So the hub-bub of the holidays has come and gone.? This year the kids are at such a wonderful age so it was an especially nice Christmas.? The older one is 5 now and really got into the whole Santa thing.? The little one who turned 3 yesterday pretty much just followed along with everything her older sister said and did.? You should have seen their faces when they saw all the presents Santa left.? The entire family (all 13 of us) spends the night every Christmas Eve at my momâ€™s house (still) so Christmas morning; you pretty much canâ€™t walk in the living room with all the presents under the tree.? In 35 years, I have never NOT spent the night at mom and paâ€™s.? Okay, onto business!?
After Christmas I went around to my retailers to get their little frames off their hands from the Low Country Live stocking stuffer promotion, and 2 of my stores completely sold out.? Needless to say, I had cases for them lickedie split.? It worked out wonderfully because the new Spicy collection was delivered right before Christmas, so I had 2 collections to offer.? Iâ€™m still compiling my list of target accounts for next week, and in doing so, I made a realization.? Let me back track a little.? (If you have been following my blog for any length of time, you know how all over the map I am.)? Sorry, itâ€™s just how my mind works.? I call my writing style â€œthe stream of consciousness nightmareâ€â€¦ there I go, digressing again.? Okay, back on trackâ€¦? A few days ago a fellow member of a business forum I am on announced he made it to the â€œbig showâ€.? (Thatâ€™s what I like to call QVC).? Itâ€™s no secret that QVC is my Everest, and while I am soooo thrilled for him, I kinda got wrapped around the axle with â€œI want QVC too!!!â€? A day or two before that, for some reason I was obsessed with getting into Omaha Steaks Store locations.? This morning I actually looked over the Cracker Barrel Vendor Requirements (itâ€™s a 62 page PDF file) and got snapped back to reality.? I need to just slow down there Cadillac.? I think I am wanting too much too fast.? For a about a week, I felt like I was so obsessed with landing that big fish NOW, when really I need to stick to the plan.? (I LOVE MY BUSINESS PLAN)? This is one reason why I am SUCH an advocate for â€œThe Planâ€.? You write your business plan before you go into business and hopefully with a clear head, so when you are in the thick of things and canâ€™t see the forest through the trees, you can refer back to it to keep you from running off in the ditch, or remind you of saner days when you methodically researched your strategies so it could reel you in.? That is exactly what my business plan is doing for me this afternoon.? Reeling me back in!? Donâ€™t get me wrong, if the big fish comes my way, Iâ€™ll be getting him, but I need to focus on building my company one small step at a time.? ?
My plan was for the first year to concentrate on smaller, independent gourmet gift shoppes and butcher stores, build a good base of customers then target the national chain stores like William Sonoma, QVC, Crate and Barrel Etcâ€¦? How did I get so ahead of myself?? ?Iâ€™ve only be really out there for a little over a month and Iâ€™m putting the cart before the horse.? I need to just stop, think, breath.? (Thatâ€™s what we tell the girls when they get frustrated, panicked or just crazy in general)? Stop, Think, Breath.? There is plenty of time for the Omaha Steaks of the world; I just need to concentrate on building business slowly and carefully.? Let the momentum build naturally and as my track record becomes established, the buzz gets created, and the sales start to speak for themselves, then there will be a time and a place to go national.? Stick to the plan Stan!? Okay, I feel better.? Iâ€™m back on track and sufficiently reeled back in!?
Leslie Haywood, Founder and President of Charmed Life Products, Inventor of Grill Charmsâ„¢? www.grillcharms.com
With so many new people coming to us from the Family Circle Article where Ellen writes on “Women of ReIntervention,”??I thought it might be a good idea to post some tips on starting a virtual assistant and/or administrative assistant business as that as mentioned in there.? If you have additional questions, please feel free to email me too at email@example.com.? I’m the Virtual Assistant Mom here and I’d love to help with any questions you have.?? — Diana Ennen, www.virtualwordpublishing.com
Proven How Toâ€™s On Starting Your Own Virtual Assistant Business — By Diana Ennen
Setting up a home-based virtual assistant business is relatively easy, but it’s important to have a complete plan of action set out in advance.? I’m a firm believer that the initial planning phase of a business is crucial to its success.? This ensures that you don’t leave any vital steps unaddressed and also prevents any unexpected surprises down the road.? Therefore, I recommend first writing a complete business plan for your business. Nothing technical, just how you plan to operate your business including advertising methods, pricing, business hours, equipment and supplies needed, etc.The next step is to select the appropriate name.? Take your time here as you want your business name to be an asset by appealing to your potential clients.? Your name needs to clearly express what services you provide and not limit you if you choose to expand your business into other areas.? Decide on a name that people would want to call if they have virtual assisting needs. ?
