Throwback Thursday: More About Me

I decided to step back in time.  I realized there may be some who have not been on this roller coaster journey with me since the beginning.  Blogging started as a challenge for me in March of 2013, and 1,547 posts later I am still blogging.  Things have changes some but I am still sharing my strengths, hopes and experiences with you.

So let’s go back to June 22, 2013 and see what was happening:

It has been 84 days of blogging – sharing all of the random tidbits of information that have been stored away in my brain for all of these years.  Sometimes I don’t even know what I know.  Crazy, right?  Today’s post is going to let you get to know me a little bit better.  I know I may loose some readers here but it is a chance I am willing to take since I don’t do it often.  I figure every few weeks, I would share some personal stuff to let you in on life as Hope.

After graduating from Ocean Township High School, I headed off to Roger Williams College (which is now a University) in Bristol, Rhode Island.  A small school on the coast of Rhode Island about 20 minutes from Newport.  I started out in Education but quickly changed my major to Administration of Justice.  I actually excelled in these classes, unlike my first semester of freshman year when I almost flunked out.  This Jersey Girl never let the sand leave my shoes even when I wasn’t in NJ, I was always close to a beach.  After graduation, I stayed in Rhode Island to work for the Governor’s Justice Commission.  A fancy title for a Program person that wrote evaluations and recommendations on services that were available in the Juvenile Justice system for at risk youth in Rhode Island.  My first “funded” position through a grant and I had no clue what it all meant.  I truly thought that I could make a difference.  About 6-months into the job, my Aunt Elsie sent me a job posting for Neptune Township for the Police Department.  I applied and actually got the job!  WOW!  I was headed back home.

Don’t get nervous folks, I wasn’t a police officer – I was a Crime Prevention Specialist.   Fancy title, huh?  Basically, I along with Howard O’Neill who was a cop, were to do crime prevention seminars, rape prevention classes, home safety checks, etc in the community.  You remember McGruff the Crime Dog?  We were partners with him.  It was a job back home and I enjoyed being home, close to family and back at my roots on the Jersey Shore.  For those that have heard me tell the story of why I answer to the name “Heather” this is why.  It was at this job that the Police Commissioner for the ENTIRE time I worked there called me Heather.  I guess that she either didn’t like my name or really wanted Heather for the job.

The casinos opened in Atlantic City and I went to AC for the first time to see the casinos.  There was lots of excitement and the listings for available jobs was long.  At this point, the only casino was Resorts but there were many building and looking for employees. I came back to Neptune and put my resume together.  Never thinking that I had shot.  You guessed it, I got called for an interview by the Director of Security, Gordon Jenkins, for the Claridge Casino Hotel.  The interview was at a little coffee shop in AC at one of the converted motels that was being used for offices.  Gordon was from Las Vegas and was brought in to set things up.  A sweet man who was looking for a secretary that could transition into an Administrator as they go closer to opening.  He always had a smile on his face and loved to have breakfast meetings.  In fact, this is where I developed the habit of putting strawberry jam on cheese omelets.  Don’t knock it till you tried it!  He offered me the job and I jumped on it.  More money.  The excitement of AC.  This was when commuting became a part of my life.  I traveled 5 days a week from Ocean Grove to AC for many months….This was the first part of what I often call “my previous” life.

Treasure your memories, learn from your past and your mistakes, then use the things your have learned to grow in your personal development which will help you in your business.

As I look back on old posts, it helps me to remember.  Memories have been slowly disappearing as a result of the lesions on my brain.  Little did I know how much blogging would help me to catch glimpses of the past.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

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!