This will not be my typical Tishspiration Tuesday post.
At least, not at the beginning. I have left my blog to be quiet for far too long again, and many, many things have happened. This will not be a short, pleasant read. I feel from the depths of my very soul that it is my duty to write this story, and I pray that it leaves my mind through my fingertips in the way I intend it to. To help. To start the necessary conversations we need to be having in our homes and with the human population. In case you are reading this in the future, and not in the present time, here are a few of the things I am referring to.
Corona Virus or COVID-19 the Worldwide Pandemic
Self Isolation or Self Quarantine
Essential Frontline Medical workers went to war with COVID-19
Essential workers became an everyday term for extraordinary people doing their jobs
Stock markets crashing
A brief drop in the price of gas
Deferrals on payments of things like mortgages and car loans
Working from home became mandatory
Unemployment Rates Skyrocket
Mental Illness Crisis
Governments struggle to grasp the enormity of shutting down the world as we knew it
Government handouts to help people cope in the midst of all of the above
If you are needing to learn any more information about any of these topics, feel free to Google them. Make sure you search for 2020. Looking back on things, it seems like we had no warnings at all. We are here, in the midst of it, praying for things to get better. For some it has. For others, the pain goes too deep to feel like it could ever be okay again.
I listed #BlackLivesMatter last above, intentionally.
It is a movement that has come and gone numerous times, before many of us were even born, and will continue to be something that plagues us, as a different kind of pandemic, until we find the cure. I have listed it last, but please do not think that means I am listing it in a place of least importance. I am not. It is there because this is when it has affected me in 2020. This very week, not in the previous weeks and months. I may not have the list in exact chronological order because I am going from memory. Today is fresh in my mind. The last several weeks have been a blur of adjustment and trying to learn when to pay attention, and when to tune the daily news out.
Like many people around the world, I have done my best to adapt to the world I am living in today.
I don’t leave the house at the drop of a hat anymore. I plan trips to the grocery store twice a month and have limited my time outside of my home to a walk around the neighbourhood. Alone, with my music. I nod and say hello to my neighbours as we walk 2 metres or six feet apart from each other, go home, shut my door, and go about entertaining myself and keeping busy.
I have been successfully able to adapt to my husband suddenly having to work from home. We get along well; I am one of the lucky ones. Another reality is that since we are all in isolation is that violence behind closed doors is at an all time high.
I want to choose my words carefully as I write.
There is a whole lot of hurt, pain, grief, anger, rioting, and violence happening in the world this week. It has escalated past the boiling point, and can no longer be ignored. People are dying every day from the pandemic virus that is sweeping across the planet. They expect it to come in waves, and the people of our planet are struggling to cope with the losses of so many people. It does not discriminate, it just attacks.
It is the people, the people who are guilty of discrimination and targeting minorities that has finally boiled over like it has in the past. #BlackLivesMatter has been a movement under this name since hashtags became popular, but only now do I fully understand what it really means.
I am a white woman. So white that I almost glow in the dark.
I have led a sheltered life, which means that I have been living a life of white privilege.It doesn’t mean I am rich, or famous or haven’t had struggles in my life. It means I have not had to live in the fear of persecution, violence or death simply because of the colour of my skin.
Throughout my adult life, I continue to do my best to educate myself. I, too, was guilty of proclaiming that #AllLivesMatter, before I really knew what either term meant. I believe in equality and justice for all. Saying #BlackLivesMatter does NOT mean I am disregarding the rest of humanity. It means that this group of people, People Of Colour or POC, which is what I think is the politically correct term for the demographic, are in danger. (If this is incorrect, I am certain that it will be pointed out, and if so, I will edit after publishing).
I watch television shows. I watch for entertainment, for exposure to things I would never experience, and to learn. As a student of the internet, I constantly sign up for challenges and webinars. As a network marketer, working with social media as my virtual customer base, I have allowed many people to interact with me. Some I know, some I have met only online.
I do my best to treat everyone as equals.
I am certain that I have failed in this, more than once, because I am not perfect. To be human is to err. It is inevitable that I will say or do something that will cause someone to have hurt feelings. It is not intentional, ever. I sometimes blunder into places I should never try to go. Maybe you are thinking I am doing this as you are reading this post. I encourage you to keep reading until the end before passing judgment.
Today I attended a rally. It was the first time I have ever gone to a protest. It was peaceful and I am eternally grateful that it was.
For a few minutes this morning, I debated attending the march. I know that there have been murders and shootings in my city, just like in all cities and even smaller places all around the world. I thought, what if something bad happens? What if I get hurt? What if I get arrested? If you know me, the chances of me being arrested are slim to none, but with escalated emotions and the possibility of a mob mentality running hand in hand with protesting and rioting, it would not be completely impossible. I debated this for an hour or more, searching within to find the right answer. I already knew what it would be, but I had to say it out loud, to make it real.
If I let fear take over, then I will not overcome what so many POC face every time they leave their homes.
I would be saying the words, but not taking action. This year, with all the chaos happening around me, I drew my line in the sand. It was time to be present in something that matters to me. Because I believe in equality, I must stand up against inequality. I must take courage against my fears, and step forth to take a stand for something I believe in.
So, I told my husband, that I was going to go. The rally would be during his workday, and he would not be able to join me. I had errands to run while I was out, but I wanted him to know what I was doing, and where I was going. Just in case. COVID-19 does not discriminate, and neither do bullets. He thought I was being silly when I said I loved him before leaving, but he also took the time to watch the video which set me in action. We talked about George Floyd and the uprisings, and he had a hard time watching the unnecessary, unjustified murder of a black man by four policemen.
Whether or not he broke the law, he didn’t deserve to die that way.
Now he will not have his day in court, here on earth, like so many other victims of racism and injustice. Bearing witness to that video recording stirred something inside of me. I try to keep things positive and light as much as I can, but it is not possible after seeing what happened.
