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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Organization: Simple Receipt Management for your Home Business

It's nearly tax time.  We've talked about organizing and managing your business, regardless of your space, time, and income; let's talk about receipts.

Receipts: can live without them, but for tax purposes (and refunds, returns, and exchanges), we will not.

For the sake of simplifying and working in a small space, let's try the easiest and smallest method available (aside of the computer program).  If your home business has become  so big you need a complete and elaborate method, not counting a computerized program, you may need to move your business to a separate location. While this receipt system can pretty much work for most businesses, it's not the best solution for a multi-million dollar business.
Using an inexpensive accordion file wallet with at least twelve tabs (each accordion wallet file shown here is under $4 and has 12 tabs), label one tab for each month (if you use a fiscal period, start with the first fiscal month).  Mark the front of the wallet with the year (when using fiscal years, use the actual year your twelve month file ends).

File each receipt into the corresponding tab, always filing each receipt behind the one that came before (this is an easy habit to get into and is more likely to find your receipts in dated order).

Make notes on the back of receipts and circle business items and amounts on the front. My businesses are small enough that I actually file ALL receipts in the wallet, even copies of the receipts I give away, and copies of items shipped to me.  Do what works for you.
Keep your wallet in the same place throughout the year; consistency makes for good habits.
At the end of the year, secure with elastic band or ribbon, tuck into your tax box or set aside until you're ready to file.  

Once taxes are filed, store your receipts, wallet and all, in a safe place for however long is necessary in your line of work.  

Many business owners scan and electronically file their receipts, throwing out the hard copy, however, the wallet is affordable enough to use a new one each year, keeping the old one for storage (this method also saves you time - no scanning and labeling).

Okay, do you understand the system?  Get a receipt; file a receipt.

And What Has 5 Minutes Done for You Lately?

I challenged you, and myself, to see what five minutes can do for you. Has it helped?  Does it work for you? Can it work for you?

For me, it's helped me get letters into the mail, email potential hostesses for At Home America, I've written a "filler," and though I've finished half of my script thanks to the 5 minute rule, it's going to help me start it OVER because I goofed.

Today, it's written this short piece.  Come on, you have five minutes to spare, even if you are trapped in Christmas shopping lines. Take out your smart phone and write something, call a client, search for a missing child.  Smart phone on your wish list?  No problem, a napkin, gum wrapper, receipt, anything can work.  Write a list, write a thank you note, write your dreams and goals.  Five minutes can make a difference.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

What Can You Accomplish with Just Five Minutes?

When our kids were young, we often called them in for a "quick five minute clean-up." Because there were so many kids in a small house (seven), they often tried to get away with doing very little (yes, even less than a whopping five minutes of work!). You know what we'd do?  We start the time over. EVERYONE pays when someone slacks on a measly five minutes. 

A year into it, I realized they didn't really understand the concept (they were ages 4-13 at the time).  By having each one, separately, set the time and do as much as fast as they can until it goes off, they realized they could literally make a difference-an impact, really-by working gung-ho. Their five minute quick clean up work was usually much cleaner than when they'd take a half hour to do the same job.

For each action is a reaction; a consequence.  Because they took their five minutes seriously, they often didn't have any other cleaning to do for the day.  You can say the reward was immediate AND delayed and, quite honestly, they were proud of themselves.

Yesterday, I wrote I'm on a type of leave from work (purposely planning ZERO home parties with At Home America and letting the writing slide).  Though I do not have a home party planned, I do take a few minutes to find a great sale item and list it in my signature, on a postcard, or perhaps on Facebook.  And that's when lightning struck.

Why not do a five minute quick WRITE UP?  The kids cleaned five minutes. When I was a personal trainer, I would tell clients to exercise even just five minutes, knowing it often led to five more, and so on.  So, why not use the same idea with writing?

Before putting the timer on, I made a decision about WHAT to write (since I usually try to do eight or nine projects all at one time and make little or no headway).  With the decision in place (the screenplay), I wrote. And wrote. And wrote some more.  It's only been fifteen minutes, yet I wrote more, and more seriously, than I have the entire week.

Who'd ever think it'd be this easy?  Just five minutes a day.

Holiday Cheer (pre-AFTER Holiday Sale)

Writing seems to take a backseat near the winter holidays. It's not that no one is buying at this time, it's that I'm busy. Really busy.  You'd think after having seven kids for so many years, it'd be easier now that only three are at home; it's not!  I find I am harder on myself than ever to make things perfect. I feel like I should be better than ever. In other words: I don't give myself a break.

Writing is not the only thing I put on hold, though. My At Home America business is NOT having anymore home shows until January.  Why?  Because it's not worth it for me, personally.  First of all, it's past the date to guarantee that Christmas delivery.  Secondly, knowing people spend less on things they need at this time, in order to give gifts, I know the ones who NEED something can order it online this one time. And they have!

it turns out we have a pre-AFTER-holiday sale.  Over 100 items are marked down up to 80% - there's even something as low as $1.99!  Read on, then scroll to the bottom, I'm sharing some of our sale items here.

