Posted in Alzheimer's, Growth, Inventory, Seasons, Time Management


It is another beautiful, fall day in the Midwest.  Our Eastern neighbors are evacuating because of Hurricane Florence.  Our Western neighbors are doing the same for Hurricane Olivia.  I’ve put chili in the crock pot and ready to dig through the “collections” which are scattered throughout my office.  I am trying to avoid using the word “hoard,” but I’m only fooling myself.

I honestly wanted to run out of there and do anything but this daunting task.  I keep remembering that I have a schedule I want to stick with to have my first prototype completed by the end of October.  While that seems like a long ways off, it really isn’t.  I’m seeing Christmas trees to remind me of this.

First, I went back upstairs to the attic thinking I had a few more boxes to go through.  Thankfully I don’t, because today is warmer than yesterday and it is an uncomfortable temperature up there.  I was also trying to ignore the pain in my back and arms from yesterday’s purge.

Back to the office where I sort through the “collection” of material I’ve amassed in the past decade.  I was happy to find more than just holiday material and believe I have enough to make at least 3 prototypes. Remember, it is only a hoard if I have no plans to use it.

My sister brought over some apron patterns to choose from and I’m close to deciding which one and how much material it will take for each.  I want one without ties that will simply go over the top of someone’s head and flatten at the neckline.  It’s important that it be easily removed by the caretaker.

On to the sewing notions I didn’t know I had.  I have enough beads, bias tape, elastic cording, Velcro, D-rings, lace and such that I was able to come up with several ideas on how to piece this together.  My sister and I agreed that I will definitely need lining to stiffen up the material in front, I’ll need to investigate just which product that will prop up all that I plan to attach to the apron.

What does all of this have to do with today’s blog title?  Well, as I sat in the center of my office, I was surrounded with all of these pieces to a puzzle that will be a Fidget Apron.  That feeling of being totally overwhelmed and thoughts of failing started to enter my mind.  Truly I’ve made it so that if I do fail, I’ve lost nothing but my time and a bit of pride.

Then I looked up and had forgotten I had leaned a picture against the wall a few days back.  It simply says “Believe”





Posted in Growth, New Year, Seasons, Social Media, Time Management

Answering the Bell (Your Questions)

Like most bloggers, I’m excited when I see the dot next to the bell.  If you’re not a member of WordPress, it is located on the top right of the screen and indicates “I’ve Got Mail.”

  • Are you in the United States?

Yes I am.  I reside in a small town in Central Illinois.

  • Will you write about something controversial such as current events?

No,  My views are expressed on my personal Facebook Page.  This blog is to escape all of that as well as focus on small business.

  • Am I between the age of 50-80 and need life insurance?

Yes and no thank you!

  • Have you tried Let Go, Mercari, Bonanza or Offer Up?

I have tried Bonanza and feel it is an excellent tool to get your Ebay Store more exposure.  Let Go and Offer Up are more popular in cities and suburbs.

I do recommend the platform Varage Sale and Facebook Marketplace to sell items you no longer want.  I would not try to make a business out of either.

Amazon FBA is perfect if you have hundreds of similar items.  Think of it as Ebay on Speed.

  • You  closed your Ebay and Poshmark store.  When will you reopen on Etsy?

I have made the decision not to try to sell during this 4th quarter.  I’m actually looking forward to a holiday season that I am not running a business or working retail.  I’ll open on Etsy around January 1st.

If you’ve been keeping up with my blog, you know I’m at the stage of developing a prototype of what I will eventually sell.  This takes time and I’m not rushing.

  • Have you considered a YouTube channel?

I do have a YouTube Channel, but haven’t utilized it.  I’ve considered embedding video’s in my blog.





Posted in Growth, New Office, Sales, Seasons, Social Media, Time Management, Uncategorized, Virtual Assistant

What Must You Do Before Starting a Home Business?

I was recently listening to several podcasts by entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuck and found there were a few steps I never completed before starting my previous business.  I thought I would share a checklist that I will try to complete before opening my next business.  The items listed are not in chronological order or in order of importance.

