Positivity Journal

Every time something positive happens at work, I add it to my positivity journal.

What is this journal you ask?  This is something I learned during student teaching.  You keep track of the positive that happens to you everyday.  DO NOT skip a day, even if you don’t think there is anything positive that day, you have to write something.  For instance, maybe your hair looks really good that day, or your shoes are rocking.

Advertisements

Crochet & Business

In this wonderful world of business, one must know the product they are selling.  They must know how to market, price and sell it.

Many at-home, home start-ups, and handmade shops struggle with the pricing part of this equation and in failing in pricing, tend to fail in selling.  They have no problem knowing their product and how to market it.  Well, maybe a little struggle in the market, after all how can you market a product that you don’t know the price of.

Anyway, I found a great place that mentioned how prices came about in retail shops and though I need to model that more closely.  There is still leeway in the formula where you can control the price of your product, but it gives you a more formal, solid way of looking at prices.

What is this fantastic formula you may ask? well I’ll tell you.  The formula for pricing should look like this:

Cost of material + Labor = base/break even price

For instance, the yarn cost me $5.00 apiece and I used 2 balls of yarn.  it took me 4 hours to make and I charge $10/hr. Base Price would be: $50.  For a whole sale price, the price that you would get if you sold your items to a store for resail (not taking into account the 20-30% consignment shops would take of the product once it sold, that is another blog entirely), any way, wholesale price would be:

(material + Labor)X2

That would be (50)x2 or $100.  so for $100 the store could purchase what ever product cost me $50 to make.

Retail price, the price you are suppose to charge customers (but I never do as it seems expensive, but again if I were a shop like walmart and these were the costs associated with making the product, this is what the customer shopping at a retail shop would be spending to buy the item),

Wholesale x 2.  so the retail price of this product would be $200.

Most individuals that make homemade goods, never get close to charging retail price, although there are a few that are even higher than retail (maybe they include shipping, taxes, or other additional fees that are negotiated).  Whatever the reason, individuals never feel that their products are worth retail.  When you compare a shirt made by your own hands to a shirt you picked up at the store just on price yea there is a significant difference.  But there is also as significant difference in longevity, personalization, quality, etc..

I may not yet charge retail for the goods that I produce, but I at least have a grasp on how I should be pricing.  For me, that’s good enough for right now.

It has been way to long friends

One thing I am finding out, is that maybe I am not cut out for blogging.  I go too long before I update!

That being said, I am back today with an update on the crazy life of an insurance producer/freelance crocheter.

First, the insurance business is starting to pick up.  The 1/1/2016 renewals and quotes are starting to come through, which means most of my days are spent working the spreadsheet language.  I’m not going to lie, it had been a super long time since I had worked with excel.  Possibly even as far back as statistics in college or actually since they had their own program, as far back as high school.  DO NOT let anyone tell you it’s like riding a bike.  Sometimes when you forget that information, it’s just plain gone!  I had to relearn some of the formula components and really slow myself down from when I started using excel again.  But thanks to the help of: Microsoft Excel 2013 (part of the teach yourself visually complete) by Paul Mcfedries, I’m able to at least use formulas and functions required by my job.

What is my job?  Well, as the assistant to the broker, I work behind the scenes.  I send out the information she tells me to for quotes.   Then when we receive the renewals and/or quotes from carriers, I put together the comparison spreadsheet she uses in the presentation to the group.  I also work on the customer service aspects of the job: answering the phone; enrollment; termination; updating information that needs updated; general office duties.  Basically I am secretary and assistant and customer service rep in this little two person office.

How is the crochet business you ask?

It’s going well thank you 🙂

I’ve almost got the shirt finished for my Wyoming customer.  I plan on making lots of cotton wash/dish cloths for Christmas presents.  I figure what doesn’t sell, I can add to my friends and family presents.  I will also more than likely be making mittens.

That’s all for now folks! 🙂  Thanks for coming back to read, and please pass the word on!

WHAT?! A 5k?! Wait a minute what about vacation beginnings?

Well shoot, I haven’t finished blogging about vacation.

We left for vacation Thursday September 24th around 2pm.  It was a pretty decent time to leave as we were hoping to hit at least Springfield Ohio that evening.  What we didn’t account for, the time difference and when we would hit Indy.  We ended up getting to Indy during rush hour.  doh!  Probably not the smartest thing we have done.  We did make it to Springfield Ohio that night, saw a Quality Inn and decided to stay there for the night.  Also, not the best decision of the trip.  Apparently Quality does not mean getting what you pay for.  At least not at this one.  It appeared that the first floor level at one point, at least in the hallway, had water damage.  It reminded me of the hotel I stayed at in Anchorage, except Anchorage hotel apologized and had free breakfast/great price.

