Saturday, August 30, 2008

Guilt part deux

I was going to comment to Lynn's post, but figured it would be a lengthy one and my thoughts would keep rambling on. I thought I'd write a new post.

I've been having guilt/regret moments lately. I hate it. Everything Lynn said is true for wahms, really everyone, but when you throw in owning your business, it's more than guilt for either a) not spending more time w/ your husband and kids or b) cleaning your house or volunteering for something. There is always c) doing ANYTHING that has to do w/ your business.

Right now I "should" be a) hanging out w/ my hubby before he goes to work
b) cleaning up the kitchen and the dining room
c) processing an order, updating my web site, straightening my desk

Instead, I'm posting a blog! I've always had guilt frustrations about home/work. Lately I'm having regret sneak it's ugly head in. I love my company, love designing pillowcases, enjoy the satisfaction of creating, guiding, running a business. I have the American Dream:) The dreaded "but" comes in when all that guilt seems to back me into a corner. When the being a wahm is too much. Yes, it's all self imposed. My husband thinks I'm doing a great job and doesn't care if there is dust on the furniture. My boys think it's nice that I'm home. I on the other hand, have moments when it's just too much and all I want to do is dig in my garden, bake cookies and read for a month!

The regret that I had never taken this leap of faith and challenged myself to be a business owner, then have kids and try to "do it all". I've never felt this least not this way. I couldn't imagine having continued my job as a sales manager after I got married, let alone after having kids. I LOVE my life and the decisions that have brought me here. Is it horrible to have those moments when I want to get off this merry go round?? Oh, I know I would last a couple days LOL Then my husband would lock me in my office and not let me out til I processed orders, updated my web site and straightened out my desk!! I'd go crazy NOT being a wahm!

Life is tough, I've said I'm trying to get rid of the negatives and focus on all that is good in the world and my own life. Outside influences are really what makes that difficult...but that's a whole different post on politics and society! For now, I'll work out this guilt/regret thing. The good news is that should only take a few starts on Tuesday and both our boys will be gone "all day". I'll have hours and hours of uninterrupted WORK - woohoo!! Look for a post somewhere in the next 2 weeks about how much I miss them and love being with them all summer:)

Now, I'm off to the kitchen, bake some cookies and spend the afternoon w/ family...the business will still be here and Tuesday I'll have to put my roller skates back on to catch up!

Friday, August 29, 2008


I run my own business. And it is labor intensive and requires a lot of my time. I not only make and paint my piggy banks, I maintain my website, process my orders, print my business cards and do the packing and shipping.

Some of it is hands on product creation, and some of it is the office/paper work. I am falling behind on the office work. Especially the website maintenance. Why? I know how to do it. It just takes some time.

I am falling behind because I feel guilty sitting here at the computer working. If I am at the computer, I am not painting. Or physically completing something. My priorities are to get the piggy banks painted and shipped. However, if I don't get the website updated, I won't get the new products selling.

But I feel guilty working at the computer in the evening, so either I keep painting, or I don't work in the evening. And during the day I paint, because I feel guilty sitting at the computer. Like I am neglecting the piggy banks. Argh.

What I am trying to say is, it is tough being a wahm. You have to make time for everything. All parts of your business....whether it seems like you are physically accomplishing something or not. And don't forget your family. They're the reason you are working at home in the first place.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

When does the merry go round stop?

I feel like it's been going around and around forever...and I HATE merry go rounds! I can't even watch my kids playing on one at a the park and the "real" ones w/ the horses I can't even THINK about them without getting a little queezy (how do you spell that anyway?).

Apparently, for a WAHM, it never stops! Jill mentioned yesterday learning new tricks. As a WAHM, we learn new tricks every day - we HAVE to. When you're a one woman business, there isn't any delegating. For some things I pay folks that know what they are doing. Other times, if the budget is tight, you have to "figure it out". That isn't necessarily a bad thing. On Monday I found out I needed an ad banner by Tuesday at 10am - YIKES! I don't have one, don't know how to make one, don't have the money to pay someone to do it right now.

So, after asking for help and waiting for replies, I said to myself "wait a minute - I have an idea!" Instead of re-inventing the wheel, I've learned to use what I have. Sometimes you don't have to make something totally new, you have the pieces, you just have to put them together differently. It worked like a charm.

I had spent lots of money on the photography and packaging for my Comfy Cozy pillowcases.
James Applebaum at Electric Bluefish Productions created the inserts using images from a photo shoot with Jeff Blumberg at PictureTHIS! Photography. So, my "lightbulb moment" came just when I thought I'd have to cancel the ad - use the insert! A few text modifications for the ad and help from James in formatting it and "ta-da" - banner ad for was ready to go.

