Throwback Thursday – A Holiday Weekend

Yes, I know it is only Thursday but I am sure you are already planning for a long holiday weekend, right?  This post was originally written back in 2013 (when I was a newbie to blogging).

Growing up on the Jersey Shore, Memorial Day weekend was filled with mixed emotions. It was the start of the summer season which meant the “bennies” (or shoobies as we called them in South Jersey) would be invading for the next few months.

In high school, I worked at Kohr’s at Third Avenue so this was the first BIG weekend we got to work. Typically, we started working on weekends when it was nice around Easter. This was the weekend we were able to reconnect with old friends who came home from college or those who traveled to work for the summer. We enjoyed days on the beach and long nights on the boardwalk – working and hanging out with friends. The summer traffic was never really thought about nor did we really think about the people invading our beaches.

Fast forward to my mid-20’s when I moved to South Jersey – living just outside of Ocean City and working in Atlantic City.  I came to dread this weekend. No longer did it hold the joy of traveling to the beach and long nights of hanging on the boardwalk. Now it was filled with shoobies/ bennies who congested the roads and littered our beaches. It made parking impossible. The joy of the summer was replaced with dread. Honestly, we spent more time at the beach from Easter to around the middle of June then we did the entire summer. Those were the days filled with sunshine, quiet moments on the beach and only a little bit of traffic mostly caused by locals.  

Yes, I know it is great for the economy and a definite plus for all of the small businesses in the area. For many businesses, the summer season is what carries them through the long cold winter.  As for me, I will wait until the mid-week between now and mid June to enjoy the warmth of the beach and strolls on the boardwalk. Then I will wait, patiently, for the crowds to go home before I head back to the beach. The pool at the complex will be my haven during the day and on an occasional mid-week night, we may travel down to take a stroll on the boardwalk.

Last Sunday after we celebrated our wedding anniversary at the Wharfside in Point, we rode along the beach.  I will admit, the excitement of seeing the rides going, people walking on the boardwalk and some traffic brought back so many memories. I actually can’t wait this year to enjoy some of the craziness.

What are your plans for this weekend at the Jersey Shore? Do you have any tips for avoiding the crowds and still enjoying our wonderful beaches? I would love to hear them.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Are You Spinning Your Wheels?

Throwback Thursday is when I look back on past posts, a time for reflection.  A time to see how far I have come (or where I am stuck).

After working with the AMAZING Britt Bolnick owner of In Arms Coaching, I have learned how important reflection is.  When I first met Britt, I connected with her.  I could relate to her struggles as a single mom since I was one.  I was in awe of how she used those struggles to build an amazing coaching career helping other women.

As a “bag” lady, I see everyone as a customer/ client. I mean who doesn’t need a bag, right? From purses to totes to thermals, we have them all at Thirty One.  As Thirty One returns to their “gifts” roots, the customers change a little bit. I know my customers have been buying gifts all along but now we have a broader base of products and with it comes a broader base of customers. I don’t want to leave any customers behind.

So, are you wondering who your customers/clients are?  Are you struggling to figure out how to get the “right” ones?  Here are some questions from one of Britt’s virtual retreats which might help you figure out your next steps:

1. What isn’t working for you in your business right now?

Think about it.  Put it on paper.  I don’t mean just “no one wants to party”, I mean be specific.  What isn’t working for you?  Not enough time to work your business?  Not enough new customers?  No time to schedule parties?  For me, what isn’t working is the lack of a full calendar for the summer months along with a steady flow of new customers.

2. What do you want SO badly for your business or work you’re NO LONGER willing to settle for NOT having it?

We all talk about our “why”, and for some it is stronger than others so it keeps them motivated.  For others, a vision board helps to keep them focused.  Make a list of the things you want in your business – just keep writing, let the feelings pour out.  When all is said and done, you can sum it up in a sentence or two.  For me, it is an action plan for consistent sales, parties which will bring me new recruits and expand my business.

3. What would the ripple effect be OF you having it? How would it affect your life, relationships, even your health?

It is like Andy Andrews says in “The Butterfly Effect”, one action creates a ripple effect changing not only your life but the life of others.  So, for me the ripple effect would be: If I grow my business with an increase in sales and recruits, it would mean a higher consistent paycheck every month. This would allow me to pay off my credit card debt.  Paying off my credit card debt would allow me the freedom from stress. Less stress would allow me to smile more which would make hubby happy which would help our relationship/ marriage.  In addition, less stress would allow me to focus more on maintaining my goal weight which would make me feel better.  Less stress would also help to keep health issues in check.  Expanding my business would allow me to give back to the community (it is about what the money can do).  Therefore, an expanded business = happy, healthy & wealthy Hope.

What is your ripple effect?

I love my Thirty One business. I love it pays my bills every month. I love I get to meet new people and share the gift of Thirty One with them. I am transparent with you when I am struggle because having your own business whether a storefront or direct sales isn’t always rainbows and sunshine. There is some rain along the way. You need to be willing to work past them to move forward.