Having said all that, the one thing that NEVER takes a backseat?  Speaking out for victims. That never ends because being victimized never ends.  Take a moment out of each day to look up just ONE missing person.  See if you recognize them or something in their last day that may make the world of difference to their families.  I don't care how small the information you have is, report it, share it, and do it quickly. Time DOES matter.  Also check out True Crime Fanatic's Facebook page, they'll update the missing weekly or more.

Go on... check out the missing.  Then, come back and take advantage of our pre-AFTER-holiday sale (using the extra money you earned this season from organizing your business!).


For all sales - if you are interested, go to At Home America, or send me a personal note HERE with the NUMBERS of the items you want and how many of each, I'll get back to you ASAP. Thank you and best wishes this week!

Monday, December 13, 2010

If you remember nothing...

then don't worry about anything. But if you can remember one thing, remember this: they don't know how scared you are. They don't know how you feel about yourself and how much you know. Whatever it is you do; write, direct sales (like At Home America), dog watching, or even stamping envelopes... whomever you talk to, they don't know.  Use it and become even better than you already are.


We've had something odd happen. A "homeless" "runaway" teen came to our home. Being a victim of a serious crime myself and watching helplessly as our children went through the same - and the law does NOT prevail... I could not let it go. Nor, for once, could my husband.  The teen's gone back to her home, because legally she must, but I'm praying losing the time I've lost (workwise, of course) works out for this poor child, though I have not much hope. Always, always, protect the innocent. At nearly all costs.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Holiday Stress: Use It Before You Lose It

This year, don't let holidays get the best of you. Sure, we love holidays, but often, they can also mean a lot of work and preparation.

If you work in sales - be realistic. People are buying gifts, even with the economy, why not let them buy from you?  Don't decide for them whether they can afford your service or not, just let them know it exists, and how they can use it.  If they bite, run with it; if not, let it go.  The worst they can do is say "no."

If you work in a home party business, know that this time of year is both the best and the worst time for a home party.  Don't be pushy with the person who doesn't work her buns off to have the best party, be polite, work your best, and give it your all-just don't push, she may have so much pressure, it might be easier for her to call it off. Instead, surprise her. Perhaps you can make the last minute reminder calls?  Maybe you can encourage the party to close that every night, that way people can make their decisions and get on with life.  We are supposed to make life easier by having a party at home, not burdensome.

Creative workers may find they have too much on their brain all of a sudden. Why is it that when you have the most things to do, at a time you most want to do it (in other words, the chore you happen to love) your creative juices kick into overdrive?  It doesn't matter. What matters is what you do with it. Did you know or realize that the more things you have to do, the more you get done? It's true!  Maybe you only have five minutes here and there to write that book, make that craft, or paint a picture, but that's five wonderfully glorious minutes.  Sometimes five minutes produces more quality than five days.  Keep your mind open and look for opportunities.

Too many things these days are stressful. Surely the lines in the store or the traffic on the highway are going to be big ones for the next two weeks.  Turn that stress into good stress. Use time in the line to make a business call you've been putting off until the "right time."  The traffic is great to shake off the negative and clear your mind. How? Turn up your radio and sing. Sing as though no one can hear you.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Not Enough Space?

Having an office away from the house is ideal, but for us, working from home is realistic. However, some of us don't have much space and often, our work is spread throughout house and when that one really important paper or order or interview [or insert your own misplaced important information here] comes up missing, we realize: our work needs its own space.

For me to simply say use a spare closet is silly. Who has a "spare" closet?  I didn't when I had seven kids and an extra mother at home and I do not now. In fact, I'll be so bold to say, I doubt I'll ever have a spare closet because somehow, someway, I will fill it up to the brim and force the door to close. Then I'll pray no one dares open it.

There are ways around it.  You can always pare down to basics, empty a closet, set up a TV tray or book shelf, and have instant storage for your products, a place to file paperwork, perhaps, even a mini desk (if you still use desktop computers, it's possible to get that in there, as well, but probably it's elsewhere... one of the pitfalls).

Set up a simple card table in the corner of a room. Some of us have available corners, others do not.  Find a place, any place.  You can have a chair to work, use half of the table for items you need daily (pens, stapler, paper) and the other half as your workspace.  Under the table, away from your feet, store your files. You may need to keep products elsewhere, if your business requires products on hand.

Let me say that if you have so many products, there simply is no room at all, it's possible your place of business is not the problem, providing your intentions are to be at home working. It may be that your home business is a bit unrealistic.  Some businesses are NOT meant to do from home (and that's okay).