Anyway, we drove (and by we I mean the boyfriend) the rest of the way to Pennsylvania the next day.   We made it to our stopping point by 630, which was good because the buffet that the boyfriends friend wanted to take us to closed at 7!  The friend was waiting for us and would you believe he had my dream car! that’s right a mustang in the exact color that I’ve wanted.  He drove us to dutch way which reminds me of the Amish buffet around Arcola area, only better.  Anyway, thanks to the fast moves of the mustang (perfectly colored mustang) we made it in plenty of time to be seated and eat.  We ended up closing the place down actually.

Saturday September 26, we woke up super early! I’m talking we were up by 530 am.  Again, I think we fell victim to the time change again.  Anyway, we were able to have time to wake-up, take showers and talk for a little while before boyfriends friend met us to show us around.  We were in for some pretty A-mazing suprises!  First, we visited a farm toy store.  Yes, boyfriend collects toys.  No it isn’t creepy.  He’s actually very cute when he nerds out :).  Anyway, found some really cool toys there, some way super expensive (100 bucks for a little toy that looks like it would break within seconds!) and some super inexpensive ones $1 or less.  Of course I say toy, but really they are all collectibles and not meant to be played with.

After the toy store, we had to waste some time before the next stop opened.  We were not told what the next destination was yet, as his friend wanted to keep it secret.  In order to kill time, the friend took us to Target.  Yup, Target.

Wilbur Chocolate Factory.  This was the surprise being kept from the boyfriend and I.  Let me say that again, Wilbur Chocolate.  Why did I say it twice?  why did I bold it?  Well have you heard of Wilbur Chocolate?! I hadn’t, but after I tasted it, I forgot all about Hershey.  It became, Hershey who?! oh yea that’s the next town over right.

Wilbur Chocolate Factory makes this amazing chocolate called Wilbur buds.  You wouldn’t know it by the name, but they resemble Hershey Kisses.  There is a very good reason for that too, they were the inspiration for Hershey Kisses.  But just like in movies, the original is always better!

If you were to ask me in a fight against Wilbur vs. Hershey, who I would choose, I would definitely go with Wilbur.  They are smoother, richer and just all around better.

We also when to Knoebles (the k is not silent, is is k noebles.  like kanobles).  it’s an amusement park north of where we were staying.  Actually I yet again fell asleep on the ride…sorry boyfriend!!!  The parking and entrance to the amusement park is totally free.  You pay per ride you go on, which is not much.  We stayed the entire rest of the day, and all together three of us spent less than $60 that day.  We had fun on the bumper cars, Ferris wheel, ski lift, roller coaster (except boyfriend he gets roller coaster sick…he is getting old now…31 dundundun), i thought there was more rides, but maybe I’m wrong.  anyway, it was all fun!! I would highly recommend Knoebles.  It was originally owned and run by the knoeble family, however a few years ago, Hershey bought the park.  There was panic among locals and knoeble enthusiasts.  They believed that Hershey would start charging for parking and entrance (just like they do for their Hershey Park amusement park), however in order to keep the peace with locals, they kept it as is.  They have not made it another Hershey attraction.  Which is good, because it keeps its low key local appeal.

This is probably all I can type for now.  I know I’m leaving you hanging on Sunday and Monday and the 5k coming up this weekend that I hinted at in the headline.  I’ll be back in the next few days to update!!  Also, I’ll try and sneak in a few pictures from the trip.

Thank you for reading/liking/subscribing!!

VACATION! Pennsylvania/Indiana…the last day

Have you ever wondered if the hotels pay attention to your special requests that you make when booking a room?

THEY DO!

But, to tell you about that keep in mind, I have to tell you about the last day of my trip first.  I know, that’s back word’s from how a person normally tells their story, but am I normal?  Wait don’t answer that.

We had just spent a very long day on the road Monday driving from Hershey Pennsylvania area to Auburn Indiana.  We went in to sign in and find where our room would be before we went to look for lunch.  I sent the boyfriend (:)) out to read the plates on the car, and the registration lady leans over the desk and whispers, next time you have a request like that call and verify it with us.  Everything got taken care of, but we just saw the request.

I have a puzzled look on my face, not really remember the request I made, or why I made one.  The lovely boyfriend came back inside we got our key and we headed up to the room.  As soon as I opened the door, I saw what the lady meant.  There were flower petals on the floor leading to the bed!

I, in my quest to see if they hotels really pay attention to the special requests, requested for a romantic room.  This is what I received.

IMG_1787 IMG_1788

Naturally, I smiled and was excited and had to bring a few home with me to remember.

Anyway, this is all I have time for today, stay tuned over the week to hear more adventures, including Knoebles adventures (amusement park), Hershey vs Wilbur chocolate arguments, and toy show extravaganza!

🙂

Moving, Licensed, and Vacation Oh my!

Our office officially moved!!!