What about you? How would you answer these questions? Be truthful with yourself. You know what isn’t working in your business. Own it so you can figure out the best way to move past it. I would love to hear from you.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Throwback Thursday: Working for Yourself……..

Sometimes I like to go back to “this day in history”, well not really but I do like to go back to posts I wrote when I first started blogging.  Those days when I draw a blank and wonder if I should continue to write daily.   The original post was called “Working for Yourself” but I have updated it just a little…

I think dreams of being my own boss go back to a time when I made pre-mature baby clothes.  I did it all – design, cutout, sew the clothes, sell and deliver to the local stores.  I don’t remember the year but I was working at the Ocean Club in Atlantic City and had the support of the AMAZING Sid Ascher, a marketing genius.  Was I ready to be my own boss?  No.  Did I even know what it meant? No.  I just liked the freedom of making my own hours but at the time, I was not very good at time or money management.  To say the least, I went back to working for someone else.

My next leap into being my own boss was when I was a single mom…. I took my grant management skills in the non-profit world and opened “H.O.P.E. Consultants”.  For Belinda’s four years in High School, I was my own boss.  As things changed in the grant management world, I joined the 9 to 5 workforce to help a grassroots non-profit.  Then after 6 years of long commutes (4 hours round trip, 4 days a week),  I left the job I LOVED (and hated – LOL) to be my own boss as a Direct Sales Consultant. Why? The freedom to make my own hours with no long commute far outweighed the fear of owning my own business.

Has it been easy? No.  Did (or do) I let fear get in the way? Yes.  I hopped back to part time work when I lost faith in myself.  I hopped back into part time work when fear took control.  In January, I stepped away again to rely on God to help me grow my business.

Are you considering being your own boss?  Whether it is a direct sales business or a storefront or a service business, here are some things you can expect when you work for yourself…

#1 – It’s Just You:

Obstacle: As a sole owner all responsibilities fall on you. Or maybe it’s not just you and you have teamed with someone or have an employee or maybe even an intern to manage, which could all be new territory.  Managing your own schedule can be difficult if you’re used to structure. Are these insurmountable? No but you need to be ready for them.  Time management can be a little tougher as you learn how to maximize your productivity.

Advantage: It’s just you! No more office politics, micromanaging, or working for someone who doesn’t appreciate you– the list goes on and on.

#2 Blending Your Work Life with Your Home Life:

Obstacle:  The upside of an office job is in most cases the ability to, both physically and mentally, leave your work at the office.  This can be tricky when you’re working from home, and could be a struggle for family members.  Renting a separate office space isn’t always practical or necessary.  I have set up a separate area for my “office” which has helped me to stay more organized. It also prevents my business from intruding into every aspect of our personal lives – for the most part.  Of course, we do have bags and organizing products throughout the house.

Advantage: No commuting! Hubby and I joke about my “long” commute now when I head down to my office.  Blending your work life and your home life isn’t bad when you build your business around something you’re passionate about.

#3 You Will Work Longer and Harder Than Ever Before:

Obstacle: You may work from the minute you wake up until the minute you go to sleep BUT you will not regret it because you are building something you love.  This will be true in the beginning because you will do whatever it takes to get your business off the ground.  Things will change as your business grows.

Advantage: You will work longer and harder, but for your own gain. Nothing is more satisfying!  While you will make some time sacrifices, you’ll also have more flexibility.

I am always grateful I am my own boss when there is a crisis, a family emergency, a holiday gathering or an unexpected guest because I can make my own hours.  I have learned over the last 6 years how to overcome the obstacles (most days) and embrace the advantages.

There are sacrifices toward owning your own business, but for successful entrepreneurs, the advantages far outweigh the difficulties.

Want to know more about owning your own Thirty One business?  Click HERE to see all the details. 

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Does Your Bag Tell Your Personality?

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Let’s have some fun…  Did you know someone can tell what type of person you are by the way you carry your bag?  Crazy, right?  Let’s see how spot on these descriptions are for you….

Which one of these are YOU?

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THE SCHLEPPER:  You’ve got 2, 3,4 or maybe even 5 bags to worry about so you’ve got a “whatever fits” strategy going on. You’re fatigued, exhausted and in a rush. The bags suggest you’re a little spaced out and have a hard time being present.  Hmmm, maybe a nice Soft Utility Tote would help you feel less overwhelmed.01187dc7c73e421e8295a1f2eb866ac1

THE ARM CROOK HOOK:  Favorites of paparazzi-chased celebs, this limp-handed style just screams power. You are wearing the bag as if it’s a badge of honor or an award. You feel as if you’ve got a sense of superiority.  The Miles of Styles might be the perfect bag for you.8156326a

THE HANDS-FREE:  The girl who wears a hands-free bag willingly covers up her silhouette and outfit. It’s useful, but it also shows you’re slightly dorky. Tends to be a favorite with young women.  The Cafe Crossbody could be the bag for you…stylish, not dorky!

