Every Day is a Promise!

Jewelry Hand-Crafted With You in Mind. That is what Every Day a Promise is all about. Creating lovely jewelry items that will be a delight to wear is my passion! Each piece is carefully made with great consideration given to style and wear. Why purchase commercial jewelry in the mall that everyone else is wearing when you can have something unique and hand-crafted? Make a statement with your style choices! Everything you see on my site is purchasable through my Etsy shop. I also do custom orders for weddings and other special occasions, and you can contact me here or on Etsy to make arrangements!

I am writing this blog in the hopes that it may, in some small way, help someone who is launching a small business, either on a local level or on the internet. While these observations are things that I have found to be true for me, I hold no degrees in marketing or business management. For professional support or legal advice I would urge anyone to seek out someone in your local area who has expertise and can advise you as to the correct approach you should take. This blog is merely my own observations based on my own limited business experience. I am loving every minute of it! I wish you great success in your future endeavors!
Friday
Apr132018

All in One Day

Sometimes it seems like a day, or several for that matter, can go by seemingly without any significant event, progress, goal achieved, or memorable occurrence. That can be a good thing, or it can be a letdown because you really were hoping for something, or maybe even dreading something, on that day. Well this was one of those days for me. Since I really need to work on my business, because I now have upcoming shows, I also have family responsibilities, and they always trump my business. Always.

This morning I got up quite early to take my much-loved poodle to the vet for a small operation and dental work that he desperately needed. This was something I sadly have been putting off because, due to the sale of our long-time veterinary clinic to a corporation, I needed to shift my pets to a more personal and smaller local office. I took months to do this. I stuck with the new management for a year. Things didn't get any better. My precious poodle developed a wart-like thing on the back of his head and it started to have issues because he began to scratch it. It would partially heal and then he would bother it again. Ugh. I would clean it up and put medication on it to no avail. Finally I bit the bullet and called the smaller local veterinary clinic, they saw him and scheduled him for today. I left him there this morning feeling awful because he didn't understand or know the people, but feeling glad to be finally getting him the care he needed.

My granddaughter, age 2 1/2, arrived later in the morning for tea parties on the bed, playing with dinosaurs, and other happy things. I needed that bright spot while in the back of my mind I was concerned for my poodle. And then I received happy notice in my email that one of my most favorite craft fairs, one that I thought might never happen at all this Spring, has now been scheduled, and at a time I can go! Huzzah! That particular show is one of my biggest money makers so it would have been a disaster if it hadn't happened at all!

I called the vet in the early afternoon. My poodle did well in his little operations. He is down to only a few teeth but the ones he has are now cleaned and his wound has been properly fixed up so now it can mend. Good news! My daughter-in-law popped in to pick up my granddaughter to take her home for naps and play, and I picked up my house and have a minute to type this before I head up to pick up my fur baby.

It's Friday. Friday is one of my favorite days because it's date night with my sweet husband. We don't do lots of things, but we do go out for dinner and then rent a movie in the evening and spend it together just unwinding. Today has been a roller coaster of events, not bad ones, but events nonetheless, and I am grateful for God's grace when things are awesome but also when they are not, when things are going slowly or everything is crazy. While sometimes on Friday I spend the entire day, or a large portion of it, making jewelry or working on my business in some way or another, today was a day when that took a back seat to family things, but no regrets or sadness about that. Tomorrow I have made one plan. I am working on my business. Pretty much all day. That's as of now. Things can change with no notice, but either way, life is good, these things are what makes it up and these things are the season I am in right now. I can't help but be amazed sometimes though, at all the things that can fill the minutes, all in one day!

Thursday
Apr122018

Bookkeeping

Anyone who knows me, knows that math is about my very least favorite  thing, at least the formal you-have-to-keep-track-of things kind of math. Since I am a retiree, I grew up in the age of the hand-written ledger. Everything, EVERYTHING was kept track of in that manner, hand-written...checkbooks, ledgers, bankbooks, paper bills, all the things. Thankfully, I also was around when people started to have access to calculators, computers, programs, apps, all those things, and I love all of them. I love having the convenience of using the computer for all kinds of business applications, especially being able to share, promote, and sell my jewelry on Etsy and to be able to accept credit cards through apps that give small business this very important ability. I love having a blog that I can use to record my musings about business and life in general, and that connects directly to my Etsy shop. I love being part of the Jewelry on Etsy Team (JETs), who are talented artisans from all over the world and are now my friends. But then, there is the bookkeeping...

Back in the days when I was teaching, I used the computers all the time. I was even an assistant systems-operator in my building and trained others. I represented my district at county meetings and was taught how to use all types of software, including Microsoft Excel, an excellent spreadsheet program (among other things it is capable of). Fast forward to retirement, and the fact that, for various reasons, I am now using an Apple laptop and Excel is for PC. Apple has a program quite similar, called (appropriately) Numbers. I didn't use it to set up my bookkeeping for one huge reason, it was too expensive. Money talks in a small business. Since I grew up in the age of the hand-written ledger, I opted for the (very obvious) choice. A $4.00 ledger trumped a $100+ computer program. And so, back in 2011, a dinosaur habit became solidified and has survived this long because I just didn't really have a choice.