The first thing I do when I am troubled is to pray.
I started watching for ways to learn how I could help. If you do your own research, you will find there are many organizations accepting donations for various charities centered around the cause. I made the decision to show up, to be present, and to listen while participating.
After fighting with a parking meter, I made my way up the street where the #BlackLivesMatter March would start. They began before I got there, with the crowd in silence, taking a knee, or kneeling on the grounds of our City Hall. Some people held their arms in the air, others, like me, held a hand over their heart. When I got close enough, I paused and waited for this to conclude before taking out my camera. I did not bring a sign, rather I chose to bring my camera with the full intention of writing this when I got home. I wanted to be present and to bear witness.
You have no idea how happy I was when one of my best friends appeared. Even if I had to be there alone, because of the location of the march, and the time of day it was happening, I felt that I would be okay. It was being held in the middle of the day, downtown, on the same walking path of the Pride Parade. I looked it up online and decided I could handle the distance of the march. Having a friend there eased my anxiety, a bit.
The irony of my poor physical condition combined with wearing a face mask and needing to stop for my asthma inhaler is not lost on me.
I did not want to fall behind, I wanted to keep up with the people around me. Until that point, I pushed myself, until I realized that I was having difficulty breathing. I was able to stop long enough to take two puffs of my inhaler and could breathe easier right away. I was able to continue in the march.
George Floyd was not given the ability to breathe when three police officers knelt on top of him. He suffocated under the weight of their knees on his body. I am only aware of this because it was the start of the riots in Minneapolis, and spreading to other cities in the United States of America. The irony of the name of a country so divided on so many levels is something I am also very aware of, even if it is only occurring to me as I type. It happens all over the world, even here. Racism, hatred, segregation, violence, and murder. All over the world, right under our noses.
So much hate, violence, and murder are often overlooked because it happens so often, people grow immune to it.
Turning a blind eye to injustice is no better than rioting and looting because of it. My eyes are open. I do not know what tomorrow brings, but I am trying to do better. My purpose on earth is to bring more good into the world, every day, more than yesterday. I do admit that it is difficult on days like today, but I am doing the best I can, which is all any of us can do. Not our worst, our best.
Every. Single. Day.
I showed up and I marched with the crowd. (I did wear my face mask, bring hand sanitizer, and a bottle of water from home. The COVID-19 concerns are still very real). I yelled, I chanted the rally cries and I listened to the speeches when we got back to the city hall. It was a peaceful rally, and I don’t know how many people were there, but I do know that the organizers were thrilled with the show of support by the turnout.
One last thought before I press that publish button.
Underneath it all, in our very core, beats a heart in every living human being. Our hearts are all the same colour, as is the blood pumping in our veins. We can do better. I am trying. I hope that you will try too. Once we grow accustomed to what it means to try, then we must do better. It is not a choice anymore, it is a requirement of being human.
Don’t let the darkness of those who do wrong overtake the light. We win when we stand together, to support each other. It is something I have learned in the writing community. When we support each other, we rise together. It is time to reach out your hand to whoever needs the help. Before things get worse. If we do nothing at all, we are no better than the oppressors. Have difficult conversations. Ask awkward questions, sensitively. Find out how to help those in need. Dig as deep as you have to for your empathy. It is in there, you just have to find it. When you do, you will realize, like I do, that this is what is important, and by speaking up and speaking out, we can change the world. One conversation at a time.
It has been too long since I have written in this category. It is Tuesday, right? With everything that is happening in the world right now, I felt the need to write a new blog post. The Tishspiration posts will be on my new website when it is ready.
I was a little disgruntled this morning while I listened to the local radio station. It seems that while I decided not to listen to Prime Minister Trudeau’s daily news briefing (it is a little surreal to even write that bit) he talked about trying to help more people who were falling through the cracks of the current emergency benefits program the Canadian Government is putting into place.
Great, man. Way to steal my thunder. I had this title since last week, thank you very much.
As I contemplated the idea of choosing another title, I decided to keep it. It is timely and relevant. More than I thought it was when I first began working on the concept for this post.
The Canadian Government is helping people.
They are working hard to help Canadians maneuver through the world which is very different than it was only three weeks ago. Three weeks. Has it only been three weeks since we were all told to stay home? It seems like longer to me. Maybe that is because I have spent more than a year at home, working on building my own businesses.
I had unemployment insurance until November of 2019. The government, because of many years of being a part of the workforce in Canada, offers this while people are in between jobs. I was an employee, of several different companies for most of my adult life. I am not lazy, but I have been selective in which jobs I have applied for since the pogey (unemployment insurance) ran out. When things started happening three weeks ago, our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, started holding daily press conferences on his front lawn. He said we would all be okay, and that the government was working on emergency benefits to help Canadians weather this storm called COVID-19.
I had hope. He said people who were self employed would be able to apply for this benefit, to help cover the bills while our businesses were unable to run normally at this time. I thought things were going to get better for me, at least for a short period of time.
I do not qualify for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
In my business, in the last 12 months, I did not earn the minimum of $5,000, needed to qualify. While I do not expect a free ride through this crisis, I was led to believe that there was hope for me. Although I am not surprised that the Representatives of The House Of Commons added stipulations to what the Prime Minister was offering to help Canadians, I am disappointed.
I am not alone. There are people in this country who also do not qualify for what is being offered. Thankfully, my husband is still able to work at his full-time job from home, and able to continue working at his part-time job, outside of our home. I am not able to look for employment outside of our home at this time. I am a person with a chronic disease and therefore considered immunocompromised. To stay healthy, I need to stay home, and to be honest, I haven’t gotten any calls for interviews in the last month.
We made the decision to take advantage of the offers available to us while we weather this out. Deferrals do not help us in the long term, but they do help us right now, and like many other Canadians, we will take all the help we can get.
