Tag Archives: Mark the Occasion Designs

2011 Year in Review Goal 3: Grow.

My achievements under this goal are the ones I’m most proud of, but if you would like to see what else I did this year, check out posts about goals one and two.

Goal 3: Grow.

  • Work for myself and/or out of my home by the end of the year.
  • Create a business plan and official documentation of a venture.
  • Attend six networking events.
  • Make time to read for fun.
  • Try something new once a month.

Well, obviously and ad nauseam, you know that I succeeded in sub-point one. I’m a month into it and just starting to find a rhythm AND the fear that I should have had on day one. What if this doesn’t work? Am I pricing things right? How do I get folks to believe in me if I’m working from home? Why won’t anyone return my emails!?! Ack. Lots of worries, but also lots of excitement. This is still the third best decision I’ve ever made. (1. Going to South Carolina for college. 2. Marrying Randy.) What you may not know is that I do have a business plan and all the appropriate tax paperwork completed. I now have a mileage book in my car and a percentage of my house designated as office. If you have any interest in reviewing the business plan, I’d love for you to review and give me your thoughts.

I did attend my prerequisite number of networking sessions in 2011 and should probably up the number in 2012. I ended up making some great friends (and thusly business connections) through the #MKEfoodies tweet-ups and enjoyed AMA-Milwaukee Chapter luncheons. I didn’t get that much out of other activities, but I always learned something.

With school behind me, I rediscovered my love for the library where I come home with no less than eight books to read in a three-week time frame. Like everyone else in the world, I read the Girl with a Dragon Tattoo and The Hunger Games series, but after picking up an interesting read on the Medici family in Florence, I’ve been on a European royalty/history kick. If you have any recommendations, I’d love to hear them! Reading is my version of meditation. I love that time for myself.

Now the exciting part – what new things did I try in 2011:

  1. Entered a food challenge.
  2. Tried sweet potato soup. (Concept sounds awful…soup itself was quite tasty.)
  3. Get married! (And share finances for the first time in my adult life. This was a personal challenge. Randy is better with money than I am, but..but… it’s my money.)
  4. Run 20 minutes straight.
  5. Take the bus to work.
  6. Go to Europe and all  the new experiences that entailed.
  7. Do a 10k.
  8. List a company as a LLC.
  9. Tried Mediterranean food. (Loved it. New favorite lunch spot!)
  10. Teach in a bathing suit.
  11. Quit a job without a sure thing lined up.

As you can see, I need to do one more new thing in 2011. With only 10 days left, what do you think I should do???

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Walking Along the Lonely Street of Dreams

“I don’t know where I’m goin’
but I sure know where I’ve been
hanging on the promises in songs of yesterday.
An’ I’ve made up my mind, I ain’t wasting no more time
but here I go again, here I go again.”

-Proverb by Whitesnake

Last week I spent a lot of time thinking about my decision to go to University of South Carolina. I never understood why people couldn’t grasp the concept of going away to school. Heck, why weren’t they doing it themselves?! My parents told me they were proud of me. My friends were happy for me. My boyfriend used it as an excuse to break up with me. But no one really got my decision. Even my guidance counselor suggested I just attend MATC to save money and the fear of the unknown. (Ah, my first disheartening coworker…) Of course I was scared and cried 450 of the 900 miles down to Columbia, but I never wavered. I knew college in SC was what I was meant to do. Little did I know that would turn into one of the best decisions I ever made. I learned SO much. I made such great friends. I grew up. I had experiences. I got wise.

It’s time to make a wild choice again.

As of Monday, November 28, Mark the Occasion Designs is going to be my only job. With the unbelievable support of my wonderful husband and a mom and friends who have told me they believe in me, I am going to give entrepreneurship a full-time whirl. I have a plan, but that didn’t keep me from waking up at 3 am last night to debate the risks. A good night’s sleep may be a thing of the past, but I cannot tell you how excited I am! As we have discussed ad nauseum, my first show is this weekend. It will be a learning experience (as everything technically can be!), but it will also be the event to fund this venture. I’m not taking out any loans…I’m only giving myself this profit to work from. I’m sure my first $100,000 won’t be far behind. That happens in the first month, right? (Kidding!)

This time around I’m getting a lot less blank stares. “Courage” is being thrown around as much as “congratulations.” I hope I have your support, too, but if I don’t, perhaps this blog can now be a place to teach you to have your own courage. Do something because you want to, not because you should. If you have your mind set on something and know you can make it work, you can!

