BUSINESS STARTUP

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As promised, here’s a brief summary of what I’ve been working on the last few days.  It’s all about advancing the new business.  Saw my career coach yesterday – she reviewed the three-fold brochure I made for the business; she made some suggestions, and changes to improve the instant visibility of what the service is and does. To create the brochure, I used a great free template provide by HP at this site:  http://www.hp.com/hho/hp_create/home_business-business_kits.html.    This site provides a whole kit and caboodle of stationary for themed business cards, brochures, invoices, etc.  Pretty nice but the stationary items open in a Word document and I’m used to working in Publisher so there were a few frustrating hiccups.  All in all, it worked out well.

I was able to print ten brochures, front and back before the ink in my HP printer faded.  Not good.  Coach suggested reduce brochure from three-fold type to one sheet front and back, and minimize the color.  You know printer ink is very expensive, so yes, I now agree with her.  Working now to reduce 2 pages of info down to one-third of a page front and back.  A copywriter friend offered to look at it; I accept all free help.

Decided not to pursue business permit yet as the city does not pro-rate the fee, and it will expire December 31st .  I’d have to turn around and renew Jan 2011.  Visited IRS.gov to get an EIN, which is the business tax identification(kinda like a social security number for a business).  This is the number that my company will be recognized under when filing taxes.  I’m hesitating about incorporating for some reason – my thoughts are jumping around between non-profit, and LLC.  Will probably go ahead and file papers for LLC  which will allow protection of my personal assets and allow income taxes to be charged at a individual rate versus corporate rate.

Called my cable carrier to get a VOIP phone number as an add on service for a mere $10 a month.  They gave me the number and told me it would be active Friday.  I created brochures and business cards with this number.  I just happened to call the number today to see if it’s working, and yep it is.  Someone who wasn’t me answered.  Called the number again, in disbelief,  to double check.  Yep Comcast gave away number.  They are so so sorry for the mix up, and the loss of $$ from already printing cards/brochures in advance.  I asked for a credit or extra services on the phone; will hear back from them tomorrow on the decision.  Sigh.

Tomorrow will revamp the brochures and make a list of target companies to contact.  Excitement is starting to rise for face to face “customer” contact.

9/26 Update:  After multiple calls to Comcast regarding the phone number snafu, Comcast corporate office contacted me.  They have compensated me for the printing loss by crediting my account $100.  Much appreciation to Comcast for recognizing customers inconvenienced by a lack of service!

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Closet Transition

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Today, my well meaning aunt who works to develop small businesses, strongly urged me not to delay searching for a traditional job. Whereas I thought any prospective employer would give me a pass for trying out my entrepreneurial skills, it became apparent through our conversation that that may not be the case. Employers for the most part want to develop someone who will stay with them; it’s not attractive to engage someone who may want at any and every moment to run off to pursue their own interests. Apparently the entrepreneurial track becomes like a virus—it enters your blood and lodges there deep within your cells. It may get to the point where you absolutely can’t work a secular job.

Maybe getting a new “interview suit” will put me in the spirit of things. I got rid of all my work suits several years ago (along with pantyhose yea rah). The last eight years with my previous employer was always business casual and less. By less, I mean that some men came into the office wearing shorts and athletic shoes. I would buy the occasional jacket but nothing formal (matching two piece), rigid, boned or uber tailored. It’s a nightmare to even think about going back to wearing suits, hose, heels on a daily basis.

Anyway, as I didn’t wear the suits, the precious closet rack space became a memento to change. After Katrina, I donated several of them to a family of women who moved to Georgia after the devastation. When that didn’t hurt much, I donated the remaining to other women’s organizations. If I got called for an interview tomorrow, I would not be prepared dress wise. Take a trip with me to my favorite clothing store Macy’s. They have a nice selection of executive corporate suits, as well as business casual, dresses, and what I call soft dressing. That is like a knit button sweater with a teddy or silk tee underneath, paired with a pant or skirt that provides a little give, or a nice dress paired with a knit wrap. I used to have a wardrobe for work, for evening, and one for working out. I absolutely now look for clothes that will go the extra mile to wear at work, and wear out at night, and are washer friendly. You want to be some sexy when you play at night, and nothing is wrong with being a smidge sexy at work, but the trick is to not let your clothes be a distraction. If you are giving a presentation, you want the audience to hear you, and focus on your words, not lose your message cause they are staring at the metallic and crystal bling framing your décolleté. Ok if you didn’t have time to work on your presentation, maybe a little distraction will work well, lol. But you get my drift. Here are a few tops I’m looking at:

This one works will work well in any office and out and about during the week or weekend.

Though I’m underwhelmed by the print on this skirt, I like the idea that comes across with the scarf – it’s soft but also very professional. The scarf gives a little bit of zing and character to keep the outfit from being dull. Actually long draped layered chains of different sizes and textures would also work.

Both of these blouses can work double duty as work gear or sexy evening play. For work, drape them over black, brown or even cream colored trousers with a fitted sweater or soft jacket. For evening let your imagination run wild with accessories, jeans, or maybe leggings.

Absolutely love love love this top – it’s cotton and spandex so it will have some give. It’s crisp and will look great over simple black trousers, also it’s a little fitted thru the waist so will also look great with a skirt, and black fitted sweater. Happy hunting to you

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CAREER TRANSITION COACH

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So I met with the career coach today.  She turned out to be an interesting entrepreneur who runs several businesses, consulting, facilitating,  and otherwise.  Although very busy, she eeks out some time every week to counsel others thru the program.  Althought I’m definitely interested in the Entrepreneur track, I have not totally discounted the track for Traditional Job Search.  She recommended taking several courses thru the company:  “Be Your Own Boss,” “Building a Target List,” “Effective Networking,” “Networking with LinkedIn,” and “Advanced LinkedIn.”  In orientation yesterday, we learned that 85% of recruiters find people assets thru LinkedIn, so that’s definitely a social avenue to be pursued. 