Where is the Tishspiration in this article?
It is here. With me. I am also writing to tell people to not sit quietly in anticipation of the worst possible outcome. I am my own best advocate, and you are your own best advocate. Speak up. Do so with intelligence. If you whine and complain, nobody will listen. If you look for one thing to be grateful for every day, share it. Give others hope.
Follow the guidelines, but if you, like me do not qualify, don’t apply for the benefit. It wastes your time, and it takes time and energy away from people who qualify for it. Tying up the system for no good reason doesn’t help you or anyone else.
I know things are wild out there. People are yelling at people about the safe distance and who should or should not be out and about. Remember that they are not intending to be ignorant, they, like you, are scared of what is happening, because they, like you, have no control over things they normally would have control over. Like going to work and getting a paycheck. Going to the mall. Seeing their friends and family.
Get creative. I know, a lot of people do not think that they have any creativity in them. We all do, to varying degrees. Ask for help if you need it, but don’t just give up when technology decides to be uncooperative. I haven’t told my husband, yet, but I am considering painting the link for this website on my living room window, to see if I can generate more followers, but even more importantly, more book sales. I wanted to paint a picture, and I think I will incorporate it into a white, fluffy cloud, so it can be easily read from the street, and snapped in a picture on a cellphone by the people in my neighbourhood who, like me, are walking more as it is something we can still do.
If you have ever considered working from home, the time is now!
Stick with me for a moment. People are at home. They need things. Network Marketing has the answer for the needs of many people, worldwide, right now. You can support someone you know by purchasing the products they sell, and they will be delivered to your door, to avoid leaving the house to get the things you need. I am currently offering makeup and books for sale, and I do make jewellery. Jewellery designing has taken a back seat for now. It is more of a hobby than a business, and I am okay with it as it is. My supplies will be there when I am ready to play with beads again, or if there is an order I need to create.
The only way I have available to me right now to earn an income is through my online businesses. I am working very hard to grow my entrepreneurial dreams, and it is a way for me to lay a plank across the path to hold myself up, to keep me from falling through the cracks. What I do isn’t going to be what everyone else should do, but I want to encourage you to be open to what your friends and family are offering, and even a stranger might have the opportunity that will help you stay on top of the path. Do your own research, like I did, before taking the leap, and jump in with both feet when you find something that you could see yourself promoting as something you love. Whatever that is for you!
To the Extroverts and to people who suffer with mental illness:
This is not an ideal situation for anyone who falls into these two categories. If you are a people person, call a friend, every day. Schedule a video chat with your family. Write a letter to someone you love. When is the last time you got a letter in the mail? It is something that ALWAYS puts a smile on my face, to open the mailbox to find something there that is from someone I know, and someone I want to get mail from.
To anyone who is suffering from mental illness, my heart goes out to you. Things were hard before COVID-19, and they are likely to get worse before they will get better. I want you to know that someone out there cares about you, even if that someone is only me, a stranger trying to spread a little hope into the world. Please reach out if you need help to get through the next second, minute, hour or day. You are not alone, the world is struggling with you. The world may not have the same struggles that you do, but we are all struggling in our own way right now.
One last thing.
Things will get better. It can and it will. It has to because every roller coaster has its ups and downs. We are in a down right now, but we will be going up, maybe even stronger than we ever have before, if we just keep on working on the things we can control, and not getting lost in the fear of what might be. Focus on what will be, and make it a reality.
Please don’t ever give up hope. It is all we have to hold on to in times like this. I am going to grab on and pull myself up out of the cracks I am falling into, and when I am on solid ground, I will reach out to see who I can help up to stand beside me.
When we support each other, we rise together. I believe this with my whole heart and soul.
The journey of #Tishspiration has been an adventure, with many twists and turns along the way. Right now, it really feels like an uphill battle. You know what I mean, you are on a narrow path, climbing a mountain one step at a time.
When this happens, you have two choices. You can stop for a rest, or you can choose a different path. I choose to rest when I need to but keep aiming for the top of the mountain.
I have been working towards the dream of launching my own business since January. While I am on this path, I am meeting people, in the areas of personal and business development. I have been in a constant state of learning for three years. Becoming an entrepreneur alongside of being a published author is the direction I must keep moving towards.
Here is the thing. For the last three years, I have been learning as much as I can from free online training programs. I have to confess, that first one with the pitch at the end really threw me for a loop. I had never experienced a sales pitch for an online program before.
In this realm of online training, you have two choices. You can choose a program to invest in to have professionals help you get your business idea up and running, or you can do it yourself.
If you only have time and energy to invest in your business, it makes investing money into your dreams difficult. I started with baby steps to invest in myself financially. Quite frankly, in the online business world, it comes highly recommended.
I have had good experiences, and I have had good results after paying more than I expected. There are lessons to learn as I work towards bettering myself.
What have I tried?
I tried an online coach hot seat. I would be able to talk about my business and the coach would ask questions and offer advice. The really cool thing is that participants like myself also offered help and advice. It may have been my nervousness which caused them to want to offer support, as I was visibly nervous when my turn came around.
The coach was gracious and encouraged me to talk more about my business plan. (It has changed entirely since this session). She knew from my application that there was more to my business plan than what I was saying when the spotlight was on me. Except for my nervousness about being in the hot seat with someone I follow who is confident and has an incredible sense of business, this experience was a positive one, which I would do again if the timing and price were right.
What else have I tried?
I took a paid online challenge. There is no disputing that I did indeed get value from working through this challenge. However, the cost of doing so from a financial point of view was more than double what I expected to pay.
The series of unexpected charges which kept adding up made me feel like I was not treated fairly. I was aware of the exchange rate and having to pay a little more because I live in Canada, not the USA. After the first unexpected charge on my credit card, I asked some questions. They answered, and I was okay with their explanation until the postman delivered a book to go with the challenge, and I had to pay more money.