Sometimes we have to take a deep breath and for me, that can be hard sometimes. I'm always 3 steps ahead of myself and am learning the trick of stepping BACK to look at a situation before I jump in. Usually, things work themselves out and I can avoid adding any stress and anxiety to my life:)

My merry go round is still spinning. Another day, another ride! Hopefully with this ad, it will mean another dollar or two!! Today I'm hoping I don't have to learn any new tricks. I'll leave that up to our beagle puppy LOL

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Jill Be Nimble

I’ve had my own business for almost 25 years. And one thing that is always constant is change. Styles changed, storeowners changed, and my eye site has changed, just to name a few. But it’s really amazing to think about how much how we do business has changed. I used to receive all my orders in the mail, (that’s snail mail not email). I remember how excited I was to get my first fax machine, and then most of my customers were very slow to start using it. Now business travels at the speed of light, and we need to learn to be nimble. We never can turn into that old dog that can’t learn new tricks, or all the puppies out there will pass us buy.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Well, I know I sound like a broken record but I am so thankful for the girls in the SuperWAHMz group. They are all awesome successful women. They are also great wonderful wives, moms, friends. No one could ask for better.
They are also so supportive. I find most women business owners to be supportive and give freely of their experiences. I have also run across those few who are so secretive of their businesses. Apparently they have had bad experiences with people stealing their ideas. How sad is that.
I am also thankful today for new work. D's has been slow lately. I have added a new item to my Etsy page and I have put together a quote for a new Corporate job. Wish me luck.
Being owner/operator does have its own set of issues. Issues that only another owner/operator like yourself can appreciate. In business I find it very helpful to surround yourself with people you can work with. Not always agree with but who have your same morals and work ethics.
Women of SWz, I appreciate you more than you will ever know. You are all the wind beneath MY wings. Hugs.

Woo Hoo!

See this picture? That's me! My website has been on the first page of Google (searching for piggy banks) for a couple weeks now. I've been on page 2 for years.

And last night, and this morning, when I checked, I was at number 3. Woo hoo! Now we'll see how, or if, it effects the meantime, I am just happy dancing away. Oh yeah! : )

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


On the 17th I turned 44. I love my birthday:) I love being 44! I don't think I'm "old". I've decided that looking at life as a gift is better than as a struggle everyday. Even if some days are a struggle. I don't like the fact that everyone I love is getting older though, mainly my parents and brothers and sisters. Most days I pretend like they are all in their 30's with years and years to go in life. I also know that another year, even another day, isn't guaranteed.

My dad's birthday was on August 2nd. I got him a card with 2 old timers on the front. It said
"When I was young we didn't have a birth DAY, we had a birth HOUR and when times were really hard we were lucky to have a birth MINUTE...and we were happy with that".

I think it's a good philosophy to be happy with every minute. It's VERY hard sometimes, today for me is a struggle since I feel like I'm spinning my wheels and getting nothing done. ARGH! So, in light of that, I'm going out to lunch with my husband since he's on vacation and our kids are off to a friends for a few hours. YEAH - alone with my husband in a restaurant!

Then I'll be back tomorrow to face the trials and tribulations of being a WAHM. Some really good things have happened though, my orders for the Femail Creations catalog have started to come in and I just got a re-order for a custom design client, The Friends of Martins Tavern. All of our custom designs are done under Glowfx designs - you can check out our portfolio here.

off to lunch!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Marketing Materials in Minutes

This announcement has been years in the making. Branddoozie, a rich Internet web application that creates marketing materials in minutes is about to end its beta and go live. This project has been the brainchild of my husband. And I’m so proud of what he and our great team of programmers and designers have created. Branddoozie will help level the playing field and give small business the ability to create a great brand and produce marketing materials at a very affordable price. You can build your documents, edit copy, upload your own photos or choose form our great photo gallery, then print out your materials all in the same day. This is a great new do-it-yourself tool, and if you’re looking for more we also offer custom services. I hope you will all go check it out and take it for a free test drive. I would love to hear what you think.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Just a Small Tidbit

I volunteered to write on mondays here at SuperWAHMz, because usually mondays don't bother me. I get up, get my shower, write my list and am good to go. I like the beginning of a new week

But these last mondays have been kind of stressful. Well, most of the summer has been stressful because I have been unusually busy. Not to mention the fact that weeks are just flying by and time is passing way too fast.