To operate a business you are required by law to have the appropriate licenses.? This is your permit to do business locally. It’s a simple procedure that doesn’t require a considerable amount of time.? Contact your city and county officials under occupational licenses for complete details or go online.? Most VAs start out initially as a sole proprietorship and then might change later.? However, you can also start as a corporation (S corp normally) or LLC.
Now it’s time to set up your bookkeeping. I find that the most important ingredient to keeping good books is keeping it simple.? If it’s easy to do, and doesn’t require a lot of effort, I tend it do it more regularly.? You will want to keep track of all your income and expenses.? Save all receipts and pay all your expenses out of your business checking account.? A software program such as Quickbooks is ideal for our type of business.? Not only does it allow you to keep accurate records, but it also enables you to track exactly where the most money is coming from.? This enables you to target your marketing efforts more in that area.?
Now you must decide how much to charge.? Don’t undercharge your services.? Many make this mistake. They feel if they price their services substantially below everyone else, they’ll get more business.? That’s true–you might get more business, but you’ll also be working outrageous hours and not making the kind of income you should.??
Next?you need to get those clients. The key to successful marketing is to tell clients what benefits they will receive by answering their main question, “What’s in it for me?”? Keep in mind, you’re not selling your services, you’re selling the benefits of your services.? What can you offer them that would make their business run more successfully.? An example of this would be accurate dependable service done on an â€œas neededâ€ basis.?? ?It is also important to have an impressive marketing piece. Your brochures, letterhead, flyers, business cards, etc., should look sensational.? Think back on what has caught your eye in the past. Now design your material with that in mind. The most important requirement is that it must be professional and convey that you are more than someone typing documents. Businesses want to deal with other professionals. They don’t want to risk their work, and possibly their clients, on someone who is not.? Let them know this is exactly what they will receive when they seek your services.? Places such as Vistaprints.offer affordable printing.?
Once established, word of mouth is your best advertisement.? When people get professional, accurate, and friendly service they tell others.? If you offer such exceptional service, you can be assured that you will need to advertise only at the onset to get your business started.? From then on, your repeat clients, and referrals from them, will keep your business thriving.?Recognition is also a key to success, whether it’s through the Yellow Pages, message boards, newspapers, chats, or school bulletin boards.? When clients see your business repeatedly, they become familiar with your company and when the need arises, they will call you.? Therefore consider where you can advertise that can keep your name out there.? Take advantage of your signature line and often add a P.S. to add emphasis.?Now that youâ€™ve got the clients, you need to keep them.? The best way to do this is to always provide them with more than they ask for.? Go the extra mile on all assignments.? Let them know that you value their business and are eager to help them succeed.? ?
And finally, enjoy your business.? Many start their own business to spend more time with their family.? Itâ€™s the perfect way to stay at home and still make an excellent income.? Firmly set your hours and learn to say no.? Remember itâ€™s your business and often your dream come true.? By learning your limitations, you can keep it a wonderful experience that both you and your family will enjoy.
Diana Ennen is the author of numerous books including Virtual Assistant: the Series, Become a Highly Successful,?Sought After VA, www.virtualwordpublishing.com, specializing in publicity and book marketing. Articles are free to be reprinted as long as the authorâ€™s bio remains intact.??
Yesterday was a crazy dayâ€¦ okay, Iâ€™m going to quit saying that because when â€œcrazyâ€ becomes â€œthe normâ€ then crazy isnâ€™t really crazy anymore now is it?? After my TV appearance Wed my PR gals thought it would be good to make up a little sign with my logo and something saying â€œGrill Charms, the perfect stocking stuffer for the Griller in your life, as seen on Low Country Live 12/19/07â€.? We worked on that Wed night then I printed out enough for all my local stores.? I took down enough 5×7 frames from around my house to put them in.? They actually turned out really cute.? (Wed afternoon I called all my local stores and asked if they would display my sign by the charms if I brought them and all but 1 said okay)? The store that does the most volume actually said they had absolutely no room for anything else in the store, but I canâ€™t complain, they can really move some product!? So yesterday morning I loaded up the kids in the minivan, put on the Nemo DVD and schlepped them from one end of town to the other!!? They ate fast food in the car, and got to watch TV so it was a banner day for them.? (We only allow the DVD to be on if we go on LONG car rides on vacation somewhere, so watching Nemo around town was a HUGE deal).? It only took me about an hour and ? and that included 1 potty stop and 10 minutes at the drive thru window.? ?
