Birthday Reflections

Another milestone….. yes, believe it or not, tomorrow is my 61st birthday!  Do I feel 61? Some days especially when the MS decides to rear its ugly head..

I’m a day early since I don’t blog on Friday’s, I figured today would be a great day for reflection and probably some tears.

I am blessed I get to wake this morning and every morning.  No matter what the day may bring, I know it will be WONDERFUL!  I’m determined to be positive and make the most of it. It may take me two hours to clear the fog and get moving but being grateful for each small step it a gift from God.

Birthdays are milestones in our lives.  As children, they are a day (or sometimes a week or even a month) where the focus is on us.  Filled with presents, parties, family, friends and of course cake and ice cream.  As the years go by, life “happens” and things change.

The past year has been filled with many ups and downs.  Receiving the “official” diagnosis of RRMS (Remitting Relapsing MS) and starting injections three times a week.  Working my Thirty One business full-time while learning the ebbs and flows of not receiving a consistent pay check.  The realization more memories are lost and struggling to find the right words some days.  The toughest part of the last year was the loss of my dad.  Through it all I hold fast to the mantra “every day is a gift from God with a blessing to be found.”

Truth be told for many years “birthdays” were just another day when low self-esteem and lack of confidence and those nasty inner gremlins made me feel like I didn’t deserve a celebration. I’m great at giving but I’m not very good at receiving.  Today, I am looking at them a little differently – have I grown up?  Don’t count on it!  My dad was all about living life to the fullest and his passing is probably one of the reasons why I stopped saying “it is just another day”.   Today is a gift from God  to be able to spend another day with family and friends.  The celebration doesn’t need to be big, it doesn’t need to have lots of presents (maybe just one or two would be nice).

As a child, one of my favorite celebrations was the annual trip to New York City to see the Ringling Brothers and Barnum Bailey Circus. This annual tradition was a treat from Edythe and Elsie. It included the circus and dinner in NY. I always felt so grown up! Both of them are now our guardians angels in heaven and the circus performed for the last time last year.

I have to admit the tears are starting to flow, tears of joy mixed with some sadness:

  • I grateful for my daughter, Belinda.  She has grown into an AMAZING woman who I am proud to call my friend.  Life was not always easy but she turned adversity into a learning lesson.  God could not have given me a greater gift then to be her mom.  We may have missed out on the ThirtyOne cruise thanks to the hurricane but I loved spending time in NC with you.
  • To my mom….thank you for always being there.  We are not just mother and daughter, but we are friends.  The miles may separate us but I know you are only a phone call away or a short drive to Mays Landing.  You are always one of my biggest cheerleaders.
  • To my dad….who is now watching over me from heaven.  It has been a rough year but through it all, I remember your encouraging words.  You taught me to embrace life, living it to the fullest every day and to chose JOY, even on a bad day so everything will be okay. I miss you daddy!
  • To my Thirty One family.  An amazing group of women who have loved and supported me in my darkest days.  My team is AWESOME and they inspire me daily.  My hostesses and customers are so much more than just “orders”, building friendships with many of them.   They all hold a special place in my heart.  It is with their help and support I am able to work my business full-time.

  • To my DS/Crafter Friends….words can express the gratitude I have for you.  This past year, you have helped in so many ways.  Sharing events, carrying my stuff when I am struggling, cheering me on and checking in on me.  Thank you for your support as I ventured into fulfilling a dream of celebrating, and encouraging other DS business owners through our networking group, Jersey Shore Direct Sellers Network.
  • Lastly, to my hubby (who probably won’t read this)…who is my ROCK!  I know I am not the easiest to live with (imagine that?) but you are always there, standing strong and supporting me.  Your support and encouragement in my Thirty One “business” gives me the confidence to step out of my comfort zone. Thank you for being one of my greatest cheerleaders.  I’m excited to spend my birthday with you this year, thank you for taking the day off.