Anyway, while I have been busy and new orders are coming in daily, I noticed an interesting trend. I get most of my orders during the week. And few, if any, on weekends. Interesting, I think.

My 2 hypotheses are
1. it's summer and people are outside having fun and not indoors shopping on the net.
And 2. it's the weekend and people aren't at work surfing while they should be working : )

What do you think? Notice any trends in your orders?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Fantastic Friday: Don't Complain, Just Work Harder

"Too many people go through life complaining about their problems. I've always believed that if you took one-tenth the energy you put into complaining and applied it to solving the problem, you'd be suprised by how well things can work out." - from The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

I don't normally watch TV during the day because I am supposed to be working. But, for some reason I turned on the TV a couple of months ago and saw this on Oprah:

I am now reading the book The Last Lecture and highly recommend it!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Happy Mommy Moments

This is my nephew. I am posting it because, to quote Lynn, "I can"! This little video is a good enough reason for me to work at home.

Beautiful Music

You know, some days I just don't want to listen to Country Music or Rock & Roll, some days I am just in the mood to listen to nice quiet beautiful music. As I am working on the computer just now I am listening to the music from Somewhere in Time. Oh my gosh, the music is sooooooooo beautiful. The music is from "Rhapsody" on a Theme from Paganini Opera 43. What ever, it is just absolutely beautiful music to me. I also LOVED the movie. What an awesome love story.
Just so you know. I am working also. I have my embroidery machine working on a new baby design for bath towels and bibs and I am updating my website.
So..... do you love to listen to music when you work and if you do, what kind of music do you like to listen to. If you are like me at all you like a wide variety of music and it just depends on your mood as to what you listen to on any given day. :)
Enjoy life. It is much too short. In fact, if life is gonna be so short, eat dessert first :) LOLOLOLOL
Oh, and since this is Thankful Thursday, today I have to once again say that I am so thankful for my girlfriends. I am so blessed by each one of them.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Helping Out Our Costumers

Selling to bridal stores my business model is a little different than most manufactures. I sell them samples that brides then come in and order off of. Often a sample will stay in a store for several years and I keep receiving faxed orders from those samples. You can image how trashed a headpiece and veil become being tried on over and over in a store, so one thing I always do for my stores is replace good selling samples for free. It helps the stores out to have a fresh piece to try on their brides and it helps me because the new ones start selling again much better. Everyone wins!

In this challenging economic times I think it is important to think about how we can help out our customers, because I believe it can in turn help us.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Yikes, It's Monday Again!

I really don't know where time is going. These weeks are flying by, and soon I will be smack dab in the middle of the Christmas Rush. I have no idea what to expect this year.

Generally, summer is a slow time of year for me. But not this year. It's been quite busy. Only once did I think I would catch up. And then that quickly passed. It's good to be busy, but it makes me worry about the fall. If I am this busy now, what will fall bring?

September is usually a very slow month for me. Kids are going back to school and Christmas shopping hasn't quite begun. I am secretly hoping it does slow down. I am. That would give me some time to collect myself and prepare for the Christmas Rush.

I number all my piggy banks and Cookies for Santa Plates. I used to do it just for my own enjoyment. You know, I could say I sold over 500 piggy banks and 150 Santa Plates last year. I start over at the first of the new year.

Now those numbers help me plan for the rush. And I can work ahead, getting some stock on the shelf that just needs personalized and fired. I can predict pretty close to what I am going to sell.

But being busy this summer hasn't let me get that stock as far long as I would like. And that means the fall has the potential to be really stressful. But I do have a 12yo who can paint and a 19yo who may come home from school on weekends, and maybe I can get her to paint too. We'll see.

Anyone out there have any good ways to prepare for the Christmas Rush and make it less stressful? Besides chocolate and caffeine? I wanna know!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Happy Sunday

:) What an awesome day. When I started D's Stitcheree my husband was still working full time and my youngest son was still in high school. I told myself that Sunday was OFF LIMITS for work. I pretty much stuck with that for 12 years. I totally believed that we had to have at least ONE day where we could all be together for meals and conversation and rest. It was great. As the years went by and D's got busier and busier it was harder not to work on Sunday but I stuck to my guns. Now we are in Arizona and my husband is retired but working part time at the super market. He usually works on the weekends :( but that is OK because we value every day together and when he isn't working believe me ... "I" am not working. Sunday or not. :)
If your home business takes so much of your time that you begin to wonder "why did I do this??", maybe you need to remember "WHY" you did this and at least take Sunday (or any day) OFF and make sure you spend time with your family.