Right now all the retailers are up to their eyeballs with holiday shopping so I have completely shut down my wholesale sales efforts.? So close to Christmas, no retailer will even talk to you as they are so busy with what they have.? My internet sales have pretty much dried up because of the shipping time so Iâ€™m using this â€œdownâ€ time to formulate my plan of attack for the first week of January.? Iâ€™m gathering my list of target stores and leads so come the first week of January I can hit the ground running!? I just got an email from
Taiwan with the tracking number of my first 100 sets (broken down, coming airfreight) of the Spicy Collection.? I advised my PR gals that I wanted to tie the launch of the â€œSpicy Collectionâ€ with the very â€œSpicyâ€ gift giving holiday of Valentines Day.? There are so many gifts for the girls out there for this day of love, but not so much for guys, so thatâ€™s what our next PR efforts are going to be focused on.? I guess thatâ€™s all for now guys.? If I donâ€™t talk to you before then, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!!?
Leslie Haywood, Founder and President of Charmed Life Products, Inventor of Grill Charmsâ„¢? www.grillcharms.com
It was FUN!!!? I can say that because I did well.? If I tripped or said something stupid, I wouldnâ€™t have had the same opinion of the experience, but fortunately, IT WAS FUN!!!? I got there around 9:45 and met with my PR girls.? I wore a solid red sweater, foundation (which I NEVER wear!), lipstick AND lip-gloss (thanks for the tip mompreneurs) and tried really hard to slow down my speech and just act â€œnaturalâ€. That is sooooo easier said then done!? What is â€œnaturalâ€ anyway?? When you are TRYING to do something, then by definition it is NOT natural.? Everyone at the studio was very friendly and it was a very laid back atmosphere which helped my nerves tremendously.? I was on about 40 minutes into the hour show and I had the entire 3 minute segment on last minute Grilling Gifts for guys.? After the segment I gave each host a set of charms and a card thanking them for having me on.? They said they would have me back for the launch of my next collection (Spicy) which I think we are going to tie into Valentines Day and the â€œHottestâ€ guy gift for Valentines Day.? There is definitely an art to good PR and Iâ€™m really feeling good about my decision to hire someone.? There is a lot I am doing on my own, such as getting named in various blogs about Grilling and making contacts online with different Foodie people, but stuff like todayâ€¦ the ONLY reason I was on that show today was because of my PR gals.? So farâ€¦ money well spent.?
Leslie Haywood, Founder and President of Charmed Life Products, Inventor of Grill Charmsâ„¢? www.grillcharms.com
So here I am, another Monday.? I am at the same little restaurant with free WiFi that I frequent while the girls are at ballet, if Iâ€™m not out pounding the pavement.? This is the last class until after the holidays so I probably will not be writing on Monday evenings anymore.? I just visited one of the stores Iâ€™m in over here to show them the samples of the next two collections.? They are very excited and had nothing but great things to say.? Of course, I tell all my friends on this side of town to buy their Grill Charms from here.? The owners say they can always tell when the customer is a friend of mine because they pop in and just say â€œOkay, where do you have the Grill Charms?â€.? ?
My husband and I had a little heart to heart last night.? Oh boyâ€¦ here I go, airing dirty laundry againâ€¦? Itâ€™s no secret that success comes from hard work and sacrifice.? Sacrifice by definition means to forfeit or give up something in order to have something else.? Sometimes as Mompreneurs, the first thing we sacrifice is time.? As mommies we are not willing to make too large of a sacrifice with our children (Of course, as they are numbero uno in our lives), so inevitably it filters down to our loving husbands.? My husband has his own stuff going on and obviously I do too.? We had noticed that over the past few weeks, neither of us really had any idea what was going on in each others lives.? There was a feeling of distance that we both recognized and felt we needed to do something about.? After a wonderful discussion last night, we both came to the same conclusion.? We both agreed that the root of our distance wasâ€¦ YOU.? And by YOU I donâ€™t mean YOU, my wonderful friends in cyberspace, but literally YOU thing that Iâ€™m pounding on right now with your black little keys and seductive white letters.? YOU with your flashy screen saver that calls to me as you sit there on the bar in the kitchen beaconing me to come â€œcheckâ€ you, or update you or stroke your keys.? YOU portable, technological vortex that sucks every ounce of time and energy I have left in a day leaving me staring at you for hours while my husband busies himself with projects and the idiot box of a TV instead of engaging in meaningful conversation about our days and our lives.?