There are many more people I could (and probably should) thank or talk about from this year.  It has been an AMAZING journey for me and I am looking forward to the blessings God has for me in this new year.  I can’t believe I am actually 61 years old – okay, so it is only a number, right?

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Stop by my VIP group on Facebook, Hope’s Purse Closet, for a birthday present from ME to YOU!

Hope you have ThirtyOne-derful day!

Tasty Tuesday: Low Carb KEY LIME CHEESECAKE

Today’s recipe is courtesy of Kacie Orlando from Younique.  Kacie has been a customer of mine for some time.  I was thrilled when you shared this recipe with me which combines TWO of my favorite things: cheesecake and key line.  
Prep time:   Cook time:  10 mins     Total time:  30 mins
Serves: 8

INGREDIENTS

Crust

  • 1¼ cup almond flour/meal
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1½ teaspoons Splenda or preferred sugar substitute

Filling

  • 8 ounce cream cheese, softened
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
  • 1½ cups heavy whipping cream
  • .3 ounce packet sugar-free lime jello
  • 1 teaspoon key lime or lime zest

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously spray an 8-inch springform pan with cooking spray.
  2. Mix almond flour, butter and sugar until mixture is crumbly.
  3. Press into the bottom of pan and bake for about 8-10 minutes until golden brown.
  4. Cool completely.
  5. Using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment mix cream cheese until smooth and creamy.
  6. Stir in vanilla extract.
  7. Add heavy cream and whisk on high until mixture thickens and soft peaks forms.
  8. Reduce speed to low and mix in jello packet and zest and mix until blended.
  9. Spread mixture evenly with a spatula over cooled crust.
  10. Cover and chill in refrigerator until set, about 2-3 hours or overnight.

Thank you Kacie for sharing this YUMMY recipe with us.  Be sure to check out Kacie’s Facebook Page. Younique’s mission is to uplift, empower, validate, and ultimately build self-esteem in women around the world through high-quality products that encourage both inner and outer beauty and spiritual enlightenment while also providing opportunities for personal growth and financial reward.

Kacie says this about “why” she became a part of Younique: I love makeup that makes me feel confident and doesn’t irritate my skin. That’s why I’m proud to be an independent presenter with Younique! Whether you’re a makeup beginner or pro, I invite you to come get dolled up along side me!

I am not a HUGE makeup person but I will tell you I LOVE the Beachfront Bronzer. 

So whether you are looking for some awesome cosmetics or skin care, be sure to check out her website.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Organizing with Thirty One

The new year is here and Thirty One has everything you will need to help you get organized this year.  I will be getting a sneak peak of the NEW Spring catalog on Saturday at Product Premiere.  It is always an exciting and fun time, connecting with my Thirty One sisters.  Yes, I squirreled…

Thirty One has been showing their appreciation for you, our customers since mid-December with Weekly Deals.  This is a NEW version of our annual Outlet Sale, the best part is NEW products are added every week.  Some are retired prints and products while others are currently prints and products which may (or may not) be available in the NEW Spring catalog.  Be sure to check them out.  The sale only lasts until January 14th.

I know, what does all of this have to do with organizing, right?  Well, this month we are introducing a NEW product from the Spring line-up: the Your Way Display Bin.  This bin lets you organize the rooms in your house or your closets, pantry or office space. The open design is short in the front and tall in the back for easy access and display. The side handles make carrying the bin and contents a breeze. It is  5″H (front)/7.5″H (back) x 15″W x 12.75″D, the best part is it can be personalized!   Check out the many uses…

Would you like help getting organized while earning FREE and discounted products?  Send me a snapshot (if you aren’t local) of the area you want to get organized, I will make some suggestions – options with and without Thirty One products.  We will schedule a 31-minute Facebook party to show you, your friends and your family how to get organized.  I will share solution sets and tips.  As friends and family place orders, you will be able to get organized with FREE and discounted products?  Easy, right?  I do all of the work and YOU reap the benefits!