Friday, August 8, 2008


Oh, if I only knew then what I know now.
I have owned D's Stitcheree for 16 years now but did I plan for retirement?? Not really.
I do have a small IRA but today that wont last long. As a small work at home business there has not always been enough money to even consider putting any of it into a savings. I would like to encourage you to rethink this if you are in the same situation that I have been in. I was too busy raising kids and paying the bills to even think of saving. Now, if I could do it over, I would put a dollar or two away a week. I know that isn't much but over the 16 years I have owned D's, just think of the savings I would have had. I could have bought Savings Bonds or put the money into my SEP IRA. I am 56 and I am going to start doing just that. I know I don't have as long as some of you do but starting somewhere is better than not starting at all. I hope you will start something new today.

Fantastic Friday: Gratitude Journals & Affirmations

Diane mentioned gratitude journals in her Thankful Thursday post yesterday. I purchased a beautiful suede bound blank journal off of a clearance table at Office Depot last year with the intention of writing what I am grateful for in it each night. After reading Diane's post, I searched everywhere for this journal and finally found it tucked away in my desk drawer. Sadly, it has just FOUR entries dated February 11, February 13, March 11 & July 13 of 2007.

A folded peice of paper in the front cover is the real treasure of this book. It's an affirmation that I wrote:

"I am so happy and grateful...
because money comes easily and frequently;
my family is secure, healthy and active;
nurturing, appreciative, successful people seek my friendship;
I am decisive and believe in what I do."

What is amazing about this affirmation is that it is coming true despite that fact that it has been tucked away in my journal for over a year! Money is coming easier and more frequently! My family is healthy & active! I do have nurturing, appreciative & successful friends and I do beliveve in what I do! I'm still working on the "secure" and "decisive" parts.

I love affirmations! I have this one on my wall by my computer screen:

I am so happy and grateful now that
through the infinite grace of the divine
and our inspired thoughts and actions,
Shaka Studios is selling, creating and shipping
custom furiture in excess of $XXXX per week.

Some weeks we meet our goal. Some weeks we do not. But seeing it everyday helps inspire those thoughts and actions!

I'm not sure why I didn't follow through with my journaling. But, I'm willing to try again and I suggest you try, too! There are many gratitude journals available on the market that help make it easier for you. I'm going to start by just listing 3 things I am thankful for each day... today my list is:

I am thankful for my daughter
I am thankful for my husband.
I am thankful for my SuperWAHMz buddies!

I invite you to leave your 3 things in the comments! Even if you don't start a journal, listing them here will begin great things for you!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Thankful Thursday

THE best thing I have to be thankful for this week is that my dil does not have cancer. How could I possibly hope for anymore. Well, I could but for now I will just be so thankful that that new was good news.
A long time ago I was watching Oprah and she was doing the Thankful Journal. I started a TJ at a time when my son was in the 1st Gulf War...... well, he wasn't actually IN the war but he was in the area at that time. Anyway, some days its was really hard to find things to be thankful for but if I remember right, Oprah said we should be able to find at least 3 things to be thankful for. There were days that just waking up in the morning was one of my 3 things. LOLOLOL How sad huh. My son was gone, my business was growing, I had a teenager. What more can I say.
Now I wake up every morning just so darn thankful for life. Life is good. Even when it is blazing HOT here in AZ, I don't have any work and I STILL need to loose weight. I really think life is what we make of it. As the old saying goes, when life gives you lemons, make lemon-aide. :)
I am taking this HOT weather, lack of work time to clean my garage. I have boxes and boxes of inventory. I am really making a dent out there and now find that I have a lot of items I can use for the holidays so..... keep an eye on D's Stitcheree for all things Holidays. Of course I will still do custom orders. If last year was any indication I will have to have a cut off date for custom orders so if that is something you are thinking about and would like to chat about, drop me a line.

WAHM Works!

I've completely lost it. My mind that is:) I was convinced yesterday was Tuesday - all day long. So, my post is late, but since Jill was a day behind, I'm feeling pretty good about myself now!

Today I'm paying bills - yeah! UGH! Sometimes I don't want to own a business because I don't like paying bills for it. I'm happy with the income, just not the bills. Part of that is because owning a business, means owning inventory. When business is slow, I avoid my "warehouse" like the plague, because I hate looking at all those pillowcases just sitting there calling for someone to order them and take them home. So, come on over folks, and order a few personalized glow in the dark pillowcases!!!