You see, we have a home office upstairs where we have a big olâ€™computer, files, printer, fax and everything you need to run a business.? Then we have YOU.? You transportable thing that gets placed anywhere and everywhere we are.? Over the past few weeks, when Iâ€™m not making dinner, playing with the kids, running errands, or doing laundry, wherever I am, you are there and I am on you.? NO MORE!? We have decided that the laptop is not allowed â€œoutâ€ in the living area of the house anymore.? You laptop, are too tempting for us weak souls to ignore.? I would find that on any given night, instead of talking over a glass of Merlot, he would be in front of the TV and I would be at the bar in the kitchen feverously doing whatever it is that I do on you.? No more my convenient, enticing friend, NO MORE!!? ?
As usual, life is in super fast motionâ€¦? The girls are better, but I got the bug, so yesterday was AWEFUL but Iâ€™m right as rain today.? Since we last met, I am in 2 more stores, hired a team of publicists/PR gals, have been in 1 more local paper (which I have yet to even see yet) and am preparing for my first real live TV interview about Grill Charms!? ?
Monday while the girls were at ballet (yep, itâ€™s a reoccurring themeâ€¦ I seem to get a lot done on that side of town while the girls are in ballet) I went by a grilling store and talked with the owner.? He was a bit of a hard sell, and asked if he could â€œtryâ€ only taking a ? a case (6) to test them out.? (My minimum is 1 case = 12).? Being the very accommodating manufacturer that I am, I said â€œof Course!â€? He was a tough cookie, I liked him right away.? The very next day he called me around 10:15 to tell me that his first customer of the day walked in, looked around, bought some stuff, asked about the Grill Charms he had sitting by the register, she was given the schpeel and she bought 2 sets!? ?
Earlier that day (Monday) I set up a meeting with a girlfriend who used to do PR in her life BC (Before Children) and 2 other gals that I had met (and talked about in previous blogs) that do a good bit of PR and publicity work for cookbooks and stuff so they have the â€œfoodieâ€ expertise.? I actually pulled the trigger and hired them to do what they do.? As the founder, president and only employee of a start-up itâ€™s so hard to know exactly where to allocate your limited resources and itâ€™s not like you can ask anyone.? Of course there are all you great people in cyber-space, but ultimately itâ€™s all you to make those ever so important decisions.? I have never claimed this to be a manual or â€œhow toâ€ blog about anything. ?This is just what I have done and am doing.? Youâ€™ll read if it worked or not sooner or later!?
So anyway, back to the PR gals.? The price is pretty high being such a small new company like I am, BUT I have saved a lot of money in other areas, which is the only way paying for PR is possible at this time. (Just having Clemson design the packaging was thousands right there!)? My web guy also did work for less then I had budgeted, sales in general are better then I had projected and so far overall I have come in under budget, so I do have some money to â€œplayâ€ with, so to speak.? Not that there EVER feels like it is play money, but exposure is the name of the game and trying to be a mommy, manufacturer, wholesaler, retailer, sales rep, accountant AND do the PR needed to get this crazy company off the ground is just more then I can do.? SOOOO DELEGATE I did! ?
We had our little meeting on Monday and by Wednesday I was in a local paper and this coming up Wednesday they booked me for a local TV show â€œLow Country Liveâ€ for my first â€œGrill Charmsâ€ LIVE TV INTERVIEWâ€¦ (the other one was so impromptu and about a totally different topic, there was no time to get nervous)? Iâ€™m FREAKING OUT!!!? So far, I most certainly can say Iâ€™m pretty sure I made the right decision in hiring these gals.? They are really sharp.? Stay tuned my friends.? Itâ€™s about to get interesting!!!?
I thought you’d enjoy this article I wrote for the holidays on time management.? I wrote this in 2004 and recently found it.? Had to change a few things (including the price of stamps!).?? Boy did I need to find it.? Almost 10 days to Christmas and I’m so not ready.? I took this, I’m going to just take it easy this year and do things when I can?approach.? Well, note to self, next year remember that you still need to get things done!? It sure was fun though.?? And what I discovered was that I did actually start making a habit of some of these tips so I am a little farther along than I thought.? For example, I pick up Christmas meal supplies when I do my regular grocery shopping.? etc.How are your holidays coming along?? Please do post.? One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to Blog more!? Okay, it’s in print so you can hold me to it now.? Thanks? — Diana Ennen
Tis The Season To Be Jolly â€“?Fa La La La la – I Don’t Have Time?
