Decisions, Decisions

“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing.” ~Theodore Roosevelt 
Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt

I agree with Theodore Roosevelt that “nothing” is the worst thing you can do when a decision is needed. So, I’m finally working on making decisions. They might not be the absolute correct decisions, but they are decisions, and I’ll learn from my mistakes.

My Websites

For several years I did nothing with my websites. Yes, websites… plural. I have two websites and three domains. Jularee.com is the website for my jewelry business. I last updated the site in January – and that was a poor excuse for an update. RitaMitchell.com and RitaRiebelMitchell.com both link to my more personal, writing website that I have not updated since July 2012 following my retirement from teaching. How sad is that? This week I finally started to make a few decisions about my websites.

Decision #1:

I transferred my Jularee.com domain to GatorHost and I purchased a hosting plan. I was nervous about it, so I only committed to six months. But so far so good. Support has been pleasant and quick. Everything is working after a few minor bumps.

Decision #2: Dreamweaver vs. WordPress

Jularee.com needed a major overhaul. The question was: Dreamweaver or WordPress? Since the last time I worked with Dreamweaver it was in version 1 (one), and my current version is CS6, I thought the learning curve might be a bit time consuming. So, I decided to use WordPress to recreate the site.

jularee.com

Jularee.com is under construction

Decision #3: WordPress Theme and Pages

I chose a tentative theme for the “under construction” type of messages (see above). The pages are Jularee, Shop, Blog, About, and Contact. I included links to my Etsy shops and a contact email address.

Decision #4: Learn How to Use WordPress and Choose a Possibly Permanent Theme

My goal: By the end of today I will have watched/ listened to at least three instructional videos about creating a website using WordPress. My next decisions will be to choose a “possibly permanent” WordPress theme and a color scheme. I’m hoping the videos will lead me in the right direction.

Decision #5: What to do with RitaMitchell.com

Regarding my more personal, writing website: I left the domains registered with GoDaddy for a year. I’ll update the current pages a bit, and prepare to move it to my HostGator hosting plan within the next few months.

RitaMitchell.com

The July 2012 “update” to RitaMitchell.com website.

RitaMitchell.com and RitaRiebelMitchell.com will be linked to Jularee.com but will have a different, more personal twist… a biography, a photo gallery, and Sunday Dinner (currently part of this blog). I will add a list of my publishing credits, information about writers’ organizations, conferences, and references, as well as names of the books I’m reading. Bits and pieces of my writing, personal life, and travel will be thrown once in awhile. Past that, I don’t know, yet.

I’m Looking for Training Videos

If you know of any training videos about creating a WordPress website or with tips for designing websites, will you please share them?

On to more decision making! ~Rita

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Is She a Customer or a Character?

Building a business is hard work, even a small business like Jularee Handcrafted Jewelry.

Small home businesses like mine are often not as successful as we, the business owners, would like them to be. Many of us begin with high hopes and a product that we and our friends all love. Friends and family give encouragement, “You should sell your stuff. It’s gorgeous!”

But once you’re out there trying to sell your stuff, you need more than friends and family.

You need strangers.

Lots of them.

Living, breathing people who like your products enough to fork over hard cash to acquire one of your items. They are frequently referred to as “customers” or “clients”.

My goal is to take Jularee to a level where she can pay for herself and have a little money left over for me. I’m reading and researching and asking other small business owners for tips and suggestions. I bought several books and borrowed from the library. I’ve signed up for so many newsletters, videos, and blogs on how to run a handcrafted jewelry business that if  I read them all I would never have time to actually make jewelry.

There is one piece of advice that appears in almost every article and book that I’ve read. They all tell you to find out who your customer is. The trouble is, I don’t know who my customer is and until I find out, my business is apparently doomed to fail.

So, how will I find out who my “ideal customer” is? What exactly should I do?

If I describe her demographics, then what?

I recently read a suggestion that I could relate to… I was told to write a story for her. “Aha.”

That was my “Aha” moment. I’m also a writer. For real. I write stories. I can write a story for my ideal customer. Maybe I can even turn it into my first novel.

And when it’s finished, I can begin designing jewelry especially for my main character… I mean… my ideal customer. Hopefully there are lots of women out there who are just like her who will love my stuff. Otherwise, I could be out of business.

For guidance read, read, and read.

https://www.etsy.com/blog/en/2013/how-to-find-your-target-market/

https://www.openforum.com/articles/8-creative-ways-to-profile-ideal-customers/

Write Something. Anything.

Write something. Anything. It doesn’t matter what you write. Just write.

I’m taking the advice of several writing instructors when I begin typing without a direction. This writing will be flawed and will contain run on sentences, and sentence fragments. It will change tense several times and I might even forget what I’m writing about half way through. But I will be writing.

Making yourself write when you believe you have nothing much to say is almost impossible. This is how it goes.

I sit down at the computer and stare at my blank document page with my hands on the keyboard, poised for the brilliance that I just know is going to come out of my brain.