Another wonderful item is a simple TALL bookcase. Utilize the height on the top of the walls, by building higher rather than wider.  If you have bigger items, put them on the bottom so that their sticking out won't look so bad, if that's what you are worried about (I'd rather you worry about whether someone is going to trip over it or bump into it).  Use trays to group things you use together. It's easy to take the tray down, work at the kitchen table, and put it back. Nice, easy, quick.  You can use open files (no lids, as nice as they look, they will be a hassle in the long run) or use in/out boxes.  How you fill it is unique and a no brainer, these are merely suggestions.

One thing I cannot stress enough: be willing to change and adapt as needed.

If keeping your pencils and pens separate seemed like a great idea and looked great but isn't working; change it. Change it until it works for you-if it doesn't work for you, it works against you.

Our kitchen is always a work in progress. When we moved (we've moved three times in less than a year's time), I requested the cupboard and shelf plans in advance and pre-placed everything.  It looked good and it was reasonable.  Until we used the cookie supplies, all these months later and we still did not have a clue how difficult it would be to get out and put away (for the kids).  I thought of alternatives and found nothing better, which made me think another way. What would work better in the place of the cookie utensils?  Nothing.  Next, I asked myself, "Self, how often do you use these cookie things?"

"Use" turns out to be the key.  We seldom use these items. Knowing that nothing fit in their place better than they did, and that we rarely use them, why not keep them where they are and have a bit of discomfort (for lack of a better word) once or twice a year?

Using the kitchen again, our spices are in a cupboard near the stove, where we cook (never over it).  It stands to reason the sugars and flours would be there, as well.  But I rarely use cinnamon, sugar, flour, sprinkles, etc. while I cook and the cupboard doesn't hold it all anyway. I tried moving it to the larger cupboard by the side of the sink.  When anyone cooked, the spices would invariably be left near the stove, rather than being put away.  I asked why and knew it was because as easy as it is, too many steps to do such a small thing was, well, too many, which led to too many more, now that we'd have to go back later, put them all away, and then some.

Who says all the spices have to be together?  We grabbed all the spices we cook with and put them near the stove. The others, mainly used in baking (where you put everything together outside the oven, mix, or what-have-you), were stored in the larger one by the sink. We call that the baking cupboard. We've included pancake mix, flaxseed, baking mixes, etc., and it works. For us. Whatever works for you, is a blessing.

The point is, create your space the best you can. When it works, it works and do not mess with it. When it does not work, don't fight it and force yourself to make it work, change it until you get it right.

Use the space you do have and use it wisely. For my home businesses, I use the area behind the door, and the wall near the bathroom.  For my writing, I use my table and the space below it holds my files. It's all neat, organized, and usable.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


I'm grateful I do not need Thanksgiving to be thankful.  Each day, I am surrounded by friends and family who love me and treat me well. Because of this, it's easy for me to pass it on.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Stop working for a moment and enjoy your presence.

Later, I'll tell you how I wrote a screenplay in two weeks and sold over $500 worth of products in 24 hours. Now go!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Getting Better at Last, so Why Does it Hurt?

Tonight I want to let you know I'm doing better and by next week, I'll be back to my old tricks.  But tomorrow marks the end of a level I was trying to attain in my new home business, At Home America.  From bed, I literally created ads and distributed them, booked a couple of parties, took online orders, and served a few customers I'll never get to meet.  Yet, I'm down by $350. A hundred of it is a mix up, where my hostess who first offered a party and ended up canceling, waited to order for herself when our free shipping offer came up. Which started today, BTW.

At the stroke of midnight, she made her order and paid for it.  Hours later, it never came up to me, letting me know someone ordered from me. No stress, no worries, sometimes things take a while. Turns out she ordered from the main site rather than from my site.  We're trying to work on it, but that's another order I anticipated. And somehow I'm not understanding how to close a party held for me thousands of miles away. Due to the time zone difference, she went to bed and we're hoping we'll resolved it when she's home from her job... probably after my time for this level is up.

You know, with all that's happened, I realize, how amazing it is that so many businesses run smoothly or stay in business. I mean, gosh, it can't be any easier than I have it now; the business is created, maintained, and ran by someone nearly anonymously to me.  All I have to do is bring it to the customers, offer free gifts, and fill out some paperwork.  Let's not forget there's a few nights I might go out, talk to some great women (no men so far) and enjoy some laughter outside my home, but still... how hard can it be?

So maybe this is disappointing (no maybe, it is), but it's not the end by a long shot. Imagine if Ray Kroc hadn't convinced the McDonald brothers to try his shake machine and then to sell him the business? Imagine if he gave up when his profits were below his expectations no matter how hard he tried?

Check out At Home America's fabulous 
FREE SHIPPING offer November 23 - 30th ONLY.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Past... Still the Past?

I'm not a super private person, you probably know I've had a disease, COPD, for about 12 years now.  In case you ask, I've never smoked, it's from a house we had built for us, built wrong and, we had a serious crime burst into our life. Anyway, I say that so you are not shocked that I am still sick. For everyone in the house, it's come and gone, but for me, it's still here, though today is the first day I feel like this is it, I can make future plans!