It took about 3 complete days to seriously pack everything in a manner to which we would still be able to identify it later.  And it took a matter of slightly less than 2 hours to pack everything into the moving truck.  The hardest part was driving to the new location.

Let me explain that.  We had this ginormous plant in the office.  My boss said it was given to her after her parents passed.  Which means it has been growing for some 10 years.  Anyway, this thing is out of control huge, and it was my front seat passenger.  Every time we came up to a stop sign, I had to snake my hand around to find the absolute front, then squish it back so I could see out the right side.  And of course most of our turns were left hand turns, so I had to see if anyone was coming from the right.  Anyway, we made it through town and I managed to make it onto the interstate.  At this point, I should point out that I was the caboose.  The rear end.  The last in the line.  The moving truck went a max of 45 on the highway, not because that’s how fast my boss felt comfortable, but thats how fast the moving truck went.  No faster.  So here I am in the rear consciously not letting myself look in the rear view mirror, because I would rather not know when someone was going to smash into me for going so slow.  Anyway, we got about half way and IT STARTS POURING AND LIGHTNING!!

Perfect day to move as it turns out, I know.

So, we finally get to our new location, we all climb out of our various cars and head for inside.  We wait about 10 or 15 minutes for the storm to die down and the rain to subside before we move everything in.  In the mean time, the carpets are still in the midst of getting cleaned!

For a work day, it was exciting, unique, and I’d love to do it again :).

The unpacking has commenced, even though I still do not have a receptionist desk.  I’m working off of a folding table currently.  It’s a long one though, so it works quite well for me.  I’m in the process of figuring out what I want my reception area to look like, while also knowing that in a week or so when the actual desk comes in, that it will look completely different yet again.

I finally applied for my producer license with the state of Illinois.  the important part here, it was ACCEPTED!  I am a fully licensed producer for Life and Health insurance in the state of Illinois.  I’m just waiting on my license to make it to me :).

I started this job at the end of July in what seemed like a flurry of activity.  I literally went from one job to the other.  On a Wednesday in July, I finished my job with the hospital and on that Thursday I started my job here.  I could not have asked things to work out any better than they did in the transition, or since.  In fact, in 2 days I go on vacation.  yup you read that correct.  I get to go on vacation.  I mentioned to my boss ahead of time in the interview process that I had a vacation planned before I decided to switch jobs.  My taking this job was contingent on still being able to keep this vacation time.  It is the first vacation with my boyfriend after all.  The first of many I hope?  There is nothing more telling of what a person is like than being on the road with them, which makes me a little afraid! and yet very excited for this trip to Pennsylvania.

With that being said, stay tuned to hear alllll about the excitement, travel and experience in the coming week.

Purple    <—- The shirt I am currently working on for a customer.

Busy Busy Bee!!!

OMG!

First, I passed the Illinois Life insurance and Illinois Accident/Health Insurance producer exams!!  That means I have just one hurdle left, applying for my license, before I’m a producer with the state of Illinois.

Now, I know it has been forever since I last posted, and I’m sorry.   Please forgive me and over look this indiscretion.  That being said, I have been busy! From studying for and taking the producer test, to packing the office and sending out emails for my boss on renewals.  From, spending time with the family (and boyfriend!!) to spending time working on my own business, this month has been full!

Speaking of my own business.  I had an email requesting a shirt.  Now, I had just taken down my etsy site and come to terms with the fact that I might not ever sell anything beyond family.  I suppose one should never give up on themselves though.  I quoted a price for the shirt, it was accepted and I’m currently in the process of completing it :).

As for spending time with family and the boyfriend.  I convinced the boyfriend to go with me to my Grandma Jackson’s on Labor day.  I was not entirely sure what to expect or how much family would be there, but I gave him as much of a heads up as I could knowing what the make-up is usually like on holidays (or use to be as it seems I can never quite make it there on holidays anymore).  It was a pleasant surprise when the boyfriend fit right in!  no complaining, no wanting to leave early, no scared look on his face.  He even wondered off and got to talking with one of my uncles on his own.  In fact, after words he even said it reminded him of his own family.  🙂 I think he’s a keeper folks.  Oh, and the family enjoyed having him there as well, I think?

This month is not over yet, and it is only projected to get busier.  In exactly one week from tomorrow the boyfriend and I will be leaving on vacation! We are headed to Pennsylvania, the real purpose is the toy show they have, but I have made a secondary purpose of seeing Hershey Pennsylvania a priority as well ;).  Any advice on where to get quick bites to eat on the way to Pennsylvania from Illinois?????

Ah well, Time to get back to packing the office up, we move the office on Friday!!!

Thanks for being patient and waiting for the next blog entry.  I enjoy being able to write out what I’m doing, even if no one reads it;).

if you have suggestions for what you would like to read about in this blog, do not hesitate to let me know.