When a minute or so has passed and I haven’t typed a word, I decide that it’s time to warm up my coffee. On my way to the kitchen, I stop in the laundry room to throw in a load of towels.

Then, when I pass my son’s room, I see a glass on his nightstand so I retrieve it to put into the dishwasher. The living room is next. I see that the plant in the corner is drooping. I walk into the sunroom for the watering can and see a new spider web behind the rattan chair. So, I return to the laundry room for the broom. But instead I take the cordless stick vacuum because I know there are dust bunnies forming along the walls in the hall. I vacuum the dust bunnies and down the hall into the living room. I might as well get under the sofa while I’m at it but I lean the vacuum on the chair so I will remember to do it later.

I walk into the kitchen and I remember that I’m supposed to be writing. Why did I want to come into the kitchen? I look around to see if I can remember why I wanted to come in here.

Nope.

So I go back to my office. The blank document is still blank. No story, no paragraphs, no sentences, not even a word.

And no coffee. That was it!

Now. Where in the world did I leave my mug?

How to Be Inspired

I’m always searching for inspiration. I need to be inspired to do anything creative, or even no so creative, such as the cleaning I should be doing right now but wasn’t inspired to do, yet.

So if you, too, are looking for inspiration, choose one or more of these activities to do for a set period of time. They are in random order according to how I thought of them. I thought of a few more after writing 39, but I think 39 is enough, for now.

To get maximum benefit, do the activity for at least 10 minutes. Let your mind wander. Do not take notes.

Believe me, when you are sitting quietly somewhere, ten minutes will seem like an eternity.

  1. Walk 5 miles (more or less).
  2. Run as far as you can and still make the return trip.
  3. Ride a bike for 30 minutes (again, more or less).
  4. Swim in a pool… a quiet pool… no kids.
  5. Sit quietly in your backyard and watch the birds, squirrels, bees, and so on.
  6. If you don’t have a backyard go to a park.
  7. Go to the beach at sunrise. Walk.
  8. Go to the beach at 5:00 PM in the summer. Sit looking at the water.
  9. Walk on the beach after a storm looking for shells, sea glass, and interesting debris.
  10. Take a bath.
  11. Take a shower.
  12. Meditate.
  13. Take a yoga class.
  14. Listen to yourself breathe.
  15. Hum. Don’t sing words. Just hum.
  16. Draw something or doodle enough to fill up one side of a page.
  17. Go to a bookstore and walk slowly up and down EVERY aisle. Do NOT buy anything.
  18. Go to a store that sells newspapers and magazines. Read all of the covers. You might want to buy something here… like a pack of gum or lottery ticket.
  19. Visit a zoo (Eavesdrop on a second grade class – without looking like a stalker).
  20. Visit a museum (Doesn’t matter what kind, art, science, etc. – the weirder the better).
  21. Walk around your house INSIDE taking digital photos of everything… close up.
  22. Walk around your house OUTSIDE taking digital photos of everything… close up.
  23. Clean out a closet.
  24. Sit in a quiet room sipping a cup of tea.
  25. If you have a front-loading washer, do a load of laundry and watch the entire cycle through the door/window.
  26. Watch water boil.
  27. Watch an ice cube melt.
  28. Go to a furniture store and take digital photos of everything you like.
  29. Fold a piece of paper and cut it into a snowflake.
  30. Fold a piece of paper and cut it into hearts.
  31. Crochet a scarf.
  32. Knit a hat.
  33. Embroider your name (or your kid’s name) on something.
  34. Paint a picture or two using your kid’s watercolors (you could also buy a set at a dollar store).
  35. Color a picture in a coloring book.
  36. Buy a kaleidoscope and look at the shapes and colors as you turn it. Watch for duplicates.
  37. Rearrange the furniture in one room of your house.
  38. Write a set of directions for something you like to do.
  39. Write a list on how to be inspired. (This was fun!)

Writing Wednesday: Different Types of Writing

I feel as though I haven’t been writing much lately. Last week I wrote a poem. That’s the extent of my writing for the week.

Or is it?

This is my fourth blog post since last Wednesday. I wrote about Chakras, my jewelry, and grilling vegetables. That’s writing.

I wrote a few personal journal entries.

I wrote at least four To-do Lists. (None of which were completed)

I re-wrote and updated my shop introduction and descriptions for several of my jewelry items.

I wrote a list of at least 25 tweets about chakras, gemstones, and my jewelry to post this week.

I wrote emails and facebook posts and texts.

Those things are writing, too. Aren’t they?

And last night I worked on a rough draft of a USP (Unique Selling Proposition) and a new mission statement for my jewelry business. I never wrote a USP when I started making jewelry. In fact, I didn’t even know what a USP was until yesterday. It’s supposed to make a difference between the survival and failure of a business. Hmmm. Is that what’s missing?

So, I’m writing one of those.

In summary, I’m always writing. Often I’m writing creatively. But I’m not currently working on a novel. I’m not writing a short story, magazine article, or a children’s book. That’s the kind of writing that I call “real writing”. I really want to do more real writing.

I’ll put that on today’s To-do List.