Archive for January, 2009

Pay it Forward

Posted by at 31 January, 2009, 10:56 am

I have a great little story behind the below hit, but first I’m going to catch you up on some stuff. This past week I hired 2 sales reps. 1 for FL and 1 for NC. As with most manufacturer’s reps, they are commission only (be prepared to pay about 15%) and only get paid after I do. Win – Win. Now all I have to do is focus on the 48 other states. I’m also working with the owner of a Swedish company who is on a crusade to bring the trend and sport of grilling and Q’ing to the masses of Sweden. He found me while researching grilling online and fell in love with the product. I’ll give you more details as we iron them out.

Okay, on to the topic of the day. I have a wonderful example of a company paying it forward. A company called Spread the News  approached me a while back about doing some PR work. At the time (and still now) I really didn’t have the money to invest in a campaign, however they were so nice, we have kept in touch. A little while ago they had a customer in my industry (grilling) back out of a campaign so they had some available space and content to fill with a grilling product. They got a hold of me and asked if minded if they pitch my product. As you can imagine, I was EXSTATIC! They didn’t ask for anything in return and have come up with some great results. According to, “The Bachelor Guy” (below) receives an average of over 43,000 unique visitors a month!


If you are in need of a PR company, please give Cydney Upton or Todd Brabender a call. For more information about them here is an article in the WSJ


Their act of kindness reminded me that I could probably (couldn’t we all) do more in the “giving without expectation of receiving” department. It doesn’t have to cost anything and it’s contagious. This afternoon I am hosting a brain storming session for a friend of a friend who is in the planning stage of starting her own company. I don’t have much to give accept a little knowledge as I have “been there done that”. It’s only about 2 hours of my time, but hopefully it will save her much more then that in time and aggravation by avoiding some of the pitfalls I encountered and using some of the resources I found through trial and error. I think all too often we forget that you get what you give and the giving is more important then the getting. I really do try to live my life that way, but every once in a while I get caught up in my own little life and my own little business that I need reminding. Thank you so much for the reminder! Pay it forward

Leslie Haywood, Founder and President of Charmed Life Products, Inventor of Grill Charms™

Category : The Journey of Grill Charms!

What Have You Taught Your Child Lately?

Posted by at 29 January, 2009, 11:46 am

We are our children’s first teacher! You know that, don’t you.

And often times, particularly during this troubled times, we find ourselves forgetting to just stop and take a few minutes to read with our little ones or study state capitals with our older ones (only because I just did this last night with our 3rd grader!).

I suggest to all of us, as we watch and hope that this new administration truly does hold true to their focus on world class education for our young people, to pick up a book today when our little ones get home and just read with them!

The other day I hopped online with our 3rd grader and searched other online Spanish learning web sites. It not only was part of my R&D for Boca Beth, but it also gave us some quality time!

Keep being your child’s #1 teacher today!

Happy Educating! ¡Sea feliz educando!

Boca Beth

Category : Teacher Mom

Back From Atlanta

Posted by at 20 January, 2009, 12:36 pm

Hello hello!!?

I am so sorry it has taken me so long to write. That was the craziest 6 days of my business career. What a rush!? The fact that I pretty much did everything all by myself has definitely given me a big ole’ confidence boost.  I car pooled with friends who had a booth in a different building so we did have each other to ride with to and from the show every day.  One of them (they are sisters) would stop by my booth once in the morning and once in the afternoon to give me a potty break. Lunch was me sneaking a bite of a protein bar while trying to look like I wasn’t chewing anything as folks walked by. The first 3 days I really wanted the cute  factor so I wore cute shoes. Days 4 and 5, comfort won out and the Danskos came on. I even used inserts but there is no help for being on your feet from 8:30 – 6:00 every day. AmericansMart Gift and Housewares show is considered one of the best shows of its kind.  It is an order writing show, so be prepared with pad’s in hand!? Grill Charms is now in 38 NEW stores because of those 5 days. Yep, I wrote 38 new orders during the show and since it was my first show, AND due to the economy they say that attendance was down by 60% over years past, everyone tells me I did fantastic. ?

When I arrived the day before the show, my shrink wrapped boxes on a skid were sitting in the middle of my 10×10 booth.  There was nothing but white drapes on 3 sides, two tables, 1 chair, 2 risers and a trash can.? By the time I was done I had a carpeted space (yep, laid my carpet myself) which was totally in keeping with my brand and look complete with black and red drapes, signage, shelves and of course I wore nothing but black and red for 5 days straight!  The best thing about the show was of course writing orders, but another very valuable aspect of doing these shows are the contacts you make and the knowledge you gain from fellow exhibitors.? After 5 days with the same people, your neighbors become a little family. Now I have the International Housewares show in March to look forward too.  Apparently that one is even BIGGER.? I can’t imagine!  I have got tons more work to do, leads to follow up with, more orders to enter and even a new sales rep I’ve hired.  It was so worth it and a must do for anyone with a product. In 5 days I got almost as many stores as I did in a years worth of sales calls on my own.  Back to work!

Leslie Haywood, Founder and President of Charmed Life Products, Inventor of Grill Charms

Category : The Journey of Grill Charms! | Tradeshows

Virtual Assistant Businesses

Posted by at 15 January, 2009, 8:30 pm

My co-author Kelly Poelker started a new listserve for Virtual Assistants recently.  What a joy it has been to connect with VAs who I’ve known for years and just lost touch with.  I get the opportunity to hear how they are doing, what’s new, etc. It’s truly awesome.

