Archive for the Personal Category

Serial Entrepreneur Part 3…4….5

Posted in Entrepreneur, Essential Oils, Finding a Job, JenDelicious Cupcakes, Personal, Photography, self-employment with tags , , , , , , on June 29, 2016 by JenDelicious Cupcakes

Feel like I’m falling and I can’t get up!

So I think I must be a little crazy.  I keep trying all these new ideas in the hopes that one will take off and show me the way to make enough money to help support my family yet keep me from having to go back into the traditional workforce.  In the last two years since my last post (wow!) my cupcake business is still alive, barely.  My real estate photography business is alive…again barely.  My Choffy business totally went under…but that’s partly because the company changed the way they distribute their product and partly because sales is just not my thing.

I realized these other efforts were actually costing me money so I’ve started yet another business from home.  I work part time for a business broker doing a lot of his routine admin work and marketing functions so he can focus on the sales part of his business.  I truly enjoy this because I like my boss who is amazing to work with. Also this business doesn’t require me to do any sales, I can set my hours and work at my own pace.  I don’t make a ton of money doing it but it’s paying for my daughter’s braces, so every little bit helps.

I’ve also recently started using essential oils and in order to receive a discount on my products, I decided to become a wellness advocate.  I’m not making much at this because I just don’t like to sell stuff but I’m finding that I really am starting to believe in the power of these products. My husband and girls are believers too.  My upline leadership believes that if we just talk about how we use the products and what we like about the products, that will do a lot the sales work for us.  I guess we’ll see.

After several years of doing this entrepreneur thing…I’m still trying to figure it out.  I really need to find a better way to make money that isn’t tied to someone else’s schedule. In order to do that, I guess I need to figure out what type of business is my strongest suit, makes me reasonably happy and pursue that.  Having 5 or 6 micro businesses is definitely not making me any money right now.  It’s just making me tired, overwhelmed and frustrated.  It doesn’t help that I’m trying to work on my MBA at the same time.

So, it’s been awhile… lots of news

Posted in Eldercare, Family, Finding a Job, Personal, Prescription Drug Addiction, self-employment on January 13, 2011 by JenDelicious Cupcakes

So I haven’t posted for a while because life has just gotten in the way lately.  There have been lots of changes in our lives recently.

My husband and I spent November with his mother during her last days on earth.  She had been struggling with COPD for the last year and lost her battle on December 1st.  She had been a smoker nearly all her life and in the end it killed her.  It was so sad to see her struggling for breath during the last month.  We were able to get her to hospice about a week before she passed so her final days were relatively pain-free.  We were in the room with her when she passed and my husband was holding her hand.  I’m glad she’s no longer struggling to live but she was a pretty solid rock in my husband’s life and kept him pretty grounded.  He seems to be dealing with her loss much better than I would.

A few weeks after we returned home from settling my mother-in-laws affairs, my brother finally got into a rehab center (just before Christmas).  The whole family was holding out hope that he might make some changes to his life now.  Amazingly, he got into the center on a scholarship.  A day or two after New Years, a little over a week into treatment, he was kicked out because he supposedly purchased alcohol for another client.  Of course, he says he didn’t do anything but he lies SO much and about everything, it’s really hard to know if this is the truth or not.  My gut says it’s another lie because there are a lot of inconsistencies in his story and I doubt that he’d have been kicked out of the program if they didn’t have a solid reason to think he made that purchase.  Besides, I think he only went to rehab just to make my mom and dad happy and to say he tried.

He’s been asking for money to keep his wife out of jail because she owes tons from her probation agreement and then he started asking for money to pay for a hotel since he only has a car to sleep in.  It’s so very hard to say no to him but we’ve put out SO much money over the last three years and seen absolutely no improvement in his situation.  I told him he needed to go to a cold weather shelter because we were done with supporting him.