August is a traditionally tough month for me. Business is usually slow, but I have to invest in inventory for the fall and holiday season so I'm not out of stock in November. Also, Femail Creations catalog orders start to come in and that's typically quite a bit of merchandise. That's great, but I have Net 45 terms with them, so I don't see the $'s for a while. I like to create new designs and that involves new screens which cost some cash upfront. The joys of being a WAHM or simply a small business owner of any kind that involves inventory.

On a side note, yesterday I did something really whacky. I mailed my "be" pillowcase to Maria Shriver! It all began the other day when I checked to see what was on Oprah. She comes on at 4, so sometimes I take a break to see if she's got anybody interesting on - of course, someone that I can justify NOT working to watch lol! There was Maria Shriver talking about her life and changing it to be what she wanted it to be. She has a new book - or relatively new, the show was a re-run - titled "Just who will you be". An inspiring little book with an important message. I thought she'd like the pillowcase:) It will be interesting to see if she contacts me!

Now back to work!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Blogging Habit

I‘m sorry, sorry, sorry, but I keep forgetting that Tuesday is my day to post something here. So I’m late again.

I was thinking today about how much this little blogging habit has taken over part of my life, each day when I turn on my computer, the first thing I do is check my favorite blogs, and then I check for any comments on my blog tipsfromhome. Next I try to think of what my next post should be about, and then I try to see how much real work I can squeeze in before its time for lunch. When started this little habit back in January, it was something I tried to get to every once in a while at the end of the day, now it’s how I start my day. I really don’t know how that happened, but I’m sure glad for all the great people it has brought into my life


It's a Contest!

Hey everyone! I'm giving away a couple piggy banks over at After the Dust Settles. You can read the "rules" and post an entry by clicking this little link here : )
Good Luck!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Guest Article: Jeri's Organizing & Decluttering News: Randy Pausch Teaches Us about Time Management

1. Keep your e-mail in-box empty; it's not your to-do list.

2. Break down items on your to-do lists into small pieces; "get tenure" was on his once upon a time, and that wasn't really helpful in moving him along!

Read more: Jeri's Organizing & Decluttering News: Randy Pausch Teaches Us about Time Management

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Marketing during a slow economy

Recently, I joined up with the Ladies Who Launch and Martha Stewart's Dreamers Into Doers.
I'm hoping that I can learn how to launch Comfy Cozy into a new level!
I'm just starting to take some time to check out the sites and read the emails. I found this one to be of particular interest and wanted to share it here:

Q: What's the best way to market my product in a slowing economy? I have limited resources and can see that people are already reigning in their spending.

A: The market is in a tailspin at the moment, but I caution buying into every market report you hear. Plenty of businesses are still thriving, and some products won't even feel the effects of recession. Big ticket, non luxury items will be the first to feel those hits, but most small businesses, if they're strategic, can maneuver through this storm.

Here are some tips:

1. Don't buy the hype. The media will always have an angle, and markets always have highs and lows. There is a general psychology behind news headlines that tend to put people into a panic. The key is not to let yourself get worked up about these headlines. They change daily and weekly, and although it's good to know what's going on in your sector, do not become a slave to what the pundits say. Plenty of businesses survive (and thrive) in down markets. Change your thinking (even meditation can help keep you grounded through rough spots!), and the results will follow.

2. Assess what has the biggest effect on your bottom line and outsource the rest. I know an event planner who makes sure that he pares down his staff to essential personnel in tough times. He creates freelance/consulting relationships with anyone who is not totally necessary every single day. In this way, he is able to maintain a very small staff of four while running a multimillion-dollar business. He also makes his lunch every day, brews coffee at home instead of buying it at Starbucks, and, instead of organizing pricier lunch meetings, meets clients for breakfast or tea, or has people come straight to his office.

3. Use viral marketing strategies to promote and grow business. Blogging is free. Putting Search Engine Optimization techniques in place is often free, and publishing articles that support your product is a use of resources but no cost to you. Look for websites that might need content, and put your writing skills to work! Make sure your URL is in your byline to drive traffic to your site and provide ongoing content wherever you can. This establishes credibility but also creates links all over the web for your product. Good luck!

Text by Amy Swift, Editor in Chief of Ladies Who Launch

Friday, August 1, 2008

Fantastic Friday: 10 Year Anniversay

August marks the ten year anniversay of my company, Wood Designs, Inc.! Under our brand Shaka Studios, we handcraft fine custom furniture using a traditional Early American construction philosophy.

As a special gift to our SuperWAHMz readers, I'd like to offer 20% off your internet purchase when placed using this link before August 3o, 2008.

Have a fantastic Friday!