Saying No

I find it impossible to say no most of the time. It is because I am afraid. I am afraid of hurting someones feelings, I am afraid of missed or lost opportunities, and I am afraid that I will be perceived as being rude.

Having this as part of my personality is bad enough, but when it leaks into my business, that is when it gets really bad. The stress mounts up, I loose sleep, I get behind in other obligations, and my family life suffers. Over the year's I have found a few tips and tricks on how to keep organized and how to know exactly when to say no.

1) Keep a schedule. I pt every special order into a calendar. That way when I get another I can work backwards from the due date, see what else I have scheduled and decide if I have time.

2) 100% or nothing. If I can't give a project or order the 100% energy it deserves then I need to say no to it. These things are representing me, often at weddings and showers, where many people are receiving my products for the first time as gifts. I have to put my best foot forward, or not at all.

3) Deadlines. I have a firm date that I will not change for special orders at the end of the year. I just know that I won't get things done in time if I try and start a project later than this. It is hard to stick firm but it is important to (see above #2)

4) I am not the best person to do something. Often I like to experiment and my customers like me to as well. They are patient and kind and understanding. But if I am under a short deadline for a product I have never made before, sometimes it is best to just turn it over to someone you trust. I can either contract out some of the work, or just give my customer the contact info and completely get out of the loop depending on what they need/want.Typically if I am making other things as well I act as a project manager and point person, if it is just one item, I will just pass on the customer to someone else I trust.

5) Say "not now" not "no". I do my best to put off projects when I can. I amazed how often if I just explain that I can't make something right now the customer is willing to wait (a short time) instead of going on to someone else. Just be honest and sincere. Explain how you want to do your best but you can't unless you wait two weeks. Even extend a small discount for waiting, or free upgraded shipping.

For me taking special orders is what keeps me creative. I constantly learn new techniques, new ingredients, and new spins on an old product. They are the heart of what I do, but I can't let them take over my life and the rest of my business either. Hope these things help you the way they have helped me in the past. Let me know if you have any tips of tricks to share :)


Thanful for the Veterans

Look, we could quickly digress into the whole conversation/argument about what wars (past and present) really were wars, and which ones were and were not necessary for our country to take part in in order to stay free or keep the majority of the world free, but this post is not about that, it is about the people who serve and who have served our country in the military.

Some countries have a mandatory time for everyone to spend in the armed services. We do not make everyone serve, and in fact there has been little need for us to even use the draft. Our armed services are completely filled with VOLUNTEERS. Yes, they get paid, but if you take a look at their income, really they don't get what they deserve to do what they do.

What I can say is that everyone I have ever met that is serving or has served in the military lives a life I can't even imagine. They lack so many freedoms the rest of America has: they most often can't decide where they live, sometimes what they are doing as their job, what days they can and can't take off, what to wear to work, and they often can't even just quit at a drop of a hat. I can't even fathom living without being able to make some of these basic choices that I make every day and take for granted.

Now think of the ones that put their lives at risk every day. Think of their loved ones. I stress when C drives to work on the highway for an hour in the morning, the thought of him in combat sends me into an anxiety attack instantaneously. The idea of having children while your loved one could be under attack makes me nauseous with fear. The strength of those who serve and those who love them is a strength that cannot be imagined until you live it.

So today I am thankful for all the people who have lived their lives without all the choices, so I can live mine any way I darn well please. I honor them by trying to live my life the best it can be lived: by enjoying every day of it, by loving my job and my family, and by being the best person I can be. This is how you honor solders everyday, not just by putting out a flag, or saluting them.

And today I am thankful for my stepfather, who married my mother and has taken care of her as well as both my grandparents (when they were alive), and cherished me as one of his own. He not only made sacrifices when he served allowing me to live the way I want in the grand scale of being an American, but he has always made sure I can live the way I want as his step daughter. Thanks Rad :)