He and his wife do NOTHING to fix the situation they find themselves in and we are so tired of all of it.  Sometimes, I wish we had never moved back here.  I just wish I could do something to help their son but they use him to play on everyone’s sympathy.  I just don’t want to see that sweet little boy grow up just like his dad.  My brother had a strike against him genetically because my father was an alcoholic and now my brother is addicted to both drugs and alcohol.  My brother’s son has two strikes against him and it will take an act of God to keep that little boy out of the same pattern.

On a good note, I finally landed a job and will be starting with a local company next Wednesday!  Yeah!!  I’m quite nervous about it since it’s something I haven’t done in quite a while.  I know I’m capable of doing the work… just have to dust off the cobwebs in my brain!  I would love to start my own business someday but I still need to figure out exactly what I want to do when I grow up.  Not to mention, I have to figure out if I have what it takes to be a successful business owner.

I am still plugging away at my degree program.  If all goes well, I should be done by August or September this year.  So, 2010 went out on a very sad note and was a tough year all around but 2011 seems to be starting on a relatively positive note … at least for me personally.  Let’s just hope it continues!

Off topic… prescription drug addiction killing my brother…

Posted in Family, Personal, Prescription Drug Addiction, social security with tags , , on October 8, 2010 by JenDelicious Cupcakes

This is SO far off-topic it’s not even funny but I have to get this off my chest.  I have an early 30 something brother who has a history of drug and alcohol abuse since he was a teen.  His abuse caused a major car accident that nearly killed him a few years ago.  Then more recently his continued abuse caused several heart attack, several ER trips for stent placements, Hepatitis, a double bypass this past February and several more car accidents, one of which totaled the car that I helped pay for so his wife could go to work (another long story).

Since his heart surgery, he’s been on Oxycontin and/or Hydrocodone along with Xanax and some sort of pain patches.  I understood why he needed pain meds in the first couple of months following the surgery but we are 8 months out and he swears he’s in excruciating pain.  His doctors say there is no reason he should be in pain at this point yet they still keep giving him meds.  He’s also learned how to shop different pharmacies to get what he needs and I imagine, but don’t know this for sure, he’s doctor shopping too.  In his mind, all the prescriptions are from doctors so there’s nothing wrong with what he’s doing… he has a prescription.  He totally doesn’t believe that when he takes 10 hydrocodone in a day when his doctor says no more than 2 a day… along with wearing up to 4 pain patches at one time… indicates that he’s got a problem.

He can’t talk clearly, he sounds worse than any drunk I’ve ever known and being in the military… I knew one or two drunk people!  His speech is slurred, he falls out of chairs, puts food in weird places, puts metal in the microwave, falls asleep with food in his mouth, and just does crazy things.  Then he yells when you tell him any of these things.  He thinks he’s fine.  What really concerns me is his 4-year-old son seeing this type of behavior and growing up thinking it’s normal. Fortunately, he only sees his son on weekends since his little boy lives elsewhere during the week.  My brother’s wife and son live with her family since there isn’t room at my parents house for their whole family (which is where my brother is) and my brother is not welcome at her family’s house because of his behavior and refusal to work.

What really makes this frustrating for both sides of the family is that my brother hasn’t worked a day in two years ostensibly because he’s too sick and in too much pain to work.  He’s trying to get social security benefits which really makes me mad.  I wish someone would help him get treatment for these drugs rather than apply for social security benefits.  If you ask me, his social security “lawyer” (or ambulance chaser if you ask me) is just trying to make a buck “helping” him argue for these benefits.  There’s absolutely no reason he can’t work except he hooked on drugs, he’s lazy and he just wants a hand out. The sad thing, his sense of entitlement for these benefits when he’s not a productive member of society is just one symptom of what is wrong with our country today.  He’s like so many other people in this country that think the government should just take care of them and they don’t have to give anything back or do anything productive to earn these benefits.

There’s a whole lot more to the story and I will probably occasionally digress into those stories since the saga rears its ugly head nearly every week!