But you do. ?Weâ€™ll help you! Let this season be one of joy and peace.? A time to laugh with friends and share precious moments with family.? A time to visit with clients and show your appreciation.? You can sing those carols, shop with ease, and most importantly relax.? Sound too good to be true.? Well, try a few of these holiday time management tips and see if they work for you.?
1. ?Plan ahead:? Who says you have to buy the holiday meal the week before.? Each time you go to the grocery store, pick up those extra cans of cranberry sauce or Jell-O and jot it down on a list. With your business, buy those 2008 calendars, Daytime Planner refills, client gifts, etc.? Keep a list and as you get things, mark it off.??
2.? Gift Certificates: ?This is magic to the ears of relatives who donâ€™t know what to buy family members and for us with clients who we arenâ€™t sure what to buy. Not only are they well received, but instead of paying $5.00 or more S&H, you pay 41 cents.? Best yet, you donâ€™t have to worry about the cut-off date for getting it there on time for those out-of-state packages.?
3.? Organize: ?Itâ€™s crucial.? You donâ€™t have the time to be looking for things.? If possible before the holidays, spend a day or two and totally organize your home and office.? What a tremendous feeling to go into the holidays feeling on top of things.? If thatâ€™s not possible, grab every spare minute you can, whether talking on the phone or waking up early. ?For your holiday wrap, scissors, tape, find a place for it and be sure to put it back each time. Your holiday catalogs arrive daily; you are going to need a place for them as well.? Find the best place now and then always put them there.?For business, start the New Year out right.? Clean out those files and file the important papers away. Get the trash can out and with lots of courage, toss out those things that arenâ€™t important.? Be brave!? If you havenâ€™t used it in a couple of months, chances are you wonâ€™t miss it. Do it!!? Go ahead and while you are at it, set up your files for 2008.?
4.? Schedule Your Time Well:? Itâ€™s a glorious time of year.? Church and kids plays, office parties, holiday shopping, friends, family, etc., etc., etc.? Yes, itâ€™s overwhelming, but with the right scheduling, it can be tremendous fun.? Write everything down.? A calendar on the wall with family events is a must.? You donâ€™t want to miss a thing.? Get the haircuts, the holiday dresses/suits, and the family portrait now.? Also, now is not the time to add on any extras. If it can wait until after the first of the year, let it. (Oh, and donâ€™t forget to arrange for those babysitters.) For business, this can be an extremely busy time of year for many.? Clients need to finish up yearly tasks and might be sending you a lot of work.? For the seasonal clients, itâ€™s even busier.? Stay focused.? Donâ€™t let your mind constantly drift to the nightâ€™s activities.? Use your Daytimer and schedule your day precisely.? Use e-mail instead of the phone whenever possible.?? Concentrate!? You can do it!?
5.? Delegate Tasks:? Your time is valuable.? Is there someone else who can do the job for you?? Let them.? You might find they actually enjoy helping and often can use the money.??
6. ?Break Tasks Down: For those of us in business, many tasks are doubled.? You have your gift giving, sending out cards, etc. Do a certain amount each night. Youâ€™ll enjoy it more and wonâ€™t rush to complete the task.? Group your errands, both business and pleasure.? Make every trip count.? Youâ€™d be amazed at how much time you can save by planning ahead.?? When you think, gosh that would be perfect for so and so buy it.?? Why wait and have to come back and worse yet, have to think about where you saw it.
7.? Learn to Say No: This is a good business and personal practice all the time, but around the holidays itâ€™s essential.? This year, think of you and your family first.? What would bring them the greatest joy?? Do you really need to do it?
8. ?Avoid the Rushes:? We work from home.? We donâ€™t have to be at the post office or bank at noon or after hours.? Go at 10:30 a.m.
9.? Avoid Guilt:? Itâ€™s outta there!? No, your house isnâ€™t the cleanest.? So what!? So you didnâ€™t finish all the marketing you wanted.? Big Deal!? ?What you have is more precious.? If you can enjoy this holiday, even for yourself, isnâ€™t it worth it!? Arenâ€™t you worth it!? Plus, how much better will you be as a mom and businesswoman.?