As a hostess, you will also have the opportunity to purchase a Stand Tall Bundle which includes another NEW Spring product – the Medium Stand Tall Bin.

If you don’t like FREE stuff, then you can just shop.  Did you know it only takes 6 orders of at least $35 to get some FREE products?  No pressure!  You can shop the Weekly Deals and claim this month’s Customer Special with a $35 purchase…

Next week the Retirement List will be out as well as some sneak peaks of the NEW Spring catalog.  Don’t want to host your own party, join the fun as we “Get Organized” in my Facebook event.

Maybe you are stressing over the upcoming holiday bills or thought about getting a part-time job.  Why not try this “purse gig”?  Whether you are looking for some friendships/sisterhood, some me time or some extra money, Thirty One could be just what you are looking for.  This is a great time to join (believe it or not) as we ramp up for our 15th Anniversary Celebration.  You can earn money during the Weekly Deals, host online parties during the crazy cold weather and make your own hours.  There are currently TWO enrollment kits to pick from and a NEW one coming in the next week or so. Have questions?  ASK!  I’m happy to help you…

So, who is ready to get organized?  Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Lost Customers and How to Find Them?

Over the last six plus years of selling Thirty One, I have customers who are MIA.  They have stopped buying from me or have moved or just unsubscribed to my emails. I am sure I am not alone, right?  As I was going through my list of “holiday shoppers” for the last few years, there were several names or customers I haven’t seen in awhile. It gets my curiosity up…. why?

My follow-up process has changed some what over the last few years.  Now I try to stay engaged with customers. Yes, there are random phone calls unanswered.  Emails ignored.  And even Facebook posts or private messages which have been deleted, ignored and in a rare occurrence even blocked!  Has this happened to you – customers just quit buying from you without any particular reason?

The real reason for this, are you ready?  You may not want to hear it….. is indifference!  Okay, I know you are saying – I call, I text, blah, blah, blah.  Our company sends the monthly newsletters to alert our customers about the specials.  If we are honest with ourselves, have we really kept in touch with our customers?  I don’t mean those calls to BOOK, SELL, RECRUIT.  I mean just a call to check in – do you like the product, thank you, happy birthday, whatever the reason to call, text or email.

I can’t tell you the number of times a customer answers the phone, hear it is me calling and there is dead silence on the other end of the phone.  They have already decided I am calling to sell them something or to book a party.  Knowing this is their mindset, I usually start with “I’m not calling to sell you something or book a party, I just wanted to check in”.  I can almost hear the sigh of relief on the other end of the phone.  Do I ultimately want a sale or a booking? YES!  But I want to build a relationship with them.  Did you know it can take up to 5 non-sales contacts before someone feels comfortable buying from you?

How often are we focused on getting new customers?  Think about the leads you call from a vendor event or a potential recruit or a potential party hostess.  We are persistent in building a relationship with them to get to the “prize”.  Yet, those people who are already in our customer base may only hear from us when we are selling or booking.  

Statistics show 55% of our customers take their business elsewhere because WE, as direct sellers, show no interest in keeping them around. YIKES!  That is a lot of lost business.  I have talked about the importance of follow-up in the past but if this statistic doesn’t convince you, nothing will.  Picking up the phone for some is the hardest thing to do but it is one of the MOST important things we can do as direct sellers.  For me, it is about making sure my customers are happy with their product and for them to feel comfortable coming back to me – even if it is only once a every year or two.

Let’s be honest, how often have you been at an event, offered to put someone on your mailing list, then never followed through?  I don’t mean the occasional slips through the cracks kind of mistake, I mean the norm.  I have a graphic I send via email to everyone who stops at my table and leaves their information at a vendor event.  Just a little reminder from me.  Then I add them to my email list so they get the company emails and any other special emails I send out.  That is about it, unless there has been a specific request for something.

What about the person who wants you to contact them about a special or a product they were interested in?  Thirty One has specials which are repeated every year (large utility tote, medium utility tote, lunch totes and inserts) and I have a list of people who are interested.  It is a running list so when the special is approaching, I can reach out to them and secure their business.