  1. Do the research!  With my previous business, I headed to Ebay to check and see the median price for a pair of used Levi jeans.  This was something I felt I would have great access to at various thrift shops. When researching this business, I have been using Etsy and Pinterest to pinpoint the one Alzheimer’s fidget craft that will make a profit and fill a need.  Fidget mats seem to be a saturated line of fidget crafts.  Cuffs, Pillows and Aprons are not as prevalent.  The first two are small which would have a lower price point and a higher gross profit.
  2. Create a business plan! How much cash will it take to make a number of prototypes?  Do you have the equipment needed to complete the task?  If not, add that to your list of expenses. Will you need some classes or training to make your prototype?  You will be competing against masters of a craft.  What  what will make yours different?
  3. What type of business structure?  There are people and research you need, to plan for before opening.  You will need an accountant to at the very least, file your taxes.  Do you need a partner, in order to complete a quality product in a timely manner?  Do you need a source of funding in the form of a partner?  Do you need a virtual assistant to do the mundane and repetitive activities?  Can you survive financially creating and running this business on your own?
  4. Where will you purchase your supplies?  If you are very lucky, you have the needed supplies to create your first prototype.  If that is not a possibility, can you purchase items from a thrift store, garage sales, a warehouse or a discount retail establishment.  Do not cut quality standards in order to get the lowest price!
  5. Social Media is your Friend! You don’t want to be “that person,” on Facebook asking friends and family to purchase.  You need to get the word out.  Develope your own business Facebook page.  That is free and the cost to boost exposure is minimal.  Start an Instagram account.  Create a Twitter account.  YouTube is a very popular place to get the word out.  Last, begin a SnapChat Account.  If you are not knowledgeable about these platforms, get on the internet or ask your kids for direction.  This is something you need to land on both feet running.
  6. Find some Office Space!  It is very tempting to say you’ll simply work on your laptop from your bed!  What a life!  You’ll go nowhere, quickly.  Can you clear out a closet and begin with all of your equipment stored and a small space?  Can you to take over the corner of a room?  Can you take over an empty bedroom and totally devote this space to your business.   It is so important to separate your business from your personal space in some meaningful way.  You will burn out and be overwhelmed if your house is filled equipment and supplies.
  7.  Make a Portfolio!  This might be as simple as ordering business cards, letter head, thank you notes and envelopes.  You might need a resume and a or presentation of some kind to show possible partners and investors.  Be sure to do this before you open as you will be very busy creating and you need to be prepared for your first sale!
  8. Decide on an Opening Day! Nothing is worse than beginning without a goal.  Okay, maybe opening without all of your ducks in a row.  Either way you will be overwhelmed and disorganized.  Make sure the date is far enough in advance, but also timely.  If your product is Christmas related, you may need to hold off a year as

This is by no means a complete list of things to do before opening your business.  Hopefully, this will trigger your creativity or even help to provide some additional steps that you had not thought of.

Posted in Inventory, New Year, Social Media, Sourcing, Time Management

Honor, Courage and Commitment

One of the things I love the most when helping a family declutter and combine homes.  Mom moves in with Son-in-Law and Daughter, the items that are gone through produce not only memories but snippets of stories from long ago.

We’ve all heard stories of young men going off to fight in WWII.  It was one of the few times that our country was totally behind our boys and willing to ration what they had to keep the war effort alive.  This war story is unlike anything I’ve ever heard before.

It began with my friend bringing down a WWII Navy Uniform.  It is in PERFECT shape.  In fact, it appeared it had never been worn.  As far as we know, it was never worn in active service.  Curious?  I sure was.

Wayne and Marion were a young couple in the summer of 1944.  He was a butcher for a local grocery chain.  Marion stayed at home with their 3 children and that fall to have their 4th child.

One day in the summer of 1944, The draft board informed Wayne that his name and number had come up and to report to the local armory.   He must have passed his physical with flying colors because he was given his military required clothing (including the dress blues) and given a date to report.

I cannot imagine how Marion must have felt.  We hadn’t reached the 2 year anniversary of Pearl Harbor.  They had 3 young children at home.  The 4th might very well be born with her husband overseas.

In a strange turn of events, the War Department realized after a review of his Draft Card that they had made a mistake.  Wayne should have been given a III-B deferment.  Deferred because of dependents and engaged in work necessary to the national defense.

Needless to say, the formal blues were never worn by him.  His wife carefully stored the uniform and passed it on to her daughter who did the same.  Today it remains in perfect condition without any flaws – as if it were a piece waiting for a museum.

At this point, the family does not want to part with this proud piece of history.  I have not been able to find an actual comp for this uniform.  They’ve been worn, have names and awards attached, and have not been stored with the level of care this has.

This uniform really is the definition of “priceless.”





Posted in Inventory, Seasons, Social Media, Sourcing, Time Management

When Mom Moves In…

Our lives are full of seasons.  We begin with infancy, childhood, adulthood and end as a senior.  Families come together, in differing seasons for various reasons.  One that most women go through is sorting through their mother’s, father’s, grandparents and extended families items.

It is so much worse when it’s done after a sudden and emotional death.  In this case, I am helping my best friend go through the items her mother has accumulated over the years.  Items that were her mother’s parent’s, some from her childhood, throughout her marriage, after the death of her spouse as well as retirement.  This is one of the jobs I enjoy so much.

As we go through linens, china, glass and metal ware not only do I hear their deliberations on whether to keep/sell/trash the items, but the rich history this family has.  I mainly sell current men’s and women’s fashion, but my true love is lifetime treasures.