One of the things I've noticed this time around is my lack of concentration. Even a good movie can't keep me attention, which is unusual and such a bummer for me personally (when you are sick, don't you love to cuddle with blankets and a good movie to keep your mind off of the pain?).  Today, though, I've managed to read a little and that's a feat, as it's been about two or three weeks that I've been off.  A GREAT sign.

As I'm reading and subsequently writing, I'm getting back into my old mold of teaching. I used to teach classes in writing and had a writers website which did pretty good in its day.  I not only love it, but I thrived.  It just so happens that the website went up for sale and the writing was off the day we evacuated that house for serious health reasons. I never stopped because I didn't like it. I didn't stop because it wasn't working. I didn't stop because I had better things to do. I stopped for the same reason I stopped being athletic; because someone was criminally negligent in building our home and someone was criminally negligent in taking what he wanted and it led to losing everything we had and starting completely over in so many ways.

I know I have so much to do. I know I have plenty to keep me occupied. I know I love what I do now, just wish I could do more and do it better... but I kind of want to teach again. I'm having a class on business management and organization soon, for people who, like me, live on federal land and have to have certain permissions and take several precautions, and, who, like me, have a significant other leaving for a year to a very scary place.  Maybe, just maybe, I'll be back in action all the way. I may not run a marathon or do flips around everyone, but maybe I can show them how and somehow, live on through them.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hard Up!

Believe it or not, there's still sickness lurking inside our home, infecting our lives and business in every way imaginable.  For At Home America, I literally cannot hold a home party even if I forced myself (it's contagious, it seems), the only person I mentor, I've failed because I could not come to her party because of this (and now she's sick with probably the same thing, so she's in the same boat as I am), and since I cannot concentrate, I'm not writing or reading.  But check it out; I have the BEST ideas right now. Figures!

Most days, I try to make it to the game room and to my desk once a day. The game room holds the family TV and pretty much, the family!  The desk, it's just so I can say I made it to work once again, never mentioning I didn't actually work.  Though I am admitting it now.  Today, my bed's my office.

The two things I seem to be able to do are work on the website and attempt to share At Home America with friends online.  The website has been difficult since the change to Mac and the more recent switch to Dreamweaver, which makes this a bit positive. It helps that I finally broke down and purchased the Dreamweaver CS4 for Dummies book, too (if only I could concentrate and read it).

Here's my idea for next week:
Free shipping with all online orders, even to Hawaii, begins November 23. I'm going to create an event on Facebook, with pictures of MY favorite sale items people would want before Christmas, inviting them to order using the online catalog and order form and getting their shipping free. On my private page, I'll take an idea from fellow ATA, Amanda, offer our countdown snowman to 10 lucky people who are willing to part with $10 (includes shipping and tax).

I do not want to SPAM anyone or make them hate coming to my Facebook wall, but I do not want to lose the Christmas spirit sales, you know?

Teraisa's November Holiday SALE Picks:

Holiday pitcher holds a whooping 85 oz., that's a LOT of eggnog!  Use this in the dishwasher and microwave safely or use as a festive vase $6.99

Monday, November 15, 2010

Still Sick; I Reflect...

Before I even knew I was going into direct sales, I attended a few home parties for people I recently met (we moved into our home-thousands of miles from our last home-two months ago) and always, I found something I could purchase for myself or a gift, and often, if you search hard enough, you can even find something very affordable. If shipping's the problem (maybe it cost more than the item), I let the hostess know I want to place an order but I cannot justify the shipping. She can either add it to her own order or another guest who lives nearby.  I simply write them a check or hand over cash. I always include an extra dollar or two for their help. Why not?

Why is it that people today aren't willing to help their own? Why is it that people are so quick to say, "Me, me, me!"  Do you know, not that I was allowed to assume they would, but I sure hoped... ONLY ONE PERSON WHO I HELPED OUT with sales helped me out in my new business.  One.

You have to say it's like Christmas, we give gifts and pretend we only like to give, and don't mind not getting.

Before I go on, let me say this: if we truly only like to give and not receive, then why are we giving gifts in the first place? If no one likes to receive, aren't we making an awful lot of people uncomfortable? We give because we want to. We like to give. We give because it's expected and we have also taught others to expect it (many of us).  We like the community. We. Also. Love. To. Receive. Yes! I said it!

We like to receive. Thou doth protest too much!  We do. I love knowing someone is thinking about me when I'm not around (feel better now that I changed it from "WE" to "I" and "ME?")!

I like that someone cares so much about me, they know I love the 49er's and all the colors that go with them. I love that they know I'm not into twangy country music, but I love 80's metal.  I love that someone cares enough to know I am not in love with chocolate, but I like sunflower seeds (stocking stuffers).  One year, I got a DVD most people would say to themselves,  "What was the giver thinking; it's her 40th birthday?!?!" But actually, this person knows I LOVE the Lizzie McGuire Movie!  And you know what? I like to receive.