I know some direct sellers who are AMAZING at follow-up.  They have awesome systems to ensure they are engaging customers on a regular basis.  These consultants I am sure are not loosing customers or at least not at the rate others may be.

I struggled for awhile to find a system which works for me.  This one has been working for me so far and only takes a few minutes to complete.

  1. Email thank you when an order in placed (online or at a party)
  2. Email with shipping information when I receive shipping notice
  3. Mail a handwritten thank you card with a business card
  4. 10 days after shipping notice, call to be sure order received & they are happy with their purchase
  5. Tag for 75 days, send a postcard reminding them of the 90 day warranty on their order.  This is another chance for them to return a product they may not happy with.

Then I am stuck!  I leave those people in my data base never to be reached out to again UNLESS they mentioned something in the conversations I can tag them for – vacation check-in, looking for a specific product/print/special or health struggle.  A tickler file helps me to keep things in order on a monthly and daily basis.

I am sure I am loosing a few customers along the way but I don’t think it is as many as before since I have a system.  Finding a system which works for you can be an issue or it can be an excuse to avoid doing those things we don’t like to do?

So, what about you – are you loosing customers?  Or, are you one of those AWESOME direct sellers with a system to keep you connected to your customers?  Share your struggles and your successes!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

#hope

Time Management – Does it Exist?

 Are you a hot mess?  Are you already dreading this week and it is only Monday morning?

Today should have been my first day back in the office after being gone for a week BUT Irma had other plans.  I did spend some time in the office last week BUT I’m not sure how much I actually got done.  It is Monday and I am playing the avoidance game.  Avoidance is a time waster which leads to being hard on yourself, right?

When it comes to business especially one online – wasting time will be the death of it.  I don’t mean time you take to renew your physical and mental powers because we need to do it in order to keep going.  I’m talking about the wasted minutes and hours which get out of hand….. the black hole of Facebook or Pinterest or Instagram.

I have talked about time management in the past and really wonder if we are managing our time or our tasks?  When I sometimes find myself obsessed with everything BUT working productively in my business I go back to the basics:

#1 – Block distractions.

I know it can be easier said then done.  How often do your keep multiple tabs open so you can see if you get any messages.  Block email and Facebook alerts (all social media), turn off your phone (or at least lower the volume) and hang a “do not disturb” sign on your home office door (if you have one).  What are the things which distract you from getting work done?

#2 – Set a time to begin work – and stick to it.

When you turn on your computer for work, give yourself a certain amount of time (10 minutes or so) to surf the ‘net and review your email before you begin.  Set a timer if you have to so you can then focus on work.  Switch into work mode and don’t look back until you’re done.  I have done the back and forth thing, jumping from one thing to another and the end result is my brain becomes mush and it is more difficult to focus.

#3 – End your work at a set time.

This is a tough one for this workaholic.  Hubby works the swing shift so I try to set my work hours accordingly.  Does it work?  Sometimes.  I do some early morning hours, then head back in the afternoon till the early evening.  Are there times when I spend more on my business and less time everywhere else?  Yes, usually for several days during the month when I am closing parties or it is the end of the month.  I am practicing on a regular day, setting a time to stop work so I can refresh myself both physically and mentally. I find when I do this, I am more focused when I am in the office.

#4 – Distinguish busy work from working toward goals.

I am so guilty of this.  Busy work can be a waste of time. Remember the “black hole” I mentioned earlier, the truth is you may be procrastinating.  Did you set a goal which is TOO BIG or are you afraid of failing?  They should scary you but you can break them up into manageable steps.  The best way to beat procrastination is to take action!  Do something to move forward

 

What is your best tip for managing your tasks instead of your time?  We all have 24 hours in a day, there is no changing it.  The difference is how we decide to work during those hours.

Would you like some more great tips on Time Management which have worked for me?  Fill out the form below:

 

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!