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THE TWOFER: usually done with a coy smile and a leg cross, the two-handed twofer clutch denotes a shy, defensive person. This creates a fig leaf position as if you were protecting your goods. If you find yourself doing this on a date, it’s because you feel weird about where it’s going.  The Tons of Funds may be just the one for you…. a one hander or two PLUS you could make it a cross body if you are sometimes a Hands Free kind of gal.81390222

THE BAGUETTE: a recent favorite of street style stars, the baguette style is a scoop-up, on-the-go method. It’s a utilitarian look and you don’t really care about the bag but rather what’s in it. You are goal oriented.  How about the Little Dreamer?da202e8d564943ca82cda6fbe9ca2fd4

So ladies, which one are you…I am usually a cross between the “arm crook hook”, the “baguette” and occasionally the “handsfree” depending on the day. I am not sure  I agree with all of these descriptions so please don’t shoot the messenger.

The next time you pick up YOUR bag, think about the message you are sending….

Share with us your thoughts… Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

How to Conquer Your Greatest Fear?

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Today’s blog started as just a “throwback” post. One of those days when I wasn’t sure what to write so I start reflecting on things I have written.  Then God lets me see part of the plan.

On this day in 2014, I had a conversation with Hope Shortt who is not only my Thirty One sponsor but also a woman of great faith who inspires me daily.  During a coaching call, she asked me: “Do you ever remember a time in your life that you were truly scared of something?”  This question always stops me dead in my tracks.  Because just when I think  I have a handle on “fear” and think it is gone from my life – those ugly gremlins poke through a little crack of doubt.  For those who have heard the story a million times, forgive me but this is not only to squash my inner gremlins but to help someone else who may be struggling along the way.266e5328ccd89317cd0a9da2787eb30b

Today’s blog comes from deep in my heart.  I hope by sharing this again (though some may cringe at its honesty) I can bid farewell to a FEAR which is plaguing me as I stepped out in faith to work my Thirty One business full-time.  b4154ec6f1fb4e828f441585a11524ec

We are going to go back in time…say 1990 when I thought I was in control of my life. It was Belinda’s 2nd birthday or pretty close to it. I was at work when a Police Detective walked through the door and asked my boss to speak to me. FEAR! The moment when I just knew my world was going to fall apart. FEAR! The moment when I realized my “recreational” drug use might be a problem. FEAR! The moment when EVERYONE was going to know I was a fake! This may seem a bit dramatic for some but the truth is, this was when I let FEAR invade my life. From this moment on, FEAR became a major part of my life. Satan has had a field day with me ever since.unnamed-3

The truth was, I was a drug addict. My addiction had caused me to do things I knew were wrong, were “not the way I was raised”, and were “not the way I wanted to raise my daughter”. I thought I was having fun. Recreational use for over 8 years had gradually turned into more as I moved from weekend use to all the time (or as often as I could afford). My life was a mess and the only one who seemed to know it was God! I was arrested, faced possible jail time, put in a Pre-Trial Intervention Program for community service and sent to rehab. God had a plan for my life.  I had definitely drifted off course – further than I ever had before.

As I remember the dreadful day, my heart races, knots form in my stomach and tears well up in my eyes. Through it all, I am grateful. It was the turning point in my life which helped me to slowly move closer to God’s will for me. Did I have a lot of FAITH? No! Did I think God loved me enough to want to save me? No! But as I look back, I know the rocky road of recovery and growth are all part of who I am today.

So you are wondering why I bothered to share about FEAR, right? Been there, done that, got the tee shirt, right? The truth is – deep in the crevice of my soul, FEAR still has a hold on my heart. This week has been a week where I needed to fully rely on God.  Have faith in what I could not see and trust he has a plan for me.  Yup, I am again bidding farewell to FEAR! Hope talked about this in her blog:

I encourage you to be brave. Realize that when fear creeps in, push it out. My God is bigger than anything else and My God has proven that time and time again. Be strong. Be courageous and remember that He already knows what tomorrow holds-therefore fear is not how He equips you.

Will it be easy?  NO!  But let’s do it together….Let’s bid a farewell to fear this year, once and for all.  Whether it’s about your job, your car, an accident, your finances, your relationships, your business, your addiction…whatever it is, don’t let fear in. Don’t let it win….. Allowing fear to take over is actually very easy and it can cost us when it becomes to being the person God wants us and needs us to be for others. I believe it’s one of the greatest attacks on us as believers. I refuse to be taken advantage of by the enemy. He’s stolen too much from me before.

Today, I will EMBRACE the joy in my heart and my God-sized Dream. I will close the door on FEAR which hovers outside my heart ready to steal my joy.

What is YOUR greatest FEAR? Is that FEAR keeping you from reaching YOUR dreams? I challenge you to bid farewell to the fear.. will you take the challenge

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!