And so do other people, otherwise, giving becomes selfish and ends up being all about YOU.

So here I am, surrounded by the quite-a-few-home-parties I attended and also the only people I know... can't they help out a little?  Can't they say, hey, I can't afford this right now (after all, I know how much they earn, we earn the same thing!), but is there anything I can do in another way?

Can't they help out a little?  I want them to succeed, and they know it by my actions (I am helping FREE people FREE learn FREE how FREE to manage FREE businesses FREE and taxes NOT SO FREE! when on a Hawaiian military installation - and yes, it matters).

Here are ways you can help - purchase something affordable, aren't you buying Christmas gifts anyway?  Let the hostess know you can't help this time, you don't even have to give a reason, and maybe take the catalog you know you are taking anyway, which costs money, and share it with someone who can afford it.  Maybe you heard someone say they need something that the party person can supply- for instance, I told everyone who may have stood a few feet from me that I need wall hangings -you can show them the catalog or even suggest they host a party in order to get it free; don't forget to tell them you'll attend.

There is so much you can do to help. I'm not saying go to every party you are invited to, I'm not saying purchase from every party or everyone will hate you. I'm saying, hey, I just started this new business AFTER I HELPED YOU OUT, can you just give me a REAL MINUTE OF YOUR TIME?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Complete Downer

Tomorrow my kids get to see Harry Potter at an advanced screening. Though I'm not at all a HP fan, I was going because they are older and there's not a lot they don't mind me doing with them.

When I found out the very first At Home America Specialist to join under me was having her party the same day, I cancelled the movie even though I normally will not cancel on my kids for most. But this was her first party and there's no one here in Hawaii having a party we can see. One that we can use to train by.

But the joke's on me, and the sadness is for AH (the specialist) and probably not so much on my kids, because I have bronchitis and it's hurting pretty bad, besides being contagious.  I can't even concentrate on a book.  Murphy's Law?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Goals and Goal Management

Being sick reminds me to be grateful for my calendar.  Without a calendar, I'd be stressed each day, when sick, wondering if I was going to sabotage my businesses and family life because I'm down.  Because I use the calendar, instead, I'm able to lay down and not deal with anything except getting better (not that my head will rest!), because I know which events and goals can be put on hold.  Which ones I can complete from bed with a mushy mind, and which ones I'll have to focus and deal with at some point in time.

I put everything down on paper. Everything I do was once a future goal.  Books I want or need to read, time spent learning how to make cascading style sheets, school holidays, bills, etc. There is nothing off limits (though I've grown up a bit and realize setting a goal to check the real mailbox and crossing it off each day doesn't really give me the encouragement I seek).

My goal for today is read a friend's screenplay. I can do that, easily.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Getting Better All. The. Time. Or Not.

Three days now, sick, severe head and throat pain. I'm sure it will be over soon. I really need it to be over soon.  And the stalking coming back to haunt us yesterday did not help whatsoever. I feel horrible for our girls, it's far worse for them.

I'm in bed with the thought that some rest and tomorrow I'll be just dandy!

Today, while browsing IMDb, where I love to submit clever movie quotes (not the boring ones published for publishing sake), I changed my profile, then jammed to MilSpouse and did the same. I realize, what I am now is a Make Your Temporary House a Home Specialist.  Yes. That's me.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


You'd think thousands of miles away from your stalker would be enough. We were so wrong.


It's hard to sleep when you have ideas swirling through your head.  My latest is that I'm going to write up a presentation for the At Home America friends who have never hosted a party. I'm going to write up exactly what you can do before, during, and after a party and include etiquette and conversation help.  Each time I am at a party, my own, anyone else's, and any other company, I'll read it again and tweak it until it works perfectly in general.

Yah, I'll do that.  And I'll finish my book and screenplay tomorrow, right? I'm tired, I'm exhausted, I'm trying to help someone who isn't helping herself (that's always a no-no!), and I am pretty sure I'm in a lot of pain - strep throat?  I love my cousins, they came all the way from the Mainland to bring me something that resembles strep throat. Ah, the memories!

Let's see if I actually get around to doing this.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Mistakes: FIXED!

Thanks to the At Home America Pro Team, my ridiculous but potentially serious mistake is fixed.  I put in my very first order from the Grand Opening I put on at our community center.  When I ordered, I did not RECHECK the address, I simply submitted as is. Instead of our products being shipped to my house, they were set to ship to our community center!

It's expensive enough to ship to Hawaii, can you imagine me having to reship? Pay for reshipping?  And the time waiting?  CRAZY and not going to happen thanks to the Pro Team.