We have lots of time for me to sell you wedding flowers and for you to give me advice, but for now let’s give thanks to those that believe in us. You can’t ask for a better gift. And reader, I believe in you!

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Day 29: Digging It

I took the last three days off of the day job to test out working from home on Mark the Occasion Designs stuff. Here are some lessons learned.

1. This is going to be a lot of work!
As I’ve talked about ad nauseum, I’m going to be in a craft show November 19th. That was the real reason for the time off; I’m so afraid I’m not going to have enough pieces to sell! To that end, I worked, worked, worked on flowers. I’m still not where I hoped to be even though I sat down and worked for at least 8.5 hours each day. That’s not a little work here, a little Facebooking there…that was straight work. This included no marketing time or administrative work. I’m going to have to prepare for long days if I make this a thing.

2. I can take breaks whenever I want!
I was much more strategic about my time away from my “desk”. Truly, I only stopped to exercise, make dinner, and shower. There was one coffee date in there, but that was a networking activity. So bonus – I may have to start at 6:45 am or go until 9 pm, but if I want to hit up 9am pilates, I can!

On the flip-side, I didn’t have as much time to focus on dinner, throwing in the laundry, or other tasks I thought I might. This could be a function of a looming deadline or it could be reality. This is one for the “con” column as it was an expectation of working from home.

3. I might go stir-crazy.
By Friday I was guilty of taking pictures of the dog and texting Randy a bunch of times. Being in the house without any true people interaction will make for long days. I think this can easily be remedied though. Folks in my classes at the gym seemed chatty and I wasn’t with my normal internet connections. Add in a couple of coffee or lunch dates per week and I think I’d be ok.

4. Make-up might become a weekend-only thing.
The fanciest I dressed the last few days was jeans and a sweater. And, oh was it glorious. In my current life, I change into pjs the second I come home. (Noah hair is a close second to warm and cozy in the list of reasons.) I did make a conscious effort to shower and put on real clothes each day. I made no promises when it came to blow-drying my hair or putting on the full ‘war paint’, but Randy said I was still pretty. Guess that permanent smile made up for the lack of under-eye concealer.

5. I love it. I want it. I need it now.
Bloggy friends, I can’t tell you how much I loved picking what I would work on next. Even as I sewed the 8,000th (ok, the 150th) flower, I still was excited about what I was working on. I loved having Noah as my co-worker. I loved the responsibility for the task at hand and knowing that what I was working on would bring happiness to someone. I loved working in slippers. Just like Mitch in City Slickers, I found my thing. And I didn’t even have to go to the Rockies to find it.

Yeh!

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No Longer Playing Grown-Up 2.0

So it looks like most of the blog posts I’ve started, well, ever begin with “wow, it’s been a long time since my last one.” My apologies again. It’s summer.  I’m a newlywed. I started a new job. Excuses, excuses. Let’s just agree that this blog will never be a daily read and enjoy whatever ramblings I can provide, ok? Wonderful.

That said, I have one more thing to add to the list. I’m starting a side business! In case you’ve been living under a rock, I’ve turned my wedding flowers into a real company. (Well, almost… LLC app is going in this week.) Through  Mark the Occasion Designs (thank you Amber and Scott for the name and Mandi for the logo) I will create beautiful alternatives to fresh flowers that can be used for special events and celebrated for a lifetime. I can use clients’ sentimental fabrics, beads, buttons or other notions, such as a mother’s veil or a collection of bridesmaids’ dresses, to create custom pieces. Every item I make is hand-sewn, glued, or wired by me to give the items the look and feel of traditional floral. I am comfortable working with a number of styles and materials including feathers, wire and beads.

Enough of the commercial…Why do you care about that here? Well, @playinggrownup may actually be growing up. I’ve already stumbled into a number of articles worth sharing and mishaps that would make you laugh, so I see this blog getting a little revitalization. Heck, just trying to balance all the balls I have in the air ought to make for great blog fodder.

So check me out here or here. Or even here, but only if you promise not to judge. I’ve got the Etsy site and Facebook page mastered, but my web site still needs a little work.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t ask you to please spread the word. As a start-up, my marketing budget is well, nil. I’m counting on my friends and fam to help get my name out there. And why wouldn’t you? Fabric flowers are definitely the next big thing in the wedding industry and I’m a cool chick you know and love. (Er. maybe I should instead talk about my MBA and years of event planning services here… I guess that might make me look a bit more professional. But I am a cool chick!)  I would love to provide personal service like a traditional florist vs. what you’d find simply trolling the interwebs. Let’s do this together.

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