Unemployment… the first week

Posted in Entrepreneur, Family, Finding a Job, Military, Personal, self-employment, unemployment, write a book with tags , , , , , , , , on October 6, 2010 by JenDelicious Cupcakes

Today is the end of the first full week of being unemployed.  I’m not sure how I really feel about being unemployed yet.  Part of me likes spending quality time with my kids and a part of me misses the camaraderie of working with other adults to solve common problems.  In the last week, I’ve revamped my resume more times that I care to admit and I’m not sure it’s any better than it was.  I’ve searched the same job boards over and over trying to figure out what’s out there and what I want to do.  On a positive note, I’ve had a couple of recruiters call me about jobs.   There is one that I would jump on in a heartbeat but there is a big problem with it because it is in another city  and would require us to relocate.  There is NO way we could move right now because we are so far underwater on our home, we’d never be able to sell it for what we owe and foreclosure/short sale is not an option in my profession.  Not to mention my husband would also have to find another job.  He’s a Sharepoint developer so odds are he wouldn’t have a problem but he doesn’t like change and is already pushing back on any discussion of moving.

Over the last week, I haven’t really explored the home-based business idea any further because I just don’t know that I could really make enough money in the near term to make it worthwhile.  I have really been considering writing a book about my family though.  I’d probably have to write it from a fictional perspective just to protect my crazy family and their “sensibilities.”   I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told people the story of my family and they always tell me I have a reality show or a Lifetime movie (or three) in the making!

On the other side of this equation, there are positives to being home.  I’ve started walking my children to and from school and I have the sore muscles to prove it. I’ve had some free time and started exploring photography of the local flora and fauna.  The heron at the top of this file was visiting our pond yesterday morning.  I watched him catch a fish only to have a hawk steal it from him!  I’m still working towards completing my BA in Marketing and have about 9 classes before I finish.  I really enjoy my marketing classes and maybe someday can make money doing that.  This first full week of unemployment has not really helped me figure out what I want to do but it is allowing me to take care of myself a little more, explore things that I’ve never had the time to explore and continue my education without having to rush my studies!  I would say the first week has been much more productive and interesting than I thought it would be.

3 Work Days Left

Posted in Eldercare, Entrepreneur, Finding a Job, Military, Personal, Pointerware, self-employment with tags , , , , , , on September 24, 2010 by JenDelicious Cupcakes

My last day at my job is this coming Wednesday and I find myself completely confused about what to pursue as far as a line of work. Having worked for over 20 years in or with the military, I’m finding it difficult to make the decision to strike out on my own. I am still unclear about what I want to pursue with regards to a business. I have several ideas thanks to my family… but I am filled with self-doubt about my capabilities to start and grow a business.

My family and friends are all extremely supportive and outline what they see as my skills that would allow me to be successful as a business owner. In the 30 minute glow after our conversations, I fully believe them and am totally motivated to pursue my own business… but after the glow wears off… I am back in the abyss that is clouded by self-doubt. The military provided me with an arsenal of tools and skills that are extremely valuable in running my own business…I know this… but it doesn’t change the fact that I am afraid of failure. I know that to be successful, I am going to have to climb out of the abyss and constantly tell myself “I know I can do this.”   I just have to find it within myself to take that first step.

Ideas are still swirling in my head.  I like the idea of teaching adult learners different computing skills. I also have been thinking about how to help seniors manage the monthly bills and other basic finances.  I have a friend in banking that works in a retirement community and she was describing how several elderly folks come into the bank two or three times a day, completely forgetting either what they came for or the fact that they had already been there several times for the same thing.   I really think some sort of business helping the elderly might be where my niche is, I just don’t want to get into house cleaning or personal care services.   I’ve always loved numbers, helping people understand where their money is and I really don’t mind the mundane chores like filing benefit claims… so maybe that’s something I could do in addition to teaching computer classes. I’ve seen some really cool software that would really be helpful for elderly folks who don’t have a lot of computer knowledge but would still like to connect with their families via email.  This software is made by a company called Pointerware and it really makes running a computer so easy for folks that might not be computer savvy. I’ve thought about marketing this software along with selling computers with touchscreens with the software pre-installed but am not really sure how to make that happen.