The work done with this online challenge did lead to a breakthrough for me, and for that I am grateful. I didn’t sign up for their next challenge, as I had a bad taste in my mouth when the sales pitch came at me.
What Lessons Have I Learned?
Sometimes I get really nervous. It can impact my experience both positively and negatively. It positively gathered more support for me than anyone else in the group coaching session. My authentic self has the ability to surprise me in what it can do, even when my palms are sweaty and my words are not conveying my whole message. I will go for it again and be less nervous the next time because I have tried it before.
It is good business sense to set the expectations for your clients in all aspects of the services you are providing. If I had known how much that paid online challenge was going to cost me in the end, I may not have taken it. Or, I would have been expecting each charge, and not becoming upset when I experienced each additional fee.
Now, some of you may be thinking I should have refused the package. It was tempting, but I want to read this book to see if it is worth the extra cost. I went to my husband one more time, as he does our household budget and I explained that there was yet another unanticipated charge on a credit card. We were both ticked off at the financial consequences of my signing up for the paid online challenge. After our discussion, we also agreed that the lessons to be learned would not be easily forgotten.
Surprises are everywhere.
Regardless of the financial impacts, I have crossed a toe over the line into paid online training. The value of what I have learned outweighs the charges on the one hand. On the other hand, I had a breakthrough with personal growth and I was amazed when people started offering to help me from an unpredictable source.
Tishspiration is The Art of Surprising Yourself. When you push your boundaries and limits, even in a small way, you might just be surprised at the results. It will not be a big deal unless you choose to learn the lessons life delivers to you and you are open to the possibilities of success. When you find your own Tishspiration, please do celebrate it with me! It is a feeling like no other when you accomplish something you never thought you could do. I would love to celebrate with you, so please share your wins in the comments so I can.
I am admitting to dragging my feet again about the business plan. It is something which I do need to work on, and therefore have to make time for. I am learning one thing this year, it is that things always take longer than I think they will.
I have made some decisions about the new direction for my business. It will happen. Next, I need to find time to work on the business plan. To make sure I get it accomplished, I have given myself a deadline.
What else have I been doing?
Cleaning. A lot of cleaning has been going on in my home. It was long overdue and very necessary. I am doing well. My parents were here for a visit. They like to stay busy and asked if they could help with anything. As they are on vacation, I hate to think that they are helping me with my mess. After all, it is my responsibility to clean it up. I let them choose what they wanted to tackle; the result is I am farther ahead in my cleaning than I would have been without their help.
In Roy’s shed, to start to organize Roy’s tools, Dad hung up a peg board to have a place to hang things up. When Dad is here, he also helps with the BBQ, except for Father’s Day. Roy cooked on the BBQ as a treat for Dad. I surprised him with a new ball cap. Dad also took down our front step and helped Roy get the area ready for the new step. A friend has been hired to build a new step, and it is coming together nicely.
Mom dusted in the bathroom and helped me to get started with the kitchen reorganization. It is easier to move things from one place to another if two people are working together. She also dusted the kitchen table and chairs. She also cleaned the cupboard doors. I didn’t expect so much help when they were here. It motivates me to keep going.
Deadlines help me to finish projects.
I set a deadline for the cleaning to be finished on Thursday. It needs a final push in the kitchen, master bedroom and living room to get it done. I am very close to finishing, and then I can work on more fun things while upkeeping the new cleaner home.
It is easy to slip into what my friends refer to as ‘Tish Time.’ I try very hard to be punctual, and this year I am managing to do so more than ever. It isn’t that I don’t think things are important, rather that I find it difficult to manage my time. When I am working on a project, I rarely look at the clock and the time surprises when I do. As I am learning this year, things take longer than I think they will take to do. Planning ahead is something I am working on planning ahead when I have to be somewhere. It is working, but I can do better. I will keep at it, and soon it will be a non-issue.
My parents experienced ‘Tish Time’ while they were visiting. My mom was very surprised at how time just flies in my home. It is nice to see that it isn’t just me and that it doesn’t only relate to punctuality. I am an anomaly, I often say, meaning my health, but it also relates to time itself. Time really does fly around me!
We did take a day to do fun things also. We took a short drive outside of the city to the town of Oromocto, for lunch and to go to a store. The Oromocto Galleria is a place where local artists have their work for sale, like a gift shop. It is one of four in our area, and there was something I had wanted to check out. I picked up some paint samples on popsicle sticks of Fusion Mineral Paint. The plan is to paint the front door, and the window shutters with it, after the front step is rebuilt.
Mastering My To-Do Lists
I work well with lists. Of course, I need to take the time to write them. Normally just make them before packing suitcases, to make sure I don’t forget anything. Lately, I am making them for cleaning. I have 2 agendas, a small one and a large one. The small one helps me to keep track of all of my appointments, except for the one I was 24 hours early for. I chose not to wait for that one, I went back the next day.
The large one is to help me to keep track of my health. Medicine doses, water intake, food diary, sugar levels and activity. I did well with it for about a month and stopped. I will clear a space in my living room to have it readily accessible to use. It is on my list of things to do.
The important thing to note here is things take time, and when you find a method which works, use it. I am making time today to revise the current to-do list to add in the rewriting of the business plan. Cleaning and writing my next book will also be a priority. The second book is a part of my current business plan. It will be the foundation of what I am about to build.
#Tishspiration Tuesdays have been missing here lately. I find myself heading back to the beginning. I am creating a business, with what I thought was an incredible idea, to help artists and authors through a subscription box service. The plan was to collect art, write stories, create my own Bling, and find other inspirational items to go into a box. I thought about launching bi-monthly, or quarterly.