10.? And Finally – ENJOY!!?? Not just that one night or several days, but the whole holiday season. Too many plan for the main event, the holiday itself, but instead, this year enjoy the journey getting there too.????
Tis The Season To Be Jolly â€“ Fa La La La?La ?â€“ I FOUND THE TIME!!
Diana Ennen is the author of numerous books including?Virtual Assistant – The Series: Become a Highly Successful, Sought After VA and accompanying Workbook and Corel Word Perfect Virtual Assistant Solution Pack.? This year she?celebrated her 23rd year in business as President of Virtual Word Publishing.? www.virtualwordpublishing.com
We know those days are ahead of us….
Those of us who do not homeschool and have children in the traditional school setting realize the Winter Break is almost here…..
Thoughts of what will we do with our little “I’m bored” Robots and “There’s nothing to do” Rascals loom overhead and around our feet……
Here are some quick links to get yourself prepared ahead of time.??One of these cool craft ideas?comes from our very own Melissa and her ?Storybook Studio where you can stop by and do some very cool Christmas, Hanukkah and Holiday?shopping.? Find a very easy to make wreath activity by clicking here.
Another cool place to swing by would be Enchanted Learning - a site that is free for visitors, and once you become addicted (like I am!!) they appreciate a yearly membership fee of … hold onto your hats!!!! … $20!? It rocks!!!? I use this site for our Boca Beth Educator’s Club, and our subscribers LOVE their resources.? There is something for every day of the Winter Break if you need it.
As always, Happy Educating!? ?Sea feliz educando!
p.s. (For some FREE bilingual language cards to help our during down time?because you still wish to keep their minds sharp and learning a little the fun way (even over the Winter Break), click here for more than 80 Spanish and English fun cards.? Have one child be the ‘teacher’ and the other be the students!? Then switch off!)
Sorry I’ve been gone for a while.? Our house has been hit with the latest stomach bug going around and it has been brutal.? My littlest one started with it, then the older one has had it REALLY bad for days and today my husband has it.? There has never been so much TV watching around here then there has been this past week.? It’s so hard to focus on business when your heart isn’t in it.? This must be what it’s like to go to a job you don’t like every day.? It must be torture.? Now I know and understand just how important it is to do something you love and how fortunate I am to have found my “something”.? My head and my heart have not been “in the game” because I have been so worried and focused on the girls, so my business and work has really suffered.? There is so much I “should” have been doing, but my job numbero uno required Grill Charms to take a little bit of a back seat.?
I did have an exciting moment?a few days ago.? My hubby stayed home with the kiddies while I went to a Christmas party for a wonderful organization of which I am a business member.? It is the Center for Women www.c4women.org ?? I’m a new member so I didnâ€™t know many other members and when I was walking in a gal in the group asked what I did and I said “I inventing the grilling accessory Grill Charms” and she said “I’ve seen those, thatâ€™s you?!!”? WOW!? Someone actually saw them in stores locally, and knew what they were!!? That was a proud moment.? I’m now in 4 stores locally, 1 store in
Denver and 2 online stores.? I’m slowly but surly getting out there.?
Last Sunday my mom watched the girls while my husband and I went to
Myrtle Beach as attendees for the day to a Gift and Resort Merchandise tradeshow.? It wasn’t really my genre.? It was a very beachy gift store oriented show, but we just went to see what a big trade show looked like and what people did for booths.? For this show, it looked like most of the exhibitors were distributors.? Their booths were FULL of stuff from many different companies.? 1 booth for example took up an entire â€œblockâ€ and looked like a typical gift store at the beach all by itself! ??Not much else earth shattering in the world of business this week.? My little one is on the mend so Monday Iâ€™ll get back out there full force.? Iâ€™m thinking though that I need to save a lot of my sales calls until after the first of the year.? I called a big online store and asked to talk to their buyer about becoming a potential vendor and the gal said I â€œto be honest, you should wait until the holidays; we are all very busy right nowâ€. ?She made a good point.? If Iâ€™m not in the store by NOW, chances are their crunch time is on, and they are too swamped to be very receptive to anything new right this moment.? Iâ€™m in a good many stores, so I think Iâ€™ll just keep up the networking, spread the word and truly focus on wholesale calls and efforts after retailers slow down in January.? Iâ€™ll have a good few months during the first of year to get everyone excited about carrying Grill Charms for the spring and summer grilling season.? Thatâ€™s the plan anyway!?