My upline showed me how to handle it, advised me to do it fast and viola!, it's taken care of.  It's also a mistake I now know how to avoid and how to teach others to avoid as well.

Busy, Busy, Busy

This week has been busier than usual. We have family in town and that's actually quite rare, as we live in Hawaii on a military installation.  Of course the best thing about my jobs are that they are extremely adaptable. Family? No problem; schedule around them or take that time off.

For the home parties, of At Home America, you can book two additional parties before and after their visit. This is ideal, you won't be rushed to be home in order to prepare and you won't feel guilty or continually apologize for your absence or abruptness.

Writing - a no brainer. Write in the morning, write in the car, write before bed, write in the bathroom.  All you need is a pencil and a napkin or a receipt and you can write anywhere.

Everything else I do is 24/7 and no need to push back a thing.

Of course, Murphy's Law comes into action. I am grateful to receive two leads, a catalog party, and an order in the past 24 hours and the best story idea ever within the past 24 hours, AKA My Break.

Tomorrow our family returns to the mainland and life returns to normal.  What's normal?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

You Gotta Love It!

My favorite part of owning a home business?  Every moment is a moment of its own.  You can be depressed or devastated easily, for many reasons, yet it takes so little to turn that frown upside down.

A lead. A sale. An offer to host a home party.  ~At Home America specialist

Someone asks. Someone listens. Someone changes.  ~Victims Advocate

A story informs. A story persuades. A story entertains.  ~Writer

A hug. A kiss. Both.  ~Mother

A thank you. A "let me do that for you."  An I love you.  ~Wife

An ear when I pray.  ~That's all God

Saturday, November 6, 2010


My jobs are easy enough (for me):

At Home America

Why is it that I feel like I'm failing at it all? And here's the kicker: I'm actually POSITIVE! I'm happy. I love life.  How can I be so sure of all this and enthusiastic, yet still... I suck.

Don't go thinking I'm having a pity party, and please do not tell me all the reasons I'm okay.  I'm not pitying myself and I am realistic. But why? All I want to know is why?

And while we're at it, why is it that everyone thinks I should be able to do everything? Why do they believe I can do anymore than they can?  Okay, that's me feeling sorry for myself-don't you feel better now?

One thing I say to complainers is to figure out a solution or admit you can come up with none, then stop complaining.  I'm done.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Home Party Business: YES!

Well, friends, live and learn!  It WAS worth it (see previous post). I ordered supplies I wanted (as opposed to needed, though I will soon) and it was really easy. My BROWSER was not working; after changing it everything worked great. Not only that, but I found out I reentered all the items, but they were actually in a place I could have clicked on, ironically (snicker, snicker) called ORDERS.

Today is my first At Home America party, it's my Grand Opening. I'll come back and let you know what's going on throughout the day and how I'm feeling.

Anyone who knows me:  yep, I'm ready to write like crazy. Why? Because today is not a writing day.  :-)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Home Party Business: Is It Worth It?

I've yet to hold the first home party. The Grand Opening.  And yet. I can't order supplies. I've wasted an hour ordering and re-ordering because after submitting the numbers, I'm told there's been "an error" and that they apologize.

Do I bother ordering again, seeing as there's no way the supplies will be here when I need them for the last party I have signed onto?

I'm sure I will.  But please, don't let me see another error message. Four in one hour is four too many.

On another note; all the other work is going well.  We checked out the laws for freelance writing on federal land and we pass!  We need nothing!  At least something's going our way.  Now, if only to write.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Home Party Business: Penalty

Military does not get paid a heck of a lot, especially when you consider many families cannot afford to have both parents working (many active duty soldiers are gone every other year for an ENTIRE YEAR).

And they certainly do not get to choose where they are to bloom.

Here I am, in Hawaii, which is beautiful and a place many people would like to be.  Yet when I order from my own company... I have to pay nearly double for postage.  If you are in the United States and you are mailing from the United States, it should be the same price.  It's not like I get a discount when I'm mailing something to the house next door!

This is discrimination AND a penalty for something many people have no control over, nor a choice.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Home Party Business: Is Anyone Out There?

I've long since realized: I'm the only one reading this.  Still, I'll continue. Why? Because I'll go crazy if I keep this contained within myself.

Today, I practiced setting up my display for the first home show.  I've found tons of ideas, but I'm not happy yet with anything I've come up with. For one thing, most of the people with At Home America have special displays (which I plan on earning - the ONLY way you can get one) and they have different products than I do; making it hard to recreate their display.

I'm thinking about ordering a few more things to use in my display. I'd like to display in the way you might see a store display, rather than everything on one table. We'll see.

Another thing I'm considering is purchasing a few more of their yummy smelling candles, lighting them for the entire party, then giving it away in a drawing at the end of the night.  They provided me with cards for guests to fill out, enquiring whether they are interested in hosting a party or joining the crew... if they give it back, they just might win.  The only thing is that if I book a party from that party, I'll probably give away a completely different prize.  That way, the guests will be willing to go to more than one party, hoping for a shot at another cool gift.  We'll see. Again.