At times, it seem overwhelming because of the amount of memories we have to go through.  Roomfuls that are not sorted in any certain way, though I suspect if I asked either one of the ladies they would know exactly where the piece is.  For someone who has never done this before, it is good to have an experienced friend to help.  I am detached from all of the items and worry sometimes that I sound “cold.”

There are times though, when the decisions are heart-wrenching.  Do memories trump cash?  Does the extra space mean more than the memories that the space takes up?  Will they regret the decision years later.  I cannot see into the future and don’t own a crystal ball.  All I can do is give them is an estimate if the item was sold today.    I encourage them not to try to second guess themselves; that the first thought is usually the best one.

This particular family has a good repore with one another and the mother-daughter relationship is especially close.  The only real discourse has been to keep an item which is full of memories and try to find a place for it or to sell it for a large amount of money.  If kept, to pass it down to future generations with an explanation on the history of said item.

The greatest amount of stress seems to be the timeline that has been attached to the project.  We always have good intentions but we do not realize how long it takes to go through each item.  I assure we will get it done and I never suggest blindly throwing boxes into a dumpster without a thorough going through.  While it might move things along quicker, it is not getting the job done.  It is giving into stress and essentially giving up on the project.

Once this is all over, the family be satisfied and relieved.  They’ve kept the best items, sold/donated/threw away the others and have much more organization and room.  The time was well spent, sharing memories and stories that can be passed down.  Best of all, the knowledge that while there is a great amount of change the family can truly settle in again, when mom moves in.

Posted in New Year, Social Media, Time Management, Travel

All Aboard for the Train!

It is an age-old way to travel that many Americans today fail to take advantage of.  Many have forgotten it is even an option for them.

Here are some reasons I enjoy taking the train.

  • The expense one way is less than gasoline to get where you are going.  Forget about car rental, insurance and wear/ tear on your car.
  • Time.  How much is your time worth?  There is no stopping for gas or bathrooms.  The bathrooms are in each railroad car.
  • Again, how much is your time worth?  Instead of keeping your eyes in the road and focusing on the next construction area, you can be blogging, listing, texting, reading a good book; or, my absolute favorite: Sleeping.
  • Networking!  You meet people from all walks of life on a train and in the station.  They don’t force you to sit at all times.  Often, you will see groups of people standing around and talking.  There is a lounge or restaurant on each train which let’s you network with more than just a few people.
  • Scenery!  The train doesn’t take the same route as a car.  Often, you will find yourself in a forest of trees a field of crops, or a beach near the lake.  If you are in a major metropolitan area, you might find yourself several stories up.  The view is spectacular.
  • Weather generally does not affect the speed, schedule or even your interior climate.  No cars in the ditch in the winter and no stifling heat in the summer getting in and out of car.  The climate in a train generally remains the same throughout the year.

If you’ve never considered train travel, I hope you’ll look into it.  Imagine going somewhere you’ve never thought of, simply because there is a train route through there!  Imagine having the time to simply talk to people and decompress.

It is possible, when you travel by train.



Where everything is fit fora Queen.


Priced for the Pauper

Posted in Inventory, New Office, New Year, Sales, Social Media, Sourcing, Time Management

It is beginning to look like an office.

When looking for an office to move my Reseller business into, I had three requirements

  1. I wanted it on Main Street, in the small town I live in.  It was important to me to help revitalize the central part of our town.
  2. All utilities included.  It is important that my office expense would remain the same each month, as my income isn’t.
  3. Storage space and packaging space was more important than the size of the office.  In order for this business to grow, I must have a place to store at least 2,000 items

As you can see from today’s pictures and previous blogs, this particular office had what we required and more.

The large french doors coming into the office from the terrace bring in a lot of sunlight.  We’ve put a futon as well as a TV with a Fire Stick.  It gives it sort of “waiting room” look.  Truth be told, it’s a place to ‘dump’ items that we’ve sourced and waiting to be sorted!  Looks can be deceiving.

The long countertop with the cupboards underneath is our packaging station.  I would love to get a Dymo printer, but we will be sticking with the dinosaur inkjet we presently have.  The wall hanging above is an inked tapestry from India.  It matches the colors of our business logo.  Nice thing to have to brighten up the room and your eyes naturally go to it when you enter the room.

The other picture shown is the kitchen.  It really is beautiful though we didn’t need anything as extravagant as this.  I jokingly said we should rent it out to Tupperware or Pampered Chef representatives in the evening.  I found a larger inked Indian Tapestry with greens and grays to complement the slate floor.

As of tonight, everything in the office is on hold.

I will be leaving town in the morning, by train, and be in Michigan’s Capital.  No, it is not Detroit.  I’ll give you a hint, it is below the middle knuckle of the mitten.  If you are from Michigan, you’ll understand.

Stay tuned and I’ll explain tomorrow why!


Where everything is fit for a Queen


Priced for the Pauper

Now located at 108 South Main Street in Farmer City, IL