Apparently the team meetings(reference WAKING UP TO CAREER TRANSITION) have been suspended for the summer.  Since being part of a team is so integral to the success of the program, it might be wise for me to put the program on hold until fall.  I’ll take a few classes and then decide if that’s the best course for now.

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WAKING UP TO CAREER TRANSITION

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 As part of the layoff package, my ex-employer has sponsored three months membership at a company that specializes in career transitions. I’ve been reluctant to start the clock ticking on that benny because I don’t want another traditional j o b, however the initial orientation has to be completed within sixty days of termination, or the benefit is lost. I’ve been happily existing in a bubble of fantasy, collecting and saving “job available” emails from well wishing friends and working on monetizing the websites. In this fantasy, I’m bringing in enough money to compensate for a full time and might I add lucrative job, have plenty of time for socializing and fitness, and have even more time to pursue wonderfully interesting hobbies, activities and interests. Ha ha, fantasy is the operative word here.
While this fantasy is working for my conscience self, the smarter sub-conscious self is keeping watch in the real world. It tricked me into going to orientation by whispering “maybe they will have tips on becoming an entrepreneur, and becoming a successful website marketer.” At the orientation yesterday, it appeared that everyone in the room was almost forty and older, more men than women. That is a whole ‘nother topic in itself. We learned this company has the responsibility not to find us a job, but to ensure that 1)we have an eye grabbing resume, 2) we are uber prepared for interviewing whether it be a 30 second schpeel tag, or formal interview situation, 3) that we have access to all the tools we need for focused searches. We will be assigned a personal coach specific to the track we want to follow:
1. Possible retirement and part time work
2. Don’t know where to focus
3. Traditional Job Search
4. Entrepreneur and self employment.

Low and behold, my sub-conscience hit the nail on the head for me with #4. There will be assignments into a team of peers; team will meet weekly to discuss and provide feedback on individual’s goals, and success paths. Apparently the team dynamic is all about accountability to the team and to one’s self; it keeps pressure on the members to stay focused and on track, joy joy.
I have a meeting scheduled with my coach tomorrow; will report back.

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OUTPLACEMENT SERVICES

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As a condition of my layoff, my company provided  access to a firm which specializes in career transition and outplacement services.   I took advantage of the down time to have a medical procedure which I’ve been putting off for years but I made contact with the firm to let them know I would do the orientation after my doctor released me.  During the weeks of recovery, in a Vicodin induced haze,  I set up this blog and the website www.dewdropshop.com, thinking it could be a small source of income but I know I need much help and advice from experts.  Being new to the publishing arena, I’m swimming solo but found and joined a few website marketing groups thru www.meetup.com   I’m going to attend a meeting next week which will review how to write ad copy to encourage action. Even though reluctant (reference BURDEN OF FREEDOM AT 50),  I’ll also contact the career transition specialists who can possibly steer and educate me in becoming a successful website publisher; I feel an urgent need to continue working from home, lol.

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LIFE TRANSITIONS

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I attended two high school graduations recently, both within seven days time.  One graduation was held outside and still completed despite pouring rain; the second was held inside and completed despite the rowdy, irreverent graduates bouncing multi-colored beach and golf balls around the rows.  As I listened to the speeches of the respective salutatorian and valedictorian, they were both very similar, almost formula.  They each offered up words of encouragement, inspiration, and retrospective looks at memorable events during their four years within the hallowed halls of hell and heaven.  Many of the references made were obvious to anyone living in the here and now; some were inside jokes just for the students.  All the speeches were self-depreciating, almost apologetic in nature as they named other classmates who deserved honors for achievements other than top grades.  Then the gowned seniors strutted across their respective runways, on exhibit with glowing faces, seemingly happy, this graduation the first major achievement and transition for many.  I remember that feeling from my own high school graduation and I felt excitement for these children, now so shiny and bright like an uncracked deck of cards, the world waiting to embrace them or eat them.  I wished I could have that feeling again.

But Oh! I just had a thought that being layed off at fifty, having worked most of my career in the corporate world, I AM undergoing a major life transition too!  I need to project the graduates’ perspective of being bright and shiny, and feel the same excitement for myself.  An uncracked deck of cards I ain’t, but an ace up my sleeve, that being life tools, skills and some wisdom gained through the years, will prevent me from being eaten by the world. I’m anticipating that those same skills will assist me in being embraced once again, but then again, was that embrace ever lost? 

Here is a sweet 14 point plan written by Ellen Ostrow, Ph.D.,  to assist moving forward with mid-life career transitions:  http://jobsearch.about.com/cs/womensresources/a/careerchange_2.htm

Until then…

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aStore Partners with Sidebar

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This is an update to post:  “aStore Trumps Sidebar.” 

After I increased the script content width, the darn sidebar rolled down to the bottom of the page, exactly where it did not belong.  I spent two days on the WordPress documents and forums trying to get a resolution but no joy.  I finally posted a query in the forum  hoping some empathetic coder would take pity and snatch it up for an easy fix.  Within a few hours I had a fix to try which worked!  I fell in love with that forum moderator.  What a relief!

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