Instead of worrying about it being wildly successful, I tell myself that will be a good thing, as I will need to hire help. I was moving forward with as much as I could before making it all official.
The first problem I ran into was the cash flow. When I started to add my own salary into the budget, I started to lose money. This concerned me, and my business advisor. He has been working with me for months to help me apply for the self-employment program, which would allow me to draw on unemployment insurance for 12 more weeks while I grow my business, and most importantly, not have to claim my earnings against the unemployment insurance with this program.
Last week, I asked for a meeting to figure out what was going wrong with my cash flow, and what I should do to make it work.
I learned I had to re-evaluate everything. Budget. Cost of goods. Sale price. How much to ask for a startup loan. All of the elements I had worked so hard on to make a business plan to make my entrepreneurial dreams a reality.
I am in a networking group called 100 Coffees. The Coffee Community is women who want to learn networking techniques. It works on a basic principle of having virtual meetings, which we call coffees, with two members a week. I am more active in the community now and involved in a weekly Master Mind meeting. I have been working with my peers within the group to develop the ideas for my business.
Two weeks ago, our weekly meeting started having more participants. One was not convinced that the subscription box idea would be right for me.
This made me pause and doubt my plans.
We found time to have an online chat together, separate from the weekly meeting. We both shared where our thoughts were coming from, and at the end of our conversation, she was concerned that I was upset. I was quiet and explained that I was processing. Some of my fears were valid, and I was having a brain pretzel moment.
What were my fears? I worried that if the business was too successful, it would cause problems with finding enough artists to contribute to the boxes as I have only had one inquiry since I started my local networking with artists to exchange information. I have enough product for the first box, but no solid leads for the second.
This is when the questions became a little harder to answer. I was asked to choose between being an author or a jewellery designer. It made me pause to think again. I know I am a writer who loves crafts. I have narrowed the scope to jewellery designing for business purposes, with the Tish MacWebber Always Blinging business.
The jewellery business has never been my purpose.
It is really hard for me to admit this. I love being creative. For as long as I can remember, I have always made gifts for people. I had to search my heart to find my answer.
Writing is my purpose. Creativity is my passion. Jewellery Designing is my pleasure.
I wrote this when I relaunched my website in January 2019. My answer was right in front of me this whole time. People have asked me to narrow my scope since I started this journey to become an entrepreneur, and true to my stubborn, Scottish roots, I dug in my heels. I wanted to do it all.
For 17 years I have tried to get the jewellery business to be my thing. I will continue to work on it, but it is time to be realistic about it and see it for the hobby it really is. There are customers who I can rely on me when they need something special. The challenge of custom orders, especially when I can surprise my clients with the bling they didn’t know they needed, is something I enjoy. I will continue to make gifts for family and friends, however, I will not be continuing with it as a business. I’ll still sell pieces as a side hustle, but it will not be along for the ride in the passenger seat any more. It is time to pack it into the backseat, or maybe even in the trunk for a while. Not forever, but for now.
In three days, I will need to submit a new business plan
It is a little daunting to start it all over, after spending so much time on it already. I have to take what I have learned from meeting with professionals, and with my networking group to move forward. Yes, I have a plan.
My one on one meeting with my peer also made me come to this conclusion. She told me I would be lost in the subscription box business because it wasn’t about me. Her concern was that I will not reach the people I am meant to help with this business idea.
I have been reading two books. Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff by Richard Carlson and You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero. Yes, I do read in the washroom and the bedroom for a few minutes when I can. Real books; usually more than one at a time. I have 2 others in progress and am thinking about picking up a fifth as I have a stack of books from the library which I need to speed read to get through them all before the due date.
They are about changing the way you think, and I have been working on affirmation statements for a while. I realized today that I only need one. It is something I have been saying for a while now, and I shared it on my Facebook profile earlier this evening.
The world needs more Tish.
My next challenge is to rethink the whole business plan, based on this affirmation. In no way is it meant to be egotistical. I am not arrogant or conceited when I am saying this. What this affirmation means to me is that I can help people by being myself, and sharing the best parts of me with others.
My new business plan will reflect this. I can’t wait to share more details with you as they develop. Thank you for following my journey. Here comes another left turn. Hang on!
This week for #Tishspiration Tuesday, I am seeing results start to come back to me. What? Results? Things are going well. Not perfect, but very well.
A while ago I had asked for some information about cameras. I had been advised to find better quality pictures, and well, sometimes I like to use my own pictures instead of free to use stock photos, like the one I have featured above. The old Tuesday picture, the one I used to use, was my own, and I had a friend help me to edit it a while back. If you have been following for a while, you may remember this:
Previously on Tuesdays, I would write under this title and category. I was so grateful when my friends helped me with photo editing, and this was the final choice for the blog. It was a great pic at the time, and the enhancements made it better than the original.
Shortly after asking for advice on cameras, a friend offered to loan me a camera, long term. I am thrilled every time I take a picture. I use it frequently, and I have even downloaded the manual to improve my photography skills and to look up information as needed. It has been a dream to have a really great camera to take pictures with.
Since then, I have been working really hard on things.
Don’t get me wrong, I have had some good results from my hard work, and I appreciate every little bit of it. I have had meetings and appointments every week pretty much since I have been unemployed. It was a little tough at first, as nobody ever wants to unexpectedly find themselves unemployed. As you know if you follow this blog, I have chosen to take it as an opportunity to find out what I really want to do with my life. I have had jobs since I was a teenager, but now more than ever, I want to take another chance on me.
Sure, this is scary. It is a leap into the unknown, hoping that my dreams will turn into a trampoline and bounce me higher than I was before I started.
Realistically, I have wanted to be an entrepreneur for almost 20 years. I have tried on my own, several times, and failed. So why do I keep trying? The truth is, I am not a cookie cutter individual. I mean, I wrote a book which I describe as a memoir narrated by cats. I made up this word, #Tishspiration, and now I am developing a business idea, based on a word I made up.
