Archive for Entrepreneur

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.

A Serial Entrepreneur… I think?!

Posted in Cupcakes, Entrepreneur, Photography, Real Estate with tags , , , on August 14, 2014 by JenDelicious Cupcakes

I haven’t written on this blog in a very long time!

Wow… I didn’t realize just how long it’s been. I’ve been pretty busy in the last year and half. I left my defense contracting job, started a local cupcake bakery out of my home and am now considering starting a real estate photography business.

I really enjoy baking cupcakes but with the restrictions that Florida has on home bakers, there’s only so far I can take this business before I have to either move to a commercial kitchen, open a storefront or be satisfied with the small amount of orders I can complete from home.

So, I’ve started to look at other avenues to bring in a little extra money while still fostering my need to use my creative side. A friend of mine is in the real estate business and after seeing some of the pictures I’ve taken of my cupcakes and of my husband’s band… she asked if I would be willing to photograph a home that she has listed.

I’ve been in the home before and it’s lovely… so I thought, what the heck… let’s try it and see how it goes. So, I took a deep breath, grabbed my tripod, my Canon 7D DSLR camera and a couple of lenses and jumped in. The link below is to the home that I photographed. They will be having a broker’s open house next week which my friend invited me to and I’m super nervous about it.  I’m hoping other agents like my work but I have no idea what to charge especially since I’m a newbie and still building my portfolio.

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I’ve started looking at a lot of online real estate photographs to see what I like and what I don’t. I’ve been checking out real estate photography tutorials to get some pointers on lighting, tips on using Lightroom and Photoshop to help me optimize my photographs and how to determine what to charge but there’s a lot to learn.  I have good equipment, good lenses and decent software… now to get some clients and start building that portfolio here in the Apollo Beach/Riverview, FL area!

Wish me luck as I start embarking on another new journey!  Who knows where this one will take me!

Choffy Time

Posted in Brewed Chocolate, Chocolate, Choffy, Entrepreneur with tags , , , on January 22, 2012 by JenDelicious Cupcakes

Alright then, here comes a new year and a new post… finally!

Last weekend I decided to take my kids to the Festival of Chocolate at the Tampa’s Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI).  Even though I started a new Weight Watcher’s diet, I decided to torture myself and try to behave amidst all that chocolate.  Boy am I glad I went.  I ate the best Guiness Beer and chocolate mini cupcakes ever, my girls got to make their very own chocolate lip gloss and I was introduced to a great new drink…  Choffy!

Choffy is similar to coffee and tea.  Choffy is made from cacao beans (cocoa beans) that are roasted and ground for use in an automatic drip coffee maker or French Press.  My introduction to Choffy was their Ivory Coast version with French Vanilla creamer.  I was really impressed by the brewed sample they provided and went back and purchased a full size cup of the stuff!  I also grabbed a business card because I was so impressed so I could check them out at home.  The next day, I decided to purchase a French Press (because they said that was the best method to get the most flavor out of the grounds) and three small 12oz bags – one of each variety they carry.

I received the items about 4 days after purchase and loved the Ivory Coast version at home just as much as I liked it at the Festival… tasted exactly the way I had remembered it.  The La Espanola and Mamberamo are also good but have slightly different tones to them that I don’t care as much for.  Don’t get me wrong, they are good, but just not the same as the Ivory Coast version that I first tried. My seven year old loves the Ivory Coast as much as I do, my husband likes it but prefers his Keurig brewed iced french vanilla coffee and my nine year old likes the taste but says it upsets her tummy a bit.  So the home reviews are a bit mixed.  I also introduced the Choffy to my good friends and they both liked it a lot.  Considering the fact that brewed chocolate has lots of antioxidants and supposedly doesn’t give you the jitters that regular coffee does, I figured it’s got to be better than those high calorie, hi-fat Starbucks white mochas that I have been trying to break an addiction to!  That said, I’m still testing it out on myself, my friends and my family… so I will have to decide if that’s hype or fact based on my own personal experiences.

In the four days since I received my French Press and my Choffy, I’ve also started experimenting with different creamers and varying levels of sugar to see what I really like.  So far, I’ve tried French Vanilla, White Chocolate Mocha, and Italian Sweet Cream in my Ivory Coast.  My favorite, hands down is the French Vanilla with the Italian Sweet Cream next in line.  Not fond of the White Chocolate Mocha but that could be because I accidentally picked up the fat free version, so maybe that has something to do with it.

Anyway, I’m pretty impressed with the stuff and see lots of potential for the market.  I’ve contacted the distributor from the Festival to ask some questions about distribution and to see how many distributors are already in the area since I don’t want to start up something in a market already being worked heavily by someone else if I decide to take this up as a side business.  Once I hear back from her, I will decide whether or not to plunk down my money to get into distribution myself…

Can’t wait for Girl Scout Thin Mints to get here… so I can sit down with them and my Choffy!!

Until next time!!

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.

Nothing is any clearer

Posted in Entrepreneur, Finding a Job, Military, self-employment with tags , , , on September 11, 2010 by JenDelicious Cupcakes

So, in the last week, it has become more clear that my current contracting job is definitely nearing the end and there likely isn’t a spot for me on any of the other contracts that we hold.  I have to say, I have a great boss who’s been working hard to help me find other work and has even sent my resume to some of our competitors.  I would like to think that my boss helping me out speaks volumes about  my performance and abilities.  I have to believe that if he didn’t like me, he would just hand me a pink slip and say see ya.

I have been thinking very hard about what I want to do when this job ends in a couple of weeks.  While my boss is helping me, a part of me is craving to work for myself, be my own boss, set my own hours, my own goals and be completely responsible for my ultimate success or failure.

For months I have been considering opening my own business but my inherent problem is that I don’t know what I’d be good at doing.  Having spent years in the military, I have gained a lot of different skills but don’t really feel that my primary training translated too much outside of the military.  My formal training is in a profession that does not translate to anything but military or government service unless I want to be a government contractor.  I’ve been in that rat race for 3 years now and am just not thrilled with that option and the instability of it.

So, now I exploring the other less formal skills I gained in the service and at some of the volunteer work I used take on.  I was an instructor and I really loved that job… but I was teaching a skill, that again… doesn’t translate into something I can teach outside of the military or government.  If I look at some of the other things I did while on active duty maybe I can try to isolate where my strengths lie.  I was a financial counselor and a volunteer tax rep.  I helped service members create budgets to live by as well as helped them prepare annual tax returns.  I also raised funds for a variety of military affiliated organizations.  I organized all kinds events like  military balls, promotion ceremonies and training events.  I am good with people, extremely organized and very conscientious about taking care of things that need to be done.  But how do I translate these skills into my own business that suits me needs and skills and turns a profit?  How do I select what I want to do?

Looking at my skills might lead me to look at becoming an event planner, working to do tax prep services, bookkeeping or budget development.  I guess then I also have to look at the formal skills needed to do any of those.  A financial related business would require additional formal training of some sort, I’m sure.  I’m midway through my marketing degree program… should I switch paths into accounting/finance… or stay the course and start look at other means of training even if it’s part-time at first to gain experience?  So, over the next few days/weeks, I envision that is where I’m going to have to start focusing my efforts.  Really wish I had a mentor who’d been through this before who could help me figure out how and what to focus on…

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.