Wednesday, March 20, 2013

EXTRA PAIRS OF HANDS

So today, I'm going to highlight the many advantages of having extra pairs of hands to help your handmade business. In case you are at a crossroad like me a few months ago, here's an entry that can, hopefully, help you decide as to whether or not hiring staff is the best decision for your business right now.

EXPANSION TASKS MORE IMPORTANT?
I read one of those business for the dummies books before and it encouraged entrepreneurs to hire people. The author insisted that instead of using your time reproducing items to satisfy customer orders, owners should focus more on the task of expansion and product development. Tasks that can be taught to others, the author insisted, should be delegated already.

While I would have wanted to follow this advice then, I just didn't have the resources at that time to hire. When I did have resources saved up though, I was still hesitant. I kept telling myself that I'd be able to save more if I do everything myself. I justified this position further by insisting that the quality of our products may suffer if we assigned the production to others.

SUDDEN CHANGE OF HEART
What changed my mind despite my seeming convincing reasons against hiring was 2012 Christmas season. "You're so thin! It's not pretty! Eat Roma!" or " Where are you? Why aren't you here? It's my birthday. It happens only once a year you know..." kind of comments made me think that maybe I'm doing something wrong. I left my 8-5 job to be free, right? So why didn't I feel free at all? I'm doing what I want..what makes me happy.. so why the hell doesn't I look like the blushing, carefree lady living the dream?

These may sound shallow so here's another reason. You know that I always consult the Higher Power before making big decisions, right? Here's an excerpt from my daily devotional at the time I was already rethinking my position about hiring.




In case you're not an I-believe-in-signs kind of person, here's another reason why I decided to hire -- I DON'T LIKE WHAT IF's. I don't like not knowing first hand if it will work or not. So just like my decision to resign, I jumped out of my comfort zone because I wanted to know for myself what will happen if I hired help.

BENEFITS OUTWEIGH COSTS?
 Honestly, I still don't know. Take note that I hired during the lean months of the year so I can definitely say that my staff's salaries are eating up my scarce resources. Here are some advantages though:

1. As I mentioned in my previous entry, ideas are realized faster. Here are some of the items that have long been in my head and have never been realized until now.

New on Popjunklove


2. Another advantage is that I get to say "Yes" to all orders because orders don't pile up. This also means I get to deliver orders faster which also means my customers are happier. Recently, I get this reaction a lot, "Wow. That was fast!" :)






3. I also get to supply faster to stores which carry our items. Since I am able to stock on some products with the help of my four extra pairs of hands, I am able to deliver almost immediately upon request.


Our new keychain plushies are now in Bedazzle


4. Last but definitely, not the least, I get to spend more time with friends. For instance, last weekend, we didn't just attend... we even took charge of the decorations for our teammate's Mayan-monster themed baby shower. Some of the things we were able to do because (I can't believe I'm going to say this) WE HAVE TIME are the following:

a. Mayan-inspired buntings




b. re-usable monster toppers





c. re-usable monster glass decors




d. Mayan-inspired accessories for the guests





e. Monster-in-cleats giveaways (since all of the guests are Ultimate players)






f. DIY Photobooth




We looked like we had fun, right? 
So while I still can't quite determine whether or not the benefits of hiring help outweigh its costs...if priceless moments like these are added into the equation...it is, without a doubt, a resounding YES! :)

Sorry for the super long post!
Hope it helps!

Love, 
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Sunday, March 3, 2013

IF I GET A TATTOO

If ever I’ll get a tattoo...
I want it to be a word hidden on the side of my ring finger.
I used to spend time thinking of what word to put there...as if I’m on my way to the tattoo parlor already.

Faith, love, believe
Dancer, dreamer
...are just some of the words that have been in my shortlist...

I’ve never quite gotten to the point of deciding...
Until now.

INSPIRE

Oh! Such a lovely word.

I don’t know.
Maybe it’s just hangover from the movies that I’ve just watched.
But yeah...if ever I do decide to get one...
It’ll be that word for sure.


Another inspiring true story about pushing limits


I am not saying I am an inspiration.
I want to be.
Hence, the word.

To do that, I need to overcome a lot of challenges first.
“Hurdles”, I believe, is the common factor in all success stories.
Without it, you can’t claim victory for something that may have just been handed to you.
To inspire, you need to get something you’ve never had by doing what seems unthinkable for others.
 In the process, you show them that it’s not impossible after all.

Good news for me.
The life of an entrepreneur seems filled with all kinds of hurdles along the way.
Believe me.
The hurdles just keep on coming.

Before I go on to the current one, let me give you a recap of the hurdles that I’ve already conquered... to jump start this entry on a positive note.

First, leaving my stable job to follow my dreams and be a full-time entrepreneur.
Second, transitioning from a struggling entrepreneur/breadwinner reeling from the loss of her monthly pay check to a more stable one with savings on hand for the rainy season.
And last but not the least, my latest mini-victory -- learning to accept the fact that I’m not the only one who can do what I do and that others can be trained to help.

Meet Manang Nita, Manang Bebot and Ate Jovee.
Ate Jen was absent during the pictorial.


Yes, friends.
I have conquered the dilemma I shared with you in an entry a couple of months ago.
I have finally hired 4 more pairs of hands to help...
All I can say is...the cost of employing them is worth every penny.

One lesson from hurdling this challenge is that ideas are realized faster.
For instance, these keychain plushies and pins here have been in my mind FOREVER.
It’s only now that they’ve come to life.
Thanks to my 4 beautiful hired crafters.


Keychain plushies
Handmade pins :)
Complete album soon on Popjunklove


I would have wanted to end my story there.
It sounded like a happy ending already, right?
Unfortunately, there are still hurdles to face because like I’ve said...they just keep on coming.

HOW TO KEEP MY WORKERS?

With 4 hired hands, joining bazaars may no longer be enough.
Especially if you have uber hardworking employees who only take 15 minute lunch breaks despite insisting they could take longer ones, it’s not unlikely that you’ll end up with too much stocks on hand with only a few venues to display your items.
If I don't dispose of my items soon, I may have to let my staff go. 
Worst case scenario as far as I'm concerned.

This leads me to my second dilemma...
SHOULD I ALREADY PUT UP A SHOP?

Christmas season had been good  to us so I was able to save a little for expansion.
In fact, a spot even opened up for us in a known commercial area so the dream of owning a shop seems too real now.

However, I just have enough to open.
I heard stories about shops needing at least months worth of resources to stay afloat on lean months.
I don’t have that yet.
If I do open, the shop should earn on its first month.
Best case scenario that unfortunately, just doesn't happen all the time.


Daydreaming on what my store would look like one sunny afternoon

OH!!!
WHY DOES EVERYTHING HAVE TO BE TOO DAMN HARD?!!
WHY OH WHY...DOES EVERYTHING REQUIRE JUMPING OFF A CLIFF AND PRAYING ON YOUR WAY DOWN THAT YOU’LL HIT ONLY WATER AND NOT ROCKS?!!!

These thoughts have been in my mind since the leasing officer told me already to sign the offer sheet or the space will be offered to another merchant.
I don’t have an answer yet.
What I know for sure is that I have to make a decision soon.
We’ll see what tomorrow has in store for me.
For now, I’ll comfort myself with this quote that I happened to chance upon today of all days...






I believe with all my heart that I'll get to that light someday and hopefully, be someone's inspiration to reach for their dreams as well.
I just need to find my way through the darkness first.


It all started with my dream tattoo, 
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