Who does that?
I do. I make stuff up all the time. My sense of humour is sometimes out there, but I still crack jokes. With comedy heroes like Weird Al Yankovich and Betty White, I am going to make someone laugh, even if it is only me. I am writing a book and basing a business on a word I made up. It could be the best thing I ever did, or it could fail. In which case I will take the time I need to reflect on what did work, and what didn’t; before I try again.
So really, if you think about it, this entrepreneur thing is always a gamble. Someone comes up with an idea, and when they are brave enough, they try it out. Sometimes they make it work, sometimes they don’t. What happens next is the important part.
That part right there, the time for reflection, is the reason why I keep trying. If I quit, I could find a regular job and earn a paycheck every two weeks like I used to. When I left the job I had for 7 years, I had taken on a project which grew bigger than I could manage on my own, just to find joy in my daily job. The regularly scheduled work day was not fulfilling my life. I wanted more. I still do.
Today, some friends helped me out, in a big way.
Instagram. I have been trying to figure out how to be more active on Instagram for months. An author friend, Shannon McRoberts, has been advising me on how to do that without a cell phone. The day is getting closer to when I finally get one. It will be a celebration of some sort I am sure, and it’s going to be a real big deal when it happens, as people everywhere cannot understand why I don’t have one. It is something we haven’t been able to afford in our budget yet.
Lately, we are maintaining well, but any financial commitment will need to be planned carefully. It is also why we don’t yet have that kitten or dog we want. To be honest, I want 2 kittens, and I am in negotiations with Roy about it. He says because we want both a kitten and a dog, that we can’t get 2 kittens. I disagree; I also digress.
To expand my social media platform I have worked a little bit at a time. As an indie author, it is crucial to pick your lane and stick to it. With all of the changes lately in social media, however, I have thought about trying different lanes, and even different routes. I know there is a lot of action on Instagram, and I want to join in, to see what the buzz is all about.
I finally posted my first Instagram post today.
It was a fight, let me tell you. It seemed to be really difficult. I joined, but could not post from my computer because I couldn’t download the app from the google play store. It did not recognize my computer or laptop. My landline telephone number will not work as it is not a number from a mobile device.
Shannon told me about Hootsuite. I thought I finally had a workaround. So I went to sign up, only to find that I could try it for free, for 30 days. Another source said for 60 days. After the trials, I would have to pay to keep it going. I don’t want to be a flash in the Instagram pan, to be there and gone without a way to continue building content there.
After messaging back and forth with Shannon, finally, I learned that there is a way. Hootsuite will let me post 30 times in a month, to 3 different accounts. I am on my way to automation. It will be odd if you follow my author Facebook page, my Twitter account and my Instagram Account, as they will all be sharing the one post a day as I create them. Since I have a few to start with, and once they cycle through, I am going to create more content for the automation. I will work hard to keep as much of it as new as I can, so it doesn’t get boring.
I really do love to help people.
Shannon wasn’t the only friend who helped me out today, though. I went to see another friend, Marilyn King, at her store, King Woolens and Yarns. She has moved the location of the store several months ago, and it is now located within the city limits. It is really close to where I live, actually, and I have been to visit her there once every couple of weeks. I have been helping her with some graphics for the store, and she is learning more every time I visit.
Today, I helped her out, and she let me try to get the Instagram hiccup resolved by letting me try to do what I needed to on her tablet. She didn’t have the app on her tablet, and I thought I really needed a cell phone to get this program to work. I went home, disappointed, and ready to give up on it until I got a phone.
I relayed the news to Shannon, and she told me that the tablet will work if it has the app installed. Since Marilyn had told me it wasn’t installed on her tablet, I didn’t want to make her install it just for me to use for 15 minutes and then have to uninstall it. I thought of another option.
I sent out a message to another friend with a tablet.
MaryRuth McGee invited me to her place, and I made sure to ask that the app was downloaded. I wandered to the local dollar store on my way, just for some time to walk around for a few minutes. I found a cute picture frame and then went to MaryRuth’s. When I arrived, I said hello to MaryRuth and her daughter, who has grown up before my eyes into a smart, beautiful young woman, and I joined MaryRuth on the couch. I thought she was going to help me on her tablet, so it was a sensible place to sit. She handed me the tablet with a note on it for me to read.
I read the note and thought it was a reminder for her to help me when I arrived. She is very organized, and I didn’t understand what the note really meant. MaryRuth was giving me the tablet to use for my business! She said it is slow and old but it doesn’t matter at all to me, I have none to compare it to.
It’s here and went right to the dollar store after leaving her house to get it a case and a stand. She gave me one, and now I have 3. One to charge on and one for my desk. The one she gave me will be great if I am travelling with it. I also found purple earphones with a mic to try, as I may be filming for my social media with it. I have seen that they are necessary for some situations, and I want to be prepared.
As I pulled into my driveway, a wave of gratitude came over me.
I had thanked all of my friends throughout the day, but at that moment I fully realized what was actually happening. People are helping me not only because they are my friends, but because they see what I am working on, and because I want to help people, my friends are supporting me by helping me on my way. I had to just sit with it for a minute in the car before I came inside. I was feeling like I could cry, and I was shaking with the enormity of what I was thinking.
The day had its moments, both good and bad. Overall, I feel really blessed to have such good friends in my life. No matter what you believe in, when you put the right thoughts behind your actions, good things will follow. It isn’t always what you ask for, but it is always what you need. Truly, this was a #Tishspiration moment, where my friend was able to surprise me with her gift, and her encouraging note.
Have you had an unexpected gift which helped you to achieve something you were dreaming about? Please share in the comments below.
On the verge of a new idea, ready to burst with excitement. It is hard to contain it, to keep the important parts to myself. I cannot wait to reveal what I am working on to the world. Yes, to the world!
