of other artist and have a presence in a store which happens to be in one of the most popular malls in the area.  Can you imagine?  My own presence in a boutique!

If you count my jewelry business, I have three jobs.  That’s right – three.  I work full time in government, part time (4 nights and 1 weekend) at my local YMCA and now this.  I have all these great assets – support, creativity, drive and so many jewelry supplies to the point where I am thinking about adding them on to the homeowner’s insurance.

Needless to say, the one asset that I do not have is time.  I really enjoy and finding time for my beads and making jewelry.  Because time is so precious, I find that I get frustrated when a project has failed.  Instead, I should be appreciating the learning experience, but my first impulse is “wow what a waste of time that was”.  That’s bad.

I recently attended a paid Webinar on how to handle your jewelry business during the holidays.  This was especially helpful for people with a strong and established customer base.  Or for folks who’s businesses are blowing up so much that they do it full time.  One of the things that was mentioned during this Webinar is the consideration to hire help.  Wow.  I couldn’t imagine.

I thought about it.  How can someone help me?  Would I even fathom the thought of taking MY hard earned dollars and throwing them at someone else to play with MY beads?

And then I started noticing some other things.  I’m having troubles keep track of my inventory.  I’m spending left and right and I have no idea how much I have invested in this business so far.  Well over four figures probably.  I’m also having problems finding the time to display my jewelry nicely so that it can be photographed.  Then cleaned up in Photoshop.  Then listing these items on my ETSY site.  All that stuff is not hard…it just takes time.  It took me 1.5 hours last night photographing and Photoshop’ing 8 new jewelry pieces.  Some of them not new, I just haven’t gotten around to PG and PS them.  I haven’t even listed all of them on my ETSY site yet.

Another big thing that really bugs me that I’m struggling to keep up with is this social media thing.  I have this WordPress blog that I paid money for a domain name.  I have a nice FB page, a Google+ presence, a Twitter account and something with Instagram.  How often do I post on these?  Hardly once a week.  And it’s a bummer, because these resources could really be strong points in driving my marketing.  It could really totally change the game.  Again – not hard…just very time consuming.  I know I am making a name for myself.  However, it’s slow.  I think if I were on top of the social media more, that progress would be more progressive.

So, I actually reconsidered the thought of hiring people some more.  If I could, I would hire TWO people:

The first person I would absolutely hire is someone to assist me with my social media.  Writing blog entries, posting on all the Social Media platforms, tracking down people to like me, friend me, follow me…anything.  This is someone that can do this at home.  They don’t need to be at my house to do this.  However, I would expect results every day.  I would want to see some kind of activity with the social stuff daily.

The next person that I would hire would be a professional cataloguer.  They would handle my inventory and finished products.  Photograph my inventory and my jewelry.  Digitally organize what I actually have in finished jewelry.  Organize all this stuff in a database somehow.  Post my finished work on ETSY for me.  Handle my online orders and requests.

I wonder how much I would pay someone to do these kinds of tasks.  Well, off to google for that one.  Again, something that I don’t have a lot of time for…research.

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Creative Preparation: Vehicle Edition

About 4 years ago, there was a terrible snow storm that closed down a section of a major highway in my state that left motorists stranded, cold and without food and water for more than 24 hours:

http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/12/03/new.york.snow/

That Christmas, I decided to make “vehicle emergency kits” for my mother, my sister and my grandmother.  These emergency kits were no joke.  I bought huge storage tubs and included the following:

  • A blanket
  • Lighters
  • Big bag of trail mix
  • Jerky
  • Bottled water
  • Granola bars
  • A Life Hammer
  • Fire starter kit
  • Emergency Blanket
  • Glow Sticks
  • Flashlight w/ extra batteries
  • Crank powered radio
  • Gloves and scarves
  • First Aid kit
  • A small shovel

There was more, but this is all I could remember that I included in this kit.  Each kit contained items totaling over $150 each.  My family will never be without aid if stranded in their vehicle.

Now, I did something a little more advanced for myself.  Keep my background in mind:  I’m a Red Cross Certified Professional Rescuer, a Fire Marshall at my day job and I am all about self-defense and preparing yourself.  This last note could be an entire blog entry on its own.

So what do I keep in my vehicle?  Well, not only is it important to know what you have in your vehicle, but where you keep it.  Here it goes:

There are the items that are all within reach in my mid-sized SUV, without me exiting my vehicle (front and back seats):

  • Fire starter kit
  • Mini and huge mag light w/ extra batteries
  • Life Hammer
  • Crank powered radio
  • Lighter & matches
  • Retractable baton
  • Disposable panties
  • Paper towels & plastic bags
  • Razor blade
  • Mini first aid kit
  • Whistle

There are the items that I keep in my trunk:

  •  Fire Extinguisher (not a little wimpy one)
  • 2 jackets and a hoodie
  • Scarf and a pull over ski mask
  • A machete
  • A hunting knife
  • Rope
  • Flares (I want to get a flare gun) and glow sticks
  • Car stuff – jumper cables, tire changing, AAA, washer fluid, etc.
  • Advanced First Aid Kit (more like a trauma kit)
  • Reflective vest
  • Hand warmers
  • Bottled Water
  • A pair of sneakers
  • Extra fitness equipment
  • Towels
  • An emergency blanket

I should keep a real blanket, my extra combat boots (and socks), non-perishable food, baby wipes and toilet paper in my truck.  It’s probably a good idea.  With the exception of an EMP, my vehicle is all set for a bug out if the need ever came up.  I even have plans on where to go.  Where to get gas and food first and then various locations.  Again, another blog entry.

What do you keep in your vehicle?  Do you ever think about what you would need in the event of an emergency?

A Good Find: Memory Wire

Finally. I found the medium that I’ve been looking for to create stacked wire beaded bracelets. Memory Wire. This stuff is great! It’s so tough that it won’t bend. Repeat: Will not bend. It took some serious elbow grease to actually bend a couple of closer hooks on the end. But not bad, I’ll tell ya, not bad at all.

I stumbled across this when I was waiting to get my name changed at the Federal Building in downtown Albany. I got all my paper work filled out, all my divorce documents, and all my ID. I was ready to go! Except there was a wait. I decided to take this waiting time and browse on my phone on jewelry making.

Exacly what kind of wire is that used to make these lovely stackable looking wire bracelets? All the other wire that I have bought can bend so easily. It didn’t matter how hard I got the wire, or how thick. They all could bend by hand. Well, that wouldn’t do. So, upon my research, I ran across a site that showed me where I could buy some.

And then an unusual event happened – I didn’t buy it online right there on the spot. I waited. I waited in that hot crowded room and waited to finish my business at Social Security. Then I took myself, my latte and my agenda to A.C. Moore. After all, not only did I have a couple of coupons and I knew they were having a sale…but I also already got the entire morning off from my day job. Away I go.

And there is was. It wasn’t what I expected it to be. It’s much smaller than I thought. Oh well, I’ll give it a try. Hey, if I can drop some serious coin on other random wire that I now have no idea what I am going to do with…I can certainly buy this. Besides, I had a coupon.

I had to finish my entire day before I can play with my memory wire. This is how my day proceeded after my purchase (in this order):

  • Shopping
  • Weight Watchers
  • Report to duty at my office
  • Teaching water aerobics
  • Chinese food

I picked up some chunky larger seed-like glass beads a while ago. These beads are a very good quality. They were perfect with the memory wire. I decided to make a few cuff-like bracelets. I think they turned out lovely. I cannot wait to make more.

Adjustable Memory Wire Beaded Bracelets for Sale!

Memory Wire Beaded Bracelets
Memory Wire Beaded Bracelets on a Saucer!