So much on my mind.

This new business is not all there is. Not by a long-shot.  I've been formatting the screenplay and have a children's book ready for an editor.  The website, True Crime Fanatic, well, that's taking longer than I'd like, but it's only due to lack of knowledge writing and working with CSS.  Always, I'm on the lookout for publishers and producers for my friends' work.  Ha! That's much easier than finding help for myself.  And lastly, I'm just about finished setting up a class to teach business management and organization on federal land. Yes, there's a need for it.

As with At Home America, if I find something I want or need and no one can provide it, I'll find a way.  And that's how things get done.


When you get a lead for your business, as a person who wants to do what you are doing, it's imperative you make contact. It's scary, but remember, you are sharing a golden opportunity that can change another's life for the better.

What are you waiting for?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Tools of Success: Notebooks

So much is going on before my first party. I need to feel like I'm in control and I know and understand what I'm doing. I've now filled up TWO notebooks - and one is HUGE (so big it cost more than $10, but it's worth it), with notes, training, and ideas. Before you think you have to go through all this "trouble" for your own business, let me say that I am a visual learner. Preferably, words. You may be better by doing. AND I have no one to learn from by watching or attending another party. It's not work to me, either, I actually like it.

In fact, last night, my middle daughter said, "Gosh Mom, you're so organized!" Ah, those were words I needed and longed to hear. I've not always been. This time is different. I am VERY SERIOUS about what I'm doing. I am determined to put Hawaii on the At Home America map.

Another thing I've done to study and learn, is to browse and participate in the discussion boards set up on our AHA website and on the Yahoo Group's email list. If you don't have this where you are doing business, create it yourself! If you have questions and ideas, someone else will, too, and they'll be grateful someone took the initiative.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Something for the Work At Home Woman (or Man!)

Shared by a listmate:

Printables from Life... your way (personalized solutions for intentional living). Here's the link to their notebook for home management.

What a LONG Night!

My mind is reeling. There's so much to think about, many ideas swirling in my head, so many pretty things to look at and sort out.

The night couldn't go fast enough; all I wanted to do is get up and WORK. Crazy. Does it die out? Once I host that first party, will I change my outlook?

By the way, my first party was a catalog party and is mostly a bust. I MAY get a sale out of it, but because we ship to the hostess... her guests couldn't pay for shipping twice. When I set that first party up, I had not even applied. I was determined (and required) to set up 6 parties prior to the application. Once I was in, I learned the catalog parties are great, they're easy, BUT there are certain things you need to know and explain before you begin.

This could be a blessing or a curse. You see, you may get a few EXTRA parties out of it, as those who are too far, may decide to host their own party. Or, you'll lose all the guests, as I did.

I'll be sharing a post on direct shipping and I'll try to get a list of other home based opportunities and their policies. As I said in another post, I'm here to change things for the better. And I will.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Oh Yeah (Off Track)

Who doesn't love getting packages brought to your door? I love them! It's like Christmas and for me, since this package was my starter kit, I'm doubly excited.

We unpacked the boxes, matched everything to the packing list, and marveled over the craftsmanship of some of the items. Very nice.

My favorite part was all the paperwork, I love the business part of it all. I love numbers, math, and a good challenge.

Afterward, I spent the evening printing out the training manuals. I'm nowhere near a consultant; depending on myself means studying everything I can get my hands on. I think I learned a ton of new things just by printing and organizing into a notebook!

How organized is YOUR business? Now's the time to do it right. In the long run, being organized won't just save you a huge headache, but money, too. No more late feels or paying double for something because you aren't sure you paid it. You get it, now organize it!

Home Party Business: Things I'd Like to See

If we learn nothing from this blog; it's not done it's job. This series of Things I'd Like to See (At Home America) has two purposes - one is to make a note of ideas and to be able to recall if necessary, the other is to look back and see if the needs I perceive then have been met in some way or if I've changed my needs (why and how).

You can skip over these, they're really more for personal, but you are welcome to include your own and more than welcome to show me why the idea is already implemented or not needed. Okay?

In the Hostess Communication Station, I'd like to be able to personalize invitations (home shows and/or e-shows) as a group or separately. So far, it's not an option. I do not want anymore space than a short paragraph, perhaps 100 words. There's a way to include it into the invitation as it is now, which looks great and feels personal, even though it's the standard for all. Perhaps I know a customer is looking for all red homeware, I can direct her to some fantastic pieces. As the hostess, I might want to encourage my friends to book a party and remind them that I'll be there and I'll bring a friend (after all, starting with two people makes it easier to say "YES!").

This is one I'll probably make on my own - I'd love to see a Powerpoint of everything available to learn (the reproducibles), and have it updated at least monthly. It's just easier and less overwhelming to the new consultant!