It has potential. When my ideas are getting interest within a circle of like-minded people who I trust, I know I am on to something. It could be life changing. If I take the time I need to develop it properly. If I get the support I need from the creative community in the city I live in. The possibilities really are just beyond my grasp, and can expand exponentially, under the right circumstances.
In literal terms, I am sitting at my computer desk, in my home. My home office is a part of my living room, which is centrally located within the floor plan. I have access to my TV and music while I am working, or on a break.
Figuratively, I am not exactly sitting.
I am on a tightrope, way up high, where I can still see the ground and the safety net. From this vantage point, I am on the brink of something new. I can see what is waiting on the other side of the tightrope. There is a place to go from here, with a ribbon to cut upon my arrival.
There are people who support me waiting to hand me the scissors to cut the ribbon when I reach the other side. They are holding balloons, and wearing party hats. Everyone in that space is waiting for me, tentatively holding their breath while they smile through the tough part.
The tough part, well that is on me. I am heading in the right direction, but like the sentence I opened with, I have been here before.
Deja Vu can lead you astray or guide you to where you were meant to be all along.
I have been on the verge of something wonderful before. People can attest to the joy I have when I am working on my dreams. The first time I went down this path, I had everything but a realistic business plan.
A local craft store was closing, and I got the idea to buy it and take over the business. I even had a price tag on what the owner was willing to sell it for. Networking within my community allowed me to meet people and start looking into a new location for my store. I had a vision for the design and layout. The problem, however was that I had no idea how much work and research is needed to create a proper business plan. I didn’t have the necessary support or resources to fund my dream. As a result, my proposal was declined, and that dream died when this happened.
When you pour heart into something, it is a devastating blow when it doesn’t work out. It could have put out the entrepreneurial flame within me. It didn’t, because I wouldn’t let it go out.
My next idea was for Tish’s Treasures.
I decided to forego the business plan this time, and just see what I could do with my love of creating. I wanted to run a jewellery business. The location I started at was very limiting. I went to the local Farmer’s Market and was told I had to sell other items, hand-made, but they would not allow me to sell my jewellery there. There were too many vendors already with jewellery for sale. I got creative, and worked on creating beaded ornaments and suncatchers. I went to craft shows with my full stock, and was thrilled with each and every sale I made.
This business idea was but a hobby, and so it never really turned a profit. When I stopped going to the Farmer’s Market, I would then turn to friends and family to generate income from my hobby. Again, it fizzled out of being an actual business. I began creating jewellery to give to people as gifts, with a custom order from time to time. I do have a few loyal customers, but it was never enough to generate a sustainable income.
Reality is a tough thing to understand as a dreamer.
Don’t get me wrong, I do have a logical side to my brain, along with the creative side. I am always thinking, and sometimes it takes me a while to find my courage to try again. Enter the dream of becoming a published author.
I was inspired to write From Where I am Sitting…A Collection of Cat Tales after working very hard at starting this blog. Again, I did not create a business plan, because cat people would totally get this book, and read it and love it. I am an optimist and a dreamer. It will generate future sales, and I hope it does. I have had success with the book, although not as much as I had hoped for, but the sales are not something which will ever really stop unless it is sold out. What a dream come true that would be, not just for me, but for any author!
After finishing the book, and indie publishing it, I wanted to write a second book. I do have a plan for the books I want to write, and unless this is the first contact you have had with Tish MacWebber, you know I am working on #Tishspiration: The Art of Surprising Yourself. It will be more than a book. It is the foundation on which I am building that tightrope walk on. I am working very hard on a new business plan, based on #Tishspiration. I am still in the development stages, but this time, I am playing on more of a level tightrope.
How are things different this time around?
For starters, I have learned lessons while I have been on this journey. I am finding out what resources are available to me, and I plan to use them to the fullest extent. While I am working on a new concept within #Tishspiration, I am still sticking to my original ideas. My business will not conform to narrow my scope, although I am looking to work with local artists in a very niche setting. There is plenty of room to grow with this idea, and I know where I need to start to get things going.
This time, I will be writing a business plan. I have contacts who will not write it for me but will support me to help me to succeed. This new business does not only help me. It helps other creatives, and the customers I will have who will buy what I am planning to offer. I am learning about my target market, and what I will need to do to get the idea to sprout from a dream into a garden. (Again, speaking figuratively here).
This time, I have a lot more information, and experience to guide my path. I need to focus, look straight ahead, hold out my arms to keep my balance, and dance my way across that tightrope. With the right plan of action, there is only one outcome that I will allow to happen. Fearless Success. Who knows, I just may surprise myself with another source of…
Several months ago, some friends visited with a common goal in mind. We sat around my kitchen table, talked, laughed, and tore up some magazines. Our mission was to collect inspiring pictures and words to create and add to our vision boards.
First, I began with a honeymoon magazine. I have always wanted to go somewhere for a honeymoon, and I love the beach. Other topics which caught my eye involved bright colours, decorating ideas, pets and plants. As a result, the number of pages I collected soon added up. This was the beginning step of creating my first physical vision board.
I have previously created a digital vision board. People are using them for backgrounds on their computers, and even on their phones, to be a constant reminder of what their goals are. Therefore, it makes sense to have pictures and digital photos where they can be seen easily, and frequently.
My first digital vision board
The goal for my digital vision board was to stay on brand, create inspiration, and show several goals at once. I was pleased with the outcome, but I also had all those pictures ready to glue onto a physical vision board.
When I set aside a second afternoon to work on the physical vision board myself, I selected and created a base. Next, I decorated it to add texture and colour. Then I stapled some bling around the outside. At this point, I was finally ready to go through the pictures I had collected.
A few hours later, I had collected and cut out every picture and word I thought I would use in my quest to create a vision board. After that, when I sorted the pictures and words, I realized I certainly had more than enough to create several differently themed vision boards.