So, that’s where we stand today… I just hope I’m not pushed into doing something I don’t want to do… I guess the only way that will happen is if I just sit around and do nothing.

Off topic here… kind of

Posted in Personal with tags , on September 23, 2010 by JenDelicious Cupcakes

I guess I’m in the wrong business for sure. Our sprinkler system needed to be fixed and the labor for 2 guys for 1.5 hours is $165! That’s way more than I make an hour… Bingo… maybe that’s the job I need to do. I get that it’s dirty and in the heat… but wow… $55 an hour!  That doesn’t include the parts, which I’m sure are marked up too! 

I guess the problem for us is that my hubby just doesn’t have the know how, the patience or the time to do it himself and I’m certainly not schlepping around the yard in this crazy Florida heat.  Heck I don’t even like to mow even when it’s relatively cool. 

I guess that could all change here next week when money will become a little more scarce and I may have to mow the grass and take care of the plants and stuff!  The horror… I can’t even imagine what that is going to be like… I’m so used to being behind a computer screen the idea of working outside seriously makes me cringe… so maybe the money we pay them to keep us the yard is really worth it…

It Begins

Posted in Entrepreneur, Family, Military, Personal, self-employment with tags , , , , on September 3, 2010 by JenDelicious Cupcakes

So, I’m new to blogging and I’m new to the world of entrepreneurship.  Currently, I have a job… but only for the next 20 something days or so.  I’ve suddenly found myself in a position that I have to decide whether or not I want to continue being a Defense contractor, work for the government in some other capacity or pursue some sort of self-employment.  In order to help me make this decision, I thought a blog might be a helpful way to figure out what I want to be when I grow up – so to speak.

I spent more years than I care to count in the military but for personal reasons I didn’t retire (it’s a very long story that I’ll save for another time).  I don’t regret my service to this country because I gained a lot of experiences that I couldn’t have even begun to imagine when I started that journey.  After I left the military, I moved into Defense contracting which has been filled with its own ups and downs.  I have to say that I’ve been well-compensated for the work I’ve done, but I also have often felt that something is missing.  I also don’t like the fact that at any time my job can disappear and it really doesn’t matter what my performance is like.  Additionally, it’s my own observation that  in general, contractors aren’t treated with much respect even though in many cases we have just as much experience to draw upon as the military and government civilians we work with (still another topic for another time).

Anyway, I’ve had to start over in different career paths several times over the course of the last 20 years but this time it’s different.   I’m in a better position financially and emotionally to make the call whether or not I want to continue on a career path in the Defense industry or find some sort of more meaningful employment.

Now, to the crux of the whole self-employment problem… I have no idea what I want to do.  Over the last twenty years, I’ve worked in communications, computer network administration, operations analysis and planning, instructional delivery and most recently I’ve gained some experience with project management and contracting.

If I had to pick my favorite job, I would say I loved being an instructor.  I really enjoyed teaching adults and seeing the “a-ha” lightbulb go on in people’s heads.  That said, I know teaching children is just not my cup of tea.  I have two small children of my own and have enough trouble helping them with their homework that I know teaching children is definitely not in my cards!

The other problem is that I don’t have a whole lot of real talent at anything in particular.  The military trained me in a lot of different jobs but I’ve never mastered any of them and the ones that I was good at require constant updating.  I’ve been spending a lot of time… and money… buying and reading books to help me figure out where I want to go.  Some books provide better information than others but none have really jumped out at me yet.

So, for tonight, I’ll sign off with the thought that the journey is just beginning. There will be so many different parts of my life and the lives of my family that will be impacted by this trip that I’m sure I will digress from talking purely about the entrepreneurial path but I hope that you will find it interesting nevertheless.