Direct shipping available to all customers, if they want or need it. At a home party, I think charging an extra $2 would be as high as you could go (assuming they may be penalized for wanting it delivered to their home) and NOTHING EXTRA for any online order, whether through an e-show, and add-on for a home show, or a regular web order (again, nothing EXTRA, not free!).

That's it for now. I'm new, this list will grow, but so will all the wonderful things I'm learning and sharing. I LOVE IT!

Home Party Business: SIX Parties?

As you know, I began this odyssey long before I actually applied. Because of that, I'll backtrack to that day and move forward until we are here. TODAY here.

The decision to become an At Home America consultant was easy. Applying, thanks to my mentor, Donna Moses, was easier. At Home America suggests and encourages you to book your first SIX parties before you apply, that meant I had to hurry and find hostesses because I was applying the day I received my application.

Luckily for me, Donna's daughter, Maureen, booked my first party - we live on the same island, making it easy for me to accept and her to commit. Donna was very happy about it and is sure to be the reason for Maureen's party success. How can you loose when your mother is your party girl's mom? We can't!

Five to go. I decided NOT to ask my family for many reasons. First of all, I've never seen At Home America anywhere but online. Not even one product. Though I know that I am confident in their products and hostess program, they do not. Family is often harder to convince then others because they know you and maybe have been in this position before (ha, ha!).

Second of all, I love challenges, and because I have not had any friends for about a year (other than my friends at home or online), it was high time to make new ones and invite them to enjoy my business. I said a prayer and took a leap. I asked anyone in my few Hawaii/military groups to help me out.

On a very serious note, many of you already have your friends and family nearby and you may have lived in your area a very long time. Might I suggest to wait on your family in order to expand your circle? Your first bookings, if coming from friends and new people, will have you feeling successful and on a business high. If it's family, it's great, but not the same. I know because I'm on that high, even while we speak! And guess what? When it's slow, maybe in January, I can now ask everyone in my family AND be even more excited about the quality and care of the product and At Home America.

(I'm apologizing now for rambling, I'm just very excited AND I have so much to share... my hopes are this will help just one person and myself become more efficient with their new home business and that it directly affects your family in a great way)

Anyway, back to I need five more bookings and I have my online application open and waiting. Armed with my one booking, I went to my personal Facebook page and using my personality, I made a request to watch me give you a fun party where you can laugh out loud at me while I practice being a home party direct sales consultant, and YOU get free gifts and specials and we all get free food, because I do encourage food and drinks - sometimes that's what hooks people. I'm not kidding (but that's an entirely new post because there are many people who think food and drinks are distracting, too).

I got party number two, as a catalog party, though I was not positive there are catalog parties available (I assumed from my designated time as a hostess - and there ARE those parties, called "e-show"). Here's a funny thing about Jennifer:

I've been a victim's advocate pretty much my entire life, but I've been putting my money where my mouth is for only a decade and a half. I have websites and professional social network accounts. To gain a better following, I did what social networks did; I played Mafia Wars. Yes, me. I know, I hate games, especially video games, but it worked. People came to me for play, but they stayed for my heart and they believe in the messages. Jennifer is one person.

When I called out for parties, even though I had stopped playing Mafia Wars a long time ago, she was there right away. We had conversations over the couple of years and it was natural, we were already friends in this technological world.

Jennifer is officially my first party. And she has my first questions, but is awesome by being patient while I learn.

And that's all for now... I have things to do, places to be. See you soon, when we can discuss the rest of my application and creative ways to get your first bookings.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Home Party Business: Before

We've moved three times in less than two years. Each move we've downsized and now realize: we have nothing on our walls! At last, we'll be in one place for a few years and it's time to get down and dirty and make our house feel like home once again.

Since August, 2010, I've scoured the few available stores I can afford (we're in Hawaii where there is a tad less variety and everything seems to cost more) and browsed the 'net. During this time, I also was invited to a few home parties (direct sales); none of the parties sold what we needed.

In September, I found a place called At Home America. They have down to earth and mostly affordable accent items for my home and three pictures I set my heart on. However, it was direct sales. I asked for a consultant near me and lo and behold, I was given a name to someone on the mainland!

Not entirely sure there were not any consultants on the island but entirely sure I wanted some of their wares, I studied their sales program and finally applied on October 19, 2010.

Today is October 26, my sales kit should arrive tomorrow and I could barely be more excited. Please, feel free to follow this blog to share the good, the bad, and the ugly with me.

I'll be learning the ropes with you. Questions will be asked, changes will be implemented, mistakes will be made, money will be earned and goals will be set and accomplished. If you are in direct sales, have a home business, are a mother, wife, and maybe even part of the military; if you are living on an island, if you want to see me succeed: follow me today.

Good wishes and God bless us all.

At Home America goals: All three levels of the New Kids program, Chicago, and Cancun. Fly with me.