Here you can see the 4 steps I used to create the first physical vision board.
As you can see, in step 4, the board is complete. I am still finding pictures which fall off the board, now that it is hanging on the wall. When I notice they are missing, subsequently I glue them back in place. However, it is a little annoying, but because it is my first one, there is a learning curve. The glue sticks didn’t seem to be working, so I tried the glue dots. For now, it is a great visual reminder of one of my main goals.
Finally, when it was finished, I then took another hour to rearrange the art on my office wall, to make room to hang up my new vision board. It is easy to see, and a colourful, vibrant reminder of something I am working towards as a personal goal.
I am pleased enough with this first physical vision board, that consequently, I am going to keep creating more. I am not sure if I will make them the same size as this one, or if I will vary the size based on the theme.
Have you ever created a vision board? Please feel free to share your pictures of yours in the comments, or a link to your vision board picture. I would be thrilled to see what other people create to inspire themselves to keep moving towards their goals.
#Tishspiration is defined as the Art of Surprising Yourself. I am currently working on my YouTube channel, #Tishspiration Station to help spread the word of this concept and upcoming book. As I reflect on what to include in the book, I also plan to share hints in the YouTube videos, and the posts here on Tuesdays right here, in my blog.
You might be wondering where this all started for me. I would have to rewind a few years back to explain. Here comes the tricky part. I want to tell my story, but not spoil everything I plan to write about in my book. I will absolutely be more forthcoming in my upcoming book. For now, I can share some details with you about what you need to do to start finding #Tishspiration in your life.
Open your heart
The first step is to open yourself up to the possibility of change. Find something which speaks directly to your heart, and incorporate it into your daily life. It could be something you see, hear or read for example. For me, an inspirational video was watched on a whim, at a low point in my life. It made me think about what I really wanted to do. The truth is, there has been a glimmer of #Tishspiration in me for my whole life. It just didn’t have a name or a definition for most of that time.
When you open your heart, you can take the first step. You can allow yourself to dream. We all have dreams for what we want out of life. Dreams can be the fuel to your reality. If you really believe, they can turn into jet fuel. Happiness is possible for everyone. Sparking joy does not only happen with items you decide not to purge from your life. It can also be about taking action on your dreams.
Next, you need to open your mind.
Once your heart is dreaming of what will make you happy, you need to then make a plan of how to achieve it. Spend some time thinking about the how, after you discover the what with your heart. Then find your reason, your why. It can only work if you believe, and it may not even be possible the first time you try. But you have to think until you have a plan.
To avoid being overwhelmed, write your thoughts down. Make a solid plan for what you want to do. Commit to breaking down the steps you will need to take to move forward. When you need help, ask. If you can afford to pay for what you need, do whatever it takes to prepare. If you are like me, and want to do as much as you can yourself, find support groups and peers who can guide you in the right direction.
Then, take action.
This might be the scariest part of all. It is okay to have apprehension when you try something new. Stick to your plan, and start acting on it. One step at a time, you can manage adding small changes up until they become a larger change. The only thing that can ever hold you back is yourself. It requires determination, and a desire to reach your goal. If you have these feelings rooted deeply in your heart, you will find the way to make things happen.
Celebrate every win. Contemplate every loss. The only way you lose it all is if you focus on the negativity, and negate the progress by doing so. We all want to succeed at our dreams, but it is not guaranteed to be easy, or done quickly. Give yourself time to learn what doesn’t work, and after that you try from a different angle. Reach out to your peers in both the good times, and the frustrating times. They can help you find a different perspective, and might be able to help you find the answers you need.
Finally, celebrate big wins and keep evaluating your plan.
When you invest your very essence into what your heart dreams of doing, you will have success. Changing your plans does not mean you have to admit defeat, rather it means you can evolve as your dreams do. For example, I have been dabbling in jewellery design for about sixteen years. When I started, I would follow the patterns in magazines exactly. Then I would play with the bead colours and sizes.
In order for me to infuse new life into my jewellery designing business, I changed the name. Tish’s Treasures became Tish MacWebber Always Blinging…and I brought my own designs to this website. The store is not flawless, but it is new. My designs are completely my own, though. Once I was comfortable trying different materials and drawing out my concepts, the joy I have from what I am creating is so much more intense than it was when I followed a pattern.
You see, it is more than just pride in my work. Which is important when you are creating original art. Whether it is the written words of an author, lyricist, or poet, the words are from the dreams. If your medium is paint, fabric, yarn or thread, the beauty of what you create is visually representing the dreams of your heart. If you create jewellery, and design it as I do, your dreams become tangible and visual. All of these forms of creativity are capable of bringing your dreams to life, and most importantly, the inspirations you have will certainly be able to inspire others to chase their own dreams.
When you find the sparkle in your eye, people respond.
I have been asked in the last few years about my motivations, and the resolution I have had to push my own boundaries. The fuel I talked about earlier is igniting progress, but it also lends itself to your energy in your heart. I can tell you that when it starts, it is a little spark inside, and people see the twinkle turn into a bubbly glow and they realize they are seeing something happen right before their own eyes. It is contagious, and other people want to know how to find this in their own lives.
In summary, this is a taste of what you can expect to read, in more detail, in my #Tishspiration book. I can’t wait to share it to help more people to find that little spark in their own lives. Once you get a feel for it, you want to keep it going, and it will change your life. As a result of reading my next book, you will gain the knowledge you need to start carving your own path to claiming your dreams.
Did you find this post helpful? What stage of your life are you in right now? Surviving or living to your greatest potential, out loud and in full colour? Are you lost in one of the steps outlined above? Please leave your comments below. I love to brainstorm, and if you are stuck, maybe I can help you find your way.Who knows, you just might surprise yourself!