It reminds me of the importance of staying in touch.

This year I resolve to really do better at it. I want to meet others offline and on. It’s a commitment that I’ve made before, but this year I’m determined to keep it.  So I committed to a monthly coffee meeting on the 3rd Saturday of each month. If anyone is interested, email me.  It’s going to be at a local restaurant and very low key.  So South Florida VA’s email me.

Also, I’m more active on twitter.  How fun can that be.  Follow me at

Also, if you’re interested in Kelly’s group, email me too at

What are you doing to make your business rock in 2009?


Diana Ennen, Virtual Word Publishing,

Category : Virtual Assistant

Sticking to goals and slowing down a little

Posted by at 11 January, 2009, 9:26 am

Rush for this, rush for that, scattered, scattered, scattered. That’s pretty much how I’ve felt since I started my business with my husband a little over two years ago. We started the business so that I could escape the corporate world and the 10 hours a day I would have to spend away from my family.

However, starting a business has required great sacrifices from my family. My stress levels have gone up, up, up and away. I know that as an entrepreneur, I try to do too much and then get down on myself for not making it all happen all the time. Set impossible standards for yourself and you’ll never measure up.

So, this year, my mantra is “Order and Harmony”. The world isn’t going to end if I lighten up on myself a little. So far, it’s working. I take some personal time for myself everyday, I focus on my kids when I’m with them, I spend more time with them on the weekends.

The other thing that has suffered in the last two years is our environment. Our home is packed with business stuff and since moving here three years ago, we haven’t been able to focus on fixing the place up at all. I’m finally coming to the realization that my surroundings and environment have as much to do with my sanity as anything else. So, we’re taking on some projects around the home – without feeling that the business should be a priority instead.

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t do anything differently. As crazy as it’s been, I wouldn’t change it for the world. Even though I’m a basket-case half the time, I have met my main goal of being with my children. And there have been good side-effects that I never foresaw, mainly how inspirational it would be for my kids to see us start our own business. They are constantly coming up with their own business ideas, they understand that working hard is a part of life, and they’ve had amazing experiences traveling with us to trade shows and other events.

I love my life, I’m just a little more determined to take time to smell the roses.

Category : Blogging Mom

About to leave

Posted by at 7 January, 2009, 12:14 pm

I wanted to fire off one more entry before I hit the road. Today has been less then perfect, so I figure if I purge all the evil right now, right here, so it will not follow me. I’m about to get on the road in 15 minutes and about 2 hours ago, the lap top bit the dust. I will be going away on the biggest business trip of my life for 7 days without a lap top. I am riding with and staying with a friend and she is bringing hers so at night I will be able to work on something and thankfully I have memory stick so I won’t be totally in the dark, however, there is the Quickbooks issue. If she does not have Quickbooks 2008 on her lap top (and I can’t get a hold of her right this second to find out), I will not be able to access any of my accounts. Isn’t that CRAZY?! I’m still in shock and have not really digested the ramifications of going to my first tradeshow and not have access to my “business”. THEN about 1 ago my old phone (which is so old that I have not gone to Sprint to have all the files input into my new phone) dumped all the information and somehow when I went to re-sync it, it backed up the “nothing” that was on my phone onto the desktop. I do have a back up to the back up but that is the…… you guessed it…. THE DEAD LAP TOP! So basically I’m going to Atlanta for 7 days, on the most pivotal business trip of my career thus far with no computer, no contact information, no account information and no clue. Okay…. This is where it STOPS. I’m going to get on the road, have a fantastic trip, gets tons of sales, do things the old fashion way (with pen and paper) and knock-em dead!! Wish me luck!!

Leslie Haywood, Founder and President of Charmed Life Products, Inventor of Grill Charmsâ„¢

Category : The Journey of Grill Charms!

Happy New Year!!

Posted by at 3 January, 2009, 3:46 pm

Well, 2008 turned out to be a bit of a struggle, but we have a fresh new start to 2009.? I wish health, happiness and prosperity to you all!? Here are few mentions since my last blog.?

I suppose the biggest news is that I have finally gone “international”.? A store in Saskatchewan Canada is my latest customer.? I leave for AmericansMart in
Atlanta Wednesday and like many big events in one’s life, it has worked its way into my dreams.? Last night I woke up panicked because I dreamed that when I got there, none of my stuff was right, I had no pictures; my booth was all messed up etc…? It was the equivalent of the “showing up to your prom naked” dream.? I’m pretty sure I have all my ducks in a row.? My back has been giving me a little trouble lately so I’m a little nervous about the set up and break down part but I’m sure it will be fine just fine.? When my eldest (who is now 6) was a baby, I fell down some stairs with her in my arms and like any mother; I sacrificed myself to keep her safe.? She had not a scratch on her, but my back has never been the same.? About twice a year I manage to do something to “throw it out” and wind up on the couch for 2 weeks.? It’s okay at the moment, but I’ll need to watch it being on my feet all day for 5 days in a row from 8:00-6:00.? I talked to a friend who is also going to the show and when I told her I was going to work it alone she said there is “no way”.? I guess at this point ignorance is bliss, especially since I don’t have a choice in the matter.? I’ll try to get another post done before Wed, but if I don’t talk before, I’ll catch you on the flip side with LOTS to say.?


Leslie Haywood, Founder and President of Charmed Life Products, Inventor of Grill Charmsâ„¢?

Category : The Journey of Grill Charms!