In recent time, Apple has thankfully released Numbers (and Pages, the equivalent of Microsoft Word) to Apple users at no cost. I still didn't change over. No excuse, just lazy because I would have to re-learn things I haven't had to remember. Until now. I did my yearly business summary in January of this year. Using the ledger. And doing a ton of math, with a calculator. And then I got to thinking how I really could switch over and have the computer keep track of everything and do all the math, like a normal business owner.

I have embarked on this very important update. It took me some time to figure out how to set things up in the computer program. I am now well into it and still learning and changing things out. Thankfully it is only April and I only have one quarter of the year to set into place. After this I can do it monthly and easily keep up. The advantages? MUCH greater ease at tax time, math done by the computer and not by my crazy math skills, and summaries I can just print out and not deal with flipping through page after page on the ledger for endless times to make certain I haven't left anything out. The dis-advantages? I really can't think of any that actually matter.

Bookkeeping. Its not my favorite. That is changing quite quickly! I truly do love using the computer for it! If you are having these kind of issues, take heart, and just make a plan to get it going. Plow through the learning process because when you are done it will be well worth it!

Tuesday
Apr102018

Create!

So, what are you doing with your day today? You have an entire day! Maybe you have a job to go to, errands to run, appointments to show up at, or maybe your day has managed to arrive without any pre-scheduled committments or responsiblilties! Whatever your situation, you have an entire day ahead of you. And it is precious. You see, we are not promised tomorrow. So we have today. What do we want to get out of this day? I'll tell you what I want to get! I want to live this day allowing myself to look for the blessings, to keep my eyes up and a smile on my face. I want to bless others and get some things accomplished. And I want to CREATE!

There is, inside of each of us, a God-given need to create. This is a gift from the Creator Himself! He who created the heavens and the earth has placed in each one of us a creative gift. We may not know what it is, but it is there, and the more you allow yourself to be open to trying to create something, the more likely you are to discover that gift. Creating doesn't have to mean painting a masterpiece, writing a hit song, or choreographing a fantastic dance routine. Creating can be as simple as typing a blog, choosing some wildflowers on a walk and arranging them in a vase on your table, changing furniture around and adding new pictures, colors, etc, throwing some new ingredients into a recipe to change it up... The list goes on and on. We tend to limit our ideas of creativity in such a big way.

And what about if your day is spent at your job, your school, appointments, all the things I mentioned earlier. How can you create then? Find new ways to do things better, more efficiently! In the waiting room sketch out your new floor plan on a piece of scrap paper for when you get home and can do it. Look over color samples so you can decide what shade of paint you want as you change up a room. Re-arrange your desk top to minimize clutter and have your most important things where you can easily grab them. Streamline your closet by color-coordinating how you hang your clothes so you can easily see where things are. All these are ways to create! Turn off the television and think of things to do without staring at the screen. Likewise the tablet, smart phone, and computer!

I love to play video games. They can be a big trap though, quite the time sucker. I used to tell my students that playing video games is nothing more than taking a walk through SOMEONE ELSE'S imagination! Think about it! Somebody CREATED that game, with all its levels and challenges! The same with books! Someone thought up that plot, those characters, those situations, researched the details and put it all together into a book that you can't put down! Wow! Somebody created that clothing style, that recipe, that song, that painting, that dance, that movie script, that tv show!

We live in a world that is crazy-creative! You have today! Maybe its busy, maybe you are just going to take it easy, but find a way to use this day to its fullest. Leave nothing on the table! When you go to bed tonight, be able to say that you lived every minute of this day and didn't waste it feeling sorry for yourself, blaming somebody else for your circumstances and decisions, sat around thinking of things to do and yet doing none of them, etc, etc and so forth. Life is TOO SHORT for that stuff that, a week from now, a year from now, 10 years from now, won't even be worth remembering. Make happy memories TODAY. CREATE happy memories by actually finding ways to use your God-given talents, in however small a way. That little burst of creativity will give you an unbelievable boost. Write it down! And then tomorrow, do something new to CREATE. Before you know it you will be besieged with ideas to the point that you will have to prioritize them! How do I know this? Well, my best example is my pastor's wife (who co-pastors with him). For various reasons, she has had to figure ways to stretch money around corners, not necessarily for lack of it, but also for excellent stewardship of what God has blessed them with. Through research (and BOY, can this girl research!) she has learned marketing skills, photography skills, writing skills, decorating, landscaping, building skills, and has put them all to incredible use, not just to benefit her family by authoring a beautiful and profitable blog, but to benefit the church, enabling it to bless our community. In fact, she has done so much creating that her mind is constantly churning out new ideas to the extent that she actually has to write them down and prioritize them! She believes that there is no end to the possibilties...She pushes people to find their creative niche and develop it.

Try something you have never tried before, or tried and maybe you were a bit critical of the result because you were comparing your product to someone else's. NEVER compare your work other than to find ways to improve it! After all, think about it! The people who are a whopping success with something are usually those who have found a different way of doing things. Their creations stand out among the others because they are DIFFERENT! They dared to step out